Saturday, November 08, 2008

Monserrate Makes A Deal, Gang Four Reduced To Three

What was once a formidable challenge to Malcolm Smith's bid to be Majority Leader is not as threatening. Hiram Monserrate was in the "Gang of Four" but has decided to skip out by cutting a deal with Smith. Not only will he not be flirting with the GOP, he'll be voting for Smith when the vote for Majority Leader comes around.

From The Daily Politics:

Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate and Senate Majority Leader-in-Waiting Malcolm Smith are poised to announce that the incoming lawmaker will support his fellow Queens Democrat for leader, sources confirm. He is the first member of the gang to formally endorse Smith.

The deal was sealed late last night here in San Juan, according to the sources, who are both in Puerto Rico and back home in Albany and have been briefed on the details of the agreement.

"He was losing leverage by the hour; there wasn't much more than he could extract," one source said.

In exchange for his support, Monserrate will be tapped to head the Consumer Affairs Committee and also chair the new Latino caucus that Smith pledged to create in an effort to woo the three Hispanic Gang of Four members who felt their community has long been under-represented and under-appreciated by the Senate Democrats.

Liz notes that it would have been risky for Hiram to continue down that road of "independence," especially since his district is heavily Democratic. Espada, Diaz and Kruger however are still out on their own, trying desperately to win something by thinking of caucusing with the Republicans. Of course, as Philip notes it would be best if they cut a deal with their own party and put this dangerous game to rest. Time will tell if the Gang of Four Three will come to their senses.

Barack Obama Roasts Rahm Emanuel

Long before Rahm became Chief of Staff and Obama was even thinking of running for President, he knew Rahm well enough to roast him back in September of 2005:

Run Sarah Run!

Sometimes I really do love the Republican party. No, not their (lack of) ideas, bad policies and sell-out to the highest bidder mentality. In the aftermath of their epic defeat at the hands of a nation that clearly does not care for the corporate welfare and disdain for the middle class, the GOP is wondering what went wrong and where to go from here. One of the first questions is who shall lead them out of the wilderness in 2012 when they fight Obama's re-election.

From Rasmussen:

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republican voters say Alaska Governor Sarah Palin helped John McCain’s bid for the presidency, even as news reports surface that some McCain staffers think she was a liability.

Only 20% of GOP voters say Palin hurt the party’s ticket, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Six percent (6%) say she had no impact, and five percent (5%) are undecided.

Ninety-one percent (91%) of Republicans have a favorable view of Palin, including 65% who say their view is Very Favorable. Only eight percent (8%) have an unfavorable view of her, including three percent (3%) Very Unfavorable.

When asked to choose among some of the GOP’s top names for their choice for the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, 64% say Palin. The next closest contenders are two former governors and unsuccessful challengers for the presidential nomination this year -- Mike Huckabee of Arkansas with 12% support and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts with 11%.

All three of those contenders are terrible for a new and improved GOP, but the numbers for Palin are....well, fantastic, for Democrats that is. Palin can only lead them further into the woods, with her creationist beliefs and level of ethics that makes Newt Gingrich look like an upstanding individual.

Independents are aghast at her selection to be VP by McCain and most of America sans the Republican party saw her as a major drag on the ticket. I know there are a few pundits on the left that tell us to beware of a resurgent Palin in four years but as Paul Begala said on Real Time with Bill Maher last night, you can cure ignorance by learning but not hate and meanness (or something to that effect). That "real-America" crap just does not fly. As for her Presidential aspirations in four years, let's just see if she can be re-elected Governor with all of her ethical scandals pulling down her popularity.

Army Touts Obama Presidency For Recruiting

The army always needs to meet recruiting goals to keep the army strong, but lately they've had a lot of trouble filling the ranks. Thanks to Bush and his illegal war, the army has driven young men and women away from signing up and the fear of going into Iran troubles the parents of children a few years away from turning eighteen. So now with Barack Obama coming into the White House, at least one recruiter is running away from Bush and embracing the anti-Iraq war Barack Obama.

From ThinkProgress:

Within 24 hours of Barack Obama’s election, an Army career counselor sent out a recruiting e-mail promising that the new president would “get us out of Iraq,” reports VetVoice’s Brandon Friedman. “What are you waiting for?” the e-mail asks, arguing the election of Obama makes now the perfect time to join up:


Though it’s not clear whether this recruiter is acting alone, it signals that President Obama might be used as a new, forceful recruiting tool. “If so, this would symbolize a stunning — if not totally rational — renunciation of the Bush administration and its handling of the military,” Friedman writes. “If this becomes an Army policy, it represents a true ‘ding-dong the witch is dead’ moment for the service.”

There are plenty of advantages in joining the army in terms of money for college and learning valuable skills and trades. The problem over the last several years is that the plague of the Iraq war has negated those pluses. Time will tell if we get out of Iraq and if recruiting increases, but this definitely has the potential to beef up the ranks.

Yesterday In 100 Seconds

TPM sums it all up:

Friday, November 07, 2008

Voter Fraud In Alaska?

The Presidential race is over, Barack Obama had a landslide victory, picking up electoral votes in such places as Indiana and even one of Nebraska's. Nothing like Florida in 2000 or Ohio 2008 happened and the race was called early at 11pm EST. Yet after many of us went to bed, the polls closed in Alaska one hour after the crowds were cheering for Obama and the results from up north are extremely troubling.

From RawStory:

Even though the polls this year have generally been pretty accurate, they were way off in Alaska. Stevens was running between 7% and 22% behind his Democratic challenger in the polls, but now he is narrowly ahead in the vote count

Polling analysis website comments, "The emerging conventional wisdom is that there was some sort of a Bradley Effect in this contest -- voters told pollsters that they weren't about to vote for that rascal Ted Stevens, when in fact they were perfectly happy to. Convicted felons are the new black, it would seem. The problem with this theory is that the polling failures in Alaska weren't unique to Stevens."

The polls also consistently showed Rep. Young as losing by at least 6%, but he is currently ahead in the vote count by 8%. Even in the presidential race, where polls showed McCain leading by 14% or less, the vote count has him winning by 61% to 35% -- precisely the same margin as George Bush in 2004. That represents a polling error of at least 11% to 14% in all three races.

At the same time, total voter turnout appears to be about 11% lower in Alaska this year than in 2004 -- despite over 20,000 new registrations, heavy turnout in the primaries, record early voting, long lines at the polls on Election Day, and the state's own governor being on the ballot, all of which had led to an expectation of record participation.
A possible "Bradley effect" in the opposite way is one possibility for Stevens' narrow margin that puts him ahead of Mayor Begich, but it doesn't add up for the other races at the Presidential level and for the Congressional seat. If I had to put on my Captain Obvious glasses, I might just see that Democratic votes were wiped off the tallies. Now who would do such a thing?

Well can you guess who tallies the vote up in the Last Frontier State? If you said "Diebold" then congratulations, but for the voters in the state, I apologize. Of course, Alaskans already know the company's miserable track record, with possible illegalities in 2004 as well as the primary race in 2006 with a state that scoffs at those that would dare question Diebold's accuracy. It is still early, but one thing is for sure, this whole thing smells fishy.

Obama Gives His First Press Conference As Prez-Elect

Shortly before 3pm Eastern time in Chicago, President-elect Obama came out to give his first news conference. It was meant to focus on the economy, only straying with a question about the potential first puppy and schools for Malia and Sasha in D.C. It was relatively short, but Obama made a lot of clear points about what he will do, what he wants seen done and the most important fact that he isn't President for another seventy-three days and nine hours (though he wasn't that specific on the amount of time).

From RawStory:

The president-elect said he would like to see Congress pass another financial rescue package "sooner rather than later," but he promised that it would be his top priority if nothing is completed before Inauguration Day.

Obama emphasized that he was working with President Bush, who he noted would still be in charge for the next few months.

"I am not president, and I won't be until January 20th," Obama said.

Obama offered no clues about whom he would appoint to top cabinet posts like Treasury Secretary.

The transition team will "move with all deliberate haste," in vetting appointees, he said. "But i want to emphasize deliberate as well as haste."
You can see that he is raring to go, but can only cheer from the sidelines until he is officially in office. That doesn't mean his cheering doesn't have significant influence, but anything Congress can come up with now to actually help the middle class would be vetoed by the current President. Having Gov. Granholm (think auto industry) and Paul Volcker immediately behind him with Emanuel and VP-elect Biden along with the rest of the economic transistion team was meant to give him gravitas and it delivered. President Obama will be ready to deliver for our country the moment he takes the oath of office.

Mayor Bloomberg Equals Bush?

An ad that came out right before the election paints a horrifying picture:

I don't think he comes close to George Bush, but his politicking as of lately is awfully familar

Yankees Cheated NYC Out Of $11 Million

Eleven million dollars isn't really that much when you consider the billion dollar plus public financing of the new Yankee Stadium. Still, it was discovered that they improperly deducted expenses from their rent and are finally paying it back. I know most New Yorkers love the team, but the management of the ballclub is absolutely despicable.

From NY1:

The city comptroller's office said today that the Yankees improperly deducted more than $11 million from its annual rent bill for Yankee Stadium between 2003 and 2006.

An audit by Comptroller Bill Thompson finds the Bronx Bombers overstated expenses by more than $24 million, allowing the team to underpay its rent.

Thompson also says the Yanks deducted nearly $10 million in 2006 for planning costs for the new stadium, after claiming those deductions in previous years.

The comptroller says the team has agreed to pay it all back with interest.

How sad that even with all the perks they get from the city, the front office feels that they can abuse the taxpayers that come to watch their games (for ridiculous ticket prices too). It is nice that they are paying it back with interest, but only because Thompson's office audited them. It isn't like the fessed' up to it or anything. Now I'm waiting for Bloomberg to address the issue and punish Steinbrenner's crew, but I won't hold my breath.

As Bush Gets Ready To Leave, Unemployment At Its Worst In 14 Years

George Bush cannot leave office soon enough, but the problems caused by his disastrous Administration will be felt for some time to come. After eight years of a radical conservative agenda, the economy is in the tank thanks to the unadulterated greed that he helped foster. Due to that, we are seeing some of the worst unemployment numbers since the beginning of Clinton's term when he started to fix Poppa Bush's mess.

From TPM:

The jobless rate zoomed to 6.5 percent in October from 6.1 percent in September, matching the rate in March 1994. Employers have cut jobs each month this year.

Unemployment has now surpassed the high seen after the last recession in 2001. The jobless rate peaked at 6.3 percent in June 2003.

Employers got rid of 240,000 jobs in October, marking the 10th straight month of payroll reductions.

Job losses in August and September turned out to be much deeper. Employers cut 127,000 positions in August, compared with 73,000 previously reported. A whopping 284,000 jobs were axed last month, compared with the 159,000 jobs first reported.

So far this year, a staggering 1.2 million jobs have disappeared.

While many Republicans have believed that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong, thankfully the majority of America saw otherwise. In two and half months we will have a President that can and most importantly wants to address the problems in our economic system. Nevertheless, it seems that things are going to get worse before they get better.

Republicans Eating Their Own

Olbermann discusses why on Earth would the Republicans be trying to tear each other down to the degree they have been over the last couple of days? As we on the left laugh at Palin's lack of civics and geography, you've got to wonder who benefits from hurling these embarrassing attacks.

So far the best guess is that they are just juvenile hits that will help to spin the GOP further out of control.

RFK Jr. As Head Of E.P.A. Would Be A Blessing For Us All

As the names peek out of the hat of a potential Obama Administration Cabinet, the difference between the current President and the next truly show the significance of what happened three days ago. Americans wanted change and they are going to get it. Over the last eight years, the EPA has suffered tremendously in its effectiveness to regulate polluters of the environment and many within have actively worked to hurt our planet for the benefit of the fossil fuel industries. Christie Todd Whitman was a joke and Stephen Johnson has actually tried to fight states who want to be more environmentally friendly. So who could Obama replace him with?

From The Times Union:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., founder of the New York-based water-protection group Waterkeeper Alliance, is interested in the Cabinet-level job, said Chris Navitsky, who heads the nonprofit group Lake George Waterkeeper.

Navitsky, whose organization is part of Waterkeeper Alliance's 177 programs around the world, said the telephone lines and e-mails have been buzzing about Kennedy in recent days as his fellow directors consider the possibility that he could be the nation's chief environmental officer.[...]

He wondered if Kennedy, an environmental lawyer with a long history of suing polluters, would face spirited opposition from some past adversaries during potential confirmation hearings.

"It will be interesting to see how influential some businesses might be in this. Bobby is despised by some sectors, like coal and power plants," said Navitsky.

Despised by them, loved by those of us that want to see the Earth taken care of. This is a new beginning for our nation and unlike what many Republicans tried to claim, it is much more than just words of change, it will be actual, ground-breaking and Earth-shattering (shattering in a good way) change. It is time to put the people first, not the industries that continue to pollute our planet. Cheers to a possible RFK, Jr. EPA!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Bloomberg's Answer To Fiscal Crisis Is To Punish The Middle Class

Supporters of Mayor Bloomberg's end run around democracy last month claim that they want someone that can steer us through bad financial times. Well he is definitely ready to act, but if you aren't a wealthy developer or real estate tycoon he might just crash the budget right through you. His proposals thus far to close the city's budget gap is to cut programs for those that have been slashed too much already.

From The NY Daily News:

His solution includes:

- Not only slashing 3,000 jobs but canceling the January Police Academy class.

- Chopping school-based budgets by 1.3% - $359 million - over the next two years.

- Rescinding the 7% property tax rate cut this year, pumping $576 million into the city's coffers.

- Erasing the $400 rebate, a savings of $256 million.

- Increasing fees and fines to generate $123 million.[...]

The bleeding will include shorter library hours, less training for firefighters and fewer child welfare supervisors and street cleaners.

Even with the layoffs and steep service slashes, Bloomberg said, the city still faces a $1.3 billion deficit in 2010.

The list of possibilities to recoup the cash, he said, includes repealing the sales tax exemption on clothing, raising income taxes by 7.5% or even 15% in January and more services cuts.

The proposed increase in personal income tax would hit the middle class, costing those who earn $50,000 to $90,000 about $116 to $356 more next year, according to City Hall's estimates.

Nothing in that bill has any effect on those who have plenty of money to weather the financial storm we are in. Every single item in there is meant to save Bloomberg's wealthy friends at the expense of those who are having trouble in these times. The truth is he really could care less about the residents of New York City, unless they are a part of the gentrification process or call the Plaza or the Pierre their second home.

So will the City Council play ball and bend over for the Mayor like twenty-nine of them did with the term limits fiasco? Quinn doesn't like what Bloomberg wants to do, but since she is the Mayor's official tool, I have no confidence in her to do anything right for her constituents on the west side or any side of our city. She has already proven her worthlessness to us as Speaker and better expect to be challenged for her seat next year, along with everyone else she helped get behind the Mayor with their arm-twisting and threats of taking away their precious lulu.

Joe The Plumber Continues To Embarrass Himself

If I were Joe Samuel television would be the last place I'd be, but he really wants to keep his fifteen minutes going, presumably until his country music contract comes through. On Hannity and Colmes, Alan slams him over and over, with one key fact that should have been expounded upon. Joe was on welfare? Joe used that to better his family and came out of poverty because of a government-run program? Oh. My. God. Wow, that is incred....exactly how it is supposed to work.

Seriously this man is a hypocrite, dude, walk off the stage already and spare yourself.

Republicans Abandoning State Senate?

Now that the S.S. State Senate Republican Majority has capsized, it might just sink even faster into the depths due to retirements. Plenty of Senators are well into their senior years and without the power of being in power, it might just be time to call it quits. So far the rumors have two Senators getting ready to throw the towel in.

From The Daily Politics:

Democrats are already pushing the story that at least one - and potentially two - Senate Republicans may be poised to consider mid-term retirements now that they find themselves relegated to minority status for the first time since 1965.

This is, of course, a good way to debstabilize the GOP and also to send a message to the Gang of Four that the power they're enjoying from their current swing status may not last.

For what it's worth, among those on today's speculation list are:

- Sen. Stephen Saland, 41st SD, a veteran lawmaker, who served in the Assembly from 1980 to 1990 and then went to the Senate.

- Sen. Hugh Farley, 44th SD, a close friend of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno who was first elected in 1976.

According to a highly-placed GOP source, Saland, who defeated Democrat Ken Dow on Tuesday, has already informed the GOP assemblyman most likely to seek his seat, Marc Molinaro, that he intends to leave sometime between now and April, sparking a special election.

Of course both deny it, but that's nothing new in politics. While it could be a ploy by the Dems to control the "gang of four" it is highly likely that the old fogeys will be heading out of Albany sooner rather than later. Though perhaps they'll retain a little dignity and just serve out the next two years. And if Padavan holds onto his narrow lead in the current election, he'll most likely be one of those on their way out as well. His picture on the poll site A frames may show a lively guy (because the picture is many years old), but in person he's anything but.

What The Hell Staten Island?

First off, I'd like to congratulate our fifth borough for electing Mike McMahon to Congress, adding yet another Democrat to caucus and making New York City's delegation completely blue. With that, why the hell did the island go for John McCain and Sarah "nutjob" Palin? I know Staten Islanders are generally more conservative, but registrations have moved significantly for Democrats and on top of that, voted for Gore. So what's going on here?

From The NY Times:

“You see that kind of voting there because Staten Island has a lot of Republicans and the people we used to call Reagan Democrats,” said John H. Mollenkopf, director of the Center for Urban Research at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

“You have a large group of Italian-Americans and German-Amercians, people from blue collar backgrounds,” Mr. Mollenkopf said. “And they are used to crossing party lines to vote for one way for one office and for another party for another office on the ballot.”

In fact, Staten Island, the smallest of the city’s boroughs, is vastly different from its counterparts. The island is physically separated from the rest of New York City; no subway runs from other parts of the city to the island and it is reachable by car only by a single bridge or a boat.

It is overall the most suburban of the five boroughs of New York City. It is also the whitest of the boroughs, with about 77 percent of its 477,000 residents being white. Hispanic Staten Islanders make up about 12 percent of the population and black residents make up about a tenth.

Yeah, yeah, the place is different, I get that. Yet is it just because there are more white people that determined the borough's vote? Indiana and Iowa went for Obama and Iowa is way more white than Staten Island. Perhaps it is the "Reagan Democrat" effect, or more bluntly a nastier side of the American electorate that thinks that they'll do better if only those that look like themselves get a leg up. That ugliness popped up on election night when a group of thugs attacked Ali Kamara for being a black muslim, mentioning Obama as they beat him. It may only be one incident, but can you imagine that happening in Manhattan? I think not.

Congratulations To Jim Himes And Connecticut

I couldn't possibly live with myself without congratulating Jim Himes and the people of Fairfield County for purging themselves of a sellout Chris Shays. It is just so nice to look at New England and not see one single Republican district.

Time For Holy Joe Lieberman To Go!

Yeah I know Senator Lieberman could possibly be a part of a filibuster-proof majority if we take the remaining undetermined races. Yet is it worth it to have a traitor in our midst just for the magic number? In two years' time we'll be gunning at eighteen different Republican Senators and we are bound to get at least a few. Now is the time to expunge the turncoat for his lustful romance with the GOP these last few years.

From Crooks and Liars:

Isn't this so cute? (via email)

Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today issued the following statement on the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States:

"I sincerely congratulate President-elect Obama for his historic and impressive victory. America remains a nation of extraordinary opportunity and the American people are a people of extraordinary fairness. Now that the election is over, it is time to put partisan considerations aside and come together as a nation to solve the difficult challenges we face and make our blessed land stronger and safer. I pledge to work with President-elect Obama and his incoming Administration in their efforts to reinvigorate our economy and keep our nation secure and free."

While I'm trying to get into the spirit of Obama's hope for a post-partisan presidency, can I be allowed this one small, deeply partisan moment and demand the Senate leadership kick this sorry ass out of the Democratic caucus once and for all?

Lieberman is supposed to meet with Harry Reid later this week. Once upon a time, Reid was insisting that Lieberman was "with us on everything but the war." Of course, that was before he said he feared "America will not survive" if Democrats won 60 seats and before he said Obama "has not always put America first" and said he was "not ready to lead."

When Obama starts leading our nation out of this dark time of the Bush years, Lieberman needs to be on the sidelines and heading off into obscurity. Reid may have been a fan of Joe once upon a time but now it is time to do the right thing and make him irrelevant. He's practically a Republican, so let him be with the party that has failed us with their extreme conservative ideology.

The Disasta Returns To Alaska

Large (or small) crowds are gone, as are the free clothes and the chartered jets to ferry Sarah Palin around the country. She is now off to return to the Great White North and resume her gubernatorial duties (or not). One thing that is up in the air right now is her political future, whether that be for the national GOP, her re-election in two years or even the remaining amount of time left for her current term. What is certain though, is that the Alaska she left is not the same place she left two months ago.

From The Anchorage Daily News:

In the 68 days since Alaska's governor began her run for vice president, things have changed on the home front. Some of her former allies are fuming, and former enemies are lying in wait. Public perceptions of the governor have also changed. Has the governor changed as well?

Questions about Palin's future began to circulate at Alaska's Election Central on Tuesday night almost as soon as the national election results came in.

Palin is expected to arrive in Alaska sometime today in a campaign plane. Will she be the old Palin, a populist who worked with Democrats to achieve victories in the Legislature, or the sharp partisan from the national campaign?

At an Alaska Obama gathering Tuesday night, some celebrants said they were disappointed by the new Palin they saw in the campaign.

Well it is good of the Obama supporters up there to realize that, but we are talking about a state that just might have re-elected a convicted felon to the United States Senate. Alaska just might embrace her again, especially with some time for the liberals up there to cool down from the vicious attacks that their governor lobbed on them. As for a future on a national scale, the extremists would have to win out their party's civil war before she could come back down here. Meanwhile McCain's people are busy destroying whatever credibility she has left.

Do The Republicans Understand What Just Happened?

Cenk Uyugr wants Republicans to realize that their party needs to come back towards the rest of America in order to have a healthy debate. Instead many in the GOP think they need to go further to the right. The problem within the party though, is that some do get it and are fighting the extremists. What that will create is a civil war of epic proportions.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Prop 8 Goes To Court

Now that it is clear that a majority of voters in California have decided that gays in their state should have less rights then their heterosexual selves, the argument will go to the court that originally affirmed that such discrimination was unconstitutional. I am all for the will of the people to decide what policies to enact and not to, but the line gets drawn when the object is to deny people fundamental rights as human beings.

From The San Francisco Gate:

As the vote counting continued this morning, opponents of Prop. 8 filed a lawsuit directly with the state Supreme Court - whose May 15 ruling legalized same-sex marriage - asking the justices to overturn the measure.

The suit argued that Prop. 8 would change the California Constitution in such fundamental ways - taking important rights away from a minority group - that it amounted to a constitutional revision, which requires approval by the Legislature before being submitted to the voters. The case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Lamda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

The same groups asked the court before the election to remove Prop. 8 from the ballot on those grounds. The justices refused, but left the door open for a post-election challenge.

"A major purpose of the Constitution is to protect minorities from majorities," said Elizabeth Gill, an ACLU lawyer. "Because changing that principle is a fundamental change to the organizing principles of the Constitution itself, only the Legislature can initiative such revisions."

I really can't say it better than Elizabeth did. America is all about expanding rights to its citizens and has done so consistently throughout her history. The country is a far different place than it was in the late 18th century and we have progressed to include everyone in our system of government, not just those that the majority have deemed their lifestyle "acceptable" according to their religion or belief system.

Gennaro-Padavan Coming Down To The Wire

The State Senate has already been wrested from Republican hands, but we still have a race in Queens that is too close to call. Senate District 11 has been in Frank Padavan's hands since 1972, but Councilman Jim Gennaro gave one of the strongest challenges Northeast Queens has seen in decades. Having Barack Obama at the top of Row A (or Row E) didn't hurt either. Despite Frank's good constituent work and ability to pull in the pork, the people of Queens made this written-off race a nail biter.

From Capitol Confidential:

The final remaining question mark in the Senate fight for the majority - the Queens race between Sen. Frank Padavan and James Gennaro - won’t be resolved anytime soon, from what it seems.

There are thousands of paper affidavit ballots that haven’t been counted, and there are plans to recanvass the voting machines this week, going into next week, according to Gennaro consultant Evan Stavisky.

At last count, Padavan had 41,820 votes to Gennaro’s 41,097 votes - a margin of just 723 votes.

I've heard from the Gennaro campaign (one that I've helped out btw) that the margin is 580, but the key is the absentee voters and paper ballot voters. The Gennaro camp is very positive about the results of those uncounted ballots, as well as the recount of the machines. A Gennaro victory is not only good for the people of Northeast Queens, but all of New York by making it harder for the not-so-Democratic Democrats also known as the "Gang of Four."

Norm Coleman Talks Nervously About A Recount

On the day after, there are plenty of races still unsettled. One is up in Minnesota between Senator Norm Coleman and his challenger Al Franken. The vote at the moment is within 0.04 percent. Norm says he thinks a recount prevents the healing process from starting, but if I were a betting man, I'd stake a lot of chips on the fact that Norm would be whining his ass off for a recount if the margin was ten times the amount it is now.

While Obama Wins, Equality For All Americans Fails

Make no doubt about it, last night was a tremendous turning point in our nation. Barack Obama's overwhelming victory was a testament to our nation's democracy. However, not everything went well for those that must seek to be seen as equals in our society. Across the country, numerous propositions were put onto the ballots of states such as California, Florida, Arizona and Arkansas to restrict the rights of the GLBT community. I didn't expect much from Arizona, Arkansas and Florida (sorry to those that do support equal rights there but clearly you aren't the majority) but I was hoping California could overcome. I was sadly mistaken about having that hope.

From The LA Times:

In San Francisco on Tuesday night at the packed headquarters of the "No on 8" campaign party in the Westin St. Francis Hotel, supporters heard from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, whose decision to issue same-sex wedding licenses in his city led to the court ruling that made gay marriage briefly legal in the state. .

"You decided to live your life out loud. You fell in love and you said, 'I do.' Tonight, we await a verdict," Newsom said, speaking to a roaring crowd before final returns were in.

Elsewhere in the country, two other gay-marriage bans, in Florida and Arizona, also won. In both states, laws already defined marriage as a heterosexual institution. But backers pushed to amend the state constitutions, saying that doing so would protect the institution from legal challenges.

Proposition 8 was the most expensive proposition on any ballot in the nation this year, with more than $74 million spent by both sides.

The measure's most fervent proponents believed that nothing less than the future of traditional families was at stake, while opponents believed that they were fighting for the fundamental right of gay people to be treated equally under the law.
Obviously the ridiculous belief that restricting rights of the gay community made the "traditional" families safer. Shame on the majority of California's voters for denying people their rights as human beings.

Well, while their ignorance and bigotry may have the proponents of these bills cheering, they must know the fight isn't over. Just as the country's attitude on race is slowly changing as new voters come into the system and the older ones fade out, so too will the ability to treat people the same regardless of their sexual orientation. It took a long time to get where we are on race (and we still have a long ways to go) and hopefully we can get equal rights for all within a smaller amount of time. Maybe not this year and years past, but the future will ultimately be better.

America Strongly Stands Up, Now It's Time To Move

The world is taking it all in, Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States. People from London to Tokyo cheered the results and today the dollar is up against the Euro and the markets are....well, the markets are the markets. The facts are that the Democratic majority in the House and the Senate grew tremendously because the nation demanded a change. As 2009 begins, the 111th Congress and the new President have great expectations thrown upon them. The critics in the media are already salivating over a repeat of Clinton's first term, where the Democrats ended up crumbling under the GOP's ability to trick Americans with wedge issues and fearmongering. Yet where Clinton's neo-liberal agenda failed, a progressive one under Obama will succeed.

From ThinkProgress:

As Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explains, “In this election, Obama proudly stood up for progressive values and the superiority of progressive policies; John McCain, in return, denounced him as a socialist, a redistributor. And the American people rendered their verdict. Now the work begins.”

A mandate for progressive change exists. In a memo released today, the Center for American Progress Action Fund writes, “Obama ran on the most progressive platform of any presidential candidate in at least 15 years, including a promise of universal health care coverage, a dramatic transformation to a low-carbon economy, and a historic investment in education.” Read the full memo below:

Our nation today is only now realizing the extent of the resounding victory for progressive ideals registered on election day. Progressives triumphed in all regions of the country and won overwhelming support from individuals of all different backgrounds. President-elect Barack Obama defeated Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) decisively, winning the most votes in history and the largest share of the popular vote of any presidential candidate in two decades. Candidates running on progressive platforms helped Democrats expand their majorities in both houses of Congress. Democrats now have the most elected members of Congress any party has held since 1995.

Now comes the hard part. Our country faces enormous challenges, many the direct result of eight years of hapless conservative governance. The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression is only the latest blow delivered to the American people after years of stagnant wages and the worst job-creation record since Herbert Hoover. Our increasingly costly health care system leaves out more and more Americans every year.

Years of war in Iraq have left Americans less safe at home and abroad despite the incredible sacrifice of our brave fighting men and women there and in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and the Al Qaeda terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 are mounting a comeback. And our planet is now eight years closer to catastrophic climate change.

Sen. McCain and other conservatives supported these policies, and they ran this election year on ambitious conservative plans that would have gone even further. The American people rejected these stale ideas yesterday, understanding the dismal consequences of conservatism these past eight years. The urgency of our problems was central to the decisions of American voters, who were significantly more likely to say that the economy, taxes, heath care, and energy were “very important” compared to four years ago, according to the Pew Research Center.

That’s why candidates who embraced progressive solutions to these problems won. Obama ran on the most progressive platform of any presidential candidate in at least 15 years, including a promise of universal health care coverage, a dramatic transformation to a low-carbon economy, and a historic investment in education. Winning congressional candidates also embraced progressive policies. And polls showed that voters supported progressive solutions by wide margins.

In a few short months, leaders who support progressive ideals will take up the reins of government in Washington. We must rise to the occasion. We must move beyond the false choice of left versus center to embrace solutions as big as the challenges we face.

We need investments now to jumpstart our economy while laying the foundations for sustained economic growth. Restoring confidence in our economy will require a new direction for the economy, health care, clean energy, and education. And we must be willing to set priorities on government spending to restore budgetary responsibility in the coming years.

If we do these things, then we can translate yesterday's victory at the polls into a victory for health care, clean energy, national security, and a stronger and larger middle class. The American people are ready. Now it’s time to deliver.

Krugman is exactly right, this isn't 1992. America is hurting more than ever under the tutelage of conservative ideologues and now we must go a different way that puts people first ahead of corporate America. Obama said it in his victory speech last night, it is time for Main Street to come before Wall Street (I'm paraphrasing) and that we must rise and fall as a nation united. That means following the guidelines that Center for American Progress lays out as well as other progressive organizations. The old ideas didn't work, now lets get back to policies that have worked for us in prior trying times, and adapt them for our 21st century.

Yes We Did And Yes We Can

As always, Barack Obama delivers a beautiful and well-timed speech:

He knows the victory we achieved, but also that we have a long way to go and must work together, putting the awful, hate-driven politics of the prior leadership behind us.

A Great Night For New York!

Barack Obama was elected in a landslide victory last night, but it wasn't the only cause for celebration, especially here in the Empire State. The NY Democratic State Party played Sinatra's "New York, New York" and for good reason. The gains we made from Congress down to City Council were fantastic. There are only three Republicans left in Congressional delegation now, with Michael McMahon's, Dan Maffei and Eric Massa's victories.

In the already heavily Democratic Assembly we picked up another seat but the real contest was in the State Senate. Despite disappointing numbers from Western NY, Brian Foley and Joseph Addabbo managed to beat long time incumbents Caesar Trunzo and Serphin Maltese respectively. Those two give the Dems the majority, with a close call in SD-11 where Jim Gennaro is trying to unseat 36 year stalwart Frank Padavan. The latest numbers show Jim trailing, but it is too close for Gennaro to concede now. Although the independent Dems in the Senate poise to give Paterson and Malcolm Smith some problems, it is still extraordinary to see the power taken from Dean Skelos and ultimately, Joe Bruno's hands. We will have to wait and see how things develop, which will start to show when Smith holds his caucus meeting up in Albany today.

And of course, much of this can be credited to the top of the ticket, President-elect Barack Obama (God I love saying that!). He certainly helped give the edge to Elizabeth Crowley who knocked newcomer Republican Anthony Como out of his Queens Council district. That leaves Republicans with just two out of fifty-one spots on the City Council. Not that it matters in the scheme of things at City Hall, but it adds sprinkles on top of an already delicious night.

Oh and last but not least, cheers to everyone in New York that helped make these gains possible. Governor Paterson thanked all the canvassers, phonebankers, etc in his speech last night and I second that praise, from Western New York to Eastern Long Island.

The Three Sweetest Words: President-Elect Obama

It truly is incredible to be able to say that he is, "President-Elect Obama." Four years ago as of this past July, I was introduced to Barack Obama in the Fleet Center at the Democratic National Convention. His speech there was like nothing I had ever seen before. He held the audience in his hand and blew everyone away, making him the talk of the convention even if he wasn't the nominee.

Then at the beginning of 2007 he started down the path of a hard campaign to become our 44th President. Wow, just, wow! I wasn't a supporter at first, but by February of this year I jumped on board and the more I gave to the campaign in small donations and larger amounts of time, the more I got back from the candidate. Sure, we've had our disagreements but in the end our similarities unite all of us around our next President.

All the hard work had finally culminated into the last day of the election and what a day Tuesday, November 4th was. I bounded out of my apartment just before 6am, giddy and teary at being able to vote for Barack Obama. Seeing the 45 minute line that awaited me was an inspiration, knowing that so many of us were doing whatever it took to cast our ballots for a change. From then on I worked at a couple of poll sites for a candidate out in Queens but kept abreast of the news from my Treo during the day.

Finally it was getting too dark to see and it was time to head back to the city. Watching the first returns at dinner (the place at wifi!) gave me hope but I simply had no idea. The first party at DL21C on west 50th was overcrowded, smelly and loud but the metaphorical air was as sweet as a pastry shop. State after state came in blue and we all cheered. My girlfriend and I however, were in need of some air, so out we went and then over to the NY State Democratic Party party at the Sheraton in Midtown.

The big airy room was packed with revellers and politicians, but was much more amenable and there we stayed until after midnight. When Virginia went blue, I knew it was over, but I just had to see the west coast close their polls to make it official, because the news was almost too good to be true. Yet, it was true and at eleven o'clock, President-Elect Obama was a reality, and the room filled with cheers and screams, followed by tears and hugs. And to top it off, when Governor Paterson came out to speak (during McCain's concession speech) he announced we had won the State Senate back as well, and it added the icing to an already sweet, incredible and Earth-changing cake.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Two Year Election Condensed Into One Minute

Okay so the video is actually a minute and forty seconds, but the comedy team at 23/6 pretty much covers everything in a nutshell:

And now it is time for a break and to hit the NYC election parties!

Cheers to watching more great returns!

Riot Police Called Up In Ohio?!?

It truly is amazing to see the difference between a swing state and a traditionally blue one like what we have here in New York. Today I talked to voters in the neighborhood of Jamaica, Queens, encouraging them to kick State Senator Frank Padavan out of office and to elect a progressive in his stead by the name of Jim Gennaro. It was relatively quiet out in the suburbs but a steady stream of voters proceeded to cast their ballots. I handed out palm cards next to a Padavan supporter and even though we agreed to disagree on things, it was always polite and civil. That is why it is scary as hell to hear what is going on in Toledo, Ohio right now.

From RawStory:

Police chief Mike Navarre told the network officers will carry equipment similar to the gear they used during 2005 race riots.

"They have been asked to have their helmets and their gas masks available tomorrow and Wednesday," Navarre said, "That's the equipment they would not normally carry with them on a normal day."

Police chief Navarre added that officers wouldn't be station at individual polling places -- but the memo says otherwise. According to NBC, it reads, "On Tuesday, units shall be directed to patrol the polling locations".
First of all, Navarre should be brought up on charges for violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Then he should be fired by the city of Toledo before being held accountable for his actions. There is absolutely no reason to turn the cops into soldiers during the election. If he is trying to instill fear into the hearts of Toledo, I'm sure he succeeded to some degree. People ran from similar-looking law enforcement in places like Burma a few months ago.

While November 4th is not a normal day, it is not a time for active voter suppression by the police chief nor any other official authority figure. This is the day America votes, not the time to cower in fear of cops who look menacing with gas masks and helmets. If Jamaica, Queens isn't seeing it, neither should Toledo, Ohio.

NY Repubs Try To Trick Upstaters To Vote Obama And State Senate GOP

The Republican Party in New York aren't stupid, but they certainly think some upstate voters are dumb. In the hotly contested seat previously held by Republican Mary Lou Rath, the robocalls are getting very deceptive. The GOP knows New York is going a deep, dark blue for Obama, but State Senate races are a little murkier thanks to less media coverage. So what does the tricksters at the GOP do?

From The NY Daily News:

A Buffalo reader wrote in to say that residents in upstate SDs where there are competitive races are reporting receiving robocalls that urge them to vote for Barack Obama for president and also for the Republican candidate for Senate.

No recordings yet (send them if you've got 'em, please). But the script in the 61st SD, where Democrat "Baby" Joe Mesi is fighting Republican Michael Razenhofer for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Mary Lou Rath is as follows:

"Tomorrow's election is critical for our future, I'm calling to ask you to go out and vote for Obama for president and Ranzenhofer for state Senate."

Similar calls were reported in the 58th SD, where Republican Dennis Delano is trying to oust Democratic Sen. Bill Stachowski.

So much for party loyalty with McCain, to the state GOP, it is all about holding on to the power they still have. Of course, they can't really do that with their record on the issues in the state, so they have to resort to a vain attempt that tries to fool Obama supporters into voting Republican.

How pathetic!

Forget The Exit Polls, Go With The 7-11 Poll

In a hurry to hear how much Obama is beating McCain by? Nevermind those exit pollers, take it straight from the coffee/tea drinkers at 7-Eleven. This was taken by a Gothamist reader in Manhattan:

Photo by Daniel McCormack.

Well there you have it, Obama by a caffeinated landslide!

Obama Wins Dixville Notch!

Keeping with tradition, the small town of Dixville Notch, NH voted early this morning and the tally is already in. For years on end, the Republican candidate has won this race in the small hamlet. Even in years where voter turnout is low, all the eligible voters come out early so they can make headlines. John McCain might have been counting on some positive news early in the morning, but that could not be found up there.

From The NY Daily News:

DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H. - Democrat Barack Obama came up a big winner in the presidential race in Dixville Notch, N.H., where the nation's first Election Day votes were cast and counted early Tuesday morning.

Obama defeated John McCain, 15 to 6. Independent Ralph Nader received no votes.

Well it would be great to see Nader's count stay the same, but it shouldn't go too much higher, certainly not percentage-wise. As for the main event, an Obama victory here might just foretell a blowout nationwide by the end of the night.

Fired Up And Ready To Go!

I’m writing this from the F train somewhere under Queens, speeding (yes, it is the express train) to one of Jim Gennaro’s campaign offices. Jim is running against the Republican State Senator Frank Padavan. If we win this race and one other Democratic challenger in New York beats an incumbent we will take back the Senate for the first time since the 1960s. I’m looking forward to all the GOTV of the day. Though the day started hours ago when I went to vote.

As you can see, even here on the East Side of Manhattan the line to vote was already lengthy before the polls opened. I took this picture at 6:00am and was astounded by the amount of voters. This poll site is never crowded, ever. After thirty minutes outside on a thankfully warm November morning, I got inside and the one massive line broke into several smaller ones according to election district. Yet the wait was worth it, as I pulled the lever to the right and flipped the switch for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Here in New York fusion parties are allowed (among a few other states), so I went down Row E for the Working Families Party. In a nutshell, they operate outside the two-party system but help to push Democrats into doing all the good things that they are supposed to do.

Being able to cast my vote this morning was one of the most thrilling things I’ve done in quite a while, even with all the volunteering and donating under my belt for Obama. Definitely do not underestimate the power of your vote, and if you haven't done so yet make sure you stay in line when you get there. I really, really, really feel for those that are voting in swing states today. If you are in North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, North Dakota (heh) or one of the other key states, my thoughts are with you.

And last but not least, thank you to the poll workers of Renwick Gardens for helping to make it all happen for me and my vote....and to all poll workers across the country that help facilitate this part of our democracy. I'll be saving these pictures for quite sometime, because I want to tell my future kids and grandkids that I voted for Barack Obama and here's the proof of my commitment to vote. Now it is time to get as many others to vote here for a Democratic State Senate, here's my stop and I'm ready to go!

Why Gay Marriage Is Wrong

Here are ten top reasons why people oppose equal rights for the LGBT community with ten bitingly sarcastic responses to each.

If any of those apply to your reasoning process (don't worry I won't tell) and you realize that denying people the same rights as a straight person is wrong, then congratulations! Now go tell someone you know in California to vote NO on Prop 8.

Monday, November 03, 2008

California GOP Proves They Have No Heart

Plenty of Republicans in California are compassionate people, but those at the helm of the party in the Golden State are anything but. Shortly before Barack Obama's grandmother tragically passed away from cancer one day before the election, they decided to file suit with the FEC over Obama's trip to see her in Hawaii.

From RawStory:

"Obama for America violated federal law by converting its campaign funds to Senator Obama's personal use," the release stated. "Senator Obama recently traveled to Hawaii to visit his sick grandmother. This was the right thing for any grandson to do -- at his own expense -- but it was not travel that his campaign may fund."

Federal law prohibits campaigns from using campaign funds for personal travel. Obama's campaign said beforehand that they had reviewed the trips with their lawyers and believed it was allowable. Republicans, meanwhile, contend that because Obama did not campaign in Hawaii, it should not have been budgeted as a campaign expense.
Tasteless? You betcha. Cheap political stunt meant to enrage the inner-campaign finance nut gone horribly wrong? Oh yeah. And it almost always seems never to fail, but what they complain about can be turned around on their own candidate in spectacular hypocritical fashion. Just another anvil thrown onto an already sinking ship named S.S. McPalin.

The Last Throes Of The McCain Campaign

There are less than 26 hours before all the polls close on election day and all signs point toward an Obama victory (that doesn't mean you do not have to go out and volunteer and fight until every ballot is counted). That is a tremendous thing for America and the fact that we as a nation can elect an African-American to be our President. For the McCain/Palin ticket however, it means the ugliness continues to dig new depths.

From TPM:

In a speech just now in Missouri, Sarah Palin unleashed some of the most ostentatious POW-POW-POWing of the campaign, and strongly implied that Dems think the "terrorists" are the "good guys."

After saying that some Dems want to cut defense spending by a quarter, she said:

"What do they think? Do they think that the terrorists have all of a sudden become the good guys, and changed their minds? No! The terrorists still seek to destroy America and her allies and all that it is that is that we stand for: Freedom, tolerance, equality."
What she stands for is anything but freedom, tolerance and equality. Freedom only applies if you adhere to her narrow right-wing views. Tolerance for "good Christians" in "pro-America" and fugheddaboutit if you live in a big city. Equality, now that is just an outright joke. I wonder if anyone at her sparsely attended rally laughed. Most likely not, because they are probably getting ready to cry tomorrow night as the returns come in.

As for the bit about Democrats thinking that terrorists are good guys, I've got four letters for her on that:


The Most Important Thing You Do Tomorrow...

Besides being able to wake up, the most important thing tomorrow is to vote. The powers that be are trying to do everything and anything to suppress your right as an American to choose who will represent you in government.

So if you are in a swing state, remember to stay in line if the lines get long. They may try to test our will but they cannot break our spirit.

Lets Turn NY Completely Blue Tomorrow!

I just got done canvassing a nice chunk of District 15 for Jim Gennaro out here in Queens. The response has been extremely positive, but the race is too close to call. After nearly seventy years of Republican dominance, it is well past the time to make a change up in Albany but it can't come soon enough. We are down to just a two-seat differential and it could happen right here in this Borough. It is looking good here for Gennaro and Addabbo, but things are going great for Brian Foley out on Long Island as well. As the Daily News reports, it is within the Democrats grasp. So what does it all mean?

From New York Magazine:

They’d like to scale back the state’s mandatory sentencing for drug crimes, arguing that they’re unfair and target minorities. They’d reduce sentences for nonviolent, low-level offenders and expand judges’ discretion to order treatment instead of jail.[...]

They’d establish the fundamental right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy prior to fetal viability and in later stages if the woman’s health is at risk.[...]

They want to substantially lower political-contribution limits and close loopholes that allow donors to funnel money through limited-liability companies. Last year, Spitzer failed to cut a deal with Republicans that would have lowered the contribution limit for statewide candidates to $15,000 from $55,800. They’d revive Spitzer’s plan.[...]

They want paid leave for employees tending to a sick family member or caring for a newborn. A leading proposal would provide about three months of $170-a-week leave and would be paid for with a small payroll deduction.

And that is just the beginning. There is so much we can do to change the way our state responds to its citizens and it starts with the election tomorrow. So if you have some spare time, come out to Queens or Long Island and volunteer your time. Hell, take a day off work and come canvassing and make phone calls. I promise you'll feel great at the end of the day knowing you helped affect change for New York, not to mention knowing that it helps increase the turn out for the overall vote, from the Presidential race on down.

McCain Has A Spelling Problem

McCain already has a host of problems with his campaign and unfortunately, spelling happens to be one of them. Sure, it doesn't rank up there with his views on the war, the economy and choosing the Thrilla' from Wasilla but there is nothing worse than screwing up an advertisement or a flyer than a spelling error.

From ThinkProgress:

Yesterday, the McCain campaign released an online advertisement that responded to Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) criticism of its tax policy as “making a virtue of selfishness.” The ad — which featured a yellowed picture of a scowling Obama — misspelled the word “virtue.” Here is a screenshot of the “virture” ad:

“VIRTURE” (11/2/08)


This is at least the third time in the past month that the McCain-Palin ticket has released advertisements with misspellings. Here are the other two, both available on the official McCain YouTube channel:

EVERBODY” (10/16/08)

EXAGERRATE” (10/2/08)

At the Presidential level, this type of mistake shouldn't even be an issue. Yet the misspellings are symbolic of the larger flaws in the campaign. Perhaps I'm just a little bit of a spelling nut, but I know I'm not alone. The most important thing is that these little things takes away time that McCain could use to present a positive message about himself. Not that he has one, so he just resorts to nasty, misspelled attacks against Obama.

Maher Debates Religion With Mike Huckabee

When it comes to debates on religion, these two men are some of the best to argue each side of whether or not there is a God:

Waiting In Line To Give The Mayor A Piece Of My Mind

This morning I went to City Hall to give the Mayor a piece of my mind. I knew there would be a good amount of people in attendance but I did not expect a massive horde like this one to the left (taken with my cell phone). I saw plenty of politicians like Anthony Weiner, Bill de Blasio, newcomer Dan Squadron, Letitia James, my very own Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, Peter Vallone Sr. and many others.

I got to chat with a member of the Protect LES and Chinatown group that deplores the Mayor's attempt at rezoning policy that will give large chunks of the city to developers at the expense of those that live there now. I had a nice discussion with Susan Lerner of Common Cause about term limits and what a Democratic State Senate would mean for the issue. Yet because I am an ordinary New Yorker and have time constraints (besides I'd rather be canvassing this afternoon rather than waiting in line to see the Mayor) I left before I even had a chance to get close to the Blue Room.

Of course, even if I had waited to see my Mayor all day long and gave the best two minute speech of my life, it wouldn't have made a difference. The truth is that the public comment period is a farce and that everyone at City Hall this morning was there for the theater. That doesn't mean that being there was for naught, because the people will watch the news reports and be reminded yet again that Bloomberg subverted democracy for political expediency and to enhance his own power. Though if anyone was under the impression that they can sway the Mayor, then they will be sorely disappointed. What we need to do is lead the people who have been fooled by the Mayor's misdirection and get them to vote Bloomberg and the 29 bums who supported the extension of term limits out of office next year and send a clear message to the Council that they better start respecting the will of the people.

Boehner Calls Obama Chickenshit Straight From The Coop

This weekend the surrogates were out in full force for both candidates but the tone of both sides couldn't be more different. House Minority Leader John Boehner for example, talked about Obama's "present" votes in the Illinois Legislature, calling him "chickenshit" for not voting yes or no on certain legislation. Of course, with anything Republicans use to attack their opponents across the aisle, there is a certain level of another animal's excrement and a layer of hypocrisy on top of it.

From Yahoo News:

While campaigning for Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Wednesday, Boehner told a small crowd at a bar in the college town of Oxford that failing to vote "yes" or "no" on an issue meant a lawmaker was a "chickens---."

The Ohio congressman said the last thing the country needs is to have a "chicken" in the White House.[...]

In the Illinois General Assembly, "present" votes are common and used for far more than avoiding a difficult choice. At times lawmakers vote "present" when they have a conflict of interest. In other cases, they do it to register opposition to a procedural decision or to signal that they support a bill's goal but feel the legislation is flawed.

In Obama's case, the 129 "present" votes amounted to about 3.5 percent of the votes he cast in nearly eight years as a state senator.

During his talk, Boehner also disparaged Obama's work as a community organizer.

"This guy was a community organizer for 20 years," Boehner said. "If somebody can tell me what a community organizer is, maybe I can understand it better."

I'd love for Boehner to say that to the face of a community organizer but I'm guessing he is too much of a coward. The truth is, community organizers do an incredible amount of hard work for our nation and for Republicans to use this as a campaign attack is sickening to organizers in both parties.

Now back to the issue of legislative voting. Boehner goes after Obama for the "present" votes that make up 3.5 percent, but it is Boehner who has missed more than five percent of all his votes in Congress since 1991 (and don't even get me started on McCain's voting habits recently). And then there are the votes he did show up for such as hate crimes legislation, but the ignorance and bigotry they rest on isn't out of courage, but cowardly political expediency.

Talk about a chickenshit legislator!

Obama Camp Provides Useful Tips To Protect Your Vote

This five minute short is a fantastic way to learn about Republican strategies that help to suppress the vote and how to get around them. Making sure your vote counts is not only important for the integrity of the system, but also that you ensure your voice is heard tomorrow. We are working towards a new kind of politics in America where hate and bigotry do not play a role but for now we must fight against the evil with full knowledge of how the old racist and dare I say, classist system works.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Malcolm Smith Promises A New Atmosphere In Albany

As I have been canvassing around Queens in the last few weeks and talking to voters, the one thing voters can agree on is that Albany is broken and needs to be changed. The culture of corruption up there is horrendous and because of that, nothing for the people of our state really gets accomplished. The only winners have been the wealthy contributors to campaigns, particularly developers and other well-off rich people that have gotten extra breaks at the expense of the rest of us. Well whether or not you approve of Malcolm Smith, the atmosphere he is promising (if gets to remain Leader of the future Majority) is markedly different from the current one.

From The NY Times:

ALBANY — Malcolm A. Smith, the minority leader of the State Senate, is promising something drastic, by Albany standards, if Democrats win control of the chamber on Tuesday. He wants to share power with rank-and-file lawmakers.

Whether he will follow through remains to be seen. But in an interview, Mr. Smith, a Queens Democrat, who would be the state’s first black majority party leader if his party gains control of the Senate, listed a litany of the sweeping promises politicians make when they stand outside the levers of power.

He said he would reinvent the Senate’s committees, which often have little discernable authority, and make them work more like committees do in Congress. He said he would move to cut the Senate majority’s central staff by at least 15 percent, or roughly 100 workers. He said he would narrow the wide gap between the resources allocated to majority and minority party members for office budgets. And he would move quickly to introduce legislation to publicly finance elections, despite the state’s fiscal crisis.
As the Times goes on to remark, many are skeptical of Smith's promises and that we as a state have been failed by politicians with similar claims in the past. However, no one can deny that things are broken the way our state government is constructed now. The only way we can find out if we can get change is to create change ourselves and hold the politicians to their promises. First we elect good people like Addabbo, Mesi, Gennaro, Foley and others, then we pressure them to push the legislation we want from proposals to bills and then into action.

Kool-Aid Seen Oozing From Senator Graham's Pores

Today is the last round of segments from the Sunday talk shows before election day. Both sides are working hard to promote their candidate, but Senator Lindsay Graham goes above and beyond the call of duty for McCain. Graham is clearly living in a land of delusion where the Kool-Aid flows like cheap beer at a keg party. On CBS this morning, you can see the red sugary stuff seeping out of him in every way possible.

From Crooks and Liars:

icon Download | Play icon Download | Play
Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C. and John McCain's bosom buddy, today on CBS with Bob Schieffer:

What we've seen in the last two weeks is a very much tightening of the race in the states that matter. I really believe that Senator Obama is the virtual incumbent. And if he's not at 50 percent today in North Carolina, he's not going to win.

We see closing in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. We have him under 50 and in the margin of error. The intensity level in the last couple of weeks has been unbelievable on our side. Senator Obama is being defined for the most liberal senator in the Senate. That's his voting record. Joe the Plumber kind of put Obama policies on a real face. ...

I said in Fayetteville that I would beat Michael Phelps in swimming before Barack Obama wins North Carolina. And I can't swim.

I'm standing by that. I know North Carolina. John McCain will win North Carolina.

Virtual incumbent? How does he come up with stuff like this?

Perhaps him and Tucker Bounds have been sitting at the same bar together long enough to start hallucinating. Graham may be telling the truth with his swimming skills, but I've really got to hand it to him for his acting, which is far superior than Michael Phelps. As for incumbency, the only connection to the current Pretzeldent is had by John McCain, the man that has voted with Bush more than ninety percent of the time.

Gennaro Rallies The Troops Before Saturday GOTV Canvass

This is video from the Gennaro campaign taken yesterday morning, before a successful canvass operation in the 11th State Senate District. More than a hundred people showed up, including State Senators Klein, Minority (for now) Leader Malcolm Smith, Stavisky and Councilman Liu. Plenty of community organizations and unions were in attendance as well and if you look closely at the end of the video, you can see yours truly as well.

Bush Administration Official Broke The Law For McCain

The Republicans are doing whatever they can to stay in power and breaking the law is no big deal in order to achieve those ends. We already know that the McCain/Palin campaign is going as nasty and negative as possible in order to smear Barack Obama and swing Independents to their side. Now with less than two days until election day, they are employing the Bush Administration to attack Obama with his aunt's status in the United States. Let us be clear, revealing this information is a crime and the Bush Administration knows it.

From TPM:

You may have noticed that the AP is reporting that Barack Obama's aunt (who he does not seem to have a relationship with) was denied asylum in the US four years ago and is now living illegally in Boston. Convenient timing, ain't it?

The real story, though, is down in the third paragraph of the AP story ...

Information about the deportation case was disclosed and confirmed by two separate sources, one of them a federal law enforcement official. The information they made available is known to officials in the federal government, but the AP could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved in its release.

That's about as transparent a red flag as an outfit like the AP is usually willing to give. And there you have it. Quite likely working in concert with the McCain campaign, a Bush administration official is leaking details on an immigration case to try to help McCain three days before the election. It's shades of Bush I's riffling through Bill Clinton's passport files just before the 1992 election in a desperate last minute gambit as they were swirling down the drain.

The always incredible and brilliant Dr. Cornel West was on Bill Maher on Friday night and he made a great point. That is we are experiencing the desperation of the conservative movement in all its vicious glory. All of these attacks are as ugly and spiteful as they can be in order for them to hold onto the control of the government. Fighting each and every one, especially by helping to get out the vote for Obama is the way we win this.

This is the most important election in a long time, if not the most important in the history of our nation. So get out there and use any free time you have for the next 52 to 54 hours and knock on doors, make phone calls and help your local Democratic campaign office. We are all sick of the way Republicans politicize government agencies for their own selfish means. A little hard work now will go a long way for the next four to eight years for our country. Get to it now!