Saturday, August 02, 2008

FCC Rules Against Comcast, Score One For Net Neutrality

After last month's depressing loss concerning FISA and the validity of the Fourth Amendment in our Constitution, it was nice to get some good news on the 'electronic rights' front. Yesterday, the Federal Communications Committee ruled not for the big corporation, but the average, everyday Internet user.

From C|Net News:

The Federal Communications Commission handed Comcast a cease-and-desist order and required the company to disclose to subscribers in the future how it plans to manage traffic. Comcast had said that its measures to slow BitTorrent transfers, which it voluntarily ended in March, were necessary to prevent its network from being overrun.

"We need to protect consumers' access, said FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican. "While Comcast has said it would stop the arbitrary blocking, consumers deserve to know that the commitment is backed up by legal enforcement."

The vote was not unexpected. Martin said recently that he planned to side with the commission's two Democrats on the request submitted in November by Free Press and its political allies, including some Yale, Harvard, and Stanford University law school faculty. That led to a backlash against Martin this week from economic conservatives, including the Bush administration and House Republican Leader John Boehner.

The party leaders within the GOP might have gotten upset with Martin for siding with those that challenge the dominance of corporate America, but there isn't much fear in their voice. Comcast will be appealing the decision and many doubt that the FCC has the strength to enforce their rulings. That could take an act of Congress to enable and Congress hasn't been ready to step up to the plate for the enforcers of Net Neutrality.

Perhaps with indicted Senator Ted "Internet Tubes" Stevens on his way out, we can make legislation come out of committee and onto the floor for a vote under President Obama, so the free-flow of information is not abated by a few internet providers such as Comcast.

McCain Could Lose Arizona

If the Grand Canyon State goes against their Senator in the Presidential election, you know Obama's win will be of landslide proportions.

Another McCain Lobbyist In The Crosshairs

John McCain, despite his feeble attempt at casting himself as a reformer and a maverick, continues to display the status quo in all of its glory. He hates earmarks at the podium, but having lobbyists on his staff that specialize in special favors is his true forté. The latest evidence of hypocrisy from the campaign comes in the form of John Green. Green is known for his efforts to tear down the embargo with Cuba, something his boss has tried to paint Barack Obama with.

From TPM:

Such conflicts between lobbyists on McCain's campaign staff and McCain's hard-line foreign policy positions have already created controversy and generated criticism for McCain. Campaign manager Rick Davis, for instance, made news and was criticized by Democrats for his lobbying on behalf of a Ukrainian businessman with deep commercial ties to Iran -- even though McCain has called for divestment against Iran.

McCain has argued in favor of keeping all sanctions against Cuba in place until they undertake various democratic reforms. What's more, he has aggressively attacked Obama for not taking as hard a line on Cuba. Obama argues in favor of easing travel restrictions with the country, something McCain says would "send the worst possible signal" to Cuba's leaders by unilaterally dropping travel restrictions.

McCain's employment of a lobbyist who pushed for the lifting of Cuba sanctions could also prove to be a controversial issue in the critical swing state of Florida, where many in the large Cuban exile community favor a hard line against Cuba.

McCain is having problems all across the map. Florida is just one state Bush won that is in jeopardy of going to Obama a little over three months from now. Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, even the Dakotas, Montana and various other southern states besides Florida are now in play.

Oh and by the way, in case you were wondering why Green was lobbying against the stated position of McCain's regarding is because Green's client is an European giant in the alcohol business and the "Havana Club" rum brand is just that important. I wonder how his wife feels about all of that, coming from the domestic booze business herself.

Friday, August 01, 2008

WalMart: I'm Not Telling You How To Vote, But....

From their policies and executives, it isn't hard to tell how the upper echelons of the largest U.S. employer feels about partisan politics in our country. WalMart has nearly 90% of their employees in poverty and for the bottom-line, that is good for business. However, this year WalMart and their Republican friends see change on the horizon and they loathe it. So what do you think management will do about it?

From The Wall Street Journal:

In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.

According to about a dozen Wal-Mart employees who attended such meetings in seven states, Wal-Mart executives claim that employees at unionized stores would have to pay hefty union dues while getting nothing in return, and may have to go on strike without compensation. Also, unionization could mean fewer jobs as labor costs rise.[...]

The Wal-Mart human-resources managers who run the meetings don't specifically tell attendees how to vote in November's election, but make it clear that voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in, according to Wal-Mart employees who attended gatherings in Maryland, Missouri and other states.

"The meeting leader said, 'I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won't have a vote on whether you want a union,'" said a Wal-Mart customer-service supervisor from Missouri. "I am not a stupid person. They were telling me how to vote," she said.

WalMart will go to any lengths to keep their workers down, especially here in the United States. Thanks to stronger governments in Europe and even China, workers in those countries are protected from the abuses that U.S. employees are subjected to. WalMart, being the evil corporate behemoth that they are, left Germany two years ago because their unethical practices were not tolerated.

Now here at home, people are fed up with the status quo and with how WalMart and others like them treat workers. The Bush Administration has helped companies fight unions off while managers use fear tactics straight out of the old Gilded Age handbook on union-busting (save for the Pinkertons). Wealthy Wal-Mart executives do not want an environment where unions can thrive again and empowered workers demand better wages and rights. That is why they are trying to force the Republican brand down the throats of their lower-level managers. Well try as they might, the word about them is getting out and things will change as more and more Americans wake-up to the realities of WalMart.

The Commander In Chief Test

McCain doesn't think Obama is up to the task to be Commander-in-Chief....but really, the question should be presented to him as well:

An Anniversary Republicans Wish Not To Remember

In a little over a month from now, thousands of Republicans will gather in the beautiful city of Minneapolis-St. Paul. From the party faithful to the party elite to the wealthy backers, hob nobbing, networking and more mundane issues like party platform will be hammered out (still important though). They'll all have a great time and cheer themselves on, but one thing that would be surprising if mentioned would be the tragic anniversary that the city of Minneapolis is remembering today.

From The Politico:

It’s a year today since the Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed 13 people, but don’t expect Gov. Tim Pawlenty to showcase the reconstruction.

Indeed, with the Republican National Convention in St. Paul just a month away and Pawlenty reported to be high on John McCain’s running mate list, Republicans want to drive attention away from the infrastructure disaster that spotlighted the nation’s crumbling bridges and from the criticism the governor faced for what some critics said was a slow response.

The governor’s staff reports there are no plans to hold any events near the site of the bridge collapse, about 10 miles from the convention hall. And GOP convention planners have organized hundreds of buses to ease the congestion expected when some 45,000 conventioneers, guests and media commute to the hall.

Pawlenty claims the two aren't related, but to callously dismiss the connection is telling of a party that cares more about itself and less about the health of our nation. In fact, it goes straight to the core of why the Republican party needs to be walloped in this year's election. See, maintaining infrastructure takes money and a competent government that will fix and repair old bridges. Like one speaker or at least prominent attendee at the upcoming RNC once said, “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

Dead governments can't fix our infrastructure....and don't think that privatizing every road, bridge and tunnel will do the trick either.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

McCain Says Anything To Big Oil For Big Contributions

Despite the McCain's desperate attempts to still have their candidate labeled as a maverick, more and more people (including some in the press) are realizing that the Straight Talk Express had derailed a long time ago. One item he was adored for previously was his tough talk against special interests and for campaign finance reform. Now, in regards to the oil industry, he'll do and say anything to get the big petro-contributions....and boy are they coming in.

From ThinkProgress:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has made his complete reversal on offshore drilling a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, insisting that expanding offshore drilling into protected areas would lead to more oil supply on the market “within a matter of months” — regardless of the Energy Information Agency’s projection that oil would not reach the market for nearly a decade and “would not have a significant impact” on oil prices.

Though more drilling won’t help Americans save money at the gas pump, it has certainly helped McCain win massive campaign donations from Big Oil. A new report by Campaign Money Watch shows that contributions to McCain from Big Oil skyrocketed directly following his June speech in Houston, when he pledged his support of offshore drilling before an audience oil executives. The report notes:

In Texas alone, June oil and gas-connected donations to McCain’s Victory ’08 Fund, his hybrid fundraising venture with the RNC and state committees, reached $1,214,100.

Of that total, $881,450, or 73 percent, came after June 15. McCain announced his position in favor of offshore drilling on June 16.

Now that my friends, is the way old Washington works. With record profits being recorded by ExxonMobil, Chevron and others, a few hundred thousand in "investments" is nothing compared to the ridiculous profits they are and will continue to make as long as George Bush's third term commences under John McCain.

Maddow Smacks Down Buchanan

Last night as they talked about the candidates, negative ads and hubris vs. humility, Rachel Maddow made mince meat of Pat Buchanan:

Judge Bates Reminds White House No One Is Above The Law

Since they walked into the White House, George Bush and his minions believed that they were above the law. This was proven time and time again when they broke the law and when called on it by the blogosphere (and rarely by the timid traditional media) they hid behind a veil of secrecy. When Congress changed hands and gave the Democratic Party some power to hold hearings and deliver subpoenas, they claimed executive privilege. Well after what seems like months and months of delays, a federal judge known for his executive branch bias has reminded the White House that no one is above the law.


In his ruling, U.S. District Judge John Bates said there’s no legal basis for Bush’s argument and that his former legal counsel, Harriet Miers, must appear before Congress. If she wants to refuse to testify, he said, she must do so in person. The committee also has sought to force testimony from White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten.

“Harriet Miers is not immune from compelled congressional process; she is legally required to testify pursuant to a duly issued congressional subpoena,” Bates wrote. He said that both Bolten and Miers must give Congress all non-privileged documents related to the firings.

The ruling is a blow to the Bush administration’s efforts to bolster the power of the executive branch at the expense of the legislative branch. The Bush administration argued it was immune from such subpoenas, arguing that Congress can't force them to testify or turn over documents.

Contrary to the wishes of the President and those beneath him that carried out crimes against the people of the United States and in particular several U.S. Attorneys (for this specific matter, the scandal is but one symptom of a devastating disease ravaging our Constitution). Judge Bates realizes that in our democracy, Congress has the power to check the Executive branch in order to give balance to our system of government. You know, the stuff written into the Constitution.

Of course now the White House will come up with another tactic to delay, most likely in the form of an appeal. That is why the Congress must find its spine and act now to circumvent their skirting of the justice system. Pelosi claims that they'll act, but only the people can pressure her and the caucus she leads into choosing real action over blustering and issuing sternly worded statements with nothing behind them.

ExxonMobil Continues To Clean House

The majority of Americans are struggling at the pump and consequently in all other places that deal with their bank account (food, health care, utilities, etc). With record prices for oil and the popularly refined product known as gasoline, people are being tapped out more than ever to get from point A to point B. So where is all that money going?

From RawStory:

HOUSTON - Exxon Mobil reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results fell well short of Wall Street expectations and shares fell in premarket trading.

The world's largest publicly traded oil company said its net income for the April-June period came to $2.22 a share, up from $10.26 billion, or $1.83 a share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 40 percent to $138.1 billion from $98.4 billion in the year-earlier quarter.

Nearly twelve billion in profit....that is approximately a billion dollars a week....for one single oil company (granted it is the largest, but still). How we do not have a windfall profits tax on these greedy bastards is incredible. People are suffering across the country because of the high cost of oil and only a select few are making money off of it.

Bush would never sign anything to help anyone but his base, but Congress must get a bill ready for President Obama to sign in January so that we can start to fix this problem by reining in the oil companies and starting to make a meaningful investment in alternative energy.

McCain's On The Lowest Of Low Roads

Obama's latest ad counters the lies and smears that John McCain has been spreading recently. Now that we all know he is a liar, the next ad should get back to business and bring the fight to John himself.

Nearly Seven Years Later FDNY And NYPD Can Communicate

Nearly seven years ago, our city experienced one of the worst national tragedies our country has ever witnessed. Thousands died in the attacks on the World Trade Center and that included hundreds of firemen, but not from the police department. That occurred because while the NYPD could hear on their radios to get out, the firefighters didn't get the message because their radios weren't able to pick up the same frequencies. Not long after that terrible day, we as a city realized that Giuliani had a chance to fix the radios several years earlier but he did nothing. And now, in 2008, it seems to have taken several years afterwards to fix the error.

From The NY Times:

Emergency medical workers can now contact the police directly via radio. Fire officials use information beamed down from police helicopters. Law enforcement officers and emergency service agencies hold joint drills at high-rise buildings, jails and the city’s tunnels.

Seven years after the harsh lessons of the Sept. 11 attacks, New York City has improved the ability of its Police and Fire Departments to operate together.

On Wednesday, these and other advances were enumerated before the Federal Communications Commission at a public hearing in Brooklyn on improving public safety through better communications among government and emergency agencies.

I am glad to hear that things are working the way they should have nearly fifteen years ago. Though we needed this technology to be in working order as soon as people understood just how much New York is a target for attacks, namely after the 1993 WTC bombing. Yet Giuliani was negligent with the radio problem....and it took nearly the entire term of the Bloomberg Administration too.

Now Out Of The Senate, Lott Is Still A Scumbag

Trent Lott was a real piece of work when he served in the United States Senate and he hasn't parted with his corrupt ways since he left a few months ago. Lott quit the Senate to take a cushy lobbyist job, leaving the State of Mississippi in a tangle (partly due to the Governor) over a special election.

Now three years ago, I remember that George Bush was deeply saddened by the tragic loss of human life and much of New Orleans fact Trent lost his home due to Hurricane Katrina (now thats what I call elitist!). So you'd think that with the Hurricane having personally affected him, he'd take the experience to heart....but then again, he'd have to have one pumping with warm blood to feel empathy for people...and that includes knowing what ethics are.

From ThinkProgress:

Former Mississippi senator Trent Lott, who left Congress last year to become a lobbyist, is alleged to have “urged witnesses to give false information in a Hurricane Katrina lawsuit.” In a sworn deposition last week, an attorney for State Farm Fire & Casualty Cos. asked Lott’s nephew, Zach Scruggs, who had represented the former senator after his house was destroyed by Katrina, if it had been his “custom and habit in prosecuting litigation to have Senator Lott contact and encourage witnesses to give false information?” “I invoke my Fifth Amendment rights in response to that question,” replied Scruggs.

Isn't it funny how these Republicans love to cling to the Bill of Rights when it suits them? Fourth amendment for regular folks, eh, whatever. Fifth amendment to save their own hides, sign me up!

Congresswoman Maloney On The Colbert Report

Stephen Colbert's "Better Know A District" didn't have to travel far for this week's segment. Crosstown from the Colbert studio is the 'fightin 14th' and is represented by my very own Congresswoman. Stephen's shtick is to embarrass the interviewee, but even with his pumping, Carolyn stayed cool (unlike me who couldn't stop laughing):

Bush Professes His Love Of Women By Paying Them Less

Our President may want gynecologist to express their love for women, but when it comes to their paychecks it is a different story. The Paycheck Fairness Act is making its way to the President, but he is showing signs of pulling out his veto crayon and marking all over it. As usual, the White House makes whine out of the upcoming legislation.

From ThinkProgress:

This week, the House is expected to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor for a vote, legislation that would help close the wage gap between working men and women and “close loopholes that have allowed employers to avoid responsibility” for discriminatory pay. In an official statement, the White House said it would veto the bill:

The bill would unjustifiably amend the Equal Pay Act (EPA) to allow for, among other things, unlimited compensatory and punitive damages, even when a disparity in pay was unintentional. It also would encourage discrimination claims to be made based on factors unrelated to actual pay discrimination by allowing pay comparisons between potentially different labor markets. In addition, it would require the Department of Labor (DOL) to replace its successful approach to detecting pay discrimination with a failed methodology that was abandoned because it had a 93 percent false positive rate. Thus, if H.R. 1338 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

Wow, what an utter piece of garbage. Does the White House really think anyone is going to believe these excuses? With the pay gap virtually unchanged in thirty years, how successful is the Department of Labor with their approach at detecting pay discrimination? That 93% sounds like their failure rate to protect women, but then again, that number is probably too low.

Cops Assaulting Innocent Cyclists Isn't New

Finally, after months years of the press not covering the brutality of the NYPD in regards to the Critical Mass Bikerides, they decided to put it on their television screens and newspapers for more than five seconds. The video from last week showed the cop in question to be lying about his interaction with one bike rider and thankfully had him fired. Though sadly, for many New Yorkers this is the first time anyone's heard about what goes on. That is why right now, we must speak up on the pattern of abuse, not just the one incident.

From The Gothamist:

Environmental group Times Up! is taking advantage of all the publicity generated by the video of a cop shoving a cyclist off his bike by reminding everyone that this is hardly the first such incident, nor the only one caught on video. The group points out that in 2007 one Richard Vazquez was taken down by a cop in Times Square during a Critical Mass ride, and in 2006 Adrienne Wheeler, a Critical Mass legal observer, was pulled off her bike by then-NYPD-Assistant-Chief Bruce Smolka, who's since retired. (The city settled with Wheeler for $37,000.) In a statement, Times Up! asserts that, “Unfortunately the July 25, 2008 incident is part of a pattern of targeting Critical Mass bike riders.” What's also unfortunate is that the production values on these old videos fail to live up to the new gold standard for police brutality porn.

What needs to happen in order to prevent another senseless beating is something that defies the status quo. Instead of simply dismissing the one bad cop, there should be a formal inquiry into the NYPD and their systemic problems with people who want to ride their bikes together. All these citizens are doing is to promote bicycle riding as a means of transportation, not to irk the police. Perhaps some sort of training is required to inform those ignoramuses that yes, riding a bike is perfectly legal and not an excuse to exercise some sort of internal rage.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Special Day For Ted Stevens

Kate Klonick of TPMtv explains why July 30th is such a memorable day or the Senator from Alaska:

Republicans Block Bill To Help Paralyzed Americans

Actually that bill, dubbed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Act is one of many items that were initially passed by Congress but because of an arcane Senate rule, one Republican has held up with the support of 41 of his colleagues on the right today. Majority Leader Harry Reid had designed a bill to get all of Coburn's blocked legislation through, but those compassionate conservatives in the Senate thought otherwise. Obviously it is better to play partisan games than to pass bills to help people.

From RawStory:

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Act, named for the actor who was made famous by his portrayal of superman and later became a champion of the disabled, along with his late wife (pictured at right), is part of a broad package created by Democrats which lumps together 36 bills.

It would have allocated $25 million for research on spinal cord injuries, rehabilitation and measures to improve the quality of life for paralyzed Americans. The effort is backed by the Paralyzed Veterans of America, which claims 19,000 members. Some 200,000 Americans suffer spinal cord-related injuries.[...]

The Democrats' package bundled numerous uncontroversial proposals in an attempt to overcome procedural hurdles Coburn has imposed. Dr. Coburn is famous for his efforts to moonlight as a physician while serving in Congress, and was blocked by the Senate when he attempted to continue delivering babies while in office. He's also known for his annual screening of films warning congressional staffers of venereal disease.

So everyone, you can thank elected officials such as Tom Coburn and a majority of the Republican caucus for blocking no-brainer legislation like what you see above. Their leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky counters by saying that Senate Democrats merely want avoid legislation that deals with gas prices. What McConnell fails to note however, is that this bill would only take a small amount of time to get those programs passed and that "dealing with high gas prices" is merely a trick to give more leases to energy companies. Now once this bill gets through, then we can get down to energy legislation that involves alternative sources and not just giveaways to the oil industry.

Inflatable Rat Follows Lieberman To RNC

Not that Joe Lieberman needs a thirty foot tall inflatable animal to remind him of who he is, but it certainly is comical that there are enough passionate activists out there to do it anyways. The increasingly hawkish Senator Lieberman turned his back on his party and now he's practically a Republican. So what better animal is there to represent him than a big nasty rat.

From The Stamford Advocate:

If Lieberman's detractors get their way, their prop would be a 30-foot inflatable rat, the kind unions typically use when construction workers cross picket lines.

"The 30-foot rat is a big rat. A 12-foot rat you can kind of put in the back of a pickup truck A 30-foot rat you have to put on the back of a flatbed," said Ed Anderson, a New Haven Democrat who helped start the Web site

A spokeswoman for Lieberman, who has broken party ranks to endorse McCain, said the self-described independent Democrat hasn't been invited to the GOP convention.

"At this time, there are no plans (to attend)," said Erika Masonhall, Lieberman's press secretary.

Lieberman outraged many Nutmeg State Democrats when he came out in support of his longtime friend McCain for president. To many of them, the move was the latest insult to the party by the man they call a "Democrat in name only."

Lieberman isn't even a DINO, he's lower than that, and thanks to the Democratic voters in Connecticut, he's officially an "independent" politician that had to form a party just for him. It would make a great photo-op to see the inflatable rat next to the real-life version but he doesn't have to show up to the convention in Minneapolis, his support for McCain, the war in Iraq and war in general is plenty for our party.

Even Club For Growth Is Getting Tired Of McCain's Antics

No matter where you are on the political spectrum, one quality that is good to see in a candidate is to know where they stand on an issue. So times must be rough for the McCain campaign if conservative groups like Club for Growth is getting worried about their prospects.

Brownback Outraged By Chinese Domestic Spying; Here At Home, Eh, Not So Much

Senator Sam Brownback was livid about the Chinese government's plans to spy on people at Beijing hotels during the Olympics. I have to agree with him, spying on people (specifically here their internet use) is terrible and should be stopped. The freer information is, the better. Though I have to wonder where his soapbox on this was when FISA was being voted on. Since the Republicans voted in lockstep to let the President spy on Americans, his name is in there to allow for the same thing right here at home. So what's going on here?

From ThinkProgress:

This morning on CNN, asked by host John Roberts if China’s action amounts to “spying,” Brownback continued his outrage:

BROWNBACK: This is the public security bureau in China requiring the installation of hardware that they can listen to anybody and everybody’s and their communications and their recordings that are sent over the internet in a real-time purpose or over long-term. That’s spying, John. […] Your internet communications can all be monitored in a real time basis by the public security bureau of the Chinese government. I think they’re clearly intent upon spying. they’re going to be spying.

Brownback also recently voted for the FISA reform legislation which gave the government greater powers “to tap directly into the U.S. telecommunications systems in order to monitor international emails and telephone calls with no individual warrant required.”

When asked about the difference between the Chinese and American spying practices, Brownback said, “We don’t put the hardware and software on hotels.” He added that the Chinese program can be used “on journalists,” “on athletes,” “on their families,” “democracy advocates,” and “human rights advocates ” — seemingly oblivious that all these groups could be spied on here as well. (HT: Atrios)

So is he dumb or just outright lying to all of us? Although Sam made some comments to the contrary of what George W. wanted to hear from his brethren in Congress, he still voted for FISA and is for what companies like AT&T and Verizon want to hear. Giving them more power and free reign is the wrong recipe for all of us, especially now that they know they can get away with helping an executive break the law as long as it's for "national security."

House Cmte Votes For Rove To Be In Contempt, Now What?

First of all I'd like to congratulate the House Judiciary Committee on showing the tiniest hint of a spine by holding Karl Rove in contempt of Congress. He feels that since he worked for George Bush, that magically puts him above the law. Well the framers of our country and our Constitution felt differently, and so should all of us. So procedurally speaking, Chairman Conyers did his job by moving this along to the full House.

From Bloomberg:

The House Judiciary Committee's 20-14 vote along party lines escalated the dispute between the Bush administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress over lawmakers' demand for testimony by presidential aides.

President George W. Bush has invoked executive privilege to bar his aides from testifying under oath in Congress about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys. The president also barred Rove's testimony on the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

The panel has asked a federal judge to order Bush's chief of staff, Joshua Bolten to turn over documents about the firings and to direct former White House counsel Harriet Miers to testify about the dismissals.

So now that John Conyers had his committee vote for contempt, it is up to the full Congress to vote on it. Say they hold him in contempt in a week or two from now. When Rove sticks his middle finger at that, will Congress go all the way and put him in jail? More than a hundred-thousand have already signed the pledge (including myself) for them to do so. This is really simple, Karl Rove broke the law for political reasons, going as far as having a governor put in jail for purely vindicative reasons. Now that we found out what he was up to, it is time to have justice give him the swift kick in the ass that he justly deserves. Any other conclusion is completely unacceptable.

Obama Knows Main Street Comes Before Wall Street

Barack Obama was in Springfield, Missouri today and he talked about the economy, as everyone is feeling the economic pressures build by the day. Instead of listening to the special interests like McCain does, Obama shows there is another, better way:

Pundits Say The Darndest Things

Yesterday Ted Stevens was indicted by a federal grand jury for making false statements concerning the bribes and/or gifts he received from certain Alaskan companies. It is one more mark to add to the litany of criminal and moral offenses the GOP brand is about when it comes to the stewardship of our government. Yet for one pundit (and I presume many more on the right) it could be an opportunity for John McCain.

From Politico:

Ted Stevens, the long-serving senator from Alaska and former chairman of the powerful Appropriatons Committee, is to be indicted today on seven criminal counts. No word yet from McCain or the campaign, but I'd be shocked if they didn't at least subtly remind voters about the clashes between the two senators over the years. McCain often likes to brag that Stevens had once deemed him, "The Sheriff," for his crusading ways.

John Cole tags this one under General Stupidity, I couldn't agree more. Of course, if John McCain wants to talk about Senator Stevens' indictment, then by all means, go for it!

Harrison/McMahon Versus Somebody

The NY Times did a write-up this week on the differences between the two Democratic candidates running for Congress in Staten Island (with a sliver of Brooklyn too). As anyone can easily see, there are plenty of contrasts between the grassroots-energized Harrison and 'moderate' Councilman McMahon. Steve Harrison has worn out multiple pairs of shoes walking the district while Michael McMahon got the full backing of the Democratic establishment once Vito self-destructed.

Here are just a few differences:

Political labels aside, there are stark differences between the two. Mr. Harrison opposes capital punishment, while Mr. McMahon supports it. The councilman favors nearly all means of addressing the nation’s energy problems, including offshore drilling, something Mr. Harrison opposes. Mr. McMahon supported Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s ultimately unsuccessful congestion pricing plan, while Mr. Harrison opposed it.

On the Iraq war, Mr. Harrison has demanded an immediate withdrawal of American troops, while Mr. McMahon said he supported “a responsible redeployment of our troops in Iraq.”

New York's top Democrats have made life very hard for the progressive Harrison and with all that money, the race for the nomination this year is much tougher. As a liberal, I'd love to see Steve win this, despite the long odds. McMahon reminds me of the DLC Republican-lite crap that has been a losing proposition for too many Democrats over the years. People want to see a candidate with principles and a backbone and frankly, the Councilman looks like he is just playing politics and not standing up for what is right.

Of course, come November when either Harrison or McMahon is up against what's their faces, ultimately there will be one more member in the Democratic caucus, c/o Staten Island.

Super McCain Bros.

Remember when the original Nintendo came out twenty-some years ago? Personally, I loved playing Super Mario Bros as a kid, though I think my memories about it are fading, because something looks odd in this video:

Ah, the Colbert Report....inspiring such creativity across the nation!

Paterson Addresses State On Money Woes

Governor Paterson took the extraordinary step yesterday of going on television to (dramatically) make the case for something to be done about a budget deficit in our state that seems to grow by the second. As revenues fall in our tightening economy yet fuel costs (and anything connected to oil in our petro-world) rise, the budget deficit has ballooned nearly $1.4 billion dollars since the budget passed this year. Now Paterson wants the legislature to get an early start on next year....starting next month.

From The Times-Union:

Paterson was short on specifics, mentioning his plan for a cap on school taxes as well as a boost for home heating aid. He did not say he would try to convince lawmakers to make cuts or slow the growth in Medicaid and school aid, which together make up a substantial portion of the $121.6 billion state budget in most years, and which have grown recently.

He talked about reducing the state work force, as well as what he termed "private/public" partnerships, which could include the sale or lease of excess land and other assets.

Another possibility was an income tax hike for those earning more than $1 million annually, a move Assembly Democrats and unions have been calling for.

Paterson's budget experts planned to offer more specifics at a briefing this morning in New York City.

Two longtime observers said they were heartened that Paterson was starting budget talks early, in stark contrast to a long-standing tradition of lawmakers, after the November elections, professing shock at the deterioration in the state budget.

This is definitely something different and the times do call for something along those lines. There will most certainly be a lot of fighting amongst all the groups in the state over who loses and who loses big. My hope is that those on the bottom rungs amongst us lose least, because they are already on the brink in these economically perilous times. Reviving talk about the millionaire's tax is heartening, because frankly, having one less yacht versus one less meal on the table really shouldn't be up for debate in the first place.

Alaskan Catch Du Jour: Ted Stevens

I love fishing, but seeing federal authorities charge Senator Ted Stevens for false statements was on par with going out and landing actual fish. This all went down yesterday, but since I was flying all day, I still had to write about this now. So, the old, corrupt Senator from Alaska was found to have improperly taken gifts in exchange for favorable legislation....and get this, it concerns fishing laws that also helped his son. Nothing like a little father-son bonding time when unethically playing off your constituents.

From CBS News:

(CBS/AP) Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator and a figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, was indicted Tuesday on seven counts of failing to disclose thousands of dollars in services he received from a company that helped renovate his home.

Stevens, the first sitting U.S. senator to face federal indictment since 1993, has been dogged by a federal investigation into his home renovation project and whether he pushed for fishing legislation that also benefited his son, an Alaska lobbyist.

The investigation has upended Alaska state politics and cast scrutiny on Stevens - who is running for re-election this year - and on his congressional colleague, Rep. Don Young of Alaska, who is also under investigation.

Nearly every major Republican Alaskan legislator is in hot water of some form or another. Even the once-popular Governor Palin was found to have used the power of her office to get revenge for one of her family members.

Folks, this 'red' state is going to get a heavy dose of purple this year.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

McCain Hearts Oil Industry Money

And for his positions on offshore oil drilling, the oil industry hearts him back:

Bush's $490B Deficit Is Really $600 Billion

The White House announced yesterday that the budget deficit for FY 2009 was 'only' going to be around $490 billion dollars. That of course, is a far cry from the surpluses we saw under Clinton but hey, at least George Bush was giving us an honest account of where our nation stands and how much more of a burden we are putting on our children and future generations with this load of debt. Oh wait, who are we talking about here?

From ThinkProgress:

Yesterday, the White House “increased its estimate for next year’s deficit to nearly $490 billion, a record figure that will saddle the next president with deepening budget problems in his first year in office.” But, on ABC News’s Good Morning America today, Claire Shipman reported that the deficit is actually much higher because “creative White House accounting” didn’t include the war, the unemployment costs, Medicare fees, or the housing bill in its calculations. If those numbers are included, it brings “the grand total to about $600 billion.”

Um, yeah, what's $110 billion dollars anyways. The war is going to pay us back in spades, right wingers? The thing is, from the lowly pundits to the top of the White House, they are all a bunch of cheerleaders that rah-rah themselves in front of the public despite being down by 50 at the end of the 4th quarter.

McCain Made More Than Median Family By Not Showing Up For Work

Thanks to pro-corporate and anti-working class policies, the median income for today's American family is under $50,000. Most people work hard for that money, putting in well over 40 hours a week and then some. However, if you are John McCain, with gobs of money from his wife's beer fortune, pulling in more than $50 grand is a breeze, especially since he didn't show up for work since totaling that number.

From DailyKos:

So do you want to tell me how exactly that makes him in touch with the average American? He has collected that money from the taxpayers in less than four months yet didn't even bother showing up to vote on anything in the Senate. Though you never know, he may try to lie about this in the same way he tells whoppers about other things.

Maddow And Olbermann Expose McCain's Fake Empathy For The Troops

Despite what McCain says and what his history is with our armed forces, what matters is his voting record and what that means in a McCain presidency.

Violent Right Wing Rhetoric Becomes Tragically Real

Since September 11th, the right wing echo chamber has become increasingly violent in regards to their rhetoric. The hatred shown by pundits such as O'Reilly, Coulter, Hannity and Michael Savage has been vicious towards liberals and those that oppose their way of seeing a black and white, good versus evil world. Well people out there listen to their foaming-at-the-mouth rhetoric and unfortunately we will see tragic events like this happen more frequently.

From RawStory:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - An out-of-work truck driver accused of opening fire at a Unitarian church, killing two people, left behind a note suggesting that he targeted the congregation out of hatred for its liberal policies, including its acceptance of gays, authorities said Monday.

A four-page letter found in Jim D. Adkisson's small SUV indicated he intentionally targeted the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church because, the police chief said, "he hated the liberal movement" and was upset with "liberals in general as well as gays."[...]

The attack Sunday morning lasted only minutes. But the anger behind it may have been building for months, if not years.

"It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred for the liberal movement," Police Chief Sterling Owen said.

Adkisson was a loner who hates "blacks, gays and anyone different from him," longtime acquaintance Carol Smallwood of Alice, Texas, told the Knoxville News Sentinel.

These pathetic individuals are exactly the type that right-wing commentators go after. They seek out those that hate the world for their situation, without opening their eyes to realize that so many are in the same boat with them. Instead, it is a "me against the world" attitude that breeds hate and violence when a strong dose of ignorance is involved. Every once in a while our society is exposed to the culmination of one individual's hate. Yet it would be wrong to write this off as one loon that killed innocent people, because that loon is getting his information from somewhere.