Please note that we've moved to a new blog at www.LibraryGrape.com.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama Speech on Economic Security

Here's a recent Obama speech on economic security. We need change.

Humility vs. Hubris

I love Rachel Maddow more and more every day. Here is a recent video of her taking Pat Buchanan to TASK for all the kerfuffle over the last couple of days with the media buying into McCain's charge that Obama is somehow being "presumptuous".

Monday, July 28, 2008

Still Moving In

Hi all, sorry again for the lack of posts. I'm still moving in to my new condo. If you have any great tips for me, email them to weneedobama@gmail.com. Back soon!


Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama's July 24th Speech in Berlin

Here's the video of Barack Obama's July 24th speech in Berlin, Germany. I still haven't watched the whole thing but, from what I've seen, I'm very impressed:

Monday, July 21, 2008


FYI: My posts over the next few days will be sporadic as I am moving into a new condo.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Quote of the Day: May Bush Die in The Hague


The Iraq war is and has always been an obscenity, a filthy lie born of avarice and lust for power masquerading as virtue. This is what imperialism looks like. But the age of empire is over. The same hubris that led Bush into the Iraq disaster led him to miscalculate, again and again, over how to entrench it. But now he is impotent, unable to impose his will, and the nakedness of his attempted imposition has led the American and the Iraqi peoples to wake up and end his nightmare. May his war-crimes prosecutor be Iraqi; may his judge be American; and may he die in the Hague.

Read More

Obama: Burying the 'Dumb President' Meme

Thank God:

Our most brilliant presidents, [Author Elvin T.] Lim says, often work hard to seem publicly dumb in order to avoid the stain of elitism—amazingly, Bill Clinton’s total rhetorical output checks in at a lower reading level than Bush’s. Clinton’s former speechwriters told Lim that their image-conscious boss always demanded that his speeches be “more talky”; today, he’s widely remembered as a brilliant speaker who never gave a memorable speech...

Obama seems to have taken the opposite tack: He’s a Clinton-style natural who flaunts the artifice of his speeches and refuses to strategically hide his intelligence. Compared with his rivals, Obama’s skill-set seems almost otherworldly. His phrases line up regularly in striking and meaningful patterns; his cliché ratio is, for a politician, admirably low; his stresses and pauses seem dictated less by the usual metronome of generic political speech than by the actual structures of meaning behind his words. He tolerates complexity to such an extent that he’s sometimes criticized as “professorial,” which allows him to get away with inspirational catchphrases that would sound like platitudes coming from anyone else.

Read More

Iraqi PM Backs Obama Troop Withdrawal Plan

So, who's supposed to be a foreign policy lightweight?

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told a German magazine he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months.

In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, Maliki said he wanted U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible.

"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes."

Read More

Here's a reaction from Ezra Klein:

To really understand the importance of Maliki's , comments you need to consider their opposite. Imagine if Maliki had walked in front of the cameras and said, "at this stage, a timetable for withdrawal is unrealistic, and we hope our American friends will not bow to domestic political pressures and be hasty in leaving Iraq just as the country improves." It would be a transformative moment in this election. John McCain would talk of nothing else. The cable shows would talk of nothing else. Magazines would run thousands of covers about "Obama's Iraq Problem." Obama would probably lose the race...

In other words, the head of the Iraqi government endorsed the Obama plan -- both its timetable and its timing -- by name. That's huge.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Obama Raises Whopping $52 Million in June

Obama had his second-biggest fundraising month in June, raising a whopping $52 million:

Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama raised a huge 52 million dollars in June, more than double the haul of his Republican rival John McCain in the same month, his campaign said Thursday.


[T]he Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee ended the month with 72 million dollars in the bank.

McCain's campaign announced last week that the Republican had raised 22 million dollars in June.

McCain and the Republican National Committee had 95 million dollars combined on hand for the general election.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Daily Show Unloads on Media for Cartoon Coverage

This is a particularly fine example of the great service that John Stewart does for our national discourse by pointing his searing flamethrower of wit at the feckless national news media:

After Bush, No More 'Idiots-in-Chief'

I am completely over the last 8 years of President Bush repeatedly confessing that "I was a C student!" ["Ha, ha, ha"] as if this warped sort of jocular "See, I'm just a dumb as the rest of you!" bonhomie somehow makes him qualified to be President.

Considering that McCain has been shopping around his own take on this theme ("I was fifth from the bottom of my class!" ["Ha, ha, ha"]), I really think it is time for this entire line of bulls**t to die:

Desperate FL Republicans Evoke 9/11

This is truly beyond the pale. Some republican group in Florida evokes 9/11 with the following billboard. Truly tasteless.

Here is the contact information for the shameless slimeball who commissioned the billboard:

Email pleasedontvoteforademocrat@yahoo.com

Postal Address Mike Meehan
P O Box 700989
St Cloud, Florida 34770

Here's Howard Dean on MSNBC (comments about the billboard at around 0:54):

New WaPo Poll: Obama Up By 8

There's another new poll out that shows Obama with a commanding lead over McCain. Obama leads McCain 50% to 42%. Dig into the numbers and you see some really dramatic stuff that is great for Obama:

82 percent of the respondents in the new poll said [America's standing in the world] has been badly damaged during Bush's presidency. By 2 to 1, Americans think that Obama would do more to improve the country's image abroad than McCain would.

On social issues such as abortion and same-sex civil unions, 56 percent prefer Obama, 32 percent McCain.

Read More:
Obama Leads by 8 Points In Poll

Sloppy McCain Lies About Obama and the Surge

McCain's dubious Obama attacks keep getting sloppier by the day.

THE LIE: McCain yesterday tried to paint Obama as a flip-flopper by falsely claiming that Obama never thought the "Surge" would reduce violence in Iraq.

McCain said, "incredibly today, [Obama] goes on to say today, quote 'I had no doubt we would see a reduction in violence with the surge' — my friends, flip-floppers all over the world are enraged"

THE TRUTH: Obama has always publicly agreed with the premise that putting more troops into Iraq will reduce the levels of violence.
Obama did not in fact say today, "I had no doubt we would see a reduction in violence with the surge." McCain aides later clarified that he was reading a quote from Obama in January 2008 at a Democratic Debate.

Nope, still no dice, Mr. McCain. At the Jan. '08 debate, Obama said this: "Now, I had no doubt — and I said at the time, when I opposed the surge, that given how wonderfully our troops perform, if we place 30,000 more troops in there, then we would see an improvement in the security situation and we would see a reduction in the violence." [emphasis mine]

I ask you, John McCain, if you're going to lie, just try not to be so freaking sloppy about it.

Obama Close in the Carolinas (!?)

This is pretty surprising. I never thought Obama would be so close to McCain in the Carolinas:

* SurveyUSA shows McCain leading Obama in North Carolina by just five points, 50% to 45%.

* Public Policy Polling (D) McCain leading Obama in South Carolina by just six points, 45% to 39%.

New MoveOn Ad: Withdraw from Iraq, John McCain

This is a solid new ad from MoveOn.org that highlights that both the Iraqi people and the American people want us to withdraw from Iraq:

Video: Obama's July 15 Foreign Policy Speech

Here is the video of Obama's big foreign policy speech yesterday. I haven't yet had the time to watch it:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

McCain Lies About Hurricane Environmental Damage, Oil Spills

THE LIE: Bush, McCain and other rabid Republican stalwarts have been telling us recently that lifting the ban on offshore drilling would be a good idea in part because offshore drilling poses little to no environmental risks because Hurricanes Katrina and Rita didn't cause oil spills.

Well, as it turns out, this is an ENORMOUS steaming lie! (Surprise!)

THE TRUTH: In a nutshell, Hurricanes Rita and Katrina caused the spillage of over 9 million gallons of oil, just shy of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska that released 10.8 million gallons! The catastrophic release of crude oil into the environment was called by some: “among the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.”

In fact, the clear satellite evidence of major spills was borne out by final reports. In May 2006, the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) published their offshore damage assessment: “113 platforms totally destroyed, and 457 pipelines damaged, 101 of those major lines with 10″ or larger diameter.” […]

Unsurprisingly, this devastation caused significant spillage, according to the official report prepared for the MMS by a Norwegian firm. […]

In addition, the hurricanes caused disastrous spills onshore throughout southeast Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast as tanks, pipelines, refineries and other industrial facilities were destroyed, for a total of 595 different oil spills. The 9 million gallons reported spilled were comparable with the Exxon Valdez’s 10.8 million gallons, but unlike the Exxon Valdez, were distributed throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, and other Gulf Coast states, many in residential areas.

I understand that politicians sometimes need to put a spin on things but this is LYING! Bald-faced lying!

Listen to this interview with Nancy Pfotenhauer, John McCain’s senior energy adviser (!!), who says that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita "DIDN'T SPILL A DROP [OF OIL]":

Quote of the Day: Obama on Iraq

I haven't been able to watch the big Obama foreign policy speech yet but here is a quote from his prepared remarks that I think is spot-on:

Our men and women in uniform have accomplished every mission we have given them. What’s missing in our debate about Iraq – what has been missing since before the war began – is a discussion of the strategic consequences of Iraq and its dominance of our foreign policy. This war distracts us from every threat that we face and so many opportunities we could seize. This war diminishes our security, our standing in the world, our military, our economy, and the resources that we need to confront the challenges of the 21st century. By any measure, our single-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy for keeping America safe.


By any measure, our single-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy for keeping America safe. In fact — as should have been apparent to President Bush and Sen. McCain — the central front in the war on terror is not Iraq, and it never was.

Read the Full Transcript
(Video to Follow)

Lots of New Polling News

Here are some great state-by-state polling numbers:

* Rasmussen shows Obama leading McCain in Michigan by eight, 47% to 39%.

* Public Policy Polling (D) shows Obama leading McCain in Colorado by four, 47% to 43%.

* I never would have imagined South Dakota being in any way competitive, but Rasmussen shows McCain’s lead in South Dakota down to just four points, 47% to 43%.

* Rasmussen shows Obama leading McCain in Iowa by 10, 48% to 38%.

* Rasmussen shows Obama leading McCain in Minnesota by 10, 52% to 34%.

* Quinnipiac shows Obama leading John McCain nationally by nine, 50% to 41%.

Contra-New Yorker Cartoon

This is also pretty funny:

McCain and the Internets

This is pretty funny.

Bush and McCain: Effect of Drilling is "Psychological"

As if we needed even more evidence that McCain is trying as hard as possible to set himself up for a third Bush term, with policies that largely tow the Bush/Rove/Party line, we get this.

Remember back when John McCain admitted that lifting the ban on offshore drilling will have no short-to-medium-term impact on anything and will only help to create a positive "psychological" effect?

I don’t see an immediate relief, but I do see that exploitation of existing reserves that may exist — and in view of many experts that do exist off our coasts — is also a way that we need to provide relief. Even though it may take some years, the fact that we are exploiting those reserves would have a psychological impact that I think is beneficial.

Well, our Fearless Leader, Mr. Bush, today gave a rare press conference and basically said exactly the same thing!
I readily concede [that new offshore drilling] won't produce a barrel of oil tomorrow, but it will reverse the psychology.

Anyone have any hope the media will report on this? Somebody get me my blood pressure medication.

New Poll: Obama Leads By 9

A new poll out today shows Obama leading John McCain by 9 points:

With commanding leads among women and young voters and near unanimous support from black voters, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has a 50 - 41 percent lead over Arizona Sen. John McCain, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll of likely voters released today.

Read More

McCain: Bottom of His Class

Lest we forget something that John McCain is all-too-proud to admit, McCain graduated fifth from the bottom of his class - that's 894th out of a total of 899 students!

I don't know about you but I have had it up to here with being ruled by simpering intellectual lightweights. Do we really want another rube elected to the most powerful office in the world?

As I noted from an episode of the Daily Show a while back, I really want to be ruled by my betters:

Not only do I want an elite president, I want someone who is embarrassingly superior to me. -- Jon Stewart

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Reader on Carly Fiorina

A reader emailed me the following in response to my posts on the repellent McCain surrogate Carly Fiorina. Apparently there are depths to her continued pollution of America that I hadn't explored.

Your assessment of Ms. Fiorina's appearance on Meet the Press didn't go far enough to expose her for the fake she is. If she said the words, "I'm a business person" or "as a business person" one more time to somehow set herself apart from politicians I would have thrown something at the TV. What a fraud. She was never a numbers person. Not ever. Your excellent 10 points didn't even hit on her days at Lucent. There are tens of thousands of people who used to work at Lucent and HP who would form a powerful block of voters who would NEVER vote for any ticket she is a part of. Interview some past employees who worked for her. She's ALL style and NO substance. She is one of the CEOs that personally and professionally thrived on the backs of so many 'displaced' workers'. She's an originator of the spin culture she now so comfortably promotes. Tom Brokaw caught her in her baseline hypocrisy - stating surrogates shouldn't be listened to....ick. I felt like I needed to take a shower after listening to her bs her way through that interview. She is ruthless, self-aggrandizing and self-promoting. The truth is irrelevant to her. Please keep up the pressure to expose her for what she is.

Thank you.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Quote of the Day - Obama vs. Stupidity

Here's a quote from a great article by Frank Shaeffer:

God forbid Obama is elected and begins to challenge ignorant white America to join the world, learn foreign languages and stop acting as if we live on another planet! God forbid Obama is elected and begins to challenge ignorant black America to reclaim the intellectual legacy of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and WEB DuBois.

The best thing going for Obama is that he is smarter than we-the-dumb-on-purpose-people. We've had eight years of a president as stupid as we are. Let's try something new. Obama in 2008!

Read More

Carly Fiorina Continues to Be a Lying Hack

I just watched key McCain surrogate Carly Fiorina twist and turn through a tortured, disingenuous appearance on Meet the Press. I have to say that she is quite possibly one of the top five people I have discovered during this campaign process that I have instinctively come to find immediately and viscerally repellent.

Fiorina oozes a smarmy, patronizing condescension that empowers her put on a fake smile and lie through her teeth about:

Obama -- For example, she trotted out the bald-faced lie again today that Obama would raise taxes on everyone. THE TRUTH: Obama would give the 95% of Americans making under around $250,000 per year a $1,000 tax cut.


McCain - See her statement last week that McCain never signed off on efforts to overturn Roe vs. Wade. THE TRUTH: McCain's own campaign website touts McCain's fervent support for, yes, "Overturning Roe v. Wade".

Watch the video of her cringe-worthy performance:

I did some digging online and came up with an apt 10-point discussion of why Hewlett Packard and the markets in general came to hate her during and after her tenure as HP's CEO. It's worth a read in its entirety:

From 10 Reasons People Hate Carly Fiorina

10. She didn’t take the time to build trust.

Strong-arm tactics work well in certain situations, but good leaders need legitimacy to back them up. One major way leaders achieve legitimacy is by gaining the trust of their employees. Fiorina came in with a mandate of change, but didn’t make any effort to build trust between herself and the company. Indeed, she sullied her image by exalting herself without regard to her employees’ reactions.

Buying a personal jet in front of a distrustful and alienated workforce is one example. Freezing employee salaries while giving herself and her executive ilk bonuses is another. Doing these things in light of nearly 18,000 employee dismissals (2003) is just plain callous.

9. She didn’t provide numbers to back up her promises.

She promised better shareholder returns and increased profits, but in execution, Fiorina’s $19 billion Compaq acquisition looked disastrous. In the short term, millions of stakeholders lost equity. Fiorina lacked numbers to back up her choice, and lacked legitimacy to make people believe she’d done the right thing for the company’s long-run future. (The company pulled off record computer sales years after Fiorina left.)

The company didn’t collapse. In fact, HP managed to double its sales in the period between 2000 and 2005. However, most of the increase was due to its pre-existing printing business (think replacement ink cartridges), which accounted for nearly 80% of operating profits in the first quarter of 2005.

8. She favored market dogma over innovation.

In IT, that’s a death knell. Though reports indicate she continued to support HP’s talented R&D staff, she tried to engineer HP’s expansion into an aging PC market rather than new avenues. She had people capable of creating flagship products–Apple’s iPod comes to mind–but didn’t harness their capabilities. This move may have cost the company incalculable opportunities.

7. During her time in office, she didn’t successfully implement her own vision.

Fiorina came in with a self-discovered mandate to shake up what she saw as a stale company and stake out territory for a bigger, more diverse HP. Changing the company slogan to “invent” is an example of one of her refurbishing tactics.

The problem is that she never managed to execute her own plans. She shook the company up, but never settled it down afterwards. She expanded HP’s product line, but never delivered the financial results to back up her decision. She had a sweet slogan, but, as tech reporter Larry Magid puts it, “whatever inventions HP came up with simply were not inspiring enough to change the company’s fate.”

6. She failed to preserve HP’s key cultural assets.

On her website biography, Fiorina claims that “The HP Way was being used as a shield against change.” Surely a possibility at the time. Still, the HP Way had many benefits, not the least of which was a capacity to empower its own employees. By implementing a top-down management structure that hobbled employees’ abilities to communicate effectively with managers, Fiorina threw out one of the company’s biggest assets without considering its worth–the old baby with the bathwater maxim.

5. She lacked focus.

Her plans were too diffuse to be effective. Here are the many things Fiorina tried to do at once:

-Compete with Dell in the low-cost PC market
-Compete with IBM in the consulting and services sectors
-Compete with Dell and Gateway by producing home entertainment products
-Become familiar and legitimate in the public eye by talking to the press nonstop
-Get the company a celebrity image with the likes of Gwen Stefani
-Undertake the biggest merger in IT history (at the time)

Her energy was so scattered that none of these ideas came to fruition.

4. She didn’t listen.

Fiorina spent most of her tenure at HP opposing shareholders, the board, and public opinion. Mother Jones provides an example:

In March 2004, after HP shareholders voted 1.21 billion to 925 million to expense stock options, she opposed the move, essentially opting to stick with accounting practices (that were used by other corporations) that did not reveal a company’s true value.

3. She was a bad manager.

Fiorina delegated all important operational tasks to her core team of chosen executives, rather than the directors traditionally in charge of certain divisions. It smacked of cronyism, but Fiorina did nothing to assuage such perceptions. Moreover, she radically restructured HP’s corporate innards to create a chain of command from the top down. In a company accustomed to bottom-up collaboration and teamwork, this move only served to distance her from the organization she was supposed to lead and manage.

2. She was a bad leader.

In a 2007 Stanford speech, Fiorina described a leader as someone who “changes the order of things.” If this explanation sounds a little blithe, it’s because she’s defending her own qualities. She lacked in the key areas that define a good leader. Good leaders motivate and empower people. Their followers trust them. They follow through on their word.

Fiorina lacked all of those traits. Her word was her vision, but all the public could see was short-term collapse. She failed to build trust. Her restructuring alienated employees; her post-merger layoffs added another blow to company motivation; and her celebrity marketing campaigns (she appeared on stage with Gwen Stefani, who was supposed to design products for HP) no doubt further peeved off people concerned with pithy items like job security and financial loss.

1. She won’t admit to her own failures.

She continues to give popular conceptions of her reign the finger by invoking language of herself as a victim. Here’s another excerpt from her website:

After striving my entire career to be judged by my results and my decisions, the coverage of my gender, my appearance and perceptions of my personality would outweigh anything else.

(Fiorina) was an outsider in every way imaginable, the first CEO not promoted from within; a woman leader in a male-dominated culture; a marketing expert in a company that worshipped engineers; an easterner surrounded by Silicon Valley lifers.

Respectable, to be sure. But the female-outsider-marketing expert facets don’t outweigh her failures as a chief officer. After all, nobody tore eBay’s Meg Whitman to pieces. Fiorina would help her own reputation to acknowledge her shortcomings, whether she feels they’re legitimate or not.

I think Fiorina takes the public stance she does in order to defend herself from media lynch mobs. Nonetheless, evidence warrants her mixed reputation. If she ever wants to be remembered as more than notorious, she needs to practice the art of acquiescence.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Carly Fiorina Lies About McCain Abortion Position

Carly Fiorina has turned out to be a perfect Rove-style surrogate for McCain, i.e. a lying hack who will say anything, even if easily contradicted by the facts.

THE LIE: In a recent speech in Ohio where Fiorina was trying to court female voters, she floated this bald-faced easily-debunked lie:

[John McCain] has never signed on to efforts to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

THE TRUTH: Here are the facts, from John McCain's own website under the heading "OVERTURNING ROE v. WADE"

"John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench."

Here's the San Francisco Chronicle's take on Liar Fiorina's lying lies:

[Fiorina is being] buffeted by intense criticism that, as a star campaign surrogate, she is playing fast and loose with the facts.

Yeah, to put it mildly...

The Week That Should Have Ended McCain

There is a new must-read post up on the Huffington Post that outlines the fundamental earthquakes that the McCain campaign should have caused this week in an alternate reality where the mainstream media didn't love McCain so much.

If ANY of these items had come out of the Obama campaign, we would undoubtedly be subjected to a week-long endless 24x7 cable news loop of puerile fill-in-the-blank statements such as "Do the [____] statements coming out the Obama campaign call into question Obama's [____]?"

Please go check it out, it's truly breathtaking.

Here's the key points. See the article for the full analysis.

  1. McCain unambiguously called Social Security "an absolute disgrace."
  2. McCain's top economic policy adviser calls Americans a bunch of "whiners" for being worried about the slumping economy.
  3. Iraqi leaders call for a timetable for U.S. withdrawal, McCain gets caught in a bizarre denial and flip flop.
  4. McCain's economic plan to cut the deficit has no details and is simply not believable.
  5. McCain's deficit plan includes bringing the troops home represents a major Iraq flip-flop.
  6. McCain campaign [lies] about economists support [for his "economic plan"].
  7. McCain makes a joke about killing Iranians [with American-exported cigarettes].
  8. McCain denies, flatly, that he ever said that he is not an expert in economics.
  9. McCain distorts his record on veterans benefits in response to a question from Vietnam Veteran, who then proceeds to call McCain out on it.
  10. McCain demonstrates he knows nothing about Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Read More: The Week That Should Have Ended McCain's Presidential Hopes

Distractions - Sérgio Mendes

A little musical distraction for the day.

I have always had a soft spot for 50's/60's lounge music. One of the giants of the lounge scene was Brazilian instrumentalist Sérgio Mendes, who may be familiar to you through his brilliant cover of Mas Que Nada (recently re-recorded with the Black Eyed Peas). See the video below.

Mendes is out with a fantastic new CD that I just bought that highlights his collaboration with such contemporary luminaries are Fergie, will.i.am, Natalie Cole, etc. Definitely check it out if your musical tastes run in this vein.

Mas Que Nada:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Obama: 'America Already Has One Dr. Phil'

Here's Obama on Phil Gramm's loopy assertion that America is a "nation of whiners" because people are so concerned with their economic position after 8 years of Bush and McCain's disastrous economic policies.

Money Quote: "When people are out there losing their homes and property values are declining, that isn't a figment of your imagination. It isn't whining to ask government to step in and give families some relief."

News Flash: Obama is Complex

The last couple of weeks have really had me scratching my head. I always harbored a worry that the elongated primary contest would somehow drill into the liberal base the notion that Obama was somehow the Liberal Messiah they have been waiting for. For some, this unfortunate notion has obviously taken root.

For the rest of us who actually understood that Obama is a complex person and that to "unify" us he would need to sometimes take unpopular non-liberal positions, the following snip from a great post by Lawrence Lessig is a must-read:

Obama is no (in the 1970s sense) "liberal": There are many who are upset by this who believe this (and other recent moves) shows Obama "moving to the center." People who make this argument signal they don't know squat about which they speak.

You can't read Obama's books, watch how he behaved in the Illinois Senate, and watched how he voted in the US Senate, and believe he is a Bernie Sanders liberal. He is not now, and nor has ever been. That's not to say there aren't issues on which he takes a liberal position. It is to say that the mix of views he actually has and has had doesn't map on a 1970s spectrum of liberals to conservative.

Read More:
The immunity hysteria


The proprietor of a site selling "Ojamas" (yes, Obama pajamas) sent me an email the other day. Far be it from me to take exception to people trying to cash in on a good thing; especially if it has the potential to spread the word in the boudoir.

Update: You can get a 10% 17% discount by entering promo code "weeneedobam" "wwnolj714t" (don't worry, I have no relationship with the vendor and get no kickbacks). I am told a portion of the proceeds go to the Obama campaign.

Original Ojamas

Pollster - Obama Still Way Ahead

Just to remind you of how the race is going from a polling perspective, here is the most recent Pollster.com 'poll of polls':

Phil Gramm: America "a Nation of Whiners"

One wonders if the media will give this shocking statement by Phil Gramm, McCain's chief economic adviser, the same wall-to-wall coverage they gave to the fake umbrage that swirled around Gen. Wesley Clark's recent comments:

"We may have a recession; we haven't had one yet. We have sort of become a nation of whiners," he said. "You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline" despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

Hmm, are we a nation of whiners or are millions of Americans outraged at the dire financial straits they are in after 8 years of Bush and McCain's economic policies? I'll go with the latter.

Don't forget, McCain said back in April, when referring to the economy and gas prices, that “a lot of our problems today, as you know, are psychological.”:

Word of the Day

Here's a good word to use when you're feeling precocious in the face of a McCain supporter:



noun: A hatred or fear of change or innovation.

From Italian misoneismo, from Greek miso- (hate) + neos (new). Ultimately from Indo-European root newo- (new) that also gave us new, neo-, neon, novice, novel, novelty, innovate, and renovate.

"The prevailing attitude was therefore one of extreme conservatism: may I indeed say of misoneism?"
Expanding Trade, Changing Ways of Life-Conclusions; Addis Tribune (Ethiopia); May 15, 1998.

Obama is Still the Man We Thought He Was

Here is a great op-ed by Gail Collins in the New York Times. Her main thesis is something I've been saying over and over: If Obama is going to be the "unifier" we all want him to be, that means he's going to take positions we don't always agree with.

I know, I know. You’re upset. You think the guy you fell in love with last spring is spending the summer flip-flopping his way to the right. Drifting to the center. Going all moderate on you. So you’re withholding the love. Also possibly the money.

I feel your pain. I just don’t know what candidate you’re talking about.


You liked Barack because you thought he could get us past the old brain-dead politics, right? He talked — and talked and talked — about how there were going to be no more red states and blue states, how he was going to bring Americans together, including Republicans and Democrats.

Exactly where did everybody think this gathering was going to take place? Left field?

Read More: The Audacity of Listening

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

McCain's McContradictions

There is a scathing new article up on the conservative New Republic that unloads on John McCain for his contradictory promises over the last week. It's a must-read.

John McCain's fantastical pledge on Monday to balance the budget by 2013 through massive tax cuts and unidentified budget reductions deserved the bad reviews it received. But the most unfortunate element of his incoherent promise is that it's representative of his policy agenda these days.

While the McCain campaign is trying to paint Barack Obama as a flip-flopper, the Arizona Republican is making diametrically opposed policy promises to different audiences at the same time. The contradictions are often in the details, but their obscurity is evidence of the campaign's cynicism.

Read More

Meet the Obamas on Access Hollywood

Access Hollywood sat down with the whole Obama family for some light discussion recently. I watched most of this last night and found it very heart-warming.

'My Mama's for Obama'

Here's an adorable picture of my niece, who my sister decked out in snazzy Obama gear:

Tell Fox to Stop Its Racist Smears Against Michelle Obama

I'm sure many of you have seen or heard about FOX News' racist and sexist attacks against Michelle Obama.

Brave New Films has a video detailing their attacks and a petition to demand that FOX News stop attacking Michelle Obama by injecting racism, prejudice, and fear into our political dialogue. Hold FOX News, its advertisers, and its personalities accountable for FOX's attempts to smear the Obamas.

Please sign the petition and pass both it and the video around.

Sign the petition here: http://foxattacks.com/michelle

Iraq Calls For Withdrawal Timetable - McCain Demurs

As many of us already know, Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. The sentiments were later echoed in full by Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie.

What's McCain's position?

In 2004, McCain said that we should absolutely leave Iraq if the Iraqis asked us to leave.

I think it's obvious that we would have to leave because -- if it was an elected government of Iraq, and we've been asked to leave other places in the world. If it were an extremist government then I think we would have other challenges, but I don't see how we could stay when our whole emphasis and policy has been based on turning the Iraqi government over to the Iraqi people.

Pretty clear right?

Nope. McCain has responded by basically calling Al-Maliki a liar:
"Since we are succeeding" in Iraq, he said, "then I am convinced, as I have said before, we can withdraw and withdraw with honor, not according to a set timetable. And I'm confident that is what Prime Minister Maliki is talking about, since he has told me that for the many meetings we have had."

So, John McCain and George Bush, what are we to do? You got your wish and installed a democratically-elected government that is now telling you to leave in no uncertain terms.

Well, no surprise here, the Bush administration has given the sovereign democratically-elected government of Iraq the finger and said "no dice":
The U.S. government rejected calls by Iraq to set a timetable for withdrawing troops from the country and said the planned reduction in force levels will be dictated by conditions on the ground. "We want to withdraw, we will withdraw," State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos told reporters in Washington yesterday. "However, that decision will be conditions-based."

Lord, save me from this insanity.

To freshen your day after dealing with all the daily McCain insanity, here's Chris Mathews laying into a spokesman for a pro-McCain "independent" group on the issue of timetables for withdrawal:

Obama Talks Tough on Iran

Iran tested nine medium range ballistic missiles today. Obama wisely got right out in front of the news and talked about the need for strong diplomacy and negotiations in below video. I liked his reference to us "farming out our diplomacy to the Europeans".

McCain: Cigarettes Can Kill Iranians For Us

McCain stepped in it again when trying a bit of humor:

Responding to a question about a survey that shows increased exports to Iran, mainly from cigarettes, McCain said, "Maybe that's a way of killing them."

I know this was a joke but it's in poor taste and really shines a light on how McCain views our foreign policy.

In his mind, you can see him thinking that there aren't "people" in Iran (you know, like the millions of civilians who would die, either of lung cancer or as a result of an American/Israeli invasion), there are only "enemies" there, bent on subverting American freedom and prosperity.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

McCain's Litany of Flip-Flops

The whole "flip-flopper" meme is obviously ridiculous but if John McCain wants to play that game with Obama, the Carpetbagger Report unloads on him with both barrels with a current list of 61 recent McCain flip-flops:

National Security Policy

1. McCain thought Bush’s warrantless-wiretap program circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite.

2. McCain insisted that everyone, even “terrible killers,” “the worst kind of scum of humanity,” and detainees at Guantanamo Bay, “deserve to have some adjudication of their cases,” even if that means “releasing some of them.” McCain now believes the opposite.

3. He opposed indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. When the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion, he called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

4. In February 2008, McCain reversed course on prohibiting waterboarding.

5. McCain was for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay before he was against it.

6. When Barack Obama talked about going after terrorists in Pakistani mountains with predators, McCain criticized him for it. He’s since come to the opposite conclusion.

Foreign Policy

7. McCain was for kicking Russia out of the G8 before he was against it.

8. McCain supported moving “towards normalization of relations” with Cuba. Now he believes the opposite.

9. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Hamas. Now he believes the opposite.

10. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Syria. Now he believes the opposite.

11. McCain is both for and against a “rogue state rollback” as a focus of his foreign policy vision.

12. McCain used to champion the Law of the Sea convention, even volunteering to testify on the treaty’s behalf before a Senate committee. Now he opposes it.

13. McCain was against divestment from South Africa before he was for it.

Military Policy

14. McCain recently claimed that he was the “greatest critic” of Rumsfeld’s failed Iraq policy. In December 2003, McCain praised the same strategy as “a mission accomplished.” In March 2004, he said, “I’m confident we’re on the right course.” In December 2005, he said, “Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course.”

15. McCain has changed his mind about a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq on multiple occasions, concluding, on multiple occasions, that a Korea-like presence is both a good and a bad idea.

16. McCain said before the war in Iraq, “We will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” Four years later, McCain said he knew all along that the war in Iraq war was “probably going to be long and hard and tough.”

17. McCain has repeatedly said it’s a dangerous mistake to tell the “enemy” when U.S. troops would be out of Iraq. In May, McCain announced that most American troops would be home from Iraq by 2013.

18. McCain was against expanding the GI Bill before he was for it.

Domestic Policy

19. McCain defended “privatizing” Social Security. Now he says he’s against privatization (though he actually still supports it.)

20. McCain wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn’t.

21. McCain supported storing spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Now he believes the opposite.

22. He argued the NRA should not have a role in the Republican Party’s policy making. Now he believes the opposite.

23. In 1998, he championed raising cigarette taxes to fund programs to cut underage smoking, insisting that it would prevent illnesses and provide resources for public health programs. Now, McCain opposes a $0.61-per-pack tax increase, won’t commit to supporting a regulation bill he’s co-sponsoring, and has hired Philip Morris’ former lobbyist as his senior campaign adviser.

24. McCain is both for and against earmarks for Arizona.

25. McCain’s first mortgage plan was premised on the notion that homeowners facing foreclosure shouldn’t be “rewarded” for acting “irresponsibly.” His second mortgage plan took largely the opposite position.

26. McCain went from saying gay marriage should be allowed, to saying gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed.

27. McCain opposed a holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., before he supported it.

28. McCain was anti-ethanol. Now he’s pro-ethanol.

29. McCain was both for and against state promotion of the Confederate flag.

30. In 2005, McCain endorsed intelligent design creationism, a year later he said the opposite, and a few months after that, he was both for and against creationism at the same time.

Economic Policy

31. McCain was against Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy before he was for them.

32. John McCain initially argued that economics is not an area of expertise for him, saying, “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues; I still need to be educated,” and “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” He now falsely denies ever having made these remarks and insists that he has a “very strong” understanding of economics.

33. McCain vowed, if elected, to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term. Soon after, he decided he would no longer even try to reach that goal. And soon after that, McCain abandoned his second position and went back to his first.

34. McCain said in 2005 that he opposed the tax cuts because they were “too tilted to the wealthy.” By 2007, he denied ever having said this, and falsely argued that he opposed the cuts because of increased government spending.

35. McCain thought the estate tax was perfectly fair. Now he believes the opposite.

36. McCain pledged in February 2008 that he would not, under any circumstances, raise taxes. Specifically, McCain was asked if he is a “‘read my lips’ candidate, no new taxes, no matter what?” referring to George H.W. Bush’s 1988 pledge. “No new taxes,” McCain responded. Two weeks later, McCain said, “I’m not making a ‘read my lips’ statement, in that I will not raise taxes.”

37. McCain has changed his entire economic worldview on multiple occasions.

38. McCain believes Americans are both better and worse off economically than they were before Bush took office.

Energy Policy

39. McCain supported the moratorium on coastal drilling ; now he’s against it.

40. McCain recently announced his strong opposition to a windfall-tax on oil company profits. Three weeks earlier, he was perfectly comfortable with the idea.

41. McCain endorsed a cap-and-trade policy with a mandatory emissions cap. In mid-June, McCain announced he wants the caps to voluntary.

42. McCain explained his belief that a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax would provide an immediate economic stimulus. Shortly thereafter, he argued the exact opposite.

43. McCain supported the Lieberman/Warner legislation to combat global warming. Now he doesn’t.

Immigration Policy

44. McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to illegal immigrants’ kids who graduate from high school. Now he’s against it.

45. On immigration policy in general, McCain announced in February 2008 that he would vote against his own bill.

46. In April, McCain promised voters that he would secure the borders “before proceeding to other reform measures.” Two months later, he abandoned his public pledge, pretended that he’d never made the promise in the first place, and vowed that a comprehensive immigration reform policy has always been, and would always be, his “top priority.”

Judicial Policy and the Rule of Law

47. McCain said he would “not impose a litmus test on any nominee.” He used to promise the opposite.

48. McCain believes the telecoms should be forced to explain their role in the administration’s warrantless surveillance program as a condition for retroactive immunity. He used to believe the opposite.

49. McCain went from saying he would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade to saying the exact opposite.

Campaign, Ethics, and Lobbying Reform

50. McCain supported his own lobbying-reform legislation from 1997. Now he doesn’t.

51. In 2006, McCain sponsored legislation to require grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors. In 2007, after receiving “feedback” on the proposal, McCain told far-right activist groups that he opposes his own measure.

52. McCain supported a campaign-finance bill, which bore his name, on strengthening the public-financing system. In June 2007, he abandoned his own legislation.

Politics and Associations

53. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist John Hagee. Now he doesn’t. (He also believes his endorsement from Hagee was both a good and bad idea.)

54. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist Rod Parsley. Now he doesn’t.

55. McCain says he considered and did not consider joining John Kerry’s Democratic ticket in 2004.

56. McCain is both for and against attacking Barack Obama over his former pastor at his former church.

57. McCain criticized TV preacher Jerry Falwell as “an agent of intolerance” in 2002, but then decided to cozy up to the man who said Americans “deserved” the 9/11 attacks.

58. In 2000, McCain accused Texas businessmen Sam and Charles Wyly of being corrupt, spending “dirty money” to help finance Bush’s presidential campaign. McCain not only filed a complaint against the Wylys for allegedly violating campaign finance law, he also lashed out at them publicly. In April, McCain reached out to the Wylys for support.

59. McCain was against presidential candidates campaigning at Bob Jones University before he was for it.

60. McCain decided in 2000 that he didn’t want anything to do with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, believing he “would taint the image of the ‘Straight Talk Express.’” Kissinger is now the Honorary Co-Chair for his presidential campaign in New York.

61. McCain believed powerful right-wing activist/lobbyist Grover Norquist was “corrupt, a shill for dictators, and (with just a dose of sarcasm) Jack Abramoff’s gay lover.” McCain now considers Norquist a key political ally.

Obama to Change Bankruptcy "Reform" Bill

During my time in law school, I participated in a clinic that gave free counseling to low-income people who wanted to file for bankruptcy. During my time in the clinic, the vast majority of the people I saw were people that were effectively forced to declare bankruptcy because they lost their jobs or incurred catastrophic medical expenses.

After I left the clinic, Congress passed one of the worst pieces of legislation I've seen over the last few years, the misleadingly named Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was passed in 2005.

Without going into all the legal nuances, this bill was promoted and crafted by the credit card lobby and has made it much more difficult for people to declare bankruptcy, including the vast majority of people who file for bankruptcy due to job loss or medical expenses.

Barack Obama today came out forcefully in favor of overhauling the legislation.

Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed changing bankruptcy laws to fast-track the process for military families, help seniors keep their homes, and protect people recovering from natural disasters.

The Democratic presidential hopeful also accused Republican rival John McCain of repeatedly siding with the banking industry, saying, “When it comes to strengthening the safety net for hardworking families, he’s been part of the problem, not part of the solution.”


He pledged to expedite the bankruptcy process for [service members] by exempting them from a "harsh means test," cutting "unnecessary paperwork" and "token counseling," and enacting a minimum homestead exemption to help them keep a greater share of their home's value.

Good Morning America on Michelle Obama

What a great First Lady Michelle Obama will make.

Here's the Obama family at a recent rally in Montana.

Obama Turning Red States Blue

From the Purple State Blog:

Political Insider has a series of new polls showing Senator Obama pulling close or ahead in 10 Bush states:

Obama's New Energy Ad

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Distractions - Misfits Channel Katy Perry

I just heard the song underlying the video below today. I think it's catchy and, lo and behold, I found a video of it dubbed to one of my teenage cartoon guilty pleasures. Enjoy:

Stop Playing into the McCain Distortion Game

Here's an interesting email from me to an Obama listserv recently on the need for the left to stop hobbling Obama:

Obama is not perfect, nor should any of us think him to be.

Think about it logically. If Obama is the "unifier" that we think him to be, what does that logically require? That's right, he will need to sit down with constituencies in BOTH parties, discuss MANY points of view, and arrive at an informed and intelligent decision with respect to the issues of the day. Many times he will agree with us. In many other circumstances, which I guarantee you will be more than infrequently, Obama will disappoint us because he believes something different or needed to compromise.

Look at how John McCain played us recently. Obama gave a speech on Iraq where he outlined the position that he's always had about withdrawing from Iraq. He has always said that he will immediately sit down with his military commanders to begin drawing up plans for withdrawing troops from Iraq. He set targets and planned 2 brigades out per month -- going up until 2013!

So, he gets up and says nearly the exact same thing and then the Republican distortion machine and John McCain run around crying "FLIP-FLOPPER!" "CHEATER!" "MOMMY!" And, what do we do as good Democrats? Yup, take up the Republican talking points and start hand-wringing and moaning in public on DailyKos and other sites about how worried we are that Obama will abandon us! Woe!

I mean no offense by any of this but we need to keep perspective. We must absolutely not do anything to hobble Obama's chances in the Fall. I know this sounds like squelching but what's the alternative!? Hobbling Obama enough to get McCain elected? No thank you. I will save my public moaning and hand-wringing for tightly messaged emails to the campaign and for after the election.

Here's The Carpetbagger Report on how John McCain spun the media (and the left) about Obama's Iraq position:

The more the presidential campaign unfolds, the more it resembles a Twilight Zone episode in which reality has no meaning at all.

For over a year, Barack Obama’s position on Iraq has been entirely consistent — a flexible withdrawal timeline, over 16 months, with one to two brigades a month. He would consult with commanders on the ground about how best to execute this policy, and would consider conditions on the ground, but Obama is committed to a withdrawal policy. He’s said this over and over again.

Yesterday, when Obama repeated the exact same policy he’s emphasized for over a year, the McCain campaign and the national political media — the distinctions between McCain and his “base” continue to blur — pounced. Obama, they said without evidence or connection to reality, had changed his policy.

The problem, of course, is that McCain and the traditional media outlets had already picked the narrative in advance. Republicans decided recently that Obama would change his Iraq policy. Why? Because they said so, and proceeded to repeat the claim, incessantly, over the last 10 days. Major news outlets, demonstrating 2000-like levels of professional malpractice, bought into it. Why? Because Republicans told them to like the “move to the center” narrative, and the media is anxious to acquiesce.

Read More: McCain gets busy, the media gets spun, and Obama gets screwed

Friday, July 4, 2008

Obama - A Candidate We Can Have Pride In

Bob Ceska sums up part of my feelings over the last few weeks:

What attracted me to Senator Obama's candidacy wasn't that he was going to evolve into some kind of liberal messiah who I would agree with all the time. He never really made any promises of that sort, and it was clear -- especially to Kucinich and Edwards supporters -- that Senator Obama wasn't entirely in line with what are generally considered to be netroots or progressive causes. Rather, he's always been the pragmatic liberal whose every slogan and statement -- often employing the collective pronoun "we" -- seeks common ground between deep blue and blood red. He's the liberal who this week, while simultaneously reaching out to evangelical voters, issued an unequivocal statement of opposition against any constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. That's textbook Obama.

After I read the letter of support he sent to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, I remembered why I chose to support the senator's campaign -- and why it evolved into an enthusiasm for a politician that I've never quite experienced in my adult life. So why then...? In the simplest terms possible, choosing to support Senator Obama has never been about issues, but rather, it's always been about, 1) electing a thoughtful, smart president we can reference with pride -- a president who won't flatly embarrass us every damn day, and 2) electing a president who can inspire and negotiate the necessary support he'll need to roll back the darkness of the Bush years.

Jesse Helms Died Today

Jesse Helms, one of the worst bigots ever to hold the office of Senator of the United States of America, died today.

Here's a sample of the racism and homophobia that typified his career:

As an aide to the 1950 Senate campaign of North Carolina Republican candidate Willis Smith, Helms reportedly helped create attack ads against Smith's opponent, including one which read: "White people, wake up before it is too late. Do you want Negroes working beside you, your wife and your daughters, in your mills and factories? Frank Graham favors mingling of the races."

Another ad featured photographs Helms himself had doctored to illustrate the allegation that Graham's wife had danced with a black man. (The News and Observer, 8/26/01; The New Republic, 6/19/95; The Observer, 5/5/96; Hard Right: The Rise of Jesse Helms, by Ernest B. Furgurson, Norton, 1986)

Ancient history? No. Helms remains unapologetic to this day. Forty years after the Smith campaign, Helms would win election against black opponent Harvey Gantt with another ad playing to racist white fear-- the so-called "white hands" ad, in which a white man's hands crumple a rejected job application while a voiceover intones, "You needed that job…but they had to give it to a minority."

In columns, commentaries and pronouncements from the Senate floor, Helms sowed hatred and called names: The University of North Carolina was "the University of Negroes and Communists." (Capital Times, 11/22/94) Black civil rights activists were "Communists and sex perverts." (Copley News Service, 8/23/01)

Over the years Helms has declared homosexuality "degenerate," and homosexuals "weak, morally sick wretches." (Newsweek, 12/5/94) In a tirade highlighting his routine opposition to AIDS research funding, Helms lashed out at the Kennedy-Hatch AIDS bill in 1988: "There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy." (States News Service, 5/17/88)

More recently, when a caller to CNN's Larry King Live show praised guest Jesse Helms for "everything you've done to help keep down the niggers," Helms' response was to salute the camera and say, "Well, thank you, I think." (Wilmington Star-News, 9/16/95)

Read More


Well, I packed up my life in New York and arrived in Chicago last night. No, not to work at Obama HQ (although being in Obama's town doesn't hurt things).

As a result, my posts might become somewhat intermittent for a couple weeks until I move into my new condo.

Court: Bush Engaged in Illegal Wiretapping

Breaking News! George W. Bush has been explicitly and cravenly breaking the law and subverting the Constitution!

Oh, not a surprise to you? Well, maybe a new ruling in a Federal case dealing with Bush's illegal wiretapping activities, in direct contravention of the explicit intent of Congress in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, might raise some eyebrows:

A federal judge in California said Wednesday that the wiretapping law established by Congress was the “exclusive” means for the president to eavesdrop on Americans, and he rejected the government’s claim that the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief trumped that law.

The judge, Vaughn R. Walker, the chief judge for the Northern District of California [who was appointed by George H.W. Bush (irony!)], made his findings in a ruling on a lawsuit brought by an Oregon charity. The group says it has evidence of an illegal wiretap used against it by the National Security Agency under the secret surveillance program established by President Bush after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


“Congress appears clearly to have intended to — and did — establish the exclusive means for foreign intelligence activities to be conducted,” the judge wrote. “Whatever power the executive may otherwise have had in this regard, FISA limits the power of the executive branch to conduct such activities and it limits the executive branch’s authority to assert the state secrets privilege in response to challenges to the legality of its foreign intelligence surveillance activities.”

Read More

Obama Talks to Us Honestly About FISA

Whether you agree or disagree with him on his stance on FISA, it's remarkable to have such a smart, forthright person running for President. Obama on his FISA stance:

I want to take this opportunity to speak directly to those of you who oppose my decision to support the FISA compromise.

This was not an easy call for me. I know that the FISA bill that passed the House is far from perfect. I wouldn't have drafted the legislation like this, and it does not resolve all of the concerns that we have about President Bush's abuse of executive power. It grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that may have violated the law by cooperating with the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretapping. This potentially weakens the deterrent effect of the law and removes an important tool for the American people to demand accountability for past abuses. That's why I support striking Title II from the bill, and will work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove this provision in the Senate.


Now, I understand why some of you feel differently about the current bill, and I'm happy to take my lumps on this side and elsewhere. For the truth is that your organizing, your activism and your passion is an important reason why this bill is better than previous versions. No tool has been more important in focusing peoples' attention on the abuses of executive power in this administration than the active and sustained engagement of American citizens. That holds true -- not just on wiretapping, but on a range of issues where Washington has let the American people down.


Democracy cannot exist without strong differences. And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That's ok. But I think it is worth pointing out that our agreement on the vast majority of issues that matter outweighs the differences we may have. After all, the choice in this election could not be clearer. Whether it is the economy, foreign policy, or the Supreme Court, my opponent has embraced the failed course of the last eight years, while I want to take this country in a new direction. Make no mistake: if John McCain is elected, the fundamental direction of this country that we love will not change. But if we come together, we have an historic opportunity to chart a new course, a better course.

Read More

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Obama's Tax Plan - Now with Facts!

If I listen to one more McCain surrogate sit on television and LIE about Obama's tax plan, I may have to buy a new TV after what I do to it in a fit of rage.

Here's some of the basic facts (for those of you who still care about such things) of Obama's plan vs. McSame's, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center:

Obama raises taxes on families with incomes above $250,000, and only on those families. [Period. Full Stop.]


Obama's middle-class tax cut, about $1,000, is three times that of McCain's, about $300. Obama cuts the taxes of 81 percent of families; McCain, 56 percent.


McCain amps up the Bush tradition of saving the biggest tax cuts for the wealthiest families. That top 0.1% group gets a $270,000 tax cut under his plan.

Read More: Tax Policy Center's Assessment of Obama's Tax Plan