Thursday, January 31, 2008

black history month at galeria goba in hoboken

Hillary Clinton and the Labor Problem

"Labor Unions are Nothing but Blood Sucking Parasites Living off of the Production of Labor of people who Work for a Living." - John Tate, Board Member at Walmart

ABC News reported this morning that while on the Board of Walmart Senator Clinton sat by and said nothing while Walmart sought to crush unions. The tapes are revealing and this has always been my main criticism of the Clintons (outside of political calculation), that they are and have always been stongly against unions. Now, she has the support of many unions. What else you can say, should Mrs. Clinton have resigned her position from Walmart because of anti-unionism? To me, the answer is she never would have because the Clintons have never supported the union movement and proof positive was the Clinton Presidency and of course NAFTA.

ABC News reported:

An ABC News analysis of the videotapes of at least four stockholder meetings where Clinton appeared shows she never once rose to defend the role of American labor unions.

The tapes, broadcast this morning on "Good Morning America," were provided to ABC News from the archives of Flagler Productions, a Lenexa, Kan., company hired by Wal-Mart to record its meetings and events.

A former board member told that he had no recollection of Clinton defending unions during more than 20 board meetings held in private.

The tapes show Clinton in the role of a loyal company woman. "I'm always proud of Wal-Mart and what we do and the way we do it better than anybody else," she said at a June 1990 stockholders meeting. View the tapes here.

Asked of President Clinton why Mrs. Clinton did not help to support unions or resign because of Walmart's policies Clinton said: "We lived in a state that had a very weak labor movement, where I always had the endorsement of the labor movement because I did what I could do to make it stronger. She knew there was no way she could change that, not with it headquartered in Arkansas, and she agreed to serve,"

The story does point out that she did push for more representation of women in the higher ranks of the company and also for more green policies -- and on both counts had she at least some success. Mrs. Clinton has disavowed her time in Walmart and completely taken it from her resume. There is another story in the Times about President Clinton that could be damaging.

In other news this morning Rasmussen finds Obama gaining in California and only three points behind. The same can be said for Massachusetts.

Maybe We Are All the Same

Montel Williams is Fired for "Supporting the Troops"

I found this on Daily Kos and thought it was worth providing to SG readers. I always liked Montel's style, though I surely do not always agree with him. But, this is very cool. For the record 37 soldiers have died this month in an increasingly violent Iraq. The Surge is a joke and is prolonging our decision to leave this country to the Iraqis, if that is at all possible.

For just over three minutes on Saturday morning, TV talk show host Montel Williams owned the hosts of Fox and Friends. A former Marine and Naval officer, Montel lectured the stunned hosts on the stupidity of spending air time on the death of Heath Ledger, rather than covering the war in Iraq. It was a spectacle rarely seen on live cable television, as Montel exposed and condemned both tabloid "news" shows and much of American culture for what they have each become: shallow and greedy.
Three minutes into this awkward segment on Fox, one host cut off Montel in order to go to a commercial. Montel did not return after the break. Four days later, after 17 years as a television host, Montel lost his job.


and now, a break from politics... a green tip to start your day from ideal bite:
how about those little stickers on the fruit & veggies we buy?

The little stickers on fruits and veggies have digits that let you know whether they're conventionally grown or organic, and if they're genetically modified (GM).

GM foods have been in stores only since the 1990s, so we don't know the long-term health risks, and in a 1998 EPA sampling, 29% of the foods tested contained detectable pesticides. Scientists are concerned that GMOs will reduce biodiversity.

Look for the labels stuck on your fruits and veggies:

A four-digit number means it's conventionally grown.

A five-digit number beginning with 9 means it's organic.

A five-digit number beginning with 8 means it's GM.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Breaking News! The New York Post Endorses Barack Obama

But with endorsements like this, Obama doesn't need friends like Bill Clinton...

We all know the Post hates Hillary and Bill. According to them, Hillary stands for a "return to the opportunistic, scandal-scarred, morally muddled years of the almost infinitely self-indulgent Clinton co-presidency."

But this is how they endorse Obama:
"For all his charisma and his eloquence, the rookie senator sorely lacks seasoning: Regarding national security, his worldview is beyond naive; America must defend itself against those sworn to destroy the nation."

"His all-things-to-all-people approach to complicated domestic issues also arouses scant confidence. "Change!" for the sake of change does not a credible campaign platform make. But he remains a highly intelligent man, with a strong record as a conciliator."

Who are they trying to kid? The endorsement is a rallying cry for Democrats to vote Obama on February 5, hopefully delivering to him the nomination. The reason? The Post editorial board doesn't think he is electable. Now that it looks like McCain will be the Republican candidate, they want Obama to be the Democrat for McCain to beat.

I guess they are discounting the fact that when McCain won South Carolina he got as many votes as Hillary Clinton did in South Carolina. But she came in second...

A New Gallup Poll

A New Gallup Poll (nationally) has Obama seriously surging on Clinton. As Josh Marshall points out at Talking Points Memo something happened on the 20th of January because the trend line is stark. Was it Bill Clinton in South Carolina? The debate? Who knows, but ten days ago, Hillary Clinton had a 20 point edge. With Edwards out, I don't think anyone has any idea what is going to happen.
It now stands at:
Clinton 42% (-2)
Obama 36% (+3)
Edwards 12% (-2)

Senate President Richard Codey to Endorse Obama

Senate President Richard Codey is expected to endorse Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to sources close to Codey, who had served as New Jersey Chairman of John Edwards’ campaign.

The Obama people have been working hard for Codey's endorsement ever since Edwards placed a distant second behind Obama in Iowa. Their state campaign office is in Codey's home town of West Orange and one of their key endorsers, former Sen. Bill Bradley, was Codey's pick for president in 2000.

Meet Paul Newell: Power Concedes Nothing Without Demand

Have you heard of this man? Hopefully, you will. SG readers might know him through his witty comments, support of Barack Obama and his desire for unity of the Democratic party come November. But, he has big plans this fall. That is to unseat one of the most powerful men in Albany, Sheldon Silver, the Speaker of the House and one of "three men in a room."

Sheldon Silver is the Speaker of the House in Albany since 1994 and a thirty-two year incumbent whose district comprises much of lower Manhattan, notably the former World Trade Center site. He is one of the reasons New Yorkers complain that 'nothing' gets done in Albany. When a government runs this way progress is nearly impossible, it supports the establishment and the democratic caucus, not what the people want. New Jersey also runs this way through party bosses. Progressives have a nearly impossible time running in these state districts controlled by the few. Paul Newell wants to change that.

When Paul and I met he said to me, "listen yeah, Sheldon Silver is the Speaker and one of 'three men in a room,' but this guy is also an elected official who represents lower Manhattan." He has failed miserably in that role and it is Paul's quest to unseat him. See Paul here on youtube explaining why he wants to run for the Assembly. The Albany Project put it this way: We're literally talking about 6,000 votes or so affecting not only the lives of 19 million New Yorkers, but the very cause of reforming our state government as well.

I have known Paul for several years and know him to be a truly progressive, very bright, reform oriented democrat. He has fought for over a decade for progressive values. Whether working to elect progressive leaders, or bring needed services to children orphaned by AIDS, Paul has always believed in working together to achieve real change. He wants to make change for the better, for the people of lower Manhattan, health care for all, affordable housing and quality schools - for real, not as a campaign slogan. He knows this is a "Herculean task" ahead of him, but something worth the battle ahead. Go to his website and see what this campaign is about and of course donate. That is how we win until we have publicly financed elections.

This is what politics is about, not about backroom deals, but about people and democracy. Paul's task ahead is certainly a David versus Goliath endeavor, but it is not impossible, in fact it is likely once we set our sights on something worthy of our goals. It reminds me of the beautiful quote by Frederick Douglas:

"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

John Edwards Ends His Presidential Bid

Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voter's sympathies but never diverted his campaign, The Associated Press has learned.

The two-time White House candidate notified a close circle of senior advisers that he planned to make the announcement at a 1 p.m. EST event in New Orleans that had been billed as a speech on poverty, according to two of his advisers. The decision came after Edwards lost the four states to hold nominating contests so far to rivals who stole the spotlight from the beginning — Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

There is also a story this morning that says Obama would love Edwards support. We will see where this goes. On a personal note Edwards campaign has been just what the democratic party needed. He has been the true democratic message voice in this campaign. Not to take anything away from Obama or Clinton for that matter, but Edwards message of corporate greed and labor rights is where our democratic party needs to go.

Russ Feingold Explains FISA in 30 Seconds

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Caroline Kennedy for Obama

This is a good ad:

Govenor Sebelius Gives the Democratic Response

A Native Son's Son in Hoboken

For any of the many readers who would like to think upon the next generation for a moment, in this election year, I present to you, at SG, Philip Lucas Fogarty,
enjoying life in Hoboken, with a great backdrop.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

“In ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ he was unique, he was perfect, That scene in the trailer at the end of the film is as moving as anything I think I’ve ever seen.” - Daniel Day Lewis - Dedicating his SAG Award to Heath Ledger

WGA Negotiations: By Seth McFarland

The F*** It List

From Daily Kos:
Dick Cheney and George Bush star as two disgraced and declining Republican conservatives who decide to break out of the White House and live their last days to the fullest in director Karl Rove’s tragicomic road movie. Dick Cheney is a corporate billionaire who is currently sharing the White House with a failed, bicycle riding, frat brat George Bush. Though initially, the pair seems to have nothing in common as they approach the end of eight years of political humiliation, they both realize that they have a long list of powers that they would still like to abuse before being driven out of office. Realizing that the power of the White House may be their last chance to accomplish their most selfish desires, the two come up with a "Fuck It" list of things that they would like to do to "fuck over" their friends, family, critics, and the White House's incoming occupant. The "Fuck It" list includes playing chicken with the entire US economy, throwing thousands more soldiers to needless deaths, and ultimately pushing "that big red button on the end of my desk that I'm never supposed to push".

Both Clinton and Obama Will Vote For Cloture on the FISA Bill

This is great news. If we are pushing the candidates with our overwhelming success at the polls and beyond - to the left and to make corporate America accountable and responsible to us, then we are doing our job as citizens. Read more at Daily Kos.

Three more Senators Need to flip so they can vote down this horrible FISA bill. Here is an analysis from again, Daily Kos and Glenn Greenwald.

Even just a two-week or one-month extension will allow more time to marshall the opposition to telecom immunity and a new FISA bill and to do what's possible to encourage the House to stand firm behind their bill -- in exactly the way that the Dodd Delay in December prevented quick and easy resolution. The longer this drags on without resolution, the more possible it is to push the opposition to a tipping point, and sometimes unexpected developments or even some luck (such as McConnell's overplaying his hand on Thursday) can prevent it all from happening.

As the events of the last two months demonstrate, if citizen opposition is channeled the right way, it can make a genuine difference in affecting the course of events in Washington. Defeating telecom immunity will keep alive the lawsuits that will almost certainly reveal to some extent what the Government did in illegally spying on Americans over the last six years or, at the very least, produce a judicial adjudication as to its illegality. And, in turn, the effects from that could be extremely significant. Because victories are so rare, it's easy to get lulled into believing that none of these campaigns are ever effective and that citizens can never affect any of it, which is precisely why it's so important to remind ourselves periodically of how untrue that proposition is.

Toni Morrison Will Also Back Barack Obama

Toni Morrison Backs Obama

Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison -- who famously declared Bill Clinton to be the nation's "first black president" -- is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president today, according to ABC News.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Barack Obama Victory Speech in South Carolina

Every speech this guy gives is mesmerizing. He really stands up to the Clintons here too. This is a campaign with a higher purpose, one that I have not seen ever in my life and the country has not seen since Robert Kennedy. Big win.

A President Like My Father

Caroline Kennedy backs Sen. Barack Obama for president in a New York Times op-ed: "Over the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama."

"I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Obama Wins South Carolina Big

With none of the precincts reporting CNN and everyone is calling it for Obama. Here are the preliminary exit polls. Let's see how the numbers come in I think.

Update: With 52% reporting it is Obama wins big. Very impressive.




And if this is not the race card, nothing is:

Questioning Health Care Mandates

Paul Krugman has been very harsh on Barack Obama on healthcare mandates. I am not going to rehash the arguments fully here. This is a personal piece on how they work. Health care mandates are a "way" of covering universally all the people in our system. Certainly, a lofty goal. Clinton and Edwards have attacked Obama because his plan does not universally cover everyone. Fair criticism in my opinion, but the substance of his argument gets lost I think. Mandates are essentially a pay-off to insurance companies. It is a public - private partnership to have everyone covered and the money goes to who else - insurance companies. Now mandates are better than nothing certainly, but what Obama argues for is lowering health care costs to make it easier on all of us and that when health care costs are lowered those left behind will be able to buy health insurance.

My brother is a single dad with three children. He does not make much money, somewhere in the range of $30,000 per year. He pays child support for 2 children and has custody of one. He was unemployed for a while and his youngest child was covered under SCHIP and he was also covered by the Massachusetts plan. He acquired employment, just enough to pay his bills. Massachusetts summarily cut him and his child off the plan. He lobbied for an exemption for his child and received one, now his child is covered. But, because he now makes too much money ($30,000 for a household of four), he no longer qualifies for the health insurance from the state. He is left to get that insurance from his job at a price of over $200 per pay period (approximately) which he cannot afford. He is in fact, now uninsured and a fine of $500 will be levied against him because he does not have insurance, i.e. the mandate.

Does this sound fair? Krugman argues that the mandate is not the problem & that the Clinton and Edwards plans (unlike Massachusetts) have subsidies to low-income families that will alleviate this problem. Though, I must say he leaves out how that occurs (his criticism of Obama) and how this enables lower income families to afford coverage. For example, why does Massachusetts not do this?

I think the criticism of Obama's plan is a policy debate as he has said and we can discuss that, but criticizing him for not wanting health care for all is really a misnomer and unfair because as is evident above there are problems with mandates, serious problems.

As someone who had a near fatal car accident with no health insurance, I know that tragedy lurks around the corner for all of us without health insurance or what really matters - free and affordable health care. When we are, at the same time, trying to please corporations while providing health care we will inevitably run into trouble. When the priority shifts so that everyone is covered no matter what the circumstance or job, is as large a priority as keeping corporations happy, then we will have a plan that works for all of us.

Mandates are not the end all to be all that we have been told they are by Krugman, by Clinton and by Edwards. On this point I am squarely in the Obama camp.

it's good to be the 'burbs!

green living in the 'burbs? yeah, right? all that driving, big houses to heat, yadda yadda yadda.

but wait, check out levittown, nassau county -- they are going green!
from my personal bible, the grist list, i read that levittown (our nation's first suburb) is getting green.

tom suozzi, the county executive, rolled out their mission to make it easy for the citizens of Levittown to save money on energy costs by providing special discounts on energy efficient products and services, and their goal to make America’s first suburb into America's most energy efficient suburb with the cooperation of Levittown residents, Nassau County, Citizens Campaign for the Environment and concerned corporate partners.

i hope this initiative has some real meat to it, not just the usual greenwashing, pr junk. stay tuned...

meanwhile, do your part when you shop around town, grab a tote & send an effective message, like becky redman's angry f*** recycle bag.

Cousin Robert Goes to War

As part of the "Afghanistan surge" our cousin is heading to war. He has a young ten year old daughter. He is pictured here speaking to Governor Spitzer with his marvelous daughter discussing with him the need for the government to provide assistance to grandparents who take care of the children of soldiers who are headed to combat. You know our government, a photo opp with a soldier headed to war is good politics. But, taking care of our soldiers in war and after war is not a priority. His wife is also a soldier.
We wish him safety, honor and a safe return to his family. And we hope Governor Spitzer delivers on his promise to find help for grandparents who care for their grandchildren.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Robbing Delegates, Playing Dirty

Just read this:

Sen. Hillary Clinton, in an about-face, said on Friday she wants the Democratic Party delegates in two states that were barred by the national party to be reinstated and counted in the race to determine the party's U.S. presidential nominee.

In those states, Michigan and Florida, Clinton could stake claim to nearly all the delegates to the nominating convention in question -- more than 350.

With the Florida primary coming up, Hillary has gone all-out to rip victory out of Obama's hands. And she has gone to tricks to get out front. Barack, unsurprisingly, was not at all happy. A spokesperson for Obama had this to say:

"Whether it is Barack Obama's record, her position on Social Security, or even the meaning of the Florida primary, it seems like Hillary Clinton will do or say anything to win an election."

Clinton's statements, in an attempt to justify her blatant rule-breaking, were absurd.

"I think it's important we send a message to the people of Michigan and Florida that Democrats care about their lives and their futures, and I will certainly do everything I can to be a good president for them," she said.

That is not the point: the point is that your opponents did not campaign in Michigan and Florida because you agreed that these states should not have jumped the line.

But now, Hillary, all's fair in love and war. Or something like that.

Some Frightening Stats

1. Number of confirmed suicides in U.S. Army in 2006: 102

2. Number of years since accurate record-keeping began in 1981 that the rate was as high: 0

3. Chance that an Iraq war veteran who has served two or more tours now has post-traumatic stress disorder: 1 in 4

4. Percentage of Democrats in 2006 who said they supported the Iraq war when it began: 21

5. Percentage of Democrats in March 2003 who said they supported the war: 46

This information is the latest available as of December 2007. Stats from Harper's Index

Note: The criminal invasion and occupation of a sovereign state is still an issue. Our economy, and bloated debts do not exactly lighten when we spend almost $500 billion on a lie, and continue to do so. How we will end the travesty must be discussed. How a government can "inject" life into a failing economy and still throw it away in Iraq is beyond me.

The Stimulus Plan from Congress is Pathetic

I think all agree that an economic stimulus plan was needed for our failing economy. Because of all the political banter here and everywhere, the real issues in our lives are obscured, by who we think would sit in the oval office chair the best. So, last night I watched the Republican debate for as long as I could take it (about 13 minutes) and saw that basically all of the Republican candidates liked the stimulus package. They thought we should also rip the hearts out of poor people and give it to multinational corporations too, but felt overall it was not so bad. It got me to thinking if they liked it - it must be pretty pathetic. Along comes Paul Krugman to give the real story.

Here it is. "Aside from business tax breaks - which are an unhappy story for another column - the plan gives each worker making less than $75,000 a $300 check, plus additional amounts to people who make enough to pay substantial sums in income tax. This ensures that the bulk of the money would go to people who are doing O.K. financially - which misses the whole point."
So, the democrats caved once again to the staunch right wing agenda of this administration? What for? Is it because they think we are as stupid as Republicans? That anything that gets passed in Congress is at least doing something?

Just a few days ago the plans were focused "on expanding programs that specifically help people who have fallen on hard times, especially unemployment insurance and food stamps. And these were the stimulus ideas that received the highest grades in a recent analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office."

Krugman also says: "there was also some talk among Democrats about providing temporary aid to state and local governments, whose finances are being pummeled by the weakening economy. Like help for the unemployed, this would have done double duty, averting hardship and heading off spending cuts that could worsen the downturn."

The problem, Krugman says is this administration refuses to sign on to anything that does not qualify as a "tax cut." Behind that refusal, in turn, lies the administration's commitment to slashing tax rates on the affluent while blocking aid for families in trouble - a commitment that requires maintaining the pretense that government spending is always bad. And the result is a plan that not only fails to deliver help where it's most needed, but is likely to fail as an economic measure.

So, besides "some concessions" by the administration the Republicans got what they wanted. We get $300 that will do absolutely nothing for us as an economy and to get our economy moving in any direction.

It looks like it is going to be a long winter.

There will be blood. Milkshake scene

I have been away from the computer for a few weeks, visiting family in NJ. I went and saw There Will Be Blood when I was up, at the Claridge in Montclair, and here is a clip from the movie. Enjoy! Amazing stuff, if you haven't seen it yet.

Obama Delivers Top Ten on Letterman

Edwards Making Gains in South Carolina

From Politicalwire:

Yesterday, we noted a couple polls that showed John Edwards surging in South Carolina. Today's Reuters/C-Span/Zogby poll finds even more proof.The survey finds Sen. Barack Obama leading with 38%, followed by Sen. Hillary Clinton at 25% and John Edwards at 21%.Said pollster John Zogby:

"The real movement here is by John Edwards, who is the only one who continues to gain ground in our three-day tracking poll. His increase appears to be coming from African American voters who are slowly making up their minds."The State: "Watch John Edwards. With only a day left before Saturday’s S.C. Democratic presidential primary, the former U.S. senator from North Carolina and S.C. native is making a move."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New Jersey Child Welfare Chief Quits

The commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families announced his resignation Thursday, after two years of leading a court-ordered overhaul of the state’s embattled child welfare system.

Mr. Ryan, 41, the state’s former Child Advocate, plans to continue as commissioner through the end of February and begin working in March at the Amelior and MCJ Foundations, which serves impoverished children in Newark and Africa.

Several advocates for children reacted to his announcement with dismay. He is the third head of the state’s child welfare system to leave office in the past four years. Read the rest of the story.

From the Coffee Front - My Perfect Candidate

Observing the primaries from the side (because I am not an active participant) allows me to come up with thoughts and ideas that are unbound neither to reality nor to the typical political views of this country. Since I can’t vote and affect the future, I can at least play some mind games about who would be my chosen candidate for the election.

Now, as a liberal person, I cannot choose for a republican candidate (and please excuse me all my fellow republicans – but some of their major beliefs are beyond my capability to accept), and since an independent candidate has a zero chance of actually winning the sought title, I am left with the democratic candidates.

Having a woman candidate against a black one already makes this election interesting. Although I have doubts about the country’s readiness to accept either as a worthy future president within the history of a white male president past, it is about time that a country that is based on diversity would allow diversity within its leaders. It is about time to get rid of those old habits and embrace the idea that the gender of a candidate nor his skin color does not affect his/her abilities and capabilities.

Watching this duo closely, I got the feeling that the political ideas and agenda of both are almost indistinct and can probably become one solid policy after a day or two of negotiating, which leaves us with the different approach for the presidential role in these two candidates (as was written in the recent New Yorker).

It seems that the real difference between the two has to do with their view of the position which both seek. An organized, well experienced bureaucracy manager as opposed to a young and fresh soul who believes in affecting the future by entering a fresh and positive vision into the system, over the pompous old bureaucracy spirit.

The choice is not easy. It is very tempting to choose the young blood that calls up to shake the old foundation and create an emotional positive wave around everything that he says (Barack) over the much less likable personality of the woman who has mastered the old foundation and might know how to run them but have a very little thrilling energy to offer (Hillary). But then, the memory of another Barack comes to my mind, the one who ran for the prime minister position in Israel with the same positive spiritual energy over any experience in politics. I admit that I was swept by his model and celebrated his victory just to see him falling in every little trap that the political world is very good in putting in front of you, and making the biggest mistakes possible over his (very good) intentions.

Suddenly it hit me, my perfect candidate is someone in between the two options, which is very rare to find in one person, but as a combination….

If I could vote, I would vote for the first of these two candidates that would go up publicly and invite the other one to co-operate together (as a vice president), a perfect combination of vision and experience. The first person to realize that as much as he lacks qualities which his opponent has and that acknowledging together they can offer a better future for everyone, is my Perfect Candidate.

Gore Endorses Gay Marriage

See the story here.

Former President of NOW Switches to Obama

For more go to Daily Kos.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


More Art from Commondreams.

Heath Ledger Dead at 28

I don't usually get sappy about actors, but Heath Ledger's death comes as a shock to me. He was I thought, a tremendous actor with lots of potential. I hear he is great in the upcoming Dylan performance as well. And of course, as Delmar he was so good; it was a remarkeable performance. Better than Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote I thought.

Substance abuse takes far too many people in this country. It is an epidemic that is avoidable. Here is the latest on his death.

The Clinton Campaign Keeps Pushing Me Farther Away

John Stewart

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rewriting History: The Corporate Mrs. Clinton

“She has spent the majority of her life working for poor families, poor children, fighting for the principles that Martin Luther King stood for.” --Minyon Moore, Clinton Campaign Advisor, as quoted in the January 11th New York Times

After Obama said in the debate last night to Senator Clinton that she worked as a corporate lawyer at Walmart it got me to thinking. Why is Mrs. Clinton painting herself as a bastion for the poor, the dispossessed; "thirty-five years of helping families." She certainly may say she is "working for change" if she likes and stands for the dispossessed. But, it simply is not true. Below are the facts. She is standard fare for what the Democrats and Republicans have offered up as candidates for the past 20 years. Standard fare.

I was sent this article this morning much to my chagrin. It was written one week ago on January 14, 2008. As someone who has spent their professional life working for the poor and the dispossessed I find her presentation of herself to be beyond the pale and feel the need to correct the facts. Here is the article in its entirety:

Rather than attempt to sway votes, I want to discuss what it means when people who have put personal ambitions ahead of principles suddenly re imagine their life histories to achieve immediate goals. Hillary Clinton not only has not spent the majority of her life “working for poor families,” but she used her sizable clout as First Lady to defeat, suppress and ultimately disempower those dedicating their lives to this cause. Her supposed mentor, Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund, was among those pleading with Ms. Clinton to oppose welfare “reform” in 1996 -- to no avail.

The historical record shows that Clinton has not spent her life working for poor families, poor children, or fighting for King’s principles; rather, she chose to lend her considerable talents to a six-year stint on the Wal-Mart Board of Directors, and as an attorney represented banks, Wal-Mart and other corporate interests with the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas. Granting Senator Clinton this fictional and reimagined personal history as a poor person’s advocate demeans those who actually have spent their lives working for the poor. It is particularly outrageous when federally funded legal service programs -- upon whom the poor depend -- were slashed to the bone during the Clinton presidency.

One can debate Hillary Clinton’s commitment to “change”or her actual level of political experience, but her personal history is a matter of public record. And this history finds her pursuing a career representing and embracing corporate America, not “fighting for the principles that Martin Luther King stood for.”

King died while in Memphis seeking economic justice for garbage workers. Clinton could have lent her talents to working for low-income workers, but instead chose to use her intelligence and legal skills to benefit Wal-Mart, likely the nation’s leading exploiter of low-income families.

Clinton earned $18,000 a year on the Wal-Mart Board, plus $1500 per meeting. That’s nearly as much as the full time salary of legal services attorneys in Arkansas in those days -- and this was on top of Clinton’s salary with the Rose Law Firm, for whom she performed legal work for Wal-Mart.

As recently as 2004, Hillary Clinton described her years on the Wal-Mart Board of Directors as “a great experience in every respect." Lending one’s talents to Wal-Mart is a strange route toward a goal of helping working families or poor children.

In fact, Clinton’s career biography does not reflect someone primarily dedicated to using her talent to help low-income families and children. The fact that her campaign wants voters to believe otherwise, and has reimagined an entire fictional career history for Clinton, does not make it so.

While First Lady of Arkansas, Clinton served on the Board of both the Children Defense Fund and Legal Services in Arkansas. She no doubt helped both organizations. But such Board service hardly qualifies her as someone who has spent the majority of her life “working” for poor families and children.

Is Senator Clinton’s reimagined past mere campaign puffery? Don’t politicians always put the best light on their life histories, and isn’t Clinton simply following this tradition? Yes and no.

There is a difference between a frequent and questionable Clinton statement like -- “I’ve been fighting for change for 35 years” -- and the more easily refutable claim that she has been working for the poor.

Because that is flatly untrue. And worse, it conflicts with Clinton’s performance as First Lady, in which she had an opportunity to stop attacks on the poor but -- based on who you believe -- she either did nothing or encouraged her husband’s worst instincts.The first fact about Clinton that I recall learning was that President Carter had appointed her to the Board of the federal Legal Service Corporation. The legal services community felt that her husband’s election meant that we finally had a legal services ally in the White House.

We sure were wrong. After withstanding the attacks on legal services during Reagan-Bush, federal funding for legal aid to the poor was not only decimated under President Clinton, but so many limitations were placed on who could be served and how that the Clinton years destroyed the effectiveness of federally funded legal services.Where was Hillary Clinton when poor families and children lost their access to legal representation? She was missing from the fight. And given her husband was President, her failure to intervene to save legal services speaks volumes as to willingness to “work” on behalf of the poor.

Clinton’s role in the abolition of the federal welfare entitlement puts her personal history even more at odds with the legacy of Dr. King. Depending on who you believe, Clinton either ignored the pleadings of Marian Wright Edelman and others urging President Clinton to veto the so-called welfare “reform” bill -- or she actively encouraged her husband to sign it. Peter Edelman, Marian’s husband, resigned from the Clinton Administration in disgust at the President’s enactment of a welfare measure that would subsequently increase hunger, homelessness, and poverty among low-income families and children.

Clinton may truly believe she has dedicated her life to working for poor families and children, but her actions speak for themselves:

She freely chose to work for Wal-Mart at a time when that company was profiting by denying health insurance to its low-wage, employees. She freely chose to put her intellect and legal skills at the service of banks and major corporations at the Rose Law Firm. She freely chose to remain silent, if not complicit, when her husband’s administration was making life worse for poor families and children.

Unlike thousands in her generation who sought to organize among the poor to fulfill Dr. King’s legacy, or who joined Cesar Chavez working for economic justice for farm workers, or who worked to unionize low-income women, or who worked for legal services or in civil rights law firms, Hillary Clinton pursued a corporate path.

That was certainly her right. But having taken that path, Senator Clinton has no right to sell an imaginary version of herself as having dedicated her life toward working for poor people. For Hillary Clinton, that was the road not taken.

Hillary and Obama Square Off

Last night was a heated debate between Clinton and Obama. I thought Obama looked a little angry and decided to challenge her. Edwards seemed to side with Clinton and supposedly met secretly with Clinton after the debate.

I have decided one thing. I will vote for Senator Clinton if she is the nominee. But, that is all I will do. I will not work for her, I will not serve as a challenger (as I have done in four successive election cycles), I will not speak of her candidacy as a candidacy I support. I will vote in November and that is it.

Blog for Choice Day

NARAL Pro-Choice America is calling on bloggers to discuss why it's important to vote pro-choice in honor of the 25th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which is today.

So why vote pro-choice?

Because of your future.

Because of your right to comprehensive health care.

Because of your right to economic and social equality.

Because of your self-empowerment.

Because of your children, mother, sister, friends.

Because no woman can succeed without full control of her body.

Because women’s lives are on the line.

It’s not simply about access to abortion anymore. It’s about reproductive justice.

So vote for whomever you want this election cycle. But remember, if you choose to ignore their stance on choice, you are voting against women. It’s truly that simple.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Dr. King

Happy Birthday to Martin Luther King from Stevie Wonder

Bill Clinton Dozes at MLK Celebration

Barack Obama Speaks at Dr. King's Church

This is an absolutely beautiful speech. It is worth every second. This is a leader's words. No doubt. Wow.

"Unity is the great need of the hour - the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it's the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.

I'm not talking about a budget deficit. I'm not talking about a trade deficit. I'm not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.

I'm talking about a moral deficit. I'm talking about an empathy deficit. I'm taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother's keeper; we are our sister's keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

We have an empathy deficit when we're still sending our children down corridors of shame - schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Fragile Peace in Iraq

From Think Progress:

As “members of a messianic cult and Iraqi troops” continued fighting for a second day, the death toll “in two predominantly Shiite southern cities rose from 50 to at least 68

Iraqi authorities said at least 36 people were reported killed in Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, and at least 32 in Nasiriyah, including Iraqi security forces, civilians and gunmen. At least 10 people were reported slain in Nasiriyah Friday.

Another bombing in Northern Iraq is also threatening to shred the fragile security situation in Iraq. Meanwhile, Muqtadah Al Sadr is threatening to not extend the cease fire he declared six months ago that U.S. officials agree has curbed much of the violence. Tensions are rising.

In other Iraq news, the winter is becoming troubling. Discontent across the country is "surging" to do lack of heat and no electricity. That there is no electricity in this country for the people of Iraq is a failure of epic proportions by America. Who else is to blame?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nevada Caucuses - Clinton wins.

Talking Points Memo has the results updated quicker than the networks right now. With 32% reporting it is Clinton leading with 50% - 45% for Obama and Edwards a very distant 3rd with only 5%. See it here.

Update: 41% of the precincts reporting and the same holds true. 50-45-5 for Clinton, Obama and Edwards.

With 87% reporting Clinton wins 51-45. Close. Two weeks ago, Clinton would have won by double digits. It is, however do or die in South Carolina for Barack. I don't know where Edwards goes from here. It is at this point he should put his considerable weight behind Obama in my opinion.

The Obama campaign has released a recording (mp3) it says came from a Nevadan's answering machine of an anonymous robocall that criticizes Obama for taking money from special interests while repeating, four times, his rarely used middle name: "Hussein."
"I'm calling with some important information about Barack Hussein Obama," the call begins, before saying that "Barack Hussein Obama says he doesn't take money from Washington lobbyists or special interest groups but the record is clear that he does."

Update: Obama won the delegate count in Nevada. And some are saying he won the popular vote count as well. I am not sure about that, but this sure causes confusion. On to South Carolina I say.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Amtrak Strike Will Cripple N.J. Transit: For One I Support the Strike

"A strike of any duration that shuts down the Northeast Corridor will cause severe disruption to our service and inconvenience to tens of thousands of commuters in New Jersey," Sarles said. "The spine of our rail network is the Northeast Corridor. More than half of our 740 daily trains rely on it for all or part of their trips." -Executive Director Richard Sarles-

NJ Transit would not be able to run trains into Manhattan if Amtrak workers strike. The agency would be forced to shut down its busiest rail line, which runs entirely on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor tracks.

Service would be halted on sections of the three other lines that depend partly on Amtrak's infrastructure -- the North Jersey Coast Line north of Rahway, the Raritan Valley Line in Newark and the Atlantic City Line near Philadelphia. The Midtown Direct trains on the Morris & Essex and Montclair-Boonton lines would be forced to divert to Hoboken.

NJ Transit would respond to an Amtrak strike by running shuttle buses between its rail stations and the PATH stations in Newark, Harrison and Hoboken, Sarles said. But the agency doesn't have nearly enough buses to make up for the missing trains. Sarles estimated that it will be able to accommodate only 40 to 50 percent of the passengers it carries during the typical daily peak period.

What it is about

About 10,000 Amtrak employees from nine unions have been working without a contract since the end of 1999. The unions have engaged in years of unsuccessful mediation. The emergency board sided with the unions and recommended that wage increases be made retroactive. Amtrak, which relies on federal subsidies, is worried about whether it can afford the back pay, which would amount to about $13,000 per employee, or roughly $130 million.

Under the Railway Labor Act, most disputes that get to this point end with a contract based on the emergency board's report. In cases when that doesn't happen, Congress usually imposes the board's recommendations.

Imagine working nine years without a contract and then told you were not going to get any back pay that you earned and are deserved. With this administration one never knows what will happen. It is probably a way to try and cripple Amtrak and sell it off to a private entity a la the Shock Doctrine.

Can We all Say the R. Word: Recession if You Want to Whisper it

Stocks plunged on Thursday as investors confronted new indications of the depth of subprime losses and housing woes. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 300 points, bringing its decline to 15 percent since its peak in October.

Since Jan. 1 alone, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, a broad measure of the financial markets, is down more than 9 percent. And the Russell 2000 index, which tracks small companies, is now officially in a bear market, 20 percent below its peak.

A dismal report on manufacturing activity caught investors by surprise on Thursday morning, sending the main indexes into the red after an early stint in positive territory.

The report, from the Federal Reserve, found that Philadelphia-area manufacturers had contracted much more than expected in a January survey, reaching a six-year low. A similar drop in the index occurred in early 2001, just before the onset of the last recession.

The depth of the subprime market (i.e. corporate abuse, fraud, corruption, take your pick) is hitting every part of the market. It seems it is finally upon us.

Read the rest of the article.

The Zogby Poll in Nevada

I think Obama needs to win in Nevada. I really do. I think he needs a new swing in momentum going into South Carolina and then to Florida and Super Tuesday. That is just my lay opinion.

Clinton holds a five-point lead in Nevada over Obama, 42% to 37%. Edwards is a distant third at 12% support, while 5% of voters remain undecided.

Clinton held a strong advantage in the city of Las Vegas, with the support of 48% support of likely Democratic voters who live there. Obama attracted 36% of that group and Edwards 10%. Obama, meanwhile, did better in the rest of the state, taking 41% of support to Clinton’s 31% and Edwards’ 16%.

Clinton had a strong lead among women, with 46% of their number supporting her, compared with 36% for Obama and 12% for Edwards, the telephone survey shows. Obama and Clinton were just a point apart among male supporters, him winning 39% and her 38%. The two top candidates’ performance among different age groups were virtual mirror images of one another, with Obama dominating 54% to 28% among the 18-29 bracket and Clinton winning a hefty 57% of those over age 65 to Obama’s 25%. Clinton had more support from those aged 50 to 64, while Obama led among voters aged 30 to 49.

Zogby on Nevada said: “Clinton holds a slight lead in Nevada but it will all depend on organization. Nevada Democrats have no real history for us to go on, so we will have to see how powerful the unions, civil rights, and other organizations are in bringing out their constituencies. Noteworthy is the tale of Black America vs. White America. Obama leads among African Americans 81% to 16%, while Clinton leads among whites 46% to 31%. What this portends for other states we will have to wait and see.

Significantly, Clinton leads among Hispanics 51% to 27%. Clinton also leads among Moderates. The two top candidates are battling it out among union members.

“A majority of Democratic caucus voters say that they favor a candidate who represents change (53%) rather than experience (36%). Among those who cite change, Obama wins 50% to Clinton’s 29%. Among those who cite experience, Clinton receives 64% to Obama’s meager 10%.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Obama Wants to be Reagan?

Don't get me wrong, I like Obama and all, but this kind of pisses me off. I understand the need to reach out, but does this guy really not understand that invoking Reagan enrages a large segment of the democratic party? Though, someone at Daily Kos says the entire thing is taken out of context. See the analysis here.

Though, in fairness the Clintons liked him too.

Former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, issued a statement that praised the former president for his optimistic outlook.

"Hillary and I will always remember President Ronald Reagan for the way he personified the indomitable optimism of the American people, and for keeping America at the forefront of the fight for freedom for people everywhere," their statement said.

Legal Services Funding in New Jersey is in Big Trouble


The agency that coordinates free legal help for people with civil problems ranging from housing disputes to divorce is facing a potential budget shortfall, officials said yesterday.

The primary funding source for the nonprofit Legal Services of New Jersey has dropped off in recent months, threatening the agency's ability to take cases, said Melville Miller, president of the organization. Legal Services runs a network of legal assistance offices around the state and represented more than 55,000 poor clients in the past two years.

"If these revenue drops persist, or worse, it will lead to crippling staff reductions and severely diminished client services," said Miller.

The December figures were down 20 percent, said Miller. That follows declines of 9 percent in November and 6 percent in October.

For the past two years, the legal aid agency has gotten more than half its $72 million annual budget through interest earned on certain accounts lawyers keep for clients, called the New Jersey Supreme Court Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts program. The funds are administered through an independent agency in New Brunswick, said Ellen Ferrise, the executive director of the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey.

The funding has fluctuated over recent years, Ferrise said. While it is too early to tell what 2008 might bring, she said market indicators signal that it could be a down year.
The accounts depend largely on the strength of the real estate market, Federal Reserve interest rates and the overall economy.

"All three are in decline, with no end in sight -- a kind of terrible perfect storm for our funding," said Miller. "We did not really foresee the depth and suddenness of this drop."
The past two years have seen record revenues for the fund, and much of that extra money went to Legal Services, allowing it to take on more cases and hire staff. If the financial woes continue, those gains will be cut, said Miller.

Judiciary officials, who appoint the trustees to the fund but are not involved in its day-to-day management, said they are always concerned with the financial well-being of the agency.
"The courts certainly have confidence that the trustees who manage this money are managing it well in these difficult times," said Winnie Comfort, a judiciary spokeswoman.

Legal Services isn't the only agency that gets funding from the trust accounts. The New Jersey State Bar Association's foundation also gets about 12 percent of its annual funding from the accounts, said Angela Scheck, the bar's executive director. But the foundation anticipated the money might fluctuate and established a reserve to cover possible shortfalls.

Casino Caucuses to Go Forward (hooray!)

A federal judge on Thursday allowed Nevada's Democratic Party to conduct voting to choose a U.S. presidential nominee in casino hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, a decision likely to boost Sen. Barack Obama.

"For the first time, Nevada Democrats planned to set up nine locations for Saturday's vote so casino shift workers -- who are largely represented by a union that endorsed Obama -- could express their preference for a Democratic Party candidate before the November presidential election."

Whether you support Clinton, Obama or Edwards this is good news. Disenfranchising voters is repugnant and should be left to those who are repugnant like the Republican party. There is no place for vote suppressors in the Democratic party.

The reasoning: Mahan said the Nevada Democratic Party had a constitutional right to write its rules for nominating its candidates.

"State Democrats have a First Amendment right to association, to assemble and to set their own rules," Mahan said.
"I don’t want to set a precedent that is not warranted."
"The parties have a right to determine how they’ll apportion delegates to their conventions."

For more go to Daily Kos.

Stewart Interviews Jonah Goldberg

This guy is fucking crazy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Constitution Must Match God's Words

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."

Here's the story on this craziness.

I think that sentence speaks volumes as to why Mike Huckabee is scary and should not be president.

On a related note, I leave you with the words of Matthew McConaughy: “Wish us the best, keep us in your prayers, and God bless evolution…”

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Democrats for Mitt

Daily Kos is pushing for democrats to vote for Mitt today. Pretty funny. So, McCain doesn't sweep and the election continues. Update: It worked. Romney Wins Michigan!!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Clintons on the Attack: Let Us Set the Record Straight

I am harping I know. But, I am pissed off.

October, 2002

January, 2008

Barack in october, 2002

Who is distorting who's record? Pathetic.

Bob Johnson on Obama

We don't need anything else than this video to tell us what the Clinton campaign is about. To use Bob Johnson, a shrill for the Republicans. For instance: Bob Johnson, the Black Entertainment Television founder with a personal net worth of $1.3 billion, is a Trojan Horse, an aggressive political operative of the Bush White House posing as a Democrat. He has used his high profile status as one-half of all African American billionaires (the determinedly non-partisan Oprah Winfrey is the other half) to advance the most politically perilous item on the GOP agenda: privatization of Social Security.

To use this guy and then have him attack Obama on drug use. Don't believe me - watch for yourself. Will we really get anything different from the Clinton Campaing then what we have right now?

Dennis Kucinich on Being Uninvited to the Nevada Debate

"When 'big media' exert their unbridled control over what Americans can see, hear, and read, then the Constitutional power and right of the citizens to vote is being vetoed by multi-billion dollar corporations that want the votes to go their way." - Dennis Kucinich, after being uninvited to the Nevada Debate. At first Kucinich was invited then, MSNBC changed the criteria and uninvited him.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Hoboken Democratic Party: Get in Line

I am a Hoboken Democratic Committee Member. I received a letter from Maurice Fitzgibbons who is the Municipal chair of the party. The letter is one paragraph and it says:

Please join Governor Jon Corzine, Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman Albio Sires, Congressman Donald Payne, and County Executive Tom DeGise at a press conference for Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. The press conference will take place at the Turning Point Restaurant 1440 Sinatra Drive in Hoboken this Monday, January 14th at 3 PM. Please make every effort to attend.

Like I am some party hack who is supposed to get in line with the party. This is how the democratic party works in New Jersey. Get in line, wait your turn (nationally too, why do we think Hillary is so mad at Barack? He didn't wait his turn) and support who we say you should support. This is why progressive politics never takes place in New Jersey and all of the northeast for that matter because it is run by party bosses and the democratic establishment of which we (the establishment) should get in line and support Hillary.

We need to take our party back from the good ol boys who want to run things like they have always been run, like a fucking golf tournament. No one steps out, play by the rules and if you need to speak wait your fucking turn. I am tired of this and I am tired of Hillary Clinton. I respect her and it is high time a woman was President, that is for sure, but fuck this party establishment bullshit. How do we expect things to change if we do not respect the new leadership rising?

I support Barack Obama and I am proud of it. See what the party establishment in Nevada is doing and know why if we listen to these people as democrats we as a party are doomed.

Hillary Clinton is Disenfranchising Voters in Nevada and Stooping to Karl Rove Like Tactics

Every time I begin to try and want to vote for Hillary, or at least try and get used to the fact that she might be the nominee I am reminded why we need a change in the leadership of the Democratic party and why she is just not acceptable as our nominee.

Two days after a key Nevada union of casino employees endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, allies of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, filed a lawsuit to block the special "at-large" casino precincts set up months ago for those very casino employees.

Culinary union secretary-treasurer D. Taylor told the Associated Press that the plaintiffs were using "Floridian Republican tactics to suppress cooks, housekeepers, people of color and women."

This is not an exaggeration. First, though remember Hillary's comments that caucus' are more difficult for mothers and working women (which I agree with by the way) in Iowa. Well, now the story is different in Nevada because these folks might be supporting Barack.

From ABC News:

Two days after a key Nevada union of casino employees endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, allies of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, filed a lawsuit to block the special "at-large" casino precincts set up months ago for those very casino employees.

With the stated purpose of ensuring voting participation by casino employees in the Jan. 19 Nevada caucuses, the Nevada Democratic Party created nine at-large precincts designed for the "4,000 or more shift workers per site who could not otherwise take the time off to go to their home precincts."

The sites will be located at the Bellagio, Luxor, the Mirage, the Rio, Caesar's Palace, the Paris, the Flamingo, Wynn Las Vegas, and New York, New York casinos.

But the lawsuit, filed by six Nevada Democrats and the Nevada State Education Association teachers' union -- whose deputy executive director, Debbie Cahill, is a member of Clinton’s Nevada Women’s Leadership Council -- seeks to prevent those At-Large Districts from meeting in next Saturday's caucuses.

"The Democratic Party of Nevada has violated the principle of 'one person, one vote' by creating at-large precincts for certain caucus participants, based solely on the employment of such participants," charges the lawsuit -- posted HERE by Vegas pundit and reporter Jon Ralston.
The lawsuit was filed by the firm Kummer, Kaempfer, Bonner, Renshaw, and Ferrario. Senior partners Michael Bonner and Christian Kaempfer have donated money to Clinton in the past, and Clinton ally and former Rep. James H. Bilbray, D-Nev., is an attorney at that firm.
The state party approved the at-large precincts at its Nevada State Democratic Party's State Central Committee meeting on March 31, 2007.

According to those minutes and attendance records of the obtained by ABC News (Click HERE), four plaintiffs now suing the state party to stop these "at-large" precincts from convening were in attendance: Clark Party Second Vice Chair Vicki Birkland and John Birkland, Party Third Vice Chair Dwayne Chesnut and Clark County Public Administrator John Cahill.

The "Delegation Selection Plan Review and Approval" including these "at-large" precincts was, according to minutes of the meeting reviewed by ABC News, "Passed unanimously." The plan was submitted to the Democratic National Committee for approval in August.

The lawsuit charges that changes were made to the agreement since then, however, and that the at-large precincts now unfairly give the casino precincts more weight -- "disingenuously" allocating delegates based on participation instead of based on registered voters, for example -- creating a "grossly amplified number of delegates" thus "treating each precinct as if it were a separate county."

In a statement, Nevada Democratic Party deputy executive director Kirsten Searer says, "We have taken unprecedented steps to include as many Nevadans as possible in this historic caucus day. The 'at-large' precincts were included to increase participation in the highest concentration of shift workers — many of whom are minorities."

I think this is unprecedented in democratic politics. These are exactly the people Hillary was advocating for in Iowa, now that they may be voting for Barack she (masked as the Democratic party in Nevada) file a lawsuit to shut down caucuses that are only designed to open up the process. Is that not what the democratic party has always stood for? Open up the vote to everyone and for everyone. The more folks we get voting the more progressives and democratic voters will be involved and participating. This is disgusting.

I also watched her on Meet the Press this morning and I thought her defensiveness and her desire to always be right and not self-reflect is bushlike and it scares the fuck out of me. She is stooping to rewriting the history of Barack's stance on the war. Everyone knows where he stood on the war, yet she picks and pins certain statements regarding his voting on the war. This is Karl Rove all over again.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bill Maher on Religion and Bush

Barack Obama in Jersey City, NJ

Barack was in Jersey City the morning after New Hampshire. I tried to go, but I had a trial to tend to. I was discouraged after Hillary's win as well I must admit. I don't know who will win this thing. It seems to be a toss up right now. One thing is clear whoever we nominate (it seems clear it will be one of the two) they will face a barrage of "hate" from the right. And we will need every ounce of our democratic energy to beat them. I have criticized Hillary adamantly and stand behind what I have said. This blog is surely about Barack right now. But, come November I have decided, if Hillary is the nominee I will do my part to see her elected. Our country cannot take one more minute of Republican rule. Everything is at stake.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Six Years of Guantanamo

The ACLU’s “Close Guantanamo Bay” day marks the six anniversary of the arrival of prisoners at the U.S. military base in Cuba, where hundreds of foreigners continue to languish behind bars without any trial in the U.S. courts. In all about 800 people have been held at the Guantanamo prison — some of them for years on end — since it opened in January 2002.

The Bush administration justifies their detention by stating that the naval base in Guantanamo is outside U.S. territory so constitutional protections do not apply, an argument that has been consistently challenged by United Nations experts and human rights groups at home and abroad.

In May 2006, a UN panel that monitors compliance with the world’s anti-torture treaty urged the United States to close its prison at Guantanamo and avoid using secret detention facilities in what George W. Bush and his allies call the “war on terror.” The Bush administration dismissed those arguments, saying the UN experts lacked accurate information.
Today, at the Supreme Court eighty people were arrested "calling for the shutdown of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." Demonstrators wearing orange jump suits intended to simulate prison garb were arrested inside and outside the building in the early afternoon. "Shut it down," protesters chanted as others kneeled on the plaza in front of the court.

Officials briefly closed the court building during the protest. It reopened around 2 p.m. EST. We will regret and be ashamed some day when we are old and gray that we sat through this abomination. Just like our grandparents allowed the internment of Japanese citizens Guantanamo Bay is a national shame.

Clyburn to Back Obama?

Interesting piece in the New York Times:

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), "the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, said he was rethinking his neutral stance in his state’s presidential primary out of disappointment at comments by Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton that he saw as diminishing the historic role of civil rights activists," the New York Times reports."

Clyburn, a veteran of the civil rights movement and a power in state Democratic politics, put himself on the sidelines more than a year ago to help secure an early primary for South Carolina, saying he wanted to encourage all candidates to take part. But he said recent remarks by the Clintons that he saw as distorting civil rights history could change his mind."

This is troubling. And this is precisely why this race can quickly devolve into a race about race and gender. Clearly, both candidates are suffering from both the presented sexism and racism so intransigent in the politics of our day (see karl rove yesterday). However, the Clintons are being accused of this and I have noticed a jarring tone playing the race card with them. After Iowa, Clinton clearly was playing up this point when saying Barack isn't tough on crime, etc. The African-American community will notice and it seems they are beginning to notice.

To Obama's credit he has not done so (although Jesse Jackson, jr. came close when describing Clinton's tears), but John Edwards seemed to misstep when he pounced on Clinton.