Saturday, April 26, 2008

Where Have All The Edwards' Supporters Gone?

Gone to Obama's campaign, yes they are.

Well not every single one of them, but by and large, the progressive message that attracted so many to John Edwards campaign last year led many over to Senator Obama's side once John stepped aside. Not only was this my opinion among many in the ensuing days after Edwards resigned his campaign but the facts prove it.

From The Hill:

Since Edwards dropped out of the presidential race, Obama’s campaign has received contributions of $200 or more from 1,089 donors who had supported Edwards, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records.

Only 393 Edwards donors have given to Clinton since the primary became a two-candidate race. Since Edwards withdrew on Jan. 30, Obama has raised nearly $1 million from Edwards donors, compared to the $427,000 that has flowed to Clinton.

The strong bias among Edwards’s supporters prompts Obama’s allies to hope for an endorsement by the former candidate that could help him in big states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, that were won by Clinton.

It isn't only the money either. Not one single publicly known Edwards supporter has gone to Clinton. Many in Edwards' inner circle have also made it known they now endorse and support Barack Obama. Many say it is because of the similar economic message, but I believe it is broader than that. Clinton is a DLC centrist. Obama has a new way forward that signifies hope and change. That new way also harkens back to the progressive views that won over so many in the working class in years past...and it can do it again.

Friday, April 25, 2008

John McCain Likes It That Women Make 74 Cents To The Dollar

Why do I have to write these headlines? Why do Republicans and their potential future figurehead have to be so thick? Do they hate women? Nah, it isn't that they hate 51% of the population, its just they want all of the money and power to rest with a select few within the other 49%. And how does one do that? Well for John McCain, you complain about eerie, spooky and frightening lawsuits.

From The Huffington Post:

NEW ORLEANS — Republican Sen. John McCain, campaigning through poverty-stricken cities and towns, said Wednesday he opposes a Senate bill that seeks equal pay for women because it would lead to more lawsuits.

Senate Republicans killed the bill Wednesday night on a 56-42 vote that denied the measure the 60 votes needed to advance it to full debate and a vote. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had delayed the vote to give McCain's Democratic rivals, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, time to return to Washington to support the measure, which would make it easier for women to sue their employers for pay discrimination.

McCain skipped the vote to campaign in New Orleans.

"I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems," the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters. "This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system."

Claiming that the private sector will fix the gender gap in income in our country is worse than letting the fox guard the henhouse. There is not even an appearance of anyone guarding anything. This just lets corporate America continue to exploit this inequality so the wealthy few can get even wealthier without having to share it with women. Now we can all see who's side John McCain is on.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Driving The Amalfi Coast Is A Dream Come True

It is Thursday night here in Roma and we just got here today after two beautiful days in the Province of Campania, home to Napoli, Salerno and the famous Amalfi Coastline. Yesterday we drove from Napoli, through the mountains to Salerno and along the Amalfi Coast, stopping here and there along the way. The roads were treacherous, seeing tourist buses clear them was incredible, but the view of the sea and the towns built on the sides of the mountains was all worth it. So here are a few pictures of what we got to see. And remember, the pixels on the screen do not do it justice.

This will scare the crap out of my Mom, but I actually drove this stick-shift "Smart" car through canyons with hair-pin turns while buses threaten to clip the car if you don't get out of their way.

First we went to Salerno to grab a quick bite, before the curves of the Amalfi Coast began.

A scene from the madness along the coast.

Though when we got to Amalfi, the people, the architecture and everything about the town was all worth it.

And how can you beat this view?

Energy Conservation, New York Style

Earth Day has come and gone, celebrated on one day in April every year and a way to remind our gluttonous selves that energy use should be curtailed. Of course for many it goes in one ear and out the other. Meanwhile here in Europe, everything is energy-efficient (especially the predominantly small car society) and in our hotel room here in Rome, you need the room key to turn the lights on. So when you leave for the Colosseo or the Fontana di Trevi, the lights stay off. Back in NYC you'd never see that, or even a good example by our city government.

From The NY Daily News:

Last year, Mayor Bloomberg promised an effort to keep the lights turned off in city buildings after the Daily News documented buildings with scores of bulbs burning brightly in the wee hours of the morning.

One of them was the Bronx court building, which wasn't yet open - and yet was brightly lighted at 3 a.m. Little seemed to have changed in the past 12 months.

"It looks like Christmas," said Keith, the maintenance worker, who declined to give his last name.

Despite the city issuing memos to employees to turn the lights off, many administrative buildings and icons stay on. I remember the Chrysler Building staying on last year until at least three in the morning. And what does the city have to say for itself about their continued wastefulness?

Mayoral spokesman John Gallagher said most of the late-night lights were attributable to the business of operating the nation's largest city.

"The 300,000 people charged with running this city don't work 9 to 5. It is a 24-hour-a-day job," he said.

"The lights don't go completely dark at City Hall and 1 Police Plaza because committed city employees are working around the clock to serve the people of New York."

Thats right, bug off because we are all working to serve everyone else. All 300,000 are slaving away day and night to keep NYC running. Give me a break, who does Gallagher think he is? Time for him and the city to shut up and do something about the gluttony of light.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thomas Friedman Likes Pie...In His Face

The man that believes the world is flat and that Globalization in the way of helping corporations do business at the expense of workers across the world is a good thing, also likes the simple things in life, like pie. Thomas Friedman is a shill for the corporate America way of life, taking the responsibility to care for citizens by a government elected by them....into a world that dictates corporations get to do whatever they want and that is that. So when I say he likes I pie, I mean it to be thrown in his face.

From The Providence Journal:

Not everyone agrees with Friedman’s vision that innovation is the path to climate and energy salvation. Just seconds into his speech, he was interrupted by two environmental activists, who stormed the stage shortly after Friedman stepped up to the microphone, tossing two paper plates loaded with shamrock-colored whipped cream at him.

Friedman ducked, and was left with only minor streams of the sugary green goo on his black pants and turtleneck.

He stood in bewilderment and mild disgust as the young man and woman bolted from the stage and out the side door, throwing a handful of fliers into the air to relay the message they apparently were not going to deliver personally.

“Thomas Friedman deserves a pie in the face…,” the flier said, “because of his sickeningly cheery applaud for free market capitalism’s conquest of the planet, for telling the world that the free market and techno fixes can save us from climate change. From carbon trading to biofuels, these distractions are dangerous in and of themselves, while encouraging inaction with respect to the true problems at hand…”

Well he saved himself from being hit in the face, but perhaps he wanted a different flavor of pie. What people who oppose him want is something better for our world. The Earth is not flat and it does not deserve to be spit upon over and over again by corporations that only care about their bottom line and environmentalism is an adventure is tokenism.

The protesters may have only grazed their target, but the real fight has to be waged with the corporations and not the mere messengers.

Chuck Todd Interjects Some Reason On Hillary's "Win"

No matter what, if Hillary Clinton wants to win, she'll have to thwart the will of the voters. It is that simple.

A New Low For The Dollar

The reason for my odd posting time and few if that in the last couple days is because on vacation and have only a moment here and there to write. I'm blessed to be sitting on a 2nd story balcony looking at a castle down the street from me that happens to sit on the Bay of Napoli. We're here till tomorrow and then up to Rome for three days. So I can say with certainty that the U.S. dollar completely sucks against the Euro. The exchange rate may be $1.60 (remember when it was 82 cents?) but with fees it comes out to roughly three Euros for every five dollars. I'm lucky to be able to spend a few of them here and there, but it is definitely noticeable for this American.

From RawStory:

The euro rose as high as $1.6018, more than a penny above the $1.5916 it bought late Monday. The 15-nation currency, which was introduced in 1999, has traded as low as 82 cents. It has surged recently, rising 20 cents against the dollar in just five months and 10 cents in just two months.

The euro hit its last record of $1.5982 Thursday. It dropped back Friday after a Wall Street rally generated optimism that the worst of the U.S. credit crunch may be over, but the euro rose again Monday when Bank of America's first-quarter earnings fell short of expectations.

The dollar's slump is a boon for U.S. companies that rely heavily on exports, but it's the bane of travelers as worldwide inflation rises, air fares climb and prices rise in dollar terms for everything from beer in Munich to fine wine in Paris to gondola rides in Venice.

And in between the price of a pizza, a Smart Car rental and the price of train tickets are also up, as I can tell you from personal experience. Thankfully though, the pack of gum I bought was only 70 cents euro so that was about market rate and the wireless connection at the hotel is free, so I guess not everything is bad.

I'm just waiting to get rid of George Bush and we can finally start setting our economy straight, and get these damn currencies straightened out.

Clinton Won PA, The Race Itself Has Long Since Been Decided

When left Texas/Ohio/Rhode Island/Vermont, the long battle for the Keystone State began. Polling put Senator Clinton ahead by twenty points. An insurmountable lead as far as that one state was concerned. Yet forty others had already voted. They represented approximately 4/5ths of the Democratic delegation and Obama was winning the delegates, the contests and the popular vote. Hillary would need to hand him a devastating blow last night and a 20 percent margin was the least of what she needed. So what happened?

From The Huffington Post:



Wait a sec, that isn't a blowout beyond belief. Ten points would be great if it were a national tally, but that is just one score among many. Even with that Obama still leads in delegates, states and the national popular vote. So when the reactions came from the campaigns, it wasn't too surprising. Clinton uses this diminished victory to manufacture viability despite Obama being closer to the vaunted 2,025. Obama on the other hand was relieved that she didn't blow him out. In a few short weeks, he managed to peel away half of her advantage.

So if both of them won, who lost?

Well simply put, the media's lust for ratings and Senator Clinton 's for a win at all cost have helped drag our primary through something worse than the figurative mud. The questions from George and Charlie, the race-baiting by ex-Pres. Clinton and the never-ending push from these entities to make the race about fake issues rather than what voters care about. Now Obama has touched the mud, that is true. Yet by and large, the voters are suffering when they aren't able to hear about the message of change they so desperately want to listen to.

Back to the numbers, the race for the pledged delegate is effectively over, unless Clinton can pull off 40-50 point wins. That just won't happen. The supers need to pull themselves together and elect the candidate that embodies the Democratic party and who has the support from its voters, that man has already stood up. It is time to embrace him.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sunday Talk Absurdity

These pundits live to dumb their audiences down, especially on Sunday morning:

The Return Of The Congestion Pricing Saga

You could never count Luke Skywalker out in a George Lucas movie and neither can one give up hope on congestion pricing in New York City. It is being used all over Europe and somewhat in Southeast Asia, and is determined to make its debut in New York. The only thing is it might have to take on a different look to pass the test up in Albany.

From The NY Daily News:

City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said it's too soon to eulogize congestion pricing, which died behind closed doors in Albany last month.

"Most big things in New York don't go through the first time around," Sadik-Khan said at a panel discussion at the Regional Plan Association's annual conference.

"At the end of the day, the failure on congestion pricing that occurred last month was just a setback," said a fellow panelist, former Deputy Mayor Marc Shaw. "I think it will be reconsidered in the near future."

He predicted congestion pricing would come back in a somewhat different and "purer" form: tolls at the East River bridges and across 60th St.

No matter the percentage of people that decry congestion pricing and tolls in general, there is going to have to be a way to solve three traffic problems of ours. One is the pollution another is funding mass-transit and last but not least reducing the congestion (duh) in the city. Asthma rates are ridiculous, building projects such as the 2nd Avenue subway and getting as many unnecessary cars out of the city are prerogatives that must be accomplished. So if Bloomberg's vision didn't work out, something else must have to be tried.

Hillary The Hypocrite Strikes Again!

Well the Pennsylvania primary is nearly upon us and the nuttiness of the once-vaunted Hillary Clinton for President campaign is ratcheting up a few more notches. She needs unattainable numbers to look like a viable candidate to the super-delegates once the remaining primaries and caucuses are over. To her and her advisers, the only way to do that is to do to Obama what Tonya Harding did to Nancy Kerrigan so long ago. The only bad thing about it though is that it can come back to bite you and in politics, make you look like a giant hypocrite.

From Bloomberg:

``Either Democrat would be better than John McCain,'' said Obama, at the end of a town hall meeting in Reading, Pennsylvania, ahead of Tuesday's primary in that state. ``And all three of us would be better than George Bush.''

Illinois Senator Obama's comment was a departure from his scripted remarks. He has spent the weekend sharpening his case against presumptive Republican nominee McCain and the Democrat he must first defeat, New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

Clinton quickly seized on Obama's statement and incorporated it into her rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. ``Obama said today that John McCain would be better for the country than George Bush,'' she said. ``But Senator McCain would follow the same failed policies that have been so wrong for our country the last seven years.''

Um, yeah, thanks Senator Clinton for that brilliant remark. At least on the Democratic side, we do know that John "McSame" McCain would be another disaster following the current Bush disaster. My problem with you saying that is...first of all, Obama is mostly right that (or at least I hope) that no one can touch the ridiculousness that is/was George Bush. More importantly though, it wasn't too long ago that you called McCain "a good friend and a “distinguished man with a great history of service to our country. Both of us will be on that stage having crossed that threshold."

Isn't amazing how her tune can change from moment to moment? Well, if you have been following her campaign, it isn't too surprising.

John McCain Is Completely Out Of Touch With America

McCain chimed in with Clinton to call Obama an elitist in the last couple of weeks. Yet when you talk like this about the realities Americans face, the elitist in this picture is definitely not from Illinois:

Be Very, Very Afraid Mr. Rove

I remember a couple years back when Karl Rove was in the cross-hairs of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Rove has a knack of getting his fingers into everything dirty in Washington, but he got off that time and escaped the prosecution/jail time he deserves. He left his post at the White House last summer, supposedly thinking he'd be out of the spotlight and could avoid any responsibility (like his ex-boss still does). Well now that ex-Governor Don Siegelman is out of jail (thanks in large part to Karl Rove), karma is looking to get the Republican henchman and he is trying to run from his fate as fast as he can.

From AfterDowningStreet:

Rove has been described to me (Scott Horton) by several of my GOP sources in Alabama as being in a state of panic. He has been pressing senior Alabama GOP figures to speak out for him and to attack me and Jill Simpson, as well as CBS and MSNBC. But they're keeping quiet, which shows more political smarts than Rove, frankly. Of course Rove has a simple objective here. He wants to know all the underlying evidence that has been accumulated to make a case against him and he's desperate to know it before he speaks any more about it. Which is precisely why CBS, MSNBC and others will keep things close to the vest.

But just to show you how ridiculous his tantrum is. He asks how I "know" he was involved in strategizing and fundraising. Of course he wants the names of my sources in Alabama so he can have them pressured and pilloried. But his involvement is established just by looking at the White House website. The key fundraising event of the campaign was the July 15, 2002 fundraiser for Riley in Birmingham - it brought in $4 million. It was arranged by Karl Rove, working closely with Bill Canary. President Bush was the featured draw. How can he deny he was involved in fundraising and strategizing? The very effort is absurd.

The evidence linking him to the use of the Siegelman case as a technique is of course thinner. That's because this is a felony, and those involved in it are not going to speak voluntarily. Which is why his denial should be under oath and subject to crossexamination, just as Jill Simpson's was.

Oh he can panic all he wants, I just want to see him sitting in that chair next to the judge. He'd probably lie under oath, the man has no morals whatsoever, but it would be a start and as the story gets more publicity, Karl will lose enough friends for one of them to broker immunity to get him convicted.

Protest Cheney Today In NYC For Being Cheney

Known endearingly as Darth Vader and looking like the Joker from Batman, gun-toting, sneering and all-around vile Dick Cheney is sticking around New York City for another day after sending the Pope off on his way back to Italy. Why on Earth would Dick hang around a liberal town like ours for any longer than necessary? Well, its to raise money on the bi-partisanly (sp?) rich Upper East Side for the anti-troop, anti-Staten Island Republican Congressman Vito Fossella that supposedly represents the borough.

From The NY Times:

The event is likely to boost financing significantly for Mr. Fossella’s bid for another term as the only Republican member of Congress from New York City. His district covers Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.

Democrats contend that Mr. Fossella’s continued support of the war in Iraq has put him out of touch with the district. Furthermore, they say, Staten Island has been hit hard by the nation’s mortgage crisis and health care has deteriorated.

The fund-raiser for Mr. Fossella will be at the Upper East Side home of David H. Koch, the billionaire executive vice president of Koch Industries, a company with major oil and gas holdings.

The oil and gas industry, thats a real shocker. Cheney is so versatile, even though he specialized in war-profiteering at Halliburton, he is still good enough to help out those that harm the environment in other ways than waging outright wars. Cheney's appearance suggests that Fossella is going to need some strong support to keep his NY-13 seat and that is because he is being challenged by a strong candidate.

That man is Steve Harrison (though there is supposedly another challenger named Dominic Recchia) and he is fighting to change Staten Island for the better and represent them in Washington with the progressive values that they deserve. So while you can go protest this morning at 10 AM outside the apartment Dick and Vito are at (710 Park Avenue @71st St.) the best way one can express their outrage at Cheney and simultaneously the Republicans in the House is to make a donation to Steve Harrison and then sign up to help out!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

NY Times Uncovers Massive Propaganda Effort By The Pentagon

Why am I not surprised?

Imagine If George Stephanopolous Was Alive In 1860

It is a scary thought, at least for the people that lived back then. The tumultuous political and societal landscape of that era was vitally important and every event was critical to the fate of the nation. The Lincoln-Douglas debates signified the seriousness of the moment and the eloquence of each candidate was nothing short of extraordinary. Now imagine if George Stephanopolous and Charlie Gibson moderated that debate, how terrible would it have turned out?

From Obsidian Wings:

LINCOLN: Thank you very much, Charlie and George, and thanks to all in the audience and who are out there. I appear before you today for the purpose of discussing the leading political topics which now agitate the public mind.

We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m sorry to interrupt, but do you think Mr. Douglas loves America as much you do?

LINCOLN: Sure I do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But who loves America more?

LINCOLN: I’d prefer to get on with my opening statement George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If your love for America were eight apples, how many apples would Senator Douglas’s love be?


Yeah that sounds about right, circa 1860 style. Now if only we could get back to the level of debate we had back then for today's debate, how much more informed Americans would be about the candidates instead of what The National Enquirer ABC thinks America cares about.