Sunday, May 25, 2008
There is a question I have been asking myself for the past decade, more-so in the time of George W. Bush. What does it mean to be an American? On the surface this would appear to be a fairly straight-forward question. However these days, ask 100 people in this country and odds are you'll receive 100 different answers. Expand that to people around the world, the notion becomes even more convoluted.
Being an American that has lived overseas for the past two years, I have had occasion to speak with people from all over the world. Some of them from staunch allies like the United Kingdom or Australia, and some have been from Bush's "axis of evil." While the people may be different, the answer from all is that America has lost her way. This is exactly the feeling I have felt deep inside. Inside where that sense of right and wrong lives. In that deep place where pride and patriotism once had residence, there is now sadness and regret.
America. That one word once inspired men and women around the world to break free from the shackles of oppression. America. That one word inspired hope in the down-trodden, and dreams in the poor. America. The concept of that word inspired one solitary man to stand in front of a tank in 1989. This one world brought joy and hope to the peoples of Europe in 1945. The lantern of freedom, I'm afraid, has gone out.
Slowly and steadily, much like 1930s Germany, the direction of America has been changing. The Military Commissions Act, repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, NAFTA, GATT, the Patriot Act, domestic spying, suspension of Posse Comitatus have all chipped away at the meaning of America. War in Afghanistan; occupation of Iraq; threats against Iran, Syria, and North Korea; hundreds of military installations and bases around the globe have tarnished the once bright
luster of America (however misperceived).
American's are scared. They are constantly told by their "elected" leaders to be afraid. We have guns in our house, guns in our cars, and God-forbid anyone come near either. We don't talk to each other. We hate. Democrats hate Republicans. Christians hate gays. Conservatives hate everyone. Pundits from the right scream from the radio daily about terrorists, Muslims, Mexicans, Democrats and God.
Why? What happened to our nation? What happened to our belief in what it meant to be American? At one point didn't being an American trump being a Democrat or Republican? Gay or straight? Atheist or believer? Where, and when, did this train go off the rails?
Once we lived in a country which was only limited by the ingenuity and imagination of her people. We, as a nation, sent human beings to the moon! We, as a nation, conquered Nazis and fascists! We, as a nation, built what once the largest, most robust economies on Earth! And now?
How do we get this 'American-ness' back? Can we get it back? I hope and pray that it's not too late, and the dream is not dead. Alas, I fear it is indeed to late. We have fallen so far, and the hour is so late; I feed it is impossible to right this ship. Please let me be wrong.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Dear Mr. Allard,
Once again you have seen fit to fail the citizens of
Is this vote a fluke? Have you in the past supported measures that would improve the benefits and the treatment or our returning veterans? Sadly the answer to both these questions is a resounding no. Not once during your time in the Senate have you voted in support of the armed forces and
For the past 10 years, you have represented the good citizens of
You, Mr. Allard are nothing more than a war hungry death-loving fascist. How quick you are to send out precious young men and women into a war, and subsequent occupation, that is based 100% on lies and deceit. Then, when Democrats have the temerity to call the Republicans our on their hypocrisy, you jump up and down, and scream "Democrats don't support the troops!" or "Democrats aren't patriotic!"
Well Mr. Allard, here's a news flash: You don't support the troops. You are not a patriot. Voting to continue funding the occupation of
A patriot is someone who volunteers to place themselves in harms way to protect the Constitution of the
If there is any justice in this world, you and all the other members of the House and Senate, who voted for this failed 'War on Terror' would find yourself facing a war crimes tribunal at
You, Mr. Allard, and the 22 other Republicans should hand your heads in shame, for your have undoubtedly betrayed your country.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Dear Mr. Bush,
Your speech on the Knesset floor today was not only a disgrace; it was nothing short of treachery. Worse still, your exploitation of the Holocaust in a country carved out of the wounds of that very crime, in order to strike a low blow at American citizens whose politics differs from your own is unforgivable and unpardonable. Let me remind you, Mr. Bush, of your words today:
"Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," Bush said at Israel's 60th anniversary celebration in Jerusalem.Well Mr. Bush, the only thing this comment lacked was a mirror and some historical facts. You want to discuss the crimes of Nazis against my family and millions of other families in Europe during World War II? Let me revive a favorite phrase of yours: Bring. It. On!...(Click here for remainder of article).
"We have heard this foolish delusion before," Bush said in remarks to Israel's parliament, the Knesset. "As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The Observer, Sunday May 18 2008
The language of the internal party memo was stark and brutally honest. Sent out by Republican congressman Tom Davis last week after a stunning congressional by-election loss in the Deep South, it warned colleagues of a potential disaster ahead.
The result, in which the Democratic party won a Mississippi House of Representatives seat that had voted 62 per cent for President Bush in 2004, was a sign of a 'toxic' political environment for Republicans, Davis wrote. He went on to point out the loss was the Republicans' third defeat in a row in special elections - the equivalent of a by-election in Britain - this year alone. Davis's memo dubbed the defeats 'canaries in the coalmine' for the survival of the Republican party.
A Democratic win in such a solidly conservative district capped a week in which Senator Barack Obama finally turned his eyes to the coming November election and his opponent, John McCain. Now many Democrats believe the signs are good that the tide of American public opinion is firmly swinging their way and will deliver them the White House. Certainly, many of the key indicators are giving them strong grounds for optimism.
A recent Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey showed that a staggering 82 per cent of Americans are unhappy with the direction that the country is heading. At the same time the faltering economy, and especially high petrol prices, are a major concern. 'Overwhelmingly, voters think the economy is in bad shape,' said Maurice Carroll, Quinnipiac's polling director. Obama is now leading McCain in recent national polls by an average of four points....(Click here for remainder of article).
guardian.co.uk, Friday May 16 2008
The California Senate yesterday passed legislation that would delete membership in the Communist party as a reason for firing a public employee, a Cold War-era prohibition intended to root out communists.
Democratic Senator Alan Lowenthal called communism a "failed system," and said his bill - Senate Bill 1322 - was intended to protect "the constitutional freedoms that we have fought so valiantly for," including freedom of political affiliation.
California is the only state that allows public employees to be dismissed for membership in a political party.
In addition, current law requires that any organisation that applies to use a public school facility can be asked to sign a statement that "the applicant is not a communist action organisation or a communist front".
"SB 1322 seeks to protect the rights of free speech and political affiliation by repealing the no-longer necessary statute from the books," Lowenthal said.
The bill, he said, would "still allow employees to be fired for any activity to overthrow the state or federal government".
The legislation, which will now be considered by the assembly, was approved on a 24-15 vote, with Democrats in support and Republicans opposed.
Republican senator Jeff Denham warned: "the Communist party is not a dead organisation ... and [is] actively repressing human beings in Cuba and China in brutal ways....(Click here for remainder of article).
"I was from a poor, white family from the south, and I did badly in school," the now 24-year-old told AFP.
"I was 'filet mignon' for recruiters. They started phoning me when I was in 10th grade," or around 16 years old, he added.
Chiroux joined the US army straight out of high school nearly six years ago, and worked his way up from private to sergeant.
He served in Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, and the Philippines and was due to be deployed next month in Iraq.
On Thursday, he refused to go, saying he considers Iraq an illegal war.
"I stand before you today with the strength and clarity and resolve to declare to the military, my government and the world that this soldier will not be deploying to Iraq," Chiroux said in the sun-filled rotunda of a congressional building in Washington.
"My decision is based on my desire to no longer continue violating my core values to support an illegal and unconstitutional occupation... I refuse to participate in the Iraq occupation," he said, as a dozen veterans of the five-year-old Iraq war looked on.
Minutes earlier, Chiroux had cried openly as he listened to former comrades-in-arms testify before members of Congress about the failings of the Iraq war.
The testimonies were the first before Congress by Iraq veterans who have turned against the five-year-old war....(Click here for remainder of article).
WASHINGTON (AP) — Barack Obama accused President Bush of "a false political attack" Thursday after Bush warned in Israel against appeasing terrorists — early salvos in a general election campaign that's already blazing even as the Democratic front-runner tries to sew up his party's nomination.
The White House denied Bush had targeted Obama, who said the Republican commander in chief's intent was obvious.
In short order, the controversy spilled across the presidential campaign.
John McCain, the Republican nominee in waiting, said Obama was showing "naivete and inexperience and lack of judgment" in his willingness to meet with U.S. foes.
Hillary Rodham Clinton then called Bush's original comments "offensive and outrageous, especially in light of his failures in foreign policy."
As the workday began stateside, Bush gave a speech to Israel's Knesset in which he spoke of the president of Iran, who has called for the destruction of the U.S. ally. Then, the president said: "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along."
"We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history," Bush added....(Click here for remainder of article).
Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the House Minority Whip, charged in a statement that “unelected judges” are trying to “substitute their own worldview for the wisdom of the American people”:
Today, the decision of unelected judges to overturn the will of the people of California on the question of same-sex marriage demonstrates the lengths that unelected judges will go to substitute their own worldview for the wisdom of the American people.
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL), piled on, saying that “unelected judges” had “irresponsibly decided to legislate from the bench.”...(Click here for remainder of Think Progress post).
Sat May 17, 2008 at 07:00:11 PM PDT
Amidst the uproar over George Bush politicizing the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence, the media has been strangely silent about the revelation that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, by George Bush and John McCain's own definition, is guilty of "foolish delusion," and lacks "the knowledge, the experience, the background to make the kind of judgments that are necessary to preserve this nation's security."
Just one day before Bush declared that "some," also known as Barack Obama, is an appeaser to terrorists, the likes of which have not been seen since Hitler invaded Poland, and before John McCain chimed in by saying Obama wanted to enhance "the prestige of a nation that's a sponsor of terrorists and is directly responsible for the deaths of brave young Americans," Robert Gates said:
And while there has been plenty of coverage of Bush's remarks, McCain's parroting of Bush's remarks and Obama's smackdown of both of them, no one seems to be covering Gates' policy of terrorist-enabling appeasement....(Click here for remainder of DailyKos post).
We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage with respect to the Iranians and then sit down and talk with them. If there's going to be a discussion, then they need something, too. We can't go to a discussion and be completely the demander with them not feeling that they need anything from us.
CAIRO, Egypt, May 17, 2008
(CBS/AP) Egypt's state-owned press opened fire Saturday on U.S. President George W. Bush as he arrived for talks with regional leaders at the conclusion of a five-day Mideast tour.
The newspapers, whose management are all appointed by the government, criticized Mr. Bush's speech Thursday in front of the Israeli Knesset for being overly supportive of the Israelis and not mentioning the Palestinians' plight.
"The Torah-inspired speech of Bush raised question marks over the credibility of the U.S. role in the Middle East," wrote Mursi Atallah, the publisher of Al-Ahram, the flagship daily of the state-owned press. "Bush aims to do nothing but appeasing Israel."
Mr. Bush's tour, which included stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia, represents another effort to push Mideast peace talks forward as his time in office winds down.
In his speech marking the 60th anniversary of Israel's founding, Mr. Bush reiterated the U.S.'s close ties to its regional ally, and dismissed the notion that the Jewish state should have to negotiate with its armed adversaries.
A front page editorial in Al-Gomhouria, another Egyptian state-owned daily, described Mr. Bush as "a failed president who delivers nothing but a lousy speech."...(Click here for remainder of article).
Saturday, May 17, 2008
DAILY NEWS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT
Saturday, May 17th 2008, 4:00 AM
Obama strikes back: You're a fearmonger, Mr. President.
Likely Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama Friday pummeled President Bush, who dissed the candidate as a delusional fool before Israel's Knesset on Thursday.
And he smacked around presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain, who parroted Bush's broadside, for good measure.
"They're trying to fool you. They're trying to scare you and they're not telling the truth," a fired-up Obama declared while campaigning in South Dakota. "But it's not going to work."
"Both Bush and McCain represent the failed foreign policy and fearmongering of the past," Obama said. "I believe the American people are ready to reject this approach and to choose the future."
Obama declared the Republicans' ambush "dishonest, divisive attacks."
In a thinly-veiled assault, Bush accused the Democrat of suffering from "foolish delusion" for expressing an interest in talking with radicals and dictators. The President added fuel to the exploding inferno by likening Obama's approach to the misguided Nazi appeasement of two generations ago.
McCain sidestepped whether he thought Obama was an appeaser, though he slammed Obama's willingness to meet with rogue leaders, such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
This week's double punch from Bush and McCain was, in some ways, the unofficial opening bell in the general election battle for the White House.
While Obama has yet to defeat Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady found herself on the sidelines - aside from defending her Democratic rival....(Click here for remainder of article).
Thursday, May 15, 2008
In a 4-3 ruling written by Chief Justice Ronald George, the Supreme Court struck down California laws that restrict marriage to heterosexual couples, finding that it is unconstitutional to deprive gays and lesbians of the equal right to walk down the aisle with a marriage license in hand.
The California and Massachusetts Supreme Courts are now the only top courts in the country to uphold the right of gay couples to marry.
"The California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples," the court observed in a 121-page decision.
The reaction was immediate.
A spokesman for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom sent a simple e-mail to his press staff: "We won."
When the news was signaled to the more than 100 people gathered on the steps outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco by a thumbs up, they let out whoops of joy, and some broke out in tears....(Click here for remainder of article).
I know, I know. More than 15 million Democrats have voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries and many of them are so invested in her candidacy that they're threatening to stay home in November or vote for Republican in waiting John McCain in the very likely event that the Democrats nominate Barack Obama for presdient.
Obama should choose her as his running mate to honor and woo those Clinton supporters. He should choose her as his running mate to help soothe the still escalating intra-party hostilities. He should choose her as his running mate because she runs far stronger than he does among certain core Democratic constituencies.
And for those reasons he probably will offer her the No. 2 spot on the ticket.
Yet here are eight reasons it's a bad idea:
1. Choosing Clinton would belie Obama's message of change. Whether you admire her or not, you have to acknowledge that Clinton's an old-style, legacy Democrat. Obama's candidacy is premised on a break with the past.
2. Choosing Clinton would belie Obama's repudiation of the old way of doing politics. Clinton and her surrogates are tough campaigners who have gone hard after Obama (see below) trying to draw him into the fight. And on those occasions where he and his team have responded in kind, Team Clinton has smirkingly asked whatever happened to the politics of hope?...(Click here for remainder of article).
Published: May 15, 2008
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — John Edwards gave his long-awaited endorsement to Senator Barack Obama on Wednesday, bolstering Mr. Obama’s efforts to rally the Democratic Party around his candidacy and offering potential help in his efforts to win over working class white voters in the general election.
“The Democratic voters in America have made their choice, and so have I,” Mr. Edwards told a roaring crowd of more than 12,000 people here in the Van Andel Arena, on a day when Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was trying to capitalize on her victory on Tuesday in West Virginia and convince superdelegates and contributors that she still has a chance to capture the Democratic nomination.
“There is one man who knows in his heart that it is time to create one America — not two — and that man is Barack Obama,” Mr. Edwards said at an event that resembled the closing night of a party convention, with the two men standing arm in arm and waving as the crowd chanted “Yes we can!”
Mr. Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina who dropped his bid for the nomination in January, said Mr. Obama represented hope and reconciliation to a nation buffeted by war and economic distress....(Click here for remainder of article).
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Christian Science Monitor
Posted: 05.13.2008 / 8:11 AM EDT
Whatever happens in today’s primary in West Virginia, Sen. Barack Obama looks to be headed for the top of the Democratic ticket in November. And when the book about Senator Obama’s improbable drive to the presidential nomination is written, a chapter or two is likely to include his campaign’s organizational skills.
While Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton came into the 2008 race with experience and the vestiges of her husband’s campaign team from the 1990s, it is Obama who has repeatedly shown an organizational advantage in the primaries.
From his ability to win in caucus states, which generally require more advance work, to his grass-roots efforts in places such as Philadelphia and its suburbs (as Patchwork Nation has noted), he’s shown a knack for well-laid plans that may extend back to his beginnings in politics as a community organizer.
Tomorrow the media and the candidates will shift their focus to the next stops on the Democratic primary circuit, Kentucky and Oregon. Both campaigns have been on the ground in those states for some time, but e-mail accounts we have set up for “pseudoresidents” in our Patchwork Nation locales show how the Obama campaign has done a better job of using the Web to establish its presence in primary battlegrounds than has Senator Clinton’s campaign.
In each of next week’s primary states, Patchwork Nation happens to have representative communities: Hopkinsville, Ky., and Lincoln City, Ore. Here’s a look at what our Hillary and Barack (as the candidates call themselves in e-mailville) devotees received in their inboxes over the past few months....(Click here for remainder of post).
Sunday, May 11, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS — Many black voters are making it very clear: They're concerned that Barack Obama is going to be denied the Democratic presidential nomination that they see as rightfully his, and if that happens, a lot of them may stay home in November.
"It would hurt me not to vote," said Charles Clark, an Indianapolis retiree. He's thinking about leaving the presidential box on his ballot blank this fall if Hillary Clinton is the Democrats' nominee.
"There was a heck of a push made so blacks could vote. I know that," he said. "But it would also be very unfair if they pushed Barack Obama to the side."
Michelle Moore, an Indianapolis housewife, is less gentle: "Hillary Clinton would not even still be in the race if Obama was a white man," she said.
Her tough tone was common this week in this city's black community. Why, people asked, is the Illinois senator's relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright being judged so harshly? Why won't Democratic Party officials acknowledge that Obama's in the lead and unite around him?
African-Americans have been the Democratic Party's most reliable bloc, giving about 90 percent of their votes to former Vice President Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in the last two presidential elections.
In a close election this year, an African-American exodus from the voting booth could be costly to Democrats, particularly in the South, where blacks are a large proportion of the electorate.
If Obama isn't the nominee, "there would be a significant number of African-Americans who would stay home. They're not voting for (presumptive Republican nominee) John McCain," predicted David Bositis, a senior analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which researches black voting trends...(Click here for remainder of article).
WASHINGTON — Sen. Hillary Clinton will campaign beyond Tuesday's West Virginia primary and take her fight for the Democratic presidential nomination all the way to the party's convention this summer if she or Sen. Barack Obama hasn't won enough delegates to clinch the party's nomination, her campaign advisers said Friday.
Clinton campaign strategist Geoff Garin and communications director Howard Wolfson, speaking to a breakfast meeting with reporters, repeated recent Clinton campaign assertions that the delegate majority is 2,209 to shoot down speculation that Clinton would drop out of the race after her expected defeat of Obama in West Virginia on Tuesday. Previously, Democrats had said 2,025 delegates would be needed to win, a number Obama is likely to reach on May 20, after the Oregon and Kentucky primaries.
The higher number would include the Michigan and Florida delegations, which have been barred from the Denver convention. Whether any portion of those delegations will be allowed will be discussed at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee rules committee scheduled for May 31.
The campaign's position comes as Obama's support among superdelegates — party officials and insiders who can vote however they choose — rises. Obama's aides said Friday that he'd picked up the support of eight new superdelegates, including one who'd supported Clinton....(Click here for remainder of article).
WASHINGTON — Some things about Barack Obama rub some voters the wrong way.
"We don't need a Muslim," said Jannay Smith, a retiree from Kokomo, Ind. "Who's to say if he gets in there what he'll do?"
Added Steve Shallenberger, a Kokomo electrician: "He's just calling himself a Christian because he knows that's what we in Indiana want to hear."
Then there's Sherry Richey, also from Kokomo: "He wouldn't put his hand on the Bible; he wanted the Quran. He won't put his hand over his heart during the anthem or say the Pledge of Allegiance. He's too un-American."
All of these slurs on Obama are categorically untrue.
Obama, the front-running Democratic presidential candidate, is a Christian, has never been a Muslim, swore his Senate oath on the Bible, says the pledge and generally puts his hand over his heart when he sings the national anthem.
So why were people aware enough of current events to attend political rallies in the days leading up to the Indiana primary saying such things?
They'd been misled by the Internet.
In the ugly new world of online political rumor-mongering, aggressive Googling and e-mailing allow anyone to join the cacophonous misinformation campaign against a politician — in this case, Obama....(Click here for remainder of article).
Friday, May 09, 2008
To All Super Delegates! : This is very disturbing news!
In the landmark civil fraud case against Bill Clinton in Los Angeles, where the former President is charged with defrauding a Hollywood dot com millionaire to help Hillary Clinton obtain more than $1.2 million from him for her 2000 Senate campaign, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Aurelio Munoz ruled on Friday, April 25 that Hillary Clinton would not be required to testify in a sworn deposition as a material witness in the case until AFTER the November election!
While Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Al Gore, Ed Rendell, Barabara Streisand, Cher, Stan Lee, Brad Pitt, Mike Wallace, Larry King et al may be called to testify and be deposed starting in May, Hillary alone has been protected from explaining her role in her husband’s fraud charges.
In an astonishing ruling by the Judge, Hillary Clinton may NOT be deposed about her role in the illegal solicitation and cover up of the largest contribution made to her Senate campaign until after the presidential election. This is the same contribution Hillary denied knowing about or receiving when Lloyd Grove of the Washington Post asked her specifically about it and her relationship with the donor, Peter Paul, in August 2000. Its the same contribution her finance director David Rosen was criminally tried in May, 2005, or hiding from her and her campaign. Its the same contribution the FEC fined her campaign for hiding from the voters in three false FEC reports by her treasurer between 2000-2006. (www.paulvclinton.com)
Equally surprising as the ruling was the judge’s request to Hillary defense lawyer David Kendall to “say hello to his ( Judge Munoz”) friend Bill, also a partner in Kendall’s law firm”
The decision to shield Hillary Clinton from civil discovery for an additional seven months, thereby delaying a long postponed trial, was made by the judge on his own, without any request by Hillary or her lawyer to make the ruling. No discussion was permitted by Paul’s lawyer before the decision was made. Judge Munoz’ unilateral decision effectively saved the floundering campaign and hopes of Hillary Clinton to win her party’s Presidential nomination!...(Click here for remainder of post).
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Perhaps Barack Obama's competitive juices need new outlets now that he has expanded his lead over Democratic presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.
On a five-hour flight from Washington to Oregon late Thursday, the Illinois senator came to the back of his charter plane for a spirited word game against reporters, and it was clear he did not intend to lose.
In "Taboo," a player under time constraints must prompt teammates to guess words or names without using obvious hints. For instance, in giving clues for "equator," the player is penalized if he says "Earth," "center" or "line."
Obama and a half-dozen aides took on a team of journalists, mostly young TV network reporters who have traveled with him for months. The senator jumped in eagerly and often.
When his communications director Robert Gibbs gave the clue, "I've got a good," Obama called out, "vibration!"
"Shorter than that," Gibbs said.
"Vibe," Obama guessed correctly.
Many clues touched on politics. Campaign aide Jen Psaki asked about something President Bush said on an aircraft carrier, and Obama quickly answered "mission accomplished." Close, but another aide and teammate, Reggie Love, later got the right answer: "mission control."
When Obama was giving clues, he ventured: "Thomas Jefferson called for it once in a while." Seeing the blank looks, he admitted, "that's too obscure." He then tried, "the Beatles did a song about it," and a teammate correctly answered, "Revolution."...(Click here for remainder of article).
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, May 9, 2008; Page A10
House and Senate negotiators yesterday reached final agreement on a new farm bill that will spend close to $300 billion on nutrition, conservation, energy and farm subsidy programs over the next five years, but administration officials immediately announced that President Bush will veto it.
"This bill increases subsidies to farmers at a time of record farm income," Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said. The negotiators "have done a disservice to taxpayers."
The speedy reaction from the executive branch put the spotlight on congressional Republicans, many of whom support the legislation and might be hard-pressed to vote to uphold a veto in an election year.
Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (Va.), ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, said that he is "favorably disposed" toward the bipartisan compromise bill, but that lawmakers must decide for themselves whether to vote to override a veto. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) indicated that he will vote against the bill, saying, "I don't think [it] represents our best effort."...(Click here for remainder of article).
Published: May 9, 2008
Representative Vito J. Fossella, the Staten Island Republican who was arrested on drunken-driving charges in Virginia last week, acknowledged on Thursday that he had fathered a daughter, now 3, in an extramarital affair. But he declined to address questions about his political future.
Mr. Fossella, who has three children with his wife on Staten Island, issued a terse statement that said nothing about the events leading to his arrest, which occurred hours after he attended a White House reception celebrating the New York Giants’ victory in the Super Bowl. “My personal failings and imperfections have caused enormous pain to the people I love,” he said in the statement, “and I am truly sorry.”
The five-term congressman identified the woman with whom he had the affair as Laura Fay. She is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel whom he apparently called after he was taken into custody early May 1, saying he was on the way to pick up his sick child. The police said his blood-alcohol level at the time was more than double the legal limit, and he faces a mandatory five days in jail if he is convicted.
Mr. Fossella, the only Republican in the city’s Congressional delegation, said in the statement that “there will be many questions, including those about my political future.” But he said that “making any political decisions right now” was the “furthest from my mind.”...(Click here for remainder of article).
NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Thursday that Republican John McCain was "losing his bearings" for repeatedly suggesting the Islamic terrorist group Hamas preferred Obama for president.
That brought an angry response from McCain's campaign, which accused Obama of trying to make an issue of McCain's age.
Age is a touchy subject for McCain, who turns 72 in August and would be the oldest person to be sworn in as president if elected.
The two senators have focused more intently on one another in recent weeks as Obama has moved closer to becoming the Democratic nominee. Thursday's back and forth between Obama and surrogates for both candidates foreshadowed a likely argument for the fall campaign.
The sparring also comes the same week as Obama's decisive victory in North Carolina's primary, which brought renewed calls for Hillary Rodham Clinton to get out of the race and clear a path for him to claim the Democratic nomination and focus on McCain.
At the root of the dispute is McCain's decision to call attention to a Hamas adviser's apparent affinity for Obama. The adviser, Ahmed Yousef, said in a recent interview: "We like Obama and hope that he will win the election."
McCain used those comments in a fundraising appeal and has cited them in interviews.
Asked about the matter Wednesday during a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," McCain said: "It's indicative of how some of our enemies view America. And I guarantee you, they're not going to endorse me."...(Click here for remainder of article).
WASHINGTON — Democrat Barack Obama took his fight for superdelegates to the House floor Thursday, as his rival Hillary Rodham Clinton rejected calls to abandon her uphill battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Obama, making a rare appearance in the Capitol, was swarmed by members who are aligned with him and Clinton.
"He was pretty much mobbed," said Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., one of more than 200 uncommitted superdelegates. "We were joking with the Clinton folks about whether this was a sign that they were ready to switch sides."
The Illinois senator pressed his case with the superdelegates — the party leaders and elected officials with sway over the Democratic nomination — after his decisive victory Tuesday in the North Carolina primary gave him the upper hand.
He narrowly lost the Indiana primary, but leads Clinton in states won, the popular vote and in pledged convention delegates earned through the results of primaries and caucuses. He also cut into her edge among superdelegates Thursday, picking up the support of two lawmakers: Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina and Rep. Rick Larsen of Washington state....(Click here for remainder of article).
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Published: May 4, 2008
BORED by those endless replays of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright? If so, go directly to YouTube, search for “John Hagee Roman Church Hitler,” and be recharged by a fresh jolt of clerical jive.
What you’ll find is a white televangelist, the Rev. John Hagee, lecturing in front of an enormous diorama. Wielding a pointer, he pokes at the image of a woman with Pamela Anderson-sized breasts, her hand raising a golden chalice. The woman is “the Great Whore,” Mr. Hagee explains, and she is drinking “the blood of the Jewish people.” That’s because the Great Whore represents “the Roman Church,” which, in his view, has thirsted for Jewish blood throughout history, from the Crusades to the Holocaust.
Mr. Hagee is not a fringe kook but the pastor of a Texas megachurch. On Feb. 27, he stood with John McCain and endorsed him over the religious conservatives’ favorite, Mike Huckabee, who was then still in the race.
Are we really to believe that neither Mr. McCain nor his camp knew anything then about Mr. Hagee’s views? This particular YouTube video — far from the only one — was posted on Jan. 1, nearly two months before the Hagee-McCain press conference. Mr. Hagee appears on multiple religious networks, including twice daily on the largest, Trinity Broadcasting, which reaches 75 million homes. Any 12-year-old with a laptop could have vetted this preacher in 30 seconds, tops....(Click here for remainder of article).
By Matt Taibbi
Rolling Stone Magazine
Zero hour, the night of the excruciating Pennsylvania primary. I'm in the ballroom of the Park Hyatt hotel in Philadelphia, site of Hillary Clinton's victory speech. The place is going nuts. The floor is a teeming mass of celebrating Lifetime demographic; I haven't seen this many strong, independent women in one place since [potentially offensive gender-specific content self-censored by writer]. Clinton, who has just kicked Obama's ass all over the state, is onstage spooning out her rap.
"You know, for me, the victory we share tonight is deeply personal," Hillary says. "It was here in Pennsylvania where my grandfather started work as a boy in the lace mills. . . ."
"Really?" I say from my perch in the press balcony, nudging an HBO producer next to me. "Her grandfather worked in a lace mill? I hadn't heard that!"
"Yeah, right?" she says, laughing. "Who knew?"
But I'm catching stares now from a camera woman kneeling a few feet in front. "You clap at these things," she snaps at us. "That's what you do at these things. You clap. You should be clapping!"
I clap quietly to calm her down, sighing once she turns around. In the past, the press areas at campaign stops have always been wisecracking oases, a place where the rules of partisan politics are largely suspended. After all, this job is hard enough without having to take the subject matter seriously. But as the Obama-Clinton race has devolved into one of the all-time political death matches, the Hutu-Tutsi thing has spread even into the reporter ranks. Now, even one wrong word on the press bus can start a fight....(Click here for remainder of article).
In April 2008 when Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced the release of "record high" voter registration rolls, with 4.3 million voters set to vote in the Tuesday May 6 primary, he didn't mention that a whopping 1,134,427 voter registrations have been cancelled.
Now, the voter rolls are supposed to be tidied up prior to each election. Indiana's last general election was in Nov. 2006, and they have had a slew of special and general elections since then. So how have 1.1 million voters -- 26 percent of the current statewide list -- escaped the regularly scheduled voter registration cleanup squads? Who are these million voters and where do they come from?
One quarter-million of them come from just two northwestern Indiana counties: Lake and Porter. Lake County reports purging 137,164 voters and neighboring Porter County cancelled out 124,958 voters.
Lake County, the home of Gary, Indiana, has spawned the Jackson Five and a great old musical (The Music Man) and and has been referred to as "the second most liberal county in America." Lake County has one of the heaviest concentrations of African-American voters that you'll find anywhere in the USA.
Nearby Porter County, the home of Valparaiso, is 95% white and went solidly for Bush in the 2004 election. It also has a lot of college kids.
For whatever reason, these two counties had ... what ... massive data entry problems? Exceptionally messy records? Lots of dead people who climbed back into their graves? Or will we see a lot of disappointed voters on Tuesday, when they perhaps learn that they were among the lucky million people who got purged?
HERE'S WHERE THE HEAVIEST PURGES ARE:
Lake 137,164 48% (Gary)
Porter 124,958 115% (Valparaiso)
Marion 68,120 10% (Indianapolis)
Monroe 66,009 85% (Bloomington)
Tippecanoe 53,456 58%
Madison 42,952 47% (Anderson)
Hamilton 42,325 26%
The percentage represents the ratio of the number of purges to the current voter list. Example: If a location currently has 100,000 voters on its rolls, and purged 53,000 along the way, we assign a ratio of 53% to the purge vs. current list....(Click here for remainder of post).
Published: May 8, 2008
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton struck a publicly defiant posture on Wednesday about continuing her presidential bid despite waning support from Democratic officials and donors. Some of her advisers acknowledged privately that they remained unsure about the future of her candidacy.
With the political world trained on Mrs. Clinton’s financial and electoral viability, Senator Barack Obama moved closer to becoming the first African-American presidential nominee of a major party. Mr. Obama spent the day at home in Chicago, after increasing his delegate lead in Tuesday’s primaries — a result that led David Plouffe, a top Obama aide, to say on Wednesday, “We can see the finish line here.”
After a decisive loss in North Carolina and a disappointingly narrow victory in Indiana on Tuesday night, Mrs. Clinton told advisers that she wanted to start campaigning for next Tuesday’s primary in West Virginia, advisers said. At 3 a.m. Wednesday, aides added a noon event there. She was also eager to get away from Beltway buzzards circling her candidacy and feeding off fresh tidbits like the revelation that she had lent her campaign $6 million to keep it afloat, aides said.
In West Virginia on Wednesday afternoon, Mrs. Clinton said that it was “still early” — even though 50 of 56 nominating contests have concluded — and that the “dynamic electoral environment” could still swing the nomination her way....(Click here for remainder of article).
Published: May 8, 2008
WASHINGTON: Barack Obama took a commanding lead in the Democratic presidential race on Wednesday, but Hillary Clinton said she would fight on after loaning her campaign $6.4 million (3.27 million pounds) to keep it alive.
Obama's big win in North Carolina and Clinton's slim victory in Indiana widened his advantage in their battle for the right to face Republican John McCain in the November presidential election with just six contests remaining.
The results left the cash-strapped Clinton campaign with few opportunities to halt Obama's march to the nomination. But the New York senator remained defiant.
"I'm staying in this race until there is a nominee," Clinton told reporters after a campaign rally in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, which holds the next contest on Tuesday.
Clinton dipped into her personal fortune again in the past month to try to keep pace with Obama, putting $5 million into her campaign chest on April 11 and $1.4 million over the past week, aides said. It was the second time she used her own money to fund her White House bid....(Click here for remainder of article).
Published: May 8, 2008
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s greatest gift may be her ability to remain upright and smiling as chaos and chagrin surround her.
On what was probably one of the toughest days of her campaign so far, with pundits and analysts of all stripes declaring her presidential candidacy finished, Mrs. Clinton put on her battle face Wednesday and confronted what was at times a hostile crowd at a hastily arranged speech here at Shepherd University.
Shepherdstown, a quaint and hippieish town on the Potomac River in the West Virginia Panhandle, is where Robert E. Lee led his Confederate Army in retreat after the battle of Antietam, the single bloodiest day of the Civil War.
Mrs. Clinton endured boos when she mentioned her proposal for a gasoline tax holiday, catcalls when she spoke of ending the Iraq war and, most difficult of all, the heckling of her daughter, Chelsea, who introduced her.
“End the dynasty!” a young man holding an Obama poster shouted when Chelsea Clinton stepped to the microphone....(Click here for remainder of article).
Wednesday, May 7, 2008; 2:37 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Veteran Democratic Party figure George McGovern dropped his support for Hillary Clinton on Wednesday and endorsed Barack Obama, saying the Illinois senator seemed certain to win the party's nomination for the November presidential election.
McGovern, 85, said he told Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, of his surprise decision in a telephone call, and that Clinton made no attempt to change his mind.
"He just wanted me to know that he thinks that Hillary has made a great race and it's up to her to decide when she leaves. And I don't argue with that," McGovern said.
He was speaking a day after Obama appeared to edge nearer securing the party nomination in the protracted state-by-state contest when he easily defeated Clinton in North Carolina and only narrowly lost to her in Indiana on Tuesday.
McGovern, a former U.S. senator from South Dakota who made a failed bid for the White House in 1972, told Reuters by telephone from his home in Mitchell, South Dakota: "It's time for us to unite and get ready for the fall campaign."
With Obama within 200 delegates of wrapping up the nomination, said, "All the mathematics seem to be on his side."...(Click here for remainder of article).
Ever since Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) swept 11 straight contests between Feb. 5 and March 4, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (N.Y.) path to the Democratic presidential nomination has been a narrow one.
Obama's winning streak not only gave him momentum (and money) but also something close to an insurmountable lead among pledged delegates and the popular vote. While Clinton's wins in Ohio and Pennsylvania put off talk of just how perilous her path had become, the results from last night's votes have put the difficult task before Clinton in sharp relief.
Clinton's campaign made no secret that they believed she was on the upswing in advance of the votes in North Carolina and Indiana; they had hoped for a high single-digit win in Indiana and a close single-digit loss in North Carolina. Neither materialized, and the heavy weight of expectations overturned are being visited on the Clinton campaign today.
For now, her campaign is insisting she will continue on in the race. Senior adviser Howard Wolfson answered "no" when asked whether there were any discussions under way about her dropping out of the race....(Click here for remainder of article).
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- He has publicly urged Republicans to vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton to keep the divisive Democratic nomination fight alive, but talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said Wednesday he really wants Sen. Barack Obama to be the party's nominee.
"I now believe he would be the weakest of the Democrat nominees," Limbaugh, among the most powerful voices in conservative radio, said on his program. "I now urge the Democrat superdelegates to make your mind up and publicly go for Obama."
"Barack Obama has shown he cannot get the votes Democrats need to win -- blue-collar, working-class people," Limbaugh said. "He can get effete snobs, he can get wealthy academics, he can get the young, and he can get the black vote, but Democrats do not win with that."
But Jamal Simmons, a Democratic strategist and Obama supporter, disagreed, saying the Democratic Party has "the best coalition to go out and talk to people across racial lines, which are the unions."...(Click here for remainder of article).