Saturday, March 22, 2008

Richardson Endorses Obama, Then Disses Clintons For Their Spin

Yesterday's big political news was Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama (the picture is from YearlyKos and taken on this amazing MacBook). The Governor of New Mexico sees a true leader in the Senator from Illinois. Though that isn't the only thing he saw, the other was the petulant whining and ridiculous spin from the Clinton campaign. The spin was that his endorsement doesn't matter now, even though they were desperately courting to back their side. Well Richardson wasn't having any of it.

From CNN:

"I resent the fact that the Clinton people are now saying that my endorsement is too late because I only can help with Texans — with Texas and Hispanics, implying that that's my only value," the New Mexico governor told CNN's John King.

"That's typical of some of his advisers that kind of turned me off."Earlier Friday, Clinton campaign senior strategist Mark Penn said he thought Richardson's endorsement came too late to make an impact.

“The time that he could have been effective has long since passed," Penn told reporters on a conference call. "I don’t think it is a significant endorsement in this environment.”

In the interview Friday, Richardson also said he called Hillary Clinton Thursday to inform her of his decision to back Obama, a conversation he described as "painful."

I would also describe her entire campaign as "painful." As you can clearly see from above, Governor Richardson is a died in the wool Democrat and wants to see the best for his party. It may have taken him until late March to stand fully beside Obama. It is a shame that Hillary Clinton and her pack of wolves advisers have to try to tear him down and call him names.

How Wal-Mart Thinks About Gender Discrimination

Press releases that talk about how Wal-Mart treats women equally is great for the PR people that draft them, but actions always speak louder than words:

McCain Ignores Webb's Bill To Support The Troops

Senator Jim Webb is a hard man to criticize when it comes to our nation's military. The Republicans love(d) to own the issue of who supports our soldiers more, but they are beginning to lose on the issue, even after years of getting away with doing nothing for our brave soldiers. Jim Webb (D-VA) has a bill in the Senate that will support our troops in terms of educational assistance (aptly named the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act). Now he is calling out Presidential contender John McCain to support him on it.

From The Hill:

“McCain needs to get on the bill,” Webb told reporters after a Christian Science Monitor breakfast meeting on Wednesday. He said legislation mirroring the post-World War II GI bill should not be considered a “political issue.”

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Il.), the Democratic presidential candidates, both have signed on to the bill.

In a major coup for Webb, Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, signed on as a co-sponsor earlier this month. Warner is a close ally of McCain, who is the ranking member on Armed Services. Warner has often been the committee’s top Republican with McCain
busy on the campaign trail.

Webb’s bill has 51 co-sponsors, including nine Republicans. Webb, a former secretary of the Navy, said he may have to get 60 co-sponsors to ensure Senate passage, but then added that many more Republicans could vote for the bill if McCain endorsed it.

Not surprisingly, The Hill notes George Bush is advocating against it, saying that it will encourage Americans to leave the service while the military is having trouble enlisting people. It is a ridiculous argument, but then again, it is a ridiculous Presidency. With McCain's willful ignorance of the bill, it isn't hard to see what kind of President he'll be, despite his military record. With McCain, it is party before principles.

Oh and before anyone asks what is McCain's response to this....remember that Webb introduced this bill in January of 2007. If a Senator is silent on this for over a year and another Senator has to call you out publicly, that is a powerful response by itself.

Bloomberg Praises Paterson For Supporting Congestion Pricing

Not so shockingly, Bloomberg is loving our new Governor for supporting his quest to enact congestion pricing for New York City. After hemming, hawing and making note of Bloomberg's obsession, the terms are changed slightly, for instance starting the zone south of 60th St. instead of 86th St. but for the most part, this is what Bloomberg wants and Paterson's support moves the issue along.

It is crucial that the state and city come together and have a plan before the end of the month so that they secure the hundreds of millions in federal funding that will pay for the implementation of the program. How much will go to capital spending for the MTA's large projects is anyone's guess, but supposedly our decrepit system will be improved to some degree. I'm down in D.C. for the weekend and I always get a little jealous that their system (albeit newer) is cleaner than ours. I would love to have a subway that looked like this, except for the fact that it shuts down overnight and doesn't cover the entire city.

Anyways, now the city council has to handle the issue, and they'll be having a hearing on it in two days time. Anyone can go and show up, but if you have a question it could take hours of waiting to get your chance at the microphone. So if you as passionate about the issue like Mayor Bloomie, then have at it. No matter what anyone has to say from the public forum, it looks like this thing will be a go, but the effect of it is still unknown.

Halliburton Is Killing Our Soldiers

How the f**k is this allowed to happen???

Halliburton officials should be in jail and tried for negligent homicide for crap like this. Our soldiers are in enough danger over there, they should not have to fear the greedy private contractors like Dick Cheney's company.

Friday, March 21, 2008

To Have Money In The Bank, Or Not

It may be almost April, but campaign watchers are still going over fundraising particulars from February in the Democratic primary contests. It has been known for a while that Obama out-raised Clinton in a $55-34 million fashion, but what about the cash they were able to hold on to?

From Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton lived hand to mouth during the rush of presidential primaries while Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama outspent her and put money in the bank.

New Federal Election Commission reports show Obama raised at a clip of nearly $2 million a day in February, an open spigot of money that left him with $30 million in the bank for March.

Clinton had her best fundraising month as well, at $34.5 million. But counting her debts to vendors she ended with a net $3 million. And that's not factoring the $5 million she lent her campaign and has not paid back.

Ouch, "hand to mouth" sounds harsh but in reality it is exactly the situation that Senator Clinton is in. People donate money to campaigns that have a good shot of winning. Donors want their candidate to go the distance and if they do not see it happening, then the likelihood that their money goes from individual wallets to campaign coffers is much, much less. Despite wins in Rhode Island and Ohio on the big March primary day, her chances of logistically catching up with Senator Obama became virtually nil. When going up against McCain in the fall, Democrats do not want to equate "nil" with their contender. That is just common sense and part of the reason why she has a tenth of the money on hand that he has.

I Though Hillary Put Bill Away For Good...Guess Not

Senator Clinton's campaign ship began to righten itself a little once husband and ex-President Bill was taken off the national stage after he made a number of inappropriate comments. Within a short amount of time, the philanthropic elder statesman was reduced to a campaign hack that would say anything to help his wife, even if it hurt. The Clinton camp got the message and hid him for the last month or so, but today he let another one rip.

From Atrios:

It'd be a great thing if we had an election where you had two people who love this country, who were devoted to the interest of the country and people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues instead of all this other stuff which always seems to intrude on our politics.

Um, no Bill. It IS a great thing that we have THREE people who love this country and are running in the election. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see past those carefully sculpted words of yours. The only ones biting that hook are your core supporters that will hang on as long as Hillary does. Shame on Bill for trying to infer that Barack Obama does not love his country. That is just pathetic.

Cheers To Chris Wallace!

Yes, thats right Chris Wallace wallops the tools on Fox and Friends this morning for their ridiculous Obama-bashing. Fox and Friends unfairly took Obama's speech and clipped it to suit their malicious talking points, but Chris wasn't having any of it.

Again, bravo!

Spitzer Goes Down Therapy Alley

Or at least so says the raggedy New York Post. I actually don't doubt this, since it in this day and age, many seek therapy to solve what ails them. Since hiring $4,300/hr women to have sex with while having a wife and three daughters at home is way out of the norm in our society, I'd say it would be a good thing for him and especially his family if they are to try and keep that marriage together.

From The NY Post:

Experts say this type of behavior exhibits classic signs of sexual addiction.

"If it becomes an overwhelming urge to the detriment of your professional and familial relationships - if it starts to screw up your life - that is addictive behavior," said Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, a clinical psychologist.

"Someone who displays this sort of behavior could be classified as having a sexual addiction."

Yeah, that sounds about right. I'd agree with the psychologist about that. I can only hope he works through his difficulties as our new Governor works on the state's budget fiasco.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Breaching Obama's Passport Info? Are You Kidding Me?

Seriously how childish is this latest episode on the campaign trail. Just as Obama began having a conversation with America on race, the economy and the war, this crap has to be dropped on us....on a Thursday night of all times. Supposedly these guys who looked at his information were low-level contractors, but it is still testament to the lack of security and right to privacy that the Bush Administration does not care about. Even worse, this comes out about the front runner that is out to take control of the Presidency back from the Republicans.

From NBC:

Two contract employees of the State Department were fired and a third person was disciplined for accessing passport records of Sen. Barack Obama "without a need to do so," State Department officials confirmed to NBC News.

The three people who had access to Obama's passport records were contract employees of the department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, NBC News has learned. The unauthorized activity concerning Obama's passport information occurred in January.

"A monitoring system was tripped when an employee accessed the records of a high-profile individual," a department official told NBC News. "When the monitoring system is tripped, we immediately seek an explanation for the records access. If the explanation is not satisfactory, the supervisor is notified."

Well thats nice that you have a system set up to catch this type of stuff. Too bad for the DoS's explanation, since it was actually a reporter that called them out on it. The other part of the explanation from Condi Rice and pals is that the whole thing was just imprudent curiosity and nothing more. Well that is possible, I will say that, but knowing the Bush Administration and their record of political maneuvers using private information held by the government...I agree with Barack Obama's campaign and demand a full independent investigation.

Why John McCain Really Went To Iraq This Week

Don't worry, it wasn't really to try and boost foreign policy credentials he doesn't have in the first place. David Letterman explains it:

Despite Rove's Advice, McCain's Campaign Goes Dirty On Obama

Less than a month ago, the alleged brain of Bush warned his fellow Republicans to not play dirty with Obama in regards to his race and ethnicity. He used the example of Senator Obama's middle name, but perhaps he wasn't being clear enough with the McCain campaign. Even though McCain himself said that the Rev. Wright comments should not be held against his opponent, his aide Soren Dayton certainly didn't get the message clearly, since he was caught circulating a racially-charged video of the Senator from Illinois.

From Talking Points Memo:

The move by McCain's aide could create controversy for the McCain camp, because the video itself is thoroughly reprehensible -- it interweaves footage of Obama explaining why he won't wear the American flag pin, Wright saying "God damn America," Malcolm X, and Obama's wife saying that his candidacy has made her proud of America for the "first time."[...]

That McCain's campaign aide spread this runs directly counter to what McCain himself has said about the Wright controversy. He suggested in a recent interview that Obama shouldn't be held liable for his pastor's views, and a top aide to McCain, Charlie Black, also recently suggested that McCain didn't believe in trafficking in such stuff.

Dayton posted the following on his own page at Twitter, a blog-hosting site.

Dayton described the video as a "good video on Obama and Wright." The link he provided leads to the Wright mash-up video on Youtube. A short time later the post was abruptly removed from his site, and an hour or so later, after I asked the McCain campaign for comment , Dayton's whole account was deleted.

And now he has been reprimanded and suspended, but not fired from the campaign. Why he wasn't fired is an odd move, but where the video came from is far from surprising.

Dana Perino Embarrassed By RawStory's Eric Brewer

With all the chaos going on around the world, it is nice to know that deep in the heart of the beast, a reporter can have a little fun with the President's spokeswoman. Dana Perino has never been mentioned as a great diffuser of Presidential rhetoric, but sometimes she President Bush makes it too easy. I'd feel bad for her on this, but then again she could just resign and admit working for President Bush in this capacity (e.g. covering his tracks) is simply amoral.

From RawStory:

Me: The President warned of the danger that al Qaeda could gain access to Iraq's oil resources. But I don't understand how a fragmented, clandestine, non-Iraqi terrorist organization could produce and sell Iraqi oil on the global market, especially when the majority of Iraqis have turned against al Qaeda. Could you describe a plausible scenario?

Dana: The purpose of what the President said is that al Qaeda should not be allowed to have safe haven in Iraq and take over --

Me: How can they take over Iraq's oil reserves?

Dana: Well, if we were to leave we would certainly ensue chaos and not be able to -- if we were to leave too soon, it would certainly be chaos and it would be terrible for not only the innocent Iraqis, but the entire region and, in fact, our own national security. That's what the President --

Me: So the Iraqis would let a foreign terrorist organization take over their oil?

Dana: You're missing the point, and I think that you should go back and read --

Me: No, I --

Dana: Yes, actually, I think you are missing the point. And I call on you because I see what you write about how you come here and you really want to have questions asked. And I'm calling on you and I'm providing it to you, but I suggest that you read the President's speech and read it in context, because that's -- what you're suggesting is not what the President said.

Me: That's what he said.

"Me" is White House press correspondent Eric Brewer and he is great at pointing out the ridiculous talking points that the Bush Administration tries to pass off as actual facts. They may get away with some, but that one connecting Iran to al-Qaeda isn't going to fly. It won't work for George Bush, Dana Perino or John McCain.

Kudos to you Eric!

Bill Maher Owned Hardball Last Night

For the few minutes that he was on, Bill Maher had Tweety laughing and dominated McCain's secret lover by hammering home the facts that race is still a major factor in American society and Obama did the right thing by addressing an issue that no one talks about. Then he decimated McCain on his Iraq strategy which only 'emboldens' the terrorists:

Obama Hits Back To Back Homers, Ties Iraq To The Economy

Senator Obama is on a roll this week. First he started off with a landmark speech about race in America that will probably go down in history as one of the best of our generation. Now today he went to an area with a particularly hard hit economy (West Virginia) and spoke more truth. It is apparent truth that few politicians will mention, the simple fact that if we weren't throwing money away on Iraq, this country would be so much better off.

From the speech:

Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting to make universal health care a reality in this country. We could be fighting for the young woman who works the night shift after a full day of college and still can't afford medicine for a sister who's ill. For what we spend in several months in Iraq, we could be providing them with the quality, affordable health care that every American deserves.

Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting to give every American a quality education. We could be fighting for the young men and women all across this country who dream big dreams but aren't getting the kind of education they need to reach for those dreams. For a fraction of what we're spending each year in Iraq, we could be giving our teachers more pay and more support, rebuilding our crumbling schools, and offering a tax credit to put a college degree within reach for anyone who wants one.

Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting to rebuild our roads and bridges. I've proposed a fund that would do just that and generate nearly two million new jobs – many in the construction industry that's been hard hit by our housing crisis. And it would cost just six percent of what we spend each year in Iraq.

Instead of fighting this war, we could be freeing ourselves from the tyranny of oil, and saving this planet for our children. We could be investing in renewable sources of energy, and in clean coal technology, and creating up to 5 million new green jobs in the bargain, including new clean coal jobs. And we could be doing it all for the cost of less than a year and a half in Iraq.

That is just a small slice from the entire thing, which I recommend to anyone to either read, watch or listen to it. It is like nothing that Hillary Clinton will mention and is the exact opposite of the direction John McCain wants us to continue in. This war has been a mess, a disaster, a catastrophe. It is time to get out and put the people in our country back in the number one spot for our government's priorities.

McCain Lies About His Lies

It has to be tough to be a politician. Especially when you are running for President and even more so when you have to keep your lies straight. The scrutiny a man or woman is put under is immense....and if you are untruthful it has to be hard to keep the ship afloat. Well McCain started misspeaking about the connections between Iraq and Iran in the last few days, making incorrect assertions that Iran was tied to al-Qaeda. After Obama called McCain out on his "gaffe," McCain shot his retort back.

From RawStory:

LONDON (Reuters) - Presidential candidate John McCain shrugged off criticism from rival Barack Obama over a gaffe about Iraq, saying on Thursday that all politicians slip up and it was time to "move on."

McCain, on a tour of Europe and the Middle East, mistakenly told reporters in Jordan on Tuesday that Iran had backed Sunni militant group al Qaeda in Iraq. The United States accuses Iran of backing Shi'ite militias there, not Sunnis.

Obama, locked in a battle with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, pounced on the mistake the following day, suggesting McCain's support for the Iraq war stemmed from misreading the situation.

"We all misspeak from time to time and I immediately corrected it. Just as Sen. Obama said he was looking forward to meeting the president of Canada, we all misspeak from time to time," McCain told reporters in London.

Um, no Mr. McCain, immediately correcting the error would mean that you mentioned it once and then fixed the "gaffe." When you say it three times, as Hunter at DailyKos notes that is a talking point, not anything that would resemble a mistake. So please McMaverick, spare us the bullshit excuses for intentionally misleading people and do something mavericky by telling the truth, or are you willing to accept the title of "Another right-wing hack for President," or perhaps maybe this short and sweet bumper-sticker will work.

Do You Get The "Anger" Now?

For all the ignorant white people out there, this cartoon may explain some things to you about race in America.

Con-Ed: Pay More And Get Less

Well here goes, Con Edison got an approval to raise our rates, even though they haven't done a damn thing to help fix the power (and steam) problems in our city. While the state is decreasing programs that help New Yorkers, they are approving a request that will tap more of us, even if it is only a few dollars, its a few more dollars that many people do not have to begin with.

From The NY Times:

Residents of New York City will see the biggest one-time increase in their bills for electric service next month, after state regulators approved a $425 million increase in rates for Consolidated Edison on Wednesday.

Starting in April, the typical household in the city will pay about $4.25 more each month for the delivery of power by the company, whose string of recent failures has drawn heated criticism from customers and elected officials, regulators said. In Westchester County, where the company is also the main utility, the typical residential customer will pay about $5.60 a month more, the regulators said.

The rate increase, which was unanimously approved by the five members of the state’s Public Service Commission at a meeting in Lower Manhattan, is a fraction of the $1.2 billion increase that Con Ed sought last spring.

As the Times notes, these five people were hesitant to approve the hike in light of all the problems Con-Ed has in delivering power and keeping pipes in the ground and not spraying out several stories into the air and killing/wounding people. Con Ed must have begged hard to get it approved. One regulator, Cheryl Buley had "misgivings" about her vote in favor....sheesh lady, why didn't you just DENY it? The tired argument for more money for improvements fall flat when they are taking in money but not improving much of anything.

NY Times Begins To Shut The Door On Clinton's Campaign

In about two months give or take, the New York Times has gone from endorsing Hillary Clinton for President to dismissing her and showing us the end of her campaign. Of course we heard that it wasn't all pro-Hillary in the editorial room, but now the paper is predicting end times for Clinton '08. I wonder if they don't matter to Senator Clinton now as well?

From The NY Times:

For Mrs. Clinton, all this has seemed something of a long shot since her defeats in February. But that shot seems to have grown a little longer.

Despite Mrs. Clinton’s last-minute trip to Michigan on Wednesday, Democrats there signaled that they are unlikely to hold a new primary. That apparently dashed Mrs. Clinton’s hopes of a new showdown in a state she feels she could win, and it left the state’s delegates in limbo.

The inaction in Michigan followed a similar collapse of her effort to seek another matchup with Mr. Obama in Florida, where, as in Michigan, she won an earlier primary held in violation of party rules.

Without new votes in Florida and Michigan, it will be that much more difficult for Mrs. Clinton to achieve a majority in the total popular vote in the primary season, narrow Mr. Obama’s lead among pledged delegates or build a new wave of momentum.

Mrs. Clinton’s advisers had hoped that the uproar over inflammatory remarks made by Mr. Obama’s longtime pastor that has rocked his campaign for a week might lead voters and superdelegates to question whether they really know enough about Mr. Obama to back him. Although it is still early to judge his success, the speech Mr. Obama delivered on race in Philadelphia to address the controversy was well received and praised even by some Clinton supporters.

Yeah, its over. When will the Senator from New York understand this?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Steve Harrison Supports The Responsible Plan

The incumbent in New York's 13th Congressional District does not. The "Plan" is a way for us to get out of Iraq and get out quick. Current Congressman Vito Fossella supports Bush's failed war and now it is time to kick him out of the House and put Steve Harrison in his place, so that Staten Island is truly represented in Washington next year.

There's A Bear Mountain Compact?!?

To outdoorsy New Yorkers, Bear Mountain is known as a recreational getaway not too far from the city where you can fish, hike and do whatever woodsy stuff you like. However to a politician serving in the New York State Legislature there's a hidden meaning when driving up I-87 on the way to Albany.

From Newsday:

ALBANY - There are the booze-fueled fund-raisers and the attractive aides, the six-months-long, intense legislative session and the second homes stumbling distance from the bars -- all of it conveniently far from home.

New York's capital may look buttoned-down, but former legislative aides and lawmakers say Albany provides an accommodating culture for marital infidelities like those acknowledged by Gov. David A. Paterson on Monday.

"That's just the nature of Albany. It lends itself to idle people misbehaving away from home," said Charmian Neary, a former Albany aide who filed a sexual harassment complaint with the Assembly against her boss, former Assemb. Mark Alan Siegel, in 1992. It was dismissed, although Siegel and the Assembly later settled a harassment lawsuit with Neary.

For many years, there was a rule among New York City area lawmakers called the Bear Mountain Compact: personal transgressions north of the upstate mountain don't get talked about south of it. At least not on the record. "Of course you hear the rumors," said one state legislator who spoke on condition of anonymity. "And you do everything you can to avoid becoming part of them."

Wow, you really can learn something new everyday. How sad is it that there actually has to be a 'compact.' What happened to the good old days when legislators would go to their capitols and actually focus on legislating? Or am I just being naive and there really was never such a time?

Maybe there's something in the water up in Albany?

Cheney Hates Us All

Yes thats right. Dick Cheney hates me, he hates you and he hates everyone that might want to get in his way or merely disagree with him. He might as well call himself Archduke or Baron Cheney. To our Vice-President, he is above the law and above any average American, even those that voted for him. He showed his disdain for us peasants yet again, this time on Good Morning America.

From RawStory:

Vice President Dick Cheney had a different message. Informed during a Good Morning America interview broadcast Wednesday that two-thirds of Americans now think the war was not worth fighting, Cheney said: "So?"

"So you don't care what the American people think?" ABC's Martha Raddatz asked.

He added: "I think we cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations of the public opinion polls. There has in fact been fundamental change and transformation and improvement for the better. That's a huge accomplishment."

So sorry to bother you Dick, I know you are so busy fishing on the Sultan of Oman's yacht. I wonder if he is using his shotgun instead of a fishing pole? Or perhaps he's just there to piss off the Iranians, with that fishing ground oh so close to Iran.


What Five Years Means To Congressman Wexler

Speaking truth to power is Wexler's mission these days and I am glad he is working hard to help bring this miserable war to an end. He wants to cut funding for the war and impeach President Bush and VP Cheney. He brings up issues that many have since ignored and is one of the most courageous members in the House.

Thank you Congressman Wexler!

A Council Race Grows In Queens

With all the news about Spitzer's prostitution scandal and newly-inaugurated Governor Paterson's affairs, it is understandable that many New Yorkers missed Councilman Dennis Gallagher's resignation after he made a plea deal to escape a trial and jail time over an alleged rape. There are just too many lurid sex (criminal or not) stories going on in the Empire State these days! Well anyways, now that Dennis is gone, the situation presents us with a brand-spanking new special election right across the East River in the 30th Council District.

From The NY Times:

Anyone can run who is a resident of the district — which includes Middle Village, Ridgewood and Glendale — and who collects 2,700 valid signatures from anyone in the district who is registered to vote. And the mayor is required to set a date for the election (with 45 days of the vacancy) within three days after Mr. Gallagher’s resignation takes effect.

But even though the election is nonpartisan, political affiliation, the power behind it, will clearly play a central role in the candidates’ campaigns.

The Democrats are expected to coalesce behind Elizabeth Crowley, in part because her cousin, United States Representative Joseph Crowley, is the Democratic Party chairman of Queens. Ms. Crowley, a developer of educational programs for nonprofit agencies who is also a member of the local chapter of the Building Trades Council.[...]

The Republicans are clearly less harmonious in their consideration regarding Mr. Gallagher’s successor. Philip Ragusa, the party chairman, said the organization will support Anthony Como, a commissioner with the New York City Board of Elections and longtime aide to State Senator Serphin Maltese. Mr. Como, a former assistant district attorney in Queens, ran unsuccessfully for the Assembly in 2005, losing to Andrew Hevesi, the son of former State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi.

But Mr. Como will face stiff competition from Thomas V. Ognibene, who represented the 30th Council District for 10 years, immediately before Mr. Gallagher. In fact, Mr. Gallagher was the chief lieutenant for Mr. Ognibene for many of his 10 years in the Council.

Looks like an interesting race will shape up in these Queens' neighborhoods. It's also an opportunity for the New York Democratic party to shave off one of three remaining Republican-held districts in the city. Currently Dems have 48 out of 51. So if you live in that part of Queens or if you want to see a Democrat replace a Republican, sign-up and help out.

Arresting War Protesters Already

The time has barely passed ten in the morning and already authorities are detaining American citizens that are demonstrating against the war. What are their crimes you ask? Peacefully protesting at the gates of the I.R.S. can get you thrown in jail, despite the freedoms that were written down in the Bill of Rights. Our founding fathers were adamant about people having the right to assemble and it was one of the first additions to the Constitution. So how are Americans treated in 2008?

From The Guardian:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Police have arrested about a dozen people who crossed a barricade at the entrance of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington at the start of protests marking the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war.

Anti-war protests and vigils are planned across the country.

Dozens of people gathered at the IRS, chanting ``This is a Crime Scene'' and ``You're arresting the wrong people.'' A crowd marched around the IRS before gathering at the entrance.

Protesters are blocking the main entrance of the building. But no federal workers appear to be using that entrance to go inside the IRS.

So even though the entrance wasn't being used by anyone, they decided to arrest people demonstrating as is their right as American citizens. How nice.

Jon Stewart: Obama Talked To Americans About Race As Though They Were Adults

Stewart summed it up brilliantly. Senator Obama's speech was nothing short of extraordinary.

What's Five Years Anyway?

What does five years mean to you? Literally its a half a decade. It can be a small child getting ready for kindergarten, a slightly lengthened college career or the time to get ready for a Senator looking to be re-elected. It means a lot of different things to many different people. Yet one thing many of us share, is our nation's collective experience in Iraq. Five years ago our country was lied to and manipulated and on this day in 2003 our troops crossed the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border and deposed Saddam Hussein not too much later.

Since then, we have lost nearly four thousand soldiers have lost their lives, hundreds if not more contractors have been killed and tens of thousands have been wounded in one way or another. That means that hundreds of thousands of Americans know friends or family that have died in the war, or experience the post-war lives of the wounded. Sometimes it is hard to notice the direct effects in your community but then it sometimes not. A couple months ago I was grumbling about one thing or another when I was buying something at the pharmacy and I turned to my left and saw a young man who had a prosthetic leg. Every other part of him looked like a soldier...and I completely forgot what I was angry about.

The other day I was walking with my girlfriend and we passed the 69th Regiment Armory over on Lex and 26th. She noticed a group of National Guard troops and was shocked at how young they were. Even in our late 20s, it is hard to see people in uniform with baby faces. Those soldiers have the very real possibility of being shipped over to Iraq. It is incredible....and yet it is unconscionable.

And what, pray tell does George Bush think about his failed war? What does he gather about five years of death, misery, poverty and a new struggling theocratic government in Iraq? Does he think about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians that have died, or perhaps the influx of terrorist organization into the country since he began the war? Well, why not ask him?

From The Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — President Bush says he has no doubts about launching the unpopular war in Iraq despite the "high cost in lives and treasure," arguing that retreat now would embolden Iran and provide al-Qaida with money for weapons of mass destruction to attack the United States.[...]

Looking back, Bush said, "Five years into this battle, there is an understandable debate over whether the war was worth fighting ... whether the fight is worth winning ... and whether we can win it. The answers are clear to me: Removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right decision and this is a fight America can and must win."

Bush said the past five years have brought "moments of triumph and moments of tragedy," from free elections in Iraq to acts of brutality and violence.

"The terrorists who murder the innocent in the streets of Baghdad want to murder the innocent in the streets of American cities. Defeating this enemy in Iraq will make it less likely we will face this enemy here at home," Bush said.

So there we have it. More lies, the same lies and the tired rationale that somehow Iraqis who have decided to rebel against our occupying force would come over here to fight us in our homes. No Mr. President, it is you that sent our troops to fight in their homes. You sir, are the terrorist that helps to murder the innocent with your deception, your bloodlust and your greed for power and domination.

Five years to me is five out of seven failed years of your Presidency. It is five years that you have sent our soldiers off to die and many to be scarred (physically, mentally or both) for life. It is five years that you have trashed our reputation in the global community and plundered our economy to fight this godforsaken war. For shame George, for shame.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nader: If Spitzer Can Resign, Why Not George Bush?

Leave it Ralph Nader of all people to ask what the distinction is between Eliot Spitzer and Ralph Nader. No it isn't about sex, its about doing something wrong, having public pressure to make the politician apologize and then do the right thing by resigning. If they do not resign, the media and the public should press as hard as it takes in order to make the right thing happen. So why did it come so easy to Spitzer and why does our country still have George Bush as President?

From Nader's blog:

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer gets caught with a hooker.

The Republicans call for his impeachment.

Spitzer resigns within a week.

Bush engages the country in a criminal war in Iraq.

More than a million Iraqis are killed.

Almost 4,000 Americans are killed.

Tens of thousands are seriously injured.

Five years go by.

Obama/Clinton/McCain take impeachment off the table.

Bush and Cheney go free.

As far as simplicity goes, that is a thing of beauty. Unfortunately the prostitution ring only made a few people wealthy. The war makes many more (influential) people wealthy and their supporters have helped to make cowards out of Congress. To be fair, the legislative branch gave up its spine long ago and is only recently trying to regrow it. So hopefully we will at least get a censure of Bush from the 111th Congress, even though we deserve impeachment and criminal trials.

The Speech To End All Speeches

Everyone but Hillary and Rush Limbaugh are calling this brilliant:

Oh and he wrote it himself too.

McCain Can't Get His Facts Straight Over Iraq

You'd think that the man running for President and advocating for an unlimited amount of time for our soldiers to be killed in Iraq and trillions wasted on fighting it would at least know what was going on there. At least twice in as many days, he forgot which players were doing what. Now I'm not a international relations expert, but I think that it would be good to come to the table with as much information about the particular situation in order to execute good policy. Then again, maybe its just me.

From The Washington Post:

AMMAN, Jordan -- Sen. John McCain, traveling in the Middle East to promote his foreign policy expertise, misidentified in remarks Tuesday which broad category of Iraqi extremists are allegedly receiving support from Iran.

He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate's ear. McCain then said: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."

Um, wow. Is he really that ignorant?

Ya betcha.

And on top of that ignorance, Joe Lieberman of all people had to inform McCain on the realities between Iraq and Iran. Perhaps he's listening to talk radio and Bush's delusional thinking more so than actual intelligence.

Oh and TP reports he said the same thing last night.

The Bed Bugs Are Biting At Fox News

No that isn't a cute title for something that the fine people at Fox News have said or done. Literally, they are having a bed bug problem at their network headquarters here in New York City. Apparently someone working at the propaganda outlet brought some of the critters to work and started an infestation of gargantuan proportions!

From The Gothamist:

Guests at Fox News now have more to worry about than Bill O’Reilly’s barking; there are also bed bugs biting. A senior vice president for operations and engineering at Fox News had nothing better to do yesterday than speak to the biased, freedom-hating New York Times about the situation, confirming that the Manhattan newsroom discovered the problem a few weeks ago, when an employee “caught a bug and showed it to us.”

Bedbugs are adept at hitchhiking to new locales in the pockets and clothing creases of their human hosts, so it’s not surprising that they’ve managed to infiltrate Fox, where patriotic Alpha-male hot blood surges in abundance. An exterminator called in to Fox said that one unnamed employee’s apartment has “the worst infestation he had seen in 25 years in the business.”

It’s still unclear whose apartment the exterminator referred to, but bed bugs have been known to savor the blood (and furry protection) of male bears. Fox swears the bed bugs have been “totally eradicated,” but the annoying thing about bed bugs is their tenacious ability to survive for months between feedings, and in some cases they can live up to a year before sucking blood again. The bed begs have clearly refused to let New Yorkers rest, but their sudden infiltration of Dick Cheney's favorite news source can mean only one thing: Al Qaeda training.

Ah of course, it has to be the terrorists! Who else would hatch (no pun intended) such a devious, nefarious and outright evil plan to make everyone at Fox itchy and uncomfortable. Well Mr. O'Reilly, it is time to start screaming and shouting on your network about the bed bug perps and blame (terrorists/liberals/Keith Olbermann) for spreading the filth at your offices.

Oh wait, thats right, its been filthy since you guys started out, oops!

McCain And Bush March Together

McCain is no maverick, he's simply a third term for George Bush:

Obama Speaks Truth To Power About Race

Watching this speech on CNN, I am becoming more impressed with his candidacy. After a quick reference to the founding fathers and slavery, Obama starts off by addressing Reverend Wright's comments and denouncing them, but then goes on to talk about race in our society. This speech is not a stump for votes, it is a real expression of race in America. He talks about how it existed fifty years ago and how it has, and hasn't changed since. It is the racism in our society that hides under the surface, yet seems to bubble up all over the place.

He mentioned Ferraro's comments and the media's obsession to focus on a few lines from Reverend Wright's sermon. He said we can remain cynical about these soundbites and keep politics going as it has been for a long time now. But. But, we can do it differently and Barack Obama is calling for a change. He knows that the economic hardships Americans are facing aren't just about race, it is about the corporate culture that has been allowed to fester on our country, destroying our collective soul.

Of course, you don't have to take my opinion on it for anything, just read it yourself, and ask what direction you want the country to be in once this election is over.

Bending Over Main St. To Kiss Wall St.

Despite the fact the Dow ended up yesterday by no means constitutes a well balanced marketplace. The financial sector is in chaos and the Bush Administration is doing nothing but making it worse. The power is in the people Mr. Bush and you are trying your best to help corporations while royally screwing the rest of us. This is more than evident after Bear Stearns and JP Morgan were helped along in their deal by the Federal Government, to the tune of $30 billion dollars in credit. And what does the White House have to say about it?

From ThinkProgress:

During today’s news briefing, reporters questioned White House Press Secretary Dana Perino on the Fed’s actions, noting that the White House has repeatedly refused to extend similar assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure. Perino replied that help to homeowners — a “boost of liquidity” — would come “in the form of a stimulus package and a tax rebate.”

The average rebate check will amount to about $600 for single people and $1,670 for middle income families. Compare this figure to the nationwide median mortgage payment, which stood at $1,566 in September. Or to the average increase in subprime mortgage payments in early 2007, which was $320 per month.

These checks obviously won’t help Americans stave off foreclosure — a frightening reality facing an increasing number of people. Foreclosure rates skyrocketed 60 percent last month from February 2007, and Americans own less equity in their homes than they have since World War II.

As TP continues on, the White House claims that bailing out Bear Stearns is necessary, but for hundreds of thousands of homeowners losing their little slices of the American dream? Not so much. Barack may have the audacity of hope, but George Bush and his cronies have the audacity to screw over as many Americans as possible.

Bailing out the financial sector is hypocritical and shameful.

Paterson's Inaugural Speech

Welcome Governor Paterson, this progressive and many, many others in New York salute, and support you as you start your gubernatorial duties.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Very nice Governor, talking about unity, progress and even a few jokes thrown in as well.

Republicans For Hillary, Not Really For Hillary

From a voting standpoint, one of the great appeals about Barack Obama is that he brings new people into the fold. Americans are attracted to his visions of hope and opportunity. They are yearning for a new way in the way our country views and runs government. But to be fair to his opponent in this primary race, Hillary Clinton is also bringing new voters into the process, specifically the Democratic primary and specifically getting Republicans to vote for a "D" in 2008. However, it isn't that simple, because they do not want to hang around us for too long.

From The Boston Globe:

For a party that loves to hate the Clintons, Republican voters have cast an awful lot of ballots lately for Senator Hillary Clinton: About 100,000 GOP loyalists voted for her in Ohio, 119,000 in Texas, and about 38,000 in Mississippi, exit polls show.

A sudden change of heart? Hardly.

Since Senator John McCain effectively sewed up the GOP nomination last month, Republicans have begun participating in Democratic primaries specifically to vote for Clinton, a tactic that some voters and local Republican activists think will help their party in November. With every delegate important in the tight Democratic race, this trend could help shape the outcome if it continues in the remaining Democratic primaries open to all voters.

Spurred by conservative talk radio, GOP voters who say they would never back Clinton in a general election are voting for her now for strategic reasons: Some want to prolong her bitter nomination battle with Barack Obama, others believe she would be easier to beat than Obama in the fall, or they simply want to register objections to Obama.

It seems that many Republicans both publicly and privately are supporting Hillary in the primary only. They see her as a weaker opponent in the general and paradoxically are voting for her now to beat her later. They fear a contest between McCain and Obama....and they should be afraid. Afraid that their time to ruin our Constitution is at an end. Afraid that corporations will no longer have absolute domination over the rest of us. And afraid that we will bring our troops home from a war that didn' work when we went in, a war that isn't working now and a war that will only get worse over time.

So the Republicans can try to push for Hillary all they want, but Obama still leads his party in delegates, states and the popular vote. In our party, the Democratic party, the majority will pick our nominee and that my friends, is that.

Monday, March 17, 2008

What McCain's Foreign Policy Might Look Like

With the utterances of "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" and "We'll be there for 100 years" one can only assume that a McCain Presidency would yield more George W. Bush style politics as well as similar ways of relating to other countries. Not only is this about the man in question, but the people around him. So what type of things have his foreign policy advisers mentioned thus far in the media?

From ThinkProgress:

“The [Iraq] war itself will clarify who was right and who was wrong about weapons of mass destruction. […] History and reality are about to weigh in, and we are inclined simply to let them render their verdicts.” [The Weekly Standard 3/17/03]

“There’s been a certain amount of pop sociology in America … that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular.” [NPR, 4/1/03]

“Iraq already has confounded many Western ‘progressives’ who doubted that the Arab world could ever make progress. The bus may be rickety and it may have lost some passengers, but — guess what? — it’s on schedule toward its final destination: democracy.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/4/04]

“I think we ought to execute some air strikes against Syria, against the instruments of power of that state, against the airport, which is the place where the weapons shuttle through from Iran to Hezbollah and Hamas. I think both Syria and Iran think that we’re cowards.” [Fox News’ Big Story with John Gibson, 7/17/06]

“If we can’t leave a democracy behind [in Iraq], we should at least leave the corpses of our enemies. The holier-than-thou response to this proposal is predictable: ‘We can’t kill our way out of this situation!’ Well, boo-hoo. Friendly persuasion and billions of dollars haven’t done the job. Give therapeutic violence a chance.” [New York Post, 10/26/06]

Oh and yes, there is plenty more where that came from. So when voters go to choose between McCain and Oba the Democratic nominee, they better keep those quotes in mind.

TPM's Post-Weekend Rundown

The TPM guru Josh Marshall goes over all the politicking of the last week and condenses it into less than nine minutes (minus a quick commercial):

Cheney Takes A "Stroll" In Baghdad

Gee, you know Baghdad has gotten so much safer because of our five year presence in Iraq. If you don't believe President Bush, then just go ask his overlord and master Vice President, Dick Cheney. Remember when we were in the last throes of the insurgency? Well things haven't gone according to plan and despite that, we are going to continue the same failed ideas about installing a "democracy" over there. To make the point clear, Dick Cheney spoke from Iraq, on one of his....strolls.

From Yahoo News:

Cheney landed at Baghdad International Airport, then flew by helicopter into the dusty, heavily secured Green Zone for talks with U.S. military and diplomatic officials and the Iraqi prime minister. It is Cheney's third vice presidential trip to Iraq where 160,000 American troops are deployed and the U.S. death toll is nearing 4,000. His visit came while Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, also was in Iraq.

For security reasons, Cheney officials divulged few details about the vice president's schedule and asked reporters not to report on his location until he had moved on to another. Cheney was expected to make stops throughout the country, speak to troops and spend time with other Iraqi leaders.

Cheney's motorcade zigzagged through Baghdad to meetings as helicopter gunships circled overhead. Explosions were heard in parts of the city, but none were near the vice president.

Are those explosions signs of progress? Perhaps they were fireworks celebrating Cheney's presence in the capitol. They must love him so so so much with all that he has done for them....

Of course, no one's love can match that of Cheney's pocketbook, which has profited immensely from the hard work of Halliburton in Iraq these past five years. He can highlight all the reduction he wants, but the reality on the ground seems to always differ from what he says.

A Towering Problem

The relationships between New Yorkers and the cranes that build their skyscrapers are tenuous at best. As the New York Times describes, people are wary of them and more so in the wake of Saturday's tragic disaster in Turtle Bay. The question is, where do we go from here? Developers are heeding orders for brand new office space at a high rate and reward their subcontractors for a speedy delivery. Unfortunately that "free market" feel can, does and will create more disasters like we saw two days ago and other various mishaps that have happened since we started erecting skyscrapers.

Well one good idea is in the works and it has everything to do with accountability. Lets face it, the Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster should go. Obviously the tragedy at Trump SoHo earlier this year wasn't enough for her and someone needs to come in and restore order with all of the contractors that work in the city.

The fact that a building collapsed all on its own up in Harlem two weeks ago is another ominous sign. If we can not have adequate supervision of new buildings in one of New York's most affluent neighborhoods, how are we supposed to expect adequate surveillance of the hundreds of thousands of buildings that are already in existence across the five boroughs? One thing is for sure, if there is anything good to come from this accident, it is that the rules change from here on out.

Iraqi Soldiers Want Democrats To Win

So that we will finally leave their country alone:

While The Snakes Are Imbibing, NY Swears In Its Next Governor

Today is St. Patrick's Day and if you are anywhere in America (and especially the Northeast) you will see plenty of drinking going on today, not to mention the ridiculous amounts consumed over the weekend. While the intoxicated crowds swell, one crowd should be mostly sober up in Albany as they watch David Paterson being sworn in as our state's next chief executive.

From The NY Times:

As New York reeled from revelations that Gov. Eliot Spitzer was under federal investigation for his links to a prostitution ring, Mr. Paterson wanted his swearing-in ceremony to convey a sense of coming together.

So when he steps into the baroque chamber of the State Assembly here at 1 p.m. and is sworn in by the state’s chief judge, Judith S. Kaye, he will do so in the presence of members of both houses of the Legislature and the state’s highest-ranking elected officials — with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo expected to be among them.

To dispel any notion that the event has a celebratory tone, Mr. Paterson and his staff are carefully referring to it as a swearing-in, not an inauguration.

Semantics aside, this is still a big deal and Paterson is making sure everything goes well. He wants to start off on the right foot and in politics, first impressions are always important. Due to his disability, he has memorized his speech and is expected to create an air of harmony instead of the discord and harsh tones of the previous Administration.

Obama Wins More Delegates As Clinton's Camp "Deplores" Negativity

Apparently to a Clinton-ite it is "mean" to ask your opponent to disclose your records. Her aides are complaining about Obama's supposed "negative" campaigning, which is in reference to wanting the public to know her record on earmarks, her taxes, White House schedules and of course those mysterious Clinton Library funders. Aww, poor Hillary Clinton. It looks like she can't take a fraction of what she dishes out at Senator Obama.

From AmericaBlog:

Sounds like today's Clinton campaign conference call was a real hoot. Ben Smith has the report. They're all freaked out that Obama is going to challenge Clinton on issues of "ethics and transparency." This coming from the campaign that promised to throw the "kitchen sink" at Obama. From the over-the-top reaction of Team Clinton, it sure sounds like they've got something to hide. Otherwise, they'd release the 2001- 2006 tax forms, the Senate earmarks, the White House schedules and the funders of the Clinton library already.

Lots and lots of whining from Team Clinton over the challenge for her to be transparent. Why is that? And, who knew they were so fragile. How would Team Clinton ever handle the GOP if they can't take this scrutiny from Obama?

While the Clinton campaign is busy holding conference calls to spin the media and complain that Obama is being mean, the Obama camp is busy racking up delegates. He picked up 14 more delegates yesterday. That's how you win the nomination. And, that's why Hillary Clinton is losing.

Looks like her "experience" is failing her yet again.

Oh My! Obama's Church Really Is Scary!

Oh yeah, real scary:

Republicans Silence Witnesses To Help Credit Card Companies

Republicans may be in the minority in the House of Representatives, but that isn't going to stop them from trying to help their friends over at JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Capitol One. There was a hearing this past Thursday to get credit card holders' statements on their experiences with unexpected rate changes but for some odd reason, out of the five that flew across the country to testify only one did.

From Mother Jones:

In 2000, Illinois resident Marvin Weatherspoon (right) got a Bank of America credit card that he used to consolidate $12,000 in home repair bills, thinking the 4.5 percent introductory interest rate would help him get out of debt faster. Instead, though, eight years later, he has paid the bank more than $15,000, yet has reduced his principal balance by only $800. The reason? Even though he's paid his bills on time, Bank of America inexplicably raised his interest rate, first to 19.99 percent and then to 25 percent, where it is today.

Weatherspoon came to Washington yesterday to tell his story at a hearing on the Credit Card Holders Bill of Rights, a bill sponsored by New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) that would restrict the kind of arbitrary interest rate increases Weatherspoon got hit with, among other things. But as it turned out, Weatherspoon never got to testify. The ever-powerful credit-card companies successfully bounced all of the consumers off the panel, leaving only academics and credit card executives to speak publicly.

At the outset of the hearing before a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, Maloney explained that "there have been fairness concerns raised about having consumers testify this morning without a waiver that allowed their credit-card issuers to respond publicly." Translation: The credit card companies wanted the consumer witnesses to make their financial records public so the banks could "rebut" their complaints, i.e., trash them in the press.

Yeah thats right, the CC companies stooped that low. Well if you were trying to keep up a false image and had billions of dollars riding on it (and you had no conscience) then you would do the same thing. Meanwhile the lobbyists of these banks got to fill up the seats in the committee room and testify about all the good things these companies have done for their customers. Of course that doesn't include jacking up interest rates at a moment's notice. Preventing those abuses is what the House Democrats are proposing in this legislation. A Credit Card Holders' Bill of Rights is a necessary item with the greed of these companies increasing daily. For them its the bottom line and their customers be damned.