Saturday, May 31, 2008

DNC Dramafest 2008 Is Upon Us

It is now approaching 6:00 EDT and the members of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee have heard and asked questions of various representatives all day long. For the last two hours, they have been in recess, supposedly having a late lunch but probably trying to hammer out a deal behind the scenes before coming out into the watchful eye of C-SPAN (they are now trying to fill time with repeats from earlier today). The question is, what will come from their decision?

From the arguments we've heard a lot of substantive information emotional crap. The Hayes/Tilden Presidential election of 1876 was referred to as well as the more recent stolen election in Florida eight years ago. The worst offender was Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) a supporter of the fiscally responsible candidate, talking about the poor disenfranchised voters from years past and incessantly grandstanding for every vote to count. It'd be great for that to happen Bill, but the reality of the events surrounding Florida's primary run against the stated DNC rules is a slap in the face to every voter outside of Florida (and Michigan). Then there was this Hillary supporter arguing with the designated Hillary supporter. Some people really need to re-take kindergarten, jeez.

There were some better performances though, from Senator Carl Levin (especially for his passionate stance against Iowa and New Hampshire always going first), Michigan Chair Mark Brewer (for stressing party unity) and Obama supporter David Bonior for reminding us of what Hillary Clinton said before all of this was essential for giving new life to her campaign. Though with all of the emotion, passion and wishing for their side to win, Donna Brazile invoked the words of her Momma, and that is what should ultimately rule the day.

Update (7:13PM): Florida's and Michigan's delegation is now to be seated with each delegate given a half vote, split up 69-59. That gives Hillary Clinton 34.5 delegates while 29.5 delegates remain "uncommitted" from Michigan. In Florida she earns back 19 delegates from Obama's approximate 200 delegate lead. When all said and done with superdelegates, Clinton picks up 94.5 delegates and Obama got 68. It is a terrible decision for those that wish Hillary to win at all costs, but a fair compromise considering the rules that were violated. Now Obama is 66 delegates away from the nomination and we can wrap this up in three days once the final votes are tallied.

Thanks to Sean Robertson for the pic above!

This Is What It Means To Have A Democratic Governor

Someone who fights for equality for all and backs it up:

Working Less To Save More, Effects Of Gas Price Rise Spreads Out

Everyone with a car knows how bad it is to fill up their tanks. Just ten years ago, gas was a dollar and a change and now prices are anywhere from four to five dollars a gallon. The rapid jump in prices, especially in the last couple years has had a profound effect on the American economy. Retail spending was reduced to pay for gas, raw materials increased in price because it costs more to ship them and debt has skyrocketed to keep American families afloat in the moment. Now it is becoming hard for people to pay to drive to work, so extraordinary measures are being taken by employers.

From Financial Week:

In America’s struggling automaking heartland, the shorter workweek offers employers a way of rewarding employees when the budget does not allow a salary increase, said Oakland County, Michigan, executive L. Brooks Patterson.

“By allowing employees to work four 10-hour days it will save them 20 percent on their commute costs and ease the financial pinch of filling up their cars,” said Mr. Patterson, who last week proposed the compressed week for county workers.

Gasoline prices have begun altering U.S. commutes in many ways, a survey released on Thursday showed.

Some 44% of respondents said they have changed they way they commute—doing things such sharing a ride or driving a more fuel-efficient car—or are working from home or looking for a closer job in order to reduce gasoline costs, according to staffing services company Robert Half International. That’s up from 34% two years ago.

On Long Island, New York, Suffolk County legislator Wayne Horsley also has proposed employees have the option of working four 10-hour shifts, rather than five eight-hour shifts, saying it would save 461 barrels of oil in a 120-day pilot project.

“This is a gasoline-driven proposition and we’re looking to change people’s long term philosophies of life,” Mr. Horsley said.

In these times of ridiculous gas prices the government that has failed to take appropriate action against greedy oil companies. Nor has it provided a suitable transition to an economy that relies on solar and wind power. Therefore employers and even local legislators are coming together to help people make a living and not lose all their money to the hands of executives at Shell, ChevronTexaco and the behemoth ExxonMobil.

Activism Can Make Albany Work

Perhaps more appropriately, activism taken by New Yorkers has the potential to make Albany work for the citizens before the select Committee Chairs in the Assembly and the State Senate. For the most part, popular bills are pressed by either constituent or legislator, only to be quashed by the leadership of the respective party in control (Dems in the Assembly, Repubs in the Senate). Legislators rarely have the ability to exercise power or else they can be subject to punishment from their party leaders. Well, sometimes that can be thwarted.

From The Daily Politics:

The almost unthinkable happened in Albany this week when Assembly Health Chairman Richard Gottfried lost a pair of votes in his own committee.

The rare event unfolded Wednesday, when two autism research bills came up at a committee meeting. Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat, moved to put them on "hold" rather than approve them for further consideration. Normally, Gottfried's wish would be his committee's command.

But heavy-duty lobbying by autism activists and the bill sponsors -- Bronx Democrat Peter Rivera and Long Island Republican James Conte -- carried the day. Seven of the 19 Democrats joined all seven Republicans in support of the bills, for a final vote of 14-12 on each.

This was a huge victory for those that lobby for autism research. No, they weren't "lobbyists," they are regular citizens who are most likely affected by autism in the home or for someone that they know. People who stand up and deliver enough pressure in the right way can get things done.

Of course that was just one committee and the bill has many more hurdles to jump. The chances for its implementation is still slim considering the way things work in Albany. However, before we can have the ability to jump every single obstacle on the track, we have start with the first hurdle.

Friday, May 30, 2008

If Hillary Were Ten Years Old...

Could you imagine one of your fifth grade classmates being Hillary Clinton?

Warning: Extreme humor may ensue by clicking the play button, Hillary supporters be advised!

There's More To The Price Of Oil Than Just Supply And Demand

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission has taken the extraordinary step of coming out with an investigation of oil traders who are suspected of manipulating the market in order to make unconscionable amounts of money at the expense of the American and even world economies. Now it is great that high oil prices get people to switch to mass transit, but if the CFTC can prove there was criminal wrongdoing, the bastards involved should face a long, long prison terms.

From The Washington Post:

The CFTC said its investigation started in December, before this latest surge in prices but after an earlier surge that took oil prices over $90 a barrel.

Congress has been pressing the CFTC to take tougher action to stop what lawmakers call "speculation" -- which is not illegal -- and possible unlawful manipulation of oil markets. Some lawmakers have suggested that the commission discourage speculation by increasing margin requirements so that traders would have to put up more cash to buy positions on commodity markets.

The CFTC said that in addition to the investigation, it had reached agreements with British and European regulators to share more information about oil markets. It also said it would take steps to increase transparency by getting more information from index traders and other financial players.

It was unclear whether the commission's announcements were a reaction to congressional pressure, but they were praised by many lawmakers. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said he was pleased, adding that "the CFTC must vigorously pursue all leads to protect the American people from market manipulation during a time of record prices at the pump."

The real question is whether if/when the CFTC finds wrong-doing, will Congress take the appropriate actions and deal the oil industry the crushing blow that it deserves? ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and the rest have been figuratively raping America right along with their trader friends on Wall Street. Enough is enough, the people demand action and simply talking about how bad they are won't cut it.

McCain Doesn't Have A Clue On Iraq, Nor Cares Much About It

Sometimes I worry about John McCain. He has so many problems remembering what is going on in the world that perhaps he should go back to school or at least get a tutor to tell him about world events. Shias and Sunnis confused him, but maybe that doesn't matter to him because in his crowd, Muslims are all the same and in some cases they don't even have to be Muslim. Yet McCain tries to claim he is the number one candidate in the race that supports the troops, even if he doesn't want to help them pay for college. Now we find out he doesn't even know how many soldiers we have in Iraq and the campaign could care less.

From ThinkProgress:

Yesterday at a townhall meeting in Wisconsin, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) claimed that troops in Iraq are already down to “pre-surge levels”:

So I can tell you that it is succeeding. I can look you in the eye and tell you it’s succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels. Basra, Mosul and now Sadr city are quiet and it’s long and it’s hard and it’s tough and there will be setbacks.

This assertion is wrong. There are now 155,000 troops in Iraq — far above the 130,000 before the surge.

But today on a conference call with reporters, the McCain campaign tried to dismiss this factually inaccurate statement. “So what?” said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), a strong McCain supporter. “What does that amount to?” He added that McCain just “misspoke.” According to adviser Randy Scheunemann, McCain meant to say that troops will be eventually drawn down to pre-surge levels.

Um, nice try Kyl. No one is going to buy that except for McCain's group of sycophants that surround him like yourself. Certainly the troops are smart enough to see through it. McCain makes up whatever he wants to paint a rosy picture, no matter how bad the real situation is. It conjures up the thoughts of what he'd be like in the Oval Office. Oh yeah, we already have one of those "painters" in there already.

McCain Went Right Along With War Propaganda

It is so good to see that the DNC gets its best material for attack ads against McCain directly from the "Straight Talk Express."

OIbermann Hits Murdoch Back Over Crazy Comment

Fox News and MSNBC have been scrapping against each other for a while but as of late things are starting to get personal. Bill O'Reilly and Olbermann have been going at it but now it is Murdoch himself who is trying to knock the phenom of MSNBC. Wednesday night Murdoch called Keith crazy and alluded that that was the reason he "fired" him all those years ago. Well Keith couldn't resist but inject a little truth into the situation.

From NY Mag:

The latest skirmish in the war between Keith Olbermann and News Corp. comes by way of Rupert Murdoch himself. According to TVNewser, at The Wall Street Journal's "All Things Digital" conference last night, a reporter asked the Fox overlord if he would ever hire Olbermann. "No, I fired him five years ago," Murdoch replied. "He was crazy." Olbermann wrote a lengthy response to TVNewser, explaining the circumstances of his departure. It turns out that back in 2001 when he hosted baseball programming for Fox, Olbermann discovered that Murdoch was thinking of selling the Los Angeles Dodgers. Before reporting the story (which he had on good authority), he checked with Murdoch's PR man. Explains the MSNBC Countdown host:
I said, in short, this is your candy store, if you don't want me to run this, I'm not running it, and I'm not leaking it, but at minimum you should know the story's out there. And the guy's answer was, thanks for thinking of us, here's our official denial, please report it and whatever your sources tell you, just please make clear that none of your sources are within the company (baseball was, and is, extremely touchy about when a team is, or isn't, "officially" for sale, and woe betide the owner who makes a deal before the "officially" kicks in). So I ran the Dodgers-Are-Unofficially-For-Sale story (with the "the sources aren't NewsCorp" caveat taking almost as long as the story itself) and everything was swell.

Needless to say, Olbermann was fired shortly after. He later heard that it was because of the Dodgers story. Not one to miss a good jab, though, he ended his e-mail to TVNewser with a classic self-referential thrust. "As to the 'crazy' part, he had to pay me $800,000 for the rest of 2001, and lord knows how many tens of millions I've helped MSNBC take out of his pocket ever since," he writes. "So: who's crazy?"

Murdoch isn't crazy, though getting rid of Keith wasn't his best move. Words describing Murdoch are more along the lines of "greedy," "sinister," "monopolist" and "propaganda provider." Thanks for setting the record straight Mr. Olbermann.

Republicans Practically Concede NY-13

In the last two days the Democratic and the Republican leadership of Staten Island signaled who they want to be their nominee. First the Democratic Committee went with Staten Island Councilman Michael McMahon after a few others were looked at as well as forgoing last year's nominee Steve Harrison. The Republicans however, went through almost twenty different names and their pick shows how badly they expect to do this come November.

From NY-13:

The Republican Party just pulled a fast one on itself. After having 19 potential candidates they passed on and then declaring a front runner no one had ever heard of they nominated someone who wasn't even good enough to be in those top 20.

So Frank Powers is their nominee. Who is he? No clue. But the Advance tells us;
Powers is on the board of directors of Richmond University Medical Center and has served as President of the Staten Island Academy. He served on the Board of the former St. Vincent's Medical Center for over 20 years and is a past president of the Downtown Athletic Club and past president of the Heisman Trophy Foundation. He served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, and Chairman of the USS Sullivan's' Foundation. He is the former Chairman of the Board of St. Elizabeth Ann's Health Care and Rehabilitation Center. He was elected to the Board of the MTA in 2005. Powers also currently serves on the Board of Wagner College.
So this guy serves on the board of a medical center that is closing clinics across the district and creating major health care concerns. He is on the board of the MTA, which mismanages transportation and funds and is the bane of existance for so many in the district. Oh but he is used to be president of the Heisman Trophy Foundation. Makes sense. He is loaded and can self finance. Congrats Republicans.

Congratulations indeed. Perhaps he can make himself a trophy for his efforts after he loses the seat for the NY GOP. All of that money is going to be needed to try and combat his image of helping to worsen health care on the island. Of course as of now he really doesn't have an image while his opponent has been representing a large portion of the island in City Hall for a few years.

Though you know, that Heisman Trophy thing reminds me of another notable Republican. Some guy who did a heck of a job managing horses. Oh and that baseball team owner too. Perhaps sports and politics don't always go together so well, especially here.

A Terrible Tragedy That Could Have Been Avoided

Health care is a tremendous issue in our country today. Health insurance companies have been allowed to do as they please and screw over their clients at will. That is what happened to Steffanie Collings of Oklahoma. The outrage over her needless death started the campaign for a law in her name that protects those who pay for insurance, but the Republicans in the Oklahoma legislature have kept it bottled up. That is why we need more people like Andrew Rice, who has been fighting for the Collings and every family that deserves health care coverage to be fair to the people and not the profit margins of these greedy companies.

MTA Submits To Cuomo After More E-Z Abuse Surfaces

What an interesting week it has been between Andrew Cuomo and the MTA. First the news came out that board members are given E-Z Passes as "thank yous" for their service. Next Attorney General Cuomo took a look at the situation and as stated in the terms of service, board members are not allowed to be compensated and said it was illegal and that the perks must stop. Incredulously the MTA threatened to take Cuomo to court to keep their compensatory deal, but then this came out.

From The NY Daily News:

As the MTA reversed course Thursday and proposed canceling free travel passes for MTA honchos, the Daily News learned that nearly a dozen spouses of past or present board members also get the freebies.

The group of lucky ladies - and one fortunate fella - include Elizabeth Hemmerdinger, wife of Dale Hemmerdinger, the multimillionaire chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Denise Saul, wife of multimillionaire board Vice Chairman Andrew Saul, who both have Metro-North Railroad passes.

Records show that free commuter rail passes have been granted to a dozen who never served on the panel.

The breakdown: Three wives of current board members, seven wives of former board members, one husband of a past panelist and the live-in girlfriend of yet another. Some have Metro-North passes, some have Long Island Rail Road passes - and some have both.

Some of the spouses are married to former board members who left the authority more than a decade ago.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Shame on these rich bastards for violating their contracts with the MTA. Even though the money is small compared to the overall budget, this is unacceptable and if you are going to serve the people, serve them and not yourself.

Another East Side Crane Disaster

Two thousand aught eight continues to be a tragic year for construction in New York City. Just an hour ago a crane collapsed at 1st Ave. and 91st St., killing at least two people one person (the crane operator) as of now. Reports from ABC7 say that other people are still trapped in the rubble. The area, already a mess from the building boom up there, is now sadly strewn with debris from the collapse.

From The Gothamist:

A crane collapsed at 1st Avenue and 91st Street on the Upper East Side around 8:15 a.m. According to initial reports, there are people trapped inside. There is wreckage on 91st Street, with FDNY and other emergency responder going through the rubble. The crane was located at a new construction site.

Crane safety and new construction has come under new scrutiny after the March 15 crane collapse that claimed the lives of 7 people--a civilian and six workers at a new condominium on East 51st Street. Earlier this week, the Department of Buildings announced that its inspectors will no longer be on site when cranes are built "or made taller". Per the NY Times, "Instead, inspectors will make spot checks of the crane raisings, known as jumps, and of safety meetings at which procedures for each jump must be laid out.

Update: The FDNY is reporting two fatalities at this point. Apparently the top of a crane--including the cab-- fell off (possibly 20-25 stories) and hit a building across the street (it looks like a penthouse across the street has a corner taken out of it). WABC 7 reports the crane may have been in full extension, snapped in half and hit the building.

Now the worry is that the building under construction may have structural problems from the impact. City officials are already out and about, Scott Stringer said it looks like a bomb went off and the Mayor is frustrated as well. Despite the recent departure of DoB head Patricia Lancaster, problems have not been solved and obviously more must be done to ensure the safety of construction workers and the busy Manhattan environment around them.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

John McCain And Vets For Freedom, Can I Get A Hug

So far in this race, nothing has been more visually damaging for John McCain than the picture of him hugging burying his face in George Bush's chest. Of course there is nothing illegal about that, but the connection to Vets for Freedom just might be.

MTA Wants To Take Cuomo To Court Over E-Z Pass Policy

Sometimes getting the right thing done takes a little extra effort than one expects in the beginning. Attorney General Cuomo saw the abuses of the MTA such as doling out free E-Z Passes to board members that are not supposed to be compensated for their work. You would think this would be pretty simple and for some it is, like the State Thruway Authority that revoked the passes (even though all three recipients of theirs are dead). For the live ones at the MTA, they're fighting for their right to be compensated rewarded thanked.

From The Gothamist:

It's on! MTA chairman Dale Hemmerdinger says the agency will go to court in order to have the option of giving free E-Z Passes to retired and current board members--many of whom are wealthy.

The MTA says that the passes are a small thank you to board members who serve without compensation. But Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said, "If the law says no compensation then the law means no compensation and these gimmicks that are a way of providing compensation as perks as a way to get around the law, we believe, are illegal, and we're going to stop all of them."

But Hemmerdinger said, "Given the newly stated view of the attorney general, which is contrary to the M.T.A. position, we are going to seek a declaratory judgment and allow a court to determine whether or not this constitutes compensation. We have never seen it that way.” Man, that's a good idea--spending taxpayer money on legal bills so former chairman Peter Kalikow can keep his eight E-Z Passes (eight so he doesn't have to change one from car to car).

Gothamist pretty much makes all the right arguments on this one. I can only hope the judge laughs the MTA out of court...and directs Hemmerdinger and the rest of the board to pay for all the legal fees to boot.

Joe Bruno Is No Friend Of Equality

Governor Paterson did a great thing this month by directing state agencies to observe same-sex marriages that were performed in other states. Too bad the last Republican majority in New York couldn't just leave it be. Senate Majority Leader Bruno has decided to seek legal action against the Governor's memo and his excuse is that the Executive shouldn't have too much power. Of course he really didn't mind it when Pataki was in charge, but that is neither here nor there.

From The Daily Politics:

Bruno, who had just finished singing Paterson's praises for recognizing the need to "partner" with the Senate Republicans (as opposed to waging all-out war against them, as Eliot Spitzer did), admitted the governor had not given him the heads up about the May 14 memo on this topic sent to the agencies by Paterson counsel, David Nocenti.

The majority leader needled reporters about missing this story, saying: "Why didn't you report it? You didn't even know it. Who should I blame?" He said he plans to take up the issue with Paterson when the two speak this afternoon.

"I haven't really seen the directive," Bruno said. "What I do know is that there's a bigger question, and that specifically, that has to do with the powers of the executive, by executive order, versus the Legislature. We went through that with the illegal aliens being licensed. That was that same question.

Unfortunately from a legal standpoint the memo holds less water than the executive order issued by Spitzer over illegal immigrant driver licenses. So expect Bruno to try and gather another win over the Governor's authorities. Of course once we get the majority in the Senate back ('s how) this won't be a problem because we should be able to pass progressive legislation with full control in Albany next year. Equality for everyone regardless of gender preference should not be an issue, and that is something we are determined to see through.

The Answer Is No

The "media" talked yesterday about the run up to the war and the failure to ask the tough questions of George Bush. The NBC/CBS roundtable below suggests that the Administration threatened to cut access if they did stories the Pentagon and the White House weren't nice to them. Hindsight may be clearer for these anchors, but this is suppposed to be journalism and they failed at their jobs, miserably.

Congressman.....Curtis Sliwa?

The race for New York's 13th Congressional District is still wide open for Republicans, with several names already have been floated and subsequently dropped from the radar screen. Now that the Democratic Party has practically chosen it's candidate (over the hardworking, progressive Steve Harrison), the GOP will need someone to try and hold the seat. With no one really coming forward, what is their base to do? The party has done a terrible job of creating backup for Vito and now they're going to pay for it. Just look at who has come out of the woodwork recently.

From The NY Daily News:

With Republicans struggling to find a replacement for the disgraced Rep. Vito Fossella, Curtis Sliwa thinks he may have found the GOP's perfect angel - himself.

The WABC radio talk show host and Guardian Angels founder said Wednesday he'd be willing to run for the 13th Congressional District seat - which covers Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn - if no one from the district steps forward.[...]

"I can be the fail-safe guy," Sliwa told the Daily News, a day after he made his willingness clear in a letter to Staten Island GOP Chairman John Friscia.

Local Republican leaders said a Sliwa bid was worth considering - provided the straight-talking, beret-wearing radio host isn't just trying to boost his ratings.

Curtis is also known for being shot multiple times in the back of a cab, presumably a failed hit job by the Gotti family back in 1992 due to various comments Sliwa made about Gotti, Sr. He has done a lot in his 54 years and is definitely quite the character. Of course, if this is the best the Republicans can do against a seasoned NY legislator like Michael McMahon then I look forward to taking back the final Congressional District in NYC for the Democratic Party.

No Matter What, Sheldon Silver Is The Wrong Choice

Now that the beginnings of a primary race in Assembly District 64 are taking shape, Silver's supporters are coming out to gasp for air words in print so that they can tout him above those that wish to unseat him. Sure, he's a Democrat and yes, he does support items that I as a progressive Democrat are in favor of, but if there was one paragraph to sum up how I (and many others) feel about Shelly it has to come from Roatti at The Albany Project yesterday.

From The Albany Project:

Sheldon Silver is unfit for office: NYMBYism, treating marriage equality as a crude brgaining chip, his desire to keep Bruno in power, his refusal to release his side income, he opposed David Paterson's bid for minority leader, he killed congestion pricing without even an up-or-down vote, and he uses YOUR money to pay for his political mailers.

Yeah that is definitely a good start. The article (at the link on top) highlights one of Shelly's trips to Vegas where he was practically put up at Caesars and had dinner with lobbyists. Of course the whole issue of Caesars looking into building casinos in New York had nothing to do with it of course. Don't we all meet lobbyists when we go to Las Vegas?

This isn't what the residents of AD-64 deserve and as Silver is the Speaker of the House and one of three men in a room, all of New York deserves a change, so check out Paul Newell and Luke Henry and help support the challenge to Sheldon Silver.

So How's That Housing Market?

For the most part the media has abandoned the story of our national housing crisis, but that doesn't mean it has gone away. According to Andrew Jakabovics of the Center for American Progress, things are still dire and need to be worked on at a macro (i.e. Congressional) scale:

Governor Paterson Shows He's Still Progressive

Governor David Paterson has had a couple of months in office now and frankly, some of us were worried. The active, progressive State Senator from Harlem wasn't quite the same as head honcho in Albany. Campaign finance reform or lack there of is definitely one of my grievances against him. Yet as I scold the bad, I also praise the good and Paterson certainly deserves the praise for his efforts at helping New York achieve gender equality.

From The NY Times:

ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson has directed all state agencies to begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, like Massachusetts, California and Canada.

In a directive issued on May 14, the governor’s legal counsel, David Nocenti, instructed the agencies that gay couples married elsewhere “should be afforded the same recognition as any other legally performed union.”

The revisions are most likely to involve as many as 1,300 statutes and regulations in New York governing everything from joint filing of income tax returns to transferring fishing licenses between spouses.

In a videotaped message given to gay community leaders at a dinner on May 17, Mr. Paterson described the move as “a strong step toward marriage equality.” And people on both sides of the issue said it moved the state closer to fully legalizing same-sex unions in this state.

The directive may not have won the battle for true equality in the Empire State, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Cheers to you Governor!

Kevin Powell Shows Up For DfNYC Forum, Ed Towns Ignores It

Last night in Brooklyn Kevin Powell came out to speak to a small gathering of Democracy for New York City members. Unfortunately the lighting at the Boat Bar on Smith wasn't good enough to take a picture like this. Powell was reaching out for their endorsement in his primary challenge to Edolphus Towns in the 10th Congressional District of New York. Edolphus Towns has been in Congress for twenty-five years, so maybe he thought that he was above these sorts of things (Official response was that they don't do anything until after the petitioning process). Still, even though he didn't show, Kevin Powell still had a lot to say...and a lot to offer.

Powell is originally from New Jersey and attended Rutgers. He is a writer, community activist and most importantly supports progressive issues that affect his neighborhood of 18 years in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. He's committed to be "a new voice" and one that fights developers instead of coddling them. He's in favor of repealing Bush's bankruptcy law as well as scrapping all of "No Child Left Behind." Powell argues it is essential to helping the thousands of borough residents that have had their homes foreclosed on and have children that deserve better schools.

Even though Towns wasn't there, that didn't mean Powell couldn't talk about the Congressman. He mentioned Towns has missed well over a 1000 votes in Congress, doesn't even chair a committee after twenty-five years and takes money from industries such as those that sell tobacco. He thought it was "unwise and unfair" of Towns to not show up last night. Then he likened himself to Donna Edwards who defeated incumbent Al Wynn in a primary challenge down in Maryland earlier this year. He is raising money, "approaching $100,000" and looking to quadruple that amount for the primary. It won't match Towns' fundraising cash but that doesn't have to happen for him to win the primary on September 9th. If electing progressive Democrats sounds like a good thing to you (even in solidly Democratic districts), then check out Kevin Powell versus the incumbent Ed Towns for yourself.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Is This Why McCain Touts Phil Gramm

Why John McCain likes to talk about Phil Gramm's "expertise" being added to his campaign is a ploy for the right to show he should be embraced by the Republican Party. Yet sometimes stuff like this comes out and well, gosh darn, it doesn't mesh well with that Straight Talk Expressness.

White House Scorns Scotty

The day of and the day after Politico got a hold of Scotty's new book about his life and times at the White House, the Republican machine kicked into high gear. It is easy for them to dismiss anyone outside their tight, little circle, but when one of their own turned against them to make a profit....well, watch out Scotty!

From The Huffington Post:

The White House responded angrily Wednesday to McClellan's confessional memoir, calling it self-serving sour grapes.

"Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House," said current White House press secretary Dana Perino, a former deputy to McClellan. "We are puzzled. It is sad. This is not the Scott we knew."[...]

"Not once did Scott approach me _ privately or publicly _ to discuss any misgivings he had about the war in Iraq or the manner in which the White House made the case for war," McClellan's predecessor as press secretary, Ari Fleischer, said.

Said Fran Townsend, former head of the White House-based counterterrorism office and now a CNN commentator: "This now strikes me as self-serving, disingenuous and unprofessional."

Perino described Bush as "surprised" by the book but said the president wouldn't have anything to say about it. "He has more pressing matters than to spend time commenting on books by former staffers," she said.

Karl Rove even said, get this, he sounded like a left-wing blogger. Well Karl, not quite. He certainly did expose your criminality and that of the others around you, but like any other self-serving Republican, he made his dime on someone else's expense and remained ethically dubious about his own misgivings. No one seriously believes that crap about Scotty thinking what he said was true when he said it and then realizing it was wrong. That isn't surprising, in fact, it all makes sense. I wonder who'll come out with the next book, perhaps Dana Perino? Tony Snow? Maybe they could pen something together and title it "I don't and didn't know."

Rocketing Down The Rails To D.C.

For me personally, the only way to get anywhere between Boston and D.C. is by train. It can be a little more costly, but far more economical when you look at the big picture and of course much better for the environment than driving a car and more comfortable than a bus. There's something about riding a train that is..not to sound hokey....a part of the American spirit and whatnot. Anyways, we've got the train and currently the regional service takes 3.5 hours to go either to Boston or D.C. The "high speed" Acela isn't much faster but it costs considerably more. In these times of high gas prices and a sinking economy, something must be done. Something, like a rocket train.

From The NY Sun:

A two-hour rocket train between New York and Washington is the goal of new legislation that cleared a key hurdle in Congress last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Mayor Bloomberg is scheduled to meet with one of the sponsors of the legislation, Rep. John Mica, a Republican of Florida, on Friday to discuss a proposal that would create an American equivalent of Japan's Shinkansen and France's TGV bullet trains, which can travel at speeds of more than 300 miles an hour. The mayor in recent months has been promoting the idea of increased federal investment in infrastructure.

"We're interested in hearing from the congressman on the idea," a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, Andrew Brent, said.

If passed, the legislation would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to solicit requests for proposals from private developers to create a two-hour "door-to-door" high-speed rail service.

The thing will most likely not have actual rockets on board, but the technology is certainly out there to make the commute two hours between cities. High speed rail is essential for our country in these times and starting with NY and DC is an excellent way to do it. If one can go between London and Paris at nearly 200 mph and other destinations at over 300mph, then we can appropriate the funds for high speed rail in America, just as long as we get rid of the current President that opposes it.

What Planet Does John McCain Live On?

Seriously, what planet does he either come from or is currently residing on?

McCain talks about what's happened in Iraq and what is at stake there, well Mr. McCain, how in the hell would you know about that when you blatantly put people's lives at risk for your little stroll?

Could Bush Push Us Off An Iranian Cliff By August?

Last week the Jerusalem Post reported that a Bush aide made a remark that suggested the U.S. will attack Iran. The White House then responded with all the defensiveness of a four year old child on a massive temper-tantrum. Now we have the Asia Times reporting the same thing, only with a timetable. There's a chance we could see the morons at 1600 Pennsylvania pull off another international catastrophe before the end of the summer.

From ThinkProgress:

Asia Times is reporting that “a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community” are alleging that the Bush administration “plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months” :

The source, a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously, said last week that the US plans an air strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The air strike would target the headquarters of the IRGC’s elite Quds force. With an estimated strength of up to 90,000 fighters, the Quds’ stated mission is to spread Iran’s revolution of 1979 throughout the region.

How utterly ridiculous would that be. If Bush tries to push us off that cliff, he better expect hell to pay.

Cuomo Slaps The MTA's E-Z Policy Down

Hats are off to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo today for laying down the law to the MTA and all other agencies that might be illegally giving perks to their (already wealthy) board members. The specific issue was the E-Z Passes given to many on and formerly on the board, including more than one car per person. These little boxes are worth quite a sum when put together and not only is it abusive to the taxpayer and straphanger who foot the bill, but now we see it is illegal.

From The NY Daily News:

Just hours after the Daily News revealed how some 60 past and present board members - many of them multimillionaires - get the free tags for life, Cuomo's office issued a stern warning that the practice is illegal.

Cuomo also told the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to produce records of any other benefits doled out to board members who are supposed to "serve without salary or other compensation."

The letter to the MTA, penned by top Cuomo aide Benjamin Lawsky, was titled "Illegal Compensation of Board Members."

The MTA "should immediately terminate and rescind all free E-ZPass tags it has provided to its current and past board members," Lawsky wrote to James Henly, MTA deputy executive director and general counsel.

Lawsky cited a 2007 legal opinion by the state attorney general's office that two upstate state public authorities wrongly provided health care benefits free to board members.

Gene Russianoff chimed in to say that maybe these "hard workers" could get flowers and chocolate for their service to the MTA. I'd say that they should get nothing until they start making real progress on our dilapidated system. I put up with the squeaks, the humid dungeon weather down there, rude MTA workers and the overall nastiness that comes to the subways in the summer. If anyone should get free E-Z Passes, its the straphangers, not fat cats that get to take their yachts to work.

Take The Bush-McCain Challenge!

Can you tell the difference between these two "conservatives?"

I'm seriously having trouble with the challenge, they're practically twins!

Barry Nolan On Why He Was Fired...And What It All Means

Barry Nolan has quite the sense of humor. The post he penned yesterday for Think Progress was written by a pro and you can see it in the words and sentences. Mr. Nolan was recently fired for protesting an Emmy award honoring Bill O'Reilly. Falafel head has no honor and that is apparent every time the buffoon opens his mouth. When standing up for his principles, Comcast's Boston station let Barry Nolan go, but Barry has a parting shot for them....and words of wisdom for us.

From ThinkProgress:

O’Reilly was an appalling choice, not because of his political views, but because he simply gets the facts wrong, abuses his guests and the powerless in general, is delusional, and, well, you might want to Google: Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Plus there was that whole sexual harassment thing – the lawsuit he settled for an estimated $10 million. Not the kind of guy you normally think of when it comes time to pass out honors.

I found that most of my colleagues felt the same way. So, on May 10th at the Emmy Awards dinner, I quietly passed out a document that contained – not my opinion – but O’Reilly’s own words and quotes from his sexual harassment lawsuit. And that is what got me fired. I got fired from my job on a news and information network for reporting demonstrably true things in a room full of news people.

Normally, in the great scheme of things – this should be a total non-story. “Overpaid White Guy Gets Fired from Cushy Job for Shooting Mouth Off.” Yawn. But these are not normal times. After the word got out that I was fired – I started hearing from people from all over the country who were outraged. A guy in Texas who had once worked with O’Reilly and had seen a meltdown like the one on Youtube – a weather anchor in Arizona – a woman in China no less.

And it all got me to thinking about the myth of free speech. In today’s America, speech is only “free” when you are talking down to someone less powerful that you. Speak “up” – and look out.

In your work life, they can fire you, as I found out, for quietly saying something that is widely known to be true. Put a lid on it.

And in our role as citizens, we have been told by O’Reilly to shut up, or Fox Security may pay you a visit. We are called traitors if we simply speak the truth about the absence of WMD’s – the way the war is going – the disgraces of Abu Ghraib, of Gitmo, of waterboarding. Shut up.

So, when exactly do they think we have the right to speak up? To speak the quiet simple truth, to people who have more power than us?

Well, I think now would be a good time. The fog of fear is lifting. The balance of power is shifting. People are beginning to talk to each other again instead of shouting. I think it’s time to reclaim the right to free speech – even if it comes at a price.

Meanwhile, if anyone needs any lawn work done or his or her car detailed – give me a call.

If I had a lawn Barry, I'd be the first one to dial your number.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Obama Calls Out McCain With His Hat In Hand

John McCain has one overarching goal this year. That is not to look or sound like George Bush. Technically is his basically a replica of Mr. 28% but is running on a faux maverick record that might have been somewhat legit eight years ago but is a far cry from the McCain of 08. Thankfully this year we have a candidate that is willing to call him out on it and do it often.

From The Huffington Post:

Sen. Barack Obama hit McCain over the fundraiser at an event today in Nevada:
"I just had the privilege of visiting with Felicitas Rosel and Francisco Cano at their home here in Las Vegas.

Today, John McCain is having a different kind of meeting. He's holding a fundraiser with George Bush behind closed doors in Arizona. No cameras. No reporters. And we all know why. Senator McCain doesn't want to be seen, hat-in-hand, with the President whose failed policies he promises to continue for another four years."

And Obama will continue hitting him over his head until people see the shell of a man that McCain truly is. If McCain was proud of George Bush or if he had any sort of principles, he would have let the media in to the event. Of course he did no such thing, probably because seeing a repeat of the caption above wouldn't have been too good for him.

McClellan To Throw Bush Under The Bus

It looks like Scott McClellan is trying to distance himself from the Bush Administration he used to work for. All the arguments they made against the media was hogwash and McClellan said that we should have believed everyone but the White House. Damn, this book might actually be good:

NY-10 Showdown 5/28 Wed. Night, Towns? Vs. Powell

From Democracy for New York City:

Democracy for NYC is hosting a candidate forum this Wednesday in Congressional District 10, where Kevin Powell is challenging incumbent Congressman Edolphus Towns in the Democratic primary. Join us to ask questions and learn about important urban issues and how they are influenced by acts of Congress.

What: Candidate Forum in CD-10. Invited Candidates, in alphabetical order: Kevin Powell (invited & confirmed), Edolphus Towns (invited, not confirmed)

When: This Wednesday, May 28th, 7:30 - 8:30pm

Where: Boat Bar, 175 Smith Street, between Wycoff & Warren, in Brooklyn. Take the F train to Bergen Street, and walk one block south on Smith. Even if you're coming from Manhattan, it's a quick trip.

Why: This is a safe Democratic seat, so the winner of this primary is virtually guaranteed to win in November and represent Brooklyn in Congress. In our fight to take back Congress, many have expressed concerns about getting involved in primaries. I certainly respect every one's right to make their own decisions as to how they volunteer and contribute money. But if we ignore primaries in safe Democratic seats, we're basically ignoring the 40 or 50 seats across the country in urban areas, representing mainly African-American and Latino voters. The progressive community should be taking part in these races to ensure that urban issues are on the agenda of Congress. It is a mistake to believe that representation in these districts is satisfactory, as long as it is big-D Democratic. Forums and primaries provide a great opportunity to make sure we have a strong, progressive Democratic majority in Congress.

Of course this a solidly blue district, we're talking about Brooklyn here people. However, primaries are held to replace leaders we don't like in our own party or to "hold them to the fire." Healthy opposition for incumbents is a part of our democracy and anyone that thinks otherwise might want to look up the definition for 'fiefdom.'

I write question marks next to Towns' name because he hasn't confirmed his attendance and in all likelihood, he won't show up. Nevertheless it will be a good opportunity for people in NY-10 or any curious New Yorker to meet the people that put their names on the line to run for higher office.

In case you can't make it, count on me to blog the event and get a YouTube video up as well.

GOP Still Without A Candidate In NY-13

Time flies in politics and now that Vito Fossella/DWI/love child bombshell hit NYC feels like forever ago. Well, just a few weeks but with a primary less than four months from now and the general election to hold the seat within six, things are getting dicey for the Republicans in Staten Island. There were a couple big names like Wiese and Donovan that were floated to take over once Fossella decided to not run for re-election, but they are long gone and the Grand Old Party is desperately looking for someone to pick up their flag.

From The Staten Island Advance:

While the seat is considered the crown jewel of borough politics, top Republicans have been hesitant to get in the race. Two other top-tier candidates, District Attorney Daniel Donovan and County Clerk Stephen Fiala, took their names out of consideration last week.

The party's inability to lock in a high-profile candidate is not sitting well with some Republicans.


"It's a wake-up call," said one. "We can't be one-personcentric. Because when that one person goes down, we all go down."

The borough GOP has been accused of becoming too reliant on Fossella in recent years at the expense of developing a strong enough bench.

"Talk about dysfunctional?" said another. "This is dysfunctional."

I whole-heartedly agree. The Republican apparatus has been plateauing for some time now and they haven't done much about the fact that Dems have sailed by them. The district now leans Democratic and they are poised to add NY-13 to Democratic Congressional Delegation from New York.

"Endless War" Chanters Thrown Out Of McCain Rally

I'd have thought that those that agree with McCain for endless war would have not been thrown out of the audience. Unfortunately security and his campaign thought otherwise:

Another Way To Support The Troops: 4x The Nat'l Foreclosure Rate

I've said it before and I'll say it again, putting a magnetic bumper sticker made in China saying you support the troops is NOT supporting the troops. Ultimately we show true solidarity by electing leaders that will only put soldiers in harm's way if it is truly necessary and when so, to take care of them and their families. George Bush has not lived up to that, and he has shown us in his true cold-blooded spirit. He can take all the moments of silence he wants, but it does nothing for the livelihoods of those that don the uniform. It is terrible to continue to have to hear examples of how our troops are suffering in the current economic climate.

From Bloomberg:

In the midst of the worst surge in mortgage defaults in seven decades, foreclosures in U.S. towns where soldiers live are increasing at a pace almost four times the national average, according to data compiled by research firm RealtyTrac Inc. in Irvine, California. As military families like the VerSteeghs signed up for the initial lower rates and easier terms of subprime mortgages, the number of people taking out Veterans Administration loans fell to the lowest in at least 12 years.

``We've never faced a situation like this, not in the Vietnam War, World War II, or the Korean War, where so many military are in danger of losing their homes,'' said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, a Washington-based advocacy group started in 2002 by Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans. ``No one asked them for their credit score when we asked them to fight for us.''

Military Foreclosures

Foreclosure filings in 10 towns and cities within 10 miles of military facilities, including Norfolk, Virginia, home of the Navy's largest base, rose by an average 217 percent from January through April from a year earlier. Nationally, the rate was 59 percent in the same period, according to RealtyTrac, which tallies bank seizures, auctions and default notices.

With the billions trillions we have and are going to spend on this war, you would think that a few spare nickels could be shaved off of Halliburton's expense account to help the military families that must cope with losing their homes. With George Bush as President, you'd be wrong.

As Gas Goes Up, Will Driving Continue To Go Down?

The farthest we went this Memorial Day weekend was Brooklyn and except for a short subway ride to City Hall, we walked across the Birthday Bridge to get there. Many Americans prefer to drive somewhere though but gas prices are getting in the way of car trips and joy rides in general. According to the Department of Transportation, we collectively drove 11 billion fewer miles this past March as opposed to March of 2007. Thats a whole lot of miles and $4-5 for gas is definitely the biggest factor in that. The thing is, will it continue or can it continue when gas hits $7, $9, or even $15 a gallon?

From RawStory:

Robert Hirsch, senior advisor for Science Applications International Corporation, sat down with MSNBC’s Alex Witt to discuss the possibility of an upcoming oil crisis. Hirsch says that gas could reach $15/gallon within a few years because it is “essentially certain” the world has reached the maximum levels of oil production.

“The problem is that there’s not that much oil left in the ground,” Hirsch says. “What we’ve done is been very fortunate to have oil production increase as our economies have developed over the past decades. And now we’re reaching a point where we’re about to get, or we may be, at the maximum world oil production. After that, oil production will then decline and prices, of course, will continue to do what they’ve been doing recently. So what we’ve got today may be the ‘good old days.’”

Hirsch addressed the timeframe in which the US could see $15/gallon gas: “It could happen within a matter of months. It could happen within a matter of a few years. But it’s essentially certain that we are at the maximum of world oil production. And after that, we’ll go into decline, and when there’s much less oil available, then, of course, the price of oil is going to increase dramatically.”

Fifteen dollar gas might just be the beginning of our oil addiction problems (except for that whole global warming thing). Hirsch realizes and has for sometime that this was coming, yet no one in our government has done much about it. George Bush going to beg the Saudis to increase the supply does not count.

People will still need to go places, you know like work and continue the addiction to everything oil, like the plastic products we all use day in, day out. Yet consumption is largely unabated and despite the increasing prices, we are not doing enough collectively or at the macro, nation-state level. Unfortunately Hirsch's dire prediction of GDP decline will follow the supply levels of oil until we finally switch to alternative, renewable energy sources instead of bowing down and bending over for the oil industry that is mesmerized by their windfall profits.

McCain And His Supporters Show Their Campaign Finance "Ethics"

Just because John McCain wrote the laws doesn't mean he thinks he has to follow them. Campaigns and 527s are not supposed to mix, but Dick Durbin and videotape of Sens. Graham, Lieberman and McCain point out otherwise about the Republican nominee's behavior...and his standards:

Dept Of Buildings Realizes Their Screwed-Up Plan Is Screwed Up

This has been a tragic year so far in the construction world of New York City. While our city has always been building itself and accidents have been happening since someone had the bright idea to build on Manhatta, it has gotten out of control recently. The problems have escalated because the DoB has been letting developers get away with whatever they want. The honor system may work at Harvard, but I wouldn't have tried it in the NYC construction industry. Apparently it has taken this long for them to realize it too.

From The Gothamist:

The Department of Buildings has allowed architects and engineers to "self-certify" their plans and alterations, to help with getting the tens of thousands of buildings pending permits fast-tracked. But after recent outcry, the DOB has re-reviewed many plans, finding over 80% are "plagued with zoning violations."

According to the Post, the DOB usually "randomly reviews 20 percent of self-certified plans," but with the building boom (especially in Brooklyn), more funds were given to allow the DOB to audit plans. Six hundred sixty-two plans from September 17, 2007 through January 31, 2008 were looked at, and 556 earned "objections" from the Professional Certification Review and Audit Team."

State Assemblyman James Bennan said, "It's an open door for non-compliance with the Building Code and Zoning Resolution."

And now it is time to shut that door and keep it closed. While the DoB must shoulder the majority of the blame here, I can't but help to point the finger in Mayor Bloomberg's direction. Remember, he is the one who is responsible to fund city agencies. He is the one responsible for rewriting the zoning laws in the city that triggered this building boom. He is the one responsible for making sure that safety is of the utmost concern throughout the city and as we shamefully saw at the Trump SoHo, Turtle Bay site and others, that didn't happen.

Now as long as we do not forget the consequences of underfunding and safety standards that were thrown in the gutter, then perhaps we can start anew with smarter Administrators that will make sure that our priorities are kept in order.

VA Sec'y And Sen. Stevens Trashed The Troops Yesterday

Republicans love to claim they support the troops more than anyone else, but their enthusiasm to help our nation's bravest doesn't quite match up. One of the scions of Congressional pork and a senior-level Bushie made note of it yesterday on the best of days, Memorial Day. They tried to make the case that our troops really don't need educational assistance to better their future. See if you buy this:

From VetVoice:

Speaking at the Disabled American Veterans' 19th Annual Department Convention, Senator Stevens told the majority of America's most recent war veterans that they had not yet sacrificed enough to have earned a GI Bill that would cover the full cost of their educations.

Sen. Ted Stevens warned of a "mass exodus" from the military Saturday if the so-called 21st Century GI Bill goes into law without major changes.
"There are worries that people who are already in for two years will serve one more and leave, and there's really no incentive to stay," Stevens said.

What Stevens is really saying is that today's troops are unpatriotic--that they're only in it for the money and the college. And while Stevens' "mass exodus" theory has been thoroughly discredited by the Congressional Budget Office, the true irony of the situation lies in the fact that Stevens earned his own college degree after World War Two by using the same GI Bill he's aiming to prevent today's veterans from receiving.

In today's military lingo, this makes Senator Stevens a "Blue Falcon" or a "Bravo Foxtrot."

Hypocritical jackass can also apply here.

Yet VA Secretary Peake didn't want to be outdone. The press asked him how he could have ignored the story and tried to hide from the press that thousands of our current crop of veterans have committed suicide in the last five years. Do you think he was regretful? Ashamed of his actions or should I say, mis-actions?

On the topic of PTSD, Peake questioned if the condition is being overdiagnosed, considering the mental health services available to those in the armed forces.

"I worry about labeling all these kids coming back," he said. "Just because someone might need a little counseling when they get back, doesn't mean they need the PTSD label their whole lives."

Now that's a top-notch Administrator. If there's a problem and you don't know what to do about it, just avoid labeling the problem. The message is to go out and buy a giant broom and hope this will all fit under the rug. That is how Sec'y Peake and his higher-ups (i.e. the President) truly feel about our nation's veterans.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Liz Trotta "Jokes" About Obama Being Assassinated

This is the horrifying face of the American Right-Wing:

If you think something is wrong with wanting someone to shoot Barack Obama, sign the petition to get rid of this hateful, spiteful woman.

What Does Memorial Day Mean Anymore?

I don't know about you out there, but I've lost the meaning of Memorial Day. I know the basics, that it is a day to honor our armed forces and those that made the ultimate sacrifice in battle or more likely throughout history (particularly in the 19th and early 20th century) from the fact that they fought in harsh environs where disease took the lives of many. Yet for many years now, as long as I have been alive the day has meant a shorter work week, the "unofficial start of summer," a day to barbecue or to make a trip out of the long weekend. Somewhere in the background, there is the impetus to fly the American flag on the side of the house or apartment and the stores that have sales put patriotic decor on the things they sell.

Considering the war we are in now, and the fact that many people have no connection to it in their everyday lives, it is disheartening that there really isn't much done for our soldiers and our veterans. Sure, we all support them in spirit, even if we don't buy those yellow magnetic ribbons for our cars that are made in China. Those things aren't worth the chemicals they're printed with because they have no meaning to the men and women in uniform.

The one person that can help them the most prefers to help defense contractors and their lobbyists way before the private making a salary less worthy than the poverty line. An executive at Halliburton or a lobbyist for the Carlyle Group is far more likely to benefit the President and his friends than some grunt in the field risking his life everyday. So while George Bush makes a mockery of our soldiers, his true feelings are voiced in the legislation he is in favor of and that of which he goes against. He also promised they'd be greeted as liberators. Now look at how the locals think of us.

So as we barbecue, shop, relax or even visit the graves of our dead heroes as the soldier above did, take the time to remember how we have treated our soldiers through the actions of a President who clearly has no regard for them. Then take another moment to envision how we want our next President to honor them as well.