Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hillary Clinton Concedes And Endorses Our Nominee

Although she arrived late to her concession speech, supporters in attendance and Democrats everywhere were not disappointed by the Junior Senator from New York today. She ran a great race, trail-blazed for women in this country like no one has before and even though she ran the campaign with many questionable practices, she gave hope to millions that America can break through its misogyny and elect a woman to the highest office in the land just like the rest of the world. Unfortunately for her, this just wasn't the particular time for this particular candidate. Now, despite the bad blood between the two campaigns in the last few months, both Barack and Hillary can lead the way for the rest of us in the party.

From The Huffington Post:

Clinton backers described themselves as sad and resigned. "This is a somber day," said Jon Cardinal, one of the first in line. Cardinal said he planned, reluctantly, to support the Illinois senator in the general election. "It's going to be tough after being against Obama for so long," he said.

Aides said Clinton would be unequivocal in her praise for Obama, her rival in an epic, 50-state nominating contest pitting the first serious female candidate for president against the most viable black candidate.

"I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party's nominee and I intend to deliver on that promise," Clinton told supporters in an online message late this week.

She said her speech would focus on "how together we can rally the party" behind Obama as he prepares for the general election against Arizona Sen. John McCain. "The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise."

The two had a face-to-face meeting Thursday evening at the Washington home of a Senate colleague, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, where they discussed the campaign to come. They spoke alone for about an hour. Both were laughing when they finished.

Thank you Senator Clinton for your fantastic speech this afternoon and your new and continuing support for Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee. Nothing is more important than coming together as a party so that we beat John McCain this fall so that we can start to put the country back on the right track.

P.S.: I must say, this speech today was better than anything I could have imagined. Hillary Clinton is truly an incredible woman politician Senator American.

McCain Uses ABBA To Attract Clinton Supporters

This past Tuesday's speech didn't go over so well and probably turned back a large portion of the disaffected Clinton supporters to the Democratic side. So what is John McCain to do? Even if all the Republicans come out and vote for him (which isn't likely) he still won't have enough votes. Well it seems that he has enlisted the help of ABBA to do the job he clearly cannot.

From John McCain's blog:

(Warning: this is an actual ABBA music video)

DoB Senior Official And Crane Companies Found To Be Corrupt

The title may not be so shocking to many New Yorkers, considering all of the accidents that occur in construction. Speed has always concerned the industry more than the safety of the workers, although you would hope that the Department of Buildings would be on their side. Well guess again. James Delayo, a senior inspector making $74,000 a year has been padding his salary with bribes from the crane companies to help them skirt regulations.

From The Gothamist:

The Department of Buildings' acting Chief Inspector for Cranes and Derricks was arrested today. James Delayo was accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes from a crane company and falsifying reports. WNBC reports, "The city's Department of Investigation also says Delayo tampered with licensing exams by providing the answers for crane operator exams to a crane company for a fee."

Delayo's actions allegedly had nothing to do with last week's East 91st Street crane collapse or the March 15 crane collapse at East 51 Street. An official told City Room, "The long and short of it is that between 2002 and 2007 he accepted money — bribes for passing individual test-takers in order to get a crane operating license." Delayo, 60, earns a little over $74,000 annually. Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said:

"DOI's (Department of Investigation) investigation revealed the profoundly disturbing and sobering realization that a senior inspector responsible for ensuring that cranes operating in New York City are in proper condition and are operated by qualified individuals is charged with selling out his own integrity in a way that compromised public safety, leaving it in the hands of the individuals who paid him bribes, and rendered his inspectional job meaningless."

It seems that the entire Department is meaningless. Michael Bloomberg's outrage at this is also meaningless. His legacy for New York is an unprecendented building and development boom that prefers speed over safety without funding the Department of Buildings properly so that inspectors are plentiful, well-paid and looked after by well-trained hawks. Bloomberg can offer his stern warnings now, but where has he been in the last seven years?

Sec'y Chao: Lazy Young'ins Causing High Unemployment

Government officials say the darndest things and when you are a Cabinet Secretary in the Bush Administration, that goes double. Idiotic moron Secretary Elaine Chao told the press yesterday that the giant leap in unemployment numbers has nothing to do with Bush's failure of a Presidency, horrific foreign policy or environmental record. Instead, it's those damn kids fault.

From ThinkProgress:

According to new Department of Labor data released today, the U.S. unemployment rate rose from 5.0 to 5.5 percent in May, which was higher than the expected 0.1 percent jobless rate increase. It was also the largest jump in unemployment since 1986. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao put out a statement today, attempting to explain the jump. Her answer? Blame America’s youth:

Today’s increase in the unemployment rate reflects the fact that unusually large numbers of students and graduates are entering the labor market.

Chao is just trying to hide bad news. These unemployment numbers are not good, nor are they normal. As Center for American Progress Director of the American Worker Project David Madland told ThinkProgress, unemployment isn’t just for young people:

The unemployment rate for prime-working age adults – people from 25 to 54 – also increased in May, rising from 4.2 percent to 4.4 percent. In addition, the share of this age group that was employed fell slightly from 79.6 percent to 79.5 percent.

Similarly, Jared Bernstein at EPI noted that “even if we take teenagers out of the data, unemployment still rises from 4.5% to 4.8%, a considerable 0.3% increase, and well above the 4.0% adult rate of one year ago.”

Elaine Chao, like her boss is running out of excuses and this one is just pathetic. If she were more competent, both as a Cabinet member and a caring human being, creating a stronger labor force would have fought back against the demands of Corporate America to exploit as many workers as possible. Also, since this is Chao's Labor Department, who knows if the numbers in the study actually reflect the true scope of the problem?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Best Advertisement For War, Inc.

This is an army base in Iraq. Now look at the photo, beyond the soldier and below the American flag, can you tell what that flag is representing?

From Crooks and Liars:

I think the above picture says it all. Sgt. Brent Sammann took this from his overseas Army base, location not divulged, where he wrote in to congratulate Cusack and Co. about the movie. NOTICE THE KBR FLAG, just under the American flag. You gotta be kidding me. On an ARMY BASE? And a very humble thank you for your service, Brent. It took a lot of courage to do this, but hey, you’re a soldier. A very excited John Cusack emailed C&L from London yesterday to thank us bloggers and readers, for supporting War, Inc. in NY and LA. The ticket giveaway really helped. Apparently the movie is, so far, a phenomenal success that is shocking both the film’s distributor and the industry. The film had no real advertising, just bloggers and it ran all viral baby–and yet the per screen numbers of War, Inc. have consistently been close behind the two big budget blockbuster movies of the summer. The producers emailed me this info:

For instance, the per screen average of the new Indiana Jones movie, which also opened last weekend, was approximately $24K, War, Inc. was $18K and the next closest per screen average trailed behind at $7K. This weekend was the same with Sex and the City opening huge at around $18K, Indiana Jones at $11K and War Inc at $10K.

This is a film C&L has gotten solidly behind, as did with MoveOn, because it aims right at the core of the corruption in Cheney/Bush enterprises. Plus—it’s very funny, even though nothing can totally lift the spirits about the whole Iraq debacle. I’ve supported the movie because I thought it was important to talk about the Blackwater-type militias winning multi-million dollar contracts. As I said, the film industry is taking notice.

While the big-budget, large studio movies about the Iraq war all have tanked, John Cusack’s intensely personal film, “War, Inc.,” has survived bad reviews to find an audience in its very limited theatrical release.

Since “War, Inc.” opened May 23 in Los Angeles and New York on only two screens in each city, the film about the privatization of war has been briskly attended, prompting First Look Studios, a small independent company, to expand the movie’s release. It’s adding 10 theaters in both cities Friday, as well as opening the film June 13 in Chicago; Boston; Seattle; Austin, Texas; Berkeley and San Francisco. And it will open June 20 in Washington, D.C.

If you haven't seen this movie, go see it soon. Before you know it that will be our reality unless we wake up and do something about it.

K-Mart Caught Lying About Their Abstinence Pants

The PR folks over at K-Mart must not be very bright. They are currently dealing with flak caused by the retail giant selling pro-life anti-choice clothing to our nation's youth. To those that didn't do so well in their communication classes at K-Mart, you might want to read what the fore-mentioned product said on it before trying to respond.

From Feministing:

Via Consumerist, we find out that Kmart is claiming their True Love Waits sweatpants have absolutely nothing to do with abstinence.

A spokeswoman for Sears Holdings Corp., which owns Kmart, told The Buzz the pants have absolutely nothing to do with taking any kind of position, either way, on abstinence. "It was not associated with any group or any cause," said Amy Dimond. "It was just a graphic put on the pants."

Piper & Blue, Kmart's private label brand, designed the sweatpants as part of its summer collection that hit stores in late April.

Although the pants were not designed to make a statement, Dimond admitted that "there may be some (customers) who made the (abstinence association), but it was not the intention."

Oh, wow. How stupid of me! When I saw the description of the pants on Kmart (right after "drawstring waist) as having a "bold abstinence screen print," I must have been hallucinating. Oh wait, no. There it is.


Perhaps it was just intended until it was not intended? Intended for some but not for all? Does K-Mart think their shoppers are that stupid to believe their lies?

The answers to those questions are no, no and yes.

Scanning Your Body At An Airport Near You

Airport security in America is an interesting topic to be sure. Some don't mind being scanned, searched, poked and prodded. If they think it keeps them safe then more power to the ill-trained men and women with shirts that have "TSA" embroidered on them. Taking your shoes off is standard here, but laughed at in most of the world's airports. The thing is, most people just don't know if the TSA is doing a good job or merely acting like it. Well now they get a new piece of equipment to play with.

From USA Today:

BALTIMORE — Body-scanning machines that show images of people underneath their clothing are being installed in 10 of the nation's busiest airports in one of the biggest public uses of security devices that reveal intimate body parts.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently started using body scans on randomly chosen passengers in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Denver, Albuquerque and at New York's Kennedy airport.

Airports in Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas and Miami will be added this month. Reagan National Airport in Washington starts using a body scanner today. A total of 38 machines will be in use within weeks.

"It's the wave of the future," said James Schear, the TSA security director at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, where two body scanners are in use at one checkpoint.

Schear said the scanners could eventually replace metal detectors at the nation's 2,000 airport checkpoints and the pat-downs done on passengers who need extra screening. "We're just scratching the surface of what we can do with whole-body imaging," Schear said.

Security people love this because they can look more intimately at passengers and call it "more advanced." The reality is that the machines can be fooled by someone that would want to do harm, while for the most part all it does is strip (no pun intended) innocent people of their privacy, allowing TSA personnel (some of whom have questionable personal backgrounds) to see private parts of people (albeit in black and white imaging). Their spokesman says its no big deal and people don't mind, but that is to be expected from a biased source.

Green Screens For McCain Are Bad Across The Board

You just never know what may appear behind you:

George Bush Hits A New Low: Using Tortured U.S. Vets As Pawns

One thing that I know is a constant about George Bush is that he will always find a new low to sink to. The latest news is almost hard to fathom and as usual the traditional media outlets in the U.S. are not reporting it. Thankfully the International press is so that word can get out, outlets like the U.K. Independent do not care for simple soundbites. Oh, did you want to know what I'm making a ruckus about?

From The U.K. Independent:

The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, according to information leaked to The Independent.

US negotiators are using the existence of $20bn in outstanding court judgments against Iraq in the US, to pressure their Iraqi counterparts into accepting the terms of the military deal, details of which were reported for the first time in this newspaper yesterday.

Iraq's foreign reserves are currently protected by a presidential order giving them immunity from judicial attachment but the US side in the talks has suggested that if the UN mandate, under which the money is held, lapses and is not replaced by the new agreement, then Iraq's funds would lose this immunity.

That money is supposed to go to settle the claims of U.S. troops that were tortured under Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War. George Bush's Administration is threatening the Iraqis with this for one major reason, that is to be able to stay in Iraq indefinitely. This would keep feeding our Military-Industrial complex in an enormous way and falls right in line with Bush and his father lucrative relationship with the Carlyle Group (among others).

Sickening? Oh yes.

I only wish it were January 20, 2009 already so this nightmare would be over.

Ratner Manufactures Rally In Support Of His AY Failure

The Atlantic Yards Project envisioned by developer Bruce Ratner has fallen on hard times. With the lackluster support and energetic opposition, he has had to scale back his plans and hasn't done much except petition for more of Brooklyn's tax dollars to pay for the start-up costs. That is why he held a "Brooklyn Day" to conjure up community support of his massive plan to redevelop downtown Brooklyn. He even helped sponsor last weekend's "Jazz 'n' Roses" at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, perhaps to show that he cares about the borough or something like that. Yesterday's spectacle though, was a little more over the top than just sponsoring a nice event.

From The Atlantic Yards Report:

Despite decent weather, free t-shirts, a full-page ad in the Daily News, an E-newsletter, requests from union bosses to attend, and promises of free food, free transportation, and “international recording artist Maxi Priest,” the disparate and soon-diminished crowd was often subdued, even bored, and a passel of Forest City Ratner operatives monitoring the event looked somber, despite the billing as a “fun day.”

3500 attendees?

At the event’s peak, with union members streaming in from Downtown Brooklyn job sites, seniors and kids (who had a day off from school) bused in from throughout Brooklyn, and downtown office workers and Greenmarket visitors mingling during their lunch hour, there were probably more than 2000 people present. (Note that a similar event in 2004 drew 1500, according to the developer, though it's hard to tell from the photo if it was more crowded.)

WNYC and the New York Post suggested 3500 people were at the rally--that Forest City Ratner overestimate may apply to the number of people on the plaza, as I don’t disbelieve that 5000 sandwiches and 3000 t-shirts disappeared. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle estimated there were more than 1000 attendees (and noted that some seniors were just there for a day out), while the New York Observer counted “hundreds” and the New York Daily News cautiously stuck with “scores.” The Daily News, which has cheered for the project on its editorial page, bluntly stated in the lead that the rally was "paid for by the developer" and headlined the article Ratner cooks up rally for Brooklyn project. The New York Times, not surprisingly, ignored the event. The New York Sun wrote a tough preview piece.

Many attendees, however, didn’t stay for the speeches, and as the hour-long program of speakers proceeded, the crowd diminished, with fewer than 500 listening until 1:20 p.m., when the speeches ended and the music began. (The event was billed as from 11 am to 3 pm.) By comparison, at the counter-protest May 3, where AY supporters at least had visible antagonists in those calling for a “Time Out” rally, the energy was much greater. In this case, only a few project opponents were spotted in the audience, though Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein, in press coverage, called attention to the self-serving, even “desperate” nature of the rally. The Brooklyn Paper ran a scathing editorial questioning Forest City Ratner's correlation between "Brooklyn's renaissance" and the development of Atlantic Yards.

Check out the rest of their post for more details and lots of pictures.

On one hand, it is sad to see that quite a few local politicians are on board this sinking ship and that they have to try and engineer community support for something that clearly has next to nothing of the kind. On the other though, I'm glad to see these crooks going down in flames and on the defensive. For a while I was pessimistic about the fate of downtown Brooklyn and had almost given up on Ratner & Co.'s abuse of eminent domain to profit off of the borough. Gladly I can say I was wrong and hopefully all of this will be behind us soon enough.

Pop-Up Video: Now For John McCain

No, this isn't John McCain's music video. I wouldn't want to give anyone any nightmares (unless you click on the link above). This is much better, and it is already the third episode of taking John McCain's words and putting little bits of truth in a "pop-up."

McCain Gets "Mavericky" On The Fourth Amendment

John McCain talked on Tuesday about how he disagreed with the President to try and convince his critics that he won't be Bush's third term. He backed that up with dissing a Bush fundraiser for Congressional candidates (not money for him of course). Political theater aside, John McCain really is another George Bush. He wants to continue his tax cuts, his wars and now he wants to continue shredding the Constitution by making it a-ok to illegally wiretap American citizens without a warrant.

From The NY Times:

WASHINGTON — A top adviser to Senator John McCain says Mr. McCain believes that President Bush’s program of wiretapping without warrants was lawful, a position that appears to bring him into closer alignment with the sweeping theories of executive authority pushed by the Bush administration legal team.

In a letter posted online by National Review this week, the adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said Mr. McCain believed that the Constitution gave Mr. Bush the power to authorize the National Security Agency to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and e-mail without warrants, despite a 1978 federal statute that required court oversight of surveillance.

Mr. McCain believes that “neither the administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the A.C.L.U. and trial lawyers, understand were constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin wrote.

And if Mr. McCain is elected president, Mr. Holtz-Eakin added, he would do everything he could to prevent terrorist attacks, “including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.”

I guess in their minds, Article II trumps the Bill of Rights, especially the one that prohibits "unreasonable searches and seizures." Just like under George Bush, Article II trumps everything, including the checks and balances system set up to prevent the President from becoming too powerful. Our Congress has failed recently to rein in George Bush's abuses of the Constitution, but now it is the people's turn to ensure that another Bush-like Presidency with John McCain does not occur. This year the people want change and there is nothing to believe in when you have John McCain up in front of an audience....unless perhaps if they were a bunch of telecom executives.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

NY-13 Soap Opera Continues, Meet Powers, Jr.

If you would have told me a year ago that the Republican incumbent in Staten Island would get himself a DWI, confess to the press (and his wife and children) about his love child and mistress living outside of D.C. (blogger takes a deep breath), puts us on a roller coaster few weeks before ultimately deciding to bow out of his re-election race and watch the GOP fail miserably to farm a candidate to replace him, I'd have told you.....yeah, I can believe that.

Due to Fossella's departure, the Democratic Party has a primary between Steve Harrison and Michael McMahon. The Republicans were only able to muster up Frank Powers, a political nobody that has helped shutdown health care facilities on the Island. With all of those twists and turns, we have another one added to the mix today.

From The Staten Island Advance:

An already topsy-turvy political year grew even more so today when Francis M. Powers, the son of GOP designee Francis H. Powers, said he would seek the Libertarian Party line to run for the 13th Congressional District seat.

"This is not about my dad," said the younger Powers, 47, a master carpenter from Clifton who plays and sings with the Staten Island band Box of Crayons and runs an indie record label called Penny for the Guy Records. "I'm running against the Republican candidate."[...]

When asked about the timing of his entry into the race, Powers said, "Me being his son gives me a different platform than normal," a platform that Powers said he wouldn't have against another candidate. "We can't have the Republicans take this seat again," he added. "A vote for my father is a vote for the straight Republican ticket."

"I've tried very hard for many years to help my son," the elder Powers said in a statement released by his campaign.

Now that is some good ol' fatherly love. Nothing like bashing your kid running for Congress after he hits you with his announcement to run against him and split the conservative base. If that wasn't enough, the insurgent carpenter also managed to spit in the face of the voters who are going to have at least a little trouble deciding on which Powers to go with:

When asked about the head scratching that might cause voters, Powers said, "If people can't tell the difference between the Republican Party and the Libertarian Party, maybe they shouldn't be voting."

It may only be June, but I think it is time to stick a fork in the chances of both Powers, Senior and Junior. Of course, that won't stop the continued reporting from this "very interesting" race.


How Bad Was McCain's Speech On Tuesday?

The media couldn't quite get a handle on McCain's colossal failure of a speech Tuesday night. The Republican pundits couldn't even try to spin it favorably. It would have been better if he had stayed at home that night, of course I'd take that a step farther and stretch his barbecuing schedule through November. Sedona is much more peaceful than Washington anyways, right?

Barack Obama Is Committed To Reform

Not only does Barack Obama inspire people in a way not seen in decades, his ability to stay on message and his actions solidify the great things he says up on stage. Now that he is the nominee, he effectively becomes head of the party and in the same week he is starting to make big changes for the Democratic apparatus. For more than a year he has repeated that he will take no corporate or lobbyist money. Well now neither will the DNC.

From Politico:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is moving on two fronts to make transparency a linchpin of his campaign, opening his fundraisers to reporters and clamping down on the Democratic National Committee’s fundraising from Washington insiders.

The moves, announced on his second full day as the party’s de facto presidential nominee, are designed to drive a campaign message of change versus more of the same, aides said.

His likely opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), closes his fundraisers to the press.
Beginning last night, Obama will open all of his fundraisers to at least a pool reporter, who will share the information with the rest of the press corps.

Beginning Thursday, the DNC will no longer accept checks from federal lobbyists or political action committees, mirroring the strict standard Obama adopted for his presidential campaign.

Now that is change I can believe in. McCain is his usual secretive self, desperately masking who he really is and the policies and modus operandi that conflict with his "maverickness." Besides, it wouldn't do McCain much good to follow Obama on the openness factor because he survives on insiders. Obama on the other hand has the support of millions of donors and supporters that make his a true people-powered campaign.

New Twist In 91st Street Crane Collapse

When the first construction accidents occurred this year, the outcry was to have more inspectors working at the Department of Buildings so that there would be more oversight on the industry that seemed to put speed ahead of safety. Well the budget for the next year includes salary for a few dozen more, however there is another problem going on at DoB besides the amount of inspectors. Quality counts just as much.

From The Gothamist:

An insurance company executive, whose client owned the crane had once been repaired before collapsing on East 91st Street last Friday, said the Department of Buildings knew the crane's history. NationalBuilders Insurance Services executive vice president Kevin Cunningham said, "The DOB inspector certified that it was OK to go back to work."

While the insurance company says the 24-year-old tower crane's turntable crack was "minor," investigators suspect the re-welded crack might have given way and caused the collapse. The Department of Buildings told the Times it couldn't comment, because it didn't want to interfere with the investigation.

City officials, contractors, developers and others have been holding meetings to discuss construction and crane safety. The NY Times reported the city may consider to third-party crane inspecting, as there is in California. And the city just announced news safety measures, like construction workers will have to complete crane safety courses, restrictions on equipment (like not using the nylon strap in the March 15 crane collapse) and contractors receiving numbers to track safety.

The considerations taken under review by the city are important steps. It doesn't excuse the negligence beforehand but stopping any more unnecessary deaths is of the utmost concern. Of course contractors themselves need to be reigned in, it isn't like they build these vast structures in a vacuum. New York City is the most bustling city in this country and its residents, workers and tourists deserve piece of mind along with the workers that continuously build NYC up.

Lying Lou Dobbs

Oh Lou! Poor, poor, hate-filled Lou. Flag pins mean nothing to the hardships of the ordinary Americans you proclaim to care about. However if you do bring it up, try not to be dishonest about it.

Paterson Patronizes NY Reform Efforts

Wow, there's only nine more days left on the New York legislative calendar! It is already June....where'd the year go? Well, it was full of scandal, that's for sure...forget all the local NYC stuff, we had the Spitzer debacle, Diane Gordon's illegalities, trooper-gate and so on. So with all of this craziness, you'd think this might be a good year for campaign finance reform and opening up the business of Albany to those that send legislators up there. Wrong.

Of course David Paterson was supposed to champion our cause of reform. He was all for it as a State Senator. So what has he done? He issued a press release in lieu of reform groups showing up in Albany yesterday. If you were one that took the time to go up, down or across New York to work for a more open state government, how would you feel?

From The NY Times:

“These issues are not new to the governor; the role of governor may be, but he now needs to stand up and act like a governor,” said Dick Dadey, the executive director of Citizens Union, who lamented that the legislative session was coming to “an abysmal end” with “no real progress on reform.”

Blair Horner, the legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, said of the governor, “It’s his job to get things done.

“The people of New York don’t send elected officials to Albany to hang out. They send them here to solve problems.”

He added, “If this were a report card, the report card would be an F.”

The news conference comes as the governor continues to struggle to pull his administration together and form his own agenda, leaving the legislative session to wind down with what critics have said are precious few accomplishments.

The order for state agencies to observe gay marriages consummated in other statesm but beyond that I can;t think of much he has done in his first year. Sure, he's new to the Governor's Mansion, but certainly not to Albany. Shame on Paterson for not doing more to clean up a state government that is known for its corruption and cronyism.

McCain Uses And Abuses Katrina Victims

John McCain tried to use "change" in his speech Tuesday by saying that he'd bring the "right" change for America. Foolishly he forgets that while he can say one thing, then another and back to the original in a week or less, his record is set in stone. He chose New Orleans as the place to contrast himself to Barack Obama and he failed miserably. Not only was the presentation of his speech terrible, any promise of change was hollow. Anyone that sees a candidate going down to the Gulf Coast understands the significance of that place and what a tremendous disgrace our government was when tepidly responding to one of our worst natural disasters in the history of the country (though the levees failing wasn't quite all Mother Nature's fault). And as John McCain was a part of that government, how did he act in the following days, weeks and months?

From DailyKos:

Who can forget McCain's indifference to the disaster as it unfolded? Appearing on Face the Nation the day before Katrina struck, he said nothing about the looming emergency. Then McCain yucked it up with Bush in Arizona even while the Gulf Coast was getting lashed. When he did get around to commenting, three days later, his office issued a tepid press release.

For the next half year, as Jonathan Stein documented, McCain was either absent from or in active opposition to substantive efforts to aid Katrina victims.

Though McCain issued a statement the next week calling on Congress to make sacrifices in order to fund recovery efforts, he was quoted in The New Leader on September 1 cautioning against over-spending in support of Katrina's victims. "We also have to be concerned about future generations of Americans," he said. "We're going to end up with the highest deficit, probably, in the history of this country."

That attitude was borne out in McCain's actions and votes. Forty Senators and 100 members of Congress visited New Orleans before he did; he finally got there in March 2006.

During that period McCain wasn't just failing to show leadership on the issue. Along with most other Republicans, he dug his heels in against spending serious money to help Americans in desperate need (contrast that with his free-spending ways on Iraq). McCain voted against extending unemployment benefits to Katrina victims up to 52 weeks, and against extending Medicaid benefits up to five months. He even voted twice against establishing an independent commission to examine the governmental response to Katrina. In May of 2006, little over a month after visiting NOLA for the first time, McCain also voted against the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill that had $28 billion for hurricane relief.

From that point on McCain's record gets even shabbier, if that's possible.

Yep, it has gotten much worse, just as George Bush ignored it again after he ignored it when the tragedy unfolded. There is no change here, it is just more of the same in brand new gift-wrapping. Even if he had the ability to speak eloquently in Louisiana two nights ago, America would still hear the ticking time bomb inside the box John McCain was carrying. He can call it anything he wants, change, experience, leadership, a military record, whatever. What he'll do for the country is just a continuation of the last eight years.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Olbermann Strikes Back At Fox News

Go get em' K.O! Show the world Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch, Bill O'Reilly et. al for the scum that they truly are:

The Clinton Saga Ends Saturday

Finally, at long last the tumultuous journey that Hillary Clinton has been on will come to an end. It was a hard one to bring to a close but now we have confirmation she will endorse Senator Obama as the nominee this Saturday. Even last night as Obama crossed the threshold by earning enough delegates, Clinton gave a speech that touted her misleading popular vote count and single win of the night in South Dakota. Except for a few lines, there was no message of unity and certainly not one that addressed the reality of the race. Tonight that is thankfully changing.

From The NY Times:

Her decision came after a day of conversations with supporters on Capitol Hill about her future now that Mr. Obama had clinched the nomination. Mrs. Clinton had, in a speech after Tuesday night’s primaries, suggested that she wanted to wait before deciding about her future, but in conversations throughout the day on Wednesday, her aides said, she was urged to step aside.

“We pledged to support her to the end,” said Representative Charles B. Rangel, a New York Democrat who has been a patron of Mrs. Clinton since she first ran for the Senate. “Our problem is not being able to determine when the hell the end is.”

Mrs. Clinton’s decision came as some of her most prominent supporters — including former Vice President Walter F. Mondale — announced they were now backing Mr. Obama.

Most likely what happened today was a series of denials and refusals by influential Democrats on Capitol Hill that told her she had run out of gas. Some probably talked regretfully (like Rangel), others were pressing her to concede and the rest told her that the way she was going at a V.P. nod was absolutely insane. If she wanted that, Clinton should have met Obama privately. Of course that may have happened and after being denied, she went public...something that made the situation worse. Thankfully she realized tonight that she should stop digging and start helping the nominee. Time will only tell what her conduct will be from now until November, but it will definitely have a bearing on how her political future unfolds.

Obama Puts Lieberman In His Place!

Earlier today the nominee, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were both at AIPAC and I must say Senator Clinton did the right thing by speaking the truth about Senator Obama and how he will be as a President concerning Israel. His speech was convincing enough by itself. However, there was one turncoat afterwards that did not have very nice words for Obama. That's probably because he is supporting John McCain and goes by the name of Joe Lieberman. Usually I'd expect the Democrat to disregard Zell Miller reincarnate people like Joe but Obama thought otherwise.

From Talking Points Memo:

From Roll Call ...

Furthermore, during a Senate vote Wednesday, Obama dragged Lieberman by the hand to a far corner of the Senate chamber and engaged in what appeared to reporters in the gallery as an intense, three-minute conversation.

While it was unclear what the two were discussing, the body language suggested that Obama was trying to convince Lieberman of something and his stance appeared slightly intimidating.

Using forceful, but not angry, hand gestures, Obama literally backed up Lieberman against the wall, leaned in very close at times, and appeared to be trying to dominate the conversation, as the two talked over each other in a few instances.

Still, Obama and Lieberman seemed to be trying to keep the back-and-forth congenial as they both patted each other on the back during and after the exchange.

Afterwards, Obama smiled and pointed up at reporters peering over the edge of the press gallery for a better glimpse of their interaction.

Obama loyalists were quick to express their frustration with Lieberman's decision and warned that if he continues to take a lead role in attacking Obama it could complicate his professional relationship with the Caucus.

Now that's what I'm talking about. Joe Lieberman or any other Republican should be on notice next time they go after Barack Obama. That goes double for any Senator while Obama still works in the Chamber. Lieberman isn't going to be able to have things both ways anymore, that was made crystal clear today.

Forget The Mets Or Yankees, Thats A Great Hat Hillary!

And I hope to see it on her in the not-so-distant future because what she's doing now is completely unacceptable.

Bloomberg Thinking Of Term Limiting Term Limits

Perhaps with all of Michael Bloomberg's media experience and the last few years in the political realm, he is getting good at throwing curveballs out on a whole range of issues. His temper needs work, but when it comes to thinking about his stay in Gracie Mansion, this is the work of a pro (unfortunately so for New Yorkers that have lived under his reign for the last eight years).

From The Daily Gotham:

Oh boy.
As the end of his term nears, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his senior advisers have been exploring strategies that would allow him to remain in political life, including undertaking a campaign to overturn the city's term limits law or making a bid for governor, according to two people who have been briefed on the deliberations.

Mr. Bloomberg, as part of that effort, commissioned a poll recently to determine whether city voters would be open to lifting the term limits law, which forces him and other elected city officials from office after two four-year terms. The poll found that even as voters approved of his performance as mayor, they would strongly oppose any attempt to undo the limits. Voters were receptive to the idea of a Bloomberg candidacy for governor, however.

Either move by the mayor would dramatically shake up the political world in New York and beyond, given his national profile and previous pledge to try to shape the presidential campaign this fall, perhaps by establishing an independent political organization. [Emph. added]

Two things: first, you really have to wonder what the outcome would be if there were a statewide referendum on term limits. Such as, say, term limits applicable to the state legislature. The rock-solid support for such limits in the City most likely is not confined to the five boroughs. If two terms and eight years were good enough for George Washington, why aren't they sufficient for Sheldon Silver and Joe Bruno, in office for thirty-two years, or Joe Lentol, at thirty-six?

I don't even want to imagine an eternal back and forth between Silver and Bloomberg. That sounds like a nightmare and antithetical for reforming politics in New York. Bloomie may have his high hopes and ambitions, but no polling effort is going to give him everything he desires. Didn't he learn his lesson the first and second time around? New York City needs a progressive voice after too many years of a technocrat.

A Small But Sweet Victory For The Environment

Despite the crazies out there that still try to deny what is happening to our planet, most people can see what is going on and are starting (albeit slowly) to catch on that we all need to do something to stem the tide of climate change. Although we really need strong governmental and international action to make things happen on a large scale, the consumer can help out as well. With gas prices climbing at an exponential rate, people are doing that when it comes to what they drive. When they do that, we see things like this.

From ThinkProgress:

Today, General Motors announced that it will be closing four truck and SUV plants in North America and may discontinue its Hummer line, citing the slumping sales of large vehicles brought on by high oil prices. Sales of the Hummer were down 61 percent last month, and May was also the first month in which cars outsold the Ford F-series truck since 1992. In place of the Hummer, GM CEO Rick Wagoner announced that the GM board has approved production of a new small automobile and a new electric car. As CBS reported, Wagoner “said the change in the U.S. market to smaller vehicles likely is permanent.”

It is a shame that GM didn't catch on sooner, but marketing the "American Dream" of gas guzzling was supposedly the thing to do for far too long. American car makers have a long way to go in matching the demands of a market that doesn't want to buy too many $4 gallons of gas. Still, it is a promising start to see the icons of that sub-culture fall.

Obama V. McCain, It Isn't Even Close

Here is McCain's speech from last night and here are the reviews comparing that to this:

Hope and inspiration next to a lime green catastrophe.

Not. Even. Close.

The Machinery Went To Work In Queens Yesterday

While we were all watching the returns of South Dakota and Montana, the speeches of McCain (if you can call it that), Clinton and Obama and the announcement of the Democratic nominee...the machine in Queens quietly hummed. A little over 7,600 people showed up for the special election in the 30th Council District and they split their votes mostly even between the establishment candidates and the ex-Councilman that occupied the seat. Charles Ober, the man who was worked for and in the community, endorsed by the Times and the progressive community barely got ten percent of the vote.

From The Daily Politics:

With 100 percent of the vote in, it appears the Republicans have just barely managed to hold on to the 30th CD seat that used to belong to former Councilman Dennis Gallagher, maintaining their three-member conference.

The unofficial results, according to the city Board of Elections, are as follows:

Anthony Como: 2,352, 31.71 percent.

Elizabeth Crowley: 2,282, 30.77 percent.

Thomas Ognibene: 2,031, 27.38 percent.

Charles Ober: 752, 10.14

UPDATE: There are 196 valid absentee ballots so far, according to board spokeswoman Valerie Vasquez-Rivera, and they can be received by the board up until next Tuesday.

I doubt 196 ballots can turn it for Crowley and it certainly won't help Ober or Ognibene. The two top vote-getters were the people the local committees were pushing. So with the split on the left, Como barely got a victory and maintains the three seat hold that Republicans have in the Democratic-dominated Council.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

McCain Places Third In Montana

Nearly three months have passed since John McCain became the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party. You'd think it would be pretty easy for him to win the remaining primaries and caucuses after everyone else had dropped out. Blow out margins are what we expect, yet for the last few contests he could barely register 70-80% of Republicans that turned out. Now tonight, in the nation's last contest, McCain couldn't even win. He couldn't even place second.

How's that for a unified base? The Democratic Party will come together, the Republicans should have for their own sake months ago.

UPDATE: Alright, so the Republicans held their Montana race in February. Still, the fact remains that McCain is not able to keep his base together

McCain Speaks Of Change From New Orleans

Wow is he telling some doozies down south. Obama wants to take money from the troops (while McCain votes against giving them an education), that McCain is an agent of change, blah blah blah blah. Just remember as McCain picked New Orleans to talk from, where McCain was when Hurricane Katrina devastated the area.

And no matter what he says on the podium, the reality is in his voting record.

Hot Off The Presses, Obama's Speech Tonight in Minneapolis

The speech won't be given for another couple hours, but here it is in print (what, you expected him to wing this?):

Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said -- because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another -- a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign -- through the good days and the bad; from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls. And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for President.

At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she's a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she's a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

We've certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who's shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning -- even in the face of tough odds -- is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children's Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency -- an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time. There are Independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn't just about the party in charge of Washington, it's about the need to change Washington.Ê There are young people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.

All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren't the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn't do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- we cannot afford to keep doing what we've been doing. We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say -- let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.

In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine. My differences with him are not personal; they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign.

Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

It's not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush ninety-five percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

It's not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college -- policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.

And it's not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians -- a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn't making the American people any safer.

So I'll say this -- there are many words to describe John McCain's attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush's policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them.

Change is a foreign policy that doesn't begin and end with a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged. I won't stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what's not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years -- especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in - but start leaving we must. It's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It's time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home. It's time to refocus our efforts on al Qaeda's leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century -- terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That's what change is.

Change is realizing that meeting today's threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy -- tough, direct diplomacy where the President of the United States isn't afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for. We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy. That's what the American people want. That's what change is.

Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It's understanding that the struggles facing working families can't be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving a the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It's understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was President.

John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy -- cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota -- he'd understand the kind of change that people are looking for.

Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can't pay the medical bills for a sister who's ill, he'd understand that she can't afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and wealthy. She needs us to pass health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it. That's the change we need.

Maybe if he went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job but can't even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he'd understand that we can't afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators. That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future -- an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced. That's the change we need.

And maybe if he spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, he'd understand that we can't afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education; to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; to finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American. That's the change we need in America. That's why I'm running for President.

The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to. It is a debate the American people deserve. But what you don't deserve is another election that's governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon -- that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.

Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself. I've walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools. I've sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row. And I've worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.

In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.

So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.

So it was for the Greatest Generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny, and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.

So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom's cause.

So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that's better, and kinder, and more just.

And so it must be for us.

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment -- this was the time -- when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

I couldn't have said it better myself, perhaps thats why he's the nominee. Congratulations Senator Obama, now it is on to the White House and new hope and beginning for our country!

The Case Against Brian Foley...Or For Jimmy Dahroug

Note: I've volunteered for Jimmy Dahroug's campaign

On the state level here in New York, there is one large, unifying goal that the Democratic Party has. That would be winning back the majority in the State Senate and resting the power out of Joe Bruno's hands. There are many ways of going at this since we are two seats away right now. One excellent pick-up opportunity is out on Long Island in District 3. Craig Johnson turned nearby District 7 blue last year in a special election and is looking to easily hold onto the seat.

Now we must focus on races like SD-7 and to help progressive candidates like Jimmy Dahroug. Jimmy has widespread recognition since he has already challenged incumbent Caesar Trunzo without much support in the past. Unfortunately the powers that be in the party would rather go with someone more established in line with the establishment who happens to be Brian Foley. Right now Foley is the Town Supervisor out in Brookhaven and he now wants to run for Senate. Foley got himself in with the local party and he is flush with cash even before running. Some love Foley's jump in while still "liking" Jimmy Dahroug because Foley looks more "electable." Forget that for a second though, what does Brookhaven think about all of this?

From The Times Beacon Record:

Political pressures are mounting. Rival factions have gained the upper hand. Town operations are running with the silky smoothness of pebbles in a blender. Things are tough these days for Brookhaven's head honcho, and so what does Supervisor Brian Foley do? Announce a run for higher office, of course.

Foley, punching bag of the right and hardly the left's favorite son, can espouse all he wants about the "exciting opportunity" of gunning for Caesar Trunzo's state Senate seat. He can rattle off his credentials like ingredients in a half-baked pie, cook up sound bites about his county and municipal experiences and how they've prepared him for the challenges of Albany.

Hogwash. This attempted exit (stage left, of course) from Brookhaven politics is both hollow and shallow, as graceless and inglorious as the supervisor's rocky tenure.

It's hard not to see Foley's announcement as an unmitigated, tail-tucking retreat, coming as it did less than a day after his Town Board rivals plundered his office and sucked away his authority the way mosquitoes suck blood. Yes, board meetings happen when they happen and yes, Suffolk Democrats plan their nominating conventions eons in advance, but the symbolism is undeniable: Foley took a spanking, and the next day announced his desire to get out of Dodge.

The rest of the editorial doesn't give Foley much breathing room. They see this as his opportunity to get out of Brookhaven and onto Albany. Foley may be able to raise money (from prior races that is) but what kind of Senator would Long Island be sending upstate to represent them. Sure, he'd be better than Trunzo, but we should aspire for better leaders than those getting out of Dodge.

Fox Finally Admits Their Rovian Menace Advises McCain

The Faux News Network doesn't like to admit to its viewers about their fundamental truths. Reporting hogwash as fact has been their S.O.P. since they began. However once in a while the lone lefty Alan Colmes gets a few words in and yesterday he took the opportunity to expose the fact that Fox News "Contributor" Karl Rove advises the McCain camp.

Barack Obama Has Won The Democratic Primary

Even before 2pm EDT, the Democratic Party's race for the nomination is now over. Barack Obama has won the necessary amount of delegates to become the flag bearer going into the fall and towards the general election versus John McCain. Apparently the AP broke this story after the Clinton campaign denied their original story that Clinton was going to concede the race at her speech tonight at Baruch College here in New York City. Well it looks like the AP wasn't going to stand for that, and now we have this.

From the AP:

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama effectively clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, based on an Associated Press tally of convention delegates, becoming the first black candidate ever to lead his party into a fall campaign for the White House.

Campaigning on an insistent call for change, Obama outlasted former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in a historic race that sparked record turnout in primary after primary, yet exposed deep racial divisions within the party.

The AP tally was based on public commitments from delegates as well as more than a dozen private commitments. It also included a minimum number of delegates Obama was guaranteed even if he lost the final two primaries in South Dakota and Montana later in the day.

So although the official tally still has Obama with 30-40 delegates to go, the massive support from within the party already has him winning his race with Hillary Clinton. I admire her resoluteness, but the time to show her fighting spirit passed by a long time ago. Now it is time to back our nominee, Barack Obama.

The True Cost Of NYC Pensions

It is only the third day of June and the month could not keep New York clean of financial irregularities. We've had slush funds, Bear Mountain Compacts and Spitzer-mania already this year to name a few. Now we've got a low-balling actuary who has given favorable estimates to the unions at the expense of the city budget, to the tune of $500 million dollars.

From The NY Times:

ALBANY — An actuary paid by public employee unions and yet relied upon by the State Legislature to determine the cost of proposals affecting New York City’s pension system underestimated their ultimate cost by at least $500 million, city documents and other records show.

In the hundreds of bills for which he has provided estimates to lawmakers since 2000, the actuary, Jonathan Schwartz, said legislation adjusting the pensions of public employees would have no cost, or limited cost, to the city.

But just 11 of the more than 50 bills vetted by Mr. Schwartz that have become law since 2000 will result in the $500 million in eventual costs, or more than $60 million annually, according to projections provided by Robert C. North Jr., the independent actuary of the city pension system, and by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s office.

Mr. North and other city employees made the calculations on the 11 bills when they were before the Legislature, but for the other bills, no alternative to Mr. Schwartz’s projections could be found. The New York Times reported last month that in an arrangement that had not been publicly disclosed, Mr. Schwartz was being paid by labor unions. He acknowledged in an interview that he skewed his work to favor the public employees, calling his job “a step above voodoo.”

"A step above voodoo," thats classic. Well not really, it is more like the status quo in New York, no matter what level it is at. Seriously, will this type of crap ever end?

Politicians Can Keep Their Promises

Not just little promises, but big ones too, like promising to get out of Iraq. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made it happen for Australia and it can happen here too (just not this year):

Election Day In Queens Today

Most of the national media will be focused on South Dakota and Montana today, but here in the five boroughs, there is a special election in the 30th Council District (Ridgewood, Middle Village, Glendale) to replace the disgraced Dennis Gallagher who made a deal to resign so that he wouldn't have to face a full trial that included an alleged rape. Now that he's gone and whittled the Republican delegation in the 51 seat body down to two, Democrats are looking get that much closer to a one party Council.

From The NYT City Room:

Most of the Democratic establishment in the borough is supporting Elizabeth S. Crowley, a developer of educational programs for nonprofit agencies. Ms. Crowley ran for the Council seat in 2001 and lost to Mr. Gallagher.

She is a cousin of United States Representative Joseph Crowley, the Democratic Party chairman in Queens. She is also the daughter of Walter and Mary Crowley, each of whom once represented many of the same Queens neighborhoods in the City Council.

Meanwhile, the candidate who is also considered to be highly formidable is Thomas V. Ognibene, who was Mr. Gallagher’s predecessor in the Council, having served from 1992 until 2001, when he was barred by term limits from running for re-election. He was also the Republican leader of the Council.

Another candidate is Anthony Como, a former Queens assistant district attorney and commissioner of the New York City Board of Elections. He is also a longtime aide to State Senator Serphin R. Maltese, a Republican. Mr. Como has been endorsed by the Republican Party organization in Queens.

The fourth candidate is Charles J. Ober, a financial executive and community activist who has worked on neighborhood initiatives against prostitution and graffiti.

The NY Times and many community activists Charles Ober and for many good reasons. Not only does Ober challenge the establishment (something that is going on all over the place) but has proven himself in his neighborhood and will do a great job representing the 30th CD.

'Primary Contests Are Decided In June'

Some of them may be decided in June, but Barack Obama rested the lead from Hillary Clinton in February and he hasn't looked back. Hillary is a strong candidate and frankly that is mostly the reason she's still in this. Tenacious is definitely an adjective for her and her campaign. Today however, is the last day for primary contests in this two thousand aught eight season as Montana and South Dakota put the final 31 of 3,397 pledged delegates on the board. Obama has been leading in that count by over 100 delegates for the last few months.

Tonight when the polls are closed, nearly everyone is expecting Senator Clinton to bow out and endorse Barack Obama, though her staffers say it may come later in the week. Hopefully that statement will come with her speech here in New York. The sooner we all wrap ourselves together for the sake of unity and to fight John McCain and everything he stands for, the better off we are in November. It is time to put down the animosity and stop acting like this.

I know many Clinton supporters are angry about sexism and how it played out in the race. Of course it did and it is sickening to see. I'd love to personally kick Chris Matthews' ass and the rest of the misogynists in the press. They do journalism a disservice like no other. However, do not think that racism has not played a factor here as well.

Racism is an ugly specter in this country and has been for over three hundred years since the first laws were passed codifying chattel slavery in Virginia. I believe that it isn't as visible because for the most part, racism likes to hide itself underneath the facade of our nation. I have heard there could be a possible McCainocrat movement afoot and that Clinton supporters won't vote for Barack Obama because of his skin color. To all those that feel that way, I'd just like to yank your hood off and talk about how you really feel, so that we can begin to tear down that ugliness that is your ignorance.

Monday, June 02, 2008

McCain On The Issues: GLBT Style

The general election is still five months away, but many Americans do not know his positions on many issues other than that he is 'pro-maverick,' whatever that means. Thankfully we have groups like HRC to highlight just what he stands for:

Attention K-Mart Shoppers, Get Yer Pro-Lifer Gear Here

Big box stores scare me for many reasons, especially the devastating impact they have on family-run business when those megalith buildings are erected so that thousands can shop at one time. Besides the economic pitfalls, there are also the social ones, such as denying birth control and now we have a "pro-life" clothing line brought to you by K-Mart.

From Feministing:

Photobucket Aw, shit. Kmart is selling abstinence-gear for juniors.

Featuring what Kmart calls a "bold abstinence screen print," the True Love Waits sweatpants come in blue, yellow and gray. I also think it's no coincidence that on the same page they carry "Life is sweet" pants. I have no idea if the pants are in any way connected to the True Love Waits organization, but I'm disturbed nonetheless.

Thanks to reader WM for the link.

Yeah, this is definitely disturbing. I doubt we'll be seeing the opposite (its my body, my choice) line any time soon. The problem is that these corporate hogs are trying to impose their morality on the rest of us. Am I being a bit of a whiner on this issue? Perhaps if you look at it narrowly, but this is but one example of a larger picture that indicates corporate America taking a larger interest in our social moors than simply selling their wares (in a way that has been the slow death of small businesses in this country).

Hillary To Drop Out Tomorrow?

It hasn't happened yet, but behind-the-scenes sources say Hillary Clinton's speech tomorrow night in New York will be one that concedes the race to Barack Obama. While aides and surrogates of hers have been talking about fighting until the bitter (Democratic Convention) end, reality has a subtle way of creeping up on all of us, even those that fight against it with all their might.

From The Huffington Post:

Hillary Clinton has summoned top donors and backers to attend her New York speech tomorrow night in an unusual move that is being widely interpreted to mean she plans to suspend her campaign and endorse Barack Obama.

Obama and Clinton spoke Sunday night and agreed that their staffs should begin negotiations over post-primary activities, according to reliable sources. In addition to seeking Obama's help in raising money to pay off some $20 million-plus in debts, Clinton is known to want Obama to assist black officials who endorsed her and who are now taking constituent heat, including, in some cases, primary challenges from pro-Obama politicians.

"This has never happened before," one donor said, referring to the personalized request by email to attend the event in New York Tuesday night.

Hopefully those reliable sources are correct, because once every primary and caucus is over and done with, so should this race. The bitterness between Clinton and Obama must end and everyone dressed in blue (all colors welcomed of course) has to coalesce around the nominee. Tomorrow night Obama will further close in on the number of necessary delegates, if not sooner with the help of the remaining superdelegates.