Saturday, February 16, 2008

Barack The Casaba!

Apparently it wasn't that started singing for Obama:

Friday, February 15, 2008

DN's Nichols Confuses The President For Congress Over 9/11 First Responder Funding

Adam Nichols of the NY Daily News wrote a story about 9/11 first responders' quest to protest for adequate funding for their illnesses. For the most part the account consisted of interviews with those that were injured due to their heroic actions after the WTC fell. He included statements from family members of those that were killed. That wasn't the problem, it was his confusion over what the White House looks like and Capitol Hill.

Here is the troubling part:

"We want to implore our new President to make 9/11 health care an issue," said John Feal, a Ground Zero volunteer whose foot was crushed by an 8-ton steel beam.

His FealGood Foundation, set up to draw attention to the health problems of Ground Zero workers, organized the trip after Congress cut health care funding by 77%.

Only $25 million has been budgeted for 2009, down from $108 million this year, he said.

Um no, it wasn't Congress that cut the budget by 77 percent, it was the White House. In fact, the New York delegation advocated for fully funding the program at over $200 million dollars. Then the President took the advice and spit in the face of our heroes.

I agree that the protesters need to talk to members of Congress to ensure that the program gets fully funded. Though if there is anyone that needs waving signs and chants in front of their office or home, its President Bush.

Lieberman Joins The Pro-Torture Ranks

Holy Joe has made it official, he's endorsed the practice of waterboarding, where the captors hold down their victim and pour water over them to simulate drowning. This is where the water is forced into your lungs and the burning sensation triggers an adrenaline rush that would make a blindfolded man want to bolt out of the predicament. According to Lieberman, a self-purported torture expert, this isn't as bad as "putting burning coals on someone's body." Yep, he actually said that.

From ThinkProgress:

Yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) “reluctantly acknowledged” that he doesn’t believe waterboarding is torture. According to the Connecticut Post, Lieberman downplayed the severity of the waterboarding because it doesn’t inflict permanent physical damage:

In the worst case scenario — when there is an imminent threat of a nuclear attack on American soil — Lieberman said that the president should be able to certify the use of waterboarding on a detainee suspected of knowing vital details of the plot.

“You want to be able to use emergency tech to try to get the information out of that person,” Lieberman said. […]

“It is not like putting burning coals on people’s bodies. The person is in no real danger. The impact is psychological,” Lieberman said.

So messing with someone's brain isn't as bad physically burning them? Why doesn't he tell that to our troops who come home in the thousands afflicted by PTSD? I'd love to see him defend that statement. Absolutely love it.

GOP: No. You. Can't.

Oh yeah? Well watch what we will accomplish this November.

It's Easy.....And Beneficial Being Green

Do you wish for unimaginable things like swimming in the Hudson River without contracting some sort of disease? It sounds far-fetched but placing parks strategically around the city can help make that possible. Not only will more of those "green streets" make avenues look nicer, they'll be helping the environment in a big way.

From Streetsblog:

One of the more unsung PlaNYC initiatives aims to drastically reduce CSO, in part by managing streets more wisely. Certain traffic calming measures, it turns out, can not only make streets more ped-friendly, but also help make the city's rivers clean enough to swim in. To accomplish this, PlaNYC calls for retooling the Parks Department's Greenstreets program, and we are starting to see the results.

At their best, Greenstreets -- the pint-sized green spaces that Parks began planting in 1996 -- have served as modest traffic-calming measures, displacing asphalt with patches of greenery that send cues to slow down. The new breed goes a few steps further: They combine advanced stormwater capture techniques with more overt traffic-calming devices, like neckdowns and bulb-outs.[...]

Stormwater is captured by a drainage pipe on the north side of the blockbuster (right), where it is channeled under the sidewalk and into the soil of the planting bed. Any excess is stored in a chamber beneath the soil, where the plants can soak it up in times of drought.

"That's less water that our sewer system has to deal with," says Bram Gunther, the head of Forestry and Horticulture at Parks, who has been instrumental in implementing the new Greenstreets. He points out that by storing the water for later use, this Greenstreet won't require Parks to send a water truck out on the street to keep it maintained. "Anytime you get to recycle water, that's a good thing."

That is definitely a good thing, and despite some neighborhoods complaints, we need to build more of them. Treating our rivers like/with crap is wrong. Wrong for the wildlife that lives in the river and the overall ecology of the Hudson. Something so simple as a park can help solve that, and to me, that is a no brainer. See how easy it is to be green?

"Boston" Leader Rejects Huckabee

Every campaign has a song list for their events in order to pump up the crowd. Mike Huckabee's list includes "More than a feeling" by the 70s rock band "Boston." In fact, one short-term member of the band even shows up at his events, but to the original Boston leader Tom Scholz, Huckabee's use of the song is entirely uncool.

From RawStory:

In a letter to the Republican presidential hopeful, Tom Scholz complains that Huckabee is using his 1970s smash hit song "More Than a Feeling" without his permission. A former member of the band, Barry Goudreau, has appeared with Huckabee at campaign events, and they have played the song with Huckabee's band, Capitol Offense.

Scholz, who said Goudreau left the band more than 25 years ago after a three-year stint, objects to the implication that the band and one of its members has endorsed Huckabee's candidacy.

"Boston has never endorsed a political candidate, and will all due respect, would not start by endorsing a candidate who is the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for," wrote Scholz, adding that he is supporting Democratic Sen. Barack Obama. "By using my song, and my band's name Boston, you have taken something of mine and used it to promote ideas to which I am opposed. In other words, I think I've been ripped off, dude!"

Huckabee ripped off Scholz and he's trying to rip us all off with his Christian theocracy bullshit. Although I thoroughly despise McCain, I'm also glad that the Huckster is pretty much out of the race, especially with Romney endorsing the Arizona Senator.

And by the way, why is it always Republican candidates that seem to rip off songs of musicians?

Obama Responds To Hillary's Negative Ad

I think this spot pretty much explains itself:

Aubertine Stands Up To Barclay

Not too long ago Darrel Aubertine ran an ad against Will Barclay in their race for the State Senate in district 48. The ad accused Mr. Barclay and his family of shutting down public access to a river and a local fisherman testified to it in the ad. Now Barclay wants Aubertine to declare the ad untrue for very nefarious reasons. When they met at the Jefferson Community College debate Wednesday night, what do you think our man Darrel did?


Barclay asked Aubertine to apologize for Aubertine's 'A River Runs Thru' It' ad.
Aubertine declined.

Here's what each man said on the subject.


"You're attacking my family, you're attacking me, now it turns ourt this commercial is a complete fabrication. Will you apologize to me?"


"There's nothing in the ad that's not true. So, no, I'm not going to apologize."

Thats right, there is nothing to apologize for. Barclay and his family perfectly play the role of business goons in this part of upstate New York and Will deserves everything coming to him, including a loss in the special election a week from this coming Tuesday. There are plenty of reasons to vote for Aubertine if you live up in SD-48, just listen to Darrel himself to find out why.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hillary's Mark Penn Hearts Exelon

In the last couple debates Hillary has tried unsuccessfully to tie Obama to a nuclear company called Exelon. Now Obama notes that this is not a direct connection and the Baltimore Sun backed him up on what the connection meant to Obama's campaign promise to not go the route of nuclear energy. Now those words Hillary used are coming around to bite her from behind.

From The Huffington Post:

This past week, Burson Marsteller, Penn's powerhouse consulting agency, was paid more than $230,000 by Exelon to help renew a nuclear energy license in New Jersey, the Huffington Post has learned. The payment was for work that took place over several months, and Burson is still employed by the company.

"They did some work for us in New Jersey between June and November," said Craig Nesbit, vice president of communications for Exelon Generation, a subsidiary. "That bill was invoiced on December 12 and it just took that long to pay these things... We still are paying them a little bit but it is ramping down."

It has been public knowledge that Exelon is a client of Burson. But news of the recent payment comes less than two weeks after the Clinton campaign, and Penn himself, took Obama to task for what they implied was preferential treatment for the company.

Some people (i.e. Penn/Clinton) really need to watch what they say when trying to trash their opponent. Since this work occurred in New Jersey, I wonder how the Clinton campaign will try and spin their way into saying that it doesn't matter, since New Jersey didn't caucus and went for Hillary?

Happy Valentine's Day To John And George

Dear John and George,

I hope you guys have a great Valentine's Day. Please, please keep those values you share (endless war, misappropriated tax cuts, etc etc.) between the two of you and leave the country alone, democracy is suffering too much as a result.


Republicans Literally Walkout From Accountability!

In an un-Democratic Party way, the leadership in the House of Representatives stood up and demanded accountability from White House personnel that disregarded Congressional subpoenas. After several long months of House Democrats hemming and hawing, they finally brought the resolution to the floor that held Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten in contempt of Congress. Well one bold act deserves another, and Republicans did just that.

From RawStory:

On a vote of 223-to-32 House Democrats succeeded in passing the contempt charges against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former counsel Harriet Miers, after Republicans walked out in protest.

House Republicans staged a walk-out Thursday afternoon to protest the contempt vote and the failure by the chamber's majority members to bow to President Bush's demands on a controversial spying law.

"We will not stand here and watch this floor be abused for pure political grandstanding at the expense of our national security. ... Let's just get up and leave," Republican Leader John Boehner advised his colleagues as they dramatically left the floor Thursday afternoon.

When faced with the dilemma of participating in holding members their own party accountable, they act like five year olds and walkout. Truly pathetic!

Forget about Boehner and company though, the true test is to see whether the Attorney General will actually follow the rules set forth in the Constitution and have this matter adjudicated. So far I have little hope in Mukasey, but time will tell I guess.

Bloomberg The Environmentalist Opposes Electronics Recycling Fine

If I can recall correctly, Mayor Bloomberg prides himself on being New York's premier environmentalist. The PlaNYC was a hit last year, presented with precision timing on Earth Day. He regularly bashes all the Presidential candidates for not being strident enough on environmental policies while refusing to enter the race and take some heat. Now his opposition to mandatory electronics recycling in the city is raising some eyebrows in the green community.

From The NY Times:

New York City is a step closer to adopting one of the toughest electronics recycling laws in the nation, despite strong objections from manufacturers and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

The City Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would impose a $100 fine on anyone who throws an old computer, printer or other electronic gadget into the trash. Recycling the electronic waste will become mandatory, and manufacturers will be required to take back their own products as well as those made by companies that have gone out of business.

The Council estimated that New Yorkers purchase more than 90,000 tons of electronic products every year. The gadgets contain hazards like lead and mercury, and most end up in the trash.

Bloomie wants to keep the recycling problem voluntary but here in New York, if you want something done it usually has to be done with a push. The City Council is heavily in favor of it and can easily override a veto if the Mayor decides to go that route.

The legislation is a fair deal, even if the Mayor and manufacturers think its unconstitutional. We need to get serious about preserving the environment and this is a great step in doing so. Read the rest of the article at the above link and decide for yourself.

Feel The Negativity

Keep the focus on you in your ads Hillary. Is this what your supporters are donating their hard-earned money to?

We'll see how Wisconsin voters respond to that, especially after hearing this from Barack:

As a voter that hasn't made up their mind yet watched all eighteen debates, which ad appeals to you more?

They Want Us Out....Now!

Remember how George Bush and his Administration kept repeating (and still do) that they will withdraw forces if the Iraqis want us to? That is their answer to questions like "Are we going to have permanent bases in Iraq?" and "Why do conservatives have a 'White Man's Burden' complex in regards to Iraq?" Okay, that last question was mine, but journalists who have access to the President might want to try that one on for size. Or maybe if the Iraqis want us to leave, is this whole thing about a few people profiting off the war and the rest of us are screwed by it both in financial costs and the deaths of thousands of our troops and hundreds of thousands of civilians?

They really need to stop using the "They want us there so we'll stay" meme, because it just doesn't fly with Iraqis:

Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, whose post gives him a senior security role in the Iraqi government, said he would like to see U.S. forces draw down steadily to below 100,000 by the end of 2008.[...]

Rubaie told a small group of journalists at Iraq's embassy in London that he understood the arguments for a pause "to consolidate the gains" made over past months.

"I understand. But I believe phasing out and making it a continuous but slow withdrawal is better than pausing, as it gives continuity to the process," he said.

Now al-Rubaie is in the government, and by far a much more conservative voice than others in Iraq, like the militias and the majority of Iraqis. He wants a presence in Iraq, but for his own sake (to remain legitimate to the people) a reduction is needed.

Unless a reduction in forces begins, the new government will continue to face a legitimacy problem for the Iraqis that are still left in the country. Many want to return, but things are a little crazy over there at the moment, in case you don't pay attention to the chaos that is Baghdad, Tikrit, Mosul, Basra, etc etc.

The best thing is for us to pull out and let them sort the mess out, because really, haven't we done enough damage to that country already? Does anyone truly believe that we can fix this mess, while everyone hates us there more and more each and every day?

Another Reason Why Obama Is Stronger Than Hillary

Although Hillary inadvertently donated $500 to Obama through her Portsmouth landlord, that does not compare to how money in Washington is viewed across this nation. President Bush started mentioning the devastating impact of earmarks in government (surprisingly doing so only after the Democratic party took control of Congress) and how corrupt the system is. Well when you look at our candidates, there is a huge difference. One embraces earmarks and the other generally shies away from them.

From The Washington Post:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton helped secure more than $340 million worth of home-state projects in last year's spending bills, placing her among the top 10 Senate recipients of what are commonly known as earmarks, according to a new study by a nonpartisan budget watchdog group.

Working with her New York colleagues in nearly every case, Clinton supported almost four times as much spending on earmarked projects as her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), whose $91 million total placed him in the bottom quarter of senators who seek earmarks, the study showed.

As a campaign issue, earmarks highlight significant differences in the spending philosophies of the top three candidates. Clinton has repeatedly supported earmarks as a way to bring home money for projects, while Obama adheres to a policy of using them only to support public entities.

I think earmarks are good in small doses. They've been used sparsely for many years, until a rapid explosion in usage when (another surprise) the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994. McCain is entitled to his no-earmark policy, but with our gridlocked government, nothing would be funded without them. The problem is the frivolous earmarks that are doled out too much.

So when the next round of Democratic primary voters go their caucuses or ballot boxes, remember the upcoming fight in November versus "Mr. Maverick."

What's On McCain's iPod?

Pretty nasty stuff, and this is just his anti-choice record:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hoping Against The Hopeless

Barring some sort of miracle on the Republican side and (emphasis on) assuming that Barack eventually shores up the nomination, we'll have quite a battle of candidates this fall. On one side you have the man that inspires hope and wants people to live to fulfill their dreams. Over at McCain's corner....well you have the opposite. Sure, tens of millions will vote for each of them but what will put one on top of the other? It is all about the message, and clearly by the story of Mark McKinnon, Obama has it.

From ABC's The Political Radar:

"I would simply be uncomfortable being in a campaign that would be inevitably attacking Barack Obama," said McCain adviser Mark McKinnon in an interview with NPR's "All Things Considered." "I think it would be uncomfortable for me, and I think it would be bad for the McCain campaign."

McKinnon, who was a Democrat before serving as President Bush's ad maker in 2000 and 2004, said that he plans to be behind McCain "100 percent" no matter who the Democratic nominee is. He explained, however, that if the Democrats nominate Obama, he will be supporting McCain "from the sidelines."

While saying that he does not agree with Obama on every issue, McKinnon gushed about the Illinois Democrat.


If that is how a McCain adviser feels, just think about how many independents feel out there. Millions may not be able to stomach Hillary for their own reasons, but they will certainly embrace Barack over John McCain. When you look at the difference in their speeches, it isn't hard to see why.

Congressional Priorities

As I was sitting at lunch in the pizza parlor across the street, the TV was on NY1 as usual. Instead of hearing the local news in background, what I heard was members of Congress questioning Roger Clemons and his former trainer on the issue of whether or not they used/administered the steroid HGH. Trust me folks, I'd much rather hear about the weather. I did hear one Congresswoman say that it was ridiculous they were wasting the Congress' time by doing this....and I completely agree with that conservative on this. Why does Congress care about a Major League Baseball incident? Are they just looking to increase C-Span's ratings?

Instead of that crap, we could have heard about how the Democratic Congress is finally going to stop bending over for the White House and execute the contempt of Congress against Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers. Why did we not? Well, because the Nancy Pelosi-led Democrats are going to cave because they fear the courts will reject them. Aww, boo f**kin hoo. Pelosi can't even set a date for the hearings after stalling on this for months. I want to see some action damnit! I want these crooks to be held accountable. Our democracy will cease to exist unless EVERYONE is held to the same standards of law. Just because you work at the White House does not mean you get to commit crimes against Congress.

Seriously if I was Roger Clemons or Brian McNamee I wouldn't have bothered to show up. Why should they if members of the White House staff won't? Screw that. The Congress has better matters to attend to, and they better start doing it before they lose all of their legitimacy.

What's The Deal With Obama?

Cenk Uyugr wonders why Obama is kicking major you know what:

"Big Money" Comes To Clinton's Rescue

It is widely known that Hillary's fundraising prowess is heavily dependent on large contributions from a select amount of people. Granted, she has raised a considerable sum from a larger swath of the population in the last week or so, but by and large her contributors give big and many are tapped out. So what is a campaign that so desires to win to do when money is running tight?

From The Wall Street Journal:

At least two sets of Clinton fund-raisers are speaking with lawyers to figure out how to create independent entities to support Mrs. Clinton in Ohio, Texas and other primary contests. Susie Tompkins Buell, the founder of the Esprit clothing company, says she is deciding whether to start her own entity to fund commercials for Mrs. Clinton, or whether to donate to existing groups, such as abortion-rights group Emily's List, that are already spending money on Mrs. Clinton.

It's not certain that any of the efforts by the Clinton fund-raisers will get off the ground. Campaign-finance law makes it difficult for campaign insiders to fund independent efforts to elect candidates.

Still, the discussions highlight two financial facets of the 2008 presidential campaign. First, wealthy Americans are increasingly funding their own independent political operations to back candidates they support. Second, some of Mrs. Clinton's financial backers worry that she is falling behind in the fund-raising race.

Now these people have already given the maximum amount, for the primary and the general. If she doesn't make it past March or April that $2,300 is kaput. The next step for big money is to put big productions together that are "independent" of the campaign. Of course it won't be much of a surprise that these new 527s will be doing the same thing that Hillary is trying to accomplish.

Politics as usual.....


MTA Trying To Escape Blame For Dilapidated Subway Platforms

After Avi Katz fell into the subway tracks from a platform board in disrepair, AM New York investigated several platforms around the city, finding many in a sorry state. Being good journalists they took comments from the MTA and not so slyly blamed straphangers for their mishaps. Is that what we pay our $76 $81 a month for?

From AM New York:

Broken, rickety or partially missing portions of wooden boards at the end of subway platforms exist throughout the city's underground system, posing potential safety hazards to riders.

At each of the nine random stations amNewYork examined in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx, wooden edges -- or rubbing boards -- were found to be at various stages of disrepair. Five underground stations on the No. 6 line in the Bronx, for example, have loose and rotted boards, some with portions missing or hanging by a nail.

The danger of unstable boards was highlighted by the fall of Brooklyn teenager Avi Katz, who said that he was bruised and nearly hit by a Q train when a 10-inch wooden board at the Kings Highway station gave way under his footing, sending him onto the tracks.

Those are the facts ladies and gentlemen, this is the spin:

Riders are warned against standing on or near the platform edge for their own safety, said transit spokesman, Paul Fleuranges. It is unclear how many wooden boards are in the system and when all aging boards will be replaced. Fleuranges said typically, they are replaced when stations are made handicapped accessible, when stations are rehabbed once every several years or when specific work orders are submitted.

"If a platform edge rubbing board is found to be in disrepair, it is replaced," Fleuranges said.

Now we as straphangers know that these boards are not replaced promptly, if at all. This is especially so if these stations happen to be outside of Manhattan....surprise, surprise. If the MTA truly cared they would fix those almost instantaneously and check boards frequently. With that massive budget and the millions and billions more that they pull out of riders' pockets, safety should looked after tenaciously. Dependable service is a joke, and today will be full of delays with the rain.....but safety needs to come first, no matter what. Instead of quick solutions the MTA blames passengers for their mishaps.

Pathetic. Truly pathetic.

The Pundit-In-Chief

George Bush analyzing the current election is a joke in of itself. When he opens his mouth, he is only spouting complete bullshit and propaganda. Even CNN can admit to it:

Rebate For Renters?

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is at it again, trying to enact a renters' rebate. The legislation would give three hundred bucks to people that rent and make less than $43,000 a year and a $75,000 cap to families. Unfortunately for her the bill did not make it through last time she tried.

From The NY Post:

February 13, 2008 -- Renters in the city would get a $300 tax credit under a plan unveiled yesterday by Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

In her State of the City speech, Quinn (D-Manhattan), who plans to run for mayor in 2009, vowed to continue fighting for the $261 million program, which she first proposed - and didn't get - last year.

"This year, to help ease the squeeze on working families who don't own their own homes, we'll continue our push to pass a renters tax credit," she said.

As her mayoral campaign gears up for next year, expect to hear more talk about this rebate. I also think $300 is a nice little chunk of change for lower to middle class renters in the city, coming from the city that is. The only problem is that like the Federal Government's rebate coming this May, it is only a band-aid for those in financial need and not a long-term fix. These proposals make great sound bites, but what we need is policy that can fix the macro problems of NYC real estate, by making people equal to the real estate lobby that dominates local politics.

Lessons In Hating, How To Make Excuses For The Success Of The Progressive Blogosphere

New media is huge for anyone in politics, whether you are on the right or left. This media is an incredible way to reach new people and connect to them in a way that television never can. Despite the ability of both sides to reach out to everyone, only the left is doing it best. The traffic on this side of the fence blows the Republicans out of the water. Now when your party relies on fear and manipulation to make itself strong, how will the conservative blogosphere defend its lag?

From Ars Technica:

Erick Erickson, editor of the popular conservative megablog RedState, conceded that progressives currently enjoy an advantage over conservatives online—though he attributed it to an asymmetry in free time, since conservatives "have families because we don't abort our kids, and we have jobs because we believe in capitalism." Erickson offered three means of reversing the trend. First, he argued, conservatives must place less emphasis on punditry ("everyone wants to be the next online Rush Limbaugh") and begin to emulate the left's use of the Internet to facilitate organization and activism. Second, they should focus to a greater extent on local- and state-level politics, and in particular on the 2010 race, which Erickson regards as more important than the upcoming presidential race, as it will determine which party controls the redrawing of congressional district lines. Third, they must "transcend old tech" in order to enjoy the same kind of advantage over e-mail that the Republican Party currently enjoys with respect to direct mail marketing. Bloggers, for instance, might seek to collect reader e-mail addresses as a first step toward turning casual commentary consumers into donors or full-blown activists.

So which is it Erick, do you want to emulate us or spout your bullshit punditry-like antics? Talking about how we are lazy and abort kids is not only childish, it shows why the conservative side is far behind the Netroots. Even you want to be the next Rush Limbaugh, and anyone that aspires to be the second-coming of a piece of lying pill-popping garbage is bound to fail miserably. Be happy that you have RedState, its the best thing going for the online conservative "movement."

In the end, as long as the conservatives follow a top down method, listening to party elders for information, they are doomed to fail. The beauty of the Netroots is the way ideas come from the bottom up and coalesce into passionate activism that gets things done, like Donna Edwards' impressive win last night in Maryland's fourth Congressional district.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Talking About Talking

One from Texas.....

and the other up in Wisconsin...

A Super Potomac-Styled Tuesday

As the night winds down and the delegate counts rise higher, it is interesting to see where the two Democratic candidates are speaking from. Barack is in Wisconsin tonight, speaking to the crowd that will be casting their ballots one week from today. Meanwhile Hillary is in El Paso, campaigning in one of her two "firewall" states. This looks a lot like Giuliani last month when the front runners would be speaking from either the state that voted or the next immediate state. Of course she is still polling well in Texas and Ohio, but who knows what the following twenty-one days will do to her numbers. Regardless of those delegate-rich states, the big news was another sweep by Obama in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Meanwhile on the Republican side, McCain also swept the primaries in these two states and one district. After having a sub-par weekend, the talk about his front runner status ahead of Huckabee has become increasingly solidified.

But enough about those four, the really big news was that Al Wynn just lost his Congressional seat in Maryland to Donna Edwards. Wynn was a "Bush Democrat" who voted against his party and for the special interests and many Republican measures. Despite Nancy Pelosi helping him in his primary fight, he succumbed to a true progressive. This is a huge night for a people-powered campaign and another great win for the netroots. The only bad news about this is for those incumbents out there that have been taking advantage of their constituents back home. It sends a powerful message to the corrupted in Washington that they better watch their back if they are screwing the people of their districts in the you-know-where.

Now that she has won it is an easy path to Congress this November, as the district leans heavily towards the Democratic party. The harder path is at the top of the ticket, one we must fight, fight, fight for. Democrats are doing a great job so far, so lets keep it up!

Yes, Abramoff Thinks You're An Insider Mr. McCain

The "maverick" likes to tout himself as a moderate reformer, or at least he used to before bowing/pandering to the religious right to win the Republican nomination. Well, those former assertions are starting to ring hollow as campaign contributions to the Arizona Senator are analyzed. While McCain rhetorically tells people to go visit Abramoff in prison to see if he's a Washington insider, he might not want people to know the answer to that question.

From The Huffington Post:

A review of campaign finance filings shows that the Arizona Republican has accepted more than $100,000 in donations from employees of Greenberg Traurig, the very firm where Abramoff once reigned.

Those donations include several thousand dollars from registered lobbyists who represent, or have represented, businesses such as NewsCorp, Rupert Murdoch's media empire; Spi Spirits, a Cyprus based company that has fought with the Russian government for the rights to the Stolichnaya vodka brand name; El Paso Corp, a major energy company; General Motors; and the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, a group of businesses and trade associations "concerned" about the shortage of lesser skilled and unskilled labor.

All told, McCain has received more than $400,000 from lobbying firms, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And among his major fundraisers ("bundlers") 59 have been identified as lobbyists by the non-profit organization Public Citizen.

I was once told by a wise man that the people you consider friends tell a lot about you. By the looks of what is listed above he likes to drink non-Russian stoli while screwing over GM workers and supporting immigration so that employers can have access to cheap labor, all while watching the propaganda being spewed on Fox News. Sounds like an immoral life to me, no wonder all the purity-obsessed evangelicals hate his guts.

We're Still Holding

And holding....and holding....and holding:

Only An Unsound Mind Can See A Sound Economy

Our President really does live in his own little world. His comments on the economic conditions of the American economy prove it. He claims that while are having some difficulty now, things look good in the long term. Excuse me but how does having over $9,000,000,000,000 in national debt and more than that in combined personal debt a good thing for the long term future? Am I missing something here?

From the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush says the economy is structurally sound for the long haul, and that the stimulus package approved by Congress will help deal with uncertainties in the short term.

The president signed an economic report to be delivered to Congress, an annual tradition like his State of the Union address and his budget proposal.

On Wednesday, Bush expects to sign the stimulus package of tax rebates and incentives for businesses. He said "money will be going directly to American workers and families and individuals."

Yeah, thats a whole six hundred bucks for taxpayers that earn enough. Gee I can't wait to buy a television and turn the American economy around. Maybe the poor sap that sells it to me that makes minimum wage (something raised btw last year my Democrats) can make a little extra in commissions.

Does anyone buy the fallacy that $600 in our pockets is going to do any good? All this "stimulus" package does is hand approx $80 billion to corporations through tax cuts and about $70 billion disbursed for the rest of us. That is not a solution to the possibility of long term disaster. What we should be doing is focusing on eliminating our debt, starting to save more and stop wasting money in Iraq to pay for social service programs that people here in America need today.

Unfortunately anything that comes close to making sense economically will probably have to wait until the next Administration comes to office on January 20th of next year. Sigh.

For Shame On The Senate

I guess we shouldn't be too shocked at the United States Senate choosing corporate interests (and George Bush's) over the rights of the American people. I'm sad to say that I almost expect it. There are a few brave souls that try to stand up for the rest of us, people like Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold, but for the most part, the Senate is filled with too many Washingtonians that don't give a damn about the Constitution.

From RawStory:

After failing to strip immunity from the Senate bill, Sen. Chris Dodd announced he would abandon his effort to block the bill with a filibuster, arguing that the House, which has passed an immunity-free bill, would be a better place to try to strip immunity from Congress's final piece of legislation.

"We lost every single battle we had on this bill," Dodd said on a conference call Tuesday with reporters and bloggers. "And the question is now, Can we do better with the House carrying the ball on this bill?"

In an effort to move along the legislative process prior to a Friday deadline on the temporary measure, Dodd said he wanted the Senate to pass something so that both chambers can begin a conference committee. If the two chambers produce a bill containing immunity, Dodd said he would filibuster that conference report.

So now the battle moves to the House and the Conference Committee that will ultimately decide on a bill that the House and Senate can agree on. Remember to call your Senators and either thank them or ostracize them for their vote today.

Michelle Obama On Larry King

A great interviewee for a not so great interviewer:

Lobbyists And Developers Claim Racial Bias In Campaign Finance Reform

This poor minority pictured to the right is fighting to make a difference here in New York City. James Bopp Jr. is sick and tired of a new law that prohibits poor lobbyists and real estate developers from being able to exercise their freedom of using endless amounts of cash speech so that they can help elect candidates that support their views. Speaker Christine Quinn is in the target sight of these victims after she passed a law that was instituted to clamp down on special interest money's effect on elections here. Now James, who has already fought back Vermont's attempt at kicking corporate interests out of their government is in town to support the rights of all the poor developers, you know, derelicts like Bruce Ratner and Donald Trump.

From The New York Times:

A lawsuit financially backed by the business interests and others was filed Monday in federal court in Manhattan against the City Campaign Finance Board, which enforces the campaign finance system. The suit charged that the limits violated free speech and equal protection provisions of the Constitution and discriminated against minorities.

The law, which has been called one of the toughest in the nation, aims to diminish the influence of special interests on city campaigns. It reduces by more than 90 percent the amount that those who do business with the city can contribute, to $400 from $4,950 in a mayor’s race, for instance, and to $250 from $2,950 in City Council races.

And what was Mr. Bopp's premise for the lawsuit?

In an unusual tack, Mr. Bopp claimed that New York’s limits would make it more difficult for minority candidates to run, because they tend to come from poorer areas where their neighbors cannot contribute, so they must turn to business interests for donations.

“When minority candidates run, their natural constituency is their neighborhoods and their neighbors,” Mr. Bopp said in a telephone interview.

“And the unfortunate reality is that the minority population is on average in the lower socioeconomic level and less able to contribute, so minority candidates have to rely — I am told by activists here, consultants — that they tend to rely disproportionately on contributions from outside of their district, and in particular, business interests. So that this would disproportionately affect them.”

Aww how nice of him to care about minorities like that, especially when the interests he represents are the principle factor in driving up rent across the city that ultimately forces many minorities out of New York. Some experts though doubt his sincerity.

Richard Briffault, a law professor at Columbia University and an expert on campaign finance law, said the lawsuit appeared to be a “stretch,” particularly the aspects claiming racial discrimination.

“It’s going to affect everybody,” Mr. Briffault said. “There’s no evidence that Hispanics or African-American candidates are particularly dependent on lobbyist donations than white candidates.”

Yes Professor Briffault, it is a stretch, those laws are a good first step in combating the problem with money and elections. Of course Speaker Quinn could have gone a different way, but that is something we are working on as well. Eventually we will have clean elections in the city and throughout the state, it is only a matter of time.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Clinton's Firewall Is Fast Approaching

All the pundits and experts, even those that support Hillary, are claiming that while Barack is winning states left and right, the crucial battles are in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania (as if the rest of them didn't count). Basically Hillary is setting herself up a firewall in these states and if you remember the last candidate to do that....he just happened to be from New York as well. Well that strategy didn't work on the GOP side and it isn't flying with the super-delegates who have previously indicated support for her either.

From The New York Times:

“She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she’s out,” said one superdelegate who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. “The campaign is starting to come to terms with that.” Campaign advisers, also speaking privately in order to speak plainly, confirmed this view.

Several Clinton superdelegates, whose votes could help decide the nomination, said Monday that they were wavering in the face of Mr. Obama’s momentum after victories in Washington State, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine last weekend.

Some said that they, like the hundreds of uncommitted superdelegates still at stake, might ultimately “go with the flow,” in the words of one, and support the candidate who appears to show the most strength in the primaries to come.

The endorsements are flowing into the Obama campaign and the trepidation is building up on Clinton's end of the street. March 4th is a while away in the world of electioneering. Five states will vote before then and all will play significantly into the health of the respective campaigns. Hillary can try to dismiss the outcomes of Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Hawaii and Wisconsin.......but the super-delegates and more importantly the whole of the party will not.

What Beach Are You Sitting On McCain?

Another great job by the Dem Rapid Response for hitting McCain with the worst political weapon imaginable......the truth.

The Brilliant Mr. Bush

Chris Wallace got the opportunity to interview the President at Camp David a few days ago and Fox ran the interview yesterday to beat out the other networks and their bobbleheads. Needless to say, a lengthy interview produced quite a few ridiculous remarks from Mr. Bush. The best ones are when he tries to come after Democrats. Who does he think he's kidding when talking about taxes?

From The Plank:

When Chris Wallace sits down for a not-quite-Valentine's Day love fest with President Bush, you can be sure there will be some fun moments. This one caught my eye:

WALLACE: How does [McCain] overcome all of that and...

BUSH: Because there's two big issues. One is, who's going to keep your taxes low? Most Americans feel overtaxed and I promise you the Democrat party is going to field a candidate who says I'm going to raise your tax.

If they're going to say, oh, we're only going to tax the rich people, but most people in America understand that the rich people hire good accountants and figure out how not to necessarily pay all the taxes and the middle class gets stuck.

We've had -- we've been through this drill before. We're only going to tax the rich and all you have to do is look at the history of that kind of language and see who gets stuck with the bill.

What a truly remarkable answer. The Democrats want to raise rates on the wealthiest Americans, but Bush is saying that in fact this will screw the middle class because the rich have ways to avoid paying taxes. The obvious question is, then, why has Bush spent so much time giving tax cuts to the rich?!?!

Or why has Bush been so busy protecting the rich, allowing them to not only pay less taxes but to get out of the diminished rate anyways. And in case you didn't know, keeping an expensive war going on for a hundred years is going to have to be paid somehow. If it doesn't come from the rich, it'll be paid by a combination of the rest of us, and the rest of us' children and their children.

The More He Talks, The Scarier He Gets

I often remark that one of the most fascinating things about Mike Huckabee is his "likability." When he went on The Colbert Report last time and played air hockey with Stephen using the State of Texas as a puck, that was really funny. Now if that was the only thing you knew about this former Governor of Arkansas you might even be impressed. The problem is his views, for instance dismissing evolution. The big problem is that that is only the tip of the iceberg. Check out what he had to say at Liberty University this weekend.

From CBS News:

“Frankly, we really don’t need a lot of law if we are people of morality,” he said to the congregation of over 7,000. “There are only ten basic laws that we need. If you think about it, the Ten Commandments cover it all.”

“The reason law gets more complicated is because we try to figure out clever ways around those ten,” he said to applause.

Huckabee cautioned that a lack of moral clarity would result in “paying for more and more government to overwhelm us with direction when our own personal freedom and conscience does not.”

That might have worked back in Moses' day, but even the Code of Hammurabi had more legislation than that. It isn't even the 'morality' part that is the worst thing, the scariest part of the Huckabee campaign is that it promises to turn our democracy into a Christian theocracy, kinda like Iran but with Jesus at the top instead of Mohammed.

“I hope you know Jesus Christ personally…because the level to which he rules you and governs you, you need less and less of man’s law to tell you how to live and that is what our Founding Fathers understood and we must understand.”

I'm sorry to tell you that those are his words verbatim. And for all of you Jews, Muslims, Hindis, Buddhists, Atheists, Agnostics, Wiccans etc.....we're all screwed.

John. He. Is.

Inspiring. He. Is. Not.

So Now Cheney Cares About Privacy?

Isn't amazing how the powerful (or authoritarians) in our society always want to take away the rights of citizens in a broad fashion but when the tables are turned they sing another tune? That is exactly what Dick Cheney is doing for two aides that gave conflicting testimony about an incident where an American citizen named Steven Howards told Dick face to face that he is a "dick." He really just just told him that his policies in Iraq were terrible and nothing happened besides that and a handshake. Now one of the accounts said that Howards hit Cheney on the shoulder and the case has ended up in civil court.

From The Denver Post:

In a motion filed Saturday, Cheney's office contended that the videotapes could be used to invade the privacy and embarrass two aides called to testify about the encounter in a civil lawsuit.

The motion for a protective order expressed particular concern that both aides' faces could wind up on

"As courts have recognized, using digital technology, a video recording can easily be 'cut and spliced,' so as to embarrass and even humiliate a witness," Cheney's lawyers wrote in a U.S. District Court filing.

"That much can readily be seen from a visit to YouTube. . . . A simple query using the search term 'deposition' yields over 400 video clips, in which many of the deponents are made to look boorish, mendacious, or unintelligent."

The plaintiff, Steven Howards of Golden, is suing Secret Service agents who arrested him after he approached Cheney at a Beaver Creek mall in 2006 and told the vice president his policies in Iraq were "disgusting."

Eagle County prosecutors dismissed a criminal charge of harassment filed against Howards.

In the lawsuit, Cheney aide Charles Durkin and White House photographer David Bohrer gave conflicting accounts of the encounter.

Durkin, who no longer works for Cheney, said Howards walked up to the vice president in "a determined fashion," and "you know, just places his hand on the vice president's arm and shook his hand and made a statement regarding Iraq policy and departed."

He described Cheney's reaction as "very calm. He just shook his hand and said OK, and that's — that's his — sort of kept on going."

Bohrer said Howards "came up and slapped the back of the vice president in the upper shoulder area." Cheney "was startled," he said.

Of course Bohrer, as the former photographer didn't take any pictures of the account. Surprise, surprise. Now he doesn't want the public to see this work out and possibly embarrass the Secret Service and ultimately Dick Cheney. Aww poor Dick, can't anybody cut this guy some slack? Why should the man that was arrested for no good reason get the benefit of the doubt? It isn't like this is a country where the leaders are supposed to be held to the same standards as any ordinary citizen, right?

Oh wait a sec.....

A Bruno-less New York

Most New Yorkers don't know who Joe Bruno is, even though he is the Senate majority leader up in Albany. Yet many do know of the hardships that his control of the Senate has brought us, especially here in the city. The possibility of Democrats taking over control of the body is a real possibility this year and something all voters should take heed of, especially in districts that are up for grabs (like Darrel Aubertine and Will Barclay in SD-48 upstate). Almost overnight, a Democratic majority would spur changes in social and fiscal policies that would focus on helping the least amongst us rather than the richest.

From The New York Sun:

Democrats told me they would renew that push and would also back a repeal of the so-called Urstadt law, passed in the Rockefeller era in 1971, which handed to Albany authority over New York City's rent regulation laws.

The shift on rent control would be one consequence of New York City becoming the Senate's geographic base of power. Another change — and one suburban voters should pay attention to — would be in the distribution of education aid. Senate Democrats would want to see more money going to New York City schools and less to Long Island districts.

In our conversations, Democrats repeatedly brought up the Rockefeller drug laws, the mandatory sentencing statutes for people convicted of non-violent drug crimes. "We would like to see the Rockefeller laws fixed so folks are not serving these extraordinary periods of prison for relatively minor matters," a Harlem Democrat, Bill Perkins, told me.

That is just the beginning of the laundry list. Other things include moving monies for schools from Long Island districts that do not need what they get so that NYC schools get their fair share. The death penalty debate would be over, and that would cease to be an issue in Albany. While gay marriage might not be legalized, civil unions would be passed easily. And back on fiscal issues, the legislature might even tilt to the left of the Governor in terms of making the tax rate more progressive so that middle class payers put in less and the rich pay more.

The choices voters make for their state Senators is a big deal this year. Do they want more of the same...or do they want change, nationally as well as locally.

Let's Do The Time Warp....Yeah!

From Crooks and Liars

A True Political And "Musical" Sweep

Political junkies are well aware that Barack Obama swept and obliterated Hillary in several contests this past weekend. Most of the margins of victory were at least twenty point disparities. Maine, Washington, Louisiana, Nebraska and the Virgin Islands made their choice clear. Answering the question on how many votes Barack got at the Grammy Awards is a different question. Though of course, he won that too.

From The Daily News:

LOS ANGELES - Sen. Barack Obama topped a Clinton in another contest Sunday - the Grammys.

The presidential candidate beat out ex-Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio version of his book "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming The American Dream." It was his second Grammy.

Clinton, also a two-time Grammy winner, was in the running for the same prize with "Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World." Carter's "Sunday Mornings in Plains: Bringing Peace to a Changing World," won last year and was again a contender.

How interesting, Bill Clinton has already won twice and Hillary once at the its Barack's turn. There's no way to know if the Grammy win will translate to a victory in the nominating process...but if you look at the ever-changing delegate count one might start to wonder.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Yes Mr. Bush, Life Is Unfair, Thanks For The Reminder

Thank you President Bush for being such a calm and confident leader, raising the hopes of millions of Americans wherever you go. Oh wait, I'm sorry, wrong President, I must have been in some alternate universe where Al Gore rightfully won and ascended to be the 43rd President in 2000 instead of your sorry ass. Thanks for reminding the poor people of Tennessee that lost dozens of their family and friends that "life is unfair." What the f**k would you know about that sir? The only thing that comes to mind when I think of "unfair" and your name is how many people you have treated unfairly (to put it very, very lightly) over the course of seven years.

It was extremely unfair when you used the tragedy of September 11th to start a war in Iraq, a place that had nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with what happened here in New York. It is unfair that thousands of our soldiers have had to die for your lust for war. It is unfair that their families must live with your decision every day for as long as they live. It is unfair that the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on that mess is diverted from helping America stay fiscally strong.

It was unfair when you gave huge tax breaks to the wealthy and a few hundred dollars to the rest of us back when you started your woeful Presidency.It was unfair to reward your buddies in corporate America while scaling back programs for the poor. You have replaced programs that helped the least among us with corporate welfare. Those that are in need have nothing while those that have everything are given even more.

It was unfair Mr. Bush for you to have promised to rebuild and restore those that lived in the area that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and the levees that broke because of it. It is disgusting that they are still waiting for that aid two and a half years later. Now all you can do for the people of Macon County, TN is to remind them that life is unfair, piling on to the grief and despair that they already feel. You could have started by delivering what they need, but again, the best you could was to take a helicopter ride and poo poo them before you rode back to the White House.

Now that is unfair.

The only fair thing you could do would be to resign, but we are already painfully aware that it'll be a cold day in hell before that happens.

Money, Money, Money, Give Me That Money!

John Mercurio and Nora McAlvanah of Hotline TV take a look at the money race that developed after Super Tuesday's results came in. So far we are up to almost $20 million in contributions for both candidates combined in less than five days. Five days!

Makes you wonder what Huckabee and McCain have pulled in during the same time, eh?

Get Back To Congress Ronnie

I am sad to say that Congressman Ron Paul is about to head back to Congress and step away from his Presidential aspirations. Even after raising tens of millions of dollars and acquiring many rabid fans, the delegate count just isn't high enough for him (less than ten versus several hundred for McCain gives you long odds). Now that we are steaming through February, primary season is looming in the Great state of Texas and Ron Paul ultimately wants to save his Congressional hide.

From The Politico:

Last night, the libertarian-leaning Texas congressman sent a message to his supporters signaling that he was scaling back his presidential bid.

The most telling passage:
"I also have another priority. I have constituents in my home district that I must serve. I cannot and will not let them down. And I have another battle I must face here as well. If I were to lose the primary for my congressional seat, all our opponents would react with glee, and pretend it was a rejection of our ideas. I cannot and will not let that happen."

Same as Kucinich, Paul has seen a real primary threat emerge back home. In both cases -- and see my colleague Josh Kraushaar's piece as a primer -- the challengers have made the case that the local congressman is gallivanting around the country on a quixotic quest, has lost touch with the folks back home and has taken stances out of line with the district.

Ron Paul may not be a Don Quixote, but with his millions in campaign funds, it'll be interesting to see what he'll do with that cash. Running for reelection in his part of Texas only costs a fraction of what he's got. Rumor has it The fact is the NRCC is nearly broke (and under investigation) and I'm sure they would love some of that dough. Though I doubt that Ronnie would be too willing to part with it for the type of Republicans that the NRCC tries to recruit.