Saturday, April 19, 2008

NYC Cares About Water In Pennsylvania

The title may sound boring, but it truly is an important issue. Water is both a life-giving resource and a deadly, destructive force that can destroy neighborhoods and small towns. Flood waters around the Delaware have been particularly bad this time of year because New York wants the reservoirs full to make sure there's plenty of water in the summertime. Now after Governor Rendell talked to officials on our side of the river, things should be getting better.

From The Gothamist:

NYC has agreed to lower the water levels in some of its reservoirs that supply the city with its drinking water. The move came after pressure from Ed Rendell, the Gov. of Pennsylvania, who argued for reduced reservoir capacity to spare citizens of his state from the regular spring flooding along the Delaware River that results from New York keeping its reservoirs filled to the brim. When spring storms exceed the already-full reservoirs' ability to retain water, the Delaware River floods and Pennsylvanians suffer.

Under the new agreement, NYC said that it will reduce the levels of the Neversink, Pepacton and Cannonsville reservoirs to 97% of capacity after April 1st, in anticipation of spring rains. Pennsylvanians sounded barely satisfied with the compromise and characterized it as an insignificant gesture. Flooding of the Delaware River has claimed the lives of nine people and cost $70 million in property damage between 2004 and 2006. People who live along the river would prefer that the man made lakes upstream in New York State be maintained at 80% of capacity to prevent bridges and their homes from being washed away.

See, it isn't only the primary battle that we care about in the state to our south and west. Saving lives and property is far more important than making sure our water supply is as high as it can be. This isn't the western side of the United States, we have plenty of water to go around here and it should be used wisely.

Pennsylvania's "Alabama" Turns Out To Be Obama Country

Pundits can say this and that, talking about middle America as if they knew everyone in these small towns despite living in Washington, D.C. for the last ten to thirty years. They have no idea what is going on there. So Bill Maher had Jeremy Scahill on how actually went to that area of the Keystone state that resides between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Hillary Lied About MoveOn, Which Was Formed To Help Her Hubby

If Barack Obama has the "Audacity to Hope," then Hillary Clinton has the audacity to think she can win. As if bashing San Francisco wasn't bad enough, it turns out she criticized and lied about MoveOn, the very organization that was formed to help her husband during his impeachment crisis.

MoveOn, as in "Bill was a bad boy but now we need to Move On" got its start ten years ago in the wake of the Republican frenzy to remove Bill Clinton from office over sex and now has grown into a dominating force of 3.2 million people that only want to see Democrats win in office and protect the progressive values they hold dear. Two months ago they weighed their options between Barack and Hillary and an online democratic vote was held that determined they would endorse Barack Obama. Since all Hillary cares about is winning, she went from applauding MoveOn to bashing and lying about them to a closed door meeting with her donors. Now the audio tape is out for all to see.

From The Huffington Post:

" endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] -- which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," Clinton said to a meeting of donors. "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."[...]

The comments also contradict Clinton's previous statements praising this year's elevated Democratic turnout in primaries and caucuses, and appear to blame her caucus defeats on newly energized grassroots voter groups that she has lauded in the past as "lively participants" in American democracy.

"You've been asking the tough questions," Clinton said in April of last year at a MoveOn-sponsored town hall event. "You've been refusing to back down when any of us who are in political leadership are not living up to the standards that we should set for ourselves... I think you have helped to change the face of American politics for the better... both online, and in the corridors of power."

All that matters to her is to win at all costs, even if it means fracturing the party wherever she sees fit. And of course that comment about Afghanistan is completely untrue, a lie that was started by none other than the vile Karl Rove. Now Hillary is parroting his remarks so again, we must correct her divisive rhetoric with a high dose of truth.

In a statement to The Huffington Post, MoveOn's Executive Director Eli Pariser reacted strongly to Clinton's remarks: "Senator Clinton has her facts wrong again. MoveOn never opposed the war in Afghanistan, and we set the record straight years ago when Karl Rove made the same claim. Senator Clinton's attack on our members is divisive at a time when Democrats will soon need to unify to beat Senator McCain. MoveOn is 3.2 million reliable voters and volunteers who are an important part of any winning Democratic coalition in November. They deserve better than to be dismissed using Republican talking points."

Reduced to Republican talking points, what a shame.

Tasers On A Plane?

Snakes may have venom, but at least they are mere reptiles and not human beings that can press buttons to use a taser on a fellow man (or woman). Using tasers to fight terrorism seems like a silly idea unless you are making an arrest in a situation that involves direct conflict. Using tasers on an airplane to stop potential terrorists while in their seats is just plain insane.

From Wired:

A Canadian company called Lamperd Less Lethal is promoting the EMD Safety Bracelet. It's equipped with electro muscular disruption technology, which effectively short-circuits the central nervous system. Zap someone and they'll be completely immobile for several minutes.

The technology isn't new -- cops and security guards have been using it for years in tasers. What's new is the marketing approach. Lamperd is hawking the EMD bracelet as the ideal tool for fighting terrorists intent on taking over an airplane. [...]

Beyond preying on people's fears and insulting our intelligence, Lamperd is selling a product that's a horrible idea in the first place. Do you really want those bracelets on your flight? If hijackers get their hands the transmitter, they'll zap anyone standing in their way. Who's to say that in the chaos of an emergency a crew member will have time to identify the threat, activate the correct bracelet and fire the EMD pulse before the terrorist has control of the plane?

And then there's the possibility of random craziness. What if a flight attendant loses her cookies and zaps a passenger who wants to keep the whole can of CranApple juice? What about drunk passengers? Do you want the lush in 36D getting his hands on what is essentially a bracelet-mounted stun gun?

Flight attendants will and have thrown people off of planes for wearing t-shirts they don't like. How are we supposed to know that they won't use tasers on people that...gee, I don't know, are religious and pray?

If any, and I mean any airline gives this product more than a nanosecond of thought, then I am finished flying with a company that would jeopardize my safety in that way. It's bad enough that they jeopardize millions of passengers in others already.

Bill Maher's New Rules: America Has Every Right To Be Bitter

Another great set of "New Rules":

I couldn't agree more, if you think the Democrats are going to take away your God, your gun or give the gun to a Mexican to shoot your God, then you truly are like Bill O'Reilly.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Thought Baseless Attacks On San Fran Was A Republican Thing

San Francisco, for the most part has been known for decades a bastion for freedom, equality and liberty for its residents regardless of their gender, ethnicity or political views. For quite some time now Republicans have bashed the city with some of the most beautiful geography to rile up their supporters. Not too long ago Bill O'Reilly called on terrorist to bomb it. Most Independents and those on the left realize that those attacks are emblematic of lunacy at its finest and nothing more. Unfortunately that isn't how Hillary Clinton sees it, apparently she's joining the club that loves to hate on the liberal-leaning town.

From AmericaBlog:

Anyone else notice that Hillary and her staff keep gratuitously mentioning "San Francisco" when talking about Obama's "bitter" comments? Markos noticed it too: "I remember the good ol' days when only Republicans used to demonize San Francisco," Markos wrote yesterday. A DailyKos diarist noticed it too, as did the readers at popular gay news and culture site Datalounge. As did some folks interviewed by the SF Chronicle:
So the most shocking part of the whole incident, he said, has been the appearance that "Hillary Clinton wants to ... throw in with the critique from the far right" in appearing to feed the image of an out-of-touch "San Francisco-style Democrat."

It suggests "that the Clintons are so committed to the political tactics that they'll do virtually anything to advance a step without regard for the long term implications," he said. "Most Democrats and most Republicans will not attack their opponent in such a way as to give massive fodder to the other side in the general election."

But "she's just writing the playbook for the Republicans in November..."
And we all know what San Francisco is code for. Now let's examine what Hillary was after. From the NYT:
Some Clinton advisers also said that the focus on Mr. Obama’s “guns or religion” comment was a way to put him on the spot with so-called values voters...
Value voters. That's PC media slang for the religious right....

The article goes on to ask why, why, why does she continue to talk badly about San Francisco. Well it seems that it is something to do with those "Values Voters" and what they see as the biggest problem on the peninsula, teh gays.

See, Hillary Clinton had no problem going to the center to run in New York as a Senator. All she had to do was do okay upstate and crush her opponent down here in NYC. Now that she is running nation-wide and as a proud member of the DLC, her belief is that she has to go as far right as possible with those that hear the "coded" messages while still talking about bringing the troops home to us on the left (really, the majority of Americans). It is quite a tightrope that she walks day in and day out and it would be impressive if it weren't so sad to see a woman that doesn't care about her principles because they are clouded by the desire to win at all costs.

Senator Clinton needs to realize that everyone who votes has values, though I feel that she just doesn't get it and frankly never will. I hope and pray that this ends as soon as possible, and we can finally have our nominee.

Yes we can!

John Paulson Is A Prime Example Of The Income Gap In America

Deep in the heart of the American ethos, the idea that you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps is something rarely attainable in reality. Sure, it has happened before, but if you were looking at the likelihood of it happening on a bell-shaped curve, you wouldn't even be able to see the area those few successes represent.

However, for a long time the gap between rich and poor was never terribly out of whack. There were always differences in class of course, and in the laissez-faire mid to late 1800s times were very rough for the working poor. Fortunately things got better with the New Deal and F.D.R., but when conservatism got its hold on our country starting in the late 1970s and especially with Reagan, things got much, much worse. Though for a select few, things got much, much better. That would include people like John Paulson.

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

THE subprime mortgage mess that caused massive losses for home owners and banks was a little kinder to the hedge fund manager John Paulson. Betting subprime mortgage securities would sour, Mr Paulson earned $US3.7 billion ($3.95 billion) last year.

Yes, you read that correctly. That's billion with a 'b'. He wasn't the only one with Titanic-sized profits. Two other fund managers, George Soros and James Simons, who are notoriously secretive about their investments, earned $US2.9 billion and $US2.8 billion respectively, according to Alpha Magazine's annual list of top hedge fund earners.

The numbers left jaws agape across Wall Street and Washington. With his windfall from last year alone, Mr Paulson could have bought the troubled Wall Street giant Bear Stearns three times over. Or he could have matched the price Delta this week agreed to pay to merge with Northwest Airlines and still have $US600 million left over.

ABC did an article on him as well, but failed to include the fact that his ridiculous income was scalped off the backs of millions of Americans who are facing foreclosure and the myriad effects of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Meanwhile, people like George Bush applaud this guy, who makes 80,000 times what an average American earns. Hedge fund managers like him also earn ridiculous sums of money and show the devastating gap between the rich and the poor to the nth degree.

Now while these hedge fund managers are mentioned in the press for their wealth and earnings, the people who are not individually portrayed are those on the opposite end of the spectrum. The victims of our corporate economy are hidden away in the dark recessed ghettos of America. Rarely will you see an in-depth interview of the poor, because frankly the press wants to show people who "succeed" and not those who are the victims of others' success.

Will Ferrell Ws Jon Stewart

Nothing like truth shining through in comedy. I'm sure Stewart didn't mind Will ripping on him too much.

Gibson Distorted The Truth On Capital Gains

It is clear to pretty much everyone that saw Wednesday night's debate that the episode was a gotcha politics styled, banishment from journalism worthy, shoddy and miserable event. One moment in particular focused on capital gains taxes, probably the only time any part of the economy was mentioned. Gibson hammered Obama on wanting to raise it, claiming that when Bush lowered the tax, revenues went up. Sounds good for supply-siders when he says it, but is it true?

From Time Magazine's Justin Fox:

Here's a chart of the last ten 12 years of capital gains tax revenues, which first ran in a post I did in January:


My point in that post was that fiscal year 2007 is going to represent a peak in capital gains tax receipts not to be equalled for years to come--and it's lower than the previous peak in 2000. Over the course of the business cycle, a lower capital gains tax rate left us with less revenue. Now there were other factors at work--the stock market bubble that finally began to deflate in 2000 was of historic proportions. But you certainly can't declare from that evidence that cutting the rate increased revenue.

And this is even leaving aside the basic point that the trend for tax revenue in a growing economy is going to be up. So if you're going to claim that a tax cut increased revenue, you need to offer some evidence that revenue rose even more than would have been the case if rates had remained the same.

There are all sorts of good arguments for keeping capital gains tax rates relatively low (but also some good ones for keeping them pretty close to rates on regular income). But to repeat: Cutting them does not increase tax revenue. And that Charlie Gibson was spouting the totally bogus line that they do on national TV last night was an outrage. One of many, I hear.

Yes Justin, one of oh so many outrages. All of them add up to one thing, a moment of erosion for the fourth estate and the soundness of our democracy. ABC's debate and the questions from Gibson/Stephanopolous were atrocious, and should be an example for all future moderators to avoid at all costs.

Tower Crane Collapse Shouldn't Have Happened, Building Plans Violated Code

It wasn't that long ago when a tower crane fell on several buildings in the Turtle Bay neighborhood, killing seven and injuring many more. It was a terrible tragedy and a giant wake-up call for city legislators who are finally realizing that the Department of Buildings is not keeping up with its obligation to keep construction sites safe. There are too many sites with greedy developers and not enough inspectors to make sure everything is legit. Yet for the soaring high-rise on 2nd Avenue and 52nd Street, the Department of Buildings didn't even bother to check (or care) to make sure the plans for the tower were copacetic for the area.

From The NY Times:

Under direct and often withering questioning by council members at the hearing of the Housing and Buildings Committee, called to review crane safety and inspection, Ms. Lancaster said the building under construction had been approved “not in accordance with the zoning regulation.”

“Wow,” said Councilwoman Jessica S. Lappin, whose district includes the site of the crane collapse. “You’re telling me this building should never have been approved in the first place?”

“That is correct,” Ms. Lancaster replied.

Other Councilmembers equally expressed their displeasure:

“We’re not Chicken Little,” said Councilwoman Rosie Mendez. “We’re saying the sky is falling because the sky is falling.”

Councilman Tony Avella said, “I don’t trust your agency to give me the correct time of day.”

It is a travesty that it has to come to public grillings by City Hall to make Lancaster and the DoB accountable for their neglect for the people of New York's safety. Something must change and change quickly, before the next "accident."

John Edwards Knows "The Word"

If you haven't watched Stephen Colbert last night, it is a must see. Congressman Murphy, Senator Clinton and Senator Obama showed up (Obama via satellite though). Despite all the segments being Colbertastic as usual, none of them compare to John Edwards doing the "Word," or should I say "edWord."

Get it? Now watch it and be prepared to laugh, a lot.

Howard Dean Tells Superdelegates "Enough Is Enough"

DNC Chair Howard Dean, who started the push to take back the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, told superdelegates to make up their minds already and pick either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama. Pennsylvania will be voting in four days and then there are only a few left after that. Although letting the voters vote in all 50 states sounds like a healthy idea, the fact remains that unless Clinton blows Obama out by 9-1 margins in all of these states, she will not be able to catch up to Senator from Illinois.

From CNN:

(CNN)— An increasingly firm Howard Dean told CNN again Thursday that he needs superdelegates to say who they’re for – and “I need them to say who they’re for starting now.”

“We cannot give up two or three months of active campaigning and healing time,” the Democratic National Committee Chairman told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We’ve got to know who our nominee is.”

After facing criticism for a mostly hands-off leadership style during much of the primary season, Dean has been steadily raising the rhetorical pressure on superdelegates. He said Thursday that roughly 65 percent of them have made their preference plain, but that more than 300 have yet to make up their minds.

Adding those three hundred or more supers to the mix, especially after the huge allotment from Pennsylvania is handed out makes it extremely likely we will see a candidate with more than 2,025 delegates. Then, there will be no more arguments for Hillary Clinton to make. Then we can start to unify and heal the party so we can crush John "McSame" McCain come November.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why You Should Know What BPA Is

BPA, or bisphenol A is a word few have heard of, but nearly everyone in this country has come into contact with. Out of the thousands upon thousands of chemicals that are manufactured, this one helps make CDs, baby bottles, and everything else that is made with plastics. Plastics are used for nearly everything in our society. Now it turns out that the FDA covered up studies that linked the compound to cancer by using two other studies to show it was safe. Guess what, those reports were funded by the same companies that produce the materials.

From The Washington Post:

The draft report by the National Toxicology Program signaled a turning point in the government's position on bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical so ubiquitous in the United States that it has been detected in the urine of 93 percent of the population over 6 years of age.

Last year, another expert panel using outside scientists minimized the health risks of BPA, but its findings were widely assailed after a congressional investigation found that a firm hired to perform scientific analysis was also working for the chemical industry.[...]

The FDA has been under fire from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has been investigating the influence of the chemical industry on the agency's regulation of BPA in plastic liners in metal cans of baby formula.

Last month, in response to questions from lawmakers, the FDA said it had disregarded hundreds of government and academic studies about the cancer risks of BPA and used just two studies funded by the chemical industry to determine that the chemical is safe.

Yesterday's report should spur the FDA to reconsider its decisions regarding BPA, said Reps. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), the Energy and Commerce chairman, and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the panel's oversight and investigations subcommittee.

This is damning evidence should be spurring Congress to pull the products right off the shelf. Yet in our country where chemical industry lobbyists weld tremendous influence are trying to slow the investigations down. Of course they are deathly afraid of news like this, are quick to counteract.

But Steven G. Hentges, executive director of the polycarbonate/BPA global group at the American Chemistry Council, said the new report does not mean BPA is unsafe.

"It found no serious or high-level concerns for human health," he said. "More research is always considered valuable."

I wonder if that is "valuable" like the doctors who used to tell us smoking was o.k. and to drink during pregnancies long ago? The thing about this, BPA isn't as toxic as radioactive waste or Drano, but it does have an effect on the body. It is literally everywhere in our society. What we do about this omnipresent force is anyone's guess (perhaps working to ban it?). If the government won't handle it properly though, consumers must become pro-active and buy as many of their goods that are BPA-free as possible.

McCain Tries To Psych People Out About The Gas Tax

"Mr. Straight Talk" is at it again, trying to pull the wool over our eyes from the economic realities of our day:

Stephanopolous Took Notes For Debate From Hannity

Anyone watching last night's debacle on ABC might have wondered to themselves about the ridiculousness of the questions directed at Barack Obama. One of them even sounded like it came out of the mouth of the reviled Sean Hannity. When George Stephanopolous asked Senator Obama about his relationship with ex-Weather Underground member Bill Ayers I almost flipped out, but now we know that he was taking notes straight from right-wing scion Sean Hannity.

From ThinkProgress:

Hannity, who for months has been aggressively pushing a story about Barack Obama’s connections to a former member of a radical anti-Vietnam 1970s organization called the Weather Underground, interviewed Stephanopoulos on his radio show on Tuesday, where he pressed the ABC host to ask Obama about this:

HANNITY: There are two questions that I don’t think anybody has asked Barack Obama, and I don’t know if this is going to be on your list tomorrow. One is – the only time he’s ever been asked about his association with Bill Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist from the Weather Underground who on 9/11 of all days in the New York Times was saying “I don’t regret setting bombs. I don’t think we did enough.” When asked about it by the Politico, David Axelrod said that they have a friendly relationship, and that they had done a number of speeches together and that they sat on a board together. Is that a question you might ask?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I’m taking notes right now.

Well he could have just been facetious when talking to Hannity, being an ex-Clinton staffer and all, right?

In the debate last night, Stephanopoulos asked a question that mirrored almost word-for-word what Hannity pressed him to ask:

STEPHANOPOULOS: A gentleman named William Ayers, he was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that. And in fact, on 9/11 he was quoted in The New York Times saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough.”

An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won’t be a problem?

I guess not. To Stephanopolous, Sean Hannity's trafe is relevant political discourse. That must be one thick bubble Mr. Stephanopolous lives in to honestly believe that, otherwise he was just performing a hit job on Barack Obama. You take your pick.

Tony Avella Gives Quinn A Piece Of His Mind

Every single candidate running for Mayor thus far has some sort of personality. Certainly Marty Markowitz is up on the top of the list for his outgoing behavior. Weiner is "Congressman," Quinn plays the "Speaker" and Catsimatidis is the "grocer" (I'm missing a few but thats o.k. for now). If any one of these candidates can be put next to the "reformer" label, it would be Tony Avella. Tony announced his candidacy last month and has vowed to fight hard despite the lack of large sums of special interest money. In an upcoming interview he is bringing that fight to Quinn and addressing the scandal that has enveloped her office.

From The NY Daily News:

Queens Councilman Tony Avella has some more sharp words for his potential 2009 Democratic mayoral primary opponent, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and her handling of the ongoing slush fund scandal in this Sunday's News Forum interview with WNBC's Gabe Pressman.

Avella, who has formally announced his candidacy (whereas Quinn has not), calls the practice of parking taxpayer cash with phantom organizations to be used at a later date "a disgrace," alleging that the subsequent doling out of those dollars (some of which went to the Donna Reid Fund and were misspent) was done "to promote political agendas."

Avella declined to place too much blame on the Bloomberg administration, allowing only that the mayor's people "should have been looking into what the Council was proposing, adding:

"The blame really sticks with the speaker and the central staff. When you think about it, the speaker hired these individuals. She can fire them at a moment's notice with no reason whatsoever. If she told them not to do this, why would they continue to do it? It just doesn't add up."

No Tony, it doesn't....and Quinn still hasn't answered why she didn't fix this problem from the start.

Condensing The Dumb Disgusting Debate

How pathetic was the debate? Watch how you can turn two hours of meaninglessness into less than eight minutes:

A Miracle Is Coming For the 34th St. Gridlock

The long running joke about crossing town on a bus is that you can generally walk faster from river to river than by swiping your Metrocard on the bus. Traffic is so gridlocked that 34th Street looks like a nightmare at rush hour, especially with the Queens-Midtown tunnel being on one side. Well traffic nightmares might turn into traffic miracles, because the Dept of Transportation is reinventing the street.

From Streetsblog:

Outlining New York's plans, Sadik-Khan previewed big changes for some of the city's major corridors.

The block between 5th and 6th Aves. would be reserved for buses and people, with cars traveling away from the CBD on either side

34th Street, Manhattan: DOT will repave and restripe for five lanes between Third and Ninth Avenues by the end of this year, with painted bus lanes on the north and south sides and three auto lanes in the center. Service hours will also be extended. Phase 2 calls for a 34th Street Transitway, closing the street to cars between Fifth and Sixth and installing pedestrian plazas. On either side of that block, there would be two lanes for cars heading in one direction -- toward the rivers -- while on the other half of the street, buses would have two extra-wide lanes separated from traffic. In other words, buses would constitute the only through traffic on 34th Street. According to Sadik-Khan, 34th Street BRT will eventually tie in to new East River ferry service (details to be announced next week). Here's the 34th St. slideshow.

Well it is almost river to river, but the changes will be in the area that counts the most. Dedicated bus lanes will actually make the buses move, instead of idling for the majority of their trek in either direction at the current time. On top of that, the plaza is a welcome sight for that part of Midtown, especially since outdoor lunchtime seating at Harold Square is limited there. Also in the works are two dedicated bus lanes for 5th Avenue in the heart of Midtown and an extension for the Madison Avenue dedicated lanes. NYPD will also be dedicating a unit to make sure things move smoothly.

Kudos to Sadik-Khan and the DoT for doing something that makes sense for the crazy Manhattan traffic!

ABC Needs To Apologize...NOW!

What a complete and utter disgrace that we had to endure last night. Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos should be fired and scorned by the journalism community (whats left of it at least). At the very least, they should have to go on and make a PSA with them apologizing to America for the disservice they did to our country and our democracy last night.

While the audience "turned against Gibson" the rest of the nation was aghast at what they were watching on TV. The content of the "Gotcha" questions were suited for the pages of the National Enquirer or the Globe, not a network news channel that has access to the public airwaves thanks to the good graces of the FCC (inherently owned by the public, meaning all of us). ABC demonstrated they are one giant cog in the media machine that is destroying our democracy by making the discourse within it into petty politics and 'gaffes' that do not matter much to the lives of most Americans.

Americans care about health care, gas prices, what we want to accomplish in terms of workers' rights within our globalized economy, Iraq (the only real issue given more than 30 seconds by ABC), Afghanistan, China, the diminishing power of the dollar, the housing crisis, the rising income gap, torture, education, the greed of the financial sector and a whole host of issues that matter in the day to day life of the 300 million souls that reside in our 50 states.

Unfortunately we saw nothing of what mattered last night...except for what mattered to Charlie Gibson, poor guy is hoping that Obama doesnt cut his capital gains tax.

Again, it is time for an apology from these sorry shambles of what are supposed to be journalists. Until then, call ABC at (818) 460-7477 and let them know you are sick of being thought of as stupid and thoughtless by Gibson, Stephanopolous and network executives everywhere.

What A B C Disgrace

Last night's debate is still pissing me off. If you didn't see it last night, here's a succinct wrap up:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ABC Was The True Loser In This Debate

The ABC affiliate told me I was one of 60,000 that watched the debate online and that is a record. Despite that extraordinary number for new media, the actual debate was a disgrace. It took nearly an hour for Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos to get to any real issues that concern Americans that live outside of the D.C. cocktail circuit. The so-called "Gotcha" questions dominated the debate, while health care, torture, the environment, the mortgage crisis, veterans care and how will the Constitution be repaired were virtually ignored.

From The Huffington Post:

The Gotcha Debate: Sam Boyd at Tapped is angry about tonight's questions:

Seriously "does rev. wright love america as much as you?" Really? REALLY?!!!

Also, "what will you do when clips" of Wright "play over an over" on TV? [...]

A woman asks if Obama "believes in the American flag" because he doesn't wear a flag pin.

Charlie Gibson says that questions about the flag are "all over the internet" -- along with Pamela Anderson's sex tape, cats with bad grammar, and Rick Astley. Journalism at it's finest. [...]

And now, we're on to William Ayers. Gaaah. Obama says Ayer's is someone Obama knows... says he's also friendly with Tom Coburn who wants to give the death penalty to people who perform abortions. Attacks the whole idea of guilt by association, says "the American people are smarter than that." [...]

The debate is 46 minutes in, and nothing remotely meaningful has been discussed.


What a pitiful performance by ABC for putting the pathetic excuse for a set of question into the hands of Charlie and George. All three should be ashamed of making this debate about gossip and not issues that concern people who can't have lunch with elitists like themselves.

Are these "debates" finally over? Can we let the voters of PA, IN, NC, KY and every other state that hasn't voted yet decide who they want to be the nominee and not make it about the mindless drivel that comes from the traditional media day in and day out?

"Screw Em," Is This What Hillary Means By Experience?

Hillary Clinton often touts her experience in and around Washington for the last thirty-five years. Unfortunately when you go down that road of using "experience" the downside is that there is a "past" associated with it. That past came back to haunt Senator Clinton on the eve of tonight's Pennsylvania primary debate especially in conjunction with calling Senator Obama an elitist for saying that (gasp) people are bitter across America for politicians not keeping their promises. It turns out that she should have been saying that to the mirror instead.

From The Huffington Post:

In January 1995, as the Clintons were licking their wounds from the 1994 congressional elections, a debate emerged at a retreat at Camp David. Should the administration make overtures to working class white southerners who had all but forsaken the Democratic Party? The then-first lady took a less than inclusive approach.

"Screw 'em," she told her husband. "You don't owe them a thing, Bill. They're doing nothing for you; you don't have to do anything for them."

The statement -- which author Benjamin Barber witnessed and wrote about in his book, "The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House" -- was prompted by another speaker raising the difficulties of reaching "Reagan Democrats." It stands in stark contrast to the attitude the New York Democrat has recently taken on the campaign trail, in which she has presented herself as the one candidate who understands the working-class needs.

That statement doesn't even rank at the level of compassionate conservatism in my book. Although she said it while being First Lady in the 90s, there is nothing to indicate that she has been anywhere near average Americans since, because having power within the Beltway gives you quite the insular bubble from the rest of the country...and when you are the First Lady turned Senator with a contingent of Secret Service, well you get the point.

This will almost certainly be brought up at the debate tonight. If Senator Clinton has any decency left in her, she'll apologize to Senator Obama for incorrectly labeling him instead of her as the elitist. More importantly though, she'll apologize to all of those hard working Americans that just didn't see the returns they had hoped for from the Clinton Administration back in the 1990s. The truth of the matter is, that prosperity that her husband promised and helped foster during the tech boom did by and large pass over those who have and remain bitter to this very day.

Condi Must Go!

I couldn't agree more!

More Corruption Found At City Hall

Well at least this time it only involved a couple of staffers, but the late-breaking story about two council aides to Kendall Stewart of Brooklyn is another blow to the credibility of the City Council and New York politics in general. Asquith Reid and Joycinth Anderson were found to have embezzled nearly $150,000 that was going to go to an after-school program. Jeez, you'd think with all of the slush funds down at City Hall that these two crooks could have stolen money from that instead of kids who need something to do after the bell rings.

From WNBC:

"It was a part of the conspiracy that Reid and Anderson ... unlawfully, willfully and knowingly, having devised a scheme and artifice to defraud," according to the indictment. The pair allegedly misappropriated funds associated with the "Donna Reid Memorial Education Fund."

According to an indictment, the pair have been diverting funds since April 2005, with Reid allegedly sending $31,000 to relatives and friends in Jamaica via Western Union wire transfers. He was also accused of spending $18,000 on a hall used for events for a political club and more than $3,000 on campaign literature.

This indictment does not name any other council staff or members. Speaker Christine Quinn has been under fire for the way certain funds were put under false names in the budget so they could be held in reserve and allocated later. The indictment mentions "holding codes" where the city council "held money under fictitious names" and then distributed the funds later to certain nonprofits associated "with certain councilmembers." But the indictment does not say if prosecutors consider this act criminal.

Well Speaker Quinn might think of this as a way to get the pressure off of her own misgivings, but she would be wrong. This is a culture of corruption that festers around City Hall as much as it does up in Albany and down in Washington. Thankfully next year we get to replace two-thirds of the Council and hopefully that will get rid of the stench. Of course it is the culture that needs to be changed and accountability and transparency that needs to be added, not empty pledges of such things.

No Longer Can George Bush Claim To Be The World's Top Polluter

George Bush got sorrowful news today, learning that the United States can no longer be called the top fighter against the environmental enemy. He had been so helpful to oil producers, carbon-based power plant facilities and the mining industry. Every piece of legislation he helped push through was meant to keep the pace of pollution up, but alas China has passed us by anyways.

From RawStory:

"Our best forecast has Chinas CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions correctly surpassing the United States in 2006 rather than 2020 as previously anticipated," said the study by researchers at the University of California.

The report, written by economic professors Maximilian Aufhammer of UC Berkeley and Richard Carson of UC San Diego, is to be published next month in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Researchers compiled information about the use of fossil fuels in various Chinese provinces and forecast an 11 percent annual growth of carbon emissions from 2004 to 2010.

The problem for Bush was that although he was helping polluters here at home, he was also screwing the American economy by borrowing so much money from China to pay for his other destructive projects (see: Iraq War). Other ill-advised moves include allowing the mortgage industry to rape and pillage those that bought houses with sub-prime loans, deregulating vast swaths of the economy that caused a massive imbalance that increased the income gap and many, many, many other mistakes. So even though George tried to bring environmental destruction to us all as quick as he could, like everything else in life, he failed at that too.

Colbert Likens Michelle Obama To "Jackie O"

Colbert's long trip down south to Philadelphia (approx. 100 miles from his studio on W. 53rd St.) has gotten a lot of press, earning him a spot on Larry King Live and now a visit from Michelle Obama. Her performance was spot on and Colbert was quite nice with her as well.

Steve Harrison Showed Up In Manhattan Last Night

At a smoky (for at least a few minutes, quick someone call 311!) bar on Franklin Street last night, DfNYC, Stonewall Democrats, Three Parks Democratic Club and Village Reform Democrats came together to hear from the challengers to incumbent Vito Fossella (R - Staten Island). One candidate by the name of Steve Harrison showed up to talk about his passion to represent Staten Island as a liberal and he took question from the audience even if he disagreed with the locals (such as on congestion pricing). He also talked about ending the war and that much of the Responsible Plan being floated around in 2008 was very similar to what he was saying two years ago.

The other man in the race the seemingly reclusive Councilman Dominic Recchia didn't bother to show up despite having the event rescheduled for him to make it easier. Oh and by the way, the place is about a ten minute walk from City Hall, so it isn't like Recchia couldn't have come over for an hour to talk about issues that concern not only Staten Island, but New York City and the nation as a whole.

It was a shame that Recchia wouldn't even bother to make an appearance, but it is starting to show through that there is only one candidate in this race willing to make an effort to talk to voters and people all over the city in order to make Staten Island and that slice of Brooklyn that is the 13th Congressional District of New York blue again. Steve Harrison proved last time around in 2006 that he had the guts and determination to do whatever it took to reach out to the voters in what was thought to be the last Republican stronghold in New York City. Despite being outspent nearly 10 to 1 by Vito Fossella, he still got 43.2% of the vote. With the help of activists that came out to see the candidates last night, this time we can cross that fifty percent threshold and send Vito packing.

The Boss Endorses Obama

If you listen to rock music or are a fan of American pop culture, you know who I am talking to. Perhaps New Jersey's greatest talent (sorry Bon Jovi fans, it isn't even close), Bruce Springsteen came out to endorse Barack Obama over Senator Clinton. While it may be a little too late for his native New Jersey to heed the call, the state of Pennsylvania is just across the western border called the Delaware. Bruce carries powerful messages about society in his music, and this endorsement is of the same caliber.

From Bruce Springsteen:

Dear Friends and Fans:

LIke most of you, I've been following the campaign and I have now seen and heard enough to know where I stand. Senator Obama, in my view, is head and shoulders above the rest.

He has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next President. He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that's interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit. A place where "...nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone."

At the moment, critics have tried to diminish Senator Obama through the exaggeration of certain of his comments and relationships. While these matters are worthy of some discussion, they have been ripped out of the context and fabric of the man's life and vision, so well described in his excellent book, Dreams of My Father, often in order to distract us from discussing the real issues: war and peace, the fight for economic and racial justice, reaffirming our Constitution, and the protection and enhancement of our environment.

After the terrible damage done over the past eight years, a great American reclamation project needs to be undertaken. I believe that Senator Obama is the best candidate to lead that project and to lead us into the 21st Century with a renewed sense of moral purpose and of ourselves as Americans.

Over here on E Street, we're proud to support Obama for President.

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen

Now with that said, musicians and celebrities in general are not given much weight when it comes to their endorsement of one candidate or another. Everyone thought that the mega-star Oprah Winfrey would boost Barack's campaign and all it did was make a story or two (or several thousand) for the media to scrutinize and yell at each other over. With that said though, some musicians are "tougher than the rest" when it comes to being active not only in politics, but advocating for social change. With all of the artists out there, Bruce Springsteen is definitely on that short list of extraordinary talent.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How To Learn About Washington Lobbyists

It is rather complicated when looking at all the nooks and crannies around K Street, but thankfully the Obama campaign helps us out:

Oh and one more thing, when Clinton answered that question at YearlyKos was it just me that noticed that defensive/aggressive tone in her voice?

There Is A Better Way To Do Health Care in America

Health care in the United States is a crisis of epic proportion. Every day, premiums and prescription costs go up. Employers have to pay more to cover their workers and people are being priced out of having health care or those that can afford it aren't given much with the way deductibles force people to pay for treatment anyway. Michael Moore's SiCKO helped shine the light on this problem, but unfortunately in our society something in the public eye today can vanish tomorrow even if the problem persists. That is what politicians who are in bed with the health care industry count on. They detest stories like these and as you can see, the media is right there with them. They do not want you to see that there is a better way (though worse for their profits) to provide health care and tonight, PBS is going to show you how several other industrialized countries help their citizens.

From PBS's Frontline:

Four in five Americans say the U.S. health care system needs “fundamental” change. Can the U.S. learn anything from the rest of the world about how to run a health care system, or are these nations so culturally different from us that their solutions would simply not be acceptable to Americans? FRONTLINE correspondent T.R. Reid examines first-hand the health care systems of other advanced capitalist democracies--UK, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Taiwan--to see what tried and tested ideas might help us reform our broken health care system.[...]

FRONTLINE teams up with T.R. Reid, a veteran foreign correspondent for The Washington Post, to find out how five other capitalist democracies--United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland--deliver health care and what the United States might learn from their successes and their failures. In Sick Around the World, airing Tuesday, April 15, 2008, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings), Reid turns up remarkable differences in how these countries handle health care--from Japan, where a night in a hospital can cost as little as $10, to Switzerland, where the president of the country tells Reid it would be a "huge scandal" if someone were to go bankrupt from medical bills.

There are faults to these systems, but in our media those are amplified in order to scare people away from different ideas than a strictly for-profit health care industry. Watch Frontline tonight and see for yourself that we can treat Americans who are sick in a different way and that as countries adopt national health care, the partisanship of the issue fades away. We deserve that here and we need to let our elected officials know that...and if they don't hear us, elect new ones that will.

Small Town PA Throws Its Financial Weight Behind Obama

Hillary Clinton, John McCain and the media is trying to make as much as they can about the nonsense surrounding Barack Obama. For some reason, bowling and speaking about the truth when it comes to working-class apathy and bitterness about a political system that has failed them is a way to charge him with elitism. It is another way his opposition has tried to bring him down. Now even though the election is still a week away, we can see who these rural Pennsylvanians are supporting with their wallets. Many do not have the $2,300 or $4,600 to max out on which is the type of donor McCain and especially Clinton have relied on. So when you look at the contributions from the area between Philly and Pittsburgh, you can see that these people want change.

From The Huffington Post:

Indeed, through the end of February 2008, Obama received nearly $250,000 in contributions from Pennsylvanians residing in zip codes with populations under 30,000 people. That total, which does not include Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and both city's suburbs, was roughly $30,000 more than the amount raised by Clinton: $220,000.

When the population size is made even smaller, Obama continues to best his Democratic rival. Among those non-urban Pennsylvania zip codes with populations under 20,000, the Illinois Democrat has brought in just over $200,000. Clinton has raised slightly more than $170,000.

(Obama's advantage may in fact be even stronger than these numbers show, since campaigns do not provide information on donors who gave under $200, a subset where Obama has excelled. See the complete data here.)

Of course when it comes to fundraising nationwide, no one comes close to the financial prowess of the Obama campaign. Whether it is in Pennsylvania, Kansas or Wyoming, Obama is on top for people giving small contributions to his campaign. It is a truly people-powered event when you get $5 or $50 from someone living paycheck to paycheck than the $2,300 a corporate executive can afford. There are only so many executives, there are many more of us.

Chris Matthews Talks To Colbert About....Running For Senate???

I didn't think there could be anything worse about Chris Matthews than his one hour (or more) a day punditry on MSNBC. Unfortunately being a Senator would make his gasbag idiocy transcend the tube and go to the floor of the Senate. Now that is truly scary.

Come Help Make NYC's Congressional Caucus Completely Blue

Did you know that in the heavily Democratic metropolis that is New York City there is still one Republican in Congress from the five boroughs. If you know anything about NYC, the first guess on where that red district is on Staten Island (and a little slice of Brooklyn too). Well Vito Fossella has been going to Washington for his own interests and those that fed his campaign coffers for too long. Now we have a serious shot at getting him out and putting a true progressive in the 13th district of New York. And tonight, you can meet that man thanks to Democracy for New York City.

From DfNYC:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 6:30pm
Lafayette Grill and Bar
54 Franklin Street
(N,R,Q,6, C and A trains to Canal Street; 1 train to Franklin Street)

Because of the interest in the progressive community Democracy For New York City has organized a forum to discuss issues of importance to the people of the 13th CD as well as the rest of the city. This forum is at the beginning of a campaign that can likely unseat the last remaining Republican in the NY City Congressional Delegation.

Vito Fosella has been a backer of the Bush-Cheney policy. We can defeat him!!

Steven Harrison and Domenic Recchia have both filed to run for this congressional seat. Both have been invited to attend. Steven Harrison has confirmed his appearance.

Hosted by Three Parks Democratic Club, Stonewall Democratic Club, Village Reform Democrats and Democracy for NYC

Staten Island can do better and with everyone's help, defeat Vito Fossella and elect a Democrat this fall. Come out tonight and ask Steve Harrison (and possibly Dominic Recchia) questions to see which one you want to win the primary and face Vito in November.

Finally, Something To Counter The Vaunted AIPAC

The American Israeli Political Action Committee, known more succinctly as AIPAC has long been the dominant force in Washington concerning American policy towards Israel. It has thousands upon thousands of members and ridiculous sums of money to keep it active in political circles and thereby influential with the President, Congress and its staff. It has done many good things for the small state of Israel that sits among many autocratic governments in the Middle East, but it has also taken a fundamentalist, hard-right veer in its policy goals recently. Many Jewish liberals have been disappointed in them recently, and now there is going to be an alternative.

From The Washington Post:

The lobbying group will be known as J Street and the political action group as JStreetPAC. The executive director for both will be Jeremy Ben-Ami, a former domestic policy adviser in the Clinton White House.

"The definition of what it means to be pro-Israel has come to diverge from pursuing a peace settlement," said Alan Solomont, a prominent Democratic Party fundraiser involved in the initiative. In recent years, he said, "We have heard the voices of neocons, and right-of-center Jewish leaders and Christian evangelicals, and the mainstream views of the American Jewish community have not been heard."

Solomont is a top fundraiser for the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), but the organizers include supporters and fundraisers for both Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). Many prominent figures in the American Jewish left, former lawmakers and U.S. government officials, and several prominent Israeli figures, as well as activists who have raised money for the Democracy Alliance and, are also involved.

Too often, American Jews are grouped together as having one voice concerning Israel. Like Israel, there are many diverging views on what to do about Gaza, the West Bank and Arab-Israeli relations and specifically how America should be involved with those geopolitical affairs. For too long AIPAC has been the only "voice" in Washington and the Christian Right's influence on it has not been good for the multitude of political views concerning America and Israel. Although J Street PAC is dwarfed by AIPAC now, it is only their first year, so in time, this group can lead the way in letting every viewpoint be heard on the Hill.

McCain + Bush = McSame

And it isn't just their words, the actions speak loudly as well.

Obama Will Punish George Bush....And His Friends

Maybe it is because I have been supporting Obama for the last couple months, but it seems that almost every day there is another reason to choose him over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. The recent back and forth over the so-called elitist comments that really spoke to the heart of how many voters in rural Pennsylvania (and all over America feel) that politicians mainly make promises and then break them. That is what leads people to become cynical and apathetic about politics in our country.

Another thing that is making progressives apathetic has been the refusal of the Democratic leadership to push for justice and accountability for the White House and those that work inside of it. We know as informed citizens that George Bush and his Administration have committed various offenses against our Constitution and our country in these last seven years. Unfortunately no one has done much about it. That might be changing come January when the Obama Administration begins.

From The Philly Daily News:

Tonight I had an opportunity to ask Barack Obama a question that is on the minds of many Americans, yet rarely rises to the surface in the great ruckus of the 2008 presidential race -- and that is whether an Obama administration would seek to prosecute officials of a former Bush administration on the revelations that they greenlighted torture, or for other potential crimes that took place in the White House.[...]

Here's his answer, in its entirety:

What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve.

So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General -- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important-- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing betyween really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity. You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it.

The bottom line is that: Obama sent a clear signal that -- unlike impeachment, which he's ruled out and which now seems a practical impossibility -- he is at the least open to the possibility of investigating potential high crimes in the Bush White House. To many, the information that waterboarding -- which the United States has considered torture and a violation of law in the past -- was openly planned out in the seat of American government is evidence enough to at least start asking some tough questions in January 2009.

Impeachment would have been nice at the beginning of last year when Pelosi and Reid had a hot iron to strike. Those two failed, whether it was out of fear or Washingtonian politics they did not do their job to hold the President accountable for his impeachable actions. Impeachment kicks the President to the curb, but he'll be out anyway in nine months from now. What he needs, what our country needs is for their to be justice. We haven't heard anything from Hillary on this and with the way she lies and exaggerates, who knows if she'll do what she says anyways. Obama's response to Will Bunch last night spoke volumes....and it should send shivers down George Bush's spine.

No One Wants To Hire ex-Atty Gen Gonzales

It has been a few months since Alberto Gonzales stepped down amid heavy public pressure. You know things are bad when Mr. George "Loyalty-first" Bush lets one of his cabinet members go. Even though he wasn't impeached for his crimes by a Congress still looking for its spine, it seems that karma has a way of getting around to everyone.

From The NY Times:

WASHINGTONAlberto R. Gonzales, like many others recently unemployed, has discovered how difficult it can be to find a new job. Mr. Gonzales, the former attorney general, who was forced to resign last year, has been unable to interest law firms in adding his name to their roster, Washington lawyers and his associates said in recent interviews.

He has, through friends, put out inquiries, they said, and has not found any takers. What makes Mr. Gonzales’s case extraordinary is that former attorneys general, the government’s chief lawyer, are typically highly sought.

A longtime loyalist to George W. Bush dating to their years together in Texas, Mr. Gonzales was once widely viewed as a strong candidate to be the first Hispanic-American nominated one day to the Supreme Court. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he carried an impressive personal story as the child of poor Mexican immigrants.

Impressive personal story aside, Mr. Gonzales decided to sell his soul to make it to the big leagues under George Bush. He helped to push for torture, spying on Americans and many, many other illegal or illicit items against either U.S. citizens or people around the world affected by the Bush Administration. Unlike living inside the bubble of the White House, now he must deal with the real world and many in it see him for the scoundrel he is. No attorney in his or her right mind would add an award-winning ex-Attorney General to their firm.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pennsylvania Crowd Doesn't Buy Clinton's Crap

A picture says a thousand words, but a video tells 24,000 per second:

Associated Press Finally Realizes What We Already Know About McCain

He's a conservative! Congratulations to the AP for actually printing it, despite making sure he gets his favorite donuts. What we on the left have known since McCain was making himself present on the stage of the U.S. Senate many years ago, the AP is starting to catch on. Instead of going along with the "maverick" crap that so many in the media have, they actually (gasp) looked at his record and found that the so-called moderate is much more to the right than McCain's friends in the media let on.

From The AP/Huff Po:

The likely Republican presidential nominee is much more conservative than voters appear to realize. McCain leans to the right on issue after issue, not just on the Iraq war but also on abortion, gay rights, gun control and other issues that matter to his party's social conservatives.

The four-term Arizona senator, a longtime member of the Armed Services Committee, criticized the earlier handling of the war but has been a crucial ally in President Bush's effort to increase and maintain U.S. forces in Iraq.

Besides the war, McCain agrees broadly with Bush and other conservatives on:


_Gay rights.[...]

_Gun control. [...]

His conservatism could be a problem for McCain _ particularly if this November's contest is as close as recent presidential elections, which were decided by independent-minded voters in the center of the political spectrum.

But he might avoid this problem to the extent people know him as an independent-minded politician. And many do view him that way.

"People see him as a centrist. They don't see him as a conservative," said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

People see him as that because the media hasn't been doing their job, but if the rest of the "journalists" out there would report on McCain's record and issue positions instead of eating ribs at the ranch in Arizona, maybe Americans would see the "Maverick" for who he really is. Despite this one article however, most coverage of the Senator is extremely favorable. That is why I won't be holding my breath for the traditional media outlets to do their job, so the blogosphere will continue to do theirs.

Right Wingers Are Warning Us About Gays Coming To Take Over Our Towns!!!

What would we do without those crazy wingers? How would we know who was evil and who was super-evil? Who will be raptured and those left to spend eternity in hell on Earth and when will it happen? Who hates America? Why do natural disasters happen? You know, all the important things we need to know. Well now we are being prepared to tackle the nation's biggest problem, infiltration of city councils to allow gay people the chance to experience marriage just like the rest of us.

From Think Progress:

Recently, Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern (R) came under intense criticism for making a host of incendiary remarks toward gays. For example, she said gays are a “bigger threat” to our nation than terrorism. She also warned, “Gays are infiltrating city councils.” As an example, she cited the town of Eureka Springs, AR, whose city council she claimed is now “controlled by gays.”

The American Family Association (AFA) has joined in promoting this myth of the evil gay agenda in a new video called “They’re Coming To Your Town.” The poster advertising the DVD appears to have a menacing rainbow-like lights in background. PageOneQ summarizes the trailer for the video:

The presentation in the AFA trailer…”They’re Coming to Your Town,” tells the tale of an uncharacteristically diverse resort town’s government infiltrated by “a handful of homosexual activists” and bent to their will through the enactment of the town’s domestic partner registry on June 22, 2007.

“Watch, and learn,” says the trailer, “how to fight a well-organized gay agenda to take over the cities of America, one city at a time.”

Watch the trailer here.

Eureka Springs is not pleased with people such as Kern, who claim that they have the city’s best interests at heart. Responding to Kern, Eureka Springs’s mayor said the city is “welcoming to all visitors and residents without regard to their race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability or national origin. It is our hope that all people would aspire to this ideal.”

This what these "religious" people spend waste their time with. It isn't about helping their fellow man, it is about destroying anyone that might not look or sound or feel the same way as them. When you have that much fear and loathing inside of you, there must be a lot of people on the list to attack. Gays may be a current topic, but give them a chance to succeed at what they're doing, we'll be burning books within no time.

"Shame On Hillary Clinton"

Barack Obama called out Hillary Clinton yesterday in Steelton, PA for disparaging his comments about how people are bitter in Pennsylvania and around the country. His response to her criticism was told brilliantly, and the crowd response is spot on.

Weiner Wants The IRS To Do Our Taxes

So today is April 14th, meaning by the midnight tomorrow, you've either have to have your tax returns mailed in, filed for an extension or as many others do, have an accountant take care of it for you. It is a major headache for millions of Americans and makes late March and early April a hellish time for CPAs and all those that do taxes for a living. However, that could all change if a bill proposed by Congressman (and Mayoral candidate) Anthony Weiner passes through Congress this year.

From The NY Daily News:

Some 40% of Americans who file the simplest tax forms would qualify for the proposed "auto file" program, which will be introduced by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens) when Congress returns next week.

"More people will file. Fewer people will have to spend money on tax firms or on computer software. And we'll be improving the relationship between the IRS and taxpayers for whom April 15 is a big headache," Weiner said.

The voluntary system, similar to California's "Ready Return" program, would apply to taxpayers who use 1040EZ and 1040A forms.

The IRS would use the W-2 and 1099 documents it gets from employers to fill out the forms.

Taxpayers would have a chance to review the IRS's calculations and make changes before signing the forms, Weiner said. Those who itemize their deductions probably would not want to use auto file, he said. And taxpayers would still have to take care of their state tax forms.

So the program is voluntary and if you have itemized deductions this won't work for you. If you simply file taxes without trying to pay less then go ahead, but most people want to do the opposite. After looking at this bill, it seems that Weiner is just trying to get some publicity in time for the height of tax season.

A Solution For The Horses Of Central Park

Many tourists who come to New York love to see the horses that pull antique carriages around the Central Park area. It's romantic and charming sure, but when you are in town for a short time, people don't see the abusive nature of this trade. Horses have been killed because of the hectic atmosphere on the border of the park and Midtown. Horses are also mistreated not only by certain individual owners but by the very nature of what they are being made to do. Thankfully though, City Councilman Tony Avella has something to offer in its place.

From The Gothamist:

A plan is afoot to have horse drawn carriages around Central Park replaced by environmentally friendly classic cars, like the Ford Model T. The carriage horse business has come under increasing scrutiny recently as an outdated and cruel practice. Several incidents where horses were killed or injured after bolting in city traffic have galvanized opponents and some politicians to ban the use of horses in New York City. Technology remains a barrier, according to the Post.
One option would be the classic replicas that run on propane and hydrogen currently shuttling tourists around San Francisco. But Nislick said the coalition would prefer electric cars with zero emissions - technology that may not be available until 2010.
Councilman Tony Avella is interested in the possible substitution of cars for horses. He's already proposed a bill to ban horse drawn carriages in the city. Carriage owners insist that their animals are well cared for and think that a car ride won't have the same appeal as a carriage ride. Spokeswoman for the Horse and Carriage Association, Carolyn Daly, told the Post "No one wants to replace clip-clop, clip-clop with chitty chitty bang bang."

The Horse and Carriage Association can make all the noises they want, but the truth remains that their profession is inherently cruel to the animals who are forced to pull people around the park. These people need to stop whining and let the horses be cared for in a way that is actually caring. Despite their claims, anyone that passes by them around Central Park South can see the truth of what they are trying to pull. Putting classic cars into practice is a novel and refreshing idea that is good for both man and horse.

Brooklyn Does Matter

And it matters more to its residents than Bruce Ratner thought. Pulling one over the citizens of the community with eminent domain abuse is going to take more than having the good graces of some local politicians. Again, activism matters and it does work.

Of All People, Bob Shrum Nails The "Elitist Obama" Crap

oIn all this craziness surrounding the "contest" between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the last person (or at least in the back of the line) to correctly surmise a ridiculous political situation would be serial-campaign loser Bob Shrum. However with him on the sidelines thus far, his commentary concerning the "elitist" remarks were spot on. He calls out the Republican BS and not surprisingly, the way Hillary has gone right along with the crap coming from the GOP.

From The Huffington Post:

Obama's not running for Sociologist-in-Chief. But there is a powerful element of truth in his comments. Starting in the elder Bob Casey's 1986 campaign for Governor, and again and again since, both James Carville and I have heard or read -- from focus groups or polling reports -- the frustration, anger, and yes, sometimes bitterness of people in depressed towns in the Keystone State who've had politicians promise them help that too seldom comes. Even in the Clinton years, when Pennsylvania gained jobs, the hollowed out economies of once-thriving blue collar communities were largely bypassed.

The political question here, of course, is whether the Clinton and McCain campaigns can exploit Obama's remarks to tag him as an "elitist" -- a label, their focus groups probably tell them, that can really hurt. Ironically, Obama's the one raised by a single mother. He's the one who only recently finished paying off his student loans. He doesn't know what it's like to have $100 million. The opponents who are attacking him are the ones who inhabit that financial neighborhood.

Hillary Clinton has seized happily on Obama's words as a way to distract attention from the latest flight of one of her husband's misguided missiles. Just as the video that irrefutably confounded her tale about sniper fire at the Tuzla Airport was being returned to the network vaults, President Clinton's ill-timed and inaccurate account of the episode rewound and replayed the tapes. Then Obama's talk gave her the chance to push the pause button. But now she has to be careful not to push the "elitism" attack too hard. The Clintons haven't lived in the real world for at least twenty-five years; they've been in a bubble surrounded by aides moving from one mansion to another. This doesn't mean they don't care or can't empathize. But it does make it awkward to damn the guy who was a community organizer helping laid-off steelworkers as someone who is out of touch.

It really is amazing that those who live the "elitist" life can so ambly paint others as elitist to score political points. Maybe not so for Republican candidates, but it is always a sad sight when a Democratic challenger does it to her own. She'll do whatever it takes to get the bad press away from her camp (justified as it is) even when the attack is unwarranted. She could distract people with issues and something to boost her own character. Instead she continues to try and drag Obama through the mud when he was simply pointing out a simple fact of life for so many Americans in this country who are sick and tired of politics as usual.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Does Bloomberg Want To Three-Peat NYC?

There are already so many candidates running for Mayor next year, what would the hat of one more matter to anyone? Well, if that hat belongs to twice-elected Mayor Bloomberg, it would mean a great deal to the city of New York. Supposedly someone close to his Administration hinted that the Mayor is trying to get rid of term limits in the city so that he can run a third time.

From UPI:

The unidentified source said Bloomberg would like to stay in public office beyond the end of his second term on Dec. 31, 2009, the New York Post reported Sunday.

The source said Bloomberg is considering asking for support for a third-term referendum. The source said the mayor "won't make up his mind," however, until he completes the city budget in June.

The source told the Post Bloomberg was considering asking the Charter Revision Commission to place a term-limits referendum up for a vote this November.

Hmm, sounds like someone wants to hold onto their power. Now why would Mr. Bloomberg want to stay, changing the city's term limits in the process? Maybe he's so obsessed about congestion pricing that he wants another four years to see it through? Or, could there possibly be more land within the five boroughs that he wants to rezone for wealthy developers? You never know, he may also want to revive the idea of a West Side Stadium. Nah, not the stadium, but those first two options might have to do something with an attempt at a third run at being on top at City Hall.