So last Thursday a woman in Illinois got fired for having a Kerry bumper sticker on her car:
Vote for Kerry, Lose your job!
That may be the new bumper sticker of choice for an Alabama woman who says she got fired by her pro-Bush boss last Thursday for publicly supporting the Democratic candidate for president. The Decatur Daily reports that Lynne Gobbell, a worker at an Alabama insulation company called Enviromate, says she got axed for refusing to remove a Kerry-Edwards sticker displayed on the rear windshield of her Chevy Lumina. Her boss Phil Geddes, a Decatur bankruptcy attorney and the owner of Enviromate, did not return the Daily's calls about the alleged firing, according to the report.
"We were going back to work from break," Gobbell told the Daily, "and my manager told me that Phil said to remove the sticker off my car or I was fired."
Gobbell said she went to Geddes' office to confront him. "Phil and another man who works there were there," she said. "I asked him if he said to remove the sticker and he said, 'Yes, I did.' I told him he couldn't tell me who to vote for. When I told him that, he told me, 'I own this place.' I told him he still couldn't tell me who to vote for."
"I asked him if I was fired and he told me he was thinking about it," she said. "I said, Well, am I fired? He hollered and said, Get out of here and shut the door."
Gobbell said she then asked her manager what to do. He initially told her to go back to work, but returned a few minutes later and said, "I reckon you're fired. You could either work for him or John Kerry."
The story was picked up by Daily Kos, a political Web log, and spread quickly around the Web. By this morning, Geddes, who has declined to comment publicly on the matter, had apparently had enough of the bad publicity. Through an intermediary, he offered Gobbell an apology and said she could have her old job back. But Gobbell said she wouldn't return without some written guarantee that Geddes wouldn't turn around and fire her once he was out of the spotlight. Then, late this afternoon, Kerry himself phoned Gobbell. "He was telling me how proud he was that I stood up," Gobbell told me. "He'd read the part where Phil said I could either work for him or work for John Kerry. He said, 'you let him know you're working for me as of today.' I was just so shocked."
Gobbell accepted Kerry's job offer, "so I reckon I'll be working for John Kerry." Kerry left it that someone from his campaign would call Gobbell to work out the details.
Politically motivated or not, that's still a pretty classy move. And like Tim Noah says, although they're not likely to keep this all a secret, the Kerry campaign wasn't trying to push it on everyone (or Noah at least):
Although there's an excellent chance the Kerry campaign will flog (or perhaps already has flogged) this story in the press, I should emphasize that it did not tip me to Gobbell's story. By sheer coincidence, I happened to call Gobbell while she was on the line with Kerry, and got a busy signal. When I called back a few minutes later, Gobbell explained who she'd just been speaking with. In a political campaign, I should note, it's entirely appropriate to hire somebody based on that person's politics.
Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's name can appear on Florida ballots for the election, despite a court order to the contrary, Florida's elections chief told officials on Monday in a move that could help President Bush in the key swing state.
The Florida Democratic Party reacted with outrage, calling the move "blatant partisan maneuvering" by Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's younger brother, and vowed to fight it.
In a memo to Florida's 67 county supervisors of elections, Division of Elections director Dawn Roberts said the uncertainty of Hurricane Ivan, which could hit parts of the state by week's end, forced her to act.
Florida Circuit Court Judge Kevin Davey issued a temporary injunction last week preventing the state from putting Nader on the 2004 ballot, siding with a Democratic challenge that the Reform Party did not qualify as a national party under state law.
A hearing on a permanent injunction is scheduled for Wednesday. But Roberts said Hurricane Ivan, which is headed for Florida's Gulf coast, had raised "a substantial question as to when such a hearing" will be held.
Ok, so a State judge rules on this one way, but Jeb's buddies in the FL gov't decide it's ok to defy their ruling because a hurricane is coming that might hit other parts of the state? I realize that a hurricane (especially the third in what, two months?) is bound to affect things in the state. I just don't see how it in any way forced their hand to act, and to act against the judge's ruling.
These are the kinds of things that make me nervous about November. On a level playing field with an informed electorate, this race would be Kerry's, no contest. But with all the back-room maneuvering (and this level of subtlety doesn't even count as "back room") the current admin is capable of and willing to do, it's pretty far from a level field at this point.
The GOPhasbeen pushingNader all year after seeing his effect on the contest in 2000. I don't expect Nader to have nearly the turnout he had last time - too many people that used to support him are aware of the importance of this race - but it's hard to argue that he has anything to contribute aside from drawing away potential Kerry votes, hence the huge assist he's been getting from the right.
Quickie interview with Ted Leo here, where he shares his thoughts on file sharing and the 5 Worst performance I posted about earlier. Only a couple more months until Shake The Sheets comes out. After hearing a couple of the new songs live last month, I'm really looking forward to this one (not that I wasn't anyway).
On my way to Best Buy on Sunday to pick up a wireless card for my desktop, I swung into the Fresh Pond Newbury Comics to see if they still had the new domestic (with a second disc) version of M83's excellent Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts on sale. Lucky for me, they did. This is a cd I probably never would have bought had I not downloaded the album on mp3 a couple months ago to check it out. It turned out to be worth my money so I wanted to pick up a real copy from the store. So a note to record labels - give me more free mp3s and I'll buy more cds. As I'm heading over to the register to pay for it, I see some woman with a messy t-shirt and huge sunglasses standing there. The extravagantly pierced guy behind the counter is saying "Would it be ok if you signed your cd for us? The new one?" and she says sure. As she signs, he finishes ringing up the 8 or 9 cds she's buying (the only cover I could see was I think Bowie's Diamond Dogs) and she stuffs them into the giant tote bag she's got. I got a peek into her bag that was filled with a ton of various other cds and a few other miscellaneous purse-type items. She grabs her bag and heads outside to hang out and breathe in the fresh air of the parking lot on Fresh Pond Parkway. Through all this I'm trying to figure out if this is anyone I might know. I was prepared to ask the sales clerk about it, but he gave it away when as she's leaving he blurts out "Thanks, Juliana!". Once she was safely out in the parking lot, he starts ringing up my cd and excitedly asks me "Do you know who that was??". "Juliana Hatfield?" I guessed, pumping up the Newbs employee even more. "Yes!!" he exclaimed. "She just sold us 3 boxes of used cds!" Once I was done in there, I went outside and unwrapped my cd sitting in my car. When I finally drove off, Ms. Hatfield was still hanging out in the parking lot in front of CVS, giant sunglasses, tote bag, and all. Kind of makes me wish I was familiar with her music at all so I could have said something. Maybe next time.
And that concludes this week's Random Local Celebrity Sightings.