Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Party is Working

The rules compromise for Florida and Michigan has been struck, a best attempt at fairness for those who voted and those who did not because they thought their votes would not count.

It's all good for Barack "no drama" Obama:
Mr. Obama’s associates calculate he will need the votes of probably just 30 more superdelegates — elected Democrats and party leaders — to claim a majority of delegates after the last primary vote is counted, assuming expected outcomes in Puerto Rico, South Dakota and Montana...

...As of Saturday, about 150 superdelegates remained officially uncommitted.

Strategy executed, with grace, as Obama reportedly had the committee votes to split the Michigan allocations 50/50 but chose to get a "supermajority" over 2/3 in a result that gave Hillary Clinton a more favorable outcome. Harold Ickes represented her, but committee member Donna Brazile had the clip of the day -- bringing the audience to its feet starting 2:50 in:



Now, just like in the brilliant HBO movie Recount that I watched last night, the Clinton campaign called for protesters to gather at the meeting, reminiscent of James Baker for Bush. In response, the Obama campaign told its supporters not to protest, which had the effect of isolating the Clinton protesters as wingnuts. Forsooth:



An "inadequate black male". Nice. Did you kiss your ex-husband with that mouth?

Look, I understand her gender and race aggravation, but she's a poster child for victimization and kind of a ghoulish figure with her death cry of "McCain will be the next President of the United States!" at a Democratic Party event.

Here's Matthew Yglesias on the choices facing vehemently anti-Obama Hillary protesters as we move to the General Election:

It seems to me that it's one thing if Clinton backers from upstate New York want to argue on behalf of Clinton backers from Florida and Michigan that delegates selected in those states' illicit primaries should be seated. But it's really a bit bizarre for Malzan to be acting as if someone is casting doubt on the validity of her vote. Nobody is dispute Clinton's right to her delegates from New York or California or any other state where the won a properly conducted primary.

Meanwhile, people who are seriously drawn to Hillary Clinton's plans on health care, climate change but also think they might vote for John McCain in the fall rather than the candidate with plans that are very similar to Clinton's are being a bit confused. People who are seriously drawn to Clinton on feminist grounds but are considering staying home in the fall so McCain can replace John Paul Stevens with another justice in the mold of Alito or Roberts really need to think harder.


Is there cause for hope? Hell, yes, per Patrick, a commenter at The Field:
...At the beginning of the day, all of the Hillary supporters sitting around Carthage, Keirsten and I were quite vocal and energetic. Even up to the time the committee returned from their “lunch”, they were still quite vehemently pro-Hillary.

However, as the hecklers and yellers in the room got more and more vitriolic, most of the Hillary supporters grew quiet and by the time we left, were having awesome conversations with Obama people about unity and moving forward.

I think the hecklers had alot to do with that - because in the end, the more reasonable among us don’t want to be associated with that kind of behavior. And I suspect that many people watching that behavior on C-span would have responded the same way. It was pretty interesting to see that transition from way pro-Hillary to accepting what they had seen the committee decide, spurred in part by the behavior among the worst of them.

Per the Chairman of the Democratic Party, words Hillary herself would be well-served to heed by the end of this upcoming week:

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, opened the meeting by urging party activists who filled the hotel ballroom to think beyond the immediate concerns of their chosen candidates and begin working for the benefit of the party in the general election.

“This is not about Barack Obama,” Mr. Dean said. “This is not about Hillary Clinton. This is about our country. This is about restoring America to its greatness, to restoring our moral authority and to healing America at home. That’s what this is about.”


Make no mistake about it. Order is being restored, a new order. Today the Democratic Party has moved to something that has been in the works since North Carolina and Indiana, and self-evident to all not wholly partisan to the Clinton campaign.

It has given over the reins from the Clintons, held these past sixteen years, to the the single successfully poised, strategic, and effective candidate: Barack Obama.

It's his Party now.

Climb aboard.

Friday, May 30, 2008

McCainiac

It's time for the half-truths and rube-directed spin on the Iraq War to end. On Thursday John McCain said there are less U.S. troops in Iraq than before the surge, and it's just plain wrong. Barack Obama responded in a speech tonight:
"That’s not true, and anyone running for commander-in-chief should know better. As the saying goes, you’re entitled to your own view, but not your own facts. We’ve got around 150,000 troops in Iraq -- 20,000 more than we had before the surge. We have plans to get down to around 140,000 later this summer -- that’s still more troops than we had in Iraq before the surge. And today, Sen. McCain refused to correct his mistake. Just like George Bush, when he was presented with the truth, he just dug in and refused to admit his mistake. His campaign said it amounts to 'nitpicking.'"

In lieu of admitting an error, the McCain campaign was reduced to claims of "semantics" and "verb tenses," that McCain meant the troops would be drawn down...I dunno, maybe in one hundred years?

But there's more:
The problem, however, was that this was not McCain's only gaffe. During the same Thursday conference when he misstated troop levels, he also argued that conditions were "quiet" in Mosul. That same day, three suicide bombers killed 30 in the city.

It's lousy for McCain that he has to run on this bum War he did nothing to prevent, lousy that he can't use General Petraeus in his campaign ads anymore, lousy that he can't run against a Democrat who voted as he did on the War.

And too bad for him that the Dem he is running against plays hardball:
Senior political officials tell Politico's Mike Allen that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).is likely to hold a huge rally Tuesday night in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the site of the Republican National Convention from Sept. 1 to 4.

Tuesday is the night of the final Democratic primaries, and the choice of venue is a mischievous, aggressive way for Obama to unofficially kick off the general election campaign against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). The location gives huge meaning to the moment, with Obama likely to frame a tough case against his new opponent in the very hall where McCain will accept his party’s nomination.

Could be the facility booking of the year. Per niwind:

It will be considered a shot to the bow of McCain and it will show that he ain't Kerry or Dukasis. And not only that it will totally psych out the Republicans and totally overshadow McCain when he takes that podium in the fall. Because every political pundit will mention that Obama started his campaign there and he will lack in comparison to whatever speech Obama has planned.

Not only that, it would signal how this year the Dems are going to take the fight to the Republicans by literally beginning it on the ground in which they will anoint their nominee.

Absolutely brilliant...

And let the games begin.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Now Can We...?

If, per former Bush Administration Press Secretary Scott McClellan, El Presidente himself authorized the Valerie Plame covert CIA identity leak, can we impeach him now? Per Emptywheel:

Thus far, though, we only had Dick Cheney's word that he had actually asked Bush to declassify this information. We didn't have Bush's confirmation that he had actually declassified the information. In fact, we've had Dick Cheney's claims that he--Dick--had insta-declassified via his super secret pixie dust declassification powers.

But now we've got George Bush, confirming that he, the President of the United States, authorized the leaks of "this information."

Now, though Scottie refers, obliquely, to "this information," he explicitly refers only to the NIE. But as I've described over and over again, it's not just the NIE Bush authorized Dick to order Libby to leak.


Here's McClellan seeming to let this slip on the Today Show. According to him, Bush was fine with having done it, treating Scottie as inner circle, having come from Texas, his mother a GOP stalwart -- until the last election.

What appears to have happened here is that McClellan was young, idealistic, and more the older type Republican, probably more like Bush Senior. He's put in the middle of this thing after Ari Fleischer broke in the job through the selling of the Iraq War and then wisely jumped ship. Fleischer had seen what was being passed around Air Force One the night or so before Cheney set Libby loose to smear Wilson, having run it by the President with a bunch of other slightly less impeachable deception plans, and (a very smart, if misaligned guy) must have gone home to his family after with every Spidey sense in his head going off at once, panic vertigo, got to get out of there before he ends up on a executive prison farm, got to protect myself and my family.

Then, I imagine, as Scottie got these weird moments of revelation, mainly that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby had hung him out to dry, he must have leaked it back to his mom, the old hand politico. Just imagine what that did to her Party alignment -- I could tell you what it would do to mine if one of my boys was played the patsy that way, by people so powerful.

So mom's approval must have given him the courage to put out the book. To let loose the truth, no matter the rusted bullybats of the disparate remaining pieces of what was once Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld's character assassination machine. Just as Paul O'Neill. He did an hour tonight with Olbermann. He hits The Daily Show on Monday. Assuming he stays healthy.

John Dean says this may be prosecutable. Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) has been pushing for impeachment hearings for awhile, now has new evidence to pursue. Rove has been subpoenaed, not looking good for weaseling out.
But even if we don't get our impeachment, our public flogging (and with Bush's escape pod ready), maybe we'll get, looking ahead to November, the most important thing of all. Per gpack:
If one thing is clear, it is that McClellan just confirmed that Obama was right from the start - the war should never have been waged. McClellan has destroyed McCain's argument that there is any reason to remain in Iraq. Even Pat Buchannan said that the core principle of the GOP has always been to avoid foreign entanglements. He added that going into Iraq, which he too opposed, is not a conservative ideal. It is the product of neo-conservatives who developed an ideology best described by McClellan as "coercive democracy." Knowing that this idea would not even float in the Republican Party, McClellan presents the story of how it was sold as a lie to the American people.

I'll take it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Partisan Videos

One answers a whole lot of b.s. questions about Barack Obama:



The other asks one big question about John McCain:



Well, can you?

Road Crew

For those of you who have either read Cormac McCarthy's The Road or who are fans of HBO's The Wire, this post is for you.

There's an article in today's New York Times about the production of a Weinstein brothers-backed feature film based on the novel. It stars the great Viggo Mortensen in the lead and features name actors like Charlize Theron and Robert Duvall in relatively small roles. They seem to have found some young phenom as the boy, the son of Mortensen's character, the two of them wandering on a quest to reach the ocean in the horrific and barren post-nuclear future created so searingly by McCarthy. And the Bros made the great decision to hire John Hillcoat as director, who's previous work was the terrific Australian Western penned by Nick Cave, The Proposition.

What makes this article a special treat for fans of the David Simon/HBO show is the appearance of Michael Kenneth Williams, a.k.a. Omar, in the article and the movie. Williams plays "The Thief" and will end up naked in the picture. Per the article, he seems to have added a little improv on set and gotten kudos from the youngest actor as well as Mortensen.

Will anyone go see a bleak movie (no matter how gussied up) based on one of the bleakest books of all time?

Swimming in a sea of summer superhero/fantasy pictures, I can't wait.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Marsmorial Day

I'm aware that the NASA space exploration program is not without its political controversy, particularly among those who would prefer the money spent on our problems here on Earth. However, I'm a sucker for space travel because I believe we need frontiers and because I'd like to think there are things to learn out there which apply to us here.

For example, if Mars did indeed once sustain life, then in our perilous age of global warming, maybe there's a lesson up there.

So I'm happy that NASA won one this weekend with the successful landing of the Phoenix Mars Mission, closest to the still frozen northern pole of the Red Planet than ever before, hence maybe closer to more clues, maybe even life itself. An overview:



And if you want to see a bunch of brainy engineers get really, really happy:



And if you want to get in on the extraterrestrial theories now, there's this new "anomaly":



Alien conspiracy theorists, start your engines!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wild Predictions

Obama gets out in front of a zillion students at Wesleyan and takes advantage of the pinch-hitter spot for the ailing Teddy Kennedy by giving a pitch-perfect speech that not only lionizes Sen. Kennedy, it commits to continuing and magnifying his legacy-in-progress with an "ask not what your country can do for you" call to action.

He's speaking at the Wesleyan graduation, but he's speaking to every class of 2008 student in America:




With the McCain campaign in rolling disarray and likely praying that a Vice Presidential choice will organize it for them (all the main contenders are governors, i.e. execs), I hereby predict that against what Obama is stirring in our emerging civic generation (and the coming unity which I believe most Democrats will accept with relief), casting a vote of November 4th for Sen. John McCain will seem like voting assisted suicide for America.

That may not be fair to Sen. McCain, who is quite alive and the best choice the Republicans had this year. Not my fault. It will literally start to feel like death vs. life, and while the former will have its usual fans, it will not stand a chance against Obama.

Here's another wild prediction: This man will serve time in jail. Maybe it'll take a few years. But he will do his stint, and probably make some pretty good contacts in there.

Not so wild: she's going to have to seriously rebuild bridges if she wants to still stay connected to the one constituency that has ever elected her to public office.

What's been happening the past two weeks is that Obama has not just pivoted to McCain, his campaign has pivoted to the calendar. The three important dates are the Democratic Convention on August 25-28 in Denver, the Republican Convention on September 1-4 in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and the first Tuesday in November. The Clinton campaign has been trying to externally stall this, but now it's no longer about the math, it's about the calendar, which means it's about the Party. And the Obama campaign, with superior strategy, organization and candidate, has begun stepping up to organize the Party. Should Sen. Clinton or any external force derail this current trajectory, it's the only way they can lose in the Fall.

What the Clintons should be thinking about now, and hopefully someone in her campaign is, is what role they want to negotiate for at the Convention. Not demand. Not if they know what's good for them. Not if they don't want to go down in history as the couple that took down the Party. Not if Bill ever wants to go back to his office in Harlem. Not if Hillary ever wants to be re-elected as Senator from New York.

I predict that the only way it works for either of them is if they appear onstage with Barack Obama. I predict you will see (a) Hillary Clinton welcoming Barack Obama onstage, or (b) Bill Clinton joining Barack Obama onstate, or (c) Barack and Michelle and Bill and Hillary onstage together at the end of the Convention, the night of the 24th, possible bonus points with all three daughters together as well (big win). Show that the families play well together. Reprise with Bill and Barack appearing before African-American audiences as Hillary Clinton does her black church tour in support of Obama.

Okay, maybe these last predictions are too wild. Maybe Hillary Clinton, after losing the nomination, doesn't want to go back to the Senate. Maybe she guts it out, but since there was only Plan A (she wouldn't be coming back to the Senate after this year, except when visiting from the White House) her heart isn't in being one of one hundred.

Maybe she and Bill were okay with losing the $9-20 million because they knew they could make it back quickly no matter what happened, what with book deals and maybe TV now.

Maybe she hasn't thought of VP or anything else. Not even, really, Governor. I mean, would she accept Mayor of New York? Arguably the second biggest job in the country?

With this calendar in mind, there are three things the Obama and McCain campaigns each have to do. They have to orchestrate the Convention a scant three months from now. They have to harness the full potential of their money-raising machines. They have to execute a (hopefully) long-gestated plan for earning the most votes in the Electoral College.

Obama's campaign on this last one is a 50-state strategy. Okay, maybe 48 -- West Virginia and Kentucky may be too Appalachian for him to have any chance to win. But it would only seem foolish if he didn't have the ability to raise enough resources to do it.

And so far, that doesn't seem to be a problem at all.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Picaresque

Per Wikipedia:
The picaresque novel (Spanish: "picaresca", from "pĂ­caro", for "rogue" or "rascal") is a popular subgenre of prose fiction which is usually satirical and depicts in realistic and often humorous detail the adventures of a roguish hero of low social class who lives by his or her wits in a corrupt society. This style of novel originated in Spain and flourished in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and continues to influence modern literature.
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay is an instant classic Early-21st Century picaresque tale made for the Jason Castro set. It takes two rather than one hero, one more roguish than the other, not born low of economic class but saddled with the distraction of physical ethnicity (Korean, Indian) in an upside-down society, early-21st Century U.S.A.

It's not Candide or Tom Jones, and it won't be known for it's brilliant visual design or Oscar-calibre performances, its defense as filmmaking relies solely on it's entertainment capability, in this case with a title making a rather bolder claim than the average Up in Smoke or Half-Baked, that there's a political edge as well.

Having seen it this past week, I have to say that while it's still (thankfully) a dumb stoner comedy at heart, it is funny, funny, funny.

Once the boys get on the plane for Amsterdam, the one that with confusion of "bong" and "bomb" will actually get them to Guantanamo, the movie gets more warped than gross (the opening flatulence joke may break the ice, but it's a drag). The set pieces build from moments to extended scenes of anarchic laughter-- the abuse in Guantanamo, the punchline at the end of the eye-opening party in Miami, the KKK rally, the three-way with the human-sized bag of weed, Neil Patrick Harris at the roadblock, and what is truly the gold that must be reached for a traditionally satiric picaresque with Guantanamo Bay in the title, the visit to Crawford, TX. Blowing out with the man.

It's Bob Hope and Bing Crosby updated with reefer and powered by an almost apolitical, anarchic sensibility. But taken as a series of tableaus and noting Daily Show alums Rob Courdry (big part) and Ed Helms (one very, very funny scene with Courdry), they get bonus points for targeting homeland security Bush style, how it fits into a mosaic of racism throughout America, and even Bush's motivations: things are so fucked up...this President just has to be high.

Here's the boring standard trailer that gives you barely a tiny taste of the outrageous flavor of the movie:



Click here for the not-for-childen R-rated "red band" trailer that almost gives you too much.

Here, here for freedom of speech.

Especially the kind you're still laughing about the following day.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Disqualified

Okay, so that's the end of Hillary Clinton's viability as Vice Presidential candidate under Barack Obama:



What's interesting is that the more you hear it, particularly with your eyes closed, the more macabre it sounds.

Contrary to this diarist, yes you can use political assassination as a means of ascending to the Presidency, even if you had nothing to do with it. Which is as the official story goes with Richard Nixon, who was the sole direct beneficiary of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy forty years ago June 5th/6h (shortly after midnight PST). He was elected President that November.

Hillary, Hillary, Hillary. I was saying team of rivals. The two most popular politicians, as judged by people voting for them and money raised, since 2004. Look, if you really are relying on the George Wallace constituency, or Richard Nixon's in particular, you should use loaded but coded terms like "Silent Majority," not "white workers."

How do you think it feels to every single African-American Democrat when you say:
"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don't understand it," she said, dismissing the idea of abandoning the race.
Worse, consider that Sen. Robert Kennedy was the biggest politician hero to black Americans prior to that moment in history, the only white Presidential contender of his time to venture into the slums and the shacks and make a first commitment to tackle poverty for real.

How do you think it feels to older African Americans who actually faced assassination or murder or lynching as a very real personal threat in their lifetimes?

So let's assume it's just more of the monstrous folie-a-narcissim that Bill and Hillary share -- she was, after all, comparing her husband's done-deal June nomination wrap-up, after having essentially cinched it much earlier on Super Tuesday, with the political assassination of maybe our most promising young leaderjust 43 years-old, just four years younger than Sen. Obama.

To not hold your tongue, no matter the Freudian moment, no matter the hardened self-promoting attitude, no matter your own sense of rightness, and utter such things is at the very least much too tin-eared to be our President. To be Commander-in-Chief.

To blow your campaign to someone so clearly hellbent on unifying this country and try to appeal to the basest instincts, bending truths and conveniently forgetting the inconvenient and hoping the media plays along, who cares how right you think you are.

And what's always galled all of us is that you don't even bother to make a real apology, not for your tragically triangulated vote for our disastrous War, not even properly for this slippage of the Thanosified Id, this death wish for Senator Obama. I actually think the apology is as egregious as the original statement, certainly as tin-eared, with not a spot of apology to Sen. Obama, or any call for non-violence, just a suck up to the Kennedy family, like a decoy from her real target:



Hey, it's fine to want to kill someone who beats you for something, but grown-ups keep it to themselves. Grown-ups know when to step back when it's not life-or-death. Grown-ups, the sane ones, try not to do anything stupid to make it life-or-death.

Is this the death of the Clinton era? Or of just her campaign? Watch starting Tuesday of next week -- there's a whole Memorial Day weekend for staffers to quit and get the jump on new jobs with Obama and the DNC, maybe bring some intel with them, three whole days for calls either taken or unreturned by major donors and backers. That's a lot of time for the levers to be pulled, especially by those who don't want Hillary blamed if some evil fuck actually does harm the nominee.

And could the Obama campaign have been cooler about it, quickly out with simply, firmly but tactfully:
"Senator Clinton's statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
Instead he's acting like a nominee and focusing his campaign mechanism on defeating John McCain starting last week. Doing real work, that all us Dems want done. Starting to meld with -- take over -- the DNC, essentially hooking in the hose to their record-breaking fundraising pump and directing strategy both on the air and on the ground. All she does is unsettle it. Flailing terrorist moves.

Before the race began I did not hate Sen. Clinton, and I'm not sure I do now. Back then I wanted Al Gore to run, to stop her from becoming what I saw as a losing candidate, one from the party mechanism, next in line, with none of the candor necessary to really put this country back together again. But I didn't believe she was only in it for herself. I didn't think she was more Eva than Golda.

Maybe we were, we are mistaken in thinking she's tough. Per this droogie, "she's is anything but tough. She's terrified."

She's terrified that someone will call her "weak on terror." So she votes to authorize the use of military force. So she votes for Kyl-Lieberman. Then she never apologizes for these mistakes, because it would be perceived as -- say it with me now -- "soft..."

...I would argue that her staying in the race is her taking the easy way. To her, the path of least resistance is to continue campaigning. After all, it's all she's known for the past decade of her life at least...

...Reaching the White House has become her entire life. To concede that it will not happen and gracefully step aside? Now that would be a show of real toughness...

...Does a strong, tough woman shout "sexism"? Does a strong, tough anybody every shout any kind of "-ism"? Whether the sexism in this campaign is real or perceived, a tough person would simply soldier on and fight through it rather than playing the victim.

Let me ask one more question. Let me ask if this guy opening up an office, planning a poverty tour this summer together, would this unite the Democratic Party?

And who would you want backing up President Obama if such an event as Sen. Clinton's example evokes were to actually occur?

Who would you trust most to carry on his legacy?

Healthy

I was going to write about all the Hillary/Bill/operatives hostage-taking that's going on, but it's just too negative when something as healthy as this overdue airing of "respectful disagreements" just happened:



Cheers to John McCain for gracefully navigating his political position with humbleness and tact under such uncomfortable questioning. But praise to Ellen Degeneres for bringing up the issue itself in a way where she gently but firmly used her humanity, her own presence, to confront this conservative representative with the real logic of that faintly liberal but altogether unsatisfying position.

This discussion is not only healthy for our society, it is necessary for our survival and evolution.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One Election Down

So the other big public vote, the one prior to November 4th, just came down and it's guitar-slinging David Cook over David Archuleta as America's new Idol.

The last contestant/winner I really loved was Fantasia Barrino back in 2004, so it's nice to care again, especially as I only start watching once the show is down to the top twelve contestants (or less).

My father once said that you have to be at least partly insane to want to be President (maybe all crazy in a certain current instance?) so it's nice to have a guy running who got youthful craziness, i.e. idealism, and it's interesting that David Cook did not expect to even audition for American Idol, he just showed up to support his brother and got roped in by the producers. Last night, in the final sing-off, he said that he didn't even think of it as a competition anymore, he thought they were just there to have fun, and when the judges spoke they came the evening to young Archuleta walking away.

Not insane.

One of the reasons Simon Cowell cited for saying so was that Cook had chosen to present a song he had not sung before to close the show, rather than the traditional reprise of an earlier favorite or showstopper, while Archuleta sang his celebrated version of John Lennon's "Imagine". Cook responded that since he saw the whole season as a progression for him, he didn't want to go backwards at the end, hence the Collective Soul cover new to the audience.

While Archuleta's choice seemed smarter on the surface, and his more traditional Idol-esque delivery with more obviously soaring climaxes throughout the evening may have impressed on first pass, it was Cook's performance which wears better -- when I ran his last number a second time, there was actually more to get out of it, well-beyond the usual contestant number:



So the more complicated adult (25-years-old), the game-changer, beat the gifted but safe bet kid (17-years-old) in a completely unexpected landslide (56-44%).

Maybe America is ready for a little nuance after all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Teddy in Trouble

It's not the first time and no one can say he was a saint his whole life, but if anybody has ever redeemed himself through legislative service, it's Senator Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy.

And now he has an inoperable brain tumor. Per Shannon at Frank:
The particular type of tumor affecting Sen. Kennedy is a malignant glioma, the most common among adults. Survival ranges from less than a year to five years, depending upon type and responsiveness to treatment.
Intense NY Times piece here, the Senator's website with Best Wishes form here. But embedded in the above post comes is rather staggering list:
Legislation and causes Sen. Kennedy has either introduced or supported includes:

-Civil Rights Act of 1964
-Economic Opportunity Act of 1964
-Establishment of the National Teachers Corps, 1965
-Created a national health center system, 1966
-Bilingual Education Act of 1968
-Older American Community ServiceEmployment, 1970
-Voting Rights Act extension, 1970
-Meals on Wheels, 1972
-Women, Infants and Children program, 1972
-Bipartisan campaign finance legislation, establishing public funding for presidential elecions, 1973
-Family Planning Initatives, 1975
-Individuals with Disablities Education Act, 1975
-Civil Rights Commission Act Amendments of 1978
-Deregulation of airlines, bringing down prices for consumers, 1978
-Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act, 1980
-Refugee Act of 1980
-Congressional support of Low-Income Energy Assistance Programs, 1981
-Job Training Partnership Act of 1982
-Reinstatement of the Summer Jobs Program, 1982
-Voting Rights Act Amendments, 1982
-Opposed Star Wars program, 1983
-Supported Nuclear Arms Control, 1983
-Legislation requiring polling places be handicap-accessible, 1984
-Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans, 1986
-Handicapped Children's Protection Act, 1986
-Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments, 1986
-Minimum Wage Increase, 1987
-Welfare to Jobs incentives,1987
-Even Start program, 1987
-Fair Housing Act Amendments, 1988
-National Military Child Care Act,1989
-Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990
-Ryan White CARE Act, 1990
-Immigration Act of 1990
-Civil Rights Act of 1991
-Head Start Improvement Act,1992
-Summer Jobs for Youth Program improvements, 1992
-Mammography Quality Standards Act, 1992
-Budget Reconcilliation Act of 1993
-National and Community Service Trust Act, creating AmeriCorps, 1993
-Family Medical Leave Act, 1994
-School to Work Opportunities Act, 1994
-Human Services Reauthorization Act,1994
-Crime Act, 1994
-Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 1996
-Mental Health Parity bill, 1996
-State Children's Health Insurance Program, 1997
-Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Act, 1998
-Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act, 2000
-Public Health Threats and Emergencies Act, 2000
-Pediatric Graduate Medical Education Program, 2000
-No Child Left Behind, 2001
-Bioterrorism Preparedness Act, 2002
-Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform, 2002
-Project Bioshield Act, 2003
-Gulf Coast Recovery and Preparedness Act, 2005
-Family Opportunity Act, 2006
Maybe the most impressive record in United States Senate history. A case where term limits would have been a bad idea. And the Boston Herald says that losing him at this critical unity juncture is less than desirable:

Political analysts say Kennedy is among a small group of top Democrats who has the popularity and influence to mollify disenchanted activists who have fought tooth and nail for Clinton. Those activists are seen as critical to generating the money and organizational strength needed to defeat GOP contender John McCain.

“There is no Democrat who is better able to pick up the phone and get disparate groups of people in the room together,” said strategist Michael Goldman.

Kennedy was among the first national political figures to endorse Obama’s candidacy this year. He has been a mentor and adviser to the Illinois senator and was among officials who counseled him to challenge Clinton for the nomination.

So if the Clintons can get over Teddy's encouraging their defeat, he could be the unifier. Maybe by his appeal to older Democratic voters? Women, who's rights he's been defending for decades?

Maybe he lives long enough to bring everyone together. Maybe his being stricken gives the Clintons and their supporters a healthy sense of mortality, ergo fallibility.

Just the novelistic view, so incredibly apt this election season. Giant.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Milestones

Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, a 24- year old cancer survivor, just pitched an understandably very moving no-hitter, just the 256th in the entire history of Major League Baseball, and the first for Boston since Mel Parnell in 1956. That gap's even older than me.

On this same day, beloved Star Trek actor George Takei (Sulu) announced he will finally be getting married to his longtime partner and business manager, Brad Altman (a spry 54). George and Brad have been together for 21 years, approximately three years longer than I have known my wife, and ten years longer than we have been married and living together. The nuptials are thanks to the California Supreme Court decision earlier this week clearing the way for gay marriages. I can only second Takei's quote that, "As an American, I was delighted that we're getting closer and closer to more truly being faithful to the Constitution."

On an equally patriotic note, also on this day, my favorite Presidential candidate since I've been old enough to vote received two striking endorsements, one from billionaire Warren Buffett. Said Buffett, "I will be very happy if he is elected President. He is my choice." Me, too, Warren. And also the choice of the Crow Nation, which just adopted Senator Barack Obama under the Crow name "One Who Helps People Throughout the Land." To paraphrase my Jewish ancestors, from their lips to the Great Spirit's ears.

Finally, there's a big milestone the candidate hopes to reach tomorrow, the majority of pledged delegates at stake in all of the Democratic primaries and caucuses. If this is indeed the case, I expect the gross majority of Democratic superdelegates to follow.

Then I just hope the Convention goes smoothly, so we can look for the biggest milestone of all on Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

75,000

That's the number of people who showed up to see Senator Barack Obama speak at the Portland waterfront. Seventy-five thousand people, like more than show up to football games, Rolling Stones concerts, I'd expect more than any Presidential nomination campaign event prior to Convention in history. Even the candidate himself was impressed:
“Wow! Wow! Wow!” were his first words as he surveyed the multitude, which included people in kayaks and small pleasure craft on the river on an unseasonably hot day in Oregon.
More pix here. Local news report here:



And he's doing "small" as well, talking ice cream with a kid, uh, too young to vote:



Yum yum.

And is life matching up for Senator John McCain? Not so much.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mad Man

Of all the original Mad Magazine artists, Will Elder may have had the biggest influence. His parodies including "Superduperman", "Starchie" and "Mickey Rodent" set the standard for both Mad's take-no-prisoners satire as well as filling the panels with enough irreverent throwaway gags that you just had to read the parodies again...and again...and yet again, with no diminution of pleasure.

Elder (born Wolf Eisenberg) just died at age 86 and leaves behind a wealth of fine work, some terrific interviews, as well as his notorious "Little Annie Fanny" series with writer (and Mad co-founder) Harvey Kurtzman for Hugh Hefner's Playboy. In fact, watching this short film about Elder's work (in two parts via YouTube), you'd be forgiven for thinking that Kurtzman and Elder were the same guy.





With the originators of the Mad sensibility on the way out, leaving the few like Al Jaffee and Dick DeBartolo still producing (still first-rate) work, it's the end of an era for sure, but this usual gang of idiots has influenced our culture beyond measurement, essentially providing the bedrock sense of humor that continues to grow today.

What We Worry?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happyland

Was Senator John McCain's 2013 video ad actually a response to this Upright Citizens Brigade "vision" of 2015 under President Barack Obama?:



Hee hee hee f'sure, but any results from the Obama years have got to beat days like this.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Big Days

Today was a huge day politically for the U.S. and, after the Edwards endorsement and the West Virginia primary the day before that...I just think we have a lot more coming.

But today was something special.

It started with Sen. John McCain laying out his vision, i.e. a sci-fi style prediction of what the end of his first term will look like, chock full of promises but without any explication of how he will accomplish any of it. Welcome to 2013:



This is clearly meant to be a big re-branding moment for McCain, and he deserves credit for those places where he underlines his philosophical/operational differences with Bush, but as Joe Klein says (his writing actually much improved ever since getting lambasted by the blogs and actually responding to the criticism), it's all a bit, uh, hilarious:

No doubt, John McCain's attempt to lay out the goals of his prospective presidency was a worthy and honorable effort--but there was something deeply hilarious about it as well. Take his paragraph about Iraq:

By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq War has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced. Civil war has been prevented; militias disbanded; the Iraqi Security Force is professional and competent; al Qaeda in Iraq has been defeated; and the Government of Iraq is capable of imposing its authority in every province of Iraq and defending the integrity of its borders. The United States maintains a military presence there, but a much smaller one, and it does not play a direct combat role.

And the tooth fairy will spread giggle-juice throughout the land, and the Mets will win the World Series and I will lose 20 pounds while continuing to consume vast quantities of Chinese and Italian food.

Poor Johnny. The ultimate result of his announcement on the evening headlines: stomped once again (shades of 2000) by that asshole who beat his ass back then. Bush goes to the Knesset and uses the somewhat solemn occasion of Israel's 60th Anniversary to attack Sen. Barack Obama with classic smeartalk:
President Bush used a speech to the Israeli Parliament on Thursday to liken those who would negotiate with “terrorists and radicals” to appeasers of the Nazis — a remark widely interpreted as a rebuke to Senator Barack Obama, who has advocated greater engagement with countries like Iran and Syria...

...The episode placed Mr. Bush squarely in one of the most divisive debates of the campaign to succeed him, as Republicans try to portray Mr. Obama as weak in the fight against terrorism. It also underscored what the White House has said will be an aggressive effort by Mr. Bush to use his presidential platform to influence the presidential election.

“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” Mr. Bush said, in a speech otherwise devoted to spotlighting Israel’s friendship with the United States.

Firestorm. Obama hit back, Pelosi, Kerry, Dean, Emanuel, even Sen. Hillary Clinton.

But the hero quote is from Sen. Joseph Biden:
“This is bullshit. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset … and make this kind of ridiculous statement.”
Biden has hit the same loosened up stage as Nelson Rockefeller in his later years when they couldn't hurt him anymore, like when Rocky flipped the finger back at a student who birded him during a campus speech. The fact that CNN et al had a censored word running through their crawls -- "bulls**t" -- in the context of criticizing Bush is just too sweet. It's not like we all haven't been saying it these past 8 years!

McCain, who seems like the most available guy on any campaign bus, bless him, heard about it from a reporter and agreed with Bush. Even though he's voiced having to deal with Hamas in the past. Even worse, he got it wrong on Ronald Reagan: Ronnie did negotiate with Iran.

It just minimized his whole vision thing and gave Obama the perfect opening to carry through the Fall -- now he can surely attack McCain by aligning him squarely with the current President and run against George (least popular ever) to beat John.

Ultimately, Matthew Yglesias get it right about McCain's saying that talking to our enemies somehow automatically confers a prestige onto them that actually makes a difference:
This is such a common talking point on the right that you'd think that somewhere out there you could find some kind of causal explanation of how this works. Obama takes office. The Iranians, having heard his campaign rhetoric, send a message through the Swiss or something about the possibility of arranging a summit. Our guys talk to their guys, the meeting happens, and this gives Khatami enhanced prestige in the eyes of whom? And what does this enhanced prestige allow him to do? What, in other words, are we afraid of?
So many kneejerk neoconik idiots out there who don't know the difference between talks and appeasement, even Chris Matthews is taking them down:



But if that's not enough, this is also a day where the House Republicans fell to pieces over an Iraq War funding bill, and House Judiciary Committee Democrats are preparing to have Karl Rove arrested.

But even neither of those score the biggest story of the day.

No, what really changes things in a material way is a landmark civil rights ruling by the mostly Republican-appointed, voter-confirmed, Supreme Court of my proudly adopted home state, over 1/10 of the U.S. population, California:
The California Supreme Court, striking down two state laws that had limited marriages to unions between a man and a woman, ruled on Thursday that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

The 4-to-3 decision, drawing on a ruling 60 years ago that struck down a state ban on interracial marriage, would make California the second state, after Massachusetts, to allow same-sex marriages.
Right on right on. In 30 days, unless there's some sort of judicial stay, same sex couples will be able to get married like everyone else. There will be fireworks by those opposed, but the fact is that a majority of young people not only don't care, they're want to go to their gay friends' weddings.

It will likely increase tourism which is great because California has been hit with major budget shortfalls. Back when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom legalized gay marriage, the jewelers, florists, clothing shops or wedding planners in San Francisco had a banner year.

There will likely be a bit proposition battle this fall over a proposed CA constitutional amendment once again instituting a ban, and the fight could be tight. I'm hoping my state does the right thing. Because now that gay Americans can come out of the closet and be embraced by their parents, it really means something to be able to get hitched in the eyes of society and the law. From an email sent to Andrew Sullivan:
My Beloved, Samantha, just asked me to update my Facebook page to confirm that I'm engaged to her. My mother just called for the third time this morning and choked out through her tears, "I promise this is the last time I'll call this morning, but I understand that the proper protocol is that the mother of the bride pays for the wedding." I've left a message for our minister to see if he is available in 30 days to officiate our wedding.
Read the whole email and see a photo of the engaged and their two daughters here.

And please, dear Lord, let this year be the first official year of the 21st Century.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Change

Two big things changed today for Barack Obama in his quest for the Presidency. He received the endorsements of both NARAL Pro-Choice America and former Senator John Edwards.

One can argue that NARAL could have timed it better -- i.e. after Oregon, a little less gender-traitorish -- but they probably wanted to get the news acknowledgment while it still matters. Obama is a staunch supporter of reproductive rights, so it's not a bad decision. And while the story got somewhat buried by the sudden, West Virginia-erasing Edwards endorsement, one could argue that NARAL supports a right often made necessary by bad timing itself.

The timing and staging of the Edwards announcement is extremely intriguing. One wonders when the plan was set in motion but in classic Obama fashion, it was unheralded for what it did most -- move the campaign past the nomination to the general election by dramatically uniting a key party faction, potentially supplying Obama with a one-stop 18-delegate boost essentially slipping the knife into the Clinton campaign for the final arterial opening.

It was significant that it took place in Grand Rapids, and speaks to another potentially subtle but firmly planned and executing Obama strategy: the settling of the Florida and Michigan convention seatings.

Edwards (who I supported before Iowa) got that huge burst of being in a room endorsing Obama (as Richardson did, as various top-level state officials have), but most importantly he got Obama to promise to combat poverty as President, gets to be there to keep him honest, maybe a cabinet position.

Most of all, they united messages -- Edwards on his Two Americas coming together under Obama's One America, hopefully for real by the end of President Barack Obama's second term.





On to Denver, on to November, on to January.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

GOP Down

Great news out of Mississippi:
Mississippi Democrat Travis Childers won a special election to Congress on Tuesday, helping his party to a third victory in recent months for seats long in Republican hands...

...With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Childers had 54 percent to Republican Greg Davis' 46 percent...

...Childers took on Davis for a Mississippi seat that has been held by the GOP since 1994.
Even better news: the GOP tested their fall strategy by trying to tie Rev. Wright around Childers' neck -- and lost:



In other news, perhaps indicative of why a Dem just won a Red district, President Bush revealed he has given up golf for the duration of the Iraq War, for all the best reasons:
"I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf."
Fortunately he'll be able to hit the links again towards the end of January.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Feith No More

Jon Stewart once again proves why with maybe Bill Moyers (appearing Tuesday night in what should be a very interesting follow up to tonight) he is perhaps the finest interviewer of political figures working in television today, taking apart key Cheney henchman and leading Iraq War pyro Douglas Feith:



Here's part two of the full-length (only on Web) with the the Bush Administration official that U.S. Army General Tommy Franks called, "the stupidest fucking guy on the planet:"



Now how about those tribunals?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Meanwhile

So while Nettertainment has been obsessively posting on the Democratic Presidential nomination contest, the world has not stood still.

Sadly.

Parts of Missouri, Oklahoma and Georgia have been hit with tornadoes, 21 dead so far. Let's hope the response is better than Katrina.

Exponentially more people have been killed (over 220,000 reported missing) by a nightmare cyclone attack in Myanmar (i.e. Burma). Kevin Drum has before and after satellite pictures that will likely blow you away as they did me. International relief efforts are hampered by the fascist military dictatorship.

On the human-initiated disaster front, Hezbollah has blockaded the Beirut airport as just one part of their spreading battle against the legitimate Lebanon government. This after Bush/Rice praised Lebanon two (?) years ago. The Syrian-backed, Iranian-backed, group appears stronger militarily than the national forces.

Sudan and Chad-backed rebels going at it, with Sudan cutting ties after an attack on their capital city of Khartoum. Not sure who's the most wrong in this conflict, although there's some NY Times analysis here.

And Kashmir, a disputed province between India and Pakistan (controlled by India), erupted again after a long lull, seven dead.

Oddly enough, the only touch of good news (after many weeks of bad) is in Iraq:
A deal to end fighting between militias and U.S.-backed security forces in the Baghdad stronghold of Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was largely holding on Sunday, despite some sporadic fighting.

The U.S. military said it would scale back operations to see if gunmen obeyed the truce, but a spokesman said troops would target militants who tried to launch attacks from the Sadr City slum. U.S. troops killed one gunman on Sunday in a clash.

Residents in Sadr City said small clashes flared on Sunday, a day after Shi'ite political factions agreed to end weeks of fighting that killed hundreds of people.

Kinda puts in perspective that all I've really been concerned about lately is a campaign being run into the ground like this.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Water Running

Drips no longer, rather full-on spurts every day, as Clinton may win a delegate, but one of hers switches to Obama, making her net zero again, and Obama +5, and by multiple counts is now the leader in superdelegate endorsements, having eclipsed Clinton some time between yesterday and today. More to follow, splish splash flood.

Get ready for Barack Obama, newly minted leader of the Democratic Party, self-minted and by the people, rather than the aging establishment. We rebelled, we evolved, there are many of us, and he has a plan.

Here's the core reason why Hillary lost: her Iraq War vote. Profile in expediency, if not cowardice. It revealed everything about her core.

Here's why Barack Obama is on track right now to win this election: he knows what year it is.

Friday, May 09, 2008

That's Entertainment

Comedy:



Tragedy:



Coming Attractions:

The Fun Begins

McCain says that Hamas endorses Obama and somehow that's how he's going to beat him. Obama says McCain is losing his bearings (nice, aeronautical). McCain's guy protests that Obama is being ageist. Obama said he never said that, and anyone can lose their bearings (I mean, look at Bush and he's not yet a total geezer).

So Obama gets to slip the knife in early like he should, rise above, take a victory lap in the House of Representatives where he's treated like a rock star. Later in the day he speaks stalwartly at a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Israeli Independence.

Hillary is out of money so she's turning up the racial tap, claiming only she can win whites, looking at some visionless Mark Penn micro-poll, no doubt. Stay classy, Rodham. She is probably just running now as an enterprise, try and earn back the $12,000,000 or so she's loaned her campaign, before the election happens and some laws kick in. She's raised $1,000,000 since Tuesday, which used to seem like a lot. Al Sharpton tells his New York Senator via NY1 interview, “The worst thing in the world is when an entertainer doesn’t know when the show is over.”

Obama matches Hillary in actual elective office-holding superdelegate endorsements. He's hitting up Edwards delegates. It turns out the margin of victory for Clinton in Indiana ended up at around a mere 1%. Obama lays down his plan to declare victory on May 20th, right after Oregon goes for him.

Obama is, I believe, pulling the trigger ju-jitsu style and making a move he's planned for a long time: running the table. He needs to go for the jugular now, albeit in the same non-personal way he's conducted his campaign. Superdelegates will no longer be afraid of her, starting now.

And what could possibly add to this burgeoning period of fun?

Nothing other than yet another Republican sex scandal, this time straight but with adultery and, best of all, the hidden out-of-wedlock child.

Adding to the juice: the twist's a former Air Force lieutenant colonel.

Zeeeeeet.....

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

What's Happening

See? I told you not to worry.

The two best articles I've read today about Senator Hillary Clinton's apparent failure to secure the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination are as follows.

Peter Keating in New York magazine explains, as one suspected, that Clinton's gas tax pander actually was her fatal overreach error, giving Senator Barack Obama the opening he needed to get the media off the Rev. Wright scandal by articulating a firm, tangible position and sealing her loss:

Opposing Clinton on a matter of substance got Obama off the defensive in the final days of the campaign and let him draw a new and sharp contrast without seeming negative. Opposing Clinton on this particular matter of substance finally gave Obama a chance to connect his “broken politics” theme to the concrete issue of energy independence, where he is on much firmer ground against the Clintons than on other economic issues, while simultaneously questioning Hillary’s honesty.

And he took full advantage. Six days ago, Obama introduced the single most brilliant ad of the Indiana campaign, called “Truth.” And, palpably relieved at the partial change of subject, he incorporated a detailed denunciation of the gas-tax suspension into his stump speech, in which he hit full stride again on Monday night.

And in response, Hillary doubled down, cranking out ads that said, “Barack Obama wants you to keep paying that tax.” Her campaign must have thought the issue was a winner. But it’s also true that her campaign just hasn’t been able to overcome its instinct for overkill. And voters noticed.


Betsy Reed, writing the cover story for The Nation is even more brutal in her surgically accurate analysis of how the Clinton campaign has attracted feminism but courted racism in "Race to the Bottom". She starts off listing all the horrific misogynist epithets cable news posers have slammed on her, but continues to build her argument through when Barack Obama became the first political figure to discuss race like an adult in years:

Obama initially responded to that challenge with his speech in Philadelphia on March 18. While condemning Wright's words, he placed them in a historical context of racial oppression and said, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community." (More recently, of course, Obama did renounce him.) But in the Philadelphia speech, called "A More Perfect Union," Obama also outlined a racially universal definition of American citizenship and affirmed his commitment to represent all Americans as President. "I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together--unless we perfect our union by understanding that we have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction."

A mere three days after Obama spoke those words, Bill Clinton made this statement in North Carolina about a potential Clinton-McCain general election matchup: "I think it'd be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics." Whether or not this statement constituted McCarthyism, as one Obama surrogate alleged and as Clinton supporters vigorously denied, the timing of the remark made its meaning quite clear: controversies relating to Obama's race render him less fit than either Hillary or McCain to run for president as a patriotic American. A couple of weeks later, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen went so far as to call on Obama to make another speech, modeled after John F. Kennedy's declaration in 1960 that, despite his Catholicism, he would respect the separation of church and state as President--as though Obama's blackness were a sign of allegiance to some entity, like the Vatican, other than the United States of America.

Reed goes on to make the result of Clinton's nomination to be a defining moment for feminism -- old guard vs. new guard, the younger feminists with a more diverse political orientation -- and that Obama's appeal goes well beyond the issues:
Feminist Obama supporters of all ages and hues, meanwhile, are hoping that he comes out of this bruising primary with his style of politics intact. While he calls it "a new kind of politics," Clinton and Obama are actually very similar in their records and agendas (which is perhaps why this contest has fixated so obsessively on their gender and race). But in his rhetoric and his stance toward the world outside our borders, Obama does appear to offer a way out of the testosterone-addled GOP framework. As he said after losing Pennsylvania, "We can be a party that thinks the only way to look tough on national security is to talk, and act, and vote like George Bush and John McCain. We can use fear as a tactic and the threat of terrorism to scare up votes. Or we can decide that real strength is asking the tough questions before we send our troops to fight."

Here's the facts as they now stand for Hillary. She's crazy deep in the hole like she thinks she's a Rockefeller with her own money soaked into the campaign, still not paying all the outstanding vendor bills. Her peer supporters are starting to question her reason to keep running. Democrats are eager for change, and Barack Obama is proving himself, community organizer that he is, to be the real deal change agent. Per Matt Stoller in the prescient, "Obama's Consolidation of the Party," the five big things he is bringing to the party right on time:
  1. Voter Registration
  2. Obama Organizing Fellows
  3. Money
  4. Field
  5. Message & Politics

It's all about the vision. It's all it's ever been. Like too many Democratic Presidential candidates before her, Hillary Clinton did not think to come into the election with a defined and resonant vision for where our country has to be in four or eight years. Any vision she's stitched together since "finding her voice" in New Hampshire has had something borrowed about it -- it's slogan. Yes She Can. Yes We Will. Si, sa puede.

Here's how Barack is doing in the mainstream media.

If I were able to buy stock in a sitting Governor, it would be Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Closing

In a weird way, tonight was a surprise. After so many weeks of Obama getting beaten up in states Clinton was expected to win waaaay back but had somehow become expectations of Obama victories, no matter how much he cut the early polling count, you almost had to expect losses this time around. After Rev. Wright, after Hillary's gas tax pander, after getting beaten on as a front runner, it turns out that steady wins.

Obama kept to his strategy: steady does it.

Exactly what we need in a President, now more than ever:



The pundits are calling it. Stay healthy, Barack. In a few weeks, once the pledged delegate majority is sealed, once the superdelegates have spoken, it will be time for healing.

Right now, it's time to close the win.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Truth or Dare

Which candidate will emerge the spinnable winner once the votes from the North Carolina and Indiana primaries are counted?

With it be the truth teller or the liar? And if it's the liar, what does it say about the Democratic Party?

Pandering is, indeed, a deep, deep character issue. Per Mark Kleiman:
A correspondent thinks I've missed the main point about both "obliterate Iran" and the gas tax holiday. For Clinton, who has run on being the grown-up, experienced policy wonk in the race, the willingness to talk complete nonsense when the situation is desperate not only contradicts her major claim to office, it raises serious questions about her character. Her behavior on those issues has, by contrast with the behavior of the Democratic candidate, profoundly un-Presidential.
Don't think the GOP won't use it against her should she steal the nomination.

And it turns out that it was none other than her husband who raised the gas tax -- per Lawrence O'Donnell, who was in his Administration:

Bill Clinton raised the gas tax and no one in the political press seems to remember that, including George Stephanopoulos, who helped him do it.

Most political reporters obviously have no idea that in his first year in office President Bill Clinton raised the gas tax. He did it in a package of tax increases that amounted to the biggest tax increase in history, and after a presidential campaign whose centerpiece was a middle class tax cut that he forgot about once in office. If reporters knew that President Clinton raised gas taxes by 4.3 cents, they would be peppering Hillary and Bill with questions about the Clinton gas tax hike like, if you think gas taxes are too high now, are you in favor of repealing the Clinton nickel?

Not only that, but it turns out her husband also made $24,000,000 more than she disclosed:

Hillary Clinton listed Bill's income for 2004, 2005 and 2006 as "over $1000". This was legal under campaign finance law, but hid a substantial amount of Bill and Hillary's income. It hid approximately 24 million dollars of income.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Hillary Clinton excluded nearly $24 million of her husband's earnings from Senate financial statements from 2004 through 2006, capitalizing on rules that permit senators to limit disclosures of some of their spouses' income.

Moreover, Bill has apparently received more than $11 million from Yucaipa partnership which is invested heavily in Chinese government corporations. The Clinton's trade relationship with China has paid off big time.

How about the very suspicious voter-suppression-style robo-calls in North Carolina:

Voters and watchdog groups complained about the calls, and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper ordered them to stop on Wednesday. Some saw a turnout-suppression conspiracy because the group's allies include so many Clinton supporters, especially Podesta and Williams.

On Friday, Barack Obama's campaign weighed in by circulating the transcript of a National Public Radio report on the calls. It noted that the North Carolina calls seemed to heavily skew to African Americans, including many women who had already registered, causing them to question whether they were eligible to vote in the primary on Tuesday.

My prediction is that should she somehow win the nomination and the election, Hillary Clinton's Administration will end up being the most litigated against since Richard Nixon's, starting with investigations over the election.

And a helluva lot of Democrats won't be standing up for her.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Negative

Negative begets negative, and I'm sorry to have to go there, but Hillary is leading such a negative, such a Republican style campaign -- but wait, don't take my word for it, read the Republican magazine The Weekly Standard take her into their bosom:
She's running a right-wing campaign. She's running the classic Republican race against her opponent, running on toughness and use-of-force issues, the campaign that the elder George Bush ran against Michael Dukakis, that the younger George Bush waged in 2000 and then again against John Kerry, and that Ronald Reagan--"The Bear in the Forest"--ran against Jimmy Carter and Walter F. Mondale. And she's doing it with much the same symbols...

...Against an opponent who shops for arugula, hangs out with ex-Weathermen, and says rural residents cling to guns and to God in unenlightened despair at their circumstances, she has rushed to the defense of religion and firearms, while knocking back shots of Crown Royal and beer. Her harsh, football-playing Republican father (the villain of the piece, against whom she rebelled in earlier takes on her story) has become a role model, a working class hero, whose name she evokes with great reverence. Any day now, she'll start talking Texan, and cutting the brush out in Chappaqua or at her posh mansion on Embassy Row.
This Republican-style anti-intellectual assault for pure political gain is buttressed by former Clinton Administration official, Robert Reich:
When asked this morning by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos if she could name a single economist who backs her call for a gas tax holiday this summer, HRC said "I'm not going to put my lot in with economists..."

...In case you’ve missed it, we now have a president who doesn’t care what most economists think. George W. Bush doesn’t even care what scientists think. He rejects all experts who disagree with his politics. This has led to some extraordinarily stupid policies.
I guess only a Democratic elitist would know how to operate a coffee making machine by herself.



What really I mean to say is, a Kentucky Derby prediction in no way presages the actual nomination process results:

Hillary Clinton enthusiastically picked a filly named Eight Belles to win the Kentucky Derby and compared herself to the horse. Eight Belles finished second. The winner was the favorite, Big Brown.

Eight Belles collapsed immediately after crossing the finish line, and was euthanized shortly thereafter.

Which is not to say that Hillary Clinton will end up in a glue factory come August.

Hankering for Obama

I know it's not always been cool to say it, but I've always liked this guy.

Friday, May 02, 2008

May the Force Be with Him

Search you feelings, Luke. You know it to be true:



Here's to his blows against the empire.