Friday, August 31, 2007
Rick is attempting to unseat first term Senator John Cornyn. Cornyn won his seat in 2002 with 54.7% of the vote, and has spent the last 5 years helping out all his fellow Texan's in the White House, all while racking up the third most conservative voting record in the Senate. All of this might help explain why Cornyn started the 2008 election cycle as least popular Republican Senator in the country with only a 41% favorable rating.
So whose Rick Noriega?
Well, Rick is a Lt. Colonel in the Texas National Guard who also happens to be a five term member of the Texas House of Representatives. Aside from being an Afghanistan War Veteran, a native Texan (including the accent), a graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, a Hurricane Katrina rescue worker, and a finalist on American Idol, he doesn't have much of a resume compared to Cornyn. (I'm actually not telling the truth about the American Idol thing, but you get the point.) Noriega isn't a millionaire whose trying to buy this seat, but he is getting solid support from the right Dems in Texas, and even some Republicans.
Is this an easy pick up? Hell no. Is this a great candidate who can put up a great fight? Absolutely.
There hasn't been a Democratic Senator from Texas for 19 years. That's right, not since the Dodgers won the World Series has Texas been blue in the Senate, although Dems did make inroads in 2006 by picking up two congressional seats. Cook Political currently has this race classified as a "Safe Republican" seat, but the Noriega's campaign has only started making movement in the last month. Cornyn is currently sitting on $3.3 million in the bank, so Noriega will need to get fundraising A.S.A.P.
This is definatly a candidate and a race we should all keep an eye on.
The campaign site
The draft Noriega news blog
The first commercial
The DSCC breakdown
But I have figured out a way for Democrats to finally wield some influence over the Bush White House. Though I must warn all of you that it will involve a lot of fundraising.
Now that the president is on his way out of Washington, one of his growing concerns is how to fund his presidential library. Of course, a presidential library is a very expensive project. The president estimates that he will need about $500 million to do the job right. The New Republic notes that he has already received donations from "wealthy heiresses, Arab nations, and captains of industry." If history is any indicator, he will probably auction off a few presidential pardons as well. Edward L. Cox donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to George H.W. Bush's library after his son--who was imprisoned on charges of bank fraud--received a presidential pardon in 1993. Likewise, Denise Rich gave $450,000 to build the William J. Clinton Library after her husband, Marc Rich, received a presidential pardon for charges of tax-evasion and racketeering.
Nevermind all this talk about phased-withdrawal and partitioning Iraq into ethnic enclaves. Getting out of Iraq really isn't that complicated; the only thing Democrats need to do is donate a hefty monetary contribution to the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Quick! Call George Soros and Norman Hsu! Get all those Democrats making money off hedge funds on the line, too!
I do forsee one small problem, though. It's unlikely that America will know anything about the Democratic Party's role in bringing our troops home. Unfortunately, like every president before him, Bush is not under legal obligation to make donations to his library public. What a pity!
Regardless of why everyone is stepping down, one thing is clear: the Bush Era is ending.
Norman Hsu Turns Himself In
Democrats Might Take Virginia's Other Senate Seat
Reid Opens Door to Pact with Anti-war Republicans
Would you Pay $64,500 for a Picture of Yourself?
Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA) will Seek a 16th Term [Is this shady character really a former Bruin? He certainly acts like a Trojan.]
First Gay Couple Legally Married in Iowa
Of Course We're Number 1, Bitch! Did you Really Think UCLA would go Away?
What? People are Actually Buying Joe Biden's Book?
Thursday, August 30, 2007
But instead, it looks like this is what we're going to get instead. Looks like Harry Reid is ready to cave in and give Bush and the Republicans everything they want on Iraq.
Saying the coming weeks will be "one of the last opportunities" to alter the course of the war, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said he is now willing to compromise with Republicans to find ways to limit troop deployments in Iraq.
Reid acknowledged that his previous firm demand for a spring withdrawal deadline had become an obstacle for a small but growing number of Republicans who have said they want to end the war but have been unwilling to set a timeline.
I don't think we have to think that our way is the only way," Reid said of specific dates during an interview in his office here. "I'm not saying, 'Republicans, do what we want to do.' Just give me something that you think you would like to do, that accomplishes some or all of what I want to do."
God-freaking-damn-it!!! What the hell do you think we elected you guys to f*cking DO?? It was EXACTLY to tell those damned brain-dead Republicans DO WHAT WE WANT TO DO. On Iraq. On minimum wage. On national security. On health care. On global warming. Etc. DO WHAT WE WANT TO DO, not what you guys have been doing the last 6 years f*cking over this country in every which way!
And now Reid's already giving up before the fight even begins? Before the September report from the White House (with occasional input from Petraeus, but only if it jibes with the White House line)?
Remember those benchmarks that Bush said were crucial back in January when he began the "surge"? Well, Tony Snow just showed us how much those mean to Bush.
Again, I would -- if you take a look at what Congress has mandated for this report, it says, have you met these? Have you met them in full? Well, the answer is, you're going to find in a lot of cases, of course they haven't met them. Now, the real question is, do you have progress in the right direction?
The other thing I would suggest is that it would be a mistake to limit one's view of what goes on in Iraq to the benchmarks.
Tony, you guys weren't saying that in January. This is seriously like Lucy with the football, and Harry "Charlie Brown" Reid is dumb enough to fall for it again, thinking Republicans will actually "compromise". When have they compromised ANYTHING on Iraq, Harry? Please, give me just ONE example where they've "compromised".
As Joan McCarter (mcjoan on DailyKos) said: "Bipartisanship only works when the other side compromises, too. Otherwise it's just capitulation."
And thanks to these defeatist words from Reid, it looks like Democrats have already capitulated to the Republicans and Mr. 28%. You have just guaranteed the deaths of several hundred more American soldiers, and untold thousands of Iraqi civilians. I hope you can sleep tonight.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Thursday welcomed his first national endorsement from a labor group, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.Click here to read more.
This is my second installment of primary poll watch. Last time around we looked at the Democratic field in Iowa, and now it's the turn of the Grand Ole Party.
Like the Democrats, Iowa has sent the winner of their caucus towards their parties nomination in the last three elections. And in total they have only been off twice in the last eight elections (Bob Dole in '88, and H Dubya in '80.)
The Fake Poll:
The Ames "straw poll", something I'm glad the Dems don't do, makes about as much sense as the BCS. The results have really turned this race into Romney's to lose. This unscientific media orgy held on August 11th, pitted the Republicans against one another to see which campaign had more money errr supporters. John McCain, Fred Thompson, and Rudy Guiliani all opted out of the straw poll which turned it into a great opportunity for the "second tier" candidates to make an impact. Romney ended up running away with the win thanks to the $442.87 average amount per voter he spent. He (Romney) came in first, followed by Huckabee, Brownback, Tancredo, and finally good ole Ron Paul. Huckabee was dubbed the winner out of the lower tier which has resulted in a lot of attention and energy towards his campaign. The battle of Ames did claim a casualty in the process, none other than Tommy Thompson (ya the guy you never heard of that looked life a frog.)
The Good Stuff:
The last poll published in Iowa which came out yesterday, had Romney out ahead with 27%, Guiliani with 17%, energized Huckabee with 14%, undeclared Thompson with 13%, undeclared Newt Gingrich with 7%, and what the hell ever happened to John McCain straight talking his way into 5%. To make things worse for McCain, a few weeks ago his campaign actually saw a poll that showed Democrat Barack Obama having higher poll numbers in Iowa amoung Republicans than Johnnie.
Over at RealClearPolitics.com, their "poll of polls" now show Romney with a 15.6% average point lead.
Next up, Dems in New Hampshire.
Sales of counterfeit T-shirts may have helped finance the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, according to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. “Profits from counterfeiting are one of the three main sources of income supporting international terrorism,” said Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland.”
-Dana Thomas, writing in the New York Times
I have been troubled for sometime with the increasing practice of outing political figures or celebrities. Whether it be the Frank rule or Perez Hilton's blog, I consider outing of public figures to be wrong. And nearly every major gay rights group agrees with me (including the HRC, the NGLTF, and the Log Cabin Republicans, among others).
Sexual orientation is inherantly personal. And indeed, for gay people it is something they are forced to deal with for their entire lives. A lot of straight folks take for granted the sheer volume of heterosexism and homophobia in this country. For this reason, gay people have to come to terms with their sexuality THEMSELVES, with no negative outside influence.
Coming out is a lifelong process - you don't just do it once and then get it over with, you have to continue doing it for your entire life (after all, unlike innate features such as eye or skin color, one's sexuality is not immediately evident to the observer). Coming from someone who has, at one point been outed to folks against his will, this should never happen to anyone. I don't care how hypocritical they are; I don't care how they use their influence to affect others. Outing someone without their consent is just plain wrong.
That being said, what is happening right now with Senator Craig is not forced outing. Rather it is the ongoing proceedings of a very public crime. Now whether or not we make fun of Senator Craig's situation, or cast aspersions on him for being a hypocrite, that's up for debate in my mind. But forced outings, that's not.
Blogger Attacks the Obamas
Democrats Split on Civil Liberties
John Edwards and Jimmy Carter get Cozy
Planned Crackdown on Immigrants Denounced
Judge Takes on Death Row Gridlock
White House Actually Consults Dems on Attorney General Nominations
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Barney Frank (himself an out member of Congress) talks exactly on the topic Gabe discussed in great detail, ironically one year before the Craig incident.
According to the most legitimate source on the internets, wikipedia, this philosophy has been dubbed "The Frank Rule"
"It is acceptable to out a closeted gay person, if that person uses their power or notoriety to hurt gay people."It's right up there with the Golden Rule and the Monroe Doctrine.
Of course we all wanna point and laugh when some GOP anti-gay politician turns out to be... surprise, gay! It's funny, ironic, and points to the incredible hypocrisy that has come to engulf this whole "culture war." And it doesn't hurt that it seems to happen every other week- Mark Foley, that state legislator in Florida, now this.
But does it bother anyone else that we, as liberals, are jumping all over someone because he's... gay? Doesn't that seem inherently wrong to anyone else? I totally see Kyle's point about the example he sets, and how much he sets back our movement for LGBT equality. But can't we show him the same understanding that we show the rest of the community who struggles so deeply to keep their identity private? As we all acknowledge, people don't stay in the closet (or use secret foot-tapping codes in the bathroom) for fun- its an inevitable response to the homophobic culture in which we still live. Why don't we recognize Craig as another sad victim of this culture, having to live a public lie his entire life? As good as it may feel to drag him through the mud, and air his entire sexuality for the public to see, shouldn't we, as liberals, hold ourselves to a higher standard, and be a little more understanding?
Take global warming: While Clinton spouts happy talk about ethanol and "clean coal," and Obama focuses on a technocratic proposal to lower the "carbon intensity" of auto fuel, Edwards has a plan that would make the Union of Concerned Scientists proud. "We need an eighty percent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2050," the candidate told Rolling Stone in a wide-ranging interview. "You start by capping carbon emissions in America. Beneath the cap, you auction off the right to emit any greenhouse gases. And you use that money --$30 to $40 billion -- to transform the way we use energy."
Or poverty. Ending deprivation at home -- by making it easier for workers to unionize, raising the minimum wage to $9.50, cracking down on predatory lending, and providing matching funds to help low-income Americans save -- remains the hallmark of his candidacy. But informed by his travels in Africa, Edwards now proposes spending $5 billion a year to educate 100 million children worldwide, improve drinking water and sanitation in developing countries, and slow the ravages of HIV and AIDS.
When he's not echoing Bono and Al Gore, Edwards sounds a bit like Michael Moore. He was the first contender with a plan for universal medical coverage, and his proposal goes further than Obama's by mandating that every American be provided a health plan. And where Clinton would leave a significant troop presence in Iraq indefinitely, Edwards calls for a complete withdrawal. He has issued the most forceful repudiation of Bush's "war" on terror, and in July he proposed a tax hike for wealthy investors.
"Edwards is swinging for the fences," says Peter Leyden, director of the New Politics Institute, a progressive think tank. "He's got strategy reasons for doing that -- he's got to get on the board differently. But given where we are as a country right now, his transformative rhetoric is right on the money."
Such unabashed progressive stances have made Edwards a hit among the party's Netroots activists. His climate-change plan was the runaway favorite in a MoveOn.org straw poll that followed the Live Earth concerts. And in a recent survey of more than 16,000 Democrats on Daily Kos, Edwards emerged as the top choice, registering forty percent support to Obama's twenty-two percent. "Edwards' proposals go the furthest -- they're like the ideal," says Moulitsas of Daily Kos. "Everybody else is playing it so safe it's dreadful."
As such, Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic even admitted that the media is trying to bury Edwards. By railing against corporate power, he's got those in the corporate media concerned and upset. They don't want to see him win, and so they're doing everything they can to smear him. Except it's not working, not anymore. Maybe in the days before blogs existed and could cut through media spin, it would have worked.
But check out Rasmussen Reports' daily tracking numbers nationally. Granted, it's national, but you get a sense of trends. Before this week, Edwards basically had a ceiling of 15% support (hitting 16% for just one day). But since this week started, he's been pretty much at 18%. And while he had been pretty much trailing Obama by double digits in the poll, this week it's become a dead heat, with them actually ending up tied at 18% each yesterday. Those who say he's not viable aren't paying attention. At this point back in August 2003, Joe "Turncoat" Lieberman was leading the field.
Finally, I'm an environmentalist at heart. That's my biggest issue. If that's your biggest concern too, in getting ourselves off our dependence on foreign oil and trying to stop our contribution to global warming, there again, the environmental blog Grist praises Edwards for having the most comprehensive climate and energy plan out there. Also, apsmith does a comprehensive rundown of where all the candidates stand on just about every single environmental issue out there. Please check it out to see where the major candidates REALLY stand on the issues.
And on health care? All you need to do is watch this video from New Hampshire.
Castro says a Hillary-Obama Ticket is Invincible
A Senator's Wide Stance: "I am Not Gay"
A Scandal-Scarred GOP Asks, "What's Next?"
Three Dem Presidential Candidates are Taking Money from a Shady Character
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Once again, a political scandal involving something REMOTELY gay ends up being about homosexuality as an identity, and not the fact he TRIED TO HAVE SEX IN A PUBLIC PLACE. This is just another closetcase GOPer trying to save his ass by attacking the big bad ghey.
Monday, August 27, 2007
In any event, this is really, REALLY starting to piss me off. These fuckers are parading around denigrating gay people, and then go out and secretly do skanky gay shit! Stuff that a vast, vast, VAST majority of gay people don't do! AND, to make matters worse, they wouldn't feel forced to do this skanky shit if it weren't for them contributing to severe homophobia that leads closeted gay men to do such things. It's a vicious freakin' circle! If everyone in America who was LGBT suddenly came out of the closet, and our bigoted straight friends and neighbors decided not to be bigoted anymore, gloryholes and foot-tapping in bathrooms would cease to exist.
Now, ANOTHER politician labeled as 'gay' is going to have to resign. First McGreevey, then Foley, then Haggard, then the Florida dude who hasn't resigned yet, and now a United States Senator. And EVERY single time this happens, the story isn't about how they committed a crime, they have to resign because they're GAY (and they won't let their GOP constituents try to cope with that...just look at David Dreier or however the hell you spell his closeted name).
And here's the kicker: when these folks resign because they're gay, what does that say to the millions of gay teenagers struggling to come to terms with their sexuality??? That being gay is about gloryholes, misery, and resignation. Just think about it - how many male gay role models are there? Folks who are A-list celebrities? Ian McClellan? He played Gandalf and Magneto...but he's too sophisticated to be considered A-list. Only the Hollywood elite and wizard lovers love him!
And so once AGAIN gay male teens are left with another anti-role model. ONCE AGAIN a gay GOP politician proves himself to not be a role model to gay teens, but to propagate the belief that we're all horned-up sex fiends (and to be fair, Gerry Studds, a liberal Democrat and the FIRST openly gay congressman, made gay people look bad too when he banged a seventeen year old intern).
I pray for the day when we can get a gay male politician who can be out and proud of who he is, and do it without being skanky and illegal. Do I have to wait until I turn twenty-five to do this for myself?! Good God almighty, people! This is America!! Out of the gloryhole-ridden airport bathrooms and into the freakin' streets!!!
Click here to read more.
When will the contradictions end? While I respectfully disagree with politicians who fight elections over "family values" and the like because I can tell they really believe it is best for the country, I have a huge problem with those who contradict themselves on such issues. It is one thing to be a "sneaky politician" and accept bribes or something along those lines (and that is wrong too, of course), but quite another to fight against an entire group of the population even if you are part of that group of the population. For shame.
Ambinder notes that the IAFF's endorsement should give Dodd some significant help in New Hampshire. We'll see how it pans out.
Bye bye, good riddance, you were an utter embarrassment to the very concept of justice. TPM has a memorable compilation of Gonzales's top six lies.
And now the Bush administration wants the guy who messed up Katrina (Michael Chertoff) to be in charge of the Department of Justice??
So, we've seen both Rove and Gonzales now leave in just the last two weeks. Rumor has it that Tony Snow will leave in September, along with other officials. I'm getting the image of rats and a sinking ship in my mind. Why did Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have to take vacations right now??
-GOP Consultant Kevin Eckery on the Republican ballot initiative to allot California’s electoral votes by congressional districts. Under such a system, President Bush would have received 22 of California’s electoral votes in the 2004 election.
The Outsider's Insider
Obama and Edwards Step-up Attacks on Frontrunner Clinton
Potential First Ladies don't have it Easy
Maliki Takes on Levin and Clinton
Bush tries to Stay on Course in Iraq
A Conservative who Bruin Dems can Agree With
Adam Schiff (D-Pasadena) wants to take Spouses off Campaign Payrolls
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Policial analysts on both sides say that if this measure passes, it will be impossible for a Democrat to win the White House. We can get Ohio, and still lose.
Look, this is nothing but a dirty trick. Republicans are trying to pass this off as "election reform". You know, giving more Californians a "voice". Yeah, right. In this scenario, we'd have even LESS of a voice. Each district is so gerrymandered that we can already tell which candidate will win each district in advance, so nobody's vote in California is going to matter anyway. On the larger issue, because of gerrymandering nationwide, going by Congressional districts is a horrible way to go, even if every state were to do it. There are several "blue" states, like Michigan, that have a majority GOP congressional delegation thanks to clever gerrymandering.
Let's face it, this is simply a shamless power grab by the GOP who recognize there's no other way to win the 2008 election other than to literally change the rules. Oh, and this initiative is probably unconstitutional too, but if it passes, does anyone really want John Roberts and Samuel Alito making that decision for us?
Please join the Facebook group that's been set up to fight back against this initiative. Right now, it's a win-win for the Republicans. If it passes, they win the White House, simple as that. But even if they fail, they're counting on all the liberal and progressive groups and the DNC to spend upwards of $50 million in educating enough Californians to defeat the measure. And we need that money to go to other races and infrastructure.
Both the New York Times and Newsweek have editorials out blasting this measure for being nothing more than a dirty trick from the GOP. It's what we've come to expect from a party bereft of ideas. Additional coverage and analysis on MyDD and DailyKos and Calitics.
We cannot afford to be caught unawares again, or simply assume Californians will defeat the measure. It WON'T be on the ballot in February, when we have our Presidential primary. They're putting it on the more obscure June election, with a much lower turnout expected. And you can bet they'll be getting their people to turn out in places like Orange County to vote for this measure. Educating Californians will be key, as the Field Poll showed that when people understand what's at stake, opposition rises. However, the dangerous sign is that even knowing this will practically ensure a Republican wins the White House in 2008, 49% of Californians would vote YES for this measure, but only 42% would vote NO. That number should frighten the hell out of you. So tell everyone you know about this measure. Knowledge is the key.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Yes, that's Ted Nugent (apparently some big singer), holding what look to be submachine guns, telling jokes about how he wants Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Arnold, and Rudy Guiliani to 'suck on' his guns. Be warned, the clip contains crass language, tasteless violent humor, and one giant asshole who apparently is worshipped by a bunch of morons.
I suppose it's nice that hate speech seems to cross party lines now? Especially charming is watching Nugent do his best William Wallace 'FREEEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM' impression.
Their post this morning notes that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet with dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi in October to discuss how to improve U.S.-Libyan relations. Much like Cuba, Libya has a terrible human rights record and has been a thorn in the side of U.S. foreign policymakers for years. In spite of these quarrels, though, Foreign Policy points out that "rapprochement marches on." They rightly suspect that relations continue mostly because Libya happens to possess about 39 billion barrels of oil.
The post uses this point as a springboard to its larger point: the only reason the United States refuses to meet with Cuba is because politicians like George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton do not want to upset the narrow interests of voters in Florida. Nevermind that opening relations could help improve the lives of both Americans and Cubans. Apparently, that's not really important. After all, it's votes, not sound foreign policy judgement, that wins elections. Indeed, as Foreign Policy laments, "If only the Cubans were sitting on 39 billion barrels of oil reserves..."
For more insight on the Cuba debate, checkout this post by Steve Clemons as well.
"the challenges of immigration spark fears of an uncertain future. The demographics of America are changing inexorably and at lightning speed"UCLA's needs to be much more diverse than it is now, and we need to better represent the racial breakdown of Los Angeles, America, and the undeniable future of the world. In any profession these days, you must interact with other races, cultures, and differing levels of assimilation into "mainstream America." As an institution of higher learning, UCLA is supposed to prepare us for the world, and if we are not interacting with other races as we would in the world, UCLA is failing. Furthermore, we are doing a grave disservice to our minority applicants, whether or not they "look as good" on paper.
"America has nothing to fear from these newcomers, ... they have come here for the same reason that families came here 150 years ago"
Only around 15% of UCLA's student population is Hispanic, and that hardly represents Los Angeles. A friend recently described this to me as a diversity crisis and at first I questioned the severity of her statement, offending her. The more I thought about it, the more I agree: UCLA has a diversity crisis. Overrepresented students are leaving unprepared for the real world, and minorities who do not get in because they do not have a 4.0 and have to work instead of volunteering (, etc... I could go on with reasons they don't work on paper) are being held back from many opportunities they would get after graduating from UCLA as well as the world-class education they would have received. Underrepresented minorities in UCLA (specifically, those of Spanish-speaking origin) are left in a microcosmic society where they are other-ed, discriminated against, and more (I can't claim to know, being of Caucasian heritage myself). This leads to higher transfer rates as well as less likelihood for admitted students to come to a place where they do not feel as welcome as they should.
So what should be done? I do not have an end-all answer to this question, but I can give a humble suggestion or two. Affirmative action is not only illegal in California (Prop 209) but is not the answer to this. What Chancellor Abrams did recently by changing up the admissions procedures to look at the whole applicant (aka, give more weight to the essay, which would probably indicate their race) is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough. We need to reach out to communities, help underrepresented minorities get the help they need to have a strong application and stay motivated in school, and pay for with state or federal money, not just the sweat of volunteers. We need to help those who have promise and desire to step up in the world get into fine institutions like UCLA. As for diversifying our own campus, we need to make it easier for applicants of color to be accepted, providing they show promise. The difference here from affirmative action is that they are not being let in just because of their skin color, but because of their potential.
Conservatives worried about their Caucasian children not getting in because "a minority took their spot" are foolish and shortsighted. Those who do get in are getting into a better institution and will come out better prepared for the world. Those who do not may have had higher SAT scores and a better course load in High School, but they probably didn't have as much adversity to overcome in their life. It would be good for them to go to another college that is, as UCLA should be, better represented by all races and get a good classroom and out-of-classroom education there. Hopefully one day, UCLA will represent the racial breakdown of Los Angeles and America better, but we are not there yet and we need to fight until we get there.
PS: I know I left a LOT out, so please don't jump down my throat. As I mentioned above, this is just a little musing into the gross problem, and is not a fully outlined essay.
"The last thing these veterans needed was a history lesson. They remember America's wars because they actually fought them."
To which President Bush replied, "Ouch." [Not really, or at least publicly.]
-Senator John Warner (R-Virginia), calling for President Bush to set a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is also Set to Urge Troop Cuts
2008: The Year of the Civilian
Not to Dwell on Bad News, but More Iraqis Said to Flee Since Troop Increase
Officials Won't Delay Raids on Immigrants for Census
Edwards Keeps Trying Out Change Theme
I could summarize various articles about this, but you would probably be best off by reading the one written by Michael A. Fletcher of the Washington Post.
In my opinion, this is a gross over-simplication of matters. While no war is the same, there are a few that are similar, but I do not think Vietnam and Iraq are similar enough to warrant comparison. True, both wars were/are unwinnable. (By that, I mean that we have no clear goal, and thus can never achieve success.) But the world has changed a lot since Vietnam and we are not fighting just one enemy. Furthermore, a majority of the people are not in agreement with us. When we entered Vietnam, most of those who we set out to help pretty much didn't have a problem with America and our way of life. The Middle East is different; people there have a fundamental problem with Western society. We are not fighting one group of opressors but an entire ideology. This is a battle that we cannot understand, let alone win, and needs to be settled internally. I agree with most of the Democratic presidential nominees that we should have forces present to keep somewhat of a calm, but we should not be taking full control of the war and trying to find solutions ourselves.
It was sort of like finding a Christmas tree in a cornfield. In late July and early August, Iowa Republican voters were asked to name their choice for president in a University of Iowa poll. Mitt Romney, who leads most Iowa surveys, got 22 percent of the total. Rudy Giuliani came in second with 10 percent. But third place went to a Democrat, Barack Obama, who got nearly 7 percent -- more than Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Sam Brownback combined.What does this mean for Democrats and our primary election? Probably not much, but it is something. By putting Obama's name down, the republican who picked him not only said that they agree with a lot of what he has to say, but it also showed that he has great bipartisan appeal and is a good sign for, at the least, his ability to grab independent and moderate-right votes. On another note, it is yet one more sign that Hillary may be my "girl" (that was a reference to a speech she gave recently, if you didn't pick it up), but she has a lot of work to do if she wants to reach out to the moderates. Ironically, she is in actuality probably more moderate than Obama...
Not to worry: The Obama campaign isn't likely to join the Grand Old Party, and pollsters are convinced that Obama has exactly zero chance of winning the Republican caucus in Iowa. But something is going on. "I don't want to make too much of it," says David Redlawsk, the professor who commissioned the poll. "But I do think that the message Obama is putting out right now is the most likely to reach across party lines."
Thursday, August 23, 2007
"YouTube sensation Obama Girl has made the cover of Steppin' Out magazine, with Chaunce Hayden scoring an interview with the fickle pseudo-political hottie -- whose real name is Amber Lee Ettinger. Amber revealed to Chaunce that she's most likely voting for Hillary now! Not Obama's girl anymore!"
Click here to read more about this.
Let's all hear it: a collective "Wah wah wahhhhhhhhhh."
According to the latest Evans-Novak Political Report, “important supporters" of Sen. Hillary Clinton "are laying the groundwork for a campaign against Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for Vice President on grounds that he adds nothing to the ticket. Prominent names offered as alternatives: Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.”
It's fairly well known that I'm not a fan of Obama, and am a fan of Clinton. I do, however, disagree with these surreptitious 'backers.' Now before all the Obamaites freak out, I do know he's running a real campaign, for the top of the ticket (and so far has said he is not interested in VP). This is just for fun (and for once I'm complimenting him).
In any event, if Hillary is to be the nominee (which it looks increasingly likely she will), I would be quite supportive of her choosing Barack Obama as her running mate. This is not because he's the next candidate in my rankings (he's #4 or #5, depending on my mood), it's because I think it'd be the best ticket for the country and for the Democrats.
Having a woman and an African-American man on the same ticket would not only be revolutionary in terms of diversity, but also in terms of the ability to mobilize the Democratic party. You'll have Clinton's experience and expertise and willingness to get down in the trenches, combined with Obama's sincerity, enthusiasm, and knack for representing 'change' combined together. Yes, I know that there are several arguments why vanilla candidates (not referring to race, referring to amount of intrigue and entertainment) like Warner or Bayh are better choices. I say screw them. I think a Clinton-Obama ticket would have a lot of oomph in not only getting Democratic voters to the polls, not only getting NEW voters to the polls (something I'm very skeptical of in general), but also gaining crossover appeal to Indies and GOPers.
So to the mysterious backers, I say back off!
Bush Compares Iraq to Vietnam
Predictably, Historians Question Bush's Comparison of Iraq to Vietnam
This One is for Kyle, Everybody's Favorite Gerontology Minor
David Ignatius Argues that Obama is Controlling the Foreign Policy Debate
The GOP Can't Count
Schwarzenegger Doesn't Like CA Dems Healthcare Plan
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
-- John Hart, communications director for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), in an email obtained by The Hill. Coburn's staff has been battling Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) over a controversial earmark request.
Read more about the pottymouth here.
"Those Democratic contenders who, as U.S. senators, voted to authorize the most disastrous blunder in U.S. foreign-policy history - the mindless, needless invasion and endless occupation of Iraq - are trying now to regain ground not by stopping the continuing tragic loss of American blood, billions and moral authority in Iraq, but by questioning the foreign-policy credentials of the one serious candidate who opposed the war even before its launch - Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois....
...Obama is not the first young senator running for president to discomfort the Washington foreign-policy establishment by
speaking frankly on a subject displeasing to an American ally. Fifty years ago this summer, a 40-year-old first-term senator, John F. Kennedy, called on the Senate floor for the U.S. government to pressure its French ally into halting its war against Algerian independence."
In an opinion piece in The Miami Herald newspaper on Tuesday, the Illinois senator and a chief rival of Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination proposed easing tighter limits imposed by the Bush administration on Cuban exiles traveling or sending money home.
"These declarations appear to express the sentiment of the majority of the United States," Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said when asked to comment on Obama's proposal.
Full Story Here.
Believe it or not, I'm not using this post as another attempt to slam Obama (I'm in a hopeful mood today, get it?! Hope! Ha!). I do find the Cuban situation interesting though. From someone who has a very good friend/mentor who fled Cuba at the age of 5 (after having Castro's henchmen put a gun to his head and pistolwhip him), I can't say I'm a huge fan of communist Cuba at all. But then again, I'm not a fan of communists in general.
To be honest, I can't say I really give two shits whether or not drunk Floridian college students are able to take vacations to Havana, patronizing a country that supports a communist regime. The same communist regime that has not only been a pain-in-the-ass to the western-hemisphere, but also cruel to its own citizens. Until Cuba cleans up its political process and realizes that communism is sooooooo 1950s, I don't want a single American dollar supporting their cruelties and injustices.
I think the penultimate question revolving around the Obama Girl, Hillary Girl, and Romney girl is whether these dames are able to bring an army of pre-pubescent horned-up boys into the political ring. Perhaps we can finally get decent turnout in the U.S.?
In fairness, I suppose it is due in large part to the fact that he is not the person writing it. Nonetheless, it's still a pretty good question.
Last week, Politico’s Ben Smith and other media critics pointed out that Harper Collins—which media mogul Rupert Murdoch owns—published Edwards’ latest book, Home. Of course, this seems a little hypocritical given Edwards strong public criticisms of media consolidation in the wake of Murdoch’s purchase of the Wall Street Journal. Edwards doesn’t seem to think it’s all that hypocritical since he donated “every dime” of his $500,000 advance to charity. However, he was also given an operating budget of $300,000 to write the book, every penny of which went to his daughter Cate and his political aide Jonathan Prince. If you put that together, you get a sum of $800,000 to purchase a book that has sold hardly any copies. That’s not chump change by any stretch of the imagination, especially considering that Simon & Schuster—who published his memoir Four Trials—turned down Home in spite of the fact that they maintained the option of publishing his second book.
Murdoch’s Harper Collins often offers politicians incredible book deals. For instance, they offered Newt Gingrich $4.5 million to write a book when he was Speaker of the House. It appears as though they offered Edwards a similarly great deal. Other publishers are quoted in Smith’s piece saying they wouldn’t have offered the former Vice Presidential candidate half as much money for his book.
This reeks of the same kind of corporate influence peddling that Edwards decries in his stump speeches and debate appearances.
The candidate might have former Deaniac Joe Trippi in his corner, but his record is simply not consistent with the “Angry Populist” image he is trying so desperately to project on the campaign trail. If he wants to be seen as a serious candidate for President of the United States, then he needs to come up with a campaign narrative that isn’t laughable.
A Damn Interesting Piece on how Iowans see Edwards, Clinton, and Obama
Iraq Brings Drop in Black Enlistees
Obama tells War Veterans Iraq War is Failing
California Democrats Push Popular Vote Measure
It's all About Priorities for Michelle Obama
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Rising star Patrick Murphy set to endorse fellow freshman Obama.
"I think he's absolutely our best chance to change the direction of our country," Murphy said, emphasizing the words "our best chance" in a way that seemed to imply Obama might be the most electable candidate. "I'm inspired by his call to action to change how it's done — the business in Washington."H/T tpmcafe.com
British Civics Class Asks, What Would Muhammad Do?
Can Jenna Bush Save her Father's Presidency?
Hillary and McCain go Toe-to-Toe
John Edwards is Still Mad as Hell
Rudy Giuliani Spent More Time at Yankee Stadium than Ground Zero
Monday, August 20, 2007
-- Ronald Reagan in his recently published diaries; May 17, 1986.
It may be more than a few weeks before everyone starts returning to UCLA for Fall Quarter, but it is never too early to be a good Democrat and plan an environmentally friendly way to get from the airport back to UCLA. Oh yeah, and a cheaper way too.
Unveiled this summer, the FlyAway program which offers direct service from LAX and various places around LA has been expanded to include UCLA. Our station is at Lot 32 (the corner of Weyburn & Kinross), and you can take any of the city busses or the free campus shuttle from Lot 32 to wherever you have to get to in the Westwood area.
The service runs from 5am to 1am and runs every 30 minutes in both directions, and leaves from LAX at every terminal's bus stop and goes directly to Lot 32. It costs only $4, which is much less than a Super Shuttle.
Read more about it here and here. Can't wait to see all you Bruin Democrats next Fall!
Read more about this here.
Though he didn't outright condemn the video, Obama nonetheless doesn't seem to be embracing it. He is reaffirming his commitment to family, which he hopes will show the American public that he is a good person and that Democrats also have morals (even if we have Clinton, JFK, Villaraigosa, etc). Though I personally don't think it is enough compared to her experience, this aspect of Obama's personality may be just what he needs to beat Hillary.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Inundated by dozens of invitations, Sen. Barack Obama will turn down requests to join future debates and forums this fall, his Democratic presidential campaign announced Saturday.
Obama will honor his commitment to eight more debates (five sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee, one by the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision and two in Iowa), but he does not plan to accept many invitations for forums, where the candidates appear sequentially.
Shocker of the Century:I have an opinion on this. Now I value these debates a lot. In fact, I didn't come around to supporting one of my candidates (Hillary Clinton) until I saw how impressive, smart, and commanding she was at the Democratic debates. But from where I'm sitting, I see this as highly unfortunate and potentially harmful for the same freshman Senator who has struggled to convince voters that he has some substance. I can think of two possible reasons for the campaign to do this (for the record I'm not buying the campaign's 'we need to not do these debates because they aren't the bottom-up grassroots movement that propelled Obama to every college freshman's Myspace and Facebook profiles.' This is about strategy, plain and simple - NOT values or ideology.
The First reason: Obama is afraid of losing more ground from Hillary's continued command of the debate and candidate forums. In fact, in the past couple months he's 'slipped up' (depending on one's definition and objectivity) at least three times, and these slipups have had a negative effect on his campaign. By limiting the amount of opportunities for slipups, Obama is in a sense doing preemptive damage control. I think this may be partly responsible, but not fully. I think the real reason is the second reason.
The Second Reason: Obama has been unable to make significant inroads into Hillary's commanding lead, and in fact her lead has been growing (both nationally and in key primary states...with a grain of salt for those polls of course). Going to these debate and forums takes valuable time away from retail politics and other events, time where Obama might stand a decent chance of chipping away at Hillary's lead (I think most of us will agree that Hillary probably isn't going to choke at a debate anytime soon...on the campaign trail though, Obama is definitely more charismatic to most). So in an effort to give himself more time to campaign and have a chance against Hillary, something had to get the ax.
And unfortunately for me and other debate aficionados, Mr. Obama's choice will serve to limit the quality of such debates and forums.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Over the course of a long campaign, a couple of foreign policy flubs can explained away. But three or four Dean-like stumbles within the course of a few weeks have just nailed Barack Obama, early in the campaign, into a box he'll be hard pressed to bust out of.
To recap: first he said he'd meet with the world's worst dictators in his first year, no preconditions. And what was particularly puzzling to me: Though he pretty clearly lost the exchange to Sen. Clinton, he seemed to think he won it -- and then pressed his case for a solid week. (I actually think he got trapped in a meta-battle, in which he was trying hard to demonstrate to donors and the public that he can fight bareknuckled with Clinton and give her a black eye. And that, in turn, would have proved he can be just as tough as her in the face of Republican general election attacks.) It didn't work.
Then came the threat to bomb Pakistan; to me, anyway, he was correct to say this -- but in the public mind, in the wake of the first misstep, it wound up looking like a candidate reactively struggling to define himself.
Then came the casual comment that we'd never use nuclear weapons along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. This too might have been defensible, but it was followed by his "scratch that" dissembling -- and a very adult taking to task by Hillary.
And now we have the latest:
A puzzling statement that in Afghanistan, our military is "just" bombing villages and killing civilians. Well, yes, it may be partially true -- but you cannot win an argument when you start out by appearing to malign U.S. troops.
I had pretty high hopes for Obama. But these unforced errors are getting painful. An existing vulnerability is suddenly much more pronounced. And if you were scripting this, you could hardly make Hillary look more Presidential with less effort of her own.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
-Governor Bill Richardson, in response to a question about whether homosexuality is a matter of biology or choice. Read more about the Human Rights Campaign/LOGO Candidates Forum.
"The issues that people care about are also tipping the Democrats' way. A Pew Research poll in March discovered growing worry about income inequality combined with growing support for the social safety net. The proportion of Americans who believe that “the government should help the needy even if it means greater debt” has risen from 41% in 1994, at the height of the Republican revolution, to 54% today. The poll also revealed a decline in support for the things that drove the Republican resurgence in the mid-1990s, such as traditional moral values."
" The proportion of 18-25-year-olds who identify with the Republican Party has declined from 55% in 1991 to 35% in 2006, according to Pew."
" The damage is not limited to the Bush administration: a Rasmussen poll on July 25th-26th found that Mrs Clinton outscores Mr Giuliani as the candidate voters trust most on national security. "
"The Democrats' good fortune is much more the result of a Republican collapse than a Democratic revival. The March Pew poll shows that the proportion of people who express a positive view of the Democratic Party has actually declined by six points since January 2001."
"The Democratic-controlled Congress is even more unpopular than the Bush White House, with the lowest approval rating in 35 years."
Recently, she harshly--and apparently hypocritically--criticized Barack Obama for saying nuclear weapons were off the table in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This goes back to the ruthlessness of Hillary Clinton that I talked about in my post on Wednesday. It appears as though she merely made Obama's comments an issue because it gave her an opportunity to caricaturize him as "irresponsible" and "naive." I'll ask the same question I asked on Wednesday: if she is so willing to polarize her own party, how can we trust Hillary to bridge the partisan divide created by President Bush?
Thursday, August 09, 2007
-An excerpt from Barbara Ehrenreich's book, Nickel and Dimed. Every liberal should read this book, especially if he or she claims to be concerned with poverty and the lives of America's working class.
This argument makes sense, especially under the circumstances of Hillary winning the endorsement. Obama is a HUGE name and countless people LOVE his policies, ideas, etc (like most Bruin Democrats and other young people, myself excluded). She would be foolish to not bring him with her to the debates, press junkets, and White House.
On the flip side, I do not necessarily know whether they would work well together. They agree on a lot of issues, but there are some things that they just seem to be very different on. Take, for example, the policy on Iraq: are they too different, so that they would end up sabotaging each other?
I do not predict Edwards as a VP candidate again. He had his chance, didn't do much with it, and doesn't really have that much new stuff to bring to the Vice-Presidency than he did before. Yes, he has grown a lot as a leading candidate, but I do not think running him as VP again would do much good.
Richardson is the only possible exception to the Clinton/Obama ticket. He has the leadership that both Clinton and Obama don't have (he is Governor), he is from a border state so he probably gets immigration, etc much more than the other candidates, and he can quite possibly bring the Latino/a vote. This shouldn't be ignored. Plus, though some people have a problem with his God-like "6 day plan", I think that there is not much room for him bringing bad press as a VP, but so much to gain.
A couple of days ago, I opined that the Olympics might bring a few reforms to China. I don't think I'm entirely wrong on that account, but I'm willing to acknowledge that the issue is so gray that there are a lot of negative things to say about the International Olympic Committee picking Beijing as a host. For instance, repressive governments like China and Russia use the games as a way to gain undeserved legitimacy. And that's only part of the problem--read the article, mang, I'm not an expert, or a Marshall Scholar for that matter.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
In a reprieve from Curtis' fellator-like postings of late regarding Senator Barack Obama (and the bashing of Senator Hillary Clinton), I thought I'd bring this little-noticed gem to everyone's front burner.
While Obama's 'let's nuke everyone or not' gaffe combined with his 'let's invade Pakistan' comment caught everyone's attention, the comment he made yesterday at the AFL-CIO debate hasn't...well, at least not the attention of good ol' God-fearing AMERICANS.
Our Dudley-Do-Right friends north of the border have taken umbrage at the statements made by Barack Obama at the latest debate, most notably this one in response to a 'What would you do on your first day in office?' question:
"I would immediately call the president of Mexico, the president of Canada, to try to amend NAFTA, because I think that we can get labour agreements in that agreement right now"
Well, apparently, a little Canadian birdy/Joe Biden whispered in my ear that...well...err....Canada doesn't uhhh.... HAVE a president. Yes, that's freshman Senator Barack Obama, promising to conference call with his imaginary Canadian friend. I'd rather have someone who is fighting for what he/she believes in (and is willing throw a few punches and not be all lovey-dovey wussy) who is ALSO worldly, in the White House, than a lightweight with little or no foreign policy experience or knowledge.
The Canadians are threatening an invasion of Moose if Obama is elected...
I suppose Curtis would tell our Moose friends to, what was it? Eat it with a fork? ^_-
“I’ve noticed in the last few days that a lot of the other campaigns have been using my name a lot. I’m here because I think we need to change America; it’s not to get into fights with Democrats.” -Senator Hillary Clinton
While her sentiment is certainly appreciated, her willingness to actually live up to her words is demonstrably lacking. A sizable portion of the verbal jabs that have been thrown in the past two Democratic candidate forums are rooted in her attack on Barack Obama in the CNN youTube debate.
After Hillary made Obama look like a man who wants to open the doors of the White House to the world’s peskiest dictators, he did not have much of choice but to go on the offensive. If he let her remarks go unanswered, Clinton’s portrayal of him as inexperienced and naive would have stuck in the press. Obama’s controversial foreign policy speech in which he advocated pursuing al-Qaeda in Pakistan was also arguably inspired by Hillary’s accusations that he lacks the thoughtfulness to be commander-in-chief. Of course, this speech resulted in more criticism from Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd who are aching to draw some attention from the media.It’s this kind of behavior that leads Americans to believe she is every bit as ruthless as her critics say. If she is this willing to polarize her own party, how can voters trust her to bridge the partisan divide created by President Bush?
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
-Senator Hillary Clinton criticizing Barack Obama's willingness to attack al-Qaeda in Pakistan on the basis of "actionable intelligence."
"I find it amusing that those who help to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in a generation are now criticizing me for making sure we're on the right battlefield."
-Senator Barack Obama in response to criticism of his foreign policy judgement by Senators Chris Dodd and Hillary Clinton.
It looks as though Edwards is finding his niche as the “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore” candidate. He plays the role well, but the question is whether or not it’s too late. Albeit there is plenty of time left before the Iowa caucus; however, there is no denying that media elites have anointed Hillary and Obama as the queen and king of the 2008 primary. In spite of Edwards’ passion and substance, there is no indication that his new routine is doing any real damage to the frontrunners.
Timing is not the only questionable element of Edwards’ new about-face. The believability of his role as the “mad populist” is also iffy. This blog’s audience does not need to be reminded of how $400 haircuts and appearances on the covers of Esquire and Men’s Vogue have tarnished the candidate’s populist reputation.
Things heated up when Olberman asked Chris Dodd to comment on Obama’s proposal to take the war on terrorism to Northwest Pakistan. After Dodd criticized Obama’s judgment, Hillary commented that a commander-in-chief should not always talk publicly on matters of foreign policy. The crowd responded to Hillary’s remark with boos, and all the criticism woke up Obama who was a little flat for most of the debate. With his back to the wall, the senator from Illinois asked how his detractors had the temerity to question his foreign policy judgment after voting for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002. It’s a fair question.
With the exception of her boo-inspiring remarks, Hillary gave another solid and poised performance. Once again, she was in a somewhat hostile environment, but she still managed to stay on top of her game with thoughtful and quick responses. More importantly, though, she showed as much authenticity in this forum as she did at the YearlyKos convention. Nonetheless, in an election year that is all about replacing the deceptive Bush Administration, arguing that a president should not always share policy ideas with the American public is not pleasing to the ears of voters.