Thursday, April 24, 2008

GOP fears Obama, not Clinton

The Republican Party in North Carolina said Wednesday it's launching a television ad calling Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama too extreme for the state, despite the objections of GOP presumptive nominee John McCain.
The advertisement raises the scepter of Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright, beginning with a photo of Obama and Wright together and a clip of Wright's contentious remarks about America.
"He's just too extreme for North Carolina," the narrator says in the 30-second spot.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


From Kos
(I had to format to the rightto ge the table to turn out readable)

"One of the arguments the Clinton campaign is making to the supers, hoping they'll overturn the will of the voters, is that Obama can't win certain demographics. Yet looking at the exit poll numbers, it's clear that Obama has actually been making serious gains the past six weeks.

Obama's percent of the vote:
60 and older 28 38
White 34 38
White men 39 44
White women 31 34
Less than $50K 42 46
No college 40 38
College 51 49
Catholic 36 31
Protestant 36 53

What was a 10.5% win in demographically friendly Ohio has become an 8.6% win in similar Pennsylvania, except the state was even less black and with a much smaller youth voter population (Pennsylvania's seniors accounted for 32 percent of the electorate, compared to 23 percent in Ohio).

And, those gains were made despite the Wright controversy as well as manufactured bullshit about "bitter" and flag pins and whatnot.

On top of that, Obama has had to run against Hillary Clinton, against former President of the United States Bill Clinton, and against John McCain and the entire GOP apparatus, which has trained its guns on Obama hoping to give Clinton a boost.

Yet he continues to gain among most of Clinton's best demographics, is still raising more money, leads comfortably in delegates, leads comfortably in the popular vote, leads in states won, leads in the national polls, and does better in the head-to-head matchups against McCain.
So why should the supers spark an intra-party civil war by overturning the will of the electorate again?"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Very interesting interview on Iraq

Leila Fadel interviewd by Bill Moyers

Just back from being under fire in Sadr City this week, award-winning journalist Leila Fadel, Baghdad Bureau Chief for McClatchy, gives viewers on-the-ground analysis of the latest events and close-up look at the state of the war.

The blog by McClatchy reporters and staff is called "Inside Iraq"

From the blog:

"He told them how he killed a young man in Al Anbar province west of Iraq.
This killer along with his gang stopped cars and buses on the highway passing through Al Anbar to Jordan and Syria. He said he took aside one of the men to kill.

He was begging the killer not to kill him, his tears were not in fear of death, were not to beg to spare his life, it was for the sake of the woman he loved.

"Please let me marry her then kill me" the killer recalled him saying.

In his conversations with other prisoners, including my cousin who told me this story, the killer recalled his victim as saying his Juliet's family refused their marriage for ten years and then his family called him in Syria to tell him that her family agreed at last. He was coming back to get
married to the woman of his dreams, and she was waiting for him.

The killer told the men surrounding him that the young man begged him not to kill him, and he promised he would come back after ten days - but what love can this killer understand? He shot him in the head and killed him on the spot.

In the killer's nightmares, the young man says to him, "I begged you … Please let me marry her then kill me, I promised you to come back, Why?"

He told the men surrounding him that he had killed many but he doesn’t remember or regret any of them but killing this man. The killer was sentenced to death.

One of the inmates who was waiting for his imminent release thought it worthwhile to go and to find that woman and tell her: Your man begged for his life to marry you -- not for fear of death itself -- and he didn’t let you down. He was murdered in the middle of nowhere.
So, he asked the killer to give him the name of the victim.

The killer replied he didn’t know, he asked from what tribe? The killer didn’t know, he asked from what sect? The killer didn’t know, he asked him from what province? The killer didn’t know.

Then he asked him, then why you killed him? The killer said he cannot remember, whether it was the victim's haircut or the way he was dressed or the music pouring from his car.

I hope and wish that one day someone will tell the woman he loved how he died; someone will tell her that those killers who kill every day do not distinguish between people, their color or their belief.

Someone to tell her that those killers are addicted to killing and one way or another they are punished.

Someone to tell her that your man didn’t fear death; his fear was to die without marrying you. "

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rep. Bachmann, R-MN

Why does Rep. Bachmann remind me of Kathleen Harris? They are both way too wacky for even the main stream press to ignore.

From The Hill:

"Ten of the 14 people Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) hired early last year have left the freshman’s office, according to public documents and sources familiar with the personnel changes.
The casualty list includes two chiefs of staff, a district director, a press secretary, two legislative assistants, a staff assistant, a caseworker, an outreach and grants coordinator and a district scheduler."

Taxes and the debates

I do not know what is so difficult about taxes.

Why can't candidates say "look at your tax return. If line 7 is over 250k your taxes will go up. If line 7 is under 250k then your taxes will stay the same, or go down.

If line 13 is where you make most of your income you will see your taxes rise to about 20%, from the current rate of 15%. If you do not have much income on line 13 then don't worry about tax increases."

For most wealth Americans, the vast majority of income shows up on lines 9a, line 9b and line 13. These are taxed at a 15% rate, far below what most Americans pay on line 7 at 25%.

Look at your own return. Would a tax increase on lines other than line 7 make a difference? Probably not.

Cure for Cancer?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Two of my favorite episodes on TV

What is there to "misunderstand" here?

From TPM:

"Back in February, the AP broke the story that the White House had secretly modified a proposed rule to crack down on contract fraud. The rule, originally drafted by the Justice Department, was intended to force contractors to police themselves and report evidence of fraud or abuse. But the White House's version of the rule specifically exempted contractors working overseas on contracts that exceeded $5 million.

The Justice Department, which needs all the help it can get in busting corrupt contractors, was dismayed. But it made the major overseas contractors (like, say, Blackwater, KBR, CACI International, etc.), who had been opposing the rule, very happy.

When the AP asked why the White House had inserted the loophole, no answers were forthcoming. A spokeswoman from the Office of Management and Budget would only say that it was a "proposed rule," and that they were reviewing public comments.

And that was it. Over the ensuing months, members of Congress from both parties denounced the rule and vowed investigations. Even the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction publicly criticized the rule. But the White House otherwise stayed mum.

The first Congressional hearing was set for today. And the White House has let it be known that the loophole is gone -- and that it was all a big misunderstanding"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wow, they must be really afraid of Obama.

First they call a guy, raised by a single mother who worked organizing the South Side of Chicago, an elitist, and now they are pushing the theme that he is a Marxist.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Again: why Obama is my choice.

From Daily Kos:

"Obama Responds to Charges of Elitism
by SusanG
Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 06:32:59 PM PDT
What Obama said:
But the truth is, is that, our challenge 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.
What the McCain campaign said:
Asked to respond, McCain adviser Steve Schmidt called it a "remarkable statement and extremely revealing."
"It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking," Schmidt said. "It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans."
What Clinton said:
"I saw in the media it's being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter," Clinton said this afternoon. "Well, that's not my experience. As I travel around Pennsylvania, I meet people who are resilient, who are optimistic, who are positive, who are rolling up their sleeves. They are working hard everyday for a better future, for themselves and their children.
"Pennsylvanians don't need a president who looks down on them, they need a president who stands up for them, who fights for them, who works hard for your futures, your jobs, your families." "

What Obama said in response:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Patrick "two bit" McHenry, R-NC

Did I just hear him calling a soldier in Iraq "two bit?" Let me get this straight. He had a soldier wake up his commanding officer at 5:30 AM so he could work out? Where did he think he was, Cancun?

Can you imagine if a Democrat said this, Limbaugh would be apoplectic.

McHenry is getting rocketed in the Green Zone, five years after the invasion, and he has the guts to say the surge is working. How would he know if it wasn't?

Update: It turns out that the security guard was not a member of the military but a "foreign contractor." I am not sure this excuses the behavior.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

From FDL -- Third term for Bush!

"The White House today announced that prior to his leaving for his victory tour of NATO, the President issued a signing statement announcing that he was not bound by the Constitution's term limits. As a result of overwhelming public demand, Bush said, he would seek a third term.
"It would be irresponsible to leave Iraq, Afghanistan, and the US economy in near shambles without finishing the job," the President said. "And besides, Dick Cheney says there's so much more he can do for the nation's honor with another four years."

At a White House briefing, Dana Perino parried questions from an astonished press corps. When MSNBC's Gregory asked Perino if the President "hasn't gone too far," she noted that Bush's actions were no more unconstitutional than dozens of other actions the President has taken in the last eight years, and all of them had been eventually sanctioned by the Democrats and the media.

"We've broken treaties, waged aggressive wars, committed war crimes, kidnapped people, tortured them, put them in secret prisons, suspended habeas corpus, politicized the Justice Department, demolished the Fourth Amendment, defied Congress' requests for information, corrupted the regulatory system, kept a three trillion dollar war off budget while adding trillions to the national debt, and presided over the worst economic stewardship since Herber Hoover." "Why are you making such a fuss about this," Perino asked? Perino did not respond to Helen Thomas' who asked, "why shouldn't the American people run you crooks out of town?"

Official Washington was shocked by the White House announcement, although reactions were spllt along party lines. Democrats denounced the President's decision, promising that they would try to pass a resolution condemning the President's decision. Senate leaders said they might even try to attach the non-binding resolution to the next Iraq funding authorization. "This will not stand," Senator Reid declared. In the House, reporters asked Speaker Pelosi whether she thought the House should consider impeachment proceedings, but Pelosi claimed that impeachment proceedings would be a distraction for the entire third term.

Speaking from the campaign trail, Senator Clinton said the President's actions were "too little, too late." She added, "If I got a third term, I'd be ready on day one." Senator Obama gave a major policy speech explaining that this was the inevitable result of indulging a frat-boy President without any accountability, and that both parties must bear some responsibility. "We need a different kind of President," he declared.

Most Republicans expressed support for the President's decision. "We're teetering on the brink of the worst recession since the Great Depression and in the middle of an endless war and it's clear only this President has the faith to think we can get out of this mess," said Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader. Other Republicans, speaking anonymously, hinted they were relieved; they were fearful of a McCain Presidency because, they said, in some "McCain moment," he might become confused or angry and start a war with the wrong country for no reason.

John McCain expressed his support for what he called the President's "courageous decision," noting that all he ever wanted to do was serve a Presidency larger than himself. Speaking to reporters, McCain first noted that he supported Bush's decision to invade Iran after 9/11, but when told by Senator Lieberman that Bush had invaded Iraq, McCain changed his statement to refer to "those extremist Arabs." Reporters then overheard Lindsey Graham whispering "they're Persians, John; Persians." "Oh yeah," McCain added, "that's what I meant."

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh called the President's decision, "the most patriotic act I've ever seen. We've finally got a President who understands that what America needs is strong ruler to keep the liberals' hands off our country." Lou Dobbs, however, asked whether the President's decision wasn't a secret socio-ethno-centric plan to reintroduce amnesty for lawless aliens.

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann promised "the mother of all special commentaries" tonight.

Predictably, the liberal blogosphere was apoplectic. Several noted that Bush had previously said he would not seek a third term, while others focused on the fact that McCain had repeatedly confused Persians and Arabs. Kos, not negotiating to sell out to Rupert Murdoch, (h/t LS) promised to add a new panel to the next Yearly Kos to discuss what to do, but it's likely to include another petition.

Happy April 1st, everyone."


Immigration is far more complex than simply saying "ship em all back." I mentioned in an earlier post that 60% of our engineering graduate students are foreign born. A significant percentage of these students cannot stay in America when they graduate. As Bill Gates points out, we desperately need these people to help us in jobs that native born Americans are not filling.

If you agree with my statement that immigration is a complex issue, then ask yourself why we have a simplistic quota system regarding immigration. Also ask yourself why no one is working with the countries on a reasonable immigration policy. For instance why have we not heard of any high level discussion between our government and Mexico, or Central American countries? If immigration is such a "hot" issue then why are we not trying to do something constructive to solve it reasonably. Where is John McCain on this? He throws a bone to the "fence people" and then intimates that the issue is more complex.

John McCain on immigration:

"As president, I will secure the border. I will restore the trust Americans
should have in the basic competency of their government. A secure border is an
essential element of our national security. Tight border security includes not
just the entry and exit of people, but also the effective screening of cargo at
our ports and other points of entry.
But a secure border will contribute to
addressing our immigration problem most effectively if we also:

Recognize the importance of building strong allies in Mexico and Latin America who reject the siren call of authoritarians like Hugo Chavez, support freedom and
democracy, and seek strong domestic economies with abundant economic
opportunities for their citizens.

Recognize the importance of pro-growth policies -- keeping government spending in check, holding down taxes, and cutting unnecessary regulatory burdens -- so American businesses can hire and pay the best.

Recognize the importance of a flexible labor market to keep employers in business and our economy on top. It should provide skilled Americans and immigrants with opportunity. Our education system should ensure skills for our younger workers, and our retraining and assistance programs for displaced workers must be modernized so they can pursue those opportunities

Recognize the importance of assimilation of our immigrant population, which
includes learning English, American history and civics, and respecting the
values of a democratic society.

Recognize that America will always be that
"shining city upon a hill," a beacon of hope and opportunity for those seeking a
better life built on hard work and optimism."

Barack Obama's Plan

"Create Secure Borders
Obama wants to preserve the integrity of our borders. He supports additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry.

Improve Our Immigration System
Obama believes we must fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill.

Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally
Obama will remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

Bring People Out of the Shadows
Obama supports a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.

Work with Mexico
Obama believes we need to do more to promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration."

Both of these candidates seem to have a better grasp of the complexity of the issue than we have seen these past seven years.

I love the quote I heard last week, "Show me a 50' fence and I will show you a 51' ladder."