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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

He can't close the deal

Via MyDD’s Jerome Armstrong today, in “Counting the people“: The AP asks: “Why can’t Barack Obama close the deal?“ The contest in PA was the 4th major chance that Obama had to close the deal, and failed again. Anyone who thinks that Clinton is going to be out of the race in May is delusional. For us political junkies, it’s quite a fix. Boy, did that question bring back memories. Memories of a story I wrote on March 5, 2008: “Hurrah! (He. Can’t. Close. The. Deal.).” It is eerie how much of what I wrote following Hillary’s March 4th victories in the big states of Ohio and Texas, as well as Rhode Island — and the critical quote in that piece from Taylor Marsh — remains true nearly two months later. “The wind at Barack’s back, the press at his feet, but he couldn’t close it out,” Taylor [wrote on March 5, 2008]. In fact, Taylor Marsh revived the point, last night, that Obama can’t close the deal: On to North Carolina. …then Indiana. Last night was a game changer. With all [of his] advantages, Obama still couldn’t close the deal. Here’s more from my March 5th story, about Hillary’s morning show appearances following her big victories, especially in Ohio — a likely “blue” state come November 2008: … Halperin on more morning shows: ABC’s “Good Morning America”: Clinton tried to frame the race around John McCain, saying that now there’s a GOP nominee it’s even more critical to have a Democratic nominee who can stand up to him on national security. Doesn’t accept that she’s gone negative against Obama, said national security is legitimate issue to contrast. Ignored the math questions, still thinks Michigan and Florida delegates should be seated, said it’s up to state leaders. NBC’s “Today”: Clinton said voters are “starting to ask some hard questions” and realizing she’d be best commander in chief and best on the economy. Offered lengthy defense of superdelegates exercising independent judgment, saying that was the reason they were created. Said Florida and Michigan voters should count, and voters “were dragged into” the confusion by GOP governors and legislatures. Also more firmly denied that Obama is a Muslim, called it “a scurillous rumor that should be rejected out of hand.” It’s also amusing to re-read the section of that story about Obama’s complaints about tactics. He’s always whining. She’s always winning — where it counts.

Why Liberals Lose

Pic from:
Huffington Post has been nothing but gracious to me when I post on Clinton over at their blog, minus a couple of posts which they buried, including a critique I did on Obama whining about the ABC debate. But Arianna needs to reign in her editorial department, starting with Tom Edsall, who is failing her on a multitude of levels. The above picture of two white guys is the latest example. This is not helpful to Barack Obama or the Democratic party. The disrespect shown in this screen capture is an example of why Clinton took Pennsylvania, but also why Obama cannot close the deal. Is this picture supposed to be representative of Clinton supporters? Of white male voters who prefer Hillary? Disdain for Democrats and looking down your nose at people isn't going to get us into the White House. Certainly Arianna has to be aware of this fact. Obama's team should certainly understand it after losing big state after big state to Hillary Clinton who is cleaning his clock on average lunch bucket Democrats. These same voters who will cross over and vote for McCain in a heart beat if we're not careful. The New York Times is infected with the same type of elitism; missing the call in Pennsylvania by a mile. Try listening to the voters. They'll tell the story if you wait for it to unfold. Obviously, Barack Obama is listening to people who have no respect for the Democrats who have helped elect Democrats in presidential elections, which hasn't happened all that often in modern history. It's these same people who actually need a Democratic president, average Americans, who are simply trying to make ends meet. It's disheartening to see this type of stereotypical insult blasted across one of the biggest progressive blogs on the web. The editorial department should be ashamed. So consider this free advice. It's nothing personal to me because my guy is a hunk, but my husband is a white male, one of those blue collar workers with cracked, stained hands who works himself to a frazzle to keep a roof over our heads so I can help change the world (with a lot of help from you). When our family sees this on a Democratic blog we wonder what we're fighting for and why we should ever consider voting for Barack Obama if he ends up being the nominee (which is now in real jeopardy), because neither of us have any intention of voting for a man who has no respect for us. I assure you we are not alone. We speak for tens of thousands of Clinton supporters who feel the same way. Mind you, I have advocated non-stop that we must join together and support the Democratic nominee no matter who it is, but this type of stuff really makes me wonder. The symbolisim that showed up on Hufftonton Post is representative of why Clinton keeps winning, while Obama's candidacy continues to lose altitude. It's representative of why elite progressives, especially Democratic bloggers who specialize in spreading sexism, sneer at Bill Clinton, never forgiving his faults while ignoring his victories in the face of the right-wing smear machine, and who is still the only two-term winning Democratic president since F.D.R., and beloved by so many. WJC is someone who still irks the Democratic elite who are trying to shut down this primary contest before it's over in order to stop Hillary at all costs. These same anti-Clinton people are also leading the charge to stiff Florida and Michigan voters as well, which is coming under increasing attacks, because Democrats do so at our general election peril. From the moment bitter-gate erupted, many elite progressives and people in the Obama contingent just didn't understand the uproar. The further out of touch Democrats get from understanding this human outrage the more likely it is we will lose in November. I can't say it any plainer. It's remarkable that this simple to understand storyline is held in such contempt. It's equally alarming that the online Obama elite think representative stereotypes of white Democrats for Hillary should be presented in a way that drips with condescension and out right contempt. But it does explain why Obama keeps losing the big bellweather states and why his team's argument that he's the best candidate for the general election is failing, numbers be damned.

After win Clinton says tide is turning

April 23, 2008 Seizing on Her Primary Win, Clinton Says Tide Is Turning By MICHAEL LUO and PATRICK HEALY Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today seized on her decisive victory over Senator Barack Obama in Pennsylvania to proclaim “the tide is turning” in the Democratic nominating fight, arguing that her performance on Tuesday proved she was best suited to take on Senator John McCain in the fall because of her capacity to carry key swing states. “I won the states that we have to win — Ohio, now Pennsylvania,” she said on CNN in one of six appearances on morning news shows Wednesday. “It’s very hard to imagine a Democrat getting to the White House without winning those states.” Mrs. Clinton won the Pennsylvania popular vote, 55 percent to 45 percent, giving her a critical boost as the she heads into the next nominating contests in North Carolina and Indiana in 13 days. Polls suggest that Mr. Obama is better positioned in those states than he was in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Mr. Obama’s campaign was left struggling to explain on Wednesday why he had once again been unable to leave his opponent on the mat, as well as his troubles gaining the backing of white working-class voters. But Obama campaign officials were able to point to at least one unyielding reality on their side: he still possesses a lead in pledged delegates that will be almost impossible for Mrs. Clinton to erase. In a memo sent to reporters late Tuesday, Bill Burton, Mr. Obama’s national press secretary, called the race “fundamentally unchanged,” meaning that Mrs. Clinton’s victory had done little to help her cut into Mr. Obama’s pledged-delegate lead. The Obama campaign announced early on Wednesday that it had secured another super-delegate endorsement, that of Gov. Brad Henry of Oklahoma, who had previously said he would wait until the convention to make public his choice. Mrs. Clinton’s victory in Pennsylvania indeed did little to close the pledged-delegate gap. It yielded her at least 80 pledged delegates, compared with at least 66 for Mr. Obama, with 12 still to be awarded, according to the Associated Press. David Plouffe, the campaign manager for Mr. Obama, said on Wednesday that while the final breakdown of delegates from Pennsylvania was not yet complete, he too projected that Mrs. Clinton would have a net gain of about 12 pledged delegates from her victory, whittling Mr. Obama’s overall lead to about 159 pledged delegates by the campaign’s calculation. A total of 187 delegates are at stake in the next big primaries on May 6. “We don’t believe that the structure of the race is going to change,” Mr. Plouffe said. In a conference call with reporters, Mr. Plouffe sought to dismiss concerns about how Mr. Obama would fare against Mr. McCain. He ticked through a list of states where polls indicated Mr. Obama was a stronger opponent than Mrs. Clinton in facing Republicans. “We think this is a flawed exercise, to somehow suggest that performance in primaries is a leading indicator or what would happen in a general election,” Mr. Plouffe said. He added that Mr. Obama had a high favorability rating among Democrats who supported Mrs. Clinton. In making her case today, though, Mrs. Clinton pointed to the popular vote totals and contended that, counting those cast in the Florida and Michigan primaries, she had now garnered more primary votes than any previous Democratic nominee. But both candidates were barred from campaigning in the Florida and Michigan contests, and Mr. Obama’s name was not on the ballot in Michigan, because the states moved up their primary dates against the national party’s wishes. The states’ convention delegates were stripped by the Democratic National Committee. As the race moves to Indiana and North Carolina, much of the immediate focus in the Clinton campaign is on scrounging for cash to combat what has been a widening disparity in resources with the Obama campaign. In Indiana, where polls show a toss-up at this point, Mr. Obama has spent more than three times as much as Mrs. Clinton on television advertising so far; in North Carolina, where Mr. Obama is leading by a significant margin in polls, his spending on TV ads has been more than double hers. During her television interviews Wednesday morning, Mrs. Clinton took pains to mention her web site, as she did the night before in her victory speech, saying that her campaign had brought in over $3 million online overnight. That would seem to prime the campaign for its best 24 hours of online fundraising to date, exceeding the $4 million it brought in after the news broke following the Feb. 5 nominating contests that she had loaned $5 million to her campaign. The campaign is scrambling to take advantage of the spike in contributions, transforming its home page into a donation page, something it had experimented with for the first time on several days last month. Mrs. Clinton also defended herself against criticism that her attacks on Mr. Obama have engendered a negative tone in the race that is damaging to the Democrats’ prospects in November. She said the current contest had been decidedly mild compared to past races. “Everybody is going to compare and contrast,” she said on MSNBC. “I think that is part of the way campaigns are run.” With the pitched battle for the Democratic presidential nomination now set to rage on at least through the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, its harshening tone has become an issue for many party leaders. Appearing on MSNBC, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts urged Mr. Obama, who he is backing, to avoid negative campaigning in favor of “a compelling vision that unifies people.” He said the American public is “not well served” by campaign tactics that seek to diminish an opponent. For their part, the North Carolina Republican Party is planning to roll out a television advertisement on Monday that attacks a pair of Democrats running for governor in the state for endorsing Senator Barack Obama. The ad includes a video clip of Mr. Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, excoriating the United States. The release of the commercial, which Republican officials said would first be seen during 6 p.m. newscasts in the state on Monday, injects a potentially divisive racial element into the state’s primary. Mrs. Clinton faces major challenges going forward. Her campaign had essentially run out of money before the overnight spike in contributions, with a pile of unpaid bills, and she faces growing frustration among some Democratic officials, who would that she quit the field in light of Mr. Obama’s overall lead. Mrs. Clinton’s victory was propelled by her strong performance among women, older voters and less affluent and less educated voters; among white union members with no college education, she won almost three-quarters of the vote, polling showed. Speaking to supporters in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, Mrs. Clinton emphasized that she had triumphed despite trailing Mr. Obama financially. “He broke every spending record in this state trying to knock us out of this race,” she said. “Well, the people of Pennsylvania had other ideas.” Still, she said in calling for more donations, “we can only keep winning if we can keep competing with an opponent who outspends us so massively.” Amid chants of “Yes she can” — a riposte to Mr. Obama’s motto, “Yes we can” — Mrs. Clinton described herself as “a president who is ready to lead on Day One — that means ready to take charge as commander in chief and make this economy work for middle class families — and I thank you, I thank you Pennsylvania, for deciding I can be that president.” Mr. Obama congratulated his opponent at a Tuesday night rally in Evansville, Ind. But he also implicitly chided Mrs. Clinton for the negative tone of her attacks over the past week — and, tacitly, acknowledged his own missteps. “It’s easy to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit-for-tat that consumes our politics, the bickering that none of us are entirely immune to,” he said. “That trivializes the profound issues — two wars, an economy in recession, a planet in peril.” He added that Americans “believe that the challenges we face are bigger than the smallness of our politics.” Chief among the challenges facing Mrs. Clinton, besides paying bills and financing new advertising, was persuading impatient Democratic superdelegates — party leaders and elected officials — to at least remain neutral in the contest and let the remaining primaries play out through early June. The Pennsylvania Democrats who cast their ballots in Tuesday’s primary did so with the economy weighing heavily on their minds, according to surveys of voters leaving polling places. Those surveys showed that more than half the voters questioned believe that the worsening state of the American economy is the most important issue confronting the country, with about 90 percent saying the United States has already slipped into a recession. Half of those polled also said that they were looking for a candidate who could bring about change, which has been the main theme of Mr. Obama’s campaign. Mr. Obama leads in delegates, but has consistently trailed Mrs. Clinton in polls taken in Pennsylvania, though the gap had been closing in recent days. About one-quarter of those who participated in the exit polling, conducted by Edison/Mitofsky for five television networks and The Associated Press, endorsed the idea that experience, which Mrs. Clinton has emphasized in her campaign, is the most important quality to be sought in a candidate. For the polling, the margin of sampling error in the sample of 40 precincts across the state was plus or minus four percentage points. Both candidates performed strongly among the same constituencies that have supported them in other primary states. Mr. Obama was backed overwhelmingly by black voters, and also scored well among voters younger than 45 and among college graduates, the results show. Geographically, he performed best in Philadelphia and its suburbs, which has the largest concentration of population in Pennsylvania, while Mrs. Clinton won the majority of the vote in the rest of the state. Just as a loss in Pennsylvania would probably have ended her campaign, Indiana poses another make-or-break challenge for Mrs. Clinton, according to several of her advisers, who said that they would urge her to quit the race if she lost that state. Mrs. Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and their allies have campaigned frequently in Indiana in recent weeks, and she has obtained some important endorsements there, including support from Senator Evan Bayh, the state’s former governor. “She has to win Pennsylvania and Indiana — pretty much everyone in the campaign agrees on that,” said one senior Clinton adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the campaign’s electoral expectations. But Clinton advisers emphasized that neither they nor Mrs. Clinton were feeling anything close to defeatist — rather, they said, they believed that a Pennsylvania win would help her build momentum in Indiana and other states in the region with coming contests, like West Virginia and Kentucky in May. Clinton advisers said they were already picking states, cities and towns where they would dispatch staff members and volunteers from Pennsylvania, and were budgeting for television advertising. They are also planning a busy travel schedule for the Clintons, for their daughter, Chelsea, and for an army of surrogates. They are expected to focus heavily on Indiana, and to a lesser extent in North Carolina, where Mr. Obama is widely seen as strong. A greater concern in the shorter term for Mrs. Clinton is fundraising: She raised $21 million in March, compared with Mr. Obama’s $42 million. In the latest campaign finance filings, Mrs. Clinton reported $10.3 million in outstanding primary debts but only $9.5 million available to cover them, leaving an $800,000 shortfall at the end of March. In February, the Clinton campaign had a $3 million surplus. By comparison, Mr. Obama had $43 million in cash for the coming primaries and a campaign debt of less than $660,000 at the end of March. Mr. Obama is spending 75 cents for every dollar he is taking in; Mrs. Clinton is spending $1.10. Michael M. Grynbaum, John Holusha and Jeff Zeleny
MLC comment:
I've heard the spin coming from Barack Obama's team and his flunkies in the media, well he cut into a 20 point lead yeah I guess you would too if you broke state primary spending records. The point is he outspent Hillary 3 to 1 and still lost by 10 points. I'm not saying I won't support him if he gets the nod but Dems gotta ask themselves alot of questions about him.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Obama goes after McCain on economic stance

Obama Criticizes McCain on Economic Stance By Jeff Zeleny ERIE, Pa. – Three days before the Pennsylvania presidential primary, Senator Barack Obama barely mentioned his Democratic rival here today, but rather criticized Senator John McCain’s assessment of the American economy. “John McCain went on television and said that there has been great progress economically over the last seven-and-a-half year years,” Mr. Obama said. “John McCain thinks our economy has made great progress under George W. Bush? How could somebody who has been traveling across this country, somebody who came to Erie, Pennsylvania, say we’ve made great progress?” Mr. Obama, speaking on the campus of Penn State Erie, was referring to remarks that Mr. McCain made Thursday to Bloomberg Television. When asked if he believed Americans were better off now than when President Bush took office, Mr. McCain conceded that people were facing “very challenging times.” But he went on to say, “You could make an argument that there’s been great progress economically over that period of time.”To an audience of about 1,800 voters here, Mr. Obama telegraphed a general election message for Democrats. He seized upon Mr. McCain’s quotation to make a point that Americans have suffered under the administration’s stewardship of the economy. “Here’s what happened since George Bush took office, here’s what John McCain calls great progress,” Mr. Obama said. “We went through the first period of sustained economic growth since World War II that saw incomes drop; 11 million more Americans don’t have health care; 2 million more Americans are out of work; millions of families are facing foreclosure. The poverty rate has gone up. You are working harder for less.” “You’re paying more for tuition, you’re paying more for groceries, more at the pump. That’s what John McCain calls great progress,” Mr. Obama said. Later, he added: “Only somebody who spent two decades in Washington could make a statement as disconnected from the hard times that people are facing all across America.” Mr. Obama, who often criticizes the politics of parsing words, did not tell voters here that in the next sentence of Mr. McCain’s interview he said: “But that’s no comfort. That’s not comfort to families now that are facing these tremendous economic challenges.” Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Mr. McCain, called Mr. Obama’s remarks “recklessly dishonest.” “It is clear that Barack Obama is intentionally twisting John McCain’s words completely out of context,” Mr. Bounds said in a statement. “Obama is guilty of deliberately distorting John McCain’s comments for pure political gain, which is exactly what Senator Obama was complaining about just yesterday.” In addition to criticizing Mr. McCain, the remarks from Mr. Obama were intended to send another signal: He is striving to look beyond the 10 contests still to come in the Democratic primary fight. It remains an open question whether that strategy is premature, particularly when the banner headline of today’s Erie Times-News declared, “Vote of confidence,” with a photograph of former president Bill Clinton’s visit here yesterday. “If Pennsylvania says ‘Yes,’ and says it loudly to Hillary,” Mr. Clinton said, “she’ll be the nominee, she’ll be the next president.”

Air Obama radio?

Air America - All Obama, All The Time? I stopped listening to Air America quite awhile back. All the shouting and yelling in between the commercials was tiresome and irritating. But today I had a long car trip and tuned in to see what I'd been missing out on. What I heard wasn't very pretty. It seems that Ed Schultz is furious, just furious, that people would misconstrue Barack's "bitter" comment and he took every opportunity to lecture any caller who tried to explain why it was offensive just exactly what Obama really meant. Geez. For the world's greatest orator, he sure has a lot of people 'splaining what it was that he really meant. It didn't take long for Ed's ridiculous Obamamania and Clinton-hating to get old. Later in the afternoon I got brave enough to switch it back on and heard a high-larious comedy bit about how "Joe Six Pack" would just love the new White House with Hillary the party animal there. (See, she had a shot and a beer at a bar in PA.) Yee-haw!!! Talk about the exact example of what Ed was arguing against! Only Joe Six Packs and rednecks would vote for Hillary. I tuned out to listen to music for awhile and when I switched back Richard Belzer and his sidekick were going on about how outraged "people" were at Hillary's attack against Obama as "elitist". Then Richard's quote blew me away. It was something to the effect that he couldn't believe how different these two candidates were; one was unflappable and the other was "shrill". Damn! I wish I had better cell phone coverage there because I was tempted to call in and congratulate him on turning the tables and calling his Messiah "shrill". He couldn't possibly be referring to Senator Clinton in such sexist terms could he?? Right... Hey Ed and Richard - Here's a nice t-shirt you guys might like.
Where Ed Schultz in this pic? Like Randi he claimed he had no dog in the fight, yet his show is becoming an three hour ad for Barack Obama.

Obama’s remarks feed class resentment

Obama’s remarks feed class resentment Gene Lyons Posted on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 Email this story Printer-friendly version Some weeks ago, this column asked a rhetorical question: What could Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama possibly have been thinking about, sitting in a Chicago pew for 20 years listening to the crackpot effusions of Rev. Jeremiah Wright ? Surely the one-time editor of the Harvard Law Review didn’t subscribe to Wright’s delusional view that the U. S. government invented the AIDS virus to exterminate black Africans, so why did he expose his children to it under God’s authority ? Unlike many observers who swooned over Obama’s moving speech about race, I thought it ducked the most salient question: Did he actually buy Wright’s theology ? His successive rationalizations failed to satisfy. First, he hadn’t heard the offending sermons. Then he’d heard things he disagreed with, but thought of Wright like an eccentric uncle. Finally, Obama said he’d have quit the church had his spiritual mentor not retired. “Anybody named Clinton or Gore who sat still for something like that,” this column observed, “would be derided as an inauthentic phony patronizing black folk for political gain—a faker, a con man.” Predictably, this unfashionable observation drew accusations of racism. I responded by e-mailing news reports of Obama’s final renunciation of Wright. As the candidate himself had now thrown the controversial preacher overboard, was it still racist to criticize him ? Nobody responded. The national media declared the controversy settled. The caravan moved on. My rhetorical question, however, remained unanswered until last week, when Obama gave an off-the-cuff response to a questioner at a $ 2, 000-per-person fundraiser in, yes, San Francisco who asked, in effect, how Mr. Hope could possibly be having trouble selling his vision to Pennsylvania voters. Obama apparently didn’t think he was being recorded. Being a black man named Barack Obama, he allowed, was only part of the problem. “[O ] ur challenge,” he continued, “is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Like the poor, deluded peasants in Wright’s congregation, in short, rednecks out in the boondocks cling to superstition, bigotry and conspiracy theories because the world’s too complicated for them to understand. Never mind that Obama’s been touring Pennsylvania touting his own religious piety and opposition to NAFTA, or that Sen. Hillary Clinton seized upon his remarks with the awkward zeal of a basset hound pouncing on a pork chop. A more perfect expression of pseudo-Marxist / academic cant—or a greater gift to Sen. John McCain and the Republicans—would be hard to imagine. This is what Democrats get if they choose an inexperienced faculty-lounge lizard as their presidential candidate. People tend to assume that a black candidate has a lot of street sense, but Obama increasingly comes off as a classic Ivy League brainiac too impressed by his own SAT scores to change a tire without delivering an oration on the economics of rubber tree cultivation. Since 1968, when Richard Nixon put his famous “Southern strategy” into play, two big themes have kept the GOP in the White House most of the time: race along with class and regional resentment. In seeking to transcend the former, Obama has handed them the latter on a silver platter. Republicans won’t have to caricature him as a condescending snob who looks down on working stiffs. He’s already done it to himself. Sheltered, cosseted and treated as a wonder of nature most of his life, Obama’s never run against a tough opponent, and it’s showing. Obama’s attempts to joke his way out of this mess amuse only the already converted. No, Clinton’s not a very convincing huntress, but she certainly knows that nobody goes duck hunting with a “six-shooter.” For pointing these things out, the Clinton campaign, hitherto run on strict standards of political correctness—too timid even to point out that it was Obama’s fellow Chicagoan and national co-chair Jesse Jackson, Jr. who “racialized” the campaign by accusing Hillary Clinton of shedding no tears for black victims of Hurricane Katrina long before Bill Clinton alluded to his famous father—can now be accused of helping Republicans make their case. But what should she do ? Stand silently watching the disaster unfold ? Instead, she might try pointing out that it was working-class Democrats Obama insulted. Also, that far from falling during the Clinton administration, employment in Pennsylvania rose by more than 500, 000 jobs between 1993 and 2000 while unemployment dropped from 7. 3 to 4. 1 percent. That’s the perfectly rational reason that many cling to her candidacy. —–––––•–––––—Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons

Daily Kos: Obama or violence?

Excerpt: This election is a battle between Beta (Clinton, McCain) and positive Gamma (Obama). The forces of the status quo however do not realize that they can not stop Gamma, they never do. This election, and the way an Obama administration is going to perform, is the crossroads for the American Nation. Either reform or revolution. The powers to be are not going to cede their powers voluntarily. They never do. If Obama fails, there will be someone else and there is no guarantee that this is not going to be someone like Lenin, or worse, Hitler. The United States of America are on the brink of a major revolution. I am not talking about some fuzzy "internet revolution" or similar hogwash but the real McCoy. I mean armed uprising, riots, civil war. So if Obama fails, the Kossacks are going to riot?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Alan Keyes left the Republican party?

Alan Keyes Campaigns In Hazleton PW's Alli Katz notes that everyone's favorite presidential candidate, "Cowboy" Alan Keyes, is in Hazleton today to announce his presidential bid, even though he's already said he's running for president. But he's formally doing it in the city where the mayor hates illegal immigrants, just to show what a compassionate Christian he is. Because third party candidates really have a shot at running the country, Keyes has left the Republican party and is now in the Constitution Party. What's Alan Keyes going to do as president? Oh, I dunno, declare a war on pornography. I'm fond of reminding people that the meaning of the word "pornography" in its Greek root, pornos graphein, means to describe the harlot's work, to describe the business of the harlot. He's fond of reminding people the root of pornography comes from the Greek for prostitution. A hit at parties! He is definitely getting my vote this November. There's a live video stream on his website; his speech is apparently at 8:30 tonight. Out late on a school night!

Obama supporters take aim at... Tavis Smiley

I’ve been out of town visiting my family for the past several days, and it’s for the best that I haven’t had the energy to blog, because I needed to let the news about Tavis Smiley resigning from the Tom Joyner Morning Show truly soak in and marinate before I came here to vent. There is a lot of speculation about why he is leaving the show, but he says in a statement released on Friday: “Contrary to what has been suggested, I have decided to clear some things off my plate so that I can devote my time and attention to some exciting and empowering projects.” I don’t know if this statement is true to word, but if I were him, I would have resigned because I was sick and tired of the death threats, tired of the completely unfounded insults and just damn tired of trying to make a people see some of the most basic necessities of survival. Examine your surroundings and assess the situation… Other groups are doing it. Do you think any number of organizations that have endorsed Obama have done so without at least attempting to make sure he has their interests at heart? Do you think they haven’t requested, in many cases, and received some sort of idea as to how he feels about their issue or cause? But, the majority of African-American Obama supporters are in a sick fog of emotions that convinces them that it is okay for him to ignore our issues while campaigning–because after all, we’ll all be going down the Soul Train Line and doing the Soulja Boy and the Electric Slide at the Inaugural Ball after he wins and it will all have been worth it in the end…….silly, silly fools.Tavis never once said a negative word about Obama. Not once. He merely cautioned Black America to truly examine him along with the other candidates and not simply hand him our votes just because he is Black. I believe that’s only common sense, considering the fact that most African-Americans don’t even know who Obama is [hell, who does???]! They only see his skin tone and that’s more than enough for them. If Colin Powell had run, even though he’d more than likely have run as a Republican, at least we know who he is. Same for that kook Alan Keyes. We know who those guys are. But Obama, this flash in the pan, does not deserve unquestioned support. The mere idea is unconscionable to me. Even in the comment section of the previous post here, some idiot calls this little water cooler in the blogosphere the Uncle Tom Network. Probably hasn’t read a single post outside of the NO-bama posts, but feels comfortable enough to call this the Uncle Tom Network. The ignorance is palpable. In a Washington Post article Saturday, Roland Martin, that fat stooge, says this about Tavis Smiley’s resignation: “You have to expect to get heat the moment you decide to offer critical comments about politics or social issues,” Martin said. “You have to be tough enough to take it.” Added Martin: “For a long time, Tavis was used to people applauding him for taking tough stances. . . . This was the first time he had taken a position that flat-out ticked off his core audience. But [criticism] comes with the territory.” It’s one thing to “criticize” with concrete examples of why you believe a person is wrong in their view. It’s quite another to simply say that someone is “hating” or to call them an “Uncle Tom”. Oh, that’s right. They couldn’t exactly say, “Look at all of the work Obama’s done as Chairman of that Senate Foreign Relations Sub-Committee,” because he hasn’t done a damn thing. They also couldn’t say, “Look at how well he organized those neighborhoods and looked out for minorities in Chicago,” because we should all know by now that he and his pal Rezko sold those folks up the river and let a number of his “constituents” freeze their asses off in the dead of winter due to political expediency. Those were Black asses freezing might I add. Tavis, keep your head up. I can only imagine what you have been going through, seeing as how you’ve been trying to slap some sense into millions of folks on a weekly basis. I’m sure you will come out on the other side of this even stronger than you are now. Tom [Joyner], you are as much to blame for this as your listening audience. You guys sat in that booth and had some great laughs at Tavis’s expense over the past few months when if anybody, Tom, you should have been the voice of reason. There will be a high price to pay when this is all said and done. A very high one. So, let me go ahead and issue a collective, “kiss my ass” to all of you Obama supporters who will wake up soon with one helluva hangover, wishing you hadn’t drank that kool-aid…..regretting how you’ve wronged so many.

Pocket

I wonder how Big Eddie, 99.9 of the pro Obama blogs and the other Obama worshippers explain this?

Clinton supporter Bob Johnson says Ferraro was right

Clinton Surrogate Bob Johnson Says Ferraro Was Right, Obama Only Is Where He Is Because He's Black April 15, 2008 12:06 AMjaketapper--> Billionaire Bob Johnson, the founder of BET, last seen publicly raising Sen. Barack Obama's youthful drug use, then denying it, then apologizing for it, has stepped into the spotlight again. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer, Johnson says that former vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro was right. If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she said, just before the resulting firestorm forced her to step down as an adviser to Obama rival Hillary Clinton. "What I believe Geraldine Ferraro meant (is) if you take a freshman senator from Illinois called 'Jerry Smith' and he says I'm going to run for president, would he start off with 90 percent of the black vote? And the answer is, probably not. Would he also start out with the excitement of starting out as something completely different? Probably not. He would just be a freshmen senator ... "Geraldine Ferraro said it right. The problem is Geraldine Ferraro is white. This campaign has such a hair trigger on anything racial. It is almost impossible for anybody to say anything."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

WTF Tigers?? 0-7 worst since '03

BOSTON -- It's difficult to believe any parallel could exist between the youth-stocked, 119-loss Tigers of 2003 and this season's high-cost, established Tigers. And yet one such parallel already has festered into being. These current Tigers have become the first team to start 0-7 since those 2003 Tigers. Following an 0-6 home stand, the Tigers made their road debut Tuesday. Their bats stayed somnolent in a 5-0 loss amid the Red Sox's home-opener celebration of last year's World Series title. Starting pitcher Kenny Rogers (4 2/3 innings, two earned runs) blamed himself for the loss, then said: "There isn't one phase of the game we've done even adequately." The Tigers have been outscored, 44-15. They have scored the fewest runs of any American League team, and entering Tuesday night, they had allowed the most of any AL team. Manager Jim Leyland continues to see the shutdown as a classic team-wide hitting slump -- not as some sign that the lineup somehow isn't nearly as strong as everyone thought. "When something like this happens, you do what every team in baseball does: You look at film. You hit a little extra. You prepare for the pitchers," Leyland said. Leyland said some hitters -- including Magglio Ordoñez and Miguel Cabrera -- will take extra batting practice today. On Tuesday, as in so many games already, the sixth inning played a noticeable part. The Tigers haven't scored in the sixth inning this season. But they've given up 17 runs in the sixth. To put that another way: They've allowed two more runs in the sixth inning than they have scored all season. The Tigers trailed, 3-0, in the sixth when they loaded the bases with two out for Carlos Guillen. He flied to center against starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. Reliever Jason Grilli allowed two runs in the Boston sixth. In 2 1/3 innings this season, Grilli has allowed five earned runs. The right-handed Matsuzaka made the best of his three career starts against the Tigers, Leyland said. He fanned seven and allowed four singles. Matsuzaka allowed only four hits combined in his first two starts (both against Oakland), so he's not someone a pack of struggling hitters would want to face. Before the game, several Tigers watched from the dugout as the Red Sox hoisted their championship banner on the centerfield flagpole. Many folks picked the Tigers to win this year's World Series. But Tuesday, even as the banner was in the Tigers' midst, it seemed far from their current reach.

House Democrat says Iraq policy left nation vulnerable to attack

House Democrat says Iraq policy left nation vulnerable to attack By ANNE FLAHERTY • Associated Press Writer • April 9, 2008 WASHINGTON — The Bush administration’s Iraq policy has left the United States with insufficient resources to protect itself from attack, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee said today. “When looking at the needs in Afghanistan, the effort in Iraq — however important — is putting at risk our ability to decisively defeat those most likely to attack us,” said Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo. “Iraq is also preventing us from effectively preparing for the next conflict.” Skelton’s comments on the second day of testimony by Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador there. Petraeus told lawmakers that security gains in the war zone are too fragile to promise further drawdowns. “The situation in certain areas is still unsatisfactory and innumerable challenges remain,” Petraeus told the House panel.Skelton and other Democrats on the committee were expected to focus on the health of U.S. forces, which they contend are stretched too thin by the war.Republicans also planned to voice their concern about the strain on the military but said they were considerably more optimistic about the situation in Iraq than last year.“No one can deny that the security situation in Iraq has improved,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, the No. 1 Republican on the committee.Petraeus said he has recommended to President George W. Bush that the U.S. complete, by the end of July, the withdrawal of the 20,000 extra troops. Beyond that, the general proposed a 45-day period of “consolidation and evaluation,” to be followed by an indefinite period of assessment before he would recommend any further pullouts.Bush is expected to embrace Petraeus’ plan, which reflects a conservative approach that leaves open the possibility that roughly 140,000 U.S. troops could remain in Iraq when the president leaves office next year — a strategy Democrats are criticizing.

Greenspan: US 'in the throes of a recession'

Note if you want to see the interview hit up the link. This video is from NBC's Today Show, broadcast April 9, 2008. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Tuesday the U.S. economy was in recession, and said it would be appropriate to tap public funds to resolve the mortgage-related crisis that has helped pull the economy under. In an interview with CNBC television in which he defended his chairmanship of the U.S. central bank against charges that his policy missteps had laid the groundwork for the current crisis, Greenspan said Fed decisions on his watch were rationally constructed based on evidence at the time. "I have no regrets on any of the Federal Reserve policies that we initiated back then because I think they were very professionally done," Greenspan said. It is unfair to hold his Fed to task for the housing bubble or the current crisis in credit markets, because global market forces were at work to keep long-term interest rates low, not just Fed policies that brought short-term U.S. interest rates down to multi-decade lows, he said. "Clearly, certain of our anticipations of what would happen as a consequence of those policies were off but there's no way of avoiding that," he said. Greenspan went farther than the Fed has by saying outright that the economy is in a recession, although he said it is too soon to say how deep or prolonged the downturn will be. "Consumers are beginning to shrink in, the automobile markets are beginning to contract, production is beginning to ease, and we are in the throes of recession," he said. The U.S. economy will not stabilize until housing markets recover, Greenspan said. To speed that process, the Bush administration should look to the 1980s savings and loan crisis for lessons on settling the crisis by committing taxpayers' money to the project. "I think if you're going to deal with a situation like this it's an issue for appropriated funds of the Treasury to set up something like the Resolution Trust Corporation, which as you remember was very successful in resolving the S&L crisis," Greenspan said. The RTC was set up to liquidate assets of troubled savings and loan associations that had been declared insolvent by the Office of Thrift Supervision. It operated between 1989 and 1995 and closed or helped resolve hundreds of thrifts, many of which had gotten into trouble through sloppy lending practices. The Bush administration so far has adamantly refused to commit public money to help settle a housing crisis in which millions of Americans are expected to lose their homes through foreclosure. Greenspan has in recent days made a series of public statements defending his record at the Fed in light of criticism that a long period of low interest rates and a laissez-faire oversight approach led to reckless market behavior that resulted in the sharp housing correction and the ongoing credit freeze. The Financial Times this week published an article of his entitled, "The Fed is blameless on the property bubble." In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Greenspan said, "I was praised for things I didn't do. I am now being blamed for things I didn't do." Greenspan's office did not respond to a request for an interview on Tuesday.

Once again, McCain confuses Sunnis with Shiites

LA Times blogger: 'Maybe flash cards would help' Filed by John Byrne John McCain isn't quite sure of himself on Iraq. Last month, the Arizona senator got a whisper in his ear from Sen. Joe Lieberman, after he said that Iran was providing aid to Al Qaeda in Iraq, a Sunni group. Iran, however, is actually a Shiite nation. On Fox News Sunday, McCain also got wrong the details of an Iraqi ceasefire. "His friend, Joe Lieberman, who was also on the trip, had to famously whisper in his ear to correct him," the LA Times writes today. "This allowed McCain's two Democratic rivals for the presidency, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to criticize McCain for his mistake, which came in the area that's supposed to be in his wheelhouse: national security and foreign policy." At today's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, McCain seems to have gotten it wrong again, when interviewing Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus. MCCAIN: "There are numerous threats to security in Iraq and the future of Iraq. Do you still view al-Qaeda in Iraq as a major threat?"PETRAEUS: "It is a major threat. Though it is certainly as not as major a threat as it was say, 15 months ago."MCCAIN: "Certainly not an obscure sect of the Shias overall?PETRAEUS: "No, sir."MCCAIN: "Or Sunnis or anybody else then? Watch the video on The Huffington Post here. "McCain may want to work on this obvious weakness in his Iraq fund of knowledge," the Times blog remarks. "Maybe flash cards would help." During an appearance on Fox News Sunday Apr. 6, McCain repeated the false claim that Muqtada al-Sadr declared the ceasefire in Basra last week and said he thought the Iraqi army was performing well. "It was al-Sadr that declared the ceasefire, not Maliki," said McCain. "With respect, I don’t think Sadr would have declared the ceasefire if he thought he was winning. Most times in history, military engagements, the winning side doesn’t declare the ceasefire. The second point is, overall, the Iraqi military performed pretty well. … The military is functioning very effectively." As the blog, Think Progress notes, "it was members of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government who brokered the ceasefire, to which Sadr agreed. Experts agree that Sadr’s influence was strengthened — rather than diminished — by the Basra battle." The Democratic National Committee quickly attacked McCain, noting several mishaps in a press release. March 17, 2008: McCain said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show "As you know, there are al-Qaeda operatives that are taken back into Iran, given training as leaders, and they're moving back into Iraq." [New York Times, 3/19/08 -- Transcript. March 18, 2008: In Jordan after a trip to Iraq, McCain said a press conference that " 'We continue to be concerned about Iranian [operatives] taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back,' he said in comments after meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II on Tuesday afternoon. Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it is 'common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran; that's well known. And it's unfortunate.' A few moments later, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in his ear. McCain then said, 'I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.'" [Washington Post, 3/19/08] March 19, 2008: The next day however, in a press release on the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, McCain said "Al Qaeda and Shia extremists -- with support from external powers such as Iran -- are on the run but not defeated." [McCain Presidential Campaign Press Release via Targeted News Service, 3/19/08] November 2007: McCain Said that Al Qaeda Is Getting "Supplies and Equipment" From Iran. "Al Qaeda is not defeated," McCain told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week. "They're on the run, but they are not defeated, and they continue to get supplies and equipment through Iran, and they continue to get suicide bombers through Syria." [ABC, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, 11/25/07] April 8, 2008: McCain Referred To Al Qaeda As A "Sect Of Shi'ites" MCCAIN: Do you still view al Qaeda in Iraq as a major threat? PETRAEUS: It is still a major threat, though it is certainly not as major a threat as it was say 15 months ago. MCCAIN: Certainly not an obscure sect of the Shi'ites overall? [CNN, 4/8/08]

Friday, April 04, 2008

Has Obama reached his peak?

Obama’s Support Softens in Poll, Suggesting a Peak Has Passed By ADAM NAGOURNEY and MEGAN THEE WASHINGTON — Senator Barack Obama’s support among Democrats nationally has softened over the last month, particularly among men and upper-income voters, as voters have taken a slightly less positive view of him than they did after his burst of victories in February, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. The survey suggests that Mr. Obama, Democrat of Illinois, may have been at something of a peak in February, propelled by a string of primary and caucus victories over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, and that perceptions of him are settling down. Mr. Obama’s favorability rating among Democratic primary voters has dropped seven percentage points, to 62 percent, since the last Times/CBS News survey, in late February. While that figure is by any measure high, the decline came in a month during which he endured withering attacks from Mrs. Clinton and responded to reports that his former pastor had made politically inflammatory statements from his church’s pulpit in Chicago. Still, the events of the last month do not appear to have fundamentally altered the race for the party’s nomination or provided what Mrs. Clinton’s campaign has been seeking: evidence of a collapse in Mr. Obama’s standing or an overwhelming preference voiced for Mrs. Clinton by Democratic voters in polls, developments that could be used to persuade uncommitted superdelegates to sign on with her. The poll showed that Mr. Obama now leads Senator John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, 47 percent to 42 percent; his lead was 50 percent to 38 percent in late February, when Mr. McCain still faced primary opposition from Mike Huckabee. The latest poll shows Mrs. Clinton leading Mr. McCain, 48 percent to 43 percent, in a similar match-up. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama are now effectively tied among Democratic voters, with 46 percent saying they want the party to nominate Mr. Obama, compared with 43 percent for Mrs. Clinton. In late February, 54 percent of Democrats said they wanted Mr. Obama to win the nomination, compared with 38 percent for Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Obama’s lead among men has disappeared during that period. In February, 67 percent of men wanted the party to nominate him compared with 28 percent for Mrs. Clinton. Now 47 percent back him, compared with 42 percent for her, a difference within the poll’s margin of error. Similarly, his lead has shrunk among whites, voters making more than $50,000 annually and voters under age 45. The poll, taken March 28 through April 2, contains some encouraging news for Mr. Obama as he and Mrs. Clinton slog through what has become an extended fight for their party’s nomination. Over half of those sampled continued to view him as having a better chance of defeating Mr. McCain. Most expect him to win the nomination. And Mr. Obama’s supporters are more enthusiastic about his candidacy than are Democrats backing Mrs. Clinton. The nationwide telephone poll was conducted with 1,196 registered voters, including 510 Democratic primary voters and 323 Republican primary voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for all voters, four percentage points for Democratic primary voters and five percentage points for Republican primary voters. The margin is slightly higher for subsets within the sample, like white men. The poll indicated that Mr. McCain was enjoying some success during this season of Democratic unrest in trying to build his standing within his own party. He is now viewed positively by 67 percent of Republican primary voters, compared with 57 percent in February. Yet the poll suggested he might face obstacles in the fall running against either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama. When all registered voters were asked if the policies of a McCain administration would favor the rich, the middle class or the poor, or treat all groups the same, 53 percent said Mr. McCain would favor the rich while 16 percent said he would favor the middle class. Twenty-three percent said he would treat all groups the same. (The number of people who said a McCain administration would favor the poor was so small as to not register on the poll.) By contrast, 23 percent said Mrs. Clinton’s policies would favor the rich. And 13 percent said that about Mr. Obama. Of those respondents who said they had heard about the controversy involving Mr. Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., 36 percent of the general electorate said it made them look less favorably on Mr. Obama. Sixty-two percent said it made no difference. And 77 percent of Democrats said the episode had not affected their view of Mr. Obama. Twenty-six percent of the general electorate voters who heard of the speech that Mr. Obama gave to try to deal with the controversy said it made them feel more favorable about him. And 74 percent of Democrats said Mr. Obama would be the kind of candidate who would unite the nation; 60 percent said the same of Mrs. Clinton. Adam Nagourney reported from Washington, and Megan Thee from New York.

80,000 jobs cut in March, Unemployment rate jumps

80,000 Jobs Cut in March; Unemployment Rate Rises By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM The economy shed 80,000 jobs in March, the third consecutive month of rising unemployment, presenting a stark sign that the country may already be in a recession. Sharp downturns in the manufacturing and construction sectors led the decline, the biggest in five years. The Labor Department also said employers cut far more jobs in January and February than originally estimated. There were fewer jobs in March than there had been five months earlier. In the last 50 years, whenever there has been an employment downturn like the one of the last few months, a recession has followed. The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.1 percent from 4.8 percent, its highest level since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. More Americans looked for work than in February, when many simply took themselves out of the job market. But employment opportunities appeared sparse, a thought echoed by some people looking for work. Stock markets on Wall Street fell modestly in early trading, as investors hoped that the worst of the downturn was over. Economists were less optimistic. The drop in payrolls was worse than feared: many analysts had expected a decline of 50,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5 percent. “Three months in a row of payroll job losses and a sizable negative revision: these are clear signs that the job market is in recession,” said Jared Bernstein, an economist at the Economics Policy Institute. “I’m hard-pressed to imagine anyone who would raise doubt to that at this point.” The employment report is considered the most important monthly indicator of the health of the economy. Many economists were already bracing for a poor report, and the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke, told Congress earlier this week that the labor market would continue to soften. The numbers suggest the Fed will extend its string of rate-cutting when it meets April 29. Investors expect central bankers to lower the benchmark interest rate by at least a quarter point, a move that can stimulate growth. Wage increases continue to fall behind inflation, meaning many employees are actually earning less than a year earlier. Average hourly salaries ticked up 5 cents, or 0.3 percent, in March, and were running 3.6 percent higher than a year earlier. But consumer prices rose 4 percent over the same period. As the housing slump erases home equity values and the crisis on Wall Street puts a crimp on the ability of businesses to lend, Americans from all walks of life are facing one of the most difficult job markets in years. In March, private payrolls dropped for a fourth month, as factories, home builders and retail outlets all slashed positions. The only increases came in education and government jobs, as well as the leisure and hospitality industries. Employers cut 76,000 jobs in January and February, far more than originally estimated. In the Chicago area, the past year has brought shift eliminations at auto plants as well as layoffs in the manufacturing, construction and financial services industries. George Putnam, an economist with the Illinois state government, said that when he talks with employers about hiring, he hears caution in their voices. It is the same hesitation that has frustrated Gina Gerhardt, a 47-year-old mother of two, for more than three months. A resident of Lake Zurich, a northwestern suburb of Chicago, Ms. Gerhardt has been out of work since December, when she was laid off after six years as an executive assistant and project manager at a suburban roofing company. Like many experienced workers who find themselves out of a job, Ms. Gerhardt said she has had trouble finding a position with a salary that would cover her bills. Her savings have nearly run dry, and she uses food stamps to buy her groceries. “There are so many applicants out there. If they found my résumé out of the hundreds they get, it’d be a miracle,” she said. Shabon Chadwick, 24, who lives in the Detroit suburb of Taylor, Mich., has had several part-time jobs since losing her position at a produce plant. But full-time work has remained out of reach, and she has been forced to borrow money from family members to keep up with her bills. Michigan’s job market has been particularly battered by the recent downturn, as auto plants let go thousands of workers. Part-time work “is all you can find out here,” Ms. Chadwick said. “It makes me want to move out of Michigan because there are no jobs here.” The downturn has even come to San Francisco, where highly trained workers with elite degrees flock to work for some of the world’s biggest technology companies. CNet Networks, the online media giant, laid off 10 percent of its staff — about 120 workers — this year in an effort to increase profitability and its share price. Yahoo, the search engine company, said it would cut its work force by 1,000. Until recently, Parul Vora, 28, was earning a six-figure salary as part of an elite research team at Yahoo. Ms. Vora, who has a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lost her job in early February. “I had never been laid off and never imagined being laid off,” Ms. Vora said. “I was sad personally and professionally.” But Ms. Vora has better prospects than most. She said she has already been wooed by several potential employers. “There are a lot of jobs out there, but I’m pretty picky,” Ms. Vora said. “My biggest worry is finding a new job I like.” Reporting was contributed by Nick Bunkley in Detroit, Carolyn Marshall in San Francisco and Crystal Yednak in Chicago.

King was about more than civil rights

King was about more than civil rights BY DESIREE COOPER • FREE PRESS COLUMNIST • April 4, 2008
This year, eighth-grade students at Detroit's Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse analyzed a speech by slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Not the "I Have A Dream" speech, but a lesser-known one that King made against the Vietnam War. As the nation gathers to mark the 40th anniversary of King's assassination today, some feel that America has never accepted who the human rights leader really was, especially at the end of his life. "We study King as a political activist who evolved as a person," said Carmen N'Namdi, the charter school's founder and principal. "He didn't stay the same from the age of 26, when he became involved with the Montgomery bus boycott, to the age of 39, when he talked about more than civil rights for African Americans. He had new ideas." Ideas against the war in Vietnam. Ideas about the immorality of poverty in the wealthiest nation on the planet. Ideas that, if he hadn't been assassinated in 1968, may have cost him his legacy. King's real dream In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. The next year, Congress enacted another vital piece of civil rights legislation -- the Voting Rights Act. No one would have blamed King if he'd rested on his laurels at that moment, spending the balance of his life supporting better race relations. But for the Nobel laureate, equality for African Americans was only part of the quest for peace. In the late 1960s, he shifted his focus to what he deemed an immoral war in Vietnam and economic violence against this nation's poor people, no matter what color. It was a risky decision. Even today, those who spoke out early against the Iraq war have been ostracized and branded unpatriotic. Five years later, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have cost $3 trillion and more than 4,000 American lives. Now, nearly 60% of Americans say they think the war was a mistake and want the troops home within 12 months, according to a Gallup Poll taken last month. King was hoping to spare the nation a similar regret. At a symposium in February 1967, he criticized the values of a nation that was spending $322,000 for each enemy killed in Vietnam, but only $53 on the war on poverty. On April 4, 1967, King took the podium at New York's Riverside Church and delivered his speech "Beyond Vietnam." He argued that social programs were being eviscerated by "a society gone mad on war." He said that poor people were sending their children to war in higher proportions than rich people, and that black soldiers were fighting to guarantee freedoms in southeast Asia that they couldn't enjoy at home. The fallout over the speech was shattering. King lost Johnson's support, the FBI fanned rumors about infidelity and relationships with communists. The news media skewered him. Even the NAACP backed away from his antiwar stance, worried that King was diluting his power. "That's what hurt him most," said William Anderson, 80, a physician who befriended King when he was a Georgia teenager. They marched together to desegregate Albany, Ga., in 1961. According to Anderson, who now is vice president of academic affairs at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital, dozens of black ministers in Detroit openly denounced King. "They said that the war wasn't his business," Anderson said. "They felt he was being unpatriotic." In 1967, Anderson assembled 35 Detroit pastors at the Park Shelton Hotel. King came to personally plead his case. "After that meeting, nearly all of the pastors reversed their position and apologized from the pulpit," said Anderson, a World War II veteran. "But their opposition had hurt King more than anything the Klan had said." N'Namdi was a student at Ohio State University at the time. She said that the backlash from the African-American community may have been generational. "The older generation had been focused on cultural change," said N'Namdi, 58. "They couldn't see that civil rights weren't just for African Americans, they were for everyone -- including the Vietnamese." A time of crisis Despite the splintering of his support, King continued to rail against the war while planning a Poor People's Campaign for May 1968. Thousands of peaceful demonstrators were to converge on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in order to call attention to poverty in America. When striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., asked him to intervene, King saw it as an extension of his cause, not a detour. On March 18, 1968 -- two weeks before his assassination -- he addressed a packed audience at the Mason Temple. "If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God's children to have the basic necessities of life," he preached, "she, too, will go to hell." King returned to Memphis 10 days later to lead a protest. Demonstrators carried signs with the simple, moving declaration: "I am a man." When violence broke out, King was skirted away to a nearby hotel. This was the first time he had been associated with violence. If there was a moment when he should have had a crisis of faith, this was it. But according to Anderson, King "was only certain about one thing: his commitment to the cause." Days later, on March 31, he spoke at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.: "On some positions, cowardice asks the question, 'Is it expedient?' " King said. "And then expedience comes along and asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' Conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' " A warrior for peace King returned to Memphis on April 3 to prove that he could lead a nonviolent demonstration on behalf of the sanitation workers. That day, he gave his foreboding speech about having gone to the mountaintop and seen the promised land. He was assassinated in Memphis the next day, April 4, 1968, as he was leaving the Lorraine Motel. That was exactly one year from the date he delivered his first speech denouncing the war. He was 39. "The real impact of his work has never been acknowledged because he's been pigeonholed," said N'Namdi. "Even now, when people talk about him, they only refer to the civil rights movement. They will not talk about his antiwar stance. King evolved, but society still hasn't moved." N'Namdi is right. The last year of King's life makes it clear that his object was peace -- for everyone. To that end, he was willing to confront violence in all its permutations -- racism, war and poverty. On this 40th anniversary of his death, if we want to remember his legacy, we should take to heart the words he spoke at the National Cathedral four days before he was killed: "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence."

Air America's Randi Rhodes said suspended for calling Clinton, Ferraro 'whores'

Air America's Randi Rhodes said suspended for calling Clinton, Ferraro 'whores' RAW STORYPublished: Thursday April 3, 2008 reddit_title='Air America's Randi Rhodes said suspended for calling Clinton, Ferraro 'whores'' Air America has allegedly suspended talk radio host Randi Rhodes after she made scathing statements off-air about Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. "What a whore Geraldine Ferraro is! She's such a fucking whore!" Rhodes remarked. "Hillary is a big fucking whore, too" to a mixed audience reaction. "You know why she's a big fucking whore? Because her deal is always, 'Read the fine print, asshole!'" A video of Rhodes' remarks appears below. "Air America has suspended on-air host Randi Rhodes for making inappropriate statements about prominent figures, including Senator Hillary Clinton, at a recent public appearance on behalf of Air America in San Francisco which was sponsored by an Air America affiliate station," according to a statement by Air America released to the Huffington Post. "Air America encourages strong opinions about public affairs but does not condone such abusive, ad hominem language by our Hosts," company chair Charlie Kireker said in a statement. MCL comment: I'm noticing a trend here, if you're a pro Hillary Clinton blogger and talk radio host Obama supporters have no problems telling those folks their pulling support because you don't support Barack Obama, now if you're a pro Obama website or talk host saying something nasty about Hillary you're evaluated and they're willingly to protect your free speech.

Repugs feel good about about Obama match-up

Republicans feel good about Obama match-up John Whitesides, Political CorrespondentReuters US Online Report Top News Apr 03, 2008 14:20 EST WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton may be the Democrat who Republicans love to hate, but some Republican strategists say they have no fear of a match-up with her rival Barack Obama in November's presidential election. Many Republicans have long believed Clinton, the polarizing New York senator and former first lady with the high negative ratings, would make an easier White House foe by energizing conservatives and alienating independents. But Republicans say the relentless Democratic nominating battle has given them new hope for November and exposed weaknesses in Obama that will play a central role in any general election campaign against the Illinois senator. "I believe he has a glass jaw -- and he is going to get hit hard," said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio. Obama's voting record in the U.S. Senate -- one magazine ranked him the most liberal senator in 2007 -- and during his years in the Illinois state Senate will get a more thorough examination in a campaign against Republican John McCain than it has so far, he said. "He portrays himself as a centrist and a moderate, but if you look at his votes it's tough to see anything but a liberal. He is more liberal than Hillary Clinton," Fabrizio said. The questions raised by Clinton about Obama's lack of experience and suitability as commander in chief will be revitalized, Republicans say, as will the controversy about inflammatory comments by Obama's pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Coupling that with Obama's weakness among blue-collar Democrats and Hispanics, and the possibility of a prolonged nominating fight that turns off Clinton backers and independents, Republicans are gaining confidence about a November race against Obama. "Originally people thought Hillary would be better to run against only because she generated so much ill will among the Republican base," said Republican consultant Rich Galen. "But I don't think professional politicians on the Republican side have a rooting interest anymore because it doesn't matter. We can beat either one. We just wish the election was tomorrow," he said. WHO CAN WIN? The question of who gives Democrats the best chance in November is central to the battle between Clinton and Obama as they woo superdelegates -- the party insiders and elected officials who are free to back any candidate and are likely to decide the tight race. The two campaigns have waged a war of words, memos and conference calls with reporters to make their case. The Clinton campaign says she is a known quantity with proven success in big swing states and with key constituencies like women, Catholics and Hispanics. Clinton was heartened by a Quinnipiac University poll this week that showed her beating McCain in three key swing states -- Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida -- and running better against him than Obama. "The polls are reflecting the arguments we're making," Clinton strategist Mark Penn said. The Obama campaign says he would rewrite the electoral map, bringing in new voters and drawing independents and some Republicans in a broad coalition that would also help Democrats in other races around the country. "We are going to put more states in play than Senator Clinton," said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, adding Obama "would provide the best atmosphere for down ballot candidates." But the Clinton campaign leaped to highlight recent comments in The New York Times Sunday magazine by Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who heads the Republican party's efforts to elect House of Representatives members. He said he thought Clinton would be the stronger candidate. "He's ideologically well to the left of Hillary Clinton, for all his rhetorical gifts, and I also think he's got a national security deficit," Cole said. "I think she's a plausible commander in chief, and I don't think he is. It may not matter. But those two areas are where we would fight the election, and with McCain, I think we contrast with him very well," he said. Republicans have been successful at painting Democratic candidates like Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004 as too liberal and out of step with everyday voters. But part of Obama's appeal has been his promise to rise above partisan divisions. Fabrizio said there were dangers for Republicans in Obama's ability to attract new voters and increase turnout, but his record in Illinois on topics like sex education, crime and spending would be fertile territory for researchers. "In order to bring out those new voters, you have to maintain the same level of excitement. If Obama gets tarnished, that excitement is going to wane" among those voters, Fabrizio said. "What more are you going to tell the American people about Hillary Clinton? But most Americans didn't even know Barack Obama eight months ago, and there is so much more for them to know."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Blanchard: DNC 'flirting with a McCain victory'

Blanchard: DNC 'flirting with a McCain victory' BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF • FREE PRESS LANSING BUREAU • March 28, 2008 EAST LANSING – Former Gov. James Blanchard blamed the Democratic National Committee’s rigid rules for the party’s presidential deadlock, saying its refusal to seat Michigan and Florida delegates at the national convention could hand Republicans the White House. “The national Democratic Party is flirting with a McCain victory if someone doesn’t step in and make sure Michigan voters’ voices are heard,” said Blanchard, co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s Michigan campaign. The national party won’t recognize delegates from Michigan’s Jan. 15 primary because it was held too early, in violation of party rules. But there’s been no agreement on holding a second primary or Democratic caucus that would be recognized by the natinoal party. “They’re treating the rules like the U.S. Constitution or the 10 Commandments. They’ve lost their way,” Blanchard said of the DNC. He added, “I do think the presidential election process is broken. It’s broken, we have a heck of a mess.”Blanchard, during a taping of Michigan public television’s “Off the Record” this morning, said the state Legislature should reconsider holding another Democratic primary when it returns from its spring break.“I think, if you’re a legislator, it’s an absolute no-brainer to say, ‘Let the voters decide,’” he said. “The issue is not what’s good for Hillary or good for Obama, it’s what’s good for the voters of Michigan.”Blanchard also said he likes a proposal for a separate, national convention of Democratic superdelegates in June to break a deadlock and decide whether Clinton or Barack Obama is the nominee, before the Democratic National Convention in August.Unless it’s resolved, he said, the ultimate nominee will be severely weakened heading into Labor Day, the unofficial kickoff of the general election campaign.On Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Blanchard said he agrees with Gov. Jennifer Granholm to defer a decision to boot Kilpatirick from office until his criminal case is decided. He said if Kilpatrick is convicted of a felony, he will be forced to resign anyway.Blanchard said if Granholm attempted to oust the mayor now, he would challenge her in court – and probably win.“And that,” Blanchard said, “would weaken the governor and continue to add to the problem and do nothing for economic development,” Blanchard said. “What the governor is doing and should do is to meet with business leaders and continue plans to diversify the economy, take a look at alternative energy research and not get mired in this, which is going to be in the courts anyway and resolved there.”

Smirks backs NATO expansion

Bush backs NATO expansion, urges more troops for Afghanistan By TERENCE HUNT • ASSOCIATED PRESS • April 2, 2008 NEPTUN, Romania — President George W. Bush urged NATO allies on Wednesday to recognize the seriousness of the anti-Taliban mission in Afghanistan and step up with more troops for the fight. “We expect our NATO allies to shoulder the burden necessary to succeed,” Bush said, appearing alongside Romanian President Traian Basescu at a news conference on a wind-whipped Black Sea beach at the presidential retreat. Bush welcomed recent announcements by a few countries, including France, to provide additional troops to the 47,000-strong NATO force in Afghanistan. He also stepped gingerly around a two-year dispute between member nations, including Britain, Canada and the U.S., that have combat troops in Afghanistan’s most dangerous areas and those such as Germany, Italy and Spain that are limiting their forces to the more stable north and west. Bush showed some understanding of their reluctance to participate on the front lines and in large numbers. Still, he said the outcome in Afghanistan is too important to turn away from. Failure there, he said, could produce a haven again for terrorists and destroy an aspiring democracy. “Nations need to take this mission seriously,” the president said. ‘It’s worth it for our own security and it’s worth it for the cause of peace.”He expressed cautious hope that this week’s NATO summit in the Romanian capital of Bucharest will yield even more promises. “We’ll see how it goes,” Bush said. “That’s what summits are for.”Basescu endorsed Bush’s call.“We have to do everything ... we can in order to make a success in our actions in Afghanistan, guaranteeing democratic development of the country, economic development of the country, security of the country, and eliminating the terrorist risks.”

Clinton, Obama woo unions in PA.

Obama, Clinton woo unions in Pa. By DEVLIN BARRETT and BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writers Barack Obama told Pennsylvania unions Wednesday that he will fight the type of trade deals struck by the Clinton and Bush administrations, while rival Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed $7 billion in tax breaks for corporations to persuade them to keep jobs in this country. The rival Democratic presidential candidates both portrayed themselves as labor's best friend as they campaigned in Pennsylvania where 830,000 union voters are expected to have a strong say in how more than 4.1 million Democrats, a record registration for the state, allocate 158 delegates to the Democratic national convention. Three weeks from the April 22 primary, a new poll shows that Clinton's lead over Obama here has shrunk slightly from the 12-percentage-point edge she held in mid-March. The Quinnipiac University telephone poll, which ended March 31, showed Clinton with 50 percent and Obama with 41 percent. Clinton is well ahead of Obama among the state's white voters, 59 percent to 34 percent, while Obama gets nearly three of four black votes. She is well ahead among women, while the two are even with men. As usual, Obama does best with younger voters while Clinton leads among older ones. While the poll was conducted, Obama gained the endorsement of Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey Jr. On Wednesday, former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton, the top Democrat on the Sept. 11 commission, backed Obama. Addressing a meeting of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Obama said, "What I refuse to accept is that we have to sign trade deals like the South Korea Agreement that are bad for American workers." "What I oppose — and what I will always oppose — are trade deals that put the interests of Wall Street ahead of the interests of American workers. That's why I opposed NAFTA," he said as he wrapped up a six-day bus tour through Pennsylvania. The Illinois senator and Clinton have spent weeks arguing over which one of them did or didn't oppose the North American Free Trade Agreement, a deal with Mexico and Canada that was struck during Bill Clinton's presidency. Speaking to the same unions a day earlier, Clinton said as first lady she had forcefully battled the deal, which is unpopular with organized labor because it helped corporations move many blue collar jobs out of the country to use cheaper labor. "I did speak out and oppose NAFTA," she said. "I raised a big yellow flag and said, 'I don't think this will work.'" On March 19, the National Archives released most of Clinton's daily schedules as first lady; they showed her holding at least five meetings in 1993 aimed at helping win congressional approval of NAFTA. The Obama campaign said the meetings show Clinton was misrepresenting her record on NAFTA. At an economic summit in Pittsburgh organized Wednesday by her presidential campaign, the New York senator was expected to propose eliminating tax breaks for companies that move jobs to other countries and using the savings to persuade companies to keep jobs in the U.S. Clinton's plan would offer new tax benefits for research and job development. It would also create "innovation and research clusters" across the country and provide $500 million annually in investments to encourage the creation of high-wage jobs in clean energy. Obama also responded Wednesday to Clinton's comparison of herself a day earlier to Rocky Balboa, the underdog boxer from Philadelphia in the 1976 film. She said "when it comes to finishing a fight, Rocky and I have a lot in common. I never quit. I never give up." Obama told the union meeting: "We all love Rocky. But we've got to remember, Rocky was a movie."