Fear and Blogging

I’ve talked about this on the Newburyport Blog before, but 2 years ago, when I started the Newburyport Blog, I also started a national blog.

I would watch the IP numbers (an IP number is the number of a particular computer) and an IP number of a company used by Homeland Security would come and visit the national blog on a regular basis.

Even now, when certain words are used on the Newburyport Blog, I get a visit form the Department of Justice. And when I check to see why they’ve come to visit my small, local blog, I can understand why the key word or words sent up a flag. But still, it is unnerving. And being checked out by Homeland Security and the Department of Justice is pretty scary for me.

I said this in an earlier post as well, I am relieved in this presidential primary that not only the candidates, but also people in general feel much more free to speak out. And if they do speak out, they would not be labeled “unpatriotic.”

And I was also relieved to see PBS really speak out in a program called Cheney’s Law. A must read and a must see.

And one of the things I like about Barack Obama, is when the Senate voted on the Iraq war, Senator Obama voted “no.” He was not intimidated back then, so I don’t imagine he would be intimidated by much now.

And I remember watching both Senators Hillary Clinton and John Kerry vote for the Iraq war, but with many reservations. And as I remember, back then, it was scary times, and the administration would raise the “alert” status, it always seemed to me to manipulate the American people (although I’m sure that is not completely true) through fear. And the Democrats at that time were in a very difficult position. If they voted against the war in Iraq, they ran the danger of appearing “unpatriotic.”

So I am glad that the civil discourse seems to be no longer be log-jammed. And that is probably what pleases me most about this national primary season. That a free exchange of ideas and issues could once again take place without trepidation.

Mary Eaton

An Unlikely Local Obama Enthusiast, Across the Merrimac River

My friend, literally across the Merrimac River from Newburyport, MA, Frank Schaeffer, turns out to be a wild Barack Obama fan.

Small, tiny bit of history here. Frank Schaeffer taught me how to be a political activist. No kidding. I never would have known how to go about fighting MassHighway to save High Street without him. Plus he and his wife Genie go back almost 35 years with moi. Good grief.

Frank started out, as a friend of mine would say, “Right of Attila the Hun.” Something he readily admits to in many of his books, including the last one.

The Frank of, let’s say 30 years ago, would probably have been a Mike Huckabee fan.

With a son in Iraq, Frank morphed into a John McCain kind of Republican. And all of this can be read in Frank’s books as well.

Well good grief, it turns out that Frank Schaeffer, once “Right of Attila the Hun,” has now become an fervent Barack Obama enthusiast. And this is an understatement.

When Frank talks to me passionately about Obama, instead of saying, “Yo there honey, remember you, the right wing conservative.” I’m saying, “Alright toots, bring it on. Keep it coming.”

Frank has taken, among other things, to blogging on The Huffington Post on why he’s an Obama aficionado. (He’s also figured out that if he emails Letters to the Editor at 3 in the morning to the New York Times, sometimes they will actually print them.) Am I loving this or what.

My long time friend, fellow artist and neighbor across the Merrimac River, is not only voting for, but actually working hard for a Democrat. All I can say, if Frank Schaeffer has done a 180, this Obama guy has to be quite something.

Mary Eaton

Newburyport Blogger Watches Fox News and Karl Rove

Where has this Newburyport blogger been? Well, among other things this Newburyport blogger has been glued to the national primaries, political junkie that she is.

And, although I hate to admit it, Liberal Democrat that I am, I’ve been getting my political fix, in part, from yes, Fox News.


But they’ve been balanced. I’ve been shocked. And much more coherent than CNN, which has me crossing my eyes, trying to figure out their various paraphernalia.

That was until last night.

Last night Fox News had Karl Rove on as their political analysis.

I’m sitting there going, Karl Rove? The Karl Rove? Excuse me. (Jon Stewart later that night on “A Daily Show” was “Say what?” too. I’m sure that it’s by no means just moi who had the “Say what?” reaction.)

I flipped channels immediately. But I couldn’t help myself. Good grief, there was Karl Rove.

He was asked very matter of factly to give his political advice and strategy on behalf of the various Republican candidates. He managed to keep a straight face through that entire shtick.

And then he was asked very calmly to give his political advice and strategy for the Democratic candidates.

When it came to Obama he pretty much seemed to be able to keep a straight face. But when it came to Mrs. Clinton, I swear there was a subtle body language twist, and it seemed to me that the lip curled ever so slightly, and there was a struggle to keep it from curling all the way.

Karl Rove. Who knew? Apparently a number of people. But not moi.

Mary Eaton

Newburyport Political Junkie and the National Primary

Being a political junkie, I’ve been following the National Primary very, very closely.

Ok, I am thrilled that Barack Obama won in Newburyport, MA. I’m a huge fan. Have been from the moment I heard him open his mouth at the Democratic Convention in 2004, giving the keynote address (you can watch it on YouTube). He seemed to me to be the next Democratic rising star. And as of Super Tuesday, he’s still with us, and I hope surging.

And as for Mitt Romney. Bleh. Even though he won in Massachusetts, well, I’m glad he’s struggling. His, what I consider, really lousy Massachusetts, state health care plan, that creates havoc for the middle class, sticks in my craw, let me tell you.

Plus the flip-flop thing on the social issues. Excuse me. I’m sorry the rest of Massachusetts, but what are you thinking. Come on.

And although I don’t agree with Senator McCain on tons of stuff, like the Iraq war, at least, to me he appears to have integrity. He’s going to show up and tell people, not what they want to hear, but what he thinks would be true (like in Michigan, where they apparently didn’t agree, he lost).

And as for Mrs. Clinton. Ok, I desperately want a Democrat in the White House (plus my father is a huge fan, we are a divided family on this one).

And for the first time in a long, long time, the national political landscape is enjoyable. I love this. And it appears that the candidates have broken away from the present resident of the White House. And as a nation we finally are able to speak out. And I love Tony Auth’s political cartoon of February 6, 2008. Amen.

Mary Eaton

Newburyport Goes to Obama and Romney

If you are looking for local Super Tuesday election results for Newburyport, the Newburyport Daily News has done a great job.

According to the Newburyport Daily News, February 6, 2008, reported by Stephen Tait and Angeljean Chiaramida, 55% of the registered voters went to the polls (this is not bad at all). Barack Obama getting 2,339 to Hillary Clinton’s to 2,311 votes.

The Newburyport Daily News has also done a really good job having a city by city, town by town map of Northeastern Massachusetts, which I very much appreciate.

And for the Republicans, according to the Newburyport Daily News, Romney gets 1062 to McCain’s 878. And Ron Paul gets 75 to Mike Huckabee’s 55.

There is also a more basic, less snazzy version of the voting breakdown on the Newburyport Daily News website.

Good job.

Mary Eaton