April 29, 2008

Barack throws his "uncle" under the bus

Hey Reverend Wright, let me introduce you to some people you may not know. That woman over there, that's Barack's gramma, and that group over there, well, those are the members of the GLBT community. A little further back you can find the seniors. Just to the right of them, say hello to the bitter white folks from rural America. There's some other folks here too, but I've gotta run and don't have time to do all the niceties. Y'all say mingle and get to know each other, m'kay? I know, it is getting a bit crowded under the wheels, but don't take it personal, for Barack, it's just business.

April 28, 2008

Hillary and NAFTA

Yep, I've gone back and forth with friends of mine over this. Let's try one more time.

Contrary to conventional wisdom (def: a lie repeated so many times that people believe it's the truth) Hillary was not a supporter of NAFTA during the early years of Bill's administration. That has been documented by Carl Bernstein in his less than flattering (but not a hit piece) biography of Hillary Clinton and others. Here is more proof. Taylor Marsh quotes author Sally Bedell Smith:

From Sally Bedell Smith's book on the Clintons I excised two short snippets. Now, Ms. Smith is not pro-Clinton. As far as I know she's not anti-Clinton. She also did a tough biography and Jack and Jackie Kennedy's marriage. One thing she does have is access, which produced nuggets that dismantle the Obama team's drivel that Hillary was ever pro NAFTA. Sally Bedell Smith is rough enough on the Clintons in her book that you can take these two sections, which reveal the heart of Hillary's antipathy towards NAFTA, to the bank.

... The economic team and other key advisors, including Mack McLarty, Mickey Kantor, and David Gergen, were likewise urging Bil to use his momentum to push for congressional ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). ...had been negotiated by the Bush administration and was slated to expire if not ratified by January 1, 1994. Liberal Democrats, including Hillary, opposed it primarily because it could take jobs away from American workers. But as an advocate of global economic cooperation, Bill was drawn to its free-trade philosophy. ... ..

For Love of Politics, by Sally Bedell Smith (pg. 117)
And with a quote that my husband will certainly understand:
... ..Another evending, the Jordans arranged a dinner at a restaurant with Paul Allaire, the chairman of Xerox, and his wife, Kay. "Clinton really wanted to talk to Paul about NAFTA, to get the view of business," recalled Kay Allaire. "Hillary made clear that she opposed NAFTA. The President was curious, asking lots of questions, listening carefully. Hillary remained aloof and said little. ..."

For Love of Politics, by Sally Bedell Smith (pg. 120)
"...remained aloof and said little." Been there. Done THAT.

Representative Government - Nevada Style?

(My friend Dee has posted here before and she has brought something to my attention that is being ignored by our local media. In essence it is a ruling that strikes at the very heart of county autonomy and representative government. Residency requirements for elective office exist for a reason, namely, that the person being elected will not only have an understanding of the area and its issues, but will also have a stake in the decisions they make, whether legislative or judicial.)

Guest Post - Dee Holzel

WINNEMUCCA — While we in Nevada have quietly been going about our business, a legal decision was made that could fundamentally change the residency requirements of elected officials.

The case involves Mike Montero, of Reno, who decided to run for judge in the 6th Judicial District Court.

Here’s the problem: Mr. Montero does not live within the jurisdiction of the 6th Judicial District Court, which includes Humboldt, Pershing, and Lander Counties.

A challenge was filed to Montero’s candidacy on the grounds he didn’t meet the residency requirements as outlined in the Nevada Revised Statutes AND the Nevada Constitution.

This is really a no-brainer. The law requires candidates to live in the districts where they’re running for office at least 30 days before filing.

The challenge was filed with the Sec. of State’s Office, who turned it over to the Attorney General’s Office.

The case ended up in the 2nd Judicial District Court (Washoe County) where Montero successfully argued that judges are state officers and therefore the entire state is their district.

In essence, anyone can run for judge anywhere.

Where will this end? One slick politician has gotten around the residency requirements -- how long before the rest follow suit?

The implications are greater for those of us who live in rural Nevada because it isn’t likely someone from Elko is going to end up on the bench in Clark County.
It will probably be the other way around. Politicians will look at the rurals as being an easier place to jump-start their political careers.

If we allow this to happen, we can kiss our water good-bye.

The AG has until April 30 to appeal the case to the Nevada Supreme Court.

More info: Las Vegas Review-Journal article (4/12/2008)

April 27, 2008

Elizabeth Edwards and Presidential Media Coverage

You go girl! Elizabeth Edwards rips our national media a new one in this New York Times Guest OpEd.

...Who is responsible for the veil of silence over Senator Biden? Or Senator Dodd? Or Gov. Tom Vilsack? Or Senator Sam Brownback on the Republican side?

The decision was probably made by the same people who decided that Fred Thompson was a serious candidate. Articles purporting to be news spent thousands upon thousands of words contemplating whether he would enter the race, to the point that before he even entered, he was running second in the national polls for the Republican nomination. Second place! And he had not done or said anything that would allow anyone to conclude he was a serious candidate. A major weekly news magazine put Mr. Thompson on its cover, asking — honestly! — whether the absence of a serious campaign and commitment to raising money or getting his policies out was itself a strategy.

Echoing Somerby, Edwards decries the story arc laid over the campaign:
Watching the campaign unfold, I saw how the press gravitated toward a narrative template for the campaign, searching out characters as if for a novel: on one side, a self-described 9/11 hero with a colorful personal life, a former senator who had played a president in the movies, a genuine war hero with a stunning wife and an intriguing temperament, and a handsome governor with a beautiful family and a high school sweetheart as his bride. And on the other side, a senator who had been first lady, a young African-American senator with an Ivy League diploma, a Hispanic governor with a self-deprecating sense of humor and even a former senator from the South standing loyally beside his ill wife. Issues that could make a difference in the lives of Americans didn’t fit into the narrative template and, therefore, took a back seat to these superficialities.

News is different from other programming on television or other content in print. It is essential to an informed electorate. And an informed electorate is essential to freedom itself. But as long as corporations to which news gathering is not the primary source of income or expertise get to decide what information about the candidates “sells,” we are not functioning as well as we could if we had the engaged, skeptical press we deserve.

April 26, 2008

Must sit down, kitteh too cute

see more crazy cat pics

Nevada Republican Convention canceled

Anjeanette Damon live blogged the Nevada Republican State Convention. Read it all, from the bottom up.

Rules fight over the delegate selection.

Well, we can't say this hasn't been an interesting year. For once, it isn't the Democrats in the news.

"Emasculation" has nothing to do with it

Hoo boy, the drama of Dawn and Jim goes on and on. From the Gleaner:

Both Las Vegas papers ran stories Saturday about how Dawn Gibbons has emasculated her cowardly husband by kicking his sorry ass out of the governor's mansion while she still lives there, even though he's the one who is supposed to be the governor.(Sun, RJ)

Jeebus on a triscuit. He's living in their home in Reno while they work out their marital problems? Huh? Why didn't she move out? After all, Jimbo was the one who was elected (gack!) to live in the mansion, not Dawn, so in effect she's squatting on the taxpayers' dime. Yeah, that's Republican values for ya. The story is bad enough.

Not bad enough for the Gleaner though, who just couldn't control the urge to up the ante by injecting the ever acceptable "castrating and 'batshit crazy' wife who cannot be controlled by her man" meme into the mix. I know that makes for a snarky post in a junior high locker room sort of way, but honestly, did you have to go there Hugh? Nevermind, don't answer that.

April 23, 2008

John Ensign and other Republicans (women included) think pay discrmination is just fine

I wonder how John Ensign will answer his daughter's question when she asks him why he doesn't think she had the right to the same pay as her brothers, and why he, when he has the power to do something about it, chose to turn his back on her.

Of the 42 Republicans voting no on the cloture motion for HR 2831 (including John Ensign), here are the three women that think it's just fine and dandy that they, their daughters, granddaughters, nieces, aunts, and any other women should not have the right to sue their employer for gender-based pay discrimination.

  • Elizabeth Dole (NC)
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)
  • Lisa Murkowski (AK)

John McCain opposes the bill as well.

"I am all in favor of pay equity for women, but this kind of legislation, as is typical of what's being proposed by my friends on the other side of the aisle, opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems," the expected GOP presidential nominee told reporters. "This is government playing a much, much greater role in the business of a private enterprise system."
As pissed as I am at the DNC right now, this quote is dead on:
Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney said: "At a time when American families are struggling to keep their homes and jobs while paying more for everything from gasoline to groceries, how on Earth would anyone who thinks they can lead our country also think it's acceptable to oppose equal pay for America's mothers, wives and daughters?"
Oh heck, what can you expect from a guy who called his wife a c**t. In public.

Oh yeah

This has got to be one of the funniest things I've seen in awhile.

Anglachel Crunches the Exit Polling

Anglachel's Journal: Exit Poll Data

If you haven't checked out Anglachel's Journal, you are missing a lot. Take a peek.

April 22, 2008

Thank You Pennsylvania!

Hillary wins the Keystone State by over 200,000 votes and 10% of the vote. Where will the goalposts be moved to now?

Super delegates, are you paying attention?

Demographics breakdown (NYT)

Tuesday night tunes

My absolutely favorite Dar Williams song...

Rise Hillary

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Rise, Hillary, Rise. ~ Maya Angelou

It's been a good night.

April 20, 2008

If...



see more crazy cat pics

Dedicated to The Red Queen

My mother, who is retired now and has a little too much time on her hands, sent me this video. For those of us who aren't retired but, like The Red Queen, would like to take a little break from the "silly season" this one's for you.

April 18, 2008

Solidarity forever?

SEIU attacks nurses



Just wow.

The photo above came in an email that was forwarded to me by a friend. From the email:

Margie Keenan is one of a number of women RN leaders of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, who in the past few days has been harassed in their homes and on patient care floors in their hospitals by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

Keenan later learned that SEIU had first gone to her nursing station at her Long Beach, Calif. hospital demanding a coworker tell them where to find her.
Two days later, SEIU sent 800 purple-clad staff to attack a conference of labor activists in Michigan because CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro was scheduled to speak, and other CNA/NNOC RN women leaders were speaking on panels.

Seven buses of 800 SEIU staff arrived outside the hall, rushed the doors and crashed through, and attacked union members in the hallway in their hurry to get to Ms. DeMoro and the other women leaders.

. . .

One woman, a recently retired member of United Auto Workers, Dianne Feeley, suffered a head wound after being knocked to the ground by SEIU International staff and local members, conference organizers report. Many others were physically assaulted. Read the press release from the conference sponsors, Labor Notes magazine.Meanwhile, the attacks on CNA/NNOC board members were continuing.

Debbie Cuaresma, a Los Angeles RN, had to face SEIUers who came to her home and began shouting at her and her daughter. "I am appalled that five bullies would come to my house with cameras and hurl abuse at my daughter. I believe this to be nothing less than a violation of my family's privacy."

Janice Webb, RN, reports that when she arrived for her shift at a San Diego hospital and "the night shift charge said that someone from SEIU was calling the unit asking for my phone number and address. I am unclear as to how many times they called." . . . .

Together these actions reveal an unmistakable pattern of violence and specific targeting of women and nurses that is reprehensible and should have no place in America.These acts of threats, intimidation, and harassment are disgraceful enough. But when they come from a union that claims it wants to represent RNs, it is especially deplorable.


From the CNA web site.

What's At Stake?

Tell SEIU President Andy Stern to Stop The Violent Harassment of Nurses!

Registered Nurses Beware...
The Service Employees union’s threat to RN patient advocacy and democratic rights

In response to the growing national movement for ratios and greater RN power at the bedside and the public arena, the hospital industry is fighting back. They found a willing ally in the Service Employees International Union. SEIU is a non-RN union — only 2% of their members are RNs — for a reason: registered nurses know SEIU cannot be counted on to protect RN professional practice.

They negotiate deals with employers solely to gain new members, and in exchange they lobby against legislative reforms that would protect patients and accept contracts that weaken RN standards. (much more at link and a petition as well)

I wonder what Obama thinks about the union that endorsed him engaging in this sort of thuggery? And NO, I am NOT blaming this behavior on Obama. I am just wondering how he can be silent about it. Just like he was silent about Randi Rhodes calling Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro whores, he seems to have a problem with any kind of Sister Souljah moments, doesn't he?

Should Howard Dean step down?

An increasingly firm Howard Dean told CNN again Thursday that he needs superdelegates to say who they’re for – and “I need them to say who they’re for starting now.”

“We cannot give up two or three months of active campaigning and healing time,” the Democratic National Committee Chairman told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We’ve got to know who our nominee is.”

After facing criticism for a mostly hands-off leadership style during much of the primary season, Dean has been steadily raising the rhetorical pressure on superdelegates. He said Thursday that roughly 65 percent of them have made their preference plain, but that more than 300 have yet to make up their minds.

The national party chair, who has remained neutral throughout the primary process, said again it’s his job to make sure both candidates feel they are treated fairly – but not to tell either of them when to end their run. (Political Ticker)
Howard Dean's words appear to violate the spirit, and indeed the law, of the Charter of the Democratic Party of the United States (pdf). Actually, the charter has lots of charges to the Democratic Party, one of which is:
"Establish standards and rules of procedure to afford all members of the Democratic Party full, timely and equal opportunities to participate in decisions concerning the selection of candidates, the formulation of policy, and the conduct of other Party affairs, without prejudice on the basis of sex, race, age (if of voting age), color, creed, national origin, religion, economic status, sexual orientation, ethnic identity or physical disability, and further, to promote fair campaign practices and the fair adjudication of disputes.[Article I; Section 4] (empahsis mine)
Huh. I don't see any where in the charter where it says that a nomination should be decided before all participants have had a chance to make their voices heard. Howard Dean's job is to make sure ALL Democrats get to participate. This should be his highest priority. If it's not, he should resign.

For the first time in decades, states that have not previously had a say in selecting our Party's nominee have a chance to have an influence, and I will be damned if their voices will be silenced because Howard Dean is worried about healing staffing phone banks, conducting precinct walks, ordering campaign materials and raising money.

Furthermore, and a lot of people may not realize this, but it is the National Convention which is the highest ruling authority of the Democratic Party, not the National Committee. In fact, this is true at the county, state and national level.
The National Convention shall be the highest authority of the Democratic Party, subject to the provisions of this charter. [Article Two, Section 2]
On the other hand, the National Committee
...shall have general responsibility for the affairs of the Democratic Party between National Conventions, subject to the provisions of the Charter and to the resolutions or other actions of the National Convention. [Article Three, Section 1]
So, why is the national chairman of our party trying to take the nominating process out of the hands of Democrats, and worse, out of the hands of the delegates to the National Convention? If we must know who our nominee is now, why bother with holding a convention at all? If we must know now and start campaigning now, then the Convention will be nothing more than a collossal waste of money orchestrated under the authority of the DNC, rather than the DNC operating under the authority of the National Convention. Gosh, we could just save ourselves time and money and get on with using that money for ad buys. Or campaign lit. Or phone lines. I mean, really, why bother if the nominee is predetermined?

One of the most exciting things about our county convention was NOT knowing the end result. When all was said and done after a long day in Lyon County, we split our delegates right down the middle, and everyone is eager to proceed to the next step: the state convention in May, where again, the end result IS NOT KNOWN. So why, exactly, must we know NOW who our nominee is?

From the preamble to the Charter:
We, the Democrats of the United States of America, united in common purpose, hereby rededicate ourselves to the principles which have historically sustained our Party. Recognizing that the vitality of the Nation's political institutions has been the foundation of its enduring strength, we acknowledge that a political party that wishes to lead must listen to those it would lead, a party which asks for the people's trust must prove that it trusts the people and a party which hopes to call forth the best the Nation can achieve must embody the best of the Nation's heritage and traditions.

"...must prove it trusts the people..."

In 2004, Howard Dean ran on a platform of people power. We who supported him called him "People-Powered Howard."

Well Howard...DO you trust the people?

April 15, 2008

PDS

Anglachel coins a new phrase: Progressive Derangement Syndrome. Excellent post, and I especially like this snippet:

What the hell is up with my party? Disenfranchising voters to throw an election? Declaring vast swaths of party loyalists to be racists? Deriding party stalwarts as "Republican-lite"? Dismissing the economic successes of a previous Democratic administration? Just why are the self-described progressives so frantic to remove Bill Clinton from the company of Democratic presidents? I have provided my answers, but it still remains a mind-boggling phenomenon.
Update (3:25 pm): Anglachel also says:
They honestly don't consider the possibility that the working class and the poor are in a position to pass judgment on these statements and "performatives", that they form considered and sophisticated opinions on the world they confront just the way erudite UC tenured professors might do, or even Ivy League educated A-List bloggers. Whoda thunk it? Words do matter, but the words that people find matter most may not be those you want them to hear. The rubes have ears. They not only watch CNN, they occasionally read newspapers. Some of them even fire up the interwebs and look at them bloggy thingamabobs.
Bob Somerby has a similar take.
Little there comprehends the problem. But in the highlighted passage, Robinson does what a string of “liberal” “thinkers” have done in the past few days (including Cohen, in the passage we’ve quoted); he suggests that a person with a high net worth is somehow automatically part of this problem. This, of course, is very similar to the claim that John Edwards can’t possibly care about poverty since he lives in a very big house. In the highlighted passage, Robinson shows that he doesn’t have the first idea what “elitism” even consist in. Elitism isn’t a question of the how much money you have. It’s a question of how you behave toward others who may have less money.

[...]

Are there people in Pennsylvania who will vote against Obama due to race? Presumably there are—although, in fact, there’s plenty of “mystery” about how “substantial” the “number” might actually be. But at least since the late 1960s, many progressives have behaved just as Herbert does here. It’s our first instinct! We start by attributing the worst possible motives and attributes to wide numbers of everyday people—people whom we’ve never met.

[...]

Unfortunately, many “progressives” simply can’t understand the nature of this decades-old problem. They can’t understand why it’s bad politics (and basically foolish) to ridicule people for being religious. They don’t see why it’s bad politics this week to build jokes around the word “gun-toting.” A few months ago, they didn’t understand why it was morally obnoxious (and vastly stupid) to accuse everyone in sight of being a slobbering racist.

[...]

Elitism isn’t about what you do. It isn’t about how much money you have. (FDR was wealthy.) It’s about the things you think and say about those small-town or working-class rubes.
Back when I was single, I used to rate my dates on how they treated waitstaff and busboys. If they were treated with courtesy and respect, I knew the date was a good guy. If the service staff were treated like non-people or worse, there was no second date. It saved me a lot of wasted time and introduced me to a lot of great guys, especially the wonderful man who now shares my life.

Ugly and Uglier


Retail is tanking all over the place and leaving destruction in its wake

The surging cost of necessities has led to a national belt-tightening among consumers. Figures released on Monday showed that spending on food and gasoline is crowding out other purchases, leaving people with less to spend on furniture, clothing and electronics. Consequently, chains specializing in those goods are proving vulnerable.

Retailing is a business with big ups and downs during the year, and retailers rely heavily on borrowed money to finance their purchases of merchandise and even to meet payrolls during slow periods. Yet the nation’s banks, struggling with the growing mortgage crisis, have started to balk at extending new loans, effectively cutting up the retail industry’s collective credit cards.

[...]

Because retailers rely on a broad network of suppliers, their bankruptcies are rippling across the economy. The cash-short chains are leaving behind tens of millions of dollars in unpaid bills to shipping companies, furniture manufacturers, mall owners and advertising agencies. Many are unlikely to be paid in full, spreading the economic pain.

[...]

Changes in the federal bankruptcy code in 2005 significantly tightened deadlines for ailing companies to restructure their businesses, offering them less leeway.

And the changes may force companies to pay suppliers before paying wages or honoring obligations to customers, like redeeming gift cards, said Sally Henry, a partner in the bankruptcy law practice at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and the author of several books on bankruptcy.

As a result, she said, “it’s no longer reorganization or even liquidation for these companies. In many cases, it’s evaporation.”

[...]

Plenty of retailers remain on strong footing. Arnold H. Aronson, the former chief executive of Saks Fifth Avenue and a managing director at Kurt Salmon Associates, a retail consulting firm, said the credit tightness and consumer spending slowdown have only wiped out the “bottom tier” companies in retailing.
Oy.

April 14, 2008

Pop Quiz

Which of the following presidential candidates attended a public high school?

A) Barack Obama
B) Hillary Clinton
C) John McCain
D) All of the above
E) None of the above

Answer: B. Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama attended the exclusive Punahou School from 5th grade through graduation. (I'm from Hawaii, and we called it the "rich kids school.").

John McCain attended Episcopal High School, a private boarding school in Alexandria, VA.

Hillary attended Park Ridge’s Maine Township East High for three years and then she was redistricted into newly-built Maine South High for her 1964-65 senior year. (Wikipedia)

Quote of the day

"If bitter people are clinging to guns, don’t we need a president whose smart enough not to upset them?"

April 13, 2008

Disgusting

From the New York Times

Health insurance companies are rapidly adopting a new pricing system for very expensive drugs, asking patients to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for prescriptions for medications that may save their lives or slow the progress of serious diseases.

[...]

But the result is that patients may have to spend more for a drug than they pay for their mortgages, more, in some cases, than their monthly incomes.

The system, often called Tier 4, began in earnest with Medicare drug plans and spread rapidly. It is now incorporated into 86 percent of those plans. Some have even higher co-payments for certain drugs, a Tier 5.
So, Medicare cannot negotiate for lower drug prices, and now we find out that Medicare recipients may have to pay ridiculous amounts for some drugs, on top of their Medicare D premiums AND dealing with the donut hole?
Private insurers began offering Tier 4 plans in response to employers who were looking for ways to keep costs down, said Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, which represents most of the nation’s health insurers. When people who need Tier 4 drugs pay more for them, other subscribers in the plan pay less for their coverage.

But the new system sticks seriously ill people with huge bills, said James Robinson, a health economist at the University of California, Berkeley. “It is very unfortunate social policy,” Dr. Robinson said. “The more the sick person pays, the less the healthy person pays.”

Traditionally, the idea of insurance was to spread the costs of paying for the sick.

“This is an erosion of the traditional concept of insurance,” Mr. Mendelson said. “Those beneficiaries who bear the burden of illness are also bearing the burden of cost.”
I am speechless. If they can't afford their lifesaving drugs, what then?
Wellcare declined to say what Tykerb might cost, but its list price according to a standard source, Red Book, is $3,480 for 150 tablets, which may last a patient 21 days. Wellcare requires patients to pay a third of the cost of its Tier 4 drugs.

“For everybody in my position with metastatic breast cancer, there are times when you are stable and can go off treatment,” Ms. Bass said. “But if we are progressing, we have to be on treatment, or we will die.”
Oh. I see.

Da-yum!


You go girl! She can throw it back! From Corrente (comments)


Shot and a beer
Submitted by bringiton on Sun, 2008-04-13 11:53.
Hillary connects with the crowd in Crown Point, Indiana on Saturday night.

A jigger of Crown Royal, chased down with a frosty mug, says a lot more about being real in Greater Appalachia than throwing gutterballs while wearing a white shirt and a tie.

Skepticism 101

Kate Harding over at Shakesville had a little something on her mind yesterday. I didn't catch it until this morning as yesterday was spent out in the yard clearing debris. Her post is a masterpiece and asks Obama supporters to start exercising some skepticism and start looking at their candidate realistically.

If I see one more person on the internet acting like Obama is some kind of progressive dream candidate, I'm gonna lose it.
You and me both.
Too many times, when asked about progressive issues, he's said he just doesn't think that's the best place to put his energies--and even more gallingly, that the activists working tirelessly on these issues are going about it all wrong.
Kate demonstrates her position with Obama's words on choice and gay rights, specifically, and then turns to something that Obama has really gotten a pass on (with possibly the exception of his latest comments about blue-collar voters).
There is also a pattern of unbelievable fucking tone-deafness from a man who's constantly praised for his oratory. He is either deliberately using right wing framing when he talks about gay marriage, abortion, and Social Security, or he doesn't realize he's doing it, and either way, it should be a huge red flag.

[...]

His tone-deafness and his failure to defend himself well when attacked don't necessarily mean he's unelectable, but they mean he's got a major uphill battle coming up, and I am fucking stunned that so many of his supporters can't see this. Do people really think the media treatment he's getting now is going to remain when it's just him vs. Jesus McCain? Or are they truly blind to the multiple vulnerabilities of his own making, and how the media's been politely skirting them so far? Do they really believe the Republicans aren't knee-deep in oppo research they're just waiting to unleash as soon as there's a nominee?

Wait, what am I saying? People haven't even noticed that the man is not a fucking progressive. Why should they notice that he's about to go into battle short half a suit of armor?
Kate concludes:
I can't speak for all of those voters, but I can tell you that one of the main reasons I voted for Clinton is that she has proven herself fantastically adept at fending off GOP hits for the past 15 years. Also, she can think on her feet, win debates, and speak extemporaneously without hemming and hawing or saying something asinine. She can't possibly have any skeletons left in her closet at this point, and even if they just make shit up, as they are wont to do, she knows how to defend herself. Obama hasn't had to learn, since defeating Alan Keyes only required "wrapping up the earthling vote," as someone memorably said back then (just not so memorably that I remember who it was), and right now, he's got the likes of Howard Dean, Donna Brazile, Nancy Pelosi, the entire mainstream media and 90% of the liberal blogosphere pulling for him, which might be enough to get the nomination but is not enough to win the general.

You want to keep telling me the primary is already over and Obama's got it in the bag? Great. Then get to thinking about the much more important fight ahead already. And here's a hint: the question is not just "How do we defeat McCain?" The question is also, "How do we sell Obama?" Quit getting so fucking butthurt every time a fellow Democrat suggests your candidate isn't perfect, and start asking yourself why they're saying that and how to argue against their points using Obama's actual merits instead of just hatred for his opponent.

If you hear nothing else I've said, listen the hell up right now: Not enough people hate McCain. Highlighting the many, many reasons to hate him is useful to a point, but the fact is, we have learned time and again that not enough people will come out to vote against an asshole Republican. And on top of that, not enough people understand that McCain is just as bad as Bush. The media has given and will continue to give them reasons to think McCain is a charming, heroic moderate. We can damage that image, but we're not gonna destroy it. The voters who aren't moved by Obama's airy promises of hope, unity, and change are gonna need actual, substantial reasons to vote for him, not just against McCain.
For a little taste of what is coming, should Obama be our nominee, check out this article by Andrew McCarthy at NRO.
Why is Barack Obama so comfortable around people who so despise America and its allies? Maybe it’s because they’re so comfortable around him.

He presents as the transcendent agent of “change.” Sounds platitudinous, but it’s really quite strategically vaporous. Sen. Obama is loath to get into the details of how we should change, and, as the media’s Chosen One, he hasn’t had to.

But he’s not, as some hopefully dismiss him, a charismatic lightweight with a gift for sparkling the same old vapid cant. Judging from the company he chooses to keep, Obama’s change would radically alter this country. He eschews detail because most Americans don’t believe we’re a racist, heartless, imperialist cesspool of exploitation. The details would be disqualifying
Oh, it gets worse.

Aw, too bad

Alberto Gonzales can't get a call back. What? Prestigious law firms aren't beating down his door to bring him on board? Say it ain't so!

April 8, 2008

Roolz vs Roolz

Those who wish to disenfranchise the 2.5 million Democrats who came out and voted in their Presidential Primaries in Michigan and Florida keep screaming "but they broke the rules!"

Except the DNC’s own Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention (Section 2.H) also says that the state parties, in states where the election will be on government-run voting machines, are supposed to have a plan for and pursue legislation that would provide all voters with voting machines with verifiable paper trails, preferably optical scan machines. This is what the Florida legislation provided for.

The bill Crist signed also requires a verifiable paper trail for all voting machines throughout Florida. Currently, 15 of Florida's 67 counties use paperless touch-screen voting machines. The remaining counties use optical scan machines where a voter marks a paper ballot with a pencil and it is electronically scanned.
So, you have to ask, which “rule” takes precedence? The primary date or the voting machines with voter verifiable paper trails? As Uppity over at No Quarter remarked:
Basically, Florida chose not to drown so the party gave them a hanging sentence instead.

April 7, 2008

I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother...

IndyRobin and GeekLove08 collaborated to put this together. Click...and turn the sound up!

April 6, 2008

Condescension

You know, a lot of of us have gotten a lot of flack and condescenscion for our support of Hillary Clinton. For me it started with a dear friend who, upon seeing my Hillary button, shook his head and remarked, "I thought you knew better." It continues and even last night at the Churchill County JJ Dinner an Obama supporter friend of mine, when I expressed my support for Hillary, smugly said, "You'll change." I can put up with this stuff, but I've got to say, it is really difficult hearing this from people who know how hard I've worked for the Democratic Party. I don't take kindly to being summarily dismissed.

Taylor Marsh points us to a blog post over at the community section of Barack Obama's web site that's been there since February 14th. The particular blogger seems to have done a rash of posting all on the same date, but this is the post is the one that is getting the attention.

Hillary vs Obama: The Slavery Perspective

Field Slave/Obama Supporter: "I seen a way to freedom and power. C'mon go with me. I figured out a way to the promise land - that place Martin and Malcolm spoke of. There’s hope and possibilities out there for us. There some white folks I know say they gon help us get there. The time is now – right now. Come On..."

House Slave/Clinton Supporter: "Massa Clinton been good to us. Git on 'way from here Obama. You gon cause problem fo us all!! Didn't Massa Clinton give you food and shelter all these years. Where you gon take us? You never been nowhere but right here on dis plantation wit us. This here fine living. We don't know where you trying to go. They gon kill you. Then how us gon survive? Aint no white folks gon hep you. Get on way from here Obama. Gon now...git"

Looking at from this historical perspective . . . who was right????

As you can imagine there are a lot of comments about this post, but this one broke my heart. Patsy, an AA Iraq veteran, writes (emphasis mine):

I posted without reading this thread and I am shedding tears of anger. I have no words right now that can remotely express how reading this post made me feel.

I have heard negativity from these people, told I hope my ass die the next time I deploy to iraq for supporting her. And now according to this I am a house slave? Because I support her?

They criticize my job, tell me oh thanks for serving your country, but then when they find out I support HRC, i become equivelant to working in satans army. And now they attack there own race.

They attempt to demean me because of my choice not coinciding with theres. Have they any shame. This is unexcusable. There attempt to make someone feel less than themselves because they choose to support a candidate other than theirs.

To the people here tonight. That post is the nail in the coffin. I cant except this. Senator Obamas campaign has gotten away with all this racial divide,and I can literally not accept this type of behavior from a presedential candidate, his associates and his supporters.

By not addressing this they have allowed for people to become insulted, made them to feel like they are worthless and stupid, and now like we are prejudice to our own race.

Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean or whoever needs to have Senator Obama step down. I am emotionally and physically unable to accept this person running for President.

And if I have to write a letter to God himself to achieve this goal I will do so. But since it seems the Democratic Party and media dont want to listen and do anything, I am going to do it in reverse.

This time I am writing our Military leaders and take it out of the hands of these individuals who are intent on destroying our country, one slanderous word at a time.

When I got that email about hoping I die in Iraq for supporting HRC. I let it go and contributed it to a delusional supporter. But now I see that this man condones these type of things. I am know longer going to address this as Patsy, but SGT Rogers, cause I refuse to even listen to justification for this.

There is nothing the media, or anyone else can say that can make me understand why in the hell he is able to get away from this.

This man lacks the things necessary to be Commander in Chief, President and everything else. And I will side with the enemy before I continue to watch this play out because the Democratic Party is excited about voter registration and money.

I want all of there asses gone because they do a disservice to our country. Senator Obama claiming ignorance is not going to work because he needs to be held accountable.

I am going to write to every damn military official there is, every single person who I think might care, even if I have to cross parties to do so by writing Republicans. Because this is just unacceptable.

I refuse to accept Senator Obama running for president and treating this position as something that is his right and using any means to get there. They actually had shackles.

I feel as if our leaders are betraying us and making us suffer by destroying the foundation of our country and all the hard work and effort of our civil rights leaders.

This man is not worthy and they have crossed the line. Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the DEM Elite want this man as president, but they might need to pack there bags now because she will never be reelected unless they count the votes of cows and chickens.

What hurts me to my soul is that I never thought I would have to fight like this here and look at them as if they are the enemy.

But they are doing just as much damage as our enemies on foreign soil. What have we come to? Do they honesty believe I could fall in line to support him if he is picked when he has basically giving the impression that black HRC supporters are house ni****?

Nancy and Howard are worried about causing party divide. And yet again they have no freaking clue. By the time this is over they will not only have to worry about the Democratic party being divided,because Senator Obama will be guilty of dividing our country as well.

It wasnt good enough to ruin the Party, but now he is contributing to dividing the African American people as well.

And then there is this. Alice Walker, in her support for Barack Obama, chides white women and says:
One would think she [Hillary Clinton] is just any woman, but she is not. She carries all the history of white womanhood in the US in her person; it would be a miracle if we, and the world, did not react to this fact. How dishonest it is, to try to make her innocent of her racial inheritance.
I am sorry, but what exactly is that supposed to mean? It sounds an awful lot like Alice Walker is trying to guilt-trip us. Talk about the sins of the father (punishment for which even the Bible can't seem to agree on).
I can easily imagine Obama sitting down and talking to any leader - or any person - in the world, with no baggage of past servitude or race supremacy to mar their talks. I cannot see the same scenario with Clinton, who would drag into 21st-century US leadership the same image of white privilege and distance from others' lives that has so marred the country's contacts with the rest of the world. But because Clinton is a woman and may be very good at what she does, many people (some in my own family) originally favoured her. I understand this, almost. It is because there is little memory, apparently, of the foundational inequities that still plague people of colour and poor whites.
Wow. Just wow. So, Hillary carries all the "history of white womanhood," but Barack carries "no baggage of past servitude?" But this is really what galls me:
I am a supporter of Barack Obama because I believe he is the right person to lead the United States at this time. He offers a rare opportunity for the country and the world to do better. It is a deep sadness to me that many of my feminist white women friends cannot see him, cannot hear the fresh choices toward movement he offers. That they can believe that millions of Americans choose Obama over Clinton only because he is a man, and black, feels tragic to me.
So Alice Walker supports him because she believes that "he is the right person to lead the United States at this time" but I, as a white woman, am somehow blind because I am immune to his "movement?" Again, what condescension! As though it could not be possible that my reasons for supporting Hillary are exactly the same as hers: That I believe Hillary is the right person to lead the United States at this time. And it could not be possible that I reject him NOT because he is male, and/or black, but that I believe him unprepared for the demands of the highest office in the land.

And speaking of movements, Alice Walker has the nerve to equate Barack Obama with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela. I'm sorry but I must have been sleeping when Barack lead marches for civil rights, or was thrown in jail for taking unpopular stands. Could someone please at least point me to any major civil rights legislation that he has introduced, gone to the wall for, has the scars to show for? Glen Ford, editor of the Black Agenda Report writes:
Having done nothing to shape the politics of the Obama campaign, Black spokespersons began describing Black mass voter support for Obama as a "movement." In this way, they could pretend that something besides a one-shot election campaign was underway - a campaign in which they were mere ciphers.

There was no movement; it was a total invention. Movements make demands on candidates and other notables. Movements have their own agendas. The movement would have preceded Obama on the scene and shaped him. Nothing vaguely like movement activity was happening in the Obama campaign, where Black and white progressive supporters behave more like groupies than activists.
I have to stop. This post is getting too long.

Ben Stein's Money

Okay, not really, I was just trying to get your attention.

Ben Stein, noted conservative (and I use that in the old-fashioned sense, not the rightwing-nuttery sense it has today), has a terrific article in the New York Times discussing CEO pay and the boardroom buddy system.

To be a member of the board of a large company is a little example of paradise. You get good pay for just sitting in a meeting and listening to summary presentations. You get insurance and a pension. You can go to luxurious resorts and play golf. What the heck are security lines? You fly in private jets.

Sometimes, you get stock options, and these can be meaningful.

In other words, it’s nice to be the director of a public company. How do you keep your job? You are really nice to the person who put you in that job. You don’t know the little stockholder in Muncie who might have 500 shares. But you do know the guy who repeatedly reappoints you for your post at the directors’ table. The little stockholder cannot do a thing for you, but the boss can.

When it comes to compensation, you want him to be really happy. It doesn’t matter how well he’s doing, unless he’s wreaking havoc and you may be sued. It doesn’t matter if the stock price has languished. You want what’s best for No. 1, and that means what’s best for Mr. Big.
This isn't the first time I've heard Stein talk like this. In January 2006 he took on United Airlines.
So here it is in a nutshell: employees are goaded into investing a big chunk of their wages and benefits in UAL stock. They lose that. Then they lose big parts of their pay and pensions. They become peons of UAL. Management gets $480 million, more or less. "Creative destruction?" Or looting?

Wait, Mr. Tilton and Mr. Bankruptcy Judge. The employees were the owners of UAL. They were the trustors, and Mr. Tilton and his pals were trustees for them. How were the trustors wiped out while the trustees, the fiduciaries, became fantastically rich? Is this the way capitalism is supposed to work? Trustors save up, and their agents just take their savings away from them?

If the company is worth so much that management has hundreds of millions coming to them, shouldn't the employee-owners get a taste? Does capitalism mean anything if the owners of the capital can be wiped out while their agents grow wealthy? Is this a way to encourage savings and the ownership society? Or is this a matter of to him who hath shall be given?
And Delphi
Now, I am a lawyer by training, and it seems to me, dope that I am, that this money belongs to us stockholders, the owners of Delphi, and not to the managers and executives. Mr. Miller's fiduciary duty runs to us exclusively, not to his colleagues. If he has a nine-figure sum lying around, it belongs to us stockholders first and foremost. I hope the bankruptcy court judge notices this.

However, despite my losses on Delphi, I still have a solidly comfortable life - at least for today. I don't desperately need my infinitesimal share of that $510 million (or whatever nine-figure sum it may be). But the workers on the assembly line and in the restocking room who make an hourly wage - they do need it. They need it badly. How on earth did the idea come into the head of someone as smart as Mr. Miller that he could get away with enriching those who already have high pay (or higher pay) and simultaneously demand that his workers accept poverty or lose their jobs?
My gosh, he sounds like a "liberal." No, he's just a decent guy. In the same article he goes after Edward S. Lampert of KMart and Carl C. Icahn of Time-Warner:
But if the poor pre-bankruptcy Kmart was so loaded with valuable real estate that it has made investors in the post-bankruptcy Kmart rich, didn't that real estate belong to the stockholders of Kmart? Why was it not liquidated for the benefit of existing stockholders? Why was it turned over to the new stockholders while the old stockholders walked off with nearly nothing? Where was the management of the old Kmart? Asleep?

And what about Mr. Lampert's plan to lay off Sears employees, which he inevitably must do if he sells off the stores in which they worked? What about the severe cuts in retirees' medical benefits that Mr. Lampert has announced? How can he square these with decency to the employees? They are hard-working, modestly paid men and women who probably expected to be with Sears for a lifetime. Mr. Lampert is already fantastically rich. Does he really have to fire people in small-town America or cut their health care to become even richer? How many yachts can he sail on? How many meals can he eat a day? How many homes does he need to own?

Then there is Carl C. Icahn, badgering the brass at Time Warner to make the stock go up so he can make money on his multibillion-dollar stake. One way he is suggesting that Time Warner can do this is by slashing what he says is its "bloated bureaucracy" - meaning, no doubt, laying off thousands of people in New York.

I KNOW some of these people from my many visits to CNN. They work hard. They are not paid a lot. Is it really necessary for Mr. Icahn to demand that they be fired, just before Christmas or at any other time, so he can make more on top of the billions he already has?

I'm a small Time Warner stockholder, and I would love to see the stock recover from the beating it took when tech crashed. But at the expense of firing a makeup artist or a secretary supporting her children? I don't think so. I don't need the money that badly. If I don't, how can Mr. Icahn need it so badly? I calculate that he has roughly 200 times what I have, maybe a lot more.

Alas, there are other examples, but I'll say it again: This is a country at war. For men who are already billionaires to look for more billions by firing hard-working middle-class employees or demanding they take a pay cut is not the kind of thing that unites a nation. I'm a devout capitalist, but this is just plain ugly.
A-yep.

"Obama suspected he could get virtually every Black vote for free, and he was right."

Whoa. From the Black Agenda Report

    In a literal sense, Barack Obama never lied to Black people, since he never offered African Americans anything. For their part, Black voters never requested anything from Obama. From Obama's standpoint, it turned out to be a perfect arrangement. Obama suspected he could get virtually every Black vote for free, and he was right. For the rest of the campaign, Black opinion was irrelevant. Black Americans appeared to fear that if they asked for the slightest political assurances on traditional Black concerns over peace, the social safety net, and race-based public policy responses to race-based problems, Obama might go poof!...and disappear. Who could say he wouldn't, since it wasn't Blacks who had summoned him to run for the highest office, in the first place? By saying nothing that might conceivably rock the Obama boat, Black voters (and so-called leaders) made themselves completely and utterly powerless to affect his campaign - which was fine with Obama and his corporate backers.

    [...]

    Because Black leaders in particular, and white progressives who should know better, had refused to pressure Obama during the early primary period, when the Left traditionally forces "liberals" to temporarily behave like progressives, the opportunity to make demands has long slipped away. The general election campaign has already begun, a period in which Democrats always move to the Right. Is anyone prepared to challenge the Rightists in Obama's organization?

    Hell no.

    Read it all.

    This casts Obama's snub of the State of the Black Union in a different light and why he felt free to skip the 40th anniversary of MLK's assassination yesterday in Memphis, and why he failed to honor a request by the Congressional Black Caucus to hold a fundraiser for them. (For the record, Hillary Clinton has done all three.)

    April 5, 2008

    Precisely

    Anglachel:

    Our arguments would apply without modification if the situation were reversed. It doesn't matter how much we like our candidate or dislike her opponent, winning the votes is winning the votes. Our formal foundation is the principle of enfranchisement.
    I have said this time and time again to my friends, my family, and anyone who will listen. If the shoe were on the other foot, if seating Florida and Michigan means Obama gets the nomination, my position would not change. Count the damn votes! Gawd, this was my position in 2000 with Florida. The fact that we had five members of the Supreme Court decide our president made me forever see George W. Bush as an illegitimate pretender. I don't want the Democratic Party doing the same thing!

    There are rules to allow the punishment to be rescinded, but these attempts are being thwarted by Obama in order to not have to stand up in front of those voters and be judged. More than the initial ruling, this refusal to agree to any remedy that empowers the voters to express their political will is causing potential voters to say "No, I won't vote for him under these conditions." There, again, is the different nature of the opposition.

    [...]

    And, in the end, that is where legitimacy is grounded in the US. While voters can roll their eyes and dismiss the mud-slinging, they want the votes to count. The fact that Obama will not face the voters may be dismissed by his partisans (Teh Rulz! Teh Rulz!), but it is what the uncommitted voters or those who kinda-sorta favor Hillary will make of it that will affect the general election outcome.


    Elections are decided by the margins, sometimes by a few hundred votes. If a few hundred Democrats in key swing states decide that they can't vote for Obama because he cheated to get the nomination, there goes the White House.

    Check out the comments as well as they discuss another undercurrent that is being overlooked.

    Jacksonians vs Academics?

    In The Democratic Tribes at War Michael Barone gives us something to think about. In discussing the geographical breakdown of the Clinton/Obama votes he writes:

    In state after state -- from New Hampshire and Michigan to Texas and Ohio -- Obama runs unusually strongly in counties with large universities. Academics -- and I include here those who choose to live in university towns as well as those actually in or teaching school -- seem to find Obama particularly appealing.

    [...]

    Clinton's highest percentages come in counties with large numbers of Latinos and what I call Jacksonians. You can see the latter in counties in what is loosely called Appalachia -- southwest Virginia, southern Ohio, the north end of Georgia, non-metropolitan Tennessee, northern Alabama, northeast Mississippi, all of Arkansas, southern Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, east and central Texas.

    [...]

    What's behind these sharp divisions? You could sum it up by saying that Jacksonians are fighters and academics (and public employees) are not. Jacksonians fought fierce battles against Indians as they moved southwest; they have always made up a disproportionate share of the American military (and were on both sides in the Civil War).

    As historian David Hackett Fischer writes in "Albion's Seed," they believe in natural liberty -- I'll leave you alone if you'll leave me alone, but if you attack my family or my country, I'll kill you. Academics are, to say the least, lightly represented in the American military, and in economic terms they tend to compete with the military for public dollars. They seek honor for the work of peace as fiercely as Jacksonians seek honor for the feats of war.
    This explanation seems rather simplistic, though I can certainly identify with the section I highlighted above. I remember when my daughter was born and as I gazed at her across the delivery room I had a conscious thought that has stayed with me these twenty-four years: "I would kill for her." I also do prefer a "live and let live" ethos. I don't think it's the government's business to tell me how to conduct my private life. It's also the sentiment that I see all over the state, especially in rural Nevada where we make our home.

    On the other hand, we are a community and need to learn to live together, support the community through our civic involvement and, yes, with our taxes.

    Still, I consider myself an academic as well, though my life is not centered in academia. I am reasonably well-read, tend to really mull things around before coming to any conclusions, and I feel quite free to continue to explore other ideas even after it appears I've made up my mind. I detest war and celebrate those who work for peace. Still, I support Hillary for a variety of reasons not the least of which is her tenacity in the face of adversity which Barone takes note of in his article.

    Barone concludes:
    Polling suggests that the Democratic nominee may not be able to count on the losing candidate's tribes in November. Academics and young people and blacks may not turn out in extraordinary numbers for Clinton, as they have for Obama, and the upscale may prefer McCain to a tax increase.

    Similarly, Jacksonians, the elderly, the downscale and Latinos may prefer the very Jacksonian McCain to Obama. All of which should worry the super-delegates who must determine who wins the Democrats' tribal war.
    I think it may all come down to which of these groups feels most strongly tied to the larger tribe of the Democratic Party. Those ties have become weaker, especially since 2006, as Democratic leaders disappoint the rank and file time and time again.

    Cookies, Footwear, Office Politics and More

    I can't find my booties this morning so I'm sitting here in my bathrobe barefoot. Cleaned out my internet history too, so my autofills are gone. Good thing it's Saturday!

    New site find! Hireheels.com

    All kinds of cool stuff there including news, videos, a blog, ideas on how to forego your manicures and donate the proceeds to Hillary at Nail the Nom. Actually, I've been doing that! My nails look like crap, but Hill gets the $$ she needs.

    From the Hire Heels blog:

    No matter how inspiring I find Senator Obama, I still support Senator Clinton for the nomination. Why? Because of a few lessons I’ve learned from office politics. Kick up your heels if you recognize these scenarios.

    Lesson 1: Real-Life Experience Matters More Than Job Title

    You know the ins and outs of your department—how things really get done, what screws everything up, how to fix it and still make deadline and budget. But you’re a job title away from the promotion that just opened up, so nobody in HR wants to take you seriously. Instead, they hire a guy from outside the company because his job title sounds more like what they want. He promptly steamrolls in with “New, new, new!” ideas, but never asks you about the real life stuff that came before him—and promptly screws up everything and its brother. Now you have to work late every night for a month to fix his mistakes and he still makes more money than you do.
    (click on the link for more office "lessons")

    April 4, 2008

    This is what a feminist looks like: Joss Whedon

    H/T to ouyungdan at RandomBabble for featuring Joss Whedon's Equality Now speech:

    I don't know what "biggery" is

    I heard this on the radio yesterday. It left me blubbering in the car. Click, listen, remember.

    April 3, 2008

    9-11 widow speaks out

    Whoa. Kristen Breitweister goes after Obama's statement on Hardball:

    9/11: Where Barack Obama and Condi Rice Sound Alarmingly Alike (HuffPo)

    MATTHEWS: Let me give you a scene that may face you in the next year or two, where the national security adviser calls you at 3:00 in the morning and tells that you a couple of jet -- commercial jets have been hijacked. And they believe it is al Qaeda. And, as we know, al Qaeda always tries a second time. They tried for the World Trade Center after '93. They came back in '01.

    They're heading for the Capitol. What do you do?

    OBAMA: Well, look, I am hesitant to engage in hypotheticals like that, because...

    MATTHEWS: But it has been predictable.

    OBAMA: Oh, well, the--I don't think anybody predicted 9/11. And, so, we don't know what kinds of circumstances are going to come up.
    Huh? Which was Kristen's reaction as well:

    The point is that when it comes to the "predictability" of the 9/11 attacks, it is fairly well known and accepted that the attacks were entirely predictable -- indeed, their very predictability is why our government (wrongfully or rightfully) spent millions of dollars overhauling, upgrading, and re-shuffling our entire intelligence apparatus post-9/11 -- because the attacks should have been prevented.

    How could Obama have such a poor understanding of the 9/11 attacks and their subsequent impact on the US intelligence community? Has Obama even read the 9/11 Commission's Final Report that (even in its whitewash form) calls Rice to task for her "misleading" statement about the predictability of 9/11-style attacks? Or sets forth recommendations for intelligence community reforms?

    When Obama says we need to end the war in Iraq and re-allocate some of the money spent on the war to hardening our homeland security apparatus, does Obama just say that glibly or does he really understand what he is saying and how desperately we need to pay attention to the vulnerabilities in our national security apparatus? His statement on Hardball makes me wonder.

    [...]

    My experience in Washington showed me that there were very few people who understood what needed to be done and even fewer people who had the courage, stamina, and ability to get those things done.

    Hillary Clinton was one of those people. And without fail, anytime we needed help -- whether that was achieving bi-partisan consensus, strong-arming the White House and/or House Republicans, or cajoling reluctant and recalcitrant Democrats like Lieberman, Senator Clinton always took the call and helped solve the problem.

    I might add that for someone whose husband, former President Bill Clinton, was a point of investigation for the 9/11 Commission, it certainly did not play in Senator Clinton's favor to have something like the 9/11 Commission impaneled. Yet, Senator Clinton was one of our biggest, fiercest, and most vocal advocates for the creation of a 9/11 Commission.

    What if it were winner take all?

    Rasmussen Report asks:

    We have to wonder, what would the race look like if the Democrats used the same "winner-take-all" system used in the Republican Party?
    Hillary would be winning.
    If the Democrats were to allot their current state delegate totals in a winner-take-all format, Clinton would actually have a significant delegate advantage. Despite having won only 14 recognized contests to Obama's 30, Clinton would currently have a 120 (1738 to 1618) total delegate lead and a remarkable 167 (1427 to 1260) pledged delegate lead. These numbers give Texas' "prima-caucus" delegates to Clinton and do not include Florida, Michigan or the 693 total delegates and 566 pledged delegates still to be won in the next few months.
    Something to chew on.

    Fruity!




    You Are an Apple



    You are strong, powerful, and even a bit stubborn at times.

    You have enough strength to help those around you in trouble.

    You are adventurous and charming. Many people are drawn to you.

    You love life, and you enjoy traveling the world. You enjoy fine food, art, and culture.

    People have accused you of being a snob, but that's not accurate.

    You do enjoy the best things in life. Unlike snobs, you truly appreciate quality... not just pretend to.


    H/T to chang'e at Elizabitches

    Randi Rhodes suspended

    Air America Radio does the right thing. This is in reference to the video posted below.

    Democratic Values - Health Care

    Universal Health Care has been in the Democratic Platform since the days of Harry Truman. From the 2004 Democratic Platform:

    Our goal is straightforward: quality, affordable health coverage for all Americans ...

    Ensuring health care for children. The job begins with our children. It is a disgrace that nearly 8.5 million children still lack health insurance. We will strengthen Medicaid for our families and expand the children's health program created under President Clinton so no child goes without medical care.

    Expanding coverage. Under the leadership of John Kerry and John Edwards, we will offer individuals and businesses tax credits to make quality, reliable health coverage more affordable. We will provide tax credits to Americans who are approaching retirement age and those who are between jobs so they can afford quality, reliable coverage. We will expand coverage for low income adults through existing federal-state health care programs. And we will provide all Americans with access to the same coverage that members of Congress give themselves.

    Cutting health care costs. At the center of our efforts will be a plan to reduce health costs. We will lift a financial burden on families, businesses, and the self-employed by picking up the tab for the highest-cost medical cases. That will save America's families up to $1,000 on their premiums.

    Huh, funny that. In 2004 John Kerry supported what looks an awful lot like Hillary Clinton's plan in 2008.

    Now Obama supporter John Kerry tells us that Universal Health Care is a non-starter in the Senate (or at least Hillary's version of it).

    "Let me just tell you that Hillary Clinton's plan in the United States Senate is a nonstarter, because it starts with a mandate that is unachievable in the Senate in what we need to do,"
    So ... you aren't even going to try? You're not going to fight for it? I want a president and a Democratic party that is actually going to fight for something we've been calling for for over 60 years.

    And what this tells me is that John Kerry was either lying to us in 2004, or he is lying to us now because his chosen candidate is reciting right-wing talking points about mandates. I think it is the latter for as the article states:
    In 2006, the Massachusetts senator proposed his own plan for universal health care that would have mandated coverage for all Americans beginning in 2012.

    Trying to have the conversation, Part II

    I started to post my reply in the comments, but it got rather long, so I am moving it to the front page. Just My Thoughts comments on the post below saying, in part:

    I would like to ask why I disrespect any of the women in my life just because I disagree with Hillary Clinton's politics?
    If I disagree with Barak Obama am I then a racist? Just because he is black and I am white?
    This seems to be what you are suggesting. I can tell you I am neither a racist nor a hater of women. I just have my own opinions.
    Um, I am quoting someone else's post, so you may want to go ask HER the questions you posed to me.

    However, this poster said nothing about "disrespect(ing) any of the women in" (your) "life just because" (you) "disagree with Hillary Clinton's politics."

    What she said was that when anyone discounts Hillary "simply because of her gender" it hurts all women. And it hurts men as well, as my other post yesterday points out.

    Having policy differences is perfectly acceptable. I have them with Barack, and I am no racist. And you will note, any disagreements I have with him have never rested upon his skin color, but what I perceive to be the content of his character, his experience, his platform, etc. That you are doing the same for Hillary does not upset me in the least. So please don't accuse me of calling you a sexist for that.

    What many of us are attempting to talk about is a much larger picture regarding sexism within our culture that is so internalized and accepted (by men and women), that whenever we bring up the subject more often than not we get reactions like yours, even from those closest to us, that either tell us we are taking it too personally or accusing us of labeling you all "women haters." For me, this is frustrating as hell, for all it does is serve to shut down the conversation. And where does that leave us?

    April 2, 2008

    I am Hillary Clinton

    Another blogger joins in the series began by The Red Queen. This time we hear from Kim at Religiarchy.com

    When my smart, adorable four year-old daughter looks up at me and I tell her she can be anything she wants to be, I sometimes feel like I'm lying. When I see how Hillary's been treated, I sometimes think maybe my little girl can't grow up to be president.

    [...]

    When you, or I, or the media, or our legislators discount Hillary simply because of her gender, even unwittingly, it diminishes the rights for which so many women have fought for so long. Men who disrespectfully denigrate Hillary also hurt their wives, lovers, sisters, mothers, friends, and daughters. We aren't being the change we seek.


    Sexist framing hurts women AND men

    In Why calling out misogyny matters zuzu at Feministe talks about why it is NOT okay to use misogynistic framing when discussing any woman (whether they are on our side or not) and features the same WSJ article I discussed a few days ago.

    This is why I continue to call out the use of misogyny and sexist insults in this campaign. It’s not so much that I’m defending Clinton (though I think she’s getting an unfair shake in the media and in the blogosphere, and that annoys me), but that I’m calling this shit out because this shit hurts women. Women like me. Women like many of you. Women like your daughters, your sisters, your mothers, your friends, your spouses, your SOs. If it’s okay to dehumanize a US Senator and presidential candidate as “that thing” or dismiss her as “that bitch,” or set up a 527 called “Citizens United Not Timid” (aka C.U.N.T.) to “educate the American public about what Hillary Clinton really is,” then we now have an environment in which it’s okay to dehumanize, demean and diminish ordinary women because they’re women.

    [...]

    What I’ve been most disturbed by recently is the number of feminists and feminist allies who are willing to overlook misogynist framing and attacks on Clinton because they don’t want her to win, or are willing to dismiss such framing and attacks because “Clinton’s a racist,” or “She went negative first,” or what have you.

    That doesn’t fly when someone dismisses Michelle Malkin in racist, sexist terms rather than engage her ideas — even though she herself has made a living off racist, sexist and xenophobic commentary. It doesn’t fly when someone makes tranny jokes about Ann Coulter rather than engage the substance of her ideas, even though she makes a living spewing eliminationist rhetoric. And it doesn’t fly when someone dismisses Jonah Goldberg for being fat rather than attacking his really, truly, breathtakingly idiotic positions.

    So why should it fly just because you don’t want Hillary Clinton to get the nomination?

    Do you want to be contributing to this kind of marginalization?
    Exactly! But you know, this sort of attitude hurts men too. Let's see, how did they put down John Edwards? They called him "the Breck girl," made fun of his $400 haircut, ran that YouTube of him over and over. John Kerry was dinked for windsurfing (anyone have any idea the strength and agility that sport takes?) And yesterday, I saw something else that made me squirm: Joe Scarborough et al making fun of Barack Obama's bowling and saying things like this (from Media Matters):
    Deriding Obama’s score, he said: “You know Willie, the thing is, Americans want their president, if it’s a man, to be a real man.” Scarborough added, “You get 150, you’re a man, or a good woman,” to which Geist replied, “Out of my president, I want a 150, at least.”

    Later in the show, after NBC political analyst Harold Ford Jr. said that Obama’s bowling showed a “humble” and “human” side to him, Scarborough replied, “A very human side? A prissy side.”
    And anti-Obama folks were eating it up. Hey, I really, really don't want to see Obama be our nominee, but this sort of thing makes me cringe.

    zuzu reinforces my feelings with this post: Why calling out misogyny matters, part 2: When misogyny is used against men
    Here’s an example of misogyny hurting men — because the ultimate put-down of a man is to equate him to a woman. If we fight the idea that being a woman is not something to be sneered at, we not only raise women, but we deprive bullies of one of the most powerful weapons in their arsenal against men.
    The Red Queen wrote about the negative stereotypes used against men a few weeks ago.

    It's obvious to us girls, and has been for a long time, that society hates us. We are told we are to dumb to be in charge of anything important, so we might as well stay home and have babies. We are told we are too shallow for caring about our appearance, but then we risk losing jobs, money and social status if we don't play the beauty game. We are kill joys if we are smart and bimbos if we are not. We are empty vessels, but we are in charge of making sure none but the right kind of man fill us up.

    But society hates you boys too. I know, you get a lot of privileges from this society, but you have to be willing to be stereotyped as an asshole. If we went by what society tells us a man is, then you are all sex crazed mad men who can't think of anything but pussy when a woman is around. You are stupid, lazy buffoons when it comes to children or houses or even dressing yourself, yet you're supposed to shoulder all of the economic burden on a family despite this. You are an emotionless machine except for anger and lust. You can't put a sentence together to save your life because of your paltry verbal skills. If left to your own devices, you and all the other men would spend your days in brutal fighting competitions over fertile females. You don't really care about children, but you do get to own them. You can't be trusted with food processors or ovens, but you can be trusted with firearms and barbques. Your taste buds only register red meat and beer. You can engineer a vacuum but you can't use one. You don't parent your own children, you babysit them. You cannot be trusted not to cheat on your partner.

    Feminists don't hate men. We hate that you have been as stupidly stereotyped as we have.

    April 1, 2008

    Good reading and a lament

    FrenchDoc brings us the second installment in Why Hillary Should be President (WHSBP) - Untold Stories. (CorrenteWire) FrenchDoc's excellent post covers human trafficking and you need to read it all. I've provided just a couple of snippets below:

    On September, 23, 2003, Senator Hillary Clinton was interviewed for the great PBS program Wide Angle on the topic of human trafficking (2003, folks, that was 5 years ago, ok… and yes, that was the year of the beginning of the war in Iraq but that was not the only thing going on in the world. I, for one, am glad somebody was paying attention to these other crucial issues even though I disagree with her - heck, ANYONE’s vote for the war). ...

    Hillary Clinton: Well. Jamie, the fact that this is a modern-day form of slavery was shocking to me. When I realized, because of my travels and exposure as First Lady, how prevalent it was, I determined that we should do something about it. I went to Beijing to the UN Conference on Women in September of 1995, and spoke out against a long series of abuses that were human rights violations of women’s rights and among those, of course, was trafficking. And then, in the time after the conference, when it did become an item that was of higher interest on the national and international agenda, we followed up. In 1996, I went with my husband to Thailand for a state visit. I went to the north where I met with NGOs [nongovernmental organizations], trying to help young girls who had been sold by their families into prostitution, trafficked into the brothels, mostly in Bangkok.
    Jamie Rubin: So they were sex slaves, these girls.
    Hillary Clinton: They were. They were 10, 11, 12 years old. I remember going to a hospice and meeting a 12-year-old girl who had become very sick because of AIDS, had been thrown out of the brothel, had found her way back to her family, who didn’t want her, and ended up in this hospice for dying teenagers and adolescents. And both I and my staff, led by Melanne Verveer, who was responsible for the work on issues like this, began talking about it with everyone we could find in the White House and the State Department. In 1997, we began something called Vital Voices, and we brought together women from the former Soviet Union in Vienna. And what I found was that it was a huge problem, not just in a country in Asia, like Thailand, but also in Ukraine, Belarus, the former Soviet Union. And then the administration, under my husband’s leadership and under Secretary Albright’s leadership, really made this a high priority, which led to our involvement in international conferences with the Secretary of State, the President, and other high officials, raising this with governments around the world.”

    [...]

    YES, I want a President who understands the gendered nature of social issues such as trafficking. Human trafficking sounds gender neutral but the reality is that criminal networks are masculine organization. The victims of human trafficking are largely women. It is absurd to design policies that are gender neutral when the targeted population “just happens” to belong to one gender: women. So what did Hillary do exactly? In the interview, she emphasizes that during WJC’s administration she did NOT work on the law enforcement side of things. Instead, she started the Vital Voices initiative after Beijing (you can read about their accomplishments - and recognition of HRC’s leadership) at their website, but the general goal is to raise awareness.


    A quick Google search turned up this column that then First Lady Hillary Clinton wrote in 1996 after her visit to Thailand.

    I've discovered a new blog! InsightAnalytical
    Hillary Clinton, Medicare, and Me
    Last year I had to go to a doctor who didn’t participate and who required that sign a pledge not to file a claim, because she didn’t want Medicare to come after her and push her into becoming a provider. Just last week, I needed to find a specialist and was able to get an appointment with a doctor who doesn’t accept assignment (meaning I have to pay more that Medicare allows) — in OCTOBER!! The one other doctor in town in this specialty is NOT accepting any more Medicare patients! To top it off, because I had “insurance,” he refused to take payment in cash!! Imagine, refusing self-pay, most likely because he also didn’t want to tangle with the Medicare system. After expressing my fear and confusion, the nurse took pity on me and told me to go to a surgeon who does participate and luckily for me, I had already seen him once before for a consult and was “in the hopper” as an existing patient. Because, you see, if you are an EXISTING patient you’re lucky and may be able to see the doctor; if you’re not already on his patient rolls, you’re probably out of luck these days. And, lucky for me, the surgeon was able to refer me out to a doctor who will do a biopsy. Perhaps this is a new doctor in town who needs to add patients to his roll and is therefore willing to take Medicare. LUCKY ME, I’ve made his list! But for a
    few days, I was extremely worried about finding a doctor and very angry!

    So,it’s with great interest that I read Hillary Clinton’s mention of Medicare on March 25 when she responded to McCain’s remarks on Social Security (see
    here.)
    The Social Security trustees just issued a report, actually while I was speaking, and there has been some improvement in the outlook for Social Security according to some, to the Social Security trustees.
    So I think that it reinforces what I have said for a long time, which is we have some long term challenges. It is not a crisis. We can fix what’s needing to be changed in Social Security. Our real challenge is Medicare which is much more in crisis and deserves closer attention.”

    Hats off to Hillary for putting the focus on Medicare!! And don’t think health providers haven’t noticed. The nurse I spoke with yesterday not only remarked on how Medicare was being undermined but also told me that she and her office co-workers supported Hillary, knew she was being treated unfairly by the media, and felt that Obama couldn’t be trusted. And she knew all about Hillary’s recognition of the problems Medicare faces.

    FrenchDoc, if you have any sway with lambert to get my account activated, I might be able to post a comment over there. Cuz I'd really like to comment on vastleft's post Beginning Tomorrow I will boycott Air America Radio

    I've given up on AAR, but I gave up on Randi Rhodes long before today. Her habit of talking over her guests, not listening to them and then arguing with them over what she thought they were saying turned me off. But this, has she gone completely around the bend?


    What's really depressing is that AAR was supposed to be the antidote to right-wing radio, remember? Well, I guess they are. You never hear rightwing radio going after one of their own the way AAR, and Jones Network's Stephanie Miller and Ed Schultz have gone after Hillary Clinton. I used to LOVE Stephanie Miller. Goofy? yep! In bad taste sometimes? Oh, truly. The delight of the show was that they made fun of everyone equally and really tore after the righties. But then they, Stephanie especially, singled out Hillary Clinton, out of all the Democratic candidates for special derision and just awful stuff. It got so bad I quit listening to SM late last year. When my podcast subscription came up for renewal, I canceled it.

    AAR was my oasis in the days leading up to the 2004 election and in the dark days following it. Now, they've basically turned against half the Democratic party and if they lose their radio audience and by extension, their advertisers, they will have no one to blame but themselves.