Wow, Hillary went crazy on national TV today over what she claims is a deceptive mailer made by the Obama campaign. She said that it was dishonest of them to distort her health care plan and that he didn't even have one when she came up with hers. Sounds to me like a temper tantrum, but it goes a lot deeper than that.
First of all, where was the outrage before the New Hampshire primary when YOUR campaign put out deceptive mailers against Obama over the pro/anti-choice issue? You know that these ads were false, yet they went out anyway. Obama defended his record of course, but never would he scream and shout like you did today.
Second, why don't you slow that fake outrage down and contain yourself. Obama is no Karl Rove and he doesn't do smear tactics like...oh I don't know, kinda like some of your friends on the right. Besides, you know that the ad was factually accurate, so again, please calm down. Getting press out showing some angry emotions is not going to get you any sympathy from undecideds, despite what Mark Penn tells you.
Oh and lastly, instead of complaining about ads that tell the truth about you, why don't you do something productive....like paying the small vendors across the country that you owe money to. Small businesses that lay out food and party rental space can't afford to be left out in the cold by you for too long. The media companies that you drop millions on expect quick payment, so why do you feel you can mistreat the little guys?
For shame Hillary, for shame.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Wow, Hillary went crazy on national TV today over what she claims is a deceptive mailer made by the Obama campaign. She said that it was dishonest of them to distort her health care plan and that he didn't even have one when she came up with hers. Sounds to me like a temper tantrum, but it goes a lot deeper than that.
Texans like to pride themselves on doing things "bigger and better" in the Lone Star state. Unfortunately having bigger cars, houses and other energy hogs are not so good. If you've ever been to Houston, Dallas, El Paso, San Antonio, etc. you'll definitely notice the large ranch homes and the ridiculous percentage of trucks driving on roads named after President Bush. It isn't all bad though, because it seems that the latest fad that is catching on has to do with clean, renewable energy.....the windy stuff.
From The NY Times:
Texas, once the oil capital of North America, is rapidly turning into the capital of wind power. After breakneck growth the last three years, Texas has reached the point that more than 3 percent of its electricity, enough to supply power to one million homes, comes from wind turbines.
Texans are even turning tapped-out oil fields into wind farms, and no less an oilman than Boone Pickens is getting into alternative energy.
“I have the same feelings about wind,” Mr. Pickens said in an interview, “as I had about the best oil field I ever found.” He is planning to build the biggest wind farm in the world, a $10 billion behemoth that could power a small city by itself.
That just goes to show you that the Texan spirit of trying to out do everyone can have a huge bonus for us all. The less Texas uses oil and coal power, the less we collectively use it, both nationally and globally. If only we all had that Texas spirit when it comes to wind, we might be able to change the world in a great way.
There are many issues that affect voters this election year. People are concerned about the war in Iraq, the economy, anti/pro choice rights and many other things. What ties them all together is accountability, something we haven't had much of in a long time. I know Congress is finally trying to make some efforts since the Democrats took control but they are still far from perfect. If we had fixed that problem Bush and Cheney would have been impeached and thrown in jail by now. Also, people like A. Blair Stover Jr. and Allen R. Davison would not have had "successful" businesses either.
From The NY Examiner:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Map, News) - Two Kansas City-area attorneys have been accused of helping their clients avoid millions of dollars in income tax payments through fraudulent tax schemes.[...]
The suits claim both men worked with wealthy clients to avoid most or all of their tax liability by setting up sham corporations based in Nevada. Those corporations would receive payments for bogus management services to the clients' companies, which were then claimed as tax deductions. Other bogus corporations distributed the management fees as stock to the customers' Roth Individual Retirement Accounts, which are not taxable.
One of Stover's clients, the lawsuit alleges, used the Roth IRA scheme for four years and avoided reporting or paying taxes on more than $57.6 million in income, saving the client more than $20 million.
Prosecutors also allege that Davison helped his clients claim deductions tied to operating chicken farms even though one client, who claimed $1.25 million in deductions over three years, told the IRS he had never been a farmer.
And the tale of their antics goes on in the article. Perhaps at some point these two greedy bastards will do some jail time. However, the question will still remain, where is the accountability? These attorneys are just two little peons in the scheme of things (despite being responsible for hundreds of million in lost taxes). The real problem is the way our government has been
We must hold people like this accountable before the damage is done. We can start that by demanding that the IRS spend its investigative money on the wealthy, instead of the poor and in the middle class. Then after we get these individual tax problems straight, Congress can learn from the example and when they see a President willingly violate the law with abandon, they'll impeach....and convict his unconstitutional ass!
Friday, February 22, 2008
Hillary may have gotten a couple positive marks from last night's match down in Austin, but the negative stories continue to flow like a broken hydrant on a hot summer day. These things keep flooding the wires as things get worse and worse for her failing campaign. After the story about the $5 million loan everyone had questions about her money situation. Why was she broke? What happened? How could the "most prolific fundraiser ever" have financial woes?
This is how:
Nearly $100,000 went for party platters and groceries before the Iowa caucuses, even though the partying mood evaporated quickly. Rooms at the Bellagio luxury hotel in Las Vegas consumed more than $25,000; the Four Seasons, another $5,000. And top consultants collected about $5 million in January, a month of crucial expenses and tough fund-raising.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s latest campaign finance report, published Wednesday night, appeared even to her most stalwart supporters and donors to be a road map of her political and management failings. Several of them, echoing political analysts, expressed concerns that Mrs. Clinton’s spending priorities amounted to costly errors in judgment that have hamstrung her competitiveness against Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.
“We didn’t raise all of this money to keep paying consultants who have pursued basically the wrong strategy for a year now,” said a prominent New York donor. “So much about her campaign needs to change — but it may be too late.”
If she can't keep her finances straight on the campaign, how do we expect her to do so for the country? I feel really bad for her contributors who unwittingly sent their hard earned dollars to staying in nice hotels and paying consultants $15 million in January alone. I would feel much, much worse if that kind of flagrant expenditures
became continued with the next administration.
Welcome to day three of the John McCain lobbyist scandal. Now that we have a little breathing room since the NY Times story broke, the heart of the matter is clearly shown (like the title the NYT put out originally). This isn't about the possibility of an extra-marital affair, it is about highlighting the fact that McCain is just another crooked politician in Washington, the mirror-opposite of what he claims to be. Yesterday he denied the entire story, desperately trying to hang on to his image. Unfortunately for him, when denying he contradicted himself from sworn testimony just a few years ago.
Just hours after the Times's story was posted, the McCain campaign issued a point-by-point response that depicted the letters as routine correspondence handled by his staff—and insisted that McCain had never even spoken with anybody from Paxson or Alcalde & Fay about the matter. "No representative of Paxson or Alcalde & Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC," the campaign said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.
But that flat claim seems to be contradicted by an impeccable source: McCain himself. "I was contacted by Mr. Paxson on this issue," McCain said in the Sept. 25, 2002, deposition obtained by NEWSWEEK. "He wanted their approval very bad for purposes of his business. I believe that Mr. Paxson had a legitimate complaint."
While McCain said "I don't recall" if he ever directly spoke to the firm's lobbyist about the issue—an apparent reference to Iseman, though she is not named—"I'm sure I spoke to [Paxson]." McCain agreed that his letters on behalf of Paxson, a campaign contributor, could "possibly be an appearance of corruption"—even though McCain denied doing anything improper.
McCain's subsequent letters to the FCC—coming around the same time that Paxson's firm was flying the senator to campaign events aboard its corporate jet and contributing $20,000 to his campaign—first surfaced as an issue during his unsuccessful 2000 presidential bid. William Kennard, the FCC chair at the time, described the sharply worded letters from McCain, then chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, as "highly unusual."
My hat is off to Newsweek for uncovering his sworn testimony from 2002. Isn't it amazing what a little bit of legwork can net you? Cheers to another chunk of the "maverick" being stripped away from the real McCain that we will all be able to see when deciding who the next President should be.
No, I'm not calling the citizens of our state capitol fat. I'm calling for a hardcore diet in our state government. It...and we need it badly. The waste and inefficiency is well known to politicos and generally thought of by most New Yorkers. Now we know how bad, at least in the way of how many people work for the state government.
From The NY Sun:
The state Assembly and Senate totaled 3,428 staff members during its busiest period in 2003, the most recent year for which the National Conference of State Legislatures has employment data. That number is nearly 500 more than the second highest state, Pennsylvania, and it's more than 45% more than either California or Texas, the two most populous states in the union.
The number of employees for the Senate Democrats in New York, however, is paltry compared to the size of the Senate Republican apparatus, controlled by the majority leader, Joseph Bruno. More than 530 central staffers work under his charge, creating a gap that Democrats often point to as a reason why they have remained in the minority for so many years.
The staffing level for New York's state Senate dwarfed its counterparts in other populous states.
In California, each party employs roughly 50 people in the state Senate central leadership and caucus staff, a spokeswoman for the Senate president said. In Florida, the total figure for Republicans and Democrats combined reaches to about 200, a spokeswoman there said.
Damn! What is it that all of these people do?
Oh thats right, we're talking about Albany, obviously they do next to nothing.
I have to be upfront about this, I love Howard Dean. He's been one of my political heroes since I saw him come on the national stage in 2003. I went to his meetups and was inspired by him, through the primaries in 2004 and throughout his chairmanship of the DNC. The 50 state strategy was genius even though it seems like common sense to all of us now. Howard recently spoke out on John McCain's scandal...and he nailed it. He figuratively hit the issue out of the park.
From The National Journal On-Air:
Q: So there is big news about John McCain -- the story that is in the New York Times, raising questions about his relationship with a lobbyist. This is a story the McCain people are saying is unfair and untrue. What do you think?Dean: I have no idea whether the affair story is true or not, and I don't care. What I do care about is John McCain -- and this has been well-documented -- is talking all the time about being a reformer and a maverick, and in fact, he has taken thousands of dollars from corporations, ridden on their corporate jets, and then turned around and tried to do favors for them and get projects approved. He has tons of lobbyists on his staff. This is a guy who is very close to the lobbyist community, a guy who has been documented again and again by taking contributions and then doing favors for it. This is not a guy who is a reformer. This is a guy who has been in Washington for 25 years and wants to give us four more years of the same, and I don't think we need that.
Thank you Howard! I am sick of hearing how McCain is this goodie goodie maverick who sponsored some campaign finance legislation, so that he is some sort of angel. McCain needs to be painted as the scoundrel that he is and Dean does it perfectly. Of course that answer above wasn't all. He tied it into the election and spelled out an issue that we can beat him and the GOP on.
Q: Do you think that running against John McCain -- the Democratic Party -- that ethics is going to be an issue for him in this campaign?Dean: Yes, because ethics is a huge issue anyway. People are tired of the incredible lack of ethics in the Bush Administration -- what we call the culture of corruption. I think they want somebody who is not going to do that any more, who is not going to mislead the American people -- whether it is on Iraq, or on lobbying or on taking public financing of campaigns, and who is not going to say one thing and do another.Q: This whole matter, actually though, seems in a funny way to be helping Senator McCain, because the conservatives who were so skeptical about him now are rallying around him and saying he is a victim of the liberal New York Times. Isn't this a development that could actually wind up helping John McCain?Dean: The conservatives are part of this culture of corruption that the Republicans have brought to Washington. Think of the Scooter Libby problem, the Alberto Gonzales problem, the Doug Feith problem. Think of all of the people in the Bush Administration that have had to leave office under a cloud -- Randy Cunningham, the Republican congressman.
Well, now it looks like John McCain is part of the corruption problem in Washington. He has done things that are legally questionable -- the Keating Five business back in the '90s -- but he doesn't seem to really have an ethical compass. He doesn't seem to have an instinct about what is the right thing to do and what isn't the right thing to do. He talks a good game, but he's just like all those Republicans in Washington have been for all these years, and I don't think the American people want a president like that.
The American people do want a change, and that change will come in November. McCain is an agent of the status quo and our nominee represents what most voters want. You can already see it in this primary season. Like Giuliani, American will find out about the real McCain and treat him appropriately.
And now it seems that the media is starting to realize it as well. It isn't about the possibility of some sex on the side, it is the lack of ethics and moral corruption that exists in our government.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Whoa nellie, what a debate that was. After mulling over issues, there was that pointed moment in the back and forth where Clinton went after Obama for "plagiarizing" his campaign co-chairs words that Gov. Patrick wanted him to use. As Obama said, that was silly and not what America wants to hear about in politics.
Lets go back to the issues now. Although there were many similarities, differences abounded. On Cuba, Hillary said no dice to talking to Raul Castro. Obama said he'll talk to but wanted to demand human rights from the communist nation. When it comes to foreign relations, we need to talk to everyone, friend or foe. Score that one for Obama.
On Iraq....it isn't even close. Her votes show that she is a hawk that only tries to mildly placate Democrats that have been passionately against the war. She proved that when she voted for the resolution against Iran not too long ago and far enough after her Iraq vote when the folly of this type of war is already well known.
Health care is something she did very well on. We do need universal care and it must be mandated. Barack wants to negotiate more between the two parties. He thinks that instead of ram-rodding a policy through we should do it in a more bi-partisan way. While it would be great to work with everyone, Hillary is right that you got to be tough when it comes to putting a comprehensive program together you have to fight for it.
Now what everyone is talking about are two things from the debate. One is the xerox comment that fell flat when she attacked Obama. The other is her closing line. It sure did sound good and probably won her the debate. Though doesn't it sound similar to a couple of other speeches? Regardless if she took lines from her husband or John Edwards, the key thing to take from tonight is whether Hillary won big or not. Many agree that she won, but not enough. As Donna Brazile said on CNN a few moments ago, both candidates spoke to their supporters and held onto them...neither won anyone from the other side. In the moment, that news is good for the front runner in this campaign.
After the story broke about Vicki Iseman and her relationship with John McCain, the Senator from Arizona and his minions went into attack mode (and they're good at it too). That is, attack the messenger mode. All of them decried the New York Times and that John McCain is a maverick and man of integrity. Damn, even his "blogger" daughter turned out an 'aww, shucks' piece about dear old Dad. The man who is seen as a maverick by many however, has a past that shows he isn't immune from deviating from the character he pretends to be.
From The Albany Project:
It seems John McCain has had his own Rudy Giuliani moments in the past.
In 2000, Nicholas Kristof wrote a profile piece on McCain described how his marriage to present wife Cindy came to form:It was 1979, and it was becoming clear that he would never make admiral like his father and grandfather. He had always dreamed of doing something great, of imprinting his name on the history books, but at age 42 he found himself with a stuttering military career and no base from which to go into politics.
On top of that, his personal life was a mess: Although he was still living with his wife, he was aggressively courting a 25-year-old woman who was as beautiful as she was rich.
And as this far-right website puts it:While still married to Carol, McCain began an adulterous relationship with Cindy. He married Cindy in May 1980 -- just a month after dumping Carol and securing a divorce. The newlyweds honeymooned in Hawaii.
This is all true. John McCain divorced his first wife Carol in April 1980. Then, a month later in May 1980, he marries current wife Cindy.
Hmmm. Could a guilty man be capable of sinning again?
Len used to write a police column for Newsday and now does it by himself with his great blog NYPD Confidential. Apparently some of his writings have pissed off the wrong people (e.g. Police Commish Kelly) and they decided to pull his press pass. Well Len has words for them, care of the New York Civil Liberties Union:
That is the amount of money that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is spending (along with the city) to retain outside legal help in the aftermath of the Deutsche Bank Building fire. More than six months after the blaze that claimed the lives of two firefighters, much remains to be answered. The funds are being used to help those that are being targeted by D.A. Robert Morganthau which sounds normal, but where are the funds coming from?
From The NY Times:
Michael Murphy, a spokesman for the development agency, said it would seek to recover the costs of the outside legal counsel through insurance policies on the project, and through claims stemming from its contract with Bovis.
But other potential costs — and more work for the outside lawyers — loom.
As the Times points out, those costs include lawsuits from the victims' families and ultimately more legal fees. Regardless, Murphy says that the money could possibly come from the insurance companies but are they really going to part with millions in compensation? Out of all the experience I've had with recovering insurance money....I'm going to take a small leap and deduce that the taxpayers of New York will ultimately pay for the legal fees and especially for the demolition. Unless of course someone can convince me otherwise.
You know that saying "Do as I say, not as I do?" It's commonly used by parents that preach to their children instead setting examples. They want the best for them of course, but are often unwilling to do the same for themselves and subsequently screw both the preacher and 'preached to.' This also seems to go on at our friendly Con Edison office. They love to preach energy conservation, but do they practice being good environmental stewards?
From Cajun Boy in the City:
If you've ever visited coned.com you'd know that much of the energy provider's website is devoted to touting energy conservation and increasing awareness of wasteful environmental practices.
Funny thing then that a reader whose apartment faces the Con Edison headquarters on 14th street snapped this picture from her bedroom window over the holiday weekend of a well-lit but seemingly devoid of Con Ed employees building...
I'm just saying...
Hmm, that looks pretty wasteful to me. I'm not going to waste more energy after hearing about this of course, but come on Con Ed...practice what you preach and stop wasting the juice. By the way, does anyone pay for their power bill or is that just a perk for being the master of all switches?
Forget American Idol, the newest star on the political stage is Vicki Iseman. Vicki is a telecom lobbyist that works for Alcalde and Fay (here's the link, but it has mysteriously been disabled) and has done so right out of college. For the last eighteen years or so, she has been making deals with politicians so that her clients get sweetheart treatment inside the hallowed walls of Congress.
Now we are beginning to learn that one of her contacts might literally be in bed with her. He happens to be the front runner for the Republican nomination and in a few contests, he will most likely have enough votes to make it official. What a time for her to make her infamous debut. McCain must be kicking himself for ever meeting her, taking her on trips, doing favors for her clients, etc etc.
Despite being seen as some toy of McCain's, she has been a hard worker at Alcalde and Fay. As Hillary Clinton said that lobbyists are people too, there are some very grateful men and women out there, with strange names like AstraZeneca, CACI International (you know that torturer?), Paxson Communications and PriceWaterhouseCooper.
Welcome to the public world Ms. Iseman, we are all very glad to meet you! Oh I forgot to mention, you look so similar to Mrs. McCain, isn't that odd?
Wow what a crazy night/morning it has been. McCain is under siege by the press, wondering what the hell McCain was up to with a lobbyist by the name of Vicki Iseman. Vicki was seen as a close 'buddy' by his advisers back in 2000 when he last ran for the Presidency. When they got scared of the implications that he might have been having an affair with a telecommunications lobbyist, they ran her off from their precious "Maverick." Oh this story is too bad for him, the press will be like rabid dogs, hunting for more and more of McCain's
blood political future.
From The NY Times:
Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.
It had been just a decade since an official favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended Mr. McCain’s political career by ensnaring him in the Keating Five scandal. In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame.
But the concerns about Mr. McCain’s relationship with Ms. Iseman underscored an enduring paradox of his post-Keating career. Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest.
Oooh. Thats gotta hurt. Well McCain came out swinging and is dismissing the article as hogwash (without being able to completely deny the evidence). He's going to have a press conference later to do, but won't take any questions (bad idea). We'll see him deny away, but that only gives the signal to the press to keep hunting.....and hunt they will. Watching this mess unfold should be interesting, with only bad news for the Maverick on the horizon.
The short ad you are about to say make look legitimate at first glance. The problem is that it is paid for by a 527 formed expressly to get Hillary elected.....and that my friends, is a big no no:
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Never one to miss a chance to opine on Presidential politics, our Mayor was served a nice juicy fastball up the plate after the NYC Board of Elections severely screwed up the count on February 5th. We were all told that New York would deliver for Hillary and for the most part it did, but the BoE under-counted Obama's votes in quite a few precincts. So our Mayor, being the
pseudo-candidate astute observer of politics that he is had a few things to say about the vote counters.
From The NY Post:
February 20, 2008 -- Mayor Bloomberg charged yesterday that "fraud" was behind the unofficial results in the New York Democratic presidential primary that produced zero votes for Barack Obama in some districts.
"If you want to call it significant undercounting, I guess that's a euphemism for fraud," said the mayor.
Unofficial tallies on election night gave Obama no votes in 78 out of more than 6,000 election districts.
Hmm, 78 out of 6,000 equals what? 1.3 percent or something like that? I wouldn't go as far as saying that there was active fraud going on for Hillary, you know there were precincts that didn't register votes for her either. Of course Bloomberg has the ability to say anything about anything, even if the ground to say it on is shaky.
Let's see some proof before throwing that kind of crap around Mr. Mayor....besides, there is plenty more out there to accuse her of that can stick better than a few under-counted votes that ended up being counted.
I'd like to personally welcome the state of Florida back to the reality-based community...at least for the sake of their science classes. After a long time of dodging the question, a slight majority on the board of education allowed the "E" word make it into the textbooks. Of course, it didn't happen without a fight from the religious freaks who do not believe in the separation of church and state.
Florida's public school science standards for the first time will use the word "evolution," although the biological concept already was being taught under code words such as "change over time."The standards state that evolution is "the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence." That statement rankled opponents, some of whom had urged the board to add an academic freedom provision that would have allowed teachers to "engage students in a critical analysis of that evidence."
Evolution supporters, including mainstream scientists and clergy, told the board the academic freedom proposal was a wedge designed to open the door for injecting religious arguments into science studies.
Of course the creationists opposed the legislation, they do want God in the classroom, as much as they publicly deny it. They know that by allowing teachers to teach science rather than religion, they will lose the battle that faith be taught as fact in our public schools, those schools that funded by the taxes paid by people of many different faiths or no faith at all.
According to the Center for American Progress (or at least this employee) there have been benefits from the NCLB Act, but there are still many problems left to fix.
As the first commenter mentions, why not just scrap it and institute real reform instead of requiring ridiculous tests that only encourage students in an extremely limited capacity?
I woke up this morning, slung myself out of bed and away from the warm covers. After a quick shower, some coffee and granola for breakfast I got dressed. This isn't like Southern California people. You gotta get your boots on, sweater, jacket, scarf, gloves and a beanie on top. Then head downstairs and open the front door. The cold wind smacks you in the face and summer is just a distant memory. The cold gets through the cracks in your cotton armor as I hustle to get to the subway. At least I can duck inside and away from the temperature in the teens.
For George Bush, that cold chilly air is all encompassing, inside or out:
George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has dropped to a new low in American Research Group polling as 78% of Americans say that the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.
Among all Americans, 19% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 77% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 14% approve and 79% disapprove.
Among Americans registered to vote, 18% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 78% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 15% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 79% disapprove.
Of course it brings a smile to my face to see that more and more people are finally waking up to realize what a disgrace our President is. My second thought, as always, who are these _19 _ %?
Oh goodie, Elliot Sander is going to give a speech on how great the MTA is and all the ambitious projects it is working on. If you'd like to boo him during this press event, he'll be at Cooper Union on March 3rd at 10:30am. I'm thinking of sending in my RSVP just to get a good laugh in the morning.
"This is the 40th anniversary of the MTA, so it seemed like an appropriate time to look back and look forward," agency spokesman Jeremy Soffin said. "The speech will assess the current state of the MTA, but it will also provide a vision for the next 40 years."
The speech is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in Cooper Union's Great Hall, 7 E. 7th St. [...]
Soffin said the speech will address "our accomplishments and challenges, the importance of the capital program and the challenge of funding our capital needs."
I wonder if he'll recognize how many more 'challenges' there are than 'accomplishments.' Things like the rain, fare increases, nasty smells and poor service are just the beginning of what the MTA needs to address. Of course a speech will not solve any of these problems and probably will not be mentioned either. What Sander needs to do is fundamentally transform the system so that it serves New Yorkers....but it'll be a cold day in hell before that happens.
If only we could transplant D.C.'s subway system to here.....sigh.
P.S. Maybe we can start by making minorities feel more comfortable when riding the subway...*cough* *cough* NYPD.
When you think of the trials and tribulations of the civil rights era, we generally say this or that happened in the 60s and 70s. Well the fight for equality hasn't been won yet and that means there are plenty of incredible stories that have happened within the last thirty years with more to come in the future. Just yesterday the students at Prairie View A&M got tired of the way their county seat did business down in Texas so they decided to make a statement.
From The Houston Chronicle:
PRAIRIE VIEW — More than 1,000 Prairie View A&M students turned out on Tuesday to march in support of their voting rights.
The marchers said Prairie View student voting rights have been suppressed for decades in Waller County.
The protesters carried "Register to Vote" signs and wore black shirts with the slogan, "It is 2008 and we will vote.
"I was angry after registering to vote in the 2006 election only to be turned away at the voting booth," said sophomore Dee Dee Williams.
The march began at 9 a.m. as the protesters left the campus on the seven-mile journey to the Waller County Courthouse in Hempstead.
Students, local leaders, civil rights activists and elected officials took part in the march. Police estimated the total crowd at about 2,000 people.
"These are wonderful kids. They are making a statement, until they spoke up there was only one early voting place in the entire county. They spoke up but everyone is benefiting from what they are doing,'' said Prairie View Mayor Frank Johnson.
Last week, under pressure from the federal government, Waller County officials added three temporary polling places for early voting, ditching plans to open only one voting site in advance of the March 4 primary.
The Justice Department questioned the county's January decision to cut early-voting sites from a half dozen throughout the county to just one in Hempstead. The county's about-face came on the same day that critics announced a mass march to the polls next week.
Of course this wasn't going to have the violence to resemble some of the skirmishes that were prominent back in the day. Though the reasons for the march remain the same. Similar attitudes from the county leaders still reek up the air in this part of Texas. Disenfranchising these students stem from the same motives that the racists and bigots had thirty or forty years ago. It really is all about power for them but fortunately for us, power travels on a two-way street and a huge march through this rural area makes a big difference.
At first there was a hint of smoke in the air in Iowa, but quickly went away in New Hampshire and Nevada. South Carolina brought a quick whiff of carbon but I didn't see any smoke until Super Tuesday when Clinton had some nice wins but nothing too impressive. Obama did win more states after all. Yet during the rest of this month, the smoke got darker and billowed from her campaign with the ferocity of significant fire. Well now I can see the flames.
From The Huffington Post:
"Tonight I want to talk to you about the choice you have in this election and why that choice matters," the New York Democrat declared. "It is about picking a president who relies not just on words but on work, on hard work to get America back to work. That's our goal!"
Clinton's speech -- which included neither a concession nor a congratulations to Obama -- was cut off only minutes in as all the news networks switched to cover Obama's remarks.
Of the dueling speeches Tim Russert, on MSNBC, said:
"I thought tonight when Hillary Clinton started speaking the Obama people were stepping back saying alright you go first you are the loser. When they heard no concession or no graciousness quote on quote coming from Hillary Clinton they decided why allow her an opportunity to criticize us? We are going to go out there and proclaim victory."
Obama did claim his victory, and rightly so. People are looking for a change in this country and Barack is ready to give it to us. Unfortunately the same can not be said of Hillary. If you caught her speech from Ohio and her "introduction," you might even see the same flames that I'm looking at.
"We can't just have speeches, we've got to have solutions," she declared, "and we need those solutions for America. We've got to get America back in the solutions business. Because while words matter, the best words in the world aren't enough unless you match them with action."
Those remarks, however, paled in comparison to the criticisms launched by Clinton's introductory speaker, Machinists Union President Tom Buffenbarger. As Ken Vogel reported for Politico, Buffenbarger "compared Obama with 'Janus, the two-faced god' of Roman mythology. He called him 'silver tongued' and a 'thespian' and 'the man in love with the microphone.'"
"He's not just a trained thespian, he's a terrific shadow boxer. You know the type. Outside the ring, he pretends he can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee," he said. "But Barack Obama is no Muhammad Ali. He took a walk every time there was a tough vote in the Illinois state Senate. He took a walk more than 130 times. That's what a shadow boxer does. All the right moves, all the right combinations, all the right footwork, but he never steps into the ring. He walks away from the fight."
If Tom Buffenbarger or Hillary Clinton think that type of attack is going to win any votes, they have another thing coming. Americans in general and Democrats specifically are sick and tired of the negativity in politics. Clinton isn't saying anything new and that is one of the main reasons she is losing so many contests. When the Democrats go up against McCain, we want to see a clear difference in the candidates and having someone with a positive attitude is definitely something we need.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Democrats are celebrating in Wisconsin tonight and Obama celebrates within the party. Republicans may be rallying around McCain, but meanwhile the country is still suffering under the tyranny of George Bush. In our oil addicted society, the rise in crude prices forebears that coming of the next surge from our pocketbooks while filling up at the gas station. Just today oil spiked to its highest price on record, $100.10. The price for a barrel of light, sweet crude, eclipsed the record set in January of 100.09 dollars a barrel. The market rallied amid speculation that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies about 40 percent of the world's oil, would cut output at its March 5 meeting in Vienna, analysts said. "Oil futures surged higher amid technical buying underpinned by the ongoing saga between Venezuela and Exxon and on speculation surrounding OPEC's next move when they meet in March," said Sucden analyst Nimit Khamar.
The price of oil in New York spiked to a record 100.10 dollars a barrel Tuesday on supply concerns.
Oil may go down again but looking at mean oil prices now and eight years ago doesn't even begin to tell the story of our dependence on what will ultimately destroy the planet we live on. Our current President has increased that addiction with economic policies that encourage us to consume more and more. That includes the oil that gives energy to our economy as we know it. While cities and states try to fight on a local basis throughout the land, only the Federal Government can effect true change....that is...change that we must wait for until January of '09 at the earliest.
The price for a barrel of light, sweet crude, eclipsed the record set in January of 100.09 dollars a barrel.
The market rallied amid speculation that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies about 40 percent of the world's oil, would cut output at its March 5 meeting in Vienna, analysts said.
"Oil futures surged higher amid technical buying underpinned by the ongoing saga between Venezuela and Exxon and on speculation surrounding OPEC's next move when they meet in March," said Sucden analyst Nimit Khamar.
My apologies to the people from the great state of Wisconsin in regard to Mark Penn's dismissal of all those that vote against Hillary. Thank you for showing up to vote today despite the frigid temperatures. Tens of thousands came out to vote for their candidate and ended up making McCain and Obama the parties' respective winners. Although the Republicans have their nomination process almost wrapped up at this point, ours is still ongoing and the battle between Hillary and Barack doesn't stop.
Not counting Hawaii (since their polls close three hours from now) Wisconsin makes Obama's streak increase to nine straight victories. Hillary knew February would be tough, so she half-heartedly campaigned in the states of Virginia, Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington and so on. So far she's lost everyone of them and is staking her campaign's livelihood on two states, namely Texas and Ohio.
While Ohio is still polling favorably for her, the last two measurements from the Lone Star state shows that Obama has pulled within the margin of error and could possibly take the state right from under her. Winning Texas would be a tremendous upset, even if Ohio stays in Clinton's corner. Hopefully she'll heed the advice of the party and for the good of it, bow out following the March 4th contests. McCain and his hordes are already attacking Obama, so we must be united in fighting back.
As Hillary Clinton's campaign loses steam and continues to lose caucuses and elections, it is inevitable that the lust to win will bring about dirty tricks. One of the worst so far already surfaced this week when her spokesman Wolfson claimed Obama plagiarized his supporter and Governor Devall Patrick (D-MA). Of course Patrick, being a friend of Obama's called this whole thing nonsense and so are many people outside of the Hillary and Republican camps. As the problem gets stomped out on Barack's side, Hillary better watch out on her end, because starting fires like tend to blow embers everywhere.
From The Huffington Post:
"For six long years, they have all been invisible," she told a crowd in Manchester. "Well, they're not invisible to us. And they're certainly not invisible to me. And when we retake the White House, they will no longer be invisible to the president of the United States. And we will begin to make progress together again."
Clinton's first television advertisement of the race -- titled "Invisible" -- took up the same theme. The line had a provocative and emotional touch and helped the New York Senator find her political legs on the campaign trail.
But was it original? Not entirely.
Clinton's "Invisible Americans" line echoes an anecdote that her husband, Bill Clinton, has included in speeches of his own for years. As far back as October 2002, the former president has repeatedly closed his talks around the world with an anecdote that pivots off his experiences in Africa to highlight the swaths of population that are "invisible" or have gone "ignored" by the governments of the world.
"When people meet each other on trails, one will say 'hello' or 'good morning' or 'how are you?' Bill Clinton said, describing the greeting of a Central African tribe a few months after his wife's Manchester address. "And the answer is not 'hello' or 'I'm fine' or 'how are you?' The answer, translated into English, is simple: 'I see you.' Think of how many people we never see, or we never see fully, because they're part of the Other or they're just invisible. Somebody's going to have to come in here and clean up after us today. Will they be seen? What about the people who are of different faiths and different politics and live in different places? Do we ever really see them?"
In March 2006, Bill Clinton told an audience, "it's obvious that all of us, as we become more diverse, these societies, we have people among us who are invisible to us, we don't have a clue what's in their real heads, what's in their real hearts and whether they feel like they're part of our communities."
Oh my! Hillary is a plagiarist too! Will her husband sue her? Will it end in their divorce?
Why doesn't everyone just drop this plagiarism bullshit and get back to basics and issues. Hillary needs to control her people and stop these childish attacks. It is just as ridiculous to say she plagiarized Bill as Barack did to his friend Devall Patrick. The only difference is that the Obama campaign isn't spreading this crap, it is all on Clinton's side.
So Hillary, wipe those beads of desperation from your brow and start trying to convince people to vote for you based on you and not these baseless character attacks.
Yesterday marked the completion of the foundations for towers three and four at the World Trade Center site downtown. The Port Authority was forty-eight days late in delivering the locations to Larry (no relation whatsoever to this blogger) Silverstein and will be paying his company over $14 million in late fees. Considering he pays over $200,000 a day for the lease, the late fees are a drop in the bucket.
From the AP:
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey finished excavating the land for the towers on Sunday, 48 days behind a deadline it set for itself in an agreement with Larry Silverstein. The agency paid $14.4 million in late fees to the developer. It said it partially made up for the cost by not paying the contractor a $10 million bonus it would have received for finishing on time.
The Port Authority worked for more than a year to build 80-foot-deep foundations for two towers that Silverstein will build, removing nearly 400,000 tons of concrete, soil and rock. Silverstein had said that construction would begin on the towers within weeks after the land was turned over.[...]
The skyscrapers, all at least as tall as the Empire State Building, are expected to be built in the next four years. Construction is under way at the site on a 1,776-foot building called the Freedom Tower, a Sept. 11 memorial and a transit hub.
Hmm, the AP might want to do their homework a little better next time. Not all the skyscrapers are going to be as tall as the E.S.B. uptown. Tower 3 is expected to rise 71 stories and tower 4 will be a little shorter at 64 stories. That is a far cry from the 102 stories that the iconic building on 34th St. rises. Regardless, the new buildings will definitely add more substance to the downtown skyline sooner rather than later.
Wouldn't you love to walk into a bank and get an interest rate that is agreeable to you? No fuss, warm handshakes and no car-dealership-esque treatment. Does that sound like what you expect when walking into bank x,y or z...perhaps FannieMae or CountryWide for your home? Well yeah, that doesn't happen for regular people, but it does happen for the banks themselves.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Banks in the United States have been quietly borrowing "massive amounts" from the U.S. Federal Reserve in recent weeks, using a new measure the Fed introduced two months ago to help ease the credit crunch, according to a report on the web site of The Financial Times.
The newspaper said the use of the Fed's Term Auction Facility (TAF), which allows banks to borrow at relatively attractive rates against a wide range of their assets, saw borrowing of nearly $50 billion of one-month funds from the Fed by mid-February.
The Financial Times said the move has sparked unease among some analysts about the stress developing in opaque corners of the U.S. banking system and the banks' growing reliance on indirect forms of government support.
O.K. well most of us are generally looking to borrow 0.00001 percent of that for a home or add another 0 to that number for a car. Still, the fact that they get to hit our government up for cash while we can't pay for a national health care system and our treasury goes deeper into debt. It isn't right that we bailout industries that have cast tough times upon themselves through greed and illegitimate (or should be illegitimate) behavior. Perhaps after January 20th of next year raping America wholesale will be considered criminal again.
So I'm sitting here at the end of Terminal A at Burbank Airport with my girlfriend, waiting for JetBlue's Flight 358 to leave. Of course we are waiting for Flight 359 to come into Burbank and that is three hours behind. Having patience for the flight is a necessity, it isn't like I can hop on my own private jet and head out to New York on a whim. Who do you think I am, Rudy Giuliani? Dealing with a total of four outlets for the entire room, the terminal-wide radio system and the TV that blare at the same time and the too frequent messages about Code Orange, some moron that hasn't gotten on their flight or whatever meaningless piece of information the loudspeaker people want to inform us of.
After more than two hours of this and another hour or so to go, I'm trying to find the internal patience to calmly deal with the situation. I know that plenty of travelers have had to deal with much worse due to weather and whatnot, so a small backache isn't too bad I guess. The worst part is that my honey could be late for work in the morning. So things aren't that bad.
Now having patience for this is a million times harder to find:
This morning on NBC’s Today Show, President Bush denied that the there’s any link between the faltering U.S. economy and $10 billion a month being spent on the Iraq war. In fact, according to Bush, the war is actually helping the economy:
CURRY: You don’t agree with that? It has nothing do with the economy, the war — spending on the war?
BUSH: I don’t think so. I think actually the spending in the war might help with jobs…because we’re buying equipment, and people are working. I think this economy is down because we built too many houses and the economy’s adjusting.
Too many houses? TOO MANY HOUSES??? Are you kidding me, seriously, what planet does our pResident live on? How the hell does anyone with a shred of common sense not see the link between a costly war and our economy that is being drained by the moment. This is something I have no patience for whatsoever. I'd rather wait for the flight that leaves tomorrow, sitting on hot coals than deal with another day of this train wreck named George.
Monday, February 18, 2008
One of the things the Clinton camp uses against Obama is that he won't be able to stand up to the vast right wing conspiracy's attack machine...and that Hillary already has. Of course, her "standing up" has resulted in high negatives for the New York Senator that stretch across the political spectrum. Clinton's team doesn't think Obama can be that tough, but he definitely showed it today against Hillary in a pre-taped interview on the Ed Schultz show.
Schultz asked Obama to "be very direct" on his view of the Clinton campaign's push for delegates from Michigan and Florida to be seated at this summer's Democratic convention. Clinton won uncontested primaries in those states, which were stripped of their delegates after scheduling the contests earlier than party rules allowed.
"I think even a six-year-old understands that you don't change the rules of the game halfway through," Obama said.
An aide then immediately tried to cut in and end the call, but Schultz managed to get out another question, asking if Obama would like a "do-over" in Michigan and Florida.
"I'm sure that we can work something out," he said. "But I think the main thing is just to make sure that the delegate results coming out of two contests that were not contested and were not supposed to count, that they don't somehow start counting now."
Thats right, playing by the rules is important. While the general contest this fall may have rule-breakers involved, they certainly should not come from the Democratic side. If Hillary gets away with Michigan and Florida's delegates counting as they stand now would be outrageous and completely unfair. If a six year old can understand it, so can the voters this fall when they want to choose a candidate that believes in principles and fair play. The nation is sick of a President that skirts rules and laws and we definitely do not need another one.
President's Day may be slow for the sake of generating news, but that is no reason to go negative over ridiculous accusations by the Clinton camp. Unfortunately spokesman Howard Wolfson did just that, claiming that Obama plagarized his supporter and Massachusetts' Governor Devall Patrick. Not only is this a non-issue, it is hypocritical of Wolfson to claim that Obama plagarizes by using similar language as Patrick while Hillary frequently rips off words from Barack himself.
From The Huffington Post:
Obama: "Don't tell me words don't matter. 'I have a dream' -- just words? 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal' -- just words? 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself' -- just words? Just speeches?"
Patrick: "'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal' -- just words? Just words? 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself' -- just words? 'Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.' Just words? 'I have a dream' -- just words?"
The Obama campaign denied anything nefarious, noting that the two men are friends and political supporters of each other and that the line was, in fact, ad-libbed.
The Clinton camp, however, jumped right on the issue arguing that the use of someone else's language was telling for a candidate who leans so heavily on his oratory. The debate - aided, in part, by a relatively slow news day - culminated in dueling conference calls at 11 am on Monday morning.
"The issue whether or not there is approval is immaterial. The public did not know that the words had come from Gov. Patrick," said Clinton's spokesperson Howard Wolfson. We need a president, added Massachussetts Rep. Jim McGovern who is "not just someone who can copy someone's homework."
Moments later, Wolfson, in a separate interview with Politico, described Obama use of Patrick's earlier speech as "plagiarism."
In response to the charges, the Obama camp took a two-prong approach: downplaying the political significance of the language lifting and making the case that Sen. Hillary Clinton, herself, had borrowed lines from Obama.
Again, this is a ridiculous thing for Clinton or any of her people to bring up. Please focus on the issues and pay attention to the voters of Wisconsin and Hawaii. Oh wait, that is, if you are even going to bother staying in the state to listen to tomorrow's voters.
Happy President's Day everyone! It may be another day at work, a day off from the job or school or the chance to save some money at one of the many sales around town. Of course the true meaning of the holiday is to pay respect to the Executive branch and the men that have led it. So far we have forty-three white men to look at. To praise or to criticize them or a mixture of both. Most kids are taught a few things about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and maybe even Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Google News points us in a few directions this morning/afternoon. What offices are closed in San Diego, perhaps take a quiz, shopping in Seattle and weather forecasts are at the top of the list (at least when I hit the "Search" button. One link though gives us a history of the holiday. It was originally meant for our first President, George Washington.
In the late 1980s, with a push from advertisers, the term Presidents Day began its public appearance. The theme has expanded the focus of the holiday to honor another President born in February, Abraham Lincoln, and often other Presidents of the United States. Although Lincoln's birthday, February 12, was never a federal holiday, approximately a dozen state governments have officially renamed their Washington's Birthday observances as "Presidents Day", "Washington and Lincoln Day", or other such designations. It is also interesting to note that "Presidents Day" is not always an all-inclusive term. In Massachusetts, while the state officially celebrates "Washington's Birthday," state law also prescribes that the governor issue an annual Presidents Day proclamation honoring the presidents that have come from Massachusetts: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge, and John F. Kennedy. (Coolidge, the only one born outside of Massachusetts, spent his entire political career before the vice presidency there. George H.W. Bush, on the other hand, was born in Massachusetts, but has spent most of his life elsewhere.) Alabama uniquely observes the day as "Washington and Jefferson Day," even though Jefferson's birthday was in April. In Connecticut, while Presidents Day is a federal holiday, Abraham Lincoln's birthday is still a state holiday, falling on February 12 regardless of the day of the week.Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Corporate America wanted a special day to sell more crap. So instead of going out to capitalize on some car or furniture sale try to think about some of our former Presidents. You might not believe it, but before George Bush there were men that ascended to the Presidency with dignity, honor and with intent to protect, defend and preserve the Constitution of the United States.....unlike our current Deciderer.
In Washington's home state of Virginia the holiday is legally known as "George Washington Day."
Today, the February holiday has become well-known for being a day in which many stores hold sales. Until the late 1980s, corporate businesses were universally closed on this day, the way they are on (for example) Memorial Day or Christmas Day. With the late 1980s advertising push to rename the holiday, more and more businesses are staying open on the holiday each year, and, as on Veterans Day and Columbus Day, most delivery services outside of the Post Office now offer regular service on the day as well. Some public transit systems have also gone to regular schedules on the day. Various theories exist for this, one accepted reason being to make up for the growing trend of corporations to close in observance of the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. However, when reviewing the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill debate of 1968 in the Congressional Record, one notes that supporters of the Bill were intent on moving federal holidays to Mondays to promote business. Over time, as with many federal holidays, few Americans actually celebrate Presidents Day, and it is mainly known as a day off from work or school, although most non-governmental workers do not get the day off.
I was at the Skirball Center here in Los Angeles yesterday while on a bit of a break from
chilly warm and stormy New York. After seeing the Dylan exhibit we wandered into another gallery and saw some amazing paintings depicting the Id, Ego and SuperEgo. They were inspired by Freud and a nice touch to end the afternoon over there. I wonder what the artists (and Freud) would think of Rudy Giuliani's battle between his Id, Ego and SuperEgo? Even though he was humiliated out of the Presidential race a month ago, he is still making money off of something he has that is ridiculously inflated.
From Right's Field:
According to the Speakers Bureau’s bio of Rudy, which, I’m betting $911 was written by Rudy himself: “Rudy Giuliani…helped lead New York - and the U.S. - out of the devastation that followed the attacks on 9-11,” because, of course, 9/11 turned Rudy into the President of the United States–er President of 9/11.[...]
And “As a candidate for president, he galvanized the national debate,” which is why of course he’s still in the race for president to this day! He’s that galvanizing.
Oh, and Rudy will show ” leaders at all levels how to transform their corporate and organizational cultures—for bottom-line success and results,” by using his own financially solvent presidential campaign as a prime example.
Finally, this paragraph is worth quoting in full:
Hero and Inspiration: As someone who found himself on the frontlines of the War on Terror, Giuliani understands the grave personal price already paid to maintain freedom. Never one to shy away from a battle —at great personal risk, Giuliani almost single-handedly took on organized crime in New York—he reminds audiences that to protect freedom, eternal vigilance is necessary. His presentations become events of international repute and scope where large, enthusiastic crowds are the norm.
Jeez, what a guy.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Eliot Spitzer went to Congress recently to speak about his state's and specifically Wall Street's impact on the national and global economy. That small street and the industry that surrounds it controls the bond market and the housing slump and mortgage crisis has the potential to create what Spitzer calls a "Financial Tsunami." How bad is it you ask?
Bad, real bad:
In testimony to the US Congress, Spitzer urged lawmakers and regulators to urgently address the bond and credit problems roiling the financial industry which have forced some big firms to writeoff billions of dollars in troubled securities.
"If we do not take effective action, this could be a financial tsunami that causes substantial damage throughout our economy," Spitzer said, according to a transcript.
He said the financial difficulties ofcould have a widespread effect because they insure a broad range of bonds and securities such as municipal bonds, college loans and even relate to museum budgets.Spitzer cautioned that individual investors who own bond portfolios could also sustain losses if the industry faces further losses and writedowns.
The impact from this will affect more than museums and bond portfolios. This will shock everyone and the outcome will not be pretty.
People make mistakes all the time, its human nature. Sometimes those mistakes are trivial, like forgetting to get the key ingredient to make dinner while at the market and not realizing it till its time to add it. Then there are other examples where the outcome is incredibly important, like forgetting to count the votes of one candidate versus the other. This happened all across New York City at the beginning of the month and overwhelmingly it was to the detriment of Obama.
From The NY Times:
Black voters are heavily represented in the 94th Election District in Harlem’s 70th Assembly District. Yet according to the unofficial results from the New York Democratic primary last week, not a single vote in the district was cast for Senator Barack Obama.
That anomaly was not unique. In fact, a review by The New York Times of the unofficial results reported on primary night found about 80 election districts among the city’s 6,106 where Mr. Obama supposedly did not receive even one vote, including cases where he ran a respectable race in a nearby district.
City election officials this week said that their formal review of the results, which will not be completed for weeks, had confirmed some major discrepancies between the vote totals reported publicly — and unofficially — on primary night and the actual tally on hundreds of voting machines across the city.
Thank god they have a formal review process. Though it isn't as simple as that. See here in New York we are on our last year (supposedly) of using the old lever machines from way back in the last century. Despite the age and problems that comes with these clunkers, it is still possible to count and recount the votes.
When New York changes over for next year's local contests, the system, both human and computerized must be watched with eagle eyes to make sure that we hold the counters accountable and that results come out properly the first time.