Saturday, February 02, 2008

This McCain Story Is Too Good To Be True

The stuff you hear from the campaign trail is incredible sometimes. Beyond poll numbers there is a vibrancy to the men and women that run for office and their staff that keeps the operations afloat. Some stories are funny, some sad, some that are inspiring and then there are ones like McCain's.

From The Washington Post:

By last November, John McCain's presidential campaign was broke. To survive, he offered his fundraising lists as collateral for a $3 million line of credit from a local bank. But obtaining the loan required an unusual extra step: He had to take out a special life insurance policy in case he did not survive the campaign. [...]

Anthony Corrado, a campaign finance expert at Colby College, said he had never heard of a candidate having to secure a loan with a life insurance policy.

"It was a big gamble, but I think one of the most important strategic moves the McCain campaign has made," Corrado said. McCain was "rolling the dice to get the money early, and if they won, it would be easy to repay."

Lucky for Mr. McCain, that gamble did pay off and now he's essentially the front runner for the GOP. No matter how it turns out for John, having to take out a life insurance policy to bankroll his campaign is simply priceless.

Friday, February 01, 2008

An Edwards I Can Still Support

John may be out of the Presidential race, but Donna Edwards has a primary fight a week from Tuesday down in Maryland.

Fight Night! Donahue Vs. Maher

Man oh man would I love to see this, big Bill Donahue challenged Bill Maher to a good old-fashioned fist fight. Nothing says "Catholic League" promotion like challenging another to a fight, because, well thats what Jesus would want, right? Christ would duke it out fighting for conservatives anytime, anyplace, eh? Well we can call this the battle of the Bills and perhaps Mr. Clinton could take some time out of his busy...or now not so busy campaign schedule to referee.

From RawStory:

In what could be seen as an effort to resurrect its sister network's Celebrity Boxing franchise to boost lagging ratings, Fox News aired an interview Thursday with the controversial Catholic League president, William Donahue, who took offense to comments questioning religion from comedian, and prominent athiest, Bill Maher.

That Maher deigned to question the divinity of Jesus Christ -- saying he was more skeptical of Christian mythology than that UFOs regularly visit earth -- sent Donahue into an apoplectic rage. The 60-year-old Donahue challenged his longtime nemesis Maher to a fist-fight. Fox News host Megyn Kelly offered to televise the fight right there on Americas' Newsroom.

"Bill Maher ... constantly is going after not just religion in general, he really has it out against Christians," Donahue charged. "I'm at the point right now where I'd love to challenge this guy in a ring ... preferably Madison Square Garden. I'm a lot older than he is, but let me tell you something, I'd floor him."

Oh nice, in Madison Square Garden of all places. That's only a 20min walk for me, I'd pay to see that old bigot splayed out in the ring any day. I know Donahue hates to hear it, but America is one of these things called democracies. And in democracies people are allowed to express their opinions, even if they differ from your own theocratic drivel. If you need to act like a schoolyard bully and challenge Maher to a fight, it might be time to take a load off and go read what Jesus would actually do instead of what many televangelists preach.

In NY-13, GOP Colored Red, Dems Solidly Black

This isn't a coloring contest, we're talking about taking back the thirteenth Congressional district down in Staten Island for the Democrats. So far, so good for our side because both candidates have cash on hand and that is important because the incumbent in this race, Vito Fossella can't raise enough money for what he spends.

From The NY Daily News:

Rep. Vito Fossella's campaign committee announced the Staten Island Republican has raised more than $700,000 to date in this election cycle ($700,967, to be exact) and has just over $250,000 on hand.

In the last quarter, Fossella raised $304,453 and spent $462,866 (the press release didn't mention that last number, nor did it tout his $28,020 worth of debt).[...]

Steve Harrison has already formally announced his plans to take a second shot at trying to oust Fossella. Harrison has the support of Frank Barbaro, a retired assemblyman and onetime mayoral candidate who ran unsuccessfully against Fossella in 2004, but he's something of an underdog where the Democratic establishment is concerned.

Many of the powers-that-be would like to see Councilman Domenic Recchia run against Fossella. Recchia hasn't yet anounced, but he is raising money for a potential congressional campaign.

By the end of December, Recchia had raised $220,770, spent $14,318 and has 206,451 on hand.

By the end of September (he's most recent numbers aren't yet up), raised $37,618, spent $6,498 and has $37,367 on hand, plus $1,595 worth of debt.

UPDATE: From Harrison's end-of-year filing: Raised $69,203 in this quarter and $106,456 overall, spent $23,354, owes $2,351 and has $83,116 on hand.

Considering that the Democrats are in Fossella's financial ballpark speaks volumes. Incumbency is king in New York but having campaign money gets its royal share as well. Voters across the country are sick of the GOP and are getting ready to purge themselves of many different elephants. I know that with the power of the grassroots here in NYC, one of those can be Vito Fossella.

It's About Judgment, Not Experience

I don't care how long you've been in politics, its about making the right decisions, whether you've served three or thirty years.

What Did We Need With Moral Authority Anyways?

"Moral Authority" is a term many politicians love to use to throw their weight around. George Bush certainly has time and time again. Unfortunately he has tossed it so many times that he apparently lost it. Moral Authority has gone missing and Americans are having trouble locating that time-honored tradition in the United States. Fox News was going to cover the possible kidnapping story, but they decided to go with the Holloway story yet again.

The Washington Post picks up the ball for our friends at Fox:

Human Rights Watch, a New York-based advocacy group, has used its past 17 annual surveys to highlight the most egregious humanitarian crises in the world and to note improvements when warranted. The latest report marks a break with that tradition by focusing on democracy and the ways in which U.S. influence have affected other countries' pursuit of it.

The group delivers a harsh critique of the Bush administration, suggesting that by accommodating autocratic allies in the fight against terrorism, it has failed to meet its declared goal of promoting democratic values.

In an introductory essay titled "Despots Masquerading as Democrats," Kenneth Roth, the organization's executive director, blasts such leaders as Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Vladimir Putin of Russia. Roth accuses them of finding "utility in holding electoral charades to legitimize" their reigns.

Now to be fair the United States has a long history of supporting autocrats as long as it has seemed to benefit our own agenda. The thing is, the level of support for people like Putin and Musharraf has grown so much in the last seven years, no one can deny that our Moral Authority ran away from home when Bush beat him so badly. You'd run away too if you were in that White House.

And Now For Some Not Too Shocking News

When a network that prides itself on the best propaganda needs some help with their election day coverage, where would rabid conservative managing executives turn to put them on the top of the garbage heap landfill eh, whatever you want to call their objective. The point is someone big needs to step up for Fox News and you will definitely not find an liberals here to talk about Obama/Hillary's wins in any kind of positive light. So again, where does one go?

From Inside Cable News:

ICN hears that Karl Rove will join Fox News Channel as a contributor and will likely be used throughout Super Tuesday coverage…

It is a shocker right? A real surprise from the retards folks at Fox News. Be sure not to tune in to his ramblings.

Homeless Vets Challenge O'Reilly, Bill Decides to Hide Away

Even though Bill O would never "man up," Keith Olbermann is more than happy to give them some voice and coverage to show any of O'Reilly's fans (if there are any left) that they are merely watching the ramblings of a lunatic, certainly not a journalist of any kind.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Another Day, Another Debate

This time only two candidates were able to show up in Los Angeles for this week's installment of the Democratic debate. The Kodak Theatre hosts a lot of stuff, but since the writers are on strike I guess it is a little less crowded and so they fit Hillary and Barack in. So what is the big thing here? Well basically it is that Democrats can remain civil and dare I say, friendly, while last night we saw McCain and Romney beat each other with figurative baseball bats. One could say the air is different over the hills in Simi Valley as opposed to Hollywood, but rather unlikely.

Of course there were differences as well. The two minorities diverge on Iraq, immigration and health care to name a few. On Iraq, Hillary defended her vote for the Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq, saying that she trusted George Bush that war was a last resort. Obama called her out on this and restated he has been against the war since it started. If anyone believes that Hillary had full faith in the words of George Bush, that should disqualify her right there. That is one reason I can't vote for her in the primary.

Immigration was another thing that caught the eyes and ears of the blogosphere, from DailyKos:

Interesting difference in how they answered the immigration question and how immigration affects job losses. Obama emphasized that he won't scapegoat, a position that would be popular with Latinos. Clinton emphasized that there are job losses caused by illegal immigration, which should appeal more to working class white voters, especially in the Midwest. Both are correct, but it's an interesting difference in emphasis.

Slight difference but its still there.

And then there's health care:

The two candidates also gently tangled on the universal health care issue with Obama criticizing the mandated purchase of insurance policies that are the center of Clinton's plan. "You can mandate it but there still will be people who cannot afford it," Obama said. Obama said he was intent on "bringing all parties together" to get a plan approved and that those negotiations would be "broadcast on C-Span."

Clinton rebutted the argument saying her plan "has been designed to be affordable with health care tax credits." Clinton said she was "proud " of her record on the issue.

I'm proud of her attempts in 1993 and 1994, but ever since then she has been a friend of the industry, not the uninsured and underinsured. I'm a big believer in following the money....and there's a lot of cookie jars being delivered to Hillary care of the health insurance industry.

Despite these differences, both are far and away better than anything that the Republicans can come up with and the voters have shown this so far in the primary states that have voted already. Like the crowd at the Kodak Theater, Democrats are charged up and excited about 2008, the same can not be said of the GOP.

The Surge Has Not, Will Not And Has Never Worked, Period.

Does anyone remember what the surge was supposed to accomplish. One year ago when Bush proposed this insanity, he wanted to give the Iraqi government breathing room to work on the stability of their government. If you listen to him and his supporters now, they claim it worked because violence is down.

Well woo hoo, I guess killings that number in the thousands is better than people dying in the tens of thousands. Of course, sane people realize that the reason so many people are dying period is that the underlying problems are nowhere near to being fixed. If anything, the growing sectarianism that has separated people from each other based on religion has taken people out of harms way (and don't forget the millions of refugees taken out of the mix that now live in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, etc).

The Washington Independent has more:

The Sunni insurgency, all but decimated in the imagination of the surge advocates, has demonstrated something of a surge of its own in recent weeks. Baghdad, Anbar and Diyala provinces, the hotbeds of the insurgency, have seen a return of high-profile suicide bombing. Prominent collaborators with the U.S., like the so-called "Concerned Local Citizens" militias, have been targeted for death by insurgents and terrorists. "Of late, though, as you’ve been seeing, is certainly an increase in the number of suicide events that occur with individuals, mostly with a suicide vest wrapped around their waist," Adm. Greg Smith, a spokesman for Multi-National Force-Iraq, said in a blogger conference call last week.

Iraq security statistics over the past 13 weeks, obtained exclusively by The Washington Independent, tell the tale. In Baghdad, improvised-explosive device (IED) detonations explosions in Baghdad have ticked up slightly to 131 in January from 129 in December—and the last week of January is not included in these latest figures. Countrywide, there was an increase in IED explosions to 2,291 in December from 1,394 in November, followed by a dip to 1,270 in the first three weeks of January. But the week ending on January 25 saw seven suicide explosions Iraq-wide, the most since the week ending Dec. 21, 2007.

It is too early to conclude that the security gains of the surge are unwinding. But they’re being put under stress in a manner not seen since the so-called "Surge of Operations" began in mid-June. Some speculate that the insurgency, knocked on its heels by the changing tactics of U.S. forces in mid-2007, is beginning to adjust, a few months before the surge draws to a close. "I think there’s some credibility to that argument," said Brian Katulis, a national-security expert at the liberal Center for American Progress. "It all begs the question of what’s the grand endgame."

The endgame is really where its at. It depends on who you talk to of course. For Bush and many conservatives, it is to have a permanent presence that allows them to feed the mouth of the military industrial complex. For the Iraqis it is to control their own country. For the Democrats and progressives, it is to get the hell out of there and let the Iraqi people have what they want, freedom from us.

So WTF Is Chris Matthews Problem?

Not only are his attacks on Hillary atrocious, it seems that almost everything that comes out of his mouth is ridiculous and obscene. Why do people listen to this guy?

The Fight For Net Neutrality And Corporate Cash

Now that the Democrats hold majorities in the House and Senate (with larger margins this come November) the battle for Net Neutrality will be decided by the members of the party with the donkey next to their name. Many people say that it doesn't matter what party holds power because the corporations are the true guiding force in our country. Although this is partly true, ultimately people power will win out if citizens are dedicated enough. Lets take Colorado for example.

From Colorado Confidential:

In Colorado over the election cycles from 2004-2008, telecom and media political action committees have donated just under $540,000 to Colorado's U.S. senators, representatives and candidates for those offices. They gave $198,000 in the 2004 cycle, $229,000 in the 2006 cycle and $103,000 so far with ten months still to go in the 2008 cycle.

There's been a dramatic shift in the pattern of donations, however. In 2004, about 57 percent of the donations from the telecom industry went to Republican candidates, and 43 percent to Democrats. In 2006, only 29 percent went to Republicans and 71 percent to Democrats. And in the 2008 cycle so far, a whopping 92 percent of telecom donations have gone to Democrats and only 8 percent to Republicans.

In addition, Qwest has pledged $6 million to the Democratic National Convention here in August. Level 3 Communications has pledged $1 million and other telecoms lesser amounts. A spokesman for Save The Internet said:

"The national conventions are a schmoozefest for influential and powerful lobbyists. All the largest telecom firms are going to have a very strong presence there."

Yes, those conventions are giant schmoozefests, I can tell you first hand that some of the parties I got into up in Boston four years ago were filled with suits, and when I told some of these people I was a field organizer, they wanted nothing to do with me or the people I hung out with. Corporations and their lobbyists realize they need to put their money in the "right hands" in order to see favorable decisions being made. Yet with Democrats, if their constituents put enough pressure on them, then we will get supporters of Net Neutrality after all.

Colorado's big congressional player in telecom issues is Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, who is the vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over much of the net neutrality legislation. DeGette's office declined a request for an interview with her about this topic. She was an early opponent of net neutrality rules, but has since changed her position to support them.

DeGette has reaped the most donations from telecom PACs of any Colorado member of Congress over the last three cycles. She's gotten a total of $89,500 since the 2004 election, including $15,000 from Level 3's PAC, $11,000 from Comcast's and $8,000 from Qwest's PAC.

Democratic Rep. Mark Udall has received about $82,000 from telecom-related PACs; former Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez got more then $71,000 in only the 2004 and 2006 election cycles; Rep. John Salazar has gathered up $63,300; and Sen. Ken Salazar, $53,250.

Udall's office says that the congressman supports net neutrality, and that he voted for a version of Markey's legislation that was considered in the last congressional session.

51st State Of Manhatta?

With the New York budget numbers out, it seems that NYC is going to be shortchanged for its taxes, with more money being disbursed to the rest of the state. The difference isn't much, but it is noticeable. Okay well $11 billion is more than just noticeable, but does it justify seceding from the State of New York.

From The NY Sun:

Emboldened by Mayor Bloomberg's testimony in Albany this week that the city's taxpayers pay the state $11 billion a year more than they get back, a City Council member is offering legislation that would begin the process of having New York City secede from New York State.

Peter Vallone Jr., a Democrat who represents Queens, is pushing the idea, and the Council plans to hold a hearing on the possibility of making New York City the 51st state.

"I think secession's time has definitely come again," Mr. Vallone, who spearheaded a similar push in 2003, told The New York Sun yesterday. "If not secession, somebody please tell me what other options we have if the state is going to continue to take billions from us and give us back pennies. Should we raise taxes some more? Should we cut services some more? Or should we consider seriously going out on our own?

Going out on our own is a ridiculous idea Mr. Vallone. This is more absurd than when the San Fernando Valley wanted to secede from Los Angeles. Sure, we are the powerhouse of the state and yes, I can admit to being a city dweller to the extent that I believe anything above Manhattan is upstate (technically it is you know). Despite those notions, it doesn't give us the right to separate into another state in the union. Mr. Vallone might want to check his history as well, especially given the fact that if it wasn't for upstate, NYC wouldn't be the giant it is in the first place.

Speak Your Mind, Get Thrown Out The Door

What happens when you demand that Fox News talks about real issues than obsess on the tragic death of Heath Ledger? You get canned. And it doesn't matter if you were a former Marine either, all that counts is that you toe the line.

Romney And McCain Still Duking It Out

There's nothing like a good, bruising, down and dirty all-out fight....especially when it is between two candidates from the other party. John McCain and Mitt Romney are doing such a terrific job of beating each other up, Democrats rejoice at all the hard work being done by the GOP's expense. Now Obama and Hillary don't get along much either, but when you look at both sides, it is easy to tell which fight is more vicious than the other.

From The Huffington Post:

Romney said he found it "offensive" that his support for the war in Iraq has been questioned by the McCain campaign. McCain's criticism of Romney's position on the war; alleging that the former Massachusetts Governor supported a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal "sort of falls into the dirty tricks that Ronald Reagan would have found reprehensible," Romney said. McCain's tactics, he said, were "Washington- style old politics; lay a charge out there, put it out there... there isn't a single media source that said that it wasn't reprehensible. It's simply wrong and the Senator knows it." Romney insisted that he would steadfastly support current policy. "Let me make it absolutely clear tonight: I will not pull our troops out until we have success in Iraq," Romney said.

McCain heatedly fired back, saying that Romney "could spend it all" on negative ads but nothing would change the fact that Romney had not vigorously enough supported the war and this past year's surge of troops. McCain lauded himself for supporting the troop surge when it was highly unpopular and when Romney said, as a governor, he would not "weigh in" on some national issues like the war.

"How is that you're the expert on my position when my position is very clear?" a bristling Romney said, interrupting McCain. The Arizona Senator then cut off Romney in mid-sentence saying: "I'm the expert. I know the situation in Iraq and I am proud to have supported the surge."

Oooooh, "I'm the expert." Now that sounds Presidential, dare I say, Bush-like? Supporting the surge....I guess that makes him George's man and Romney must be a terrorist-loving librul.

How sad is this type of debate discourse worthless banter.

Pennywise And Tons Foolish

Have you heard that George Bush and the White House want to charge anyone (including lawmakers) $200 a piece to read a hard copy of his proposed budget? The Administration claims that they want to save money on printing...and laughably to save trees. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC) framed it perfectly, “It’s pennywise and pound-foolish....” Well Bob you are on the right track, but even a Ben Franklin quote doesn't sum up the ridiculousness of this move.

From RawStory:

The Office of Management Budget will post the president's budget online at and forego distributing 3,000 hard copies to lawmakers and federal agencies. The administration says its decision was meant to cut unnecessary spending and reduce wasted paper.

"This is a good business decision. ... It puts the focus on going green. It makes logical sense," Karen Evans, who is in charge of government technology issues at the OMB, told the Washington Post.

The environmental impact of charging for printed budgets remains to be seen, but Evans estimated it will save OMB $1 million over the next five years. The budget is generally about 2,200 pages long, so if every copy that normally was handed out for free was not printed, about 6.6 million sheets of paper would be saved. According to rough statistics compiled by ConservaTree that would save about 800 trees. Nearly 4 billion trees are harvested for paper around the globe every year.

Hmm, 800 versus 4,000,000,000. Bush's policies advocate for keeping healthy clear cutting forests but now he wants to save a few and even $200,000 a year in printing costs. You could save $ 2 million in a matter of moments if you just stopped funding the war. Imagine how many hundreds of millions of dollars we'd save over five years.

At least this brings about one moment of bipartisanship, both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill thinks that this idea is a waste of time. Pound foolish indeed.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No, Thank You Senator

Thank you for running and helping to swing the debate in such a positive direction.

The Fox Guarding The Virtual Henhouse

No this isn't about Fox News, we're talking about policing the Internet. You know, who gets to get on, what you get to see, who gets to put content on, etcetera etcetera. That world wide web of the 1990s is just too open in our post- 9/11 society, right? We wouldn't want it to be democratic in nature, that would be enabling the terrorists or some crap like that. Well the story of retroactive immunity, George Bush and telecommunications industry just got a little more interesting.

From Scholars and Rogues:

Following up on my post from a little while back discussing Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell’s desire to police the Internet, the Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima confirmed last weekend that the Decider had signed a classified directive authorizing the NSA to more expansively monitor intrusions on federal networks for signs of cyberattacks:

Until now, the government’s efforts to protect itself from cyber-attacks — which run the gamut from hackers to organized crime to foreign governments trying to steal sensitive data — have been piecemeal. Under the new initiative, a task force headed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) will coordinate efforts to identify the source of cyber-attacks against government computer systems. As part of that effort, the Department of Homeland Security will work to protect the systems and the Pentagon will devise strategies for counterattacks against the intruders.

As Brian has said recently, the U.S. is absolutely not ready to handle cyberwar on almost any front. I’m all in favor of redirecting tax money towards protecting and strengthening our Internet infrastructure against any one of the millions of crippling threats it can face, rather than expensive, crappy weapons systems that have little measurable effect except fattening defense contractors’ coffers.

But in an expansive profile of Mike McConnell, the New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright touches on the myriad obstacles our intelligence community faces towards handling a real threat, and why they get it wrong so often.

Getting it wrong seems to be standard operating procedure in the Bush Administration. So why would Mike McConnell want to change anything? And if democracy/the American people/ Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold, etc get their way, then it'll be hard to expand corporate America's power into doing the government's business.....not that they don't do enough already.

Vying For Edwards' Support

Within an hour of the news that Edwards was dropping out of the race, I had already begun receiving emails from my Obama friends requesting that I vote his way in six days' time when New York does its thing. To them I say "I know I won't vote for Hillary." The thing is I was really set on voting for my candidate because he stood up for the progressive values I hold dear. I know that Hillary represents the status quo and Obama says he's for change...but will Obama really carry out what John Edwards represents? Only one thing is for sure in all of this, both candidates left over will swoon the former Senator for his nod.

From The Huffington Post:

Obama's statement: Barack Obama offered this statement on John Edwards' withdrawal from the presidential race:

"John Edwards has spent a lifetime fighting to give voice to the voiceless and hope to the struggling, even when it wasn't popular to do or covered in the news. At a time when our politics is too focused on who's up and who's down, he made a nation focus again on who matters - the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, the families who live in that other America that is not seen or heard or talked about by our leaders in Washington. John and Elizabeth Edwards have always believed deeply that we can change this - that two Americans can become one, and that our country can rally around this common purpose. So while his campaign may end today, the cause of their lives endures for all of us who still believe that we can achieve that dream of one America."

Clinton's Statement: Hillary Clinton reacted during an interview with a local Alabama news station:

Well Senator Edwards is a friend of mine, he was a colleague in the senate and I have the highest regard for him, and I'm really admiring of what he has done to make sure that poverty was on the agenda here in America. He encouraged all of us in his passion and advocacy and I hope he will continue that work because it is really important that we stay focused on what we're going to do to help people.

We'll just let those two position themselves for his endorsement, if that comes. All I know today is that a great man with incredible ideas bowed out of the race to become the next President.

Who Helped Huckabee Rise?

Was it Stephen Colbert or Conan O'Brien? Jon Stewart comes in to settle the score.

Of course, only Mike Huckabee will eventually bring Huckabee down.

Maureen Dowd Can Chivalry My A**

The New York Times is quite the diverse paper. Now that they sound more idiotic with William "The Bloody" Kristol on the editorial board it has gotten even worse. Sure, Krugman helps to balance things but Maureen Dowd can definitely serve up a whopping, steaming pile of sexist bullshit from time to time. She certainly came through today.

From The NY Times:

Even newly armored by the spirit of Camelot, Barack Obama is still distressed by the sight of a certain damsel.

It’s already famous as The Snub, the moment before the State of the Union when Obama turned away to talk to Claire McCaskill instead of trying to join Teddy Kennedy in shaking hands with Hillary.

Nobody cared about W., whose presidency had crumpled into a belated concern about earmarks.

The only union that fascinated was Obama and Hillary, once more creeping around each other.

It would have been the natural thing for the Illinois senator, only hours after his emotional embrace by the Kennedys and an arena full of deliriously shrieking students, to follow the lead of Uncle Teddy and greet the rebuffed Hillary.

She goes on and on, using words and phrases like "damsel," "Scarlett O’Hara," and "Queen Hillary."

What kind of f**king narrative is that? Couldn't she have thought of something better to write, like, gee I don't know, talking about issues and policy positions instead of this type of crap. Nobody wants to hear of Hillary as a damsel, if they are for or against her candidacy, that is not what people want to hear when talking about our next President. Reading Disney stories to little children is one thing, but Maureen is obviously caught in a fairy tale land. Her ramblings definitely confirm it.

And Then There Were Two

This morning the news was leaked that John Edwards will be dropping out of the race, marked by a speech in New Orleans this afternoon. Although it pains me to write the name "John Edwards" next to the phrase "dropping out of the race" it was evident that this scenario would come to bear a long time ago. See, when you run a campaign to fight the fundamental ills of our society it can only be an uphill battle. John set out to bring light to the dire poverty that runs rampant in our country. Of course we don't see it very often, the media and advertisers do a good job of showing you what you should become instead of what actually happens to millions of Americans.

When he announced his candidacy in the Ninth ward over a year ago he showed us that our nation was not working and something had to be done. His participation in the debates and the race as whole moved the two other candidates to speak about progressive issues. John led the way in the debate about health care, fighting poverty and against the corporate greed of Wall Street. Instead of attracting a mega following like Obama, the media dogged him about a haircut, a fucking haircut!

As Barack and Hillary would go after each other in a tit for tat fashion, Edwards tried to calm the two and bring the debate back to the substance and policy ideas that the audience wanted to hear. In fact, when most people watched the three way debate, they favored Edwards...but then the media narrative before and after these events rubbed him out of the picture. The AP's article linked above called his campaign scrappy, but this man is anything but scrappy. He has been an inspiration to us all. His family is an inspiration and his message is as well. Who knows where he goes from here, but his presence will be missed on the campaign trail.

You Need Ideas First, Then Try A Strategy

Oh poor Rudy, he had to drop out last night and then volunteered to endorse McCain. Gotta go with the candidate with the best shot if you want that 9/11 money rolling into to Giuliani Partners once Georgie leaves the White House. At least he thinks ahead for his own bank account. The problem is that neither he nor the current GOP candidates give a shit about the national bank account or anyone that doesn't relate to them (those that aren't millionaires). So if you want a 50 state strategy, you might want to come up with ideas that appeal to Americans in all 50 states.

So Much For Our Troops

It always amuses me that Republican die-hards like to scream at the left that we hate the troops. I have a feeling that they like to stay at home all day and play with little toy soldiers, trapped in a bubble shielded from the reality that war is hell. They like kicking ass, but tune out the true human costs. Over 4,000 soldiers and contractors are dead, but to them that means nothing more than the hundreds of billions that we are spending (more like borrowing for) on the war itself. On the upside for these sick bastards, they have a friend in President Bush and his new lackey General Petraeus.

From The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is sending strong signals that U.S. troop reductions in Iraq will slow or stop altogether this summer, a move that would jeopardize hopes of relieving strain on the Army and Marine Corps and revive debate over an open-ended U.S. commitment in Iraq. [...]

Petraeus seems at this point to be inclined to declare a pause in troop reductions after July, although no decisions have been made and there are competing pressures from within the Pentagon. The Army in particular wants additional reductions to enable it to shorten Iraq tours from 15 months to 12 months. The longer tours are among pressures that Army leaders fear could break the force.

Petraeus speaks regularly with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other administration officials to keep them informed of his thinking, although he has not yet made a recommendation to Bush. A senior administration official said Petraeus has made clear he is "concerned about a rush to 10" _ a reference to the 10-brigade force level that some administration officials see as an attractive target to hit by the time Bush leaves the White House a year from now.

Well he better keep talking before trying to act on slowing the troop reductions. Our soldiers want to come home and their families want to see their Moms, Dads, and children as soon as possible. Military families realize that their loved ones are fighting a pointless war, so should the President.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

There Are Republicans In Brooklyn?!?

Sorry to offend the 123,932 registered Republicans that live in Kings County (yes I looked it up on a pdf file) but it is still amusing to hear that some of them will be meeting tonight to figure out who to endorse when Rudy drops out tomorrow. What will these diehard GoOPers talk about? Do they go with Mittens or McCain, or maybe just endorse a McCain/Mittens ticket?

From The Daily News:

The polls aren't even closed yet in Florida, but Brooklyn Republican Chairman Craig Eaton is wasting no time in making plans for the future.

Eaton, who along with most of the state's GOP leaders, enthusiastically endorsed Rudy Giuliani last spring, has called a meeting of his county leaders for tonight at 9 p.m. to discuss a "contingency plan" in the event that the former mayor, as has been widely speculated, drops out of the race in the coming days.

"I want to be ready," Eaton said, unapologetically. "As a Republican leader, I have an obligation that our committee is ready to support the candidate won is going to run and win."

Eaton said he has no intention of jumping the gun and dumping Giuliani before he officially pulls the trigger himself. But noted that it could take weeks to get his leaders together in time to endorse a replacement candidate (most likely John McCain, he said), and he wants to make sure "every hour, every minute, every day I have" goes toward working on behalf of the likely GOP nominee.

Most of Eatons' leaders are gathering tonight at Laiyuen, an upscale Chinese restaurant in Brooklyn, to watch the Florida returns come in, so it made sense to him to hold a meeting after the Sunshine State victor is declared.

Mmmm, Chinese food. I'll take some spicy beef and shrimp lo mein with that Giuliani loss, thanks.

Well the wolf in Craig Eaton is certainly not wasting anytime with that carcass of a campaign. If he took some consideration a few months back before supporting him then this wouldn't be a problem. Then again, there really is no good pick to make in the GOP field. They're screwed any way they go. It should be interesting to see how many of the 123,932 actually come out to vote at all next Tuesday.

Durbin Weighs The Good And Bad Of The S.O.T.U.

Of course you know which side of the scale tips before you click the play button:

Perino Tries To Clean Up Bush's SotU Mess

Even though she is clearly incapable of what her job entails, I feel bad for Dana Perino sometimes. Sometimes. Bush puts out a lot of garbage and her job is to sweep it into neat little piles after he speaks for the press. On any average day it is hard enough to be simultaneously clueless and White House Press Secretary, but on the day of the State of the Union (but after the speech in print form has been handed out) is just overwhelming. I'll pick out some items below, but definitely read through the transcript if you have time.

From The White House:

On Earmarks:

Q So on the earmarks, he said at the end of last year that he was directing OMB to look and see what they could do to reduce the earmarks that Congress had passed last year. You suggested the thing that he's doing tonight, or announcing tonight in the State of the Union, addresses future earmarks. What happened to the plan to tackle earmarks last year?

MS. PERINO: The President decided that he needed to give the Congress a very clear indication of what he was going to do. Last year he called on Congress to voluntarily cut the number of earmarks in half; they did not do that. The President will not go retrospectively back to the earmarks that were in the omnibus, but he will take this action for 2009 appropriations.

Remember, an executive order remains in place unless a future President decides to rescind it or change it. So we think this is a good, solid action, and it's a good way to do business, in terms of signaling exactly to Congress what you plan to do and then taking further action if they -- since they didn't voluntarily reduce the number of earmarks.

Q But what happens -- what was the plan, then, to deal with all the earmarks from last year?

MS. PERINO: As I said, I --

Q Are they still up in the air or --

Q Or are you just going to let them go?

MS. PERINO: We're not going to -- there's no further action on them.

Q Oh, so he's dropping that, what he said.

Q In other words, fiscal '08 appropriations (inaudible) and the application applies for the first time to fiscal '09 appropriations?

MS. PERINO: Peter.

Oh Peter, you know better than ask silly questions that make the President look like a complete hypocrite that he is. I won't bother with this utter silliness.

On the President's legacy:

Q You said it's the final State of the Union. Is it, in a way, an attempt to shape the legacy? And in what way, if it is?

MS. PERINO: No, I think it's -- I can understand why many people, especially those that cover the President in the press could see that the President would approach this as his legacy speech, but no, not at all; this is a very forward-looking speech. The President doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about that. Look, the President thinks his legacy will shake itself out when people look at the record, and history will tell.

Ha, history is already deciding on that.

On the state of the union now versus seven years ago:

Q Is the country better off --

MS. PERINO: The what?

Q Is the country better off now than seven years ago?

MS. PERINO: Certainly seven years ago -- well, seven years ago, right before September 11th, I think that people would say that the country certainly felt better off. There's been -- once we were confronted with terrorists who would fly jumbo jets into buildings and kill thousands of our citizens in an instant, it created a sense of fear and nervousness about our security. And that's why the President decided to take on the terrorists head on and go on the offense.

And we have done that around the world. We have been successful so far in preventing another attack on our country. But it's not for their lack of trying. And that's another reason why the President -- tonight you'll hear him call on Congress to pass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reauthorization. They have until Friday to do that, and the President sees no reason why they shouldn't be able to get that done.

So um, that would be no I'm assuming? Like I said before, I really do feel sorry for her, sometimes.

"You're A Liberal!" / "Nuh Uh, You Are....You Big Meanie"

From Yahoo News:

One day before the crucial Florida primary, Romney lambasted the Arizona senator for a host of "liberal answers" to the country's problems. Among them: McCain's legislation curbing money in politics, his more forgiving view of illegal immigrants and his backing of an energy bill that Romney said would raise consumer costs.

"And I just don't think those liberal answers are what America is looking for, not for the Republican Party or for any party, for that matter," Romney said in Fort Myers, Fla.

McCain accused Romney of "wholesale deception of voters" and of flip-flopping on the issues.

"On every one of the issues he has attacked us on, Mitt Romney was for it before he was against it," McCain said.

He added, "The truth is, Mitt Romney was a liberal governor of Massachusetts who raised taxes, imposed with Ted Kennedy a big government mandate health care plan that is now a quarter of a billion dollars in the red, and managed his state's economy incompetently, leaving Massachusetts with less job growth than 46 other states."

Now boys, boys, settle down. Neither of you are liberal, not even close. There is no need for name calling like that. We already know that you, John, want us to be in Iraq for 100 years and to prepare us for more wars on top of that. You ditched that Straight-Talk Express back in 2000 and gave George Bush a big hug and promised to be his bestest friend, even though he stabbed you in the back. I guess you let bygones be bygones, right? So don't worry, you have warmongered enough to ensure (no not your favorite drink) that you are certainly no liberal.

Now Mittens, you are certainly no liberal either. With all of that business experience, you threw out any semblance of morality or having the ability to retain principles long ago. Sure, you were Governor of a liberal state but that was just a fluke to have a title like your Daddy. You'll say one thing and then another, on any topic. Of course that doesn't mean you believe in the position you take today and the opposite one tomorrow, it just means you'll do anything to win. That has nothing to do with liberalness, that resembles something closer to greed and lust (for power that is). So don't worry about being a liberal from Massachusetts, they have plenty of them already in the Bay State.

Chris Shays Hearts George Bush

I knew he loved the man in an innocent political way, but obviously the relationship goes deeper than I thought.

The Bells Toll For Rudy Today

Just as we are beginning to recover from the State of the Union, today Florida's GOP base will go to the polls to choose the nominee for the Republican ticket. Polls are showing a close race between John McCain and Mitt Romney, but Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani are trailing together in a distant third. Things aren't looking too good for Huckabee or Rudy, but it has to hurt the most for the one-time national front runner. Fortunately for all of us, it seems Rudy is starting to come to his senses, and that all of the dismal performances in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina et al. have pierced through his thin-skinned but over-inflated ego.

From The LA Times:

Rudy Giuliani appears to be pondering an end to his long pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination.

In a meeting in the back of his chartered plane en route to St. Petersburg, Fla., a short while ago, the onetime, longtime GOP front-runner told a small group of reporters, including The Times' Louise Roug: "The winner of Florida will win the nomination."

He then went on to predict he would win. And his spokeswoman, Maria Comella, said later he was speaking with confidence.

Well of course he had to say that he's going to win, or else that would just be too "Fred Thompson-esque." Nevertheless if he stays true to his statement, his predicted third or fourth place finish today should finish his candidacy for good. Of course it was doomed from the start. New Yorkers more than anyone knew Rudy the best, and it was only a matter of time until the rest of the country got to know him like we do.

The Mis-Statements Of The Union

The State of the Union is the one time of year that the President gets to go up on stage in the House of Representatives and address both Houses of Congress, his Cabinet and the Justices of the Supreme Court. Everyone gets to come except for one member of the Cabinet just in case something were to happen, but it doesn't unless you believe in the imagination of Tom Clancy. It is known as the political Academy Awards and everyone in the Washingtonian world pays attention.

I of course tried to as well, but for some reason my Internet went down from the hours of 9:10pm and about 8:30 this morning, so I didn't get to see it live. I was able to read highlights from my Treo and my Mom graciously let me listen to Kathleen Sebelius over the phone as she gave the Democratic response. It isn't too big a deal that I missed it, since we all kind of knew what he would say anyways.

Thankfully it was the last time we will have to hear his lies at the State of the Union. And boy oh boy were there quite a few whoppers. The hard workers at ThinkProgress catalogued each lie and followed it up with the facts from reality, as opposed to the delusions in George Bush's head. He lied about everything from progress (or lack of it) in Iraq, to disaster relief in New Orleans, climate change agreements and the false promise of Health Savings Accounts. The speech highlights how remarkable a disaster his Presidency has been....thankfully it is less than a year from being over.

"Totally Out Of Touch"

Senator Biden hits the nail on the head after seeing the disgrace that was George Bush's last State of the Union:

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Win For democracy In The Senate Today

The war is far from over, but the United States scored a huge victory today when an uphill battle to extend the debate on FISA got more than enough votes. The Republicans fight for cloture was defeated 48-45 (should have been 49-46 but Sen Landrieu D-LA changed her vote!). Now Feingold and Dodd will be able to introduce their amendment to strip retroactive immunity from the bill.

Seeing Harry Reid fight for this now as opposed to his obstruction in December is a testament to people power. He probably had no idea that people outside the beltway actually cared about retroactive immunity, so when the public outcry began, he had to reconsider. So even though he made it harder for us (with the craziness in December of not just introducing the bill without the immunity) a month ago, he was firmly on our side today. And even Senators that didn't vote our way last week changed their minds today (like Sen. Bayh and McCaskill) and decided to vote like Democrats.

Congratulations to them for seeing the light....and to all of you that fought to have your voices heard and make Bush (by default) and the telecoms stand in court and be held accountable for their criminal actions that have subverted our Constitution.

Whats The Rush Ratner?

Aww Brucey baby, why ya pouting so much? There's no need to get mad or shall I say, desperate to have your four billion dollar project approved so quickly. All the residents of Brooklyn (you know that place you want to destroy and remodel for your own selfish reasons?) is a fair shake in court and to make sure that those things we like to call "laws" are followed. Well and to make sure that your multi-skyscrapered project gets an extreme makeover in order to keep Brooklyn looking like the borough it has always been.

From The Gothamist:

Ratner’s lawyers are warning the court that the lengthy appeal process is putting the project in jeopardy because “the credit markets are in turmoil at this time . . . There is a serious question as to whether, given the current state of the debt market, the underwriters will be able to proceed with the financing for the arena while the appeal is pending.” If the appeal is not quickly resolved, developers “are likely to encounter significant difficulties and cost increases in concluding the bond financing that is essential to the arena's completion,” lawyers argue.

The environmental review suit is one of two lawsuits currently stalling the project; Develop Don’t Destroy has a second suit in federal court challenging the state’s use of eminent domain to condemn privately owned properties to make way for the 22-acre development. A lawyer for the MTA, arguing for project, insisted in court on Friday that the legal battle was having “a chilling affect” and was simply a stalling tactic. A spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy told the Brooklyn Paper, “Our lawsuit was not ‘designed’ for anything. It was filed in order to make sure that a state agency follows state laws.”

Gasp! State agencies are supposed to follow state laws? Who woulda thunk it? By the way, why is the MTA arguing for Ratner? Shouldn't they be looking at what all that concrete and population influx will do to tax our mass transit system before allowing taxpayer/straphangers money to represent Ratner in court?

Good Thing It Won't Be A Debate Tonight

Bush might have some serious troubles if it were:

Heroes In The Audience Tonight, To Bush, They're Zeroes

For the third time, Marvin Bethea will be in the audience for George Bush's State of the Union address. Thankfully to him, it will be George's last. Bethea was a paramedic based in Queens when he rushed Ground Zero to help people in one of our nation's worst disasters. Now he is taking several medications a day and is sick and tired of how the President neglects him and all the 9/11 responders who have become ill after breathing the toxic air of Lower Manhattan following the collapse of the Twin Towers.

From The Daily News:

"I'm fed up with how we're treated," said Bethea, saying he now takes 12 medications daily and still has trouble getting adequate health care. "They went from calling us heroes to treating us like zeros."

Ground Zero volunteer John Feal was even more blunt in skewering the White House.

"You got $3 billion a month to kill people," Feal said. "You got $3 billion a year for health care."

On the eve of Bush's speech, 9/11 responders, union leaders and elected officials gathered at Ground Zero Sunday to blast the White House for recently yanking a contract for ailing 9/11-responder care.

"They just don't want to spend the money," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), whose district includes Ground Zero. "They'd rather see these people die."

The apathy of the White House is sad, but unfortunately true. Bush loved to use the true heroes of 9/11 for his own quest for war but now that they need his help he refuses to give it. He rejected spending extensions for clinics that care for the rescue workers. Tonight, when he talks about what he wants Congress to pass, perhaps he could change his mind about people like Marvin Bethea and John Feal, but we already know he won't.

Turning Bill Around

Hillary's campaign couldn't help but notice the negative press that her husband is attracting, and how she completely bombed in South Carolina this past weekend. It was known for a while that she'd lose the Palmetto state, but never by the greater than two to one margin that we saw on Saturday. Now the nasty Bill (or at least that is how he is being portrayed) needs to go away and the nice (or pre-Iowa caucus) Bill is about to return.

From The NY Times:

After a week of all-out campaigning by Mr. Clinton in South Carolina, where Mrs. Clinton came in a distant second to Mr. Obama, there is also fresh concern among some advisers that Mr. Clinton’s visibility has dented her argument that she has the best experience for the job.

These advisers expressed concern that the specter of a co-candidacy and co-presidency could bring back elements of the Clinton history that many Democrats would just as soon leave behind.

Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York, a leading supporter of Mrs. Clinton, said on Sunday that Mr. Clinton was going to pull back. “He’s got to,” Mr. Rangel said. “The focus has got to get back on Hillary. For all that he cares about his wife, this has to be her election to win, and it’s become too much about his role.”

The problem for the Clintons' campaign (was that a grammatical mistake? oops) is that the damage may already be done. Ted Kennedy was reported to have endorsed Obama specifically because of Bill's remark about Jesse Jackson. Now he'll actively campaign for Barack. The endorsements have racked up in the last few days for Obama, from authors like Toni Morrison and another Kennedy named Caroline. Of course no one knows how this will play out a week from tomorrow when California, New York and many other states conduct their primaries, but this can't help the Clinton campaign at all.

He Lied To Us Last Year

He's lied to us in every other State of the Union.....

So why should we believe him this time?

Thank You Senators Clinton And Obama, For Doing The Right Thing

I don't think we ask much as American citizens these days. We want to end costly and misguided wars, have health care available for our citizens, offer opportunity to those that work hard and basically a government that is responsive to us, instead of corporations. Oh yeah, and to preserve that Constitution written by our founding fathers. Republicans in the Senate (and George Bush) do not care about that document, especially when it gets in the way of illegally spying on American citizens. George Bush wants retroactive immunity for the telecommunications industry' complicity in his crimes against the people so that there are no court cases to expose the evidence that could, in theory, convict his ass.

The vote that will decide whether or not Bush gets away with this will happen at 4:30 this afternoon here on the East Coast. Several Democratic Senators so far seem to be in the hands of the telecommunications industry, caring more about having money to get re-elected than about the ideals and principles for which our nation was founded on. Despite that bad news, all we need is 41 Senators to vote against cloture so we can add the amendment to allow the corporations to be held accountable. Well now that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have decided to show up on the Senate floor for the vote (to vote against cloture of course) we only need three more Senators to come around to support us.

Now do as McJoan at DailyKos says:

So keep pushing, clear up until 4:30 tomorrow afternoon, EST.

The Senators we need to convince of this are those who voted with the Republicans to table the Leahy substitute amendment, the version of the bill that contained all of those protections, and didn't allow telco amnesty. One of them, Rockefeller, has already said he'll vote no on cloture. Call the rest of the Senators and tell them to stand with their majority on Monday's cloture vote and vote no.

  • Bayh (202) 224-5623
  • Carper (202) 224-2441
  • Inouye (202) 224-3934
  • Johnson (202) 224-5842
  • Landrieu (202)224-5824
  • McCaskill (202) 224-6154
  • Mikulski (202) 224-4654
  • Nelson (FL) (202) 224-5274
  • Nelson (NE) (202) 224-6551
  • Pryor (202) 224-2353
  • Salazar (202) 224-5852

In addition, call or e-mail your own Senators. Both CREDO and EFF have great tools to make it easy.

McCain's Lust For War

The so-called front runner of the Republican party just so happens to be the man many of us thought would be long gone by now. His ratings stunk in the summer, but now he is flying high after winning New Hampshire and South Carolina. Many saw his drop last year attributed to clinging to the current unpopular President and the fact that he just isn't conservative enough for some of the radicals on the right. Well now he is trying to be as crazy as he can be, warning the nation of more war in Iraq....and more war to come.

From The Huffington Post:

Sen. John McCain told a crowd of supporters on Sunday, "It's a tough war we're in. It's not going to be over right away. There's going to be other wars." Offering more of his increasingly bleak "straight talk," he repeated the claim: "I'm sorry to tell you, there's going to be other wars. We will never surrender but there will be other wars."

McCain did not elaborate who the United States would be fighting. But he did warn the crowd to be ready for the ramifications of current and future battles.

"And right now - we're gonna have a lot of PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder] to treat, my friends," he said. "We're gonna have a lot of combat wounds that have to do with these terrible explosive IEDs that inflict such severe wounds. And my friends, it's gonna be tough, we're gonna have a lot to do."

The upside in all this is at least he acknowledges PTSD. It is a shame that he wants to encourage so many new cases of it. I guess when you have other candidates defending their lust for war in debates, the front runner needs to step up and show just who wants to kill the most (and disdain for our military, standing around the world, national debt, etc, etc).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Obama's Victory Speech: More Than Meets The Eye

It is a great speech no doubt, and far surpasses Hillary's non-concession/stump speech that followed it up in Tennessee. Notice how Obama makes Edwards' populist message his own and a funny thing about his signage. It doesn't mention his name, he is taking over the word "change" and does it very well. Last night Hillary's signs only had the guessed it, Hillary on it. Obama is on a roll, but this of course is still far from over.

The Militancy Of The Police And Our Children

New York City is getting safer, much, much safer. Murders were at their lowest last year since we've been recording them in the 1960s. Crime in general is much better and the city is more hospitable and has lost the fear-inspiring quality that so enveloped it in the 1970s and 1980s. Yet, there is a cost to this safety, and I know there must be a better way. The fear is still there, but it is being directed at us from the police, and you know something is wrong when the police think it is a good thing to handcuff five and ten year-old children.

From The Gothamist:

Imecca Burton, her mother, and civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel held a press conference in front of Police Headquarters yesterday to decry the handcuffing of 10-year-old Imecca, who was handcuffed by police in front of PS 25 where she attends elementary school. Police officers witnessed a fight on her school bus and in the ensuing events Imecca was handcuffed. Witnesses said that Imecca was swearing, kicking, and screaming, which is why the cops cuffed her. They were removed once she composed herself. The 10-year-old said she was afraid that she was going to jail and would never get out. "I never thought I'd see my brothers and sisters again," the New York Post reports. The Post labels Imecca Burton as "disabled" when describing her handcuffing and later elaborates that she has attention deficit disorder and dyslexia. Norman Siegel plans to sue the city on her behalf.

The incident happened just two days before the restraining of five-year-old Dennis Rivera, who had his hands cuffed behind a chair after punching his teacher and slapping an assistant principal in the face (the kindergarten kid weighs 68 pounds). School safety agents eventually had to restrain him until EMS arrived and took Rivera to Elmhurst Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. His mother plans on suing the school because her son was traumatized by the incident.

State Senator Eric Adams representing Brooklyn offered that perhaps police should be issued Velcro handcuffs for the physical restraint of children.

Velcro may be better than cold steel, but you are still psychologically damaging these children. Whatever happened to the days (like in the 70s and 80s) when kids were treated like.....well, kids. Children are the most innocent members of our society and when an adult feels the need to physically detain them, the problem is with the society created by the adults, not the other way around. It is time to start nurturing our youth, not wasting money on beefing up police and militarizing our schools with those ridiculous narcs and "School Safety" patrols.