Saturday, August 30, 2008

St. Paul Police Must Be Bored

On Monday the 2008 RNC Convention is set to begin, that is if it isn't postponed. For nearly two years everyone with a stake in it have been getting ready, from the Republicans in D.C. and the Twin Cities to the police and the protesters. As Gustav strengthens and churns northward towards the Gulf Coast, the actors in and around the RNC are not backing down from their self-important roles. Take the police for example, who have been training for Armegeddon while protesters are readying themselves to take advantage of the First Amendment and specifically the right to assemble. Well those two prerogatives don't exactly match up and what you get is a curtailment of civil liberties in the process.

From CNN:

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) -- Police raided a rental hall used by a group organizing protests at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Friday.

The RNC Welcoming Committee, which describes itself as "anarchist/anti-authoritarian," accused St. Paul police of trying to disrupt their protest planned for Monday, the day the GOP convention is set to begin.

While no one was arrested, the group said police temporarily detained and photographed at least 50 people who were inside the building.

St. Paul Police spokesman Tom Walsh said they were executing a search warrant.

"The cause for the search warrant is not public at this time," Walsh said.

As many as 30 police officers entered with guns drawn, according to witnesses in the building.

Damn, there must have been some serious terror-inducing planning going on to provoke that sort of police response, right?

"The convergence center is simply a gathering place and is not used for illegal actions -- it is a place for workshops and trainings," a statement from the protest group said. "Tonight, we were watching films and sharing food."

"We are now accused of a simple fire code violation," the statement said.

Oddie Miller, a 19-year-old from Fort Collins, Colorado, said it was "just a space to get food, free Internet, community organization."

Having free food, watching television and surfing the web may sound innocent to most of us. But to the police in the Twin Cities, it warrants dozens of guns drawn while busting through the doors, wetting the pants of at least a few hard core anarchists.

Yeah, That Is Exactly How I Feel Senator

...when I think of you as President:

Its Official, Sarah Palin Is Pathetic, Now Lets Get Back To Barack

Yesterday Sarah Palin had her day. She became the first woman to make it on the Republican ticket and second overall. That unexpected pick took everyone by surprise, but it is the Democrats that will laugh last over her nomination. Simply put, she is a joke and everyone knows it. Since McCain is the one who picked her and wants to be President, it is more his bad joke than hers to be fair, so really it is a question of McCain's leadership when he chose an inexperienced ideologue that thinks teaching creationism will solve the world's problems.

It has only been one day and we already know so much about her that McCain's handlers wish never saw the light of day. She's never considered how to handle the catastrophe in Iraq and never had any foreign policy experience nor any stance on how we should deal with the world. The only issues she does care about makes the religious right scream like little twelve-year old girls at a Jonas Brothers concert. Her short gubernatorial stint is already marked with an ethical stench where she could eventually be impeached for using her office to act vengefully against her sister's ex-husband because of a nasty custody dispute (and lie about it too). Because of that, her record popularity has already begun to fall precipitously (remind you of anyone?). She definitely lost a few Alaskans' respect when laughing at a cancer patient being called a "bitch" on the radio.Even before becoming Governor, she managed to screw up royally as Mayor of a town with 6,500 people. And to top it all off, less than a month ago she was on national television and admitted she really doesn't know what the Vice-President does.

That paragraph alone will make Republican strategists cringe, but just wait until she gets on the campaign trail. The crash will be more spectacular than a hundred Hindenburgs put together. Now that we know all of this and that her being there is more of a sign of McCain's weakness as a leader than anything else, lets get back and focus on a true leader, Barack Obama. Barack Obama is ready to lead our nation back on track and away from the absymal policies of Bush, Cheney and McCain. As the candidate himself pointed out, we need go a different route than we have had for these last eight years. While he hasn't been in Washington as long as McCain, he has been right on the issues and as he states on the website, the policies to back it up once he gets in the White House.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Protesters Were Denied Constitutional Rights In Denver

Those that came to Denver to protest didn't make many headlines because while they were passionate in their beliefs and their cause, they were not violent by any means. The standard they held themselves to did not however, pertain to the Denver Police Department, who acted more like thugs than officers of the law. Now the ACLU is getting ready to file suit for their alleged illegal and immoral treatment of protesters that were detained.

From RawStory:

The ACLU issued a stinging rebuke to the Denver Police Department Wednesday, alleging that the department may have violated laws and constitutional rights of protesters arrested outside the Democratic National Convention.

In the letter, obtained by RAW STORY, the ACLU revealed that the police refused those arrested access to attorneys. Police did not let detainees use phones unless they posted their own bonds, and even failed to provide shoes, in one case marching a protester into court in bare feet and leg shackles, according the ACLU.

What's more, police are said to have tricked protesters into pleading guilty, by giving them the impression they had to plead guilty in order to post bond. This meant that no one was allowed to make a phone call unless they plead guilty, thus making it impossible for arrestees to even call a lawyer until admitting guilt.

That my friends, is the Denver Police Department for you. Of course the hospitality that they show isn't limited to the Mile High City. Police abuse is a pervasive problem in our country. When If the RNC starts next week, we'll be sure to see the same if not worse treatment for those who want to express their first amendment rights when the Republicans come to town. In fact, they've already given us a preview of how they respect and enforce the law. With 50,000 expected to give the Republicans a piece of their mind, you can be sure to expect the Twin Cities police to give them a piece of the billy club or tear gas canister back.

An Endorsement For Sarah Palin

As a political neophyte, Sarah Palin is going to need a large boost for people to get behind her. Thankfully we have a distinguished an indicted Senator from her home state that can do just that:

With Palin, John McCain Determined To Lose

Last night I presumed that either Mittens, Pawlenty or Lieberman would have been picked to be McCain's VP but I was wrong, though I am so glad I was. No one is perfect and Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin is a testament to that. By picking her, McCain throws his lot with the right-wing of his party and assures us that he'll never bring up that "experience" crap again. Two years ago, Palin was a part-time Mayor and now McCain expects people to believe she'll be ready to lead our country if something happens to the 72 year old (Happy Birthday John!), yeah right! People are already comparing her to Quayle or even worse.

Heck, she doesn't even know what a Vice-President does:

In an interview just a month ago, she dissed the job, saying it didn’t seem “productive.”

In fact, she said she doesn’t know what the vice president does.

Larry Kudlow of CNBC’s “Kudlow & Co.” asked her about the possibility of becoming McCain ticket mate.
Palin replied: “[A]s for that V.P. talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the V.P. does every day? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that V.P .slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question.”

Someone should probably hand her a copy of the Constitution before she debates Senator Joe Biden, sheesh, what a joke that will be. What she does know is how to be another corrupt and crooked Republican. With one of her state's Republican Senators under indictment and charged with seven counts of false statements and a Congressman that is as ethical as day is night, she brings to McCain's table the pinnacle of Republican malfeasance (at least on a state level). She was touted as a reformer and something new, but already within two years, she has a troopergate story that rivals my own ex-Governor's saga. It turns out she had a state commissioner fire to fire a state trooper that her sister was divorcing. Tsk, tsk on that one Sarah.

Then we have your "beliefs," such as teaching creationism in public schools and siding with energy companies over the environment. She is inexperienced, a joke on the national stage and a true desperation pick from a washed-up Senator from Arizona that is clearly crumbling under the tremendous appeal that Barack Obama brings to America. Sarah Palin, like John McCain, is merely more of the same.

Obama Didn't Just Knock It Out Of The Park

The speech Barack Obama gave for his acceptance of the Democratic nomination was truly incredible. Even with all of the amazing orators we've heard over the last four days, nothing comes close to what Obama said tonight. Invesco Field may be the football stadium in Denver, but to borrow the old baseball metaphor, he knocked that one out of the park, out of Denver and back and forth across the country. It roared for those in attendance and made John McCain and the Republicans shudder as if standing by the source of a sonic boom.

The speech covered everything and then some. From the economy and health care to Osama bin Laden and Iraq, no detail was spared in order to get the message across that he is the candidate of change, and McCain is the candidate of the past. His message was one of hope, that government can help Americans just as Americans can help their government and their country.

He laid into John McCain like no Democratic nominee has for a long, long time. The speech contained so many great sound bites and hit McCain with the red meat that Democrats love to hear, especially those 75,000 that saw it live. More importantly though, Barack Obama did something that John Kerry could only dream about, fighting and speaking for liberalism. Liberalism has gotten such a bad name in the last thirty years because Republicans have been able to control the message while we just rested on our ideals. Well in 2008 you can't just expect everything to magically fall into your lap simply because you're have to go out there and defend your principles until it is your message that shines brightest on the national stage.

Barack Obama understands that and he delivered on it.

The debates start in less than a month from now and oh man, if we see the Barack Obama of tonight stand up next to John McCain at any of those three events, this race is a grand slam at the end of the game that you've already been leading all along.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mapping Al Gore's DNC Speech

Nobel Laureate Al Gore gave a phenomenal speech just now that we all heard loud and clear....and this is what it looks like in a word cloud:

Will Bush Use Gustav In Order To Get Out Of Speaking At RNC?

Last night Bill Clinton delivered an impeccable speech to the DNC at the Pepsi Center and indeed to the millions of people that watched across the country. With all of the Clinton-Obama controversy diminishing with each passing day at the DNC, Republican hopes of capitalizing on it are vanishing into thin air. George Bush must have been banking on that so he'd at least have something to go on when he spoke in Minneapolis on Monday, conveniently on the first day and meaning to avoid contact with his sidekick, John "McSame" McCain.

To make matters worse, Tropical Storm Gustav is set to become a Hurricane and is currently aiming for the Louisiana coast and striking at about the time he is set to speak. So we have yet another reminder of Bush's failure of a Presidency when it comes to taking care of our citizens struck by disaster. So what will he do to prevent Americans from making the connection they already know about?

From ThinkProgress:

President Bush is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention on Monday, but with Tropical Storm Gustav expected to hit Gulf coast, the White House is beginning to hint that President Bush might not speak that day. Fox News’ Bret Baier reports today that there “are conversations underway” at the White House about whether Bush “will in fact speak on Monday.”

Well my question is, if he won't speak Monday and the Hurricane lands on Tuesday...would McCain let him speak Wednesday? There is no way they want the two men anywhere near each other, so this could get interesting. The sitting President might not show up at his party's convention for the first time in quite a while.

Time Magazine Pegs McCain As "Prickly"

The maverick, the straight-talk express and the old John McCain has left us a while back. He used to have a great personality when put in front of the press but it seems things have changed. Rick Davis has done quite a number on the candidate, despite no one really knowing who is in charge at campaign headquarters. Regardless, either Davis or another former Bushie is making an impact on the once-friendly and affable John McCain.

From Time Magazine:

And so when TIME's James Carney and Michael Scherer were invited to the front of McCain's plane recently for an interview, they were ushered forward, past the curtain that now separates reporters from the candidate, past the sofa that was designed for his gabfests with the press and taken straight to the candidate's seat. McCain at first seemed happy enough to do the interview. But his mood quickly soured. The McCain on display in the 24-minute interview was prickly, at times abrasive, and determined not to stray off message. An excerpt:

What do you want voters to know coming out of the Republican Convention — about you, about your candidacy?
I'm prepared to be President of the United States, and I'll put my country first.

There's a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?
Read it in my books.

And the Q and A didn't get much better from there. McCain used to be chatty with the press, often talking to them until they had no more questions. The gaggle loved it and showed their admiration in flimsy pieces of journalism that lauded the Senator. Now it is as if he is chained down to the chair and made to give manufactured answers. The campaign is worried that he'll screw up and make a fool of himself. Nearly all of the questions the authors asked were answered with either short and curt responses, a shaking of the head or nothing at all. McCain HQ might want to run a tight ship, but they are turning the guy into an Arizona state fruit.

The last question in the article is also extremely telling of the differences between the two candidates:

A lot of people know about your service from your books, but most people don't know that you have two sons currently in the military. Can you describe what it means to have Jack and Jimmy in uniform?
We don't discuss our sons.

I wonder if that will be the tone for his children and ______ (Pawlenty's/Lieberman's/Romney's) kids as well? This week we have seen both Obama and Biden's children up on stage and their presence was incredible, touching and heartfelt. So we'll see if the man that doesn't discuss his children will also ignore them in Minneapolis next week.

DNC Reminds RNC Attendees McCain Is More Of The Same

While there will be decidedly more Republicans than Democrats coming into Minneapolis for next week's convention, that doesn't mean they get a free pass on who and what their nominee represents. In fact, they'll be reminded of it over and over again as they travel around the Twin Cities.

Republicans Eat Themselves Alive In Staten Island

With all the focus on the Democratic Convention this week and the Republicans' main event next week, not much attention is being paid to the local races. However, that does not mean that things are all quiet in the Congressional primary races. Things are especially brutish in what was once thought a Republican-leaning district, that of NY-13 that encompasses Staten Island and a sliver of Brooklyn. Vito Fossella is on his way out and the local GOP has had to fill the gap. Unfortunately for them, the situation has become hellish.

From Staten Island Advance:

In a verbal barrage worthy of the hardcore political battle the Republican congressional primary has turned into, Bob Straniere accused Jim Wyne of trying to hide his Pakistani and Muslim heritage by "changing his name," while Wyne said Straniere wanted him to make an "illegal" campaign contribution when Straniere ran for Staten Island borough president in 2001.

Wyne -- who uses the name Dr. Jamshad Wyne professionally -- said Straniere asked him to take $5,000 of his personal cash and disburse it to relatives who would, in turn, write checks in the amounts of $250 or $200 to Straniere for Borough President, thereby maximizing the amount of matching funds Straniere could receive from the city Campaign Finance Board.

That would be illegal, and as the Advance notes, people have gone to jail for such schemes before. Crookedness and corruption is nothing new to New York and especially the GOP, though of course it can be a bipartisan practice to be fair. However, talk like this is exclusively a "conservative" affair:

Meanwhile, during an interview yesterday, Straniere said Wyne has been using the name "Jim" on the campaign trail because "he is trying to remake himself into something other than who is. He obviously doesn't want people to know he is Pakistani and a Muslim."

Way to play the race card Straniere, you must do the GOP party proud....oh wait, no, Straniere doesn't even do that. Straniere and GOP Borough President James Molinaro have gone head to head before and the two have, shall we say, less than warm feelings for each other. However this primary plays out, it is the Dems that have the advantage here.

Rove Urges Lieberman Not To Be McCain VP, Joe Laughs Him Off

Karl Rove is still up to his old tricks, but it seems that his influence isn't what it used to be. According to the well-sourced Robert Novak, he tried to get Lieberman to take himself off the short list of McCain's Vice-Presidential considerations. Obviously Holy Joe doesn't think much of Bush's Brain anymore, because he laughed at the suggestion of calling McCain to take his name out of the running.

From Politico:

Republican strategist Karl Rove called Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) late last week and urged him to contact Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to withdraw his name from vice presidential consideration, according to three sources familiar with the conversation.

Lieberman dismissed the request, these sources agreed.

Lieberman “laughed at the suggestion and certainly did not call [McCain] on it,” said one source familiar with the details.

“Rove called Lieberman,” recounted a second source. “Lieberman told him he would not make that call.”

Well, it is nice to see that George Bush's main man is dabbling in the Republican VP selection process. Except for the President himself, there is no one better to tie the disastrous and bitterly partisan era of the last eight years to John McCain. I hope Karl gets his pick, because shredding Mitt Romney can be done blindfolded with one arm tied behind your back. Rove likes him because he "saved the Olympics" (for Utah in 2002 I presume) and he's good on the economy. Oh Karl, you really are losing your edge. If you want to talk economics and the two men debating them on the VP ticket are Joe Biden and Mitt Romney, then by all means, select Mittens. He is no match for Joe Biden, not even close.

Hear The Other Side Of The DNC Protesters

Most Americans who are paying attention to the convention and news in general get it from traditional sources. Those places, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc do not say much about those that are protesting at the DNC in Denver other than "x amount arrested today". That is probably because they have been cool, calm and collected. The police have been anything but, though no one is going to tell you that, unless of course you talk to those that are the focus of their rage.

McCain Health Care Adviser Claims There Are No Uninsured Americans

Yep, thats right, everyone in America is insured. No one has to struggle to pay for high-priced premiums and health care companies never reject coverage for anyone. If I said that statement with conviction, would you call me a kook, a loon or a poor delusional bastard? Well, that would be the words of John McCain's health care policy adviser, John Goodman. So one has to wonder, how would a President McCain make 100% insured populace a reality? By forcing the Census bureau to "cease and desist" calling Americans uninsured. Brilliant, right?

From The Dallas Morning News:

But the numbers are misleading, said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain's health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

"So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

"So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved."

The numbers he is referring to is from the Census bureau, and down in Texas, nearly one in four are uninsured. Having access to an Emergency Room does not mean we are insured. That is a slap and a giant ball of spit in the face of every single American that has had to wait for hours in our over-crowded ERs. Places where people are shoved aside unless they are truly ill and where doctors and nurses are stretched to their limits and then some.

Mr. Goodman should be able to look at least a hundred of these "insured" (they shouldn't be hard to find since every American is insured in his mind) and tell them his thoughts. I wonder what he'd look like after opening his mouth for a few minutes. Chances are, he probably gets great health care thanks to VRWC and has no idea what it looks like to not be able to afford an insurance plan (not that it is that great to begin with for most of us).

This is just one more instance that shows McCain is out of touch with average Americans and is ready to take us into another dark and miserable four years, unless you are in the top 5% of course.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Obama/Biden Ticket, Now It Is Official!

The third night of the convention is drawing to a close at the Pepsi Center and everyone is getting ready for the big finale tomorrow night at the much bigger Invesco Field. The military-themed Wednesday went off without a hitch and ended with the touching story that is the Biden family history and Joe's strong speech. Despite the way the GOP will inevitably spin another successful evening in Denver, Senator Biden made clear that McCain is the wrong choice because he makes bad choices...and that Senator Obama knows what he is talking about and stands up for what is right.

From DailyKos:

Biden's speech began with lovely tributes to his family, including his mother, of whom he said:

My mother's creed is the American creed: no one is better than you. You are everyone's equal, and everyone is equal to you.

Biden ends by using his authority on foreign policy to detail how Obama's foreign policy judgment has time and again been correct while McCain has been wrong. Biden's foreign policy judgment will not be substituted for Obama's; instead, his credibility will be used to affirm Obama's judgment.

John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama was right -- again, and again, and again, on the most important national security issues of our time, John McCain was wrong and Barack Obama has been proven right.

I have to say, Biden compliments Obama very well, and the two of them will help carry us as we will carry them from the nomination to the White House (and Naval Observatory too). When Obama showed up on the stage to greet his officially nominated running mate, the room was electrified and the country saw it through their television and computer screens...and those that dare to dream and hope for a better America saw the Democratic team that embraces it, not more of the same eight years like the man who is headlining the RNC next week.

Bill Completes The 1-2 Clinton Punch

One good great Clinton speech deserves another and former President Bill Clinton comes through for the now-official Democratic nominee, Barack Obama!

Shuster Exposes Giuliani And GOP Concern Trolling

This week the Republican horde is trying to do one thing and one thing only, stir up trouble in the Democratic Party. Since nothing seems to stick, despite the traditional media's best efforts with the whole PUMA thing, Giuliani et al. are trying everything to slime Barack Obama and the DNC. The latest attempt by Mr. 9/11 was to criticize President Bill Clinton's speaking position, but David Shuster blew his hypocritical cover.

From ThinkProgress:

In an appearance on Morning Joe, Rudy Giuliani tried to stir a fake controversy over former President Bill Clinton’s speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention. “Are they gonna have him on in prime-time?” Giuliani asked, “or are they gonna do to him what they did to Governor Warner and stick him in two slots earlier.” (Clinton will speak in the 9-10 pm hour ET.) MSNBC analyst David Shuster immediately shot back: “Yeah right, as opposed to sticking him on the first night of the convention like what the Republicans are doing with George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney?”

Host Joe Scarborough asked, “How strange is it that they’re putting the sitting President of the United States on Monday night, Labor Day? Doesn’t that say all that needs to be said about George Bush’s standing in the country?”

Oh that isn't strange at all, George Bush is more toxic to the GOP than ever before. If it were possible, they'd probably make him stay away. And you won't see McCain anywhere near him next week. Despite all that has gone on with Bill Clinton and the primaries, he is still a well-respected party elder and will continue to be so because ultimately he is a decent man that puts out a tremendous effort to do good in the world. So while Rudy may try to throw sticks at the Democratic juggernaut (and you can watch it on YouTube), it is much easier to blow down the GOP's house of cards with a gust of truth.

Man Thrown Out Of Yankee Stadium For Going To Bathroom During "God Bless America"

At this moment the story is sourced to the inbox at the Gothamist, but as the comments over there suggest, it could very well be true. A man claims to have been forced out of Yankee Stadium for the terrible offense of trying to use the bathroom during "God Bless America." Apparently somewhere on the fine print of your ticket, it says you must respect the song or face the consequences.

From The Gothamist:

"I attempted to get up to use the restroom, rather urgently, during the 7th inning stretch as God Bless America was beginning. As I attempted to walk down the aisle and exit my section into the tunnel, I was stopped by a police officer. He informed me that I had to wait until the song was over. I responded that I had to use the restroom and that I did not care about God Bless America.

"As soon as the latter came out of my mouth, my right arm was twisted violently behind my back and I was informed that I was being escorted out of the stadium. A second officer then joined in and twisted my left arm, also in an excessively forceful manner, behind my back. I informed them they were violating my First Amendment rights and that I had done nothing wrong, with no response from them.

"I was sitting in the Tier Level, and of course this is the highest level of the stadium and I was escorted in this painful manner down the entire length of the stadium. About halfway down, I informed them that they were hurting me, repeated that I had done nothing wrong, and that I was not resisting nor talking back to them. One of them said something to the effect that if I continued to speak, he would find a way to hurt me more.

"When we reached the exit of the stadium, they confiscated my ticket and the first officer shoved me through the turnstiles, saying 'Get the hell out of my country if you don't like it.'

"Nowhere on the Yankee Stadium ticket policy nor on any posted sign does it say that forced patriotism is a required element to attend a baseball game. Nowhere in the laws of this country would that begin to be defensible.

"Furthermore, when the two officers returned to their section, Steve who was still in the stadium overhead one of the officers say 'We got to watch ourselves. One day we're really gonna get in trouble.' They were also spreading rumors with a fan with whom they were friendly that I had said 'This country sucks.'

"I do not believe in God, nor am in support of this country to a degree of patriotic fanaticism. The fact that I wanted to use the restroom instead of standing through God Bless America should not be grounds for a forcible ejection from a baseball game."

Yikes! I always get that creepy feeling at Yankee games during the 7th inning stretch. Being a life-long Dodger fan (currently wearing one of their shirts as I type) and going to many more games at Chavez Ravine than in the Bronx, I found it odd just how religious it is up there. At Dodger games, they play "Take me out to the ballgame" twice and everyone has a good time and can go wherever they want. I guess that isn't the case at Steinbrenner's park.

Now as bad as that is that something like this can happen to a fan at a Major League Baseball game, what makes it worse is that Steinbrenner gets to have his cake (baked by the New York City taxpayers) and eat it too (thanks to exorbitant ticket prices). City officials should force him to pay for his own damn ballpark, but they apparently they are in on the scam too.

The whole thing makes me sick, I hope this guy takes everyone involved to the cleaners!

Nation, Meet Governor Brian Schweitzer

Brian Schweitzer has been Governor of Montana for a few years now, but frankly, the national media rarely focuses in on Montana. Last night, he got a prime-time spot at the DNC and wowed the audience, probably even upstaging the speaker before him, who was the next Senator from Virginia, Mark Warner.

NY Videographers Are Harassed At RNC, Even Before It Starts

The Glass Bead Collective may not be a household name, but a video it got out a few weeks ago showing an NYPD Officer maliciously body-slamming an innocent cyclist certainly made waves in the press. Well now that you know the connection, GBC is gearing up to show us a side of the RNC next week that CNN or Fox News would never dare. Unfortunately, the Twin Cities police have not taken kindly to their mission.

From The Gothamist:

Late Monday night three videographers from the New York-based Glass Bead Collective were detained by Minneapolis police officers, who spent about an hour questioning them and searching their belongings. In the end, they were released without charges, but they say officers confiscated a number of personal belongings, including their video and computer equipment, cell phones and clothing.

According to the group's lawyer, they were walking from a bus stop to the place they were staying in Northeast Minneapolis around 2 a.m. on Tuesday when two Minneapolis squad cars stopped them. They were first told that there had been car break-ins in the area, then the officers frisked them, photographed them and questioned them individually about their travel plans and what they intended to report on. “We kept saying we do not consent to any search,” Anita Brathwaite told the Twin Cities Daily Planet. To make matters worse, the group claims that police refused to give them a receipt for their equipment and personal belongings.

I can't imagine this year's RNC being any worse than four years ago in NYC, but if we are seeing the police state bulge to this degree a week before it starts....we might be in for even greater 'fireworks.' Thankfully this year, I hope, that collectives like Glass Bead is able to disseminate information regarding abusive police tactics that may occur in the Twin Cities next week.

McCain Chides Obama For Wanting Int'l Diplomacy

After hearing so many great speeches in the last two nights, it really makes me wonder how big of a contrast the RNC will be next week. Thanks to John McCain and his minions we've been getting previews with gems like his support of the song "Gasolina" which is about, well, um, just have a look for yourself. He probably doesn't know much Puerto Rican slang, so let's not fault him too much on that. Though when the issue is about international diplomacy and working with our allies around the world, when he lambasts Obama for the speech in Berlin about working together, that is as absurd as voting against Mother's Day.

Here's what the Maverick Bush's sidekick had to say:

My opponent had the chance to express such confidence in America, when he delivered a much anticipated address in Berlin. He was the picture of confidence, in some ways. But confidence in oneself and confidence in one's country are not the same. And in that speech, Senator Obama left an important point unclear. He suggested that the end of the Cold War proved that there was, "no challenge too great for a world that stands as one." Now I missed a few years of the Cold War, as the guest of one of our adversaries, but as I recall the world was deeply divided during the Cold War -- between the side of freedom and the side of tyranny. The Cold War ended not because the world stood "as one," but because the great democracies came together, bound together by sustained and decisive American leadership.

Never one to pass up an opportunity to sport his P.O.W. status, McCain uses it as an excuse to completely miss the point of Obama's speech and the broad appeal for our country to work with others in order to fight the battles in the world that we cannot win alone (which Bush has proven so well for all of us). He may have wanted to sound tough to his militaristic and overly hubristic buddies in the warmonger section of the GOP, but really, that speech just makes him sound like a go-it-alone schmuck intent on ruining our alliances around the world (oh now who does that sound like? Hmmm).

McCain can pontificate on what type of 'confidence' Obama showed in Berlin all he wants. Yet the world certainly saw that Obama is determined to reshape America's image as the bully into one that is an international team player intent on helping fight terrorism with all of our allies, not just by provoking more terrorism by going it alone.

Rachel Maddow On Clinton's Speech: "She Nailed It"

Rachel Maddow dissects Senator Hillary Clinton's incredible speech last amazing woman followed by another:

Bloomberg Reminded Of His Own Pro-Term Limits Remarks

From three years to three months ago, Mayor Mike Bloomberg was vociferously for keeping New York City's term limits on the books, despite the talk coming from the city council that wanted to change things back to the way things were. Interestingly as his second and final (according to the law as it is now) term is coming slowly to it's conclusion, the Mayor is changing his tune. Well, one group is out to remind him and all New Yorkers about what he's said to the press and the public in the last three years.

From New York for Term Limits:

Daily News, 11/23/05

Mayor Bloomberg denounced some City Council members’ calls to extend their term limits through legislation as an anti-democratic “outrage” – noting voters twice approved the eight-year limit law.

“While it may be that that the City Council has a right to override them, deliberately saying to the public, “We don’t care what you think,” I would use the word disgraceful,” Bloomberg said yesterday.

“The cynicism that that would engender towards city government is not something that this city needs,” the mayor added.

“The public wants term limits, and if that’s what they want, we should all learn to live with ‘em.”

New York Post, 7/19/06

Mayor Bloomberg declared yesterday that he’d oppose any effort to put a third referendum on the ballot to change the law, which obliges city elected officials to pack it in after two terms.

“I think the public has spoken twice and they’ve spoken quit clearly. I don’t know that you should keep shopping for a different answer,” the mayor said.

“The public shouldn’t be bothered continuously with the same question.”

And there are so many more quotes at their website. Bloomberg should be reminded over and over again of his past words, because they ring true. Whether you agree or disagree with term limits in NYC, it was the voters that enacted the law...and it should be the voters who decide to change it back, not to be done in a backhanded way by the Mayor and Council.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Clinton At DNC: No Way. No How. No McCain


I am currently listening to the music as Hillary Clinton exits the stage after a tour de force speech that closed out the second night of the Democratic Convention. I was expecting something good from her, but I had no idea that she'd deliver such an incredible oration. As the last of 60 speakers tonight, she had a lot of great competition, but she stole the show.

From Hillary Clinton's speech:

I'm here tonight as a proud mother, as a proud Democrat, as a proud Senator from the state of New York, as a proud American, and as a proud supporter of Barack Obama....

I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?...

It makes a lot of sense that next week John McCain and George Bush will be together in the Twin Cities, because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart.

There is so much more to that speech but those two three clips tell a lot. She performed at her very best and had the crowd and the country in awe. She embraced Barack Obama's candidacy because only he can come close to delivering her vision for America. Conversely, she slammed McCain for his lack of it and promised continuation of the last eight years. It was the perfect way to close out the night and she made it nearly impossible for Republicans to spin it in their favor. McCain spent a lot of money on ads that patronized her candidacy in order to fracture the party, but like his entire campaign, that was a fool's errand.

Janet Napolitano Has The Line Of The Night

We still have a few speakers to go tonight but Governor Janet Napolitano's address was a memorable one, especially when she referenced a pattern of Arizona' she hopes continues on this year. I am so proud to have had her as my Governor when I lived in the Grand Canyon State.

Charles Barkley Thwarts Blitzer's Attempt At Distorting Obama's Tax Plan

Wolf Blitzer had former NBA player Charles Barkley on his show today in an attempt to unfairly portray Barack Obama's tax plan. TP has the screen shot of what CNN put up on their show and apparently, you don't count if you make less than $161,000 dollars a year. Maybe their demographic reports show that their viewers are wealthy, but most Americans do not make that money, specifically 95% of us. Since Wolf would never invite someone on about this that makes the median salary, Charles Barkley showed up for the rest of us, despite being a multi-millionaire.

From ThinkProgress:

Using his deceptive chart, Blizter tried – but failed – to get Barkley to voice his opposition to an increase in taxes on the wealthiest Americans to pay for national priorities:

BLITZER: If Obama has his way, you would spend another $701,885 in taxes. $700,000 above and beyond – you pay a lot of taxes right now if you’re making millions of dollars a year as you are. How do you feel about that?

BARKLEY: Well, I think that if you’re rich — I thank God I’ve been very successful — if you’re rich, you’re always going to be rich. If we pay more in taxes, I got no problem with that. If you’re making that kind of money, a couple hundred thousand dollars here or there are not going to change your life.

Let’s be realistic. I’ve been very fortunate and blessed. I did a great job of saving my money. But I got no problem if I’m making that type of money, paying more in taxes to be honest with you.

Yeah, nice try Wolf. Although Charles didn't have a chart that showed his willingness to pay taxes, talking about the fact that the rich will always stay rich was plenty good. ThinkProgress did put up a chart showing the differences in the tax plans between the candidates for the rest of us, where those that make less than $112,000 get more from Obama than McCain. Around the median level, taxpayers save approximately $700 more than with John McSame McCain.

Oh and on a sidenote, I just watched Dennis Kucinich speak on stage at the DNC and he rocked the semi-full house, calling on America to wake up and reclaim our country from the wealthy few that have ignored the many.

Et Tu, Jose Rivera!

Bronx Democrats were disgraced and embarrassed today not here in New York, but by their county's Party Chairman currently in Denver. Like many prominent New York officials, he was a Hillary supporter throughout the primary. Then when it was apparent that the nominee was going to be Barack Obama, everyone stood with their party and united to beat John McCain and repudiate the possibility of four more years that could mirror the Bush Administration or worse. That is, until that united front was stabbed in the back by Jose Rivera, who is now a publicly declared PUMA!

From The Daily Politics:

On my way from the New York delegation's temporary home at the Sheraton to the Pepsi Center, I ran into some semi-hysterical PUMAs giving interviews to semi-interested reporters on a downtown Denver street corner.

Then Bronx Democratic Chairman Jose Rivera showed up, and things got a lot more interesting.

Rivera, with the help of Daniella Taylor, a PUMA from Wichita, Kansas, showed off his "The Bronx is With Hillary" banner that he pledged back in Albany to bring with him to Denver. He then declared:

"I'm a PUMA! I'm a Puerto Rican PUMA!"

However, when asked whether he would be willing, like Taylor, to vote for John McCain in protest of the fact that Clinton is not Barack Obama's VP pick, Rivera seemed to have second thoughts, saying that would be "going too far," unless, of course, McCain puts a woman on the ticket with him.

Alright so maybe he isn't twisting the knife and actually voting for McCain, but that doesn't mean what he is doing is acceptable. Commending Hillary Clinton for her run at the White House is one thing, but standing with a PUMA crowd means he is one, against showing a unified party or two, he didn't have a clue as to what the PUMAs are up to...or both.

Either way, being at that particular protest shows he does not have the Democratic Party's best interests at heart, and is not worthy of chairing a party at the county level. Let him do what he wants as an individual, but that "Puerto Rican PUMA" has no business in a position of authority within the party.

Who And What Is Recreate68?

FoxNews may call them thugs, but jamming a microphone in the face of protesters from a media outlet that specializes in right-wing propaganda won't get you a serious interview. TPM did a much better job taking account of those that protest the DNC from the left:

Poverty And Lack Of Health Insurance Still Plagues Our Country

Despite being the riches nation on Earth, we have a terrible record of sharing that wealth amongst all Americans. The income and asset gap between the classes is at it's highest since the Great Depression and besides a minimum wage increase passed by the new Democratic Congress last year, not much is helping to stop the problem and the Census bureau confirms it.

From USA Today:

WASHINGTON — The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the number of people lacking insurance dropped by more than 1 million.

The agency also reported that median income for U.S. households grew 1.3% in 2007, to $50,233, and poverty remained unchanged, at 12.5% from 12.3% of the population in 2007. .

It was the third straight year that household income has risen. The numbers are adjusted for inflation.

The poverty statistic meant that there were 37.3 million people living in poverty in 2007.

Well there's some good news in there at least. More people being covered by insurance is great to hear. Now I wonder why that is, are there more people making significantly more money to pay for rising private health plans?


Census officials said last year's decline reflects a jump in the number of people with government-sponsored insurance, such as Medicaid and Medicare.

The percentage of uninsured children, which rose in 2006, fell last year. Across the USA, 11% of children under 18 were without insurance coverage last year, down from 11.7% in 2006. The percentage of children covered by government programs rose to 31% from 29.8%.

The increase in enrollment in government programs "is the main reason for the fall in uninsured rates for children and for the fall in uninsurance rates in the overall population," said David Johnson, chief of the U.S. Census Bureau's Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division.

Those programs are the same "big government" ideas that President Bush has fought against. He'd rather have that big government in Iraq, where it helps Iraqis instead of Americans absolutely no one. I can not wait to have a President that actually cares about reducing these embarrassing numbers, January 20th will be a great day for everyone, not just the very rich.

McCain Hearts Hillary Now, Is She No Longer A "Bitch"?

Since Barack Obama picked Joe Biden as his Vice-Presidential running mate, John McCain has bent over backwards to sing sweet nothings in Hillary Clinton's direction. He even made three different ads about her and spent some coin on at least one of them. Obama hit McCain right back for that one, but Hillary joined in as well.


"Let me state what I think about those ads... I'm Hillary Clinton and I do not approve that message," she said to big applause and a standing ovation at her home-state's delegation breakfast meeting.

"Make no mistake. We are united. We are united for change. Of course, we are Democrats, so it may take -- a while. We're not the fall-in line party. We are diverse...many voices, but make no mistake we are united."

She encouraged supporters to phone bank for Obama and do everything they can to make him "the next president of the United States."

She may just be going for party unity now that the heat and tension of the primaries are months behind us, but there is more to her history with John McCain. Not that long ago John McCain thought she was his formidable opponent and there was no love lost back then. When McCain went to a fund-raiser last November a supporter asked about Hillary Clinton, "How do we beat the bitch?" to which the candidate responded "Thats an excellent question."

Now the question is, what will be the next desperate move McCain makes in order to reach for unattainable voters?

Michelle Obama's Incredible Speech

In case you missed it last night, here's her amazing address at the convention:

The Other, Corporate Side Of The DNC

I am sitting Denver out on the sidelines this year, but I do know what a convention looks like, at least in Boston. The speeches, the freebies, the networking and especially the parties. Now the Democratic Party is my party, but it still needs some work and reducing the corporate influence is especially important. At the moment though, big business has tremendous influence and it is on display if you look for it. I remember going to a couple of bashes in Boston where it had to of costs in upwards of half a million to produce the venue, band, amazing food and all that free alcohol.

My roommate and I (he was a delegate in 04') were getting back from the Fleet Center that Monday night and were looking for something to do. We ran into one of the state party brass at the hotel and he couldn't go to the premiere event because his daughter was feeling ill, so he gave us his tickets to the Democratic Governor's Association Ball. At this time I was more awed by tickets, getting into the cool parties and I was all about the free food and booze.

We got there around midnight and the place was breathtaking, the band was amazing, the view of the harbor spectacular and there were at least a dozen tables filled with shrimp, crab legs and lobster. In addition to the regular open bars, there were attendants that poured cosmos and martinis through ice blocks to give the drink that perfect chill. So with food and drink in hand, we set out to mingle in the crowd, but that was where it all fell apart.

First I looked up and noticed the huge banners on the walls, adorned with the logos of the corporate sponsors who ponied up for the event. The sight of them gave me a funny feeling in my stomach, and I knew that it wasn't a good sign. However, I figured what the hell, those bastards aren't going to influence me and in the meantime I'm going to have a good time at their expense.

Then came the mingling part. People were friendly at first for the most part, but when the "what do you do" question came up, most conversations died quickly. I ran into investment bankers, Wall Street execs, Hill staffers and some party elites and when I introduced myself as a grassroots organizer (working in AZ at the time) they lost all interest in me. Clearly, this was a place for the moneyed to connect with those that had political influence.

After repeating this pattern a few times, I started wandering the tables and just listened to the band play. It was definitely a wake up call that there was some serious problems in our party. Unfortunately they still exist, despite the fact that we fight so hard against it. Amy Goodman did a piece yesterday that highlights the corporate influence when she tried attending one of these parties Sunday night. Here is a portion of her conversation with Glenn Greenwald and others outside the Blue Dog party sponsored by AT&T. Clearly, the organizers of the event did not want the press, and certainly not people like Amy Goodman anywhere near the people who attended this event.

From Democracy Now:

AMY GOODMAN: These were big guys, and they weren’t kidding around. It was interesting. The lobbyists were a little more willing to speak than the actual delegates who were being rushed in there. A lot of limousines were coming in.

GLENN GREENWALD: Absolutely. I mean, I found the symbolism of the event very revealing. First of all, as you say, there was a very intended-to-be-intimidating wall of private security surrounding the event, and they were actually infinitely more aggressive and angrier than the Denver police were. And in fact, I was there with Jane Hamsher, the blogger from FireDogLake, who at one point was trying to speak with one of the individuals entering the party, and she was physically pushed by one of the private security members, notwithstanding the fact that the Denver police had been there the entire time, navigating and negotiating where it was that we could stand.

The other aspect of it was, was that what the police had been clearly trained to do is create this fa├žade of being accommodating and cooperative and pleasant, but what it really does is it masks the fact that their strategy is to ensure that any sort of dissident voices, or people off script, are relegated to places where they can’t really be heard.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s very hard to figure out in these situations. You know, you have a sidewalk, which is owned by the private venue, and where the public can use the public sidewalk, they’re showing you the cracks, the crevices in the sidewalk, and they’re saying that’s theirs, this is yours.

So as you can see from this brief excerpt and even more so from the entire exchange, there is an influence on Democratic politics that isn't 100% kosher and needs to be remedied. The combination of money and politics is nothing new in America, but that does not mean that it has to stay this way. That is why we must elect more and especially better Democrats to make sure that the people at large take precedence over those that can write large corporate checks.

An Incredible First Night In Denver...And Tragedy Averted

If you were one of the millions that watched tonight's speeches (or at least just Ted Kennedy's moving 10 minutes and Michelle Obama's passionate oration) then you know we all saw something incredible in the making. While the media has been trying to frame the convention as an overtly negative, internally divisive event, the reality of what is going on in Denver is anything but. Tonight I heard hope and American stories from Senator McCaskill, a heart-warming few minutes from the man who hired Barack as a community organizer 23 years ago and the cutest thing of all, the Obama kids up on stage talking to their daddy via satellite for all to see.

On stage and throughout the convention, there is the hope for a new day in American politics. Obama speaks to issues while mercilessly defending his character from the uncalled for dirty tricks that McCain applies to this election in order to win through the appeal to fear. Since McCain has nothing to offer our country but more of the same that Bush has given us, he has decided to play in the lowest cesspool of mud that is available in political discourse. Well, Barack Obama isn't going to stand for it and neither are we.

Yet not everyone feels the same way. Some Americans out on the fringe of society hear McCain's call to their fears and ignorant ideas. Tonight, thanks to the great work by Denver, Colorado and Federal authorities, a plot to kill Barack Obama was broken up. Four white supremacists were arrested with various instruments of death, but it was their meth that really gave them up. So their plot probably wouldn't have succeeded, but the fact that it existed is horrifying enough.

We must stop playing to the worst characteristics in our society and stick with the best. What I heard tonight at the convention pointed in the direction of the latter, but all I hear from the other side is nothing of what we need to live in a decent and just society.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sen. Edward Kennedy, Still Is And Will Always Be A Lion

What a truly remarkable man, working hard for Massachusetts, America and the world for nearly 50 years. Now, he comes to the 2008 Democratic Convention without letting anything stop him, not even a brain tumor. His incredible niece Caroline had the honor of introducing him.

Here is the tribute to him:

And then came his remarkable speech:

Average Age Of NY Delegation In Denver Is Older Than Obama

A little post by Azi at the Observer caught my eye earlier about the New York State Young Democrats, and the seeming lack of them at the convention in Denver this week. Perhaps it was that the President of the YDs here shares a last name with me (no relation that I know 0f though), but it is important to have new blood in the party, whether that be at a local, state or national level. Currently the median age of our state's delegation is six years older than the nominee (to be fair, Obama is the third youngest Senator behind Pryor, 45 and Sununu, 43). Though Silverstein finds a silver lining in the situation.

From The Observer:

But, he added, "on the bright side," a number of Young Democrats from New York won positions in the group’s national parent organization.

“We hope this sends a message that Young Democrats in New York are here in force and will continue to be a strong voice in New York politics for years to come," he said. "We would hope, as we move forward, that we can get young people to run and become delegates in the future.”

As we were chatting, we bumped into Bronx Democratic County Chairman Jose Rivera, and Silverstein asked him to help launch a Young Democrats chapter in his county--the only one in New York City without one.

“They’re already empowered in the Bronx,” Rivera said.

It's hard to read tone and body language in an online article, but that sounded like a put down to me. It looks like the Bronx still needs some work, both for the young Democrats demographic and scaling down the ego of Mr. Rivera. The County Chairman though might not be the right way to go about it though, since young people represent a changing of the guard...and he stands with the forces that embrace the status quo.

Shelly Silver Proves Schmucks Can Fly

Sheldon Silver primarily commutes between Lower Manhattan and Albany, but this weekend he flew out to Denver for the Democratic Convention this week. Although the majority of meetings started today and speakers do not take the stage until later tonight, the parties are non-stop and Silver hosted the New York event last night. Feeling pretty smug, he had two choice words for Azi Paybarah of the Observer.

From The Observer:

DENVER—At a reception he hosted last night at the Sheraton downtown, I asked Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver what he thinks about his primary challenger, Paul Newell, being endorsed by both The New York Times and the New York Post this week.

"Who's that?" Silver said.

Silver may think he's funny, but while he is having a ball in Denver, both Paul Newell and Luke Henry are hard at work on their campaigns to unseat the Speaker. They may have long odds, but they, like the headliner at the convention, are seeking change in the 64th Assembly District as well as the country at large. Silver's friend and Bronx Dem County Chair Jose Rivera suggests as much.

Obama Hits John "Don't Know Much" McCain

This brand new ad from the Obama campaign is smart, funny and extremely on message. Exposing and repeatedly highlighting John McCain's non-existent ability to lead and his faithful allegiance to George Bush is exactly the type of ad we should be seeing from now until November.

Thanks, But No Thanks For The VP Advice Rudy

Rudy Giuliani is at it again, trying to give "advice" to the Democratic delegation currently in Denver. The corrupt ex-Mayor and self-proclaimed 9/11 expert flew to Colorado to make trouble, much like his cohorts at Fox News. While Joe Biden and Barack Obama team up to crush the Republicans in ten weeks time, the GOP is foolishly wasting time trying to fracture the party by playing on the PUMA crowd. Though as you can see, there really isn't much to that gaggle. Nevertheless, we'll let Rudy waste his time anyways.

From The NY Daily News:

WASHINGTON - Rudy Giuliani voiced his newfound sympathy for archfoe Hillary Clinton and her loyal cohorts Sunday, saying he feels their pain over her getting jilted as the Dem veep pick.

"The strong choice would have been Hillary Clinton, the obvious choice would have been Hillary Clinton" rather than Joe Biden as the running mate for Barack Obama, Giuliani said.

"It's kind of a no-brainer that that's your ticket," Giuliani added on ABC's "This Week."

A no-brainer move would have been to fix those FDNY/NYPD radios asshole. So he really has no clue in ways of saving lives or even picking a VP choice (and you know McCain isn't dumb enough to pick him). Perhaps McCain has him leading this foolish mission because our VP nominee tagged his entire existence in one short line.

With Obama Leading In Nearly Every Poll, Media Looks To Conjure Controversy And Concern

The media is working overtime in getting a new narrative up on the board, that Democrats are worried about Obama's chances. Of course they'll find party fish to take the bait, such as Donny Fowler and un-named Democratic fund-raisers that the NY Post relies on. However, despite a few players that are off-message, the country always knows better than pundits and even the pollsters.

For instance, the division between Hillary and Obama supporters has virtually disappeared. The USA Today will write ridiculous headlines meant to cause controversy yet wait until the last paragraph to mention that eight in ten Americans aren't satisfied with the way things are going. Who do you think has led them to believe that? It isn't Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid that are on most people's minds, it is the man moron currently in the White House. And guess who wants to be just like him for another four or eight years. No, not Barack Obama, despite McCain's surrogates who say as much.

Here in New York conservatively-bent papers like the NY Post are trying to claim that even New York is worrisome for Democrats. Is it true? Of course not. The Post thinks that a double-digit lead for Obama in the Empire State is a good thing for McCain and could even help the GOP to hold onto the State Senate. The media is desperately trying to make this thing into a race (even on the front page of the NY Times) but ultimately in the end, the people will prevail.

Griff Jenkins Needs A Civics Class

Yesterday afternoon hilarity ensued when Griff Jenkins of Fox News tried to interview a group of marching protesters at the DNC in Denver. Throwing oneself into a crowd that is specifically trying to cause trouble is not a smart thing, but Griff goes in headfirst and comes out looking like a moron.

And that "Freedom of Speech" question is the perfect mark of the reporter's stupidity, wtf do you think protesting and marching is Griff? Hmm, maybe Mr. Jenkins only thinks that you can properly exercise that right in a First Amendment zone? Having an employer such as Fox News will seriously dumb you down.

Auto Execs: Can You Spare Some $50 Billion Dollars?

Corporate America hates to see government assistance go to the poor. They had Reagan call them "Welfare Queens" and George W even made the poor poorer. Yet when the titans of industry make bone-headed mistakes, they expect us to bail them out. Case in point here at the end of the 110th Congress is the auto industry and their plea for $50 billion in low-interest loans.

From RawStory:

WASHINGTON -- Automakers plan to urge Congress to support funding up to $50 billion in low-interest loans over three years to help them modernize their assembly plants and develop next-generation fuel-efficient vehicles.

Industry officials said the loans, twice the amount authorized in last year's energy bill, will be a top priority when Congress returns next month because of the declining fortunes of Detroit's automakers and tightening credit markets.

"The amount of concern and urgency from the Detroit companies has increased in the last month and significantly ratcheted up what they're communicating what their funding needs are," said Alan Reuther, legislative director for the United Auto Workers union.

The sad thing is that this could have all been avoided if Detroit employed people that recognized the future and the demand to get off of oil, not to consume as much as possible. Sticking with SUVs and not giving a damn about clean energy is wrecking them in the international marketplace. Now because of that, they are coming to the taxpayer for some TLC.

The big issue here is that a representative from the UAW on their side because the money will keep union workers in their jobs...and rightly so. What I'm getting at here is that because of bad planning, our auto industry has its hat in hand but we shouldn't just be an enabling parent and say "just be careful this time Jimmy." This loan should have strings attached and simple assurances for retooling our factories isn't enough. For this money, the unions should be getting a better deal and standards for clean energy must be raised to a maximum. They've already gotten $25 billion in loans, the next $50 billion must have restrictions and a clear direction on how that money will be used not just to keep business as usual in the auto industry, but to move it into the 21st century.