Saturday, March 01, 2008

Did The Iraq War Cause Our Recession?

Our current economic downturn is being attributed to many different things. That includes the price of oil, the housing crisis, the sub-prime mortgage fiasco and the ridiculous amount of national and personal debt that we hold in the country. But what about Iraq. We waste billions upon billions over there, that has to account for something....something many Republicans do not want to even accept as a topic for debate. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winning economist, does want to make it an issue. And I am willing to go out on a ledge and say that he can debate any Republican politician willing to argue the other side and it would be a cakewalk for Stiglitz.

From The Australian News:

Professor Stiglitz told the Chatham House think tank in London that the Bush White House was currently estimating the cost of the war at about $US500 billion, but that figure massively understated things such as the medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen.

The war was now the second-most expensive in US history after World War II and the second-longest after Vietnam, he said.

The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch because the US central bank responded to the massive financial drain of the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit.

"The regulators were looking the other way and money was being lent to anybody this side of a life-support system," he said.

That led to a housing bubble and a consumption boom, and the fallout was plunging the US economy into recession and saddling the next US president with the biggest budget deficit in history, he said.

Professor Stiglitz, an academic at the Columbia Business School and a former economic adviser to president Bill Clinton, said a further $US500 billion was going to be spent on the fighting in the next two years and that could have been used more effectively to improve the security and quality of life of Americans and the rest of the world.

The money being spent on the war each week would be enough to wipe out illiteracy around the world, he said.

Just a few days' funding would be enough to provide health insurance for US children who were not covered, he said.

Well it doesn't take a Nobel Award winner to tell me that we could have paid to wipe out illiteracy or provide health insurance for underprivileged kids with that blood war money. Maybe he could get through to Bush on this....or perhaps Congress. Too bad the former doesn't care and the latter is too weak to act to help their constituents.

Young Turks Weekly Round Up


Constitutional Showdown: Bush Vs democracy

Although the amount of time it took was surprising, the Bush Administration's lackey Michael Mukasey (a.k.a. United States Attorney General) handed back an all too expected response to Congress that he will not fulfill his duty to prosecute Miers and Bolten. When it comes down to it, Bushies will protect Bushies over the Constitution any day of the week. So what is Congress going to do about it?

From The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused Friday to refer the House's contempt citations against two of President Bush's top aides to a federal grand jury. Mukasey said White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former presidential counsel Harriet Miers committed no crime.

As promised, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she has given the Judiciary Committee authority to file a lawsuit against Bolten and Miers in federal court.

"The House shall do so promptly," she said in a statement.

Mukasey said Bolten and Miers were right in ignoring subpoenas to provide Congress with White House documents or testify about the firings of federal prosecutors.

First off, Mukasey doesn't know shit other than subverting the rule of law. For him to decide what is right or wrong is ridiculous. If your goal is to thrash our system of government and install an autocratic dictator, then maybe you are on the right track. Its just, well, the American people might have something to say about that.

So anyway, this civil lawsuit will go to a judge sooner or later. Mukasey will argue that Miers and Bolten could not testify because the President said so. He obviously believes Bush has more power than the Congress, despite the fact that the United States was set up with three co-equal branches of government. This isn't a case that is hard to determine, it is a slam freakin dunk for Congress. All this does is delay the American people from hearing the truth about what Miers and Bolten did on behalf of the White House.

Oh and just in case you forgot what this whole brouhaha is about.....Bush and his cohorts had United States Attorneys fired for not prosecuting people based on the political beliefs of the Bush Administration. When several of the dismissed Attorneys came forward with what happened, Congress started asking questions and no one that is involved with doing the firing is answering. Finding out those answers could implicate Bush Administration officials in a crime. The American people deserve the answer, and those that violated any laws of our land must be held accountable. It is that simple.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Clinton Shifts Expectations Again

Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to the Clinton campaign. Whether she releases ads to play on the fears of voters, throws the kitchen sink at Obama full of negative attacks or changing expectations of her campaign, this is nothing new from a candidate that will do anything to win. Now she's playing down next Tuesday's contests and it seems that she'll be happy to go on as long as she wins one race out of four.

From The Politico:

At the start of the call, Plouffe read back predictions by Clinton campaign officials that they would be nearly tied – or even ahead – in the delegate count after March 4, an eventuality that now seems unlikely even if Clinton has a strong day.

“Those are their own benchmarks,” Plouffe said. “The Clinton campaign has to begin winning big states by big margins to have any hope of erasing this delegate deficit. … The most likely outcome Tuesday is not a huge delegate swing either way.”

The latest CBS News delegate count has Obama at 1,373 and Clinton at 1,265. That includes the party insiders known as super delegates. The count for pledged delegates – those allocated based on primaries and caucuses – is Obama at 1,192 and Clinton at 1,035.

Plouffe said that if the Ohio vote is close – say, less than 5 percent – the leader will only pick up three delegates. He referred to the press role as “referees” of how the results will be interpreted, and he sought to convince reporters that even if Clinton wins the popular vote in one of the states, she is likely to still face an insurmountable deficit in the delegate count.

After the call, the Clinton campaign e-mailed a memo entitled, "Obama Must-Wins": "The media has anointed Barack Obama the presumptive nominee and he's playing the part. With an eleven-state winning streak coming out of February, Senator Obama is riding a surge of momentum that has enabled him to pour unprecedented resources into Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont. ... Senator Obama has campaigned hard in these states. He has spent time meeting editorial boards, courting endorsers, holding rallies, and - of course - making speeches. If he cannot win all of these states with all this effort, there's a problem."

No Senator Clinton, the problem is with you and the assumption you will still be in this after Tuesday. Your campaign said winning Ohio and Texas were crucial. Many of your supporters agree. It would be embarrassing if you were to continue this race if you can't win Texas and Ohio in five days. You might find that all those friends are going to disappear very quickly.

Words Move People, Fear Drives Them Away

Would you rather be inspired or terrorized by a candidate? While Hillary advertises about how would you want having to answer a critical call at 3am, Obama's supporters have a different tune:

McCain Using Tired Political Tricks On Dems

Oh John, why must you be so full of shit? When are you going to take that "Straight-Talk" off your bus and replace it with something more fitting. Perhaps along the lines of "GOP Hack Express?" "Straight Talk" sounds like you are being level with the voters of this country and playing with a spirit of fairness and respect for the other side. That is something you apparently have no regard for. Seriously, why is it so hard to say "Dem-o-crat-ic?"

From The Washington Post:

“One thing I’m not any good at predicting is the outcome of Democrat elections,” he said Tuesday aboard his bus, dubbed the Straight Talk Express. A day earlier, he had mentioned his “Democrat friends” to a Cleveland-area audience.

Asked aboard his bus about the “ic,” he replied, “I’m sorry, I usually say Democratic. They prefer Democratic, so I try to say Democratic… It offends some members of their party, so I’ll say Democratic if that’s what makes them feel better.”

But his resolve didn’t last long. Later on that same ride, he was talking about his annoyance that Democrats take credit for the improving situation in Iraq. “To say, as Sen. Obama has said, that it’s because of the Democrat majority that we have experienced success in Iraq, that’s just beyond comprehension.”

McCain is trying to mimic George Bush in all sorts of ways now, not just with his blind ambition to continue the mess we have in Iraq and the absence of a plan to help the nation's economy and those that are losing their homes because of it. Now it has to be about emphasizing the part of our party name to make it sound like we are rats. How mature is that? Seriously, is the Republican party run by a bunch of sniveling five year olds? Though as the Washington Post tells us, it wasn't Bush that started this practice:

The usage goes way back, but according to the Columbia Guide to Standard English, Republicans are wrong to use the phrase “Democrat Party.” The guide reports that the phrase was used “with particular virulence” by the late senator Wisconsin Republican Joseph R. McCarthy who “sought by repeatedly calling it the Democrat party to deny it any possible benefit of the suggestion that it might also be democratic.”

You know, the Joseph McCarthy that was bent on scaring the hell out of the country in the 1950s? McCarthy was anything but respectful. If McCain wants to continue to emulate that epitome of fear and manipulation then by all means do so, but do not think for one second that you'll be regarded as respectful or fair by the time this election is all said and done.

Comcast Pays Seat Warmers To Help Block The Net

Net Neutrality is a big deal, and so is the process for corporations like Comcast to make the net more suitable for their bottom line and not for equal access to the Internet. Right now the FCC is touring the country to get public comments from Americans to see what they think about companies being allowed to filter certain sites and speeds of communication at their whim. Comcast, being the greedy corporation that they are doesn't want to play fairly, so they hired seat warmers to stay silent and keep the interested public out of the hearing in Boston.

From Save The Internet:

Comcast — or someone who really, really likes Comcast — evidently bused in its own crowd. These seat-warmers, were paid to fill the room, a move that kept others from taking part.

[Update: Comcast admits to paying people to stack the room in their favor. Read the report.]

They arrived en masse some 90 minutes before the hearing began and occupied almost every available seat, upon which many promptly fell asleep (picture above).

MarkeyComcast’s sleeper cell

One told us that he was “just getting paid to hold someone’s seat.”

>> Listen to the audio

He added that he had no idea what the meeting was about.

If he was holding someone else’s seat, he never gave it up.

Many of this early crowd had mysteriously matching yellow highlighters stuck in their lapels.

MarkeyComcast payoff

We also photographed them outside the venue being handed papers by an organizer who had been seen earlier talking with several of the Comcast people at the hearing.

Here’s why this is a problem. Comcast clearly paid disinterested people to fill seats. This barred interested citizens from entering.

More than 100 people who arrived at the appointed time for the hearing were turned away by campus police because the room was already full.

ComcastBarred: The interested public

The Cambridge hearing is part of the FCC’s ongoing investigation into Comcast’s blocking of Internet traffic. But there’s much more at stake. We are at a critical juncture, where it will be decided whether we have a closed Internet controlled by a small handful of giant corporations, or an open Internet controlled by the people who use it.

Comcast wants the former — to dictate which Web sites and services go fast, slow or don’t load at all. And they’re backed by the other would-be gatekeepers at AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner.

Comcast doesn't give a rats you know what about you, whether you're a customer of theirs or not. This is about control, plain and simple. Corporations like Comcast want to own us, its their inherent nature. They'll do anything for absolute power in order to make a larger profit and if controlling information is part of the game plan, then so be it. This is why we need to show up, en masse and apparently early to tell the FCC (and then Congress) that Net Neutrality must stand.

Republicans Are Going To Love This

Hey Mr. McCain, is this how you woo those conservatives, with your oratorical skills?

Mr. Luntz Goes To Albany

The GOP caucus in the New York state Senate isn't doing so well. Their majority has been dwindling and their hold over the Senate for the last fifty years or so is perilously close to being washed away this November. The attacks from Bruno, Barclay, etc did not work in the very conservative Senate District 48 last week, as Darrel Aubertine became the first Democrat in seat since the 1800s. Now they are desperately looking for something new to throw at NY Dems, and their go to man is about to be none other than Frank Luntz.

From The Poughkeepsie Journal:

In the first sign of a shakeup, the party plans to hire national Republican consultant Frank Luntz to look at how Senate Republicans can redefine themselves as they seek to retain their slim majority in the chamber.

"I'm taking a look at everybody and everything," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, Rensselaer County on Albany radio station 1300-AM Thursday. "We are going to do a self-inspection."

The hiring of Luntz, also a Fox News pollster and focus-group guru who has worked with Senate Republicans in the past, may be the beginning of several changes within Republican ranks. Republicans said they are considering the hiring other high-profile national strategists.
With Democrat Darrel Aubertine's victory in the race for an open North Country Senate seat Tuesday over GOP opponent Will Barclay, some Republican operatives and leaders said the party needs a new message.

Well Joe, there is no need to hire Luntz, let me help you pro-bono instead. Luntz likes to use alliterations and other neat phrases to oooh and ahhhh the audience, so lets see what we can do. "Albany Allows A**holes?" Hmm. How about "GOP: Government Of Patronage." Nah probably not. What about "Vote For Entrenched Power, More Of The Same Is A Good Thing." O.K. maybe I'm not so good at this.

Well Mr. Bruno waste those campaign contribution on Mr. Luntz if you wish. The problem is, despite the clever slogans he comes up with for you, it won't do any good versus your record and that of your caucus. If a heavily Republican district in the Oswego area won't vote GOP, something isn't wrong with the message, its the platform....or lack thereof.

Sheldon Silver Practices Cronyism? Never.

Did you hear the sarcasm dripping in that title? Or was it more of a roaring, giant waterfall sound? Silver has been the Assembly Leader since forever and in 'representing' Lower Manhattan/LES since the mid 1970s. After you have acquired enough power like Sheldon has, coupled with working in Albany, you know things can go wrong when it comes to good government. Well, he was caught in the act again this week.

From The NY Post:

Silver and Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith last month tapped Arthur Luxenberg as their appointment to the 13-mem- ber committee that recommends to the governor candidates for the Appellate Division, Court of Claims and State Supreme Court in the city's district.

Luxenberg is a co-founder of Weitz & Luxenberg, one of the state's largest trial-law firms. Silver has been "of counsel" at the firm since 2002.

He and the firm have repeatedly refused to reveal who his clients are or how much he is paid, although sources have said it could be in the seven figures.

Luxenberg told The Post he was a joint appointment of Silver and Smith and denied the fact that Silver's ties to the firm had anything do with his placement in the nonpaying post on the commission.

Oh of course not. How could we think such a thing of Silver? I'm sure they barely know each other in the office and that his name came up because he was highly recommended by some government watchdog organization like, oh, I don't know, maybe N.Y.P.I.R.G.?

"The speaker is entitled to pick someone who shares his judicial philosophy, but he should look outside a firm with which he is affiliated," said Russ Haven, of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

One lawyer with knowledge of the appointment noted that Luxenberg, whose firm's Web site boasts of "more million-dollar verdicts than most firms in the country," will now have a say in selecting appellate-court judges who will decide whether to uphold or lower such awards.

"It just doesn't look good," said the lawyer, who asked for anonymity.

No, it doesn't look good. Not at all. It looks like more of the same from Albany. Just another reason why voters from his district must take a look at Paul Newell in the primary this year. Paul is anything but about cronyism and shady deals, the exact opposite of what we must deal with in Sheldon Silver's stewardship of the Assembly.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Eco-Friendly Torture

I can almost see this being replayed as the McLaughlin report, or perhaps on Tweety's show:

In The Know: How Can We Make The War In Iraq More Eco-Friendly?

Sick and twisted yes, but definitely funny.

Wow, Pelosi Actually Wrote The Letter

Congratulations Madam Speaker:

Washington, D.C. – Today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the following letter to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, informing him of the referral letter sent to U.S. Attorney of the District of Columbia Jeffrey Taylor on contempt citations of former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten. Taylor is required by law to bring the matter before a grand jury. However, Mukasey has indicated that the Justice Department intends to prevent Taylor from complying with the law.

“There is no authority by which persons may wholly ignore a subpoena and fail to appear as directed because a President unilaterally instructs them to do so. Even if a subpoenaed witness intends to assert a privilege in response to questions, the witness is not at liberty to disregard the subpoena and fail to appear at the required time and place. Surely, your Department would not tolerate that type of action if the witness were subpoenaed to a federal grand jury,” she wrote.

“I strongly urge you to reconsider your position and to ensure that our nation is operating under the rule of law and not at presidential whim,” she added.

Two weeks ago, the House passed H.R. 979, which holds Miers and Bolten in contempt of their subpoenas.

You can read the letter via the link if you so choose, but this excerpt sums it up. Now the ball is in Mukasey's court. Will he comply with the Constitution, or continue being Bush's lackey? I'm going to go with the latter, you know, based on the last seven-plus years of this pathetic excuse of a Presidential Administration.

So once he ignores the letter, Pelosi will have the Judiciary Cmte (see Congressman Conyers) file a civil suit. This is the agreed upon action and it isn't even an idea hatched by Democrats. No, this one was concocted by no less than James Sensenbrenner, the Judiciary Cmte Chairman back when the GOP held the house.

Gee, look at that, Republicans actually do have some relevant ideas!

No, First You Get The Power, Then You Get The Money

If you are in government and you want power, it seems that these days you need to curry the favor of the corporations. It is unfortunate that there is so much money in politics but that is something we need to fix once President O..... I mean the Democratic President steps into office. Too bad the Republicans don't realize that the current system that they have helped perpetuate can swing back and bite them in the ass.

From RawStory:

Congressional Republicans have been among the most vocal proponents of a plan that would spare telecommunications companies from paying millions -- perhaps billions -- of dollars in litigation costs and potential penalties for their participation in President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, which critics say was illegal.

One might think that those expected savings would find their way into GOP campaign coffers, but party aides are griping to Roll Call that a surge in donations from telephone and Internet providers has failed to materialize.[...]

“These companies just won’t do anything,” the GOP aide told Roll Call's Tory Newmyer and Lauren W. Whittington. “Even when you have the Democrats working against their bottom line.”

No Republicans would speak to the reporters on the record, wary of the impression that their immunity support is little more than a legislative shake-down for campaign donations. But plenty proffered private complaints about the telco's shifting support.

Despite getting behind Bush and the telecommunications companies, the telcos smacked them down monetarily and are giving more to Democrats....even though the Dems are holding together to oppose retroactive immunity. Why would the telcos go against the party advocating for saving them millions or billions? Well because despite the lawsuits, getting legislation that favors them is always worth more than a few lawsuits, even if they have to pay something out. The key thing is, corporations employ strategists and lawyers to limit how much they'll ultimately pay out to the people they illegally spied on. They don't care about laws that envoke democratic behavior, they care about the laws that increase their bottom line.

It sounds discouraging and looks like no matter what we do, corporate America will win despite what party is in power. But. But.

You're wrong, because once we start to wake up as active citizens and elect candidates that serve us instead of the corporations, they can throw around all the money they want, it won't matter. All we need to do is become more active and aware. Now that sounds easy and it can be, but first, we must break through the money and corporate dominance. So go out and support your local progressive candidate, and if there isn't one, go out and run yourself. By the people, of the people and for the people. That is what our founding fathers wanted.

Welcome To Anti-Hillary HQ

The Daily Show's Samantha Bee gives us a can't miss exclusive:

Why The Times Endorsed Clinton Over Obama

Right before the South Carolina primary, with the New York primary not too far off, the New York Times went ahead and endorsed Hillary Clinton. They also gushed over Obama quite profusely. It was an odd editorial piece to say the least. Now sources are revealing that there was more to it, that a Clinton supporter by the name of Steven Rattner had cajoled his friend and NYT Chairman Arthur Sulzberger. This heaping serving of drama came out in the NY Magazine a month ago. Though today there's more.

From The New Republic:

According to Times sources, the paper almost didn't back Clinton. The divisions within the Gray Lady's editorial board mirrored the deep divide that has split Democrats in this tightly contested campaign. The 20-member board had initially leaned toward Obama, Times sources say. But in January, after the board had debated the endorsement in two separate sessions, Times chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. decided to favor Clinton. Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, declining to comment on the internal debate, acknowledged that the vote was a difficult one. "It was a really hard one, no question about it," Rosenthal told me. "We talked about this within our board for hours. It was a very lively, interesting discussion. Several members of the board said it was the best discussion they've had."

Hmmm, is that all Mr. Rosenthal?

Clinton visited the Times on January 14 for her only meeting with the editorial board, after rescheduling her visit several times. Following Clinton's meeting, the editorial board debated the endorsement in two heated sessions, before Sulzberger tipped the scales in her favor. Some have noted that one source of Sulzberger's support for Clinton might be his close friendship with Steve Rattner, the former Times reporter-turned-private equity financier who is a prominent Clinton donor (and Sulzberger's gym buddy). Through a spokesperson, Sulzberger said, "Our endorsements represent the best thinking of the editorial board and we do not comment on them beyond what we say to our readers."

So that would be a "no comment" I presume. Skipping ahead to the present time, people at the Times like Rosenthal continue to write glowing articles about Obama and any pro-Clinton force within the paper has been subdued with her string of defeats. Well good for Mr. Rosenthal, but all of this begs a serious question....why do these papers endorse candidates at all?

The form answer is that way back when papers were meant to inform by means of an obvious and apparent biased contributor(s). Some newspapers still carry their old "Republican" and "Democrat" names. Though for the most part, many do not. Many papers are, or are supposed to have an above-it-all aura that paints a picture of the news fairly and informs their readers based on what is news, not what is good for one candidate or the other. So when you hear about political influence based on friends of the paper's head honcho and who they support, it makes you less trusting of the paper in question and frankly, all newspapers.

I'd love to see our nation's newspapers get their credibility back....maybe they'd like to start in this area first. Though personally, I doubt they'll pass a chance to toot their political horns.

Rapturites For McCain

Despite the antipathy many conservatives have had for McCain, he just got an influential nut on board the S.S. McCain. John Hagee runs the Cornerstone Church in Texas and despite being one of many ministers that think God and politics should be mixed, he's a special one. Hagee believes that I will perish unless I bow to Christ, or something like that. And he believes McCain is the man for him in the White House.

From ABC News:

Hagee cited McCain's support of Israel and his opposition to legal abortion as reasons why he was backing him.

The pastor is best known in some Washington circles as a founder of Christians United for Israel and for his belief, as laid out in his book "Jerusalem Countdown" that the end of days scenario as spelled out in the Book of Revelation will occur after Russia, allied with the Islamic world, attacks Israel.

"Russia is going to get in that position and they are literally, with all that massive military force, going to attack Israel," Hagee told ABC News in 2006. "This is recorded in Ezekiel 38 and 39. God himself is literally going to destroy that army. Decimate it."

Hagee added that the confrontation would be followed by a Chinese army of 200 million coming to the city of Armageddon, where they will meet British and U.S. forces in the Battle of Armageddon.

"At that point, Jesus Christ returns to Earth and sets up his eternal kingdom in the city of Jerusalem and there's 1000 years of peace," Hagee said. "The Jewish people are going to see the supernatural hand of God preserve them and deliver them while the enemies of Israel are crushed. That's the end-time story."

Asked if he subscribed to this theology, McCain furrowed his brow.

"All I can tell you is I'm proud to have Pastor Hagee's support," he said.

Um, that is scary. Furrow your brow all you want McCain. That would be support I'd fast and far away from. But when you are John McCain, I guess you'll take anything you can get. One nut deserves another.

The Answer Is Yes

The question: Should Newsweek fire Karl Rove?

Cenk Uyugr asks the senior editor at Newsweek, Michael Hirsh:

Does Hillary Prefer McCain To Obama?

You would think that by the end of the primary season, the Democratic candidates would come together in order to fight back against the Republican attack machine. Why on earth you would want to feed your opponent to that machine borders on extreme maliciousness. When you compare issues and policies, Senator Clinton is much closer to Senator Obama than she is to McCain. Yet for some reason, even though her inevitability is leading up to a loss against Obama, she is still trying to slash his tires as he drives towards November and the general election.

From ABC News:

The Hillary Clinton campaign pushed to reporters today stories about Barack Obama and his ties to former members of a radical domestic terrorist group -- but did not note that as president, Clinton's husband pardoned more than a dozen convicted violent radicals, including a member of the same group mentioned in the Obama stories.

"Wonder what the Republicans will do with this issue," mused Clinton spokesman Phil Singer in one e-mail to the media, containing a New York Sun article reporting a $200 contribution from William Ayers, a founding member of the Weather Underground, to Obama in 2001. (Obama's ties to the radical group first surfaced last week in a Bloomberg News article.)

In a separate e-mail, Singer forwarded an article from reporting on a 1995 event at a private home that brought Obama together with Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, another former member of the radical group.

Hillary likes to count the years in the White House as her own, so she better be ready to accept responsibility on that one. Of course it doesn't really matter though. Her campaign is over and next Wednesday after Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island vote should make it official. So why continue these attacks? Why give this ammunition to McCain and Co? What is the point to this madness?

T For Travesty

I know that AM New York went with T for Tardy this morning on their frontpage, but that doesn't do the situation justice. Yet again, the MTA is delaying the Second Avenue subway line, some day to be the T line running up and down the east side of Manhattan. The project was to have its first leg completed by 2013 (63rd-96th St.) but now they're tacking on two more years. You can add that to the 79 years we've been waiting so far since the project was started initially. But this isn't a technical issue, its a money issue and that is ticks a lot of people off.

From AM New York:

Commuters on the packed downtown platform at the 51st and Lexington station were in no mood to sympathize during the Wednesday's evening rush hour. "It's bordering on incompetence at this point," said Max Chee, 35, who was trying to get home to Park Slope. "By the time it's eventually ready I'll be retired."

The one-year delay - the second such postponement in recent months - affects the first stage of the Second Avenue line that will connect 96th Street to 63rd Street.

David Guin, a lawyer who lives in the West Village, sat on a bench watching the shiny metal No. 6 trains that resembled sardine cans rumble past.

"I wait for at least one or two, sometimes three trains to go by before I get on," Guin said. "Anything that would relieve the congestion on this line would do a lot."

By the time this is done, Max's grandkids will be retiring and David will have to let six or seven trains go by. Damn, if I was time-warped to 1929 when they proposed this thing, I'd be 106. I hope to God almighty I'm not a straphanger by that time in my life (if I get there). Enough griping about that though, there is plenty more on this plate.

Remember way back when (November-December '07) the fare increase was being mulled? The MTA said that they wanted to raise the fares for operational costs and save the state allocated money for large projects like....the T line and the Grand Central LIRR connection. Well now both items are delayed and the only thing that changes is that we, the straphangers, pay more starting next week.

And then there's the plan to solve our transportation needs with congestion pricing. Charging more to those that drive into the city so that we can have better mass transit would have been a great idea. Unfortunately many are seeing it now as a way to finance the M.T.A. as is instead of the improvements we were promised. On top of that, there are discrepancies between the Mayor and the M.T.A. on how the funds will be used. So not even the Mayor is able to say with certainty what those additional funds would be used for.

Meanwhile, we keep wasting billions in Iraq......wouldn't it be nice to have a week or two's worth of that to make New York move in the 21st century?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

McCain: Against Tax Cuts For The Wealthy Before He Was For Them

Sound confusing? Try to hear it from the horse's mouth:

And notice at the end how he corrects himself, "But I support tax cuts, and I have never supported -- I do not support tax increases, and the effect of not making them permanent would have the effect of a tax increase."

Bruno Is To 2008, As The British Were To Yorktown

If Joe Bruno wants to talk about battles and wars in the metaphorical sense, then I'm game. Bruno (and his Republican caucus) may try and talk with confidence but if they think they're going to win anything and hold their control over the colony state of New York, they've got another thing coming.

From The Daily Politics:

The senator reiterated that the Republicans remain in control of the Senate - no matter how slim their one-seat margin may be.

"This was a battle in a war," Bruno said of the Republicans' loss in the 48th SD. "We lost that battle, but we are going to win the war. We are going forward as a unified conference....By my count, a majority is a majority."

Bruno insisted that his conference is solidly behind him and he does not expect any coup attempts. To underscore that statement, he had the two senators most discussed as his possible successors/challengers - Sen. Dean Skelos, of Rockville Center, and Sen. tom Libous, of Binghamton, who was in charge of running Will Barclay's losing campaign - to publicly declare their fealty to him.

Good for Bruno on having his conference behind him, but its too bad that the number is steadily dwindling. If Darrel Aubertine can win in an area where registered Republicans vastly outnumber Democratic voters, the host of races across the state in November spells out bad news for Bruno and Co.

So Bruno can keep fighting, but his weapons are vastly inferior to the ones we've got on our side. Progressive candidates, worker-friendly policies and a new vision for New York will out-gun anything Bruno and the New York Republican delegation can throw at us. Bruno has his back up against the wall on a short peninsula and surrender will be the only option after election day in a little over eight months from now.

So What Is The Big Deal About NAFTA?

NAFTA is a big deal to many people. It is a big deal to the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Americans that have lost their jobs due to that trade deal. It matters to those that have jobs but with depressed wages due to the new "competition." Companies that have exploited the deal have made millions and billions by having to pay lower wages (and lower costs in terms of safety, pension benefits, human rights, etc) by setting up shop in other countries that don't care about their people as much. So, is this a big deal to Sens. Clinton and Obama?

From Jonathan Tasini at Working Life:

I was struck today, as I have been for the past several weeks, at the void created when John Edwards suspended his campaign for president. Today, it was on the issue of trade and globalization, courtesy of a piece in The Wall Street Journal entitled "Decoding Candidates On Trade."

Here's an important paragraph, with my bolded emphasis:

Neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Obama is likely to be able to do much about trade deals already in effect, despite their campaign rhetoric. Neither, even in the heat of the Midwestern spotlight, is talking about new barriers to trade. The Depression-era Smoot-Hawley tariffs aren't coming back. And the Democrats' trade hard-liner, former Sen. John Edwards, has dropped out of the race.


Edwards took a huge swing at corporate lobbyists by singling out the NAFTA-like Chapter 11 rights. As I explained (and Public Citizen has a much more detailed explanation): Let's say a company doing business in a country that has a party to one of these so-called "free trade" agreements believes a law violates rights or protections the company has under the trade deal. The company can take its case before a trade tribunal, which can, then, rule that a law--say an environmental law or labor--is illegal under the so-called "free trade" regime and award tax-payer dollars to corporations. And this tribunal operates behind closed doors, with no public input or scrutiny and none of the basic due process or transparency one would expect in open courts.

Edwards' position was really important. These Chapter 11 rights are one of the most odious provisions of so-called "free trade" deals. They allow companies to undercut our democracy--laws that are passed by the people we elect can be overridden by an unaccountable, unelected tribunal. Edwards stood up and, effectively, said he would not sign trade deals with these undemocratic provisions.

Neither Sen. Clinton or Obama have made that specific pledge. Too many people think that globalization is just a slogan to mouth without looking at the rules that are governing trade. The fact is: globalization is nothing new. We've traded ever since humans walked on the earth. We need to stop being enthralled by the slogan "globalization" and think about how we set up rules that govern those trading relationships.

Tasini is right on. What we need to look at is the framework in which we trade with other countries and how involved corporations are allowed to be in setting up the deals and working within the setup.

Edwards was a tremendous asset to the debate within the Democratic primary and now it is hard to hear a message for workers (whether American or otherwise) that would break the status quo of corporate dominance. Tasini hopes that the union support recently thrown Obama's way will influence him into transforming the way America looks at trade. I'm hoping for that too.

Is This The Best The GOP Can Do?

Brock Olivo used to play college football in Missouri, now he's running for Congress in this very red, but open district. He lists his qualifications for office (other than being older than 25) as having taken social studies. Oh, were you expecting more than that? Sorry.

And yes, he has NEVER voted in his life. Talk about being politically active. Meh

The GOP Car Crash, Even Rove Is Trying To Slow Them Down

Yet even Bush's Brain will not succeed here. Rove tried telling his party's strategists to avoid demagoguery (though hasn't he used it himself for Bush's benefit?) because it will make the Republican party look racist. Um, Karl, the damage is already done. Despite the GOP's makings of a nasty shipwreck, wingnuts are determined to haul water into the boat instead of out.

From The Atlantic:

At a closed door meeting of GOP state executive directors in late January, Rove said the safest way to refer to Obama would be to use his honorific, "Sen. Obama."

"The context was, you're not going to stimatize this guy. You shouldn't underestimate him," one of the executive directors said. Rove said that the use of "Barack Hussein Obama" would perpetuate the notion that Republicans were bigoted and would hurt the party.

Rove also said that Republicans should refer to Hillary Clinton as "Sen. Clinton," rather than "Hillary."

Right wing figures are set to ignore Rove's advice. Rush Limbaugh used Obama's middle name more than a year ago, and Ann Coulter regularly uses the middle name, once calling him "President Hussein." So does Michael Savage, who once asked whether Obama was a "so-called friendly Muslim" or one more "radical."

I guess playing into racially tinged themes is just more fun for the likes of Coulter, Savage and Cunningham. Well I say let them have their fun. If the only downside is that we have to hear the ugly side of America come out a little while those who believe such things are thrown from power....then I say go at it. The country as a whole will take hope for real change over bigotry in a heartbeat.

The Oil Companies Must Not Win This One

In this time of economic uncertainty, with people losing their jobs, their homes and society losing it's middle class, the only winners I can see are two sectors. War profiteers and the oil industry. We know what to do about the Halliburtons and Blackwaters, simply stop the war and legislate that the military take care of itself and not private companies that charge our government (meaning us, the taxpayers) through the roof. Of course, we need to get rid of George W. Bush to do that. Yet for the oil industry, this is something we can take of now. Can Congress seal the deal for us?

From RawStory:

Democrats in Congress are relying on record oil prices and a surge in gasoline costs to make another attempt at imposing $18 billion in new taxes on the largest oil companies.

With crude oil prices exceeding $100 a barrel and gasoline prices moving well over $3 a gallon — and indications that $4 is not out of the picture as the summer driving season approaches — the House scheduled a vote on the tax measure for late Wednesday afternoon.

The House bill, similar to one that failed to win Senate approval last fall, would roll back two lucrative tax breaks for the largest U.S. oil companies, and use the money for tax incentives to support wind, solar and biofuel industries as well as energy efficiency programs.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to use the soaring prices at the pump as a way to garner support for the bill. Her office distributed a state-by-state list of high gasoline prices — up by more than 75 cents a gallon from a year ago — compared with oil industry profits, including a record $40.6 billion in earnings by ExxonMobil Corp. last year.

Now I am no math whiz, but if you add $18 billion worth of taxes, and Exxon made over $40 billion, that would mean they'd still make over $20 billion in profit, IF they were the only oil company! President Bush said this would make us less safe when it comes to energy security, but we all know he is talking out of his ass on this one. The oil companies are also crying about this, claiming it to be unfair. They sound like heroin junkies forecasting the end of the world if they don't get their next fix while Bush is their pusher, not wanting to allow the victims (our society) to get better.

I know the House passed a similar bill last year and they deserve props for that, but the pressure is on the Senate. We must make sure that not only does our caucus march in lockstep on this issue, but that we pull a few so-called moderates from the GOP side as well. The American people have no love lost for these oil behemoths and neither should the men and women that represent them.

Aubertine Accepts

Party chair June O'Neil introduces him:

And here's the man himself:

Have A Glass With All That Whining

The debates between the Democratic candidates are now over and let me be one of many to say, thank God they're done. Any more talking that involves Tim Russert, Brian Williams or Wolf Blitzer would be too much for me. At least when the next round of debates are during the general election, we'll have a different dynamic. But first, lets focus on the situation last night. The outcome was clearer than a cloudless day in Antarctica. Hillary lost, and she lost big.

Seriously where do you start when ripping her performance to shreds. Starting off on the defensive is a no-no, especially on the issue you claim to be an expert on, health care. Too bad for her, Obama was ready to combat her on the mandatory opt-in clause. Getting into arguments over it with the moderator (even if it is Timmeh) is another mistake. Looking argumentative is bad, making good arguments would have helped. Then the whole NAFTA thing was a debacle for her, because supporting something like that in Ohio (or anywhere besides states that get massive farm subsidies) is political suicide when pinning your hopes on the Buckeye State.

Losing on issues would be bad enough, but Hillary decided to take it a step further. She whined over being asked questions first, trying to say she didn't mind, but come on Hillary, do you take us all for idiots? The real kicker was the pillow comment derived from Saturday Night Live. She seriously quoted a program devoted to satire? This is the real thing Hillary, not a comedy show. That just made you look petulant.

Finally, you had to jump in the mud with Timmeh when he tried to paint Obama as a Jew hater by bringing up Farrakahan's endorsement. That was wrong, soooo wrong. As a Jew myself, I have no love for a man who says I belong to a gutter religion. As Dick Cheney would say, he can go f*ck himself. What Russert did to Obama was the typical "gotcha" style questioning that he uses on Meet The Press in order to avoid talking about real issues. So as Obama kept his cool, saying that Farrakahan can say what he wants but I will never associate with him, Hillary just had to get a piece of the action. She said she rejected anti-semitic endorsements before and that rejecting something is somehow better than denouncing.

Seriously, WTF?!? Who cares. So Obama let her have that one and denounced Farrakahan. Wow, what a turning point. I'm sure unemployed workers deciding who to vote for in six days really cared about that. As a Jewish-American student here in New York, I could care less. There are more important things in our nation to focus on and that type of gutter politics is something I expect from the other side, not from Hillary. I can't wait for this desperation-styled politicking to be over...soon.

Please Hillary, for the love of everything good in this world, concede to Barack a week from today if you can't win Ohio and Texas.

A Love-Hate Relationship With John McCain

Sorry, I'm not talking about my relationship with him, that isn't about love or hate. I just wish he'd fess up to what his true principles are about instead of hanging on to this faux 'maverick' persona. No, I'm talking about right wing radio host Bill Cunningham, who went from loving McCain (by demonizing Obama) on stage yesterday to blasting him later in the evening on CNN after McCain denounced his comments. If you want to talk about abrupt changes on feelings about one person to another, this is a classic example.


No hurt feelings? Well, actually conservative radio host Bill Cunningham has got some. After ranting and raving during his introduction for McCain in Cincinnati, "Willie" booked it out of there to host his three hour radio show. As previously noted by First Read McCain apologized for Cunningham's comments and took full responsibility for allowing him to appear at his event.

During the second hour of his show, "Willie" became Wild Bill when he attacked McCain for apologizing.

"He just threw me under the bus for the national media. I have had it," Cunningham blasted. "With McCain and -- I'm going to endorse Hillary Clinton. I want Hillary Clinton to become the next president of the United States. I am going to throw my support behind Hillary Clinton."

Well how about that, someone out there really does love Ann Coulter. First Read left out Bill's comments about her. It just goes to show that conservative nuts like Cunningham only have so much tolerance for McCain. His years of pretending to be a maverick have pissed them off. Wingers want their politicians to act like wingers and McCain hasn't or can't do enough pandering to make their support stick the way it needs to. Garnering the support of the 30% 25% 19% of people that still love George Bush is hard work, and obviously McCain needs to do better.

All I gotta say to McCain about that is.....goodluck and have fun.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Congratulations Senator Aubertine!

The votes are in and we have a winner folks. Our new Senator from District 48 upstate is Darrel Aubertine. He's the first Democratic candidate to win in this neck of the woods since the 19th century. People were tired of the old GOP political scheme down in Albany and knew the implications that their race entailed. This area was thought to be heavily Republican and a sure thing for Will Barclay, who's father was the Republican Senator here years ago. Well Barclay is walking away from this ugly race with nothing, and Aubertine is going to have the chance to create real reform in our state.

From The Watertown Daily Times:

10 p.m. Darrel Aubertine appears to have soundly beaten his Republican opponent William Barclay in unofficial results with Aubertine at 27,532 and Barclay at 25,001 with nearly 100 percent of precincts reporting.

The divisive election pitted the 54 year-old farmer from Cape Vincent against the 39 year-old attorney from Pulaski. Barclay hit Aubertine with ads claiming Aubertine was gaining financially from not recusing himself from wind power votes while Aubetine's ads painted Barclay as oneof the landed gentry who closed off fishing rights to locals on his Pulaski family property.

Both party machines backed their candidates with cash to try and help close the power gap in Albany.

Watertown Daily Times research showed that there has not been a Democrat to hold the 48th Senate seat since at least 1880.

This was also the second most expensive race, with totals looking to exceed $2 million dollars when all is said and done. Despite all the negative campaigning, many residents turned out despite the nasty weather and gave a solid amount of votes to put Aubertine into the state Senate.

Again, congratulations Senator Aubertine!

The Debate

Thankfully its the last, enjoy:

Bruno Cries Wolf About Imaginary Dirty Tricks

I hate to be accused of ageism, but I don't know how to explain Joe Bruno's comments suggesting that Spitzer is enabling a dirty race to be fought on behalf of Darrel Aubertine's bid to win the upstate Senate seat today. It could just be a campaign tactic, said out of fear of losing his Majority Leader status or he could really just be losing his mind.

From Capitol Confidential:

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said he thinks some records are being set for bad form in governing and elections under Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s tenure.

Talking to reporters in The Egg, Bruno looked back over 32 years in office and said unfair tactics are spilling into the 48th Senate District race: “I’ve been in this business a long, long time. I have never experienced the dirty tricks, the low
handed tactics that have taken place politically since we’ve had this administration on the second floor . . . dirty tricks, scandalous behavior, some of what’s gone on out there in that district in the last couple of days really is about as dishonest as anything can be.”

Pressed, he would not provide specifics.

As CC notes in their post, GOP ground troops are reporting that Republicans are receiving mailings saying that Barclay is pro-choice. Heaven forbid he support the right of a woman to have control over her own body! Of course, this is only chattering and there is no definitive proof that any Democratic organization has done such a thing. And of course, Aubertine's campaign has vehemently denied using tactics like that. Darrel is running on his message and what he will do for the citizens of SD-48, not playing silly tricks like bogus mailings.

Bill Clinton Wants You To Vote For Bill

Hey I thought this race was about Hillary? I wonder what Freud would say after watching this video...

Get Ready For A Push To Price Congestion

The Campaign For New York's Future cares a lot about our growing city, so much so that they are going to advertise on thousands of subway cars, Metro-North trains and the like this coming spring. With a million new people forecasted to be in the city by 2030, something definitely needs to be done, but can the Campaign and their brethren at the Empire State Transportation Alliance influence enough of us to get the message across and the plan in effect?

From The Daily News:

With the March 31 deadline for legislative action on the modified congestion pricing plan looming and the MTA poised to release its capital plan this week, the pro-pay-to-drive Campaign for New York's Future and Empire State Transportation Alliance have launched a TV and print ad campaign designed to build support for the proposal among commuters.

The TV ad that appears below (made by Mark Guma, a political consultant to Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who's going to have to round up congestion pricing votes) starts running today on cable and network TV and will remain on the air for at least the next several weeks.

sneakers ad

There's also a series of three print ads, created by the Connecticut-based firm Robbert Advocacy Media, that will be posted on 4,000 subway cars, 4,518 buses and 870 commuter trains through the end of March. One version (the "sneakers" ad that appears here) will also run in Spanish.

There are certainly a lot of local groups behind the effort, far more than the opposing side. Keep NYC Congestion Tax Free will still be working hard on their ground game to keep congestion pricing on the drawing board and off the streets. The spokesman claims that congestion pricing advocates don't give any answers, but what exactly is he contributing to the debate besides more of the same. NYC needs something for the population growth we are going through and the plan is better than nothing.

New York's Special Election Is Today!

Today is Tuesday and because it happens to be February 26th, it is also the day for voters in Senate district 48 to go out and vote for their new state Senator. Will Barclay should have had this in the bag. The district has been in Republican hands since 1898 and for a time it was his father's seat. Unfortunately for Will, Darrel Aubertine has run a fantastic race and the latest poll showed this contest as neck and neck. As Philip over at TAP points out, the media coverage reflects the tension of the race.

From The Albany Project:

Here's a sampling of fresh coverage of the SD-48 special election. Polls open in about 20 minutes...

Watertown Daily Times
Senate hopefuls in campaign blitz finales

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Darrel J. Aubertine, Mr. Barclay's opponent, was across town at Shorty's Diner, asking patrons there to vote. The Democratic candidate said he hadn't gotten enough sleep, but the race was too important to stop now.

"You always feel that you want to make sure you left nothing undone," he said. Mr. Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, had planned stops at a ham dinner, a bingo game and another of his "One of Us" rallies in St. Lawrence County.

"There is a camp that thought we had no chance. They said it was a Republican seat," he said. "I don't think there's too many people saying that now."

A Republican has represented Jefferson County in the state Senate for at least the last 110 years, a dominance that includes Mr. Barclay's father, H. Douglas, who served from 1965 to 1984.

Mr. Aubertine is no stranger to rewriting history, however. In 2002, he became the first Democratic state assemblyman from Jefferson County elected since Lewis W. Day of Sackets Harbor in 1910.

Albany Times Union
Big implications in single Senate seat
Outcome could signal end to decades-old balance of power

"This is the first real, competitive race where a Democrat has really challenged the status quo," said Travis Proulx, an aide to Democratic Sen. Liz Kruger, who has been working as part of Aubertine's press team since January. "It gives me hope -- if we can win here, we can win anywhere."


But the tide may be turning for Republicans in the 48th, as a higher proportion of the electorate has turned Democratic, a trend seen statewide. A recent Zogby International/ Watertown Daily Times poll found the 48th race in a dead heat, despite a 30,000-voter enrollment advantage for Republicans. More than 22 percent of those polled were undecided.

The uncertainty of the poll findings has inspired optimism in some and despair in others.


For Republicans, the competitiveness of the race has caused great concern for staffers and has taken its toll on those running the campaign.

"My boss says that he hasn't seen anything like it," said a staffer for a Republican senator, referring to the low morale in the Barclay campaign. "At first I wasn't that concerned, then as things have gone on, people are worried."

The staffer added that gallows humor about losing the majority is the running joke in the office.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Special election could be key for Bruno

Spitzer has "used every device he can to take me out," Bruno told reporters Monday. "Not going to happen. Not with me personally, and not with our conference. So they can keep having their pipe dreams."

Ithaca Journal
Battle for critical senate seat goes down to wire

"We started this race as underdogs," said Aubertine spokesman Cort Ruddy. "We have the better candidate, he's run a good campaign and we feel like we're going into tomorrow will a real good chance at this."

I like our chances today, folks. I really do.

Go, Darrel!

First to Philip, damn man you got up early this morning. How'd you do it?

Second of all, I'd like to second your "Go, Darrel!"

And lastly, beautiful news round up. It is going to be a great, snowy, GOTV day in upstate NY today!

President Bush Blasts McCain's Campaign Finance Doubletalk

He said it, not me:

Staying The Course In Arizona

Have you ever heard of that phrase that the friends you keep are in some ways a reflection of your own character? Well apparently John McCain just got the news, since he dumped Rick Renzi off his list of national co-chairs for his Presidential campaign (the less mirrors the better, right?). Of course the maverick only dropped him once he was indicted on thirty-five counts of wire fraud and other corruptive practices employed in upstate Arizona. Despite all that, the two still share more than just living in Washington, D.C> in the Grand Canyon state.

McCain is determined to stay the course in Iraq for a hundred years or however it takes. He'll bomb, bomb, bomb Iran and then try to take everything back after he pinned his hopes on convincing America that the surge worked (thats Mr. Straight-Talk Express for ya). Well Renzi is also determined to stay the course, that course would be the rest of his term in Congress, despite being an indicted man.

From RawStory:

An indictment unsealed Friday contends that Rick Renzi, a three-term Republican congressman, engineered a swap of federally owned mining land to benefit himself and a former business partner.

"I will not resign and take on the cloak of guilt because I am innocent," Renzi said through his press office in Washington, D.C. He added his lawyers will handle the accusations against him as he continues to serve his constituents.

The indictment was the result of a federal probe that put Renzi under a cloud of suspicion for more than a year.

In all, Renzi is charged with 35 counts including conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, insurance fraud and extortion. His arraignment is scheduled for March 6.

"The cloak of guilt?" Whatever happened to respecting Congress by stepping aside while the court case is in progress? So much for honoring the Legislative branch and most importantly, his constituents in Arizona's first district. How would you like a suspected felon representing you in Congress? And how does McCain feel about someone closely connected to him being indicted over conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, insurance fraud and extortion staying in office and subsequently keeping the story alive?

Well McCain has his own ethical/criminal problems to deal with, so the Renzi situation might have to take a back seat here.

Eric Gioia Goes Carbon Neutral

Many political junkies are aware that national candidates running this year (Democratic ones at least) have pledged to be carbon-neutral in their campaigns. However, not much has happened in local races around the country. Maybe because global warming is seen as a macro problem and not something local. Well it is time to dispel that myth. And Councilman/candidate for Public Advocate Eric Gioia is stepping up to the plate.

From The NY Sun:

City Council member Eric Gioia of Queens is challenging New York's political candidates to put their money where their mouths are on environmental issues and run "carbon-neutral" campaigns. Mr. Gioia, a likely candidate for public advocate, said yesterday that his campaign would purchase carbon offsets, use hybrid vehicles, send fewer mailers and more e-mail, and take other steps to make up for the greenhouse emissions produced by his run for office.

"You have to be the change you want to see," Mr. Gioia said yesterday. "I certainly hope others will follow my example."

The more candidates and citizens at large begin to demand and institute change through their lifestyles, the quicker technology will advance from funding and ultimately the prices for clean energy will drop. Kudos to Councilman Gioia for doing this, and for any candidate that joins him here in New York City and in any locality across the country.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Well Placed Sign

I couldn't agree more:

From T.A.P.

The Context Is Crystal Clear Mr. Ford

After a damaging transcript came out about the head of the conservative Democratic Leadership Council, ex-Congressman Ford tried to backtrack. He said he was taken out of context when praising Congressman Shays at a recent function(R-CT).

Here's what he said (via his own blog):

When Harold Ford, Jr. walked onto the Quick Center stage for his OPEN Visions forum he knew whose district he was standing in.

"There is not a better Congressman in Washington than Chris Shays," said Ford, to a crowd of about 600 Fairfield University students and community members.

"No national legislator has been to Iraq more times than Chris Shays."

There are his comments, directly from his website. Now he claims he was being portrayed negatively and out of context:

"Chris Shays is my friend, and I was proud to serve with him in Congress. It's unfortunate he's not a Democrat.

However, I plan on endorsing the Democratic nominee for Congress in Chris's district and everywhere in the country for that matter - as I plan to work for the Democratic nominee for President with all my energy and heart.

My comments were clearly taken out of context.

Um, sure Harold. Those comments you made at the OPEN Visions Forum sound a lot like an endorsement for Chris Shays and not any future challenger. Sorry, you can't deny or spin your way out of that one. I'm sick of these so-called Democrats that rally for their Republican friends who vote exactly the opposite of what our party stands for. Harold says he wants to put ideas over ideology. Well Harold, getting out of Iraq is an idea, not an ideology and Shays supports staying in Iraq, thats his idea of smart foreign policy.

Get it? Got it?

Congressman Rangel Contracted Clinton-itis

There must be a bug going around the Clinton camp in between New York and Washington. Harlem's Congressman Rangel became extremely sick with the new ailment, especially with all the ridiculousness in the air these days. In case you haven't heard of the conditions, Clinton-itis may form excuses for harsh attack from Democrat to Democrat, denial of political realities and even a tendency to side with Republicans before Barack Obama. The sick and suffering must be pitied, but try and stay far away from it, for it can cause stinging in the ears if you are around someone with the illness for too long. NPR's Norman Siegel was brave enough to catch up with the Congressman at event this morning and documented all of his symptoms.

From The Daily Politics:

The Congressman wasn't nearly so happy after the event when, during an interview in an elevator, I asked him whether he thought Hillary Clinton should drop out of the race if she loses the Texas and Ohio contests on March 4.

"I don't think you really want to ask that question," Rangel said, insisting that he had never before heard such a thing, even though those contests have been characterized as must-wins for Clinton by none other than her former president husband.

When I assured him that I did, in fact, mean to ask that question and noted that just yesterday another Clinton supporter, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, said the "time to move on is probably at hand" if Clinton isn't successful in Texas and Ohio, he replied:

"We're not conceding that that's possible. I haven't heard that question posed by anyone at all, not even in an irresponsible way."

Prior to our brief elevator encounter, Rangel, a Clinton superdelegate who recently said he believes "the people," not the superdelegates, should determine the nominee, discussed the Democratic presidential race at length. He side-stepped a question about what Clinton has made in her campaign to date, saying:

"I can't see where she has done anything wrong. When you are back-peddling because of the outstanding impression that your competitor has given, you are inclined to fight back sometimes with statements that sound mean-spirited and vindictive.

And therefore to the extent that this campaign of Sen. Obama has a life and a spirit of its own, I would say that there is a problem there.

But I don't think that anyone that's listened to the senator over the years would believe that the campaign didn't start off strong, or that she has made any mistakes. I think that the Clinton campaign had found the Obama campaign unexpected...and I really don't find that as a negative for the senator at all.

As a matter of fact I can't begin to tell you how proud I am as a Democrat that we are bringing this type of challenge to the Republicans."

Later Rangel went even further, saying he thanks God there is a Republican who can "stand up like McCain," adding: "Because I was embarrassed as a politician with what the Republicans were bringing up."

Sorry to copy the entire article, but that interview must be told in its entirety. The decent man from Harlem has been a true friend to the progressive cause over the years but he has genuinely been sick since deciding to support the Senator from New York. My sympathies are extended to his family, especially his wife, who thankfully remains unaffected.

Hello, Mr Kravis? Where Are You?

It doesn't shock me that Kravis ignored Brave New Films inquiries, but that doesn't mean the attempts shouldn't be publicized to the fullest extent:

The Tension Builds In The 48th, Election Day Tomorrow

After weeks and months of a hard campaign, the race between Darrel Aubertine and Will Barclay is down to the last full day. Tomorrow voters in the northern state Senate district will go to the polls and decide if they want to be a part of helping to make the Senate free of the corrupt Joe Bruno. With a two seat majority, the Senate Republicans are pulling out all the stops in order to hold this seat, which has been in GOP hands for a long time now. You can tell just how serious the race is when you look at the money being spent by both sides.

From The Times Union:

Both campaigns said most of their volunteers are local residents but a significant number are from Albany and elsewhere outside the district.

Aubertine has raised about $1 million and Barclay about $900,000 so far, much of it from state party campaign funds, according to the latest financial disclosures.

The parties have thrown at least $1.6 million combined into the race since January.

"It's a huge amount of money," said Russ Haven, legislative counsel for New York Public Interest Research Group, a nonpartisan organization that tracks campaign funding. "Obviously, it's about more than this individual race."

He estimates that the total amount raised by both campaigns will reach the two million dollar mark.

As T-U notes, the only election in NY state Senate history that cost more was the successful battle fought by the now Democratic Senator Craig Johnson down in Long Island. Thinking back on last February's race, this one upstate seems much uglier, most likely due to the fact that the balance of power is so much closer to swinging the other way.

With all the money involved, both sides have gone negative with ads and words hurled back and forth. After nearly $2 million spent, the local poll shows voters are split and this could be anyone's race. Although only a few thousand will end up voting in this area near Canada, the impact will be tremendous across the state.

GOP Commissioned Poll Tells Them Not To Act Like The GOP

Let's face it, this is a bad year to be in the Grand Old Party. Money is trickling in compared to the Democratic coffers and the cash needs to be spent (cue irony music) in a conservative manner. One thing these guys need to learn is how to campaign effectively against one of two firsts in Presidential politics, a woman or a black man. Republicans want to be extra careful, so they are conducting top secret polling in order to find out what to do.

From The Politico:

Republicans will be told to “be sensitive to tone and stick to the substance of the discussion” and that “the key is that you have to be sensitive to the fact that you are running against historic firsts,” the strategist explained.[...]

“You can’t run against Barack Obama the way you could run against Bill Clinton, Al Gore or John Kerry,” said Jack Kemp, the 1996 GOP vice presidential nominee, who expressed concern that the party could be reduced to an “all white country club party” if it does not tread cautiously.

“Being an African American at the top of the ticket, if he makes it, is such a great statement about the country,” he added, “Obviously you have to be sensitive to issues that affect urban America. …You have to be careful.”

Careful about what Mr. Kemp? Looking like your insensitive selves? In order to stand a chance, the GOP will have to take on a new look. A successful strategy will ultimately involve masking the intent of proposed legislation that helps the wealthy white elite and screws everyone else. Demonizing minorities may be great for riling up the base, but not for independents who come from many different ethnic backgrounds. So can the GOP not act like the GOP this year and get away with it?

I highly doubt it. Get ready for many offensive comments from Mr. Bomb-Bomb-Bomb Iran.

Mocking Fox News....On Fox News

Foolishly, Fox News allows Laughing Liberally's great comedian Lee Camp on the air. While he might have irritated some of the brain-washed Foxites watching that godawful channel Saturday morning, I'm sure a stray liberal or two that was watching got a great laugh:

How Many Scandals Is McCain Involved In?

Well so far there are not one, but two. Unless you haven't seen just a smidge of political news in the last week or so, you know of some blonde that he might or might not have been ethical with. In regards to the blonde, it doesn't matter if he slept with her or not. The real issue is that he did favors for her as a lobbyist, that is, by Mr. Anti-Lobbyist. He's not really a 'maverick,' it is more like he is a real slick bastard who has gotten away with looking clean for far too long. Yet there is more than just lobbying going on in McCain's universe. The Iseman scandal just looks really bad, the other one is criminal.

From AmericaBlog:

When John McCain's campaign was strapped for cash John McCain opted into the campaign financing system by requesting certification that he was eligible to collect federal money. As the New Hampshire primary approached and John McCain was broke he took material advantage of the system by using the promise of matching funds to borrow money to keep his campaign afloat. And he took advantage of a rule that gives candidates who take public financing automatic ballot access on ballots in several states. (Governor Dean estimated that he spent 3 million dollars in 2004 getting on ballots in states because he had opted out of the public financing system. )

Once John McCain had taken advantage of the system by gaining ballot access and securing a campaign saving loan, he won the New Hampshire primary and became the apparent nominee of the Republican Party. He then sent a letter saying that he was opting out of the primary process and claiming that the FEC is now impotent to stop him.

If John McCain is forced to stay in the matching system he will only be allowed to spend $56 million dollars before the Republican convention in September. As of the end of January John McCain had already spent $49 million dollars meaning that today he's either close to the cap or over the amount of money he can spend during the primary.

What does it mean for John McCain? It's yet another issue where John McCain tries to legislate one way and do something completely different. In this case it has to do with campaign finance issues. As Brad Smith, the former Republican FEC commissioner noted, if McCain drops out of the system the FEC will subpoena McCain, and his staff during and their records to determine whether they violated the law. If they're found to be in violation of the law they can be fined up to $25,000 and they can be jailed for up to five years.

Hmm, McCain certainly does not want to spend another five years in jail, even if it would be an American jail. Well Howard Dean has taken the first step to figure out what is happening, by filing a complaint against the maverick with the Federal Elections Commission. McCain was trying to hedge his bets before his campaign reignited in New Hampshire. Unfortunately for him, hedging that bet is against the law.

So much for Mr. Campaign Finance.