Easter Lemming Liberal News

Friday, February 29, 2008

Last Day to Early Vote.


Locations here - PDF.

Some local endorsements for Harris County here.

It is better to vote today - Tuesday could be very crowded.

Warning, if you have not voted in several years you have been removed from the voting rolls by the Republican purge voter effort. Ask for a provisional ballot if you were last registered in Harris County. They will not offer you one. Ask for one if you are a citizen who has registered in Harris County. On Tuesday you must be at your right precinct for your vote to count. Today is the last day to vote anywhere in Harris County for Harris County residents.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Return of the Late-Night Joke Writers

All right. I am holding a post until after the primary and will replace it with this. Click the headline or more below.

Read more late night political jokes.





The Nixon-Kissinger Madman Plan On Vietnam

On October 27, 1969 Nixon and Kissinger sent 18 B-52's loaded with the biggest H-bombs racing to the Soviet Union. The goal - to convince Russian leaders that Nixon was a madman who would start World War 3 unless North Vietnam began serious talks at the peace bargaining table.

Jeremi Suri in Wired:
On the most obvious level, the mission failed. It may have scared the Soviets, but it did not compel them to end their support for Hanoi, and the North Vietnamese certainly didn't dash to Paris to beg for peace. Nixon and Kissinger believed, though, that their threats opened the door to the arms-control deals of the early '70s. According to this argument, leaders in Moscow recognized after October 1969 that they had better negotiate with Washington, on terms amenable to American interests.

More than 35 years after Giant Lance, I asked Kissinger about it during a long lunch at the Four Seasons Grill in New York. Why, I asked, did they risk nuclear war back in October 1969? He paused over his salad, surprised that I knew so much about this episode, and measured his words carefully. "Something had to be done," he explained, to back up threats the US had made and to push the Soviets for help in Vietnam. Kissinger had suggested the nuclear maneuvers to give the president more leverage in negotiations. It was an articulation of the game theory he had studied before coming to power. "What were [the Soviets] going to do?" Kissinger said dismissively.
That is just part of Wired magazine's Free Month. Free - the new business model.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Republican Fundraisers Talk About

Right now, it is mostly about how McCain is hosed. Here in Texas, we aren't seeing the money advantage so much as the superb ground organization of the Obama team. But the money people are worried about the Obama cash advantage. This is why McCain is desperate to get Obama to agree to use public funding, even if McCain won't use it now. An interesting history from the other side - the side that used to have the political money-making machine.

Patrick Ruffini:
The situation right now is that Obama can raise $60 million a month through November, even with $10 million a month online, McCain could do $20-30 million. Think Kerry had a good pitch with Bush outraising him 2 to 1? McCain could be outraised 3 to 1.

....But I think a plausible scenario is that Obama uses a 2 or 3 to 1 cash advantage is to expand the map: to play in 25 states rather than McCain’s 15-20. The most effective TV ads are those that are uncontested. Could Obama run virtually uncontested advertising in Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Georgia to move the numbers starting in March? And organize the African American vote in the South? Or more likely, concentrate on building insurmountable leads in true swing states like Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota and force him to defend GOP-leaning Missouri and Florida?

All of this — the massive resource advantage Obama now enjoys — is the result of a decision to trust in a fundamentally more deeper and more resilient medium for building support for his campaign: a word of mouth network that can only be corralled online. Hillary Clinton trusted the establishment and is on the brink of losing. The GOP candidates who leaned on the party’s Wise Old Men lost.


For the election projection nerds

New model highlights Obama's better chances to win general election. Clinton does do better in deep South where she has no chance of winning.

That is a better model than this.



New evidence in Robert Kennedy Assassination

New audio evidence implicates second gunman at the Ambassador Hotel. This short article also highlights the numbers of shots fired questions. In 2006, it was also revealed that two CIA operatives, under suspicion by conspiracy theorists over the JFK assassination, were also at the Ambassador Hotel the night RFK was shot.



Pro-Choice the Moral Choice

Kevin Drum questions some of the controversy surrounding Amy Sullivan who promotes an outreach to Democratic Christians. A big part of the controversy is over abortion.

Yes, there are moral choices around abortion. Believing the woman is in the best position to make those moral decisions, not the government, is a moral decision. It is a moral decision some can disagree with.

One things I ask the more extreme anti-abortion opponents is "why don't you also oppose contraception?" You can make moral arguments and religious arguments about that and some do. The official Catholic Church position is that life begins before fertilization, you are going against the will of God to interfere with the chance of pregnancy if that is what he decides.

I also ask "what about those who believe the soul enters the body at the first breath?" Jesus Christ is sure to have believed that as a learned Jewish religious teacher of the time.

I could also ask what about that at the time of America's founding fathers, and for hundred of years before, the dividing line between human or not, was quickening, the first time a woman could feel the baby move. Isn't it a moral and proper choice to keep the government out of these decisions in the gray areas and make the human life and murder legal decision at a clear dividing line? Isn't viability, the ability to survive disconnected from the mother, the best measure of a separate human life?

Obama has a good, reasonable moderate view:
I think that the American people struggle with two principles: There's the principle that a fetus is not just an appendage, it's potential life. I think people recognize that there's a moral element to that. They also believe that women should have some control over their bodies and themselves and there is a privacy element to making those decisions.

I don't think people take the issue lightly. A lot of people have arrived in the view that I've arrived at, which is that there is a moral implication to these issues, but that the women involved are in the best position to make that determination. And I don't think they make it lightly.


Obama Campaign Nearing One Million Donors


Giving away t-shirts to the latest over $25 donors.

Very smart move.
The Obama campaign depends on repeat small donors. Now for a donation donors recieve something that publicizes the campaign and the Obama team adds to their database for futher appeals. The people who donate also want the t-shirt. The grass roots Obama campaign is usually out of the normal campaign items that supporters want - buttons, signs, t-shirts, bumperstickers. Can't keep up with demand.



Former Gov. Mark White endorses Obama

Austin American-Statesman:
Houston lawyer Mark White, one of the two surviving Democratic governors of Texas, says he’s endorsing Barack Obama for president today because he’s "essentially become America’s candidate. You see people from all walks of life, rich and poor, every color reflected, every ethnicity. There’s enthusiasm, hope. He will not only be nominated, he will be elected president. He will be America’s president."


Emergency Petition to Stop Telecom Immunity

Americans speak out against illegal spying and telecom immunity — watch the video! Contact Congress.




"Liberal Fascism"


"Tedious, inane; very, very boring; there's no real coherent argument to be extracted here at all." Can I add "one of the worst books in the last 100 years." Read a bit and realize it goes on for over four hundred pages not getting any better and just keeps adding words to make the argument liberals - bad, conservatives - good seem more sophisticated. More and here.

Jon Stewart: wow.

Still, Jonah inspired me to creat my tag "conservative fascism" to deal with similar stuff.



Great Choices vs. Terrible Continuation


Although I have endorsed Barack Obama,Chelsea and Hillary - Click for larger image I have a great deal of respect for Hillary Clinton and I have a crush on Chelsea girl. It is time for Chelsea to start thinking of running for office soon or at least taking up with a dirty liberal old man.

McBush - A thousand more years. Like many Democrats, I would be happy with a Obama/Clinton ticket and adding Bill Richardson and John Edwards to the cabinet. (Despite the role Bill Richardson played ignoring missing votes in New Mexico in 2004 due to an internal NM Democratic fight, he made up for it by instituting paper ballots in 2006.)

I would hate four years of McBush. A thousand year occupation in Iraq, an angry old man who knows nothing of economics, bad Republican judges - no thank you.

Chelsea did come to see my neighborhood the other day at San Jac College. Chelsea - click for larger image
Chelsea Clinton came out to the foyer filled with students and held a question and answer period that lasted nearly an hour.
Vote early and Caucus on Tuesday March 4.

Last five polls now show Obama surging in Texas - most show ties within the margin of error, however.

SurveyUSA. 2/23-25. (2/19 results)
Obama 49 (45)
Clinton 45 (50)

CNN/Opinion Research:
Obama 50 (48)
Clinton 46 (50)

Rassmussen
Clinton 46 (54)
Obama 45 (38)

ARG
Obama 50 (48)
Clinton 42 (42)

Decision Analyst (Internet balanced poll)
Obama 57
Clinton 43


Monday, February 25, 2008

Local Endorsements - Update


Here are some local Pasadena/Deer Park/La Porte/Houston, Texas area endorsements.

VOTE EARLY, CAUCUS on the 4th at 7 PM. Locations at HarrisVotes.Org.

Area 5 Democrats Endorse The Following

Candidates In The March 4 Primary


U.S. Senate – Rick Noriega


U.S. Representative Dist 18 -Sheila Jackson Lee

U.S. Representative Dist 22 – Nick Lampson

U.S. Representative Dist 29 – Gene Green

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 8 – Susan Criss

State Senator, Dist 6 – Mario Gallegos

State Senator, Dist 11 – Joe Jaworski

State Rep. Dist. 143 – Ana E, Hernandez

State Rep. Dist. 146 - Elias de la Garza

State Rep. Dist. 147 – Garnet Coleman

Civil District Court 80 – Tanner Garth

Civil District Court 125 – Kyle Carter

Civil Dist. Court 152 – Robert Schaffer

Civil Dist. Court 190 – Bruce Mosier

Civil District Court 215 – Steven Kirkland

Criminal District Court 174 – Ruben Guerrero

Criminal District Court 351 – Sylvia Pubchara

County Judge – David Minceberg

County Sheriff – Adrian Garcia

County Tax Assessor- Collector – Diane Trautman

Justice of the Peace Pct. 2, Place 1 – Jo Ann Delgado

Justice of the Peace Pct. 8, Place 1 – Jeff Heintschel

Constable Precinct 2 – Gary Freeman

Constable Precinct 3 – Ken Jones

Precinct Chairman Pct. 696 – Richard Camunez
I am going to add my two cents.

U.S. President: Barack Obama
U.S. Senate: Rick Noriega

Railroad Commissioner: Art Hall Dale Henry
Justice, Texas Supreme Court Place 7: Sam Houston
TX House District 140: Armando Walle
TX House District 144: Joel Redmond Joel Redmond
TX House District 145: Carol Alvarado
TX House District 146: Borris Miles
TX House District 147: Garnet Coleman
TX House District 148: Jessica Farrar

UPDATE - Awaiting further word on or from Hall and Redmond.... I like Dale Henry and Joel Redmond is a better choice than the GOP candidates.

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The $3 Trillion Occupation
Most Americans have yet to feel these costs. The price in blood has been paid by our voluntary military and by hired contractors. The price in treasure has, in a sense, been financed entirely by borrowing. Taxes have not been raised to pay for it -- in fact, taxes on the rich have actually fallen. Deficit spending gives the illusion that the laws of economics can be repealed, that we can have both guns and butter. But of course the laws are not repealed. The costs of the war are real even if they have been deferred, possibly to another generation.


Texas's New Energy Gusher - Wind Power

Texas has turned into the the capital of wind power. Over 3% of Texas electricity is now produced on wind farms.



Who's the Patriotic One?


You may have see the photo supposedly showing Obama not putting his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. Everyone church-going right-winger has been forwarding it.

Here is the video. It was the National Anthem which doesn't require you to put your hand on your heart. Obama was the only one singing, Not Bill Richardson or Hillary Clinton.

There is a conspiracy to play people for suckers.



Alabama Station Blacks Out 60 Minutes Broadcast


Viewers in Alabama attempting to watch the 60 Minutes story on their former Democratic governor being falsely railroaded into jail by the Republican Party saw a blank screen for ten minutes. The conservative owned station blamed "technical difficulties."

In the 60's, several Southern stations lost their licenses for refusing to show national news programming covering the civil rights movement. The FCC should look into this incident.

CBS Video of the segment - an excellent story.

Scott Horton at Harper's Magazine has much more.
I am now hearing from readers all across Northern Alabama—from Decatur to Huntsville and considerably on down—that a mysterious “service interruption” blocked the broadcast of only the Siegelman segment of 60 Minutes this evening. The broadcaster is Channel 19 WHNT, which serves Northern Alabama and Southern Tennessee. This station was noteworthy for its hostility to Siegelman and support for his Republican adversary. The station ran a trailer stating “We apologize that you missed the first segment of 60 Minutes tonight featuring ‘The Prosecution of Don Siegelman.’ It was a techincal problem with CBS out of New York.” I contacted CBS News in New York and was told that “there is no delicate way to put this: the WHNT claim is not true. There were no transmission difficulties. The problems were peculiar to Channel 19, which had the signal and had functioning transmitters.” I was told that the decision to blacken screens across Northern Alabama “could only have been an editorial call.”


For more on the background of this story see Raw Story - One, Two, Three.

Larisa Alexandrov reports on the White House pressure to kill the story of Karl Rove's political prisoner.

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Political Psychology

I have followed Kohlberg's stages of moral development often in looking at politics and conservative morality. Paul Rosenberg writes that for politics I should follow a Kohlberg student Robert Kegan's theories of social maturity, perhaps a less loaded term than morality.

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Texas 2008 Round-Up #8


It's Monday, and exactly one week and one day before the all-important March primary. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

TXsharon has a broken modem so Bluedaze is suffering but she managed to post about The RRC's approval of Atmos Energy's extravagant spending--bendover Texans. Also read about how Phil King meets Karma in Wise County and hear the horrendous sounds of the Barnett Shale.

Off the Kuff offers his incomplete list of endorsements for the Democratic primaries, and for his birthday rounds up his complete list of candidate interviews.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News has blogged an eventful week or two climaxing with Paul Burka becoming a believer in the Obama Borg - Democrats can take back Texas. Wow.

Over at McBlogger Mayor McSleaze commemorates Kirk Watson's Deer In The Headlights Moment while McBlogger, beverage in hand, watches the Debate and puts the smackdown on wingnuts still drinking the school voucher Kool-Aid

The Texas Cloverleaf makes it back safely from Oklahoma City and discusses the National Stonewall Democrats meeting there, as well as the upcoming LGBT Presidential Town Hall in Dallas on Monday night.

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs had a report on Obama's visit to Houston last Tuesday, and also noted the end of the Fidel Castro era in Cuba. Open Source Dem had part three of his "Texas in Play" series, entitled "Jim Crow Lives".

Hal, who writes Half Empty, went to early vote last Wednesday and has some poll observations and some Fort Bend County stats.

Bill Howell of StoutDemBlog reminds us of some Texas election history that is relevant for this year's Democratic Primary, in Don't Be Confused By Names.

Muse was at the Bill Clinton fundraiser in Houston this week where she fulfilled a lifelong dream to touch him – handshake! She notes that not all college students are for Obama – witness the Daily Texan endorsement for Hillary. And, she receives an email where Obama encourages Republicans to crash the Democratic primary, to vote against the bad, scary Hillary. More Hillary stuff coming this week on musings!

WhosPlayin tries to explain the "Obama Movement", and has a run-down of which Texas blogs are endorsing Clinton or Obama.

Vince at Capitol Annex notes that the Texas Democratic Party has instructed county and precinct officials not to interpret election results for the media or political campaigns, and asks if national Democrats will still respect us (or call or visit) after March 4.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

America's Water Torture Debate - 100 years ago

Same as it ever was, a rush to Empire leads to torture against insurgents and a debate in America. Ultimately the White House declared victory and the media turned away from unpleasant questions.



Obama


Probabaly the best post about the complexities of Obama is the book review of The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream written before he was a candidate. The current reviews of several books now that he is the candidate and the front runner provides a little more.

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Holy Sh**!


Paul Burka conversion:
Barack Obama's personality and his message are dominating politics nationwide. The last candidate to stir this kind of feeling was Ronald Reagan in 1980 and before him Bobby Kennedy in 1968. Veteran political observers like me can roll our eyes over someone running for president on a platform of "Hope" and "Change," but nothing is so powerful as an idea, even a vague one, whose time has come. Obama is riding the whirlwind, and if he can make the moment last until November, it is going to sweep out the Republicans, even in Texas. These numbers are so overwhelming, and the fifteen counties have such a large fraction of the state's registered voters -- 7,815,906 of 12,607,466, or 62% -- that what happens in other 239 counties is unlikely to alter the trend. These numbers have made me a believer. Rick Noriega could defeat John Cornyn. The Democrats can win a majority in the Texas House of Representatives. The consummate irony is that George W. Bush, who made Texas a Republican state on his way in to the presidency, may make it a Democratic state on his way out.
Wow, just the other day I had a post, and comment, criticizing Paul Burka's coverage of the Democratic debate.

Viva Obama! A lot of interesting posts because of things happening this week, this month - you do read them all - right? Burka's assimilation into the Obama Borg collective and his prediction that Democrats can take back Texas is the unexpected topping. Experienced Houston Chronicle political columnist Rick Casey has also just already called the Texas primary election - for Obama.

Vote early, We are going to have enough work on our hands the fourth for the less smart people who don't. Just come back at 7 PM to caucus.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Portrait of the Last Days of a Campaign

Unlike the Republicans, Democrats face reality but soldier on as Hillary is doing.

Portrait of a winning campaign in Texas - Obama defends liberal label in Austin. Woos Young Latinos at UT.

Latest EV analysis - Democrats clearly should go with Obama.



The Real McCain

Often not a pretty sight. Campaign Finance Reformer Has the Most Lobbyists Raising Campaign Money.
When it comes to disclosing how much lobbyists are raising for his presidential campaign, however, the group found that McCain has fallen short, even by standards set by the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign which voluntarily disclosed on its Web site the names of bundlers who raised at least $100,000 and $200,000.
McCain scores zero on the environment and many recent McCain video moments.

McCain as a liar with many connections to lobbyists.
In journalism, it’s a safe bet that if you write a story with the suggestion that a prominent male politician is bedding an attractive female lobbyist, whatever other point you hoped to make will be overlooked.


I Can't Argue with Logic Like This

This just goes to show that Obama only wins in states that hold contested elections. Sure, he wins big in caucus states, he wins big in primary states, he wins big when turnout is low, and he wins big with record-high turnout. But what the Obama-worshipping media is overlooking is that in each of the 25 state contests Obama has won so far, his name appeared on the ballot. It's time to stop giving Obama a pass on this critical issue.

Remember, if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama's name will not be on the ballot in November. And only Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that she can win when Obama's name is not on the ballot. In fact, she's undefeated in contests where Obama is not on the ballot, making her clearly the more electable general-election candidate. - Rhubarbs.


I've pointed out before

Most of the right-wing chicken-hawks don't know anything about the military or war but scream like their personal privates are on fire upon any criticism of our glorious leader and his military commanders and the men at war.

The mighty fighting Keyboard Kommandos have put down their G.I. Joe dolls and sprung into action yet again defending the purity and strength combat readiness of the modern G.I.s after Obama related what an Army captain told him about the lack of men and equipment in Afghanistan. I like pointing to former Republicans like John Cole for some of these rebuttals. We are all getting tired of this stuff.

I just made a comment on a righty blogger site, oops - this other comment here, asking if smears and gossip and rumors are the only thing keeping the easily gullible the right wing base pulling the R lever since Clinton? I shouldn't pick on her, she is actually one of the more sensible. Didn't even get into her buying into, yet again, the latest "the terrorists are going to kill us unless the Democrats give the President right now exactly what he wants." The true facts are here. I just pointed out the big lies about Kerry, the Clintons and Obama some of her commenters credulously believe. Most of the GOP in Texas want to take on Obama, there isn't a risk they might somehow get Clinton and think his inexperience will be key. I would prefer he have 4-6 more years of seasoning but sometimes Great Communicators arise and sweep all before them.

I am glad Pelosi had the balls, figuratively, to go on vacation, unlike Reid and Rockerfeller who sold theirs to the phone companies. Reid especially should be condemned for showing more respect and deference to Republicans than to fellow Democrats in pushing another civil liberties ending/corporate handout like the current FISA bill through the Senate.

I keep wondering about Hillary Clinton as the next Senate Majority Leader. Would she be any better than Reid? I think Hillary might be best as either just a Senator or VP or President. She would be tough on the war on terror, which is good, but too large corporation favoring, which is bad, but immeasurably better than McCain.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Viva Obama! Viva Obama!



A candidate fighting for our nation
It doesn't matter if you're from San Antonio
It doesn't matter if you're from Corpus Christi
From Dallas, from the Valley, from Houston or from El Paso
What matters is that we vote for Obama
Because his struggle is also our struggle, and today we urgently need a change
Let's unite with our great friend
Viva Obama! Viva Obama!
Families united and safe and even with a health care plan

Viva Obama! Viva Obama!
A candidate fighting for our nation




Lies, Lobbyists, Campaign Stuck in Financial Limbo

It has just gotten much worse for McCain. Read the above link.

Howard Dean hammers it home. Dean email:
John McCain literally has a lobbyist for "corporate interests and foreign governments" working from the "Straight Talk Express."
He can deny the sex part, which he did poorly considering he had two months to prepare, but everything else about the supposed "straight-shooter" is going down the tubes.

Newsweek headlines the lie.

He has even accepted public financing he no longer wants for his campaign and has no way right now to rescind his decision to take the money his name is associated with. I will like to see how this plays out over the next few months. After attacking Washington lobbyists for years he now has to defend them. And a campaign co-chair just gets indicted.

Joshua - "There's no way of getting around the fact that McCain routinely, almost constantly, issues categorical denials that are demonstrably false. The very volume and clarity of the bogusness of so many of these statements might even be viewed as his best defense."

Bad news getting to McCain.

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Obama still surging in Texas


How he is doing it in Houston. A fantastic grass roots ground game.

Recalculating the delegate count. The best case for Hillary on March 4 is a tie in delegates awarded. The best case for Obama is that he carries Texas 2-1 after the convention. Matt has the most probable outcome being the tie in delegates on election day which is what I had on the 12th before Obama won Virginia. I still haven't hear how Texas is unlike Virginia aside from a larger Latino vote which makes this competitive for Hillary. I give a slight edge to Obama on primary delegates awarded now and a 2-1 edge in convention delegates.

Is Clinton counting on Latinos to carry her over the top in the general election? She probably loses more conservative votes than she gains following that strategy.

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Vote for a Vision of the Future

An unusual science fiction, politics and visions of the future poll from SCI-FI network and Direct-TV.

I should have reflected more before I made my choices.



Local Rally for Obama House Party

Rally for Obama House Party (se habla espanol) (Texas 2/23 House Party) Rally and then head out to early vote in Pasadena, Texas. More evidence Obama is getting Latino votes.



I Lambast Burka


I lay into the eccentric Paul Burka from Texas Monthly. I'll also post my comment here for the record.
Paul Burka seems a little out of touch and biased but this has been going on for a number of years. He has written some excellent long articles in Texas Monthly recently but when he reveals opinions perhaps closer to his true self in this blog....

I am thinking specifically of his misjudging Bush and Kinky and now his uneven judging of this debate. His blog title is correct, Paul Burka is right and left and is swerving on down the road missing the sign posts.

Obama won the debate and is the front-runner. He likes Hillary and knows most Democrats also like her and doesn't want to alienate her supporters. Hillary is the policy wonk, like her husband, but is surrounded by bad advisers and doesn't have the overall judgment that Obama keeps displaying.

Obama is short on policy specifics but that is not really the president's job, look at every Republican president. The real job is inspiring people and guiding, not digging deep in the details which will change as the policy gets hashed out and compromised with Congress. A president needs to be a better judge of people and must be stronger on rhetoric and judgment than details - look at Reagan. Obama is ahead on that front.

Hillary is an excellent candidate and person despite the almost 20-year now insanity and propaganda of the right. She is just up against another great communicator.

Texas was clearly for Hillary weeks ago. The way things are going I am not sure she will win the majority of the votes and it is impossible for her to win the majority of the Texas delegates now - both because of the way the primary votes are allocated by senate district and the enthusiasm of supporters need[ed] to take the convention delegates.
I hope that last sentence doesn't come back and bite me. This is politics and anything can happen.

I am doing better on the election clerk front. Now I have three, or perhaps two and a half, and may get my last one needed soon.

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Hillary Claims She Made No Agreement to Not Seat MI and FL Delegates


Interview with Evan Smith of Texas Monthly:
There’s been a lot of talk about what your campaign would do should it get to the convention. Would you commit today to honoring the agreement made earlier not to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations?

Let’s talk about the agreement. The only agreement I entered into was not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. It had nothing to do with not seating the delegates. I think that’s an important distinction. I did not campaign--

The press seems to have missed the distinction if that’s the case. The talk is that you agreed not to seat the delegation.

That’s not the case at all. I signed an agreement not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. Now, the DNC made the determination that they would not seat the delegates, but I was not party to that. I think it’s important for the DNC to ask itself, Is this really in the best interest of our eventual nominee? We do not want to be disenfranchising Michigan and Florida. We have to try to carry both of those states. I’d love to carry Texas, but it’s usually not in the electoral calculation for the Democratic nominee. Florida and Michigan are. Therefore, the people of those two states disregarded adamantly the DNC’s decision that they would not seat the delegates. They came out and voted. If they had been influenced by the DNC, despite the fact that there was very little campaigning, if any, they would have stayed home. But they wanted their voices heard. More than 2 million people came out. I mean, it was record turnout for a primary. Florida, in particular, is sensitive to being disenfranchised because of what happened to them in the last elections. I have said that I would ask my delegates to vote to seat.

So your intention is to press this issue?

Yes, it is. Yes, it is. It’s in large measure because both the voters and elected officials in Michigan and Florida feel so strongly about this. Senator Bill Nelson, of Florida, early on in the process actually sued because he thinks it’s absurd on its face that 1.7 million Democrats who eventually voted would basically be disregarded, and I agree with him about that.
Video of interview.

I feel that in no case should the leaders, the super-delegates of Michigan and Florida, be seated as they led the effort to ignore the rules of the Democratic National Committee and hold the primaries early after being told their delegates would not be seated.

Meanwhile based on early vote trends Hillary is not as successful in turning out her vote in Texas. Her campaign could be in trouble. I do know that Obama is try to have an organizer in every Texas precinct calling likely Democratic voters. I have a friend who has called hundreds already. UPDATE - more on the Texas numbers.

Another Texas Monthly blogger covered the Texas debate which Hillary lost. Although Burka is biased he is fundamentally correct in that Hillary missed what she needed to do and made some jabs and mistakes that alienated the initially highly supportive crowd. That said Hillary is better at debates with her command of facts and details, her misjudgments about what to do and how far to take things cost her support. Obama won despite debates not being his forte.

ADDED - Why Obama voted present. Fodder for both sides here. Nathan pointed me to this. Did Hillary triumph over bad advice in the debate?

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Quick Updates


I was going to do a post about past McCain scandals but a new one has broken out. Note that this looks a lot like how he met and married his present wife while his first wife was in the hospital. There are concerns about the NYT reporting being raised, it looks to me that a lot has been cut out that they couldn't confirm. The NY Times ran with the story, which they have been working on for months and Romney knew it, to beat this story in The New Republic. John McCain owes the NYT a big Thank You, they could have killed his campaign in December when they first had the story and they still today discarded reports about the affair. The story has united the right media behind McCain versus the bad New York Times.

Turning elsewhere. In contrast to the lies you may recieve in emails, here is a video about Obama's early life from his half-sister.

Turnout is running 4 to 10 times four years ago for the Democratic primary. Not so for the Republicans.

Waller County tried to hinder voting for it's black university students, as usual. This is the result.

I strongly urge most people to vote early and come back for the caucus. If you have any kind of problem with your voter registration you have days to get it resolved. Most people are denied the right to vote because they show up at the wrong precinct. Are you sure you know where your precinct voting location will be election day? Most have been combined for the primary sometimes in some unexpected ways. In early voting you can show up anywhere in Harris County. Check HarrisVotes.org for more details on locations and times.

Sign wars, hot and very heavy. In Pasadena, the leaders for Congressional Dristrict 22 are Talton and Sekula Gibbs. Some surprise that with all the money he had saved up ex-Mayor Manlove is not more visible in that ten-person GOP race.

60 Minutes buries critical D0J story about political prosecution of Democrats, opposite the Oscars.

Gitmo lawyers told there will be no one acquited, make sure of that.

Hillary or Obama? - Texas too close to call but I strongly suspect Obama will take more delegates. My conservative Democrat father said he voted for Hillary and doesn't like the "black guy." My Republican step mother says she also voted for Hillary and not for McCain.

UPDATE - McCain's relationships with lobbyists. This was the main thrust of the NYT article as it only reported rumors of a romantic McCain relationship with a lobbyist.

Listening to the radio today I am reminded of attack poodles.

It is hard for green Democrats to go wrong this year with either candidate, although some issues raise flags. Obama might have a slight edge as he might be better for down ticket Democrats in more states. (Although personally, here in Texas underlying racism perhaps seems to have some conservatives who will vote for Clinton and not Obama based on a few conversations I've had.)


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

One of our new corporate business models

Don't shoplift but be accused of it and have to pay legal bills. The WSJ has a report of a Home Depot store customer mistakenly being accused of shop lifting. He showed them the receipt for the previously bought drill bits ($8) but soon received dunning letters for $3,000, later $6,000, from a legal collection agency.

State legislators have encouraged, and in some cases required, stores to file suit against all customers accused of shoplifting and theft.

I worked in retail. This will become another little profit center like third-party, almost worthless, extended warranties.

I had quit going for Home Depot after a credit card scam by some of their employees hit my credit card for almost $1,000 and then later Home Depot's sponsorship of anti-global warming campaigns. Lowe's is a bit better. Hell, even WalMart is getting better with their improving health care and drug programs.

Link from Atrios.

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Not Being Prepared

A Texas Obama political supporter and spokesman wasn't prepared and can't think of anything Obama has accomplished.

I would have pointed to the Senate ethics bill in which he prevented a much weaker bill.

UPDATE - Class act Texas Senator Watson apologizes for not being prepared and his mind going blank.

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A brief word about choices


David Van Os send me an editorial where Akwasi Evans wrote this:
When Bush entered office in 2000 the median household income was $49,158. Six years later it was $48,201. The median decrease for Whites was $745. It was $1,043 for Latinos, $1,381 for Asians, and $2,766 for Blacks.

In 2006, 24.3% of African Americans lived in poverty. The figure was 20.6% for Latinos, 10.1% for Asians and 8.2% for Whites.

Bush, like his hero Ronald Reagan, fiddled while corporate America initiated a scorch and burn campaign on the American people and their sense of security.
The war on minorities and workers has spread to the white middle class under Bush. We have almost half the population who thinks the economy is great and we need four more years of a Bush clone.

Krugman also notes this bad trend in another recent column:
L. B. J. declared his “War on Poverty” 44 years ago. Contrary to cynical legend, there actually was a large reduction in poverty over the next few years, especially among children, who saw their poverty rate fall from 23 percent in 1963 to 14 percent in 1969.

But progress stalled thereafter: American politics shifted to the right, attention shifted from the suffering of the poor to the alleged abuses of welfare queens driving Cadillacs, and the fight against poverty was largely abandoned.

In 2006, 17.4 percent of children in America lived below the poverty line, substantially more than in 1969. And even this measure probably understates the true depth of many children’s misery.
Work for change. The typical American life improves under Democratic leadership. Sure, the rich still get richer, but this spreads to workers seeing a bigger paycheck. The Republicans are worse for the economy as they target to improve the lives of millionaires forgetting that the average American drives the economic growth engine.

Democrats have even become better at slowing the growth of federal spending - 6.96% to 7.57%. And the legacy for our children - government debt increased $36 billion under Democrats annually, $190 billion under Republicans. The only thing Republicans in Congress are better at is bringing home the bacon as their richer districts saw much more government dollars showered on them even under a Democratic President.

John McCain: for the status quo; against hope.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The CIA - Legacy of Ashes

The Yale fraternity club, the CIA, has been an astonishingly badly run and incompetent agency almost from the beginning. They were good at right-wing coups that did not advance our national interest but little else. The CIA graduates were often our secret government that has making our country worse for decades - IMHO. The last few decades they have been good for big secret intelligence contracts for friends of the families. Legacy of Ashes, available on sale at Amazon, explores The Firm.
Is the Central Intelligence Agency a bulwark of freedom against dangerous foes, or a malevolent conspiracy to spread American imperialism? A little of both, according to this absorbing study, but, the author concludes, it is mainly a reservoir of incompetence and delusions that serves no one's interests well. Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times correspondent Weiner musters extensive archival research and interviews with top-ranking insiders, including former CIA chiefs Richard Helms and Stansfield Turner, to present the agency's saga as an exercise in trying to change the world without bothering to understand it.
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More wins for Obama


For some reason some people thought Wisconsin would be different but Obama rolls on.

The crowd of 17,000 in Houston goes nuts. Texas is going for Obama.

Team Hillary has fired their old ad team and is trying soft populism. That video ad is pretty good. I saw another one in a poll test that was too soft, too much light music, just waa-aa-ay too soft.
"I want to fight for you but I am not confrontational and will play soft music while going after my health care fund-raisers, trust me. Are you still awake?"


Bush hides more economic data

Bush shuts down highly-praised, award-winning, Economic Indicators web site. This is one of many government facts sites he has shut down because, as we know, truth has a liberal bias.

Just another example that we are on the way to a Zimbabwe economy!

Of course, the government economic data is mostly lies now, the CPI for example, and businesses and investors are paying money to get the data as it used to be published.

The People's Republic of Seabrook in exile drew my attention to this.

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Watch Out For Spring Break, Democrats

If no decision is reached by a week after Texas votes, March 4, there is a six-week stretch with no primaries. Mississippi votes March 11 and then six empty weeks. Will Dean persuade Florida and Michigan to vote again legally to fill the gap?

If I was Howard Dean I would have one objective, making sure that the Florida and Michigan super-delegates, the leaders of the party in those states who thought they could ignore the rules, do not get seated. The Democratic voters should not be punished, the state party leaders should be.

What will the pundits do with their air time if there is no voting?

Can the Democratic selection be wrapped up before the Spring Break? That is possible with a Hillary Clinton loss. Right now it looks like Obama takes Texas even in the primary even if she is ahead in the polls. And the polls are showing an Obama surge in Texas. Texas and Ohio were supposed to be her firewalls.

Would Hillary make a better VP or Senate Majority Leader?



Early Texas Voting Starts Today


Here are early voting locations with dates and times for Harris County - PDF. Early voting is live now for local Texans after months of setting on the sidelines. Really many years since the Texas Democratic vote had influence. Now it can knock a candidate out of the race.

On March 4, you need to find your precinct location, not likely your usual location, to vote or to come back at 7 PM and caucus to get your candidate more votes. That info will be available here - but not yet - www.harrisvotes.org. Here are preliminary locations for southeast Harris County (SD11) - pdf.

228 delegates attending the national Democratic convention in Denver are up for grabs. Only 126 delegates will be assigned based on primary results by Texas Senate Districts. 67 are determined through a convention process. The rest are super delegates (too high) which are Democratic politicians.

You qualify to attend the caucus by voting in the Democratic primary.

You go to the precinct caucus election night March 4 that is assigned to your precinct and vote to choose delegates committed to a particular candidate, or uncommitted, to go to the senate district convention. Most times everyone who shows up at the precinct can then go to the senate district convention level which will be nearby. The same thing happens there but takes all day. Most times even all senate district level participants who want to can go on to the state convention in Austin. At the state convention the primary delegates based on the primary vote are chosen by the senate district attendees. Also chosen are the state delegates based on the number of supporters for each candidate who have shown up at the state convention. Four years ago the state convention was in Houston but this year it will be in Austin.

Caucuses are fun, try to attend. If you can't attend the precinct caucus but want to attend your senate district convention give the precinct judge or someone attending the precinct caucus a note saying you want to be a delegate or alternate. People can also introduce resolutions at the precinct convention, bring four copies at least.

Right now, Texas Polls show a dead heat among Democrats between Barack and Hillary.
"One reason the race appears to be tight is that Texas Democrats are having a hard time choosing between two attractive options," says CNN polling director Keating Holland.

"Likely Democratic primary voters would be equally happy if either candidate won the nomination, and they don't see a lot of difference between them on several top issues.

"Roughly a quarter of likely voters say they could change their minds in the next two weeks -- and not surprisingly, those people are splitting roughly equally between Clinton and Obama."
What's been happening locally - In Clear Lake, Obama supporters swarmed the mock caucus at Bay Area New Democrats, many not club members before. In conservative Pasadena, (Joe Horn), Area Five Democrats refused to hold a real mock caucus and some booed the Obama organizer. They had to be reminded that fellow Democrats are not the enemy, they will join together after the primary to battle the Democrats true enemies. (Correction - some booed.)

I have been reminded by true sons and daughters of the South that "My Mama wants Hillary Clinton and if you respect my Mama you'll vote for Hillary." I suppose the darkies need to step to the back of the line, again....



Monday, February 18, 2008

Texas Democratic Delegate Calculator

This only calculates the Texas Primary results. For the conventions and caucuses, you have to wait until May, although estimates will be available sooner. Remember, to really support your candidate vote in the primary and come back for the caucus. Caucuses are fun.

PS - want to earn $98 by working for democracy on election day? Sign up with an election judge, like me, to work the election. I still need a couple of workers.



How Over 50,000 LA Primary Votes Went Uncounted
"Our contention is that the ballot design is illegal, and that it is illegal not to count the votes," said Rick Jacobs, chairman of the Courage Campaign and former chairman of Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign in California. ...

Not printing separate ballots for nonpartisans in each race cut the ballot variations by nearly half, saving money and making it easier on poll workers who hand them out. ...

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said the Board of Supervisors was never told that the double-bubble design had disenfranchised voters in past primaries but has now directed Logan not to use it again.

"In a close election it could have influenced the outcome of the election, and it could have affected the nominee," Yaroslavsky said. "We have enough of a perception problem with our elections systems around the country without exacerbating them with this. People want their votes counted. They want all their votes counted."


Who knew? Who knows now?


Five years ago, and almost exactly a month before the US launched an invasion of Iraq, a tiny, practically defenseless nation that did nothing to our own, Howard Dean said these words, in a speech at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa:
"I firmly believe that the president is focusing our diplomats, our military, our intelligence agencies, and even our people on the wrong war, at the wrong time. .... Saddam Hussein must not have weapons of mass destruction. But particular weapons can be destroyed without an all-out war to impose a change of regimes. That is a much larger step, for which the case has not yet been made. .... Iraq is a divided country, with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions that share both bitter rivalries and access to large quantities of arms. ... I ask you to work for change - to stop the reckless policies of this Administration - because we need economic and foreign policies that reflect both the interests and the values of the American people. "
- Howard Dean, 17 February 2003
Now, after five years, one candidate is still an idiot. David Corn caught up with John McCain:
After the event ended, I asked McCain about his "hundred years" comment, and he reaffirmed the remark, excitedly declaring that U.S. troops could be in Iraq for "a thousand years" or "a million years," as far as he was concerned.
End the occupation, don't let McCain become president.



Home mortgage delinquencies getting worse


The WSJ provides us with an interactive map. Over 4% of home owners in the Houston area, considered one of the brighter spots in the housing market, are late with their mortgage payments. Worst market is Merced California with over 8% late.

What do the home builders propose to do about this? Apply for government welfare and not give any more money to politicians until they get it. They will become the largest "Welfare Cadillac" owner group in history.

John at BAND had spotted this.



Texas 2008 Round-Up #7


It's Monday, and that means it is time again for the Texas Progressive Alliance's weekly blog round-up. This week's round-up is compiled by Vince from Capitol Annex.

Burnt Orange Report is covering all kinds of races this week. In addition to their notable endorsement of Obama and analysis of how he can win and his Presidential primary poll numbers, Matt Glazer has reported that State Rep. Kino Flores has some ethics violation troubles, beyond the $50,000 he received from Craddick supporters.

Eye On Williamson has two posts on the upcoming Presidential Primary in Texas, Why I'm For Barack Obama and Barack can seal the deal in Williamson County. And locally, The Silly Season Is Upon Us - The WCGOP Machine Makes It's Choice.

TXsharon at Bluedaze, while not a football fan, reports on illegal gifts of SuperBowl tickets to Phil King and Michael Williams. Considering that the most recent pipeline explosion sent flames 600 -700 feet into the air, we need Railroad Commissioners without conflicts making decisions that will keep Texans safe.

WhosPlayin of WhosPlayin.com endorsed Obama for President and Aimlessness thinks Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia needs to go back to law school and get a refresher course on the U.S. Constitution. Talk about your "tortured" logic.

Musings endorses Hillary Clinton for President,citing her toughness, service, compassion, ability to work across the aisle and her solutions-oriented approach to governing as reasons why she is the choice for a new direction in Washington.

The Texas Cloverleaf digs up a report by the GAO that toll road public-private partnerships might not be the best thing for taxpayers. While at the same time, a new state rail system venture is brought back into the public spotlight in Texas.

The Texas Cloverleaf gets its hide chapped when the Dallas Morning News endorses the primary opponent of Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. The endorsement is destroyed in typical Cloverleaf fashion.

CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme wonders if James Leininger is giving up the fight for school vouchers, i.e. destroying public schools in favor a theocratic education. In any case, Leininger is distancing himself from Tom Craddick.

Off the Kuff looks at the yard sign primary in his neighborhood.

Team McBlogger has decided to swim against the tide and endorse Senator Hillary Clinton in the Presidential Primary. Then they compounded the good decision making with a trip to the href="http://www.mcblogger.com/archives/2008/02/live_from_hilla.html">opening of her Texas HQ in Austin to see Bill Clinton. You know, the guy who's married to the candidate. Apparently, a couple of thousand people also had the same idea.

At Half Empty, with Edwards gone, Hal has thrown his support to Barack Obama. And, after a day of sAfter much soul searching, thought and input from great bloggers across the nation, Refinish69 has decided to endorse Obama for President in 2008.eething anger, Hal at Half Empty asks this question of the Republican Party of Texas, who are acting as surrogates for the John Cornyn senatorial campaign: Are you sure you want a dog in this hunt?

After much soul searching, thought and input from great bloggers across the nation, Refinish69 has decided to endorse Obama for President in 2008.

Open Source Dem at Brains and Eggs has`part two of "Texas in Play."

BossKittyat BlueBloggin shows us that voting is still a major problem in this country considering Washington DC Has 10,000 Mystery Voters.

Jaye at Winding Road in Urban Area endorses Hillary Clinton for President.

John Coby's mom is for Hillary Clinton. "I can't remember when our country was in such a horrible situation considering the war in Iraq, our debt, our status in the world. My country is in trouble and I believe Hillary Clinton can begin to solve the problems beginning on day one."

Vince at Capitol Annex notes that Marissa Marquez in House District 77 has been trashing bloggers, and endorses Hillary Clinton for president.

Where was mine? I couldn't decide and then got busy deleting hundreds of emails and forgot. Check out the real race or freeing the Texas dildoes.



Operation Rogue Satellite: The Latest - Danger Room from Wired.com

Here is the latest info on Bush's $60 million test of our satellite shootdown capabilities.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Not everyone is a fan of Obama

Interesting attack article on Obama.
Follow the money. Obama’s presidential campaign has received nearly $5 million dollars from securities and investment firms and $866,000 from commercial banks through October of 2007. Obama’s top contributor so far is Goldman Sachs (provider of $369,078 to Obama), identified by Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) investigators as “a major proponent of privatizing Social Security as well as legislation that would essentially deregulate the investment banking/securities industry.” Eight of Obama’s top twenty election investors are securities and investment firms: Goldman Sachs, Lehman Bros. (number 2 at $229,090), J.P. Morgan Chase and Co. (# 4 at $216,759), Citadel Investment Group (#7 at 4166,608), UBS AG ($146,150), UBS-America ($106,680), Morgan Stanley ($104,421), and Credit Suisse Group ($92,300). The last two firms are also known to be leading privatization advocates (Center for Responsive Politics 2007a).

Meanwhile, Obama’s presidential run has been “assisted” by more than $2 million from the health care sector and nearly $400,000 from the insurance industry through October of 2007 (Center for Responsive Politics 2007b). Obama received $708,000 from medical and insurance interests between 2001 and 2006 (Center for Responsive Politics 2007c). His wife Michelle, a fellow Harvard Law graduate, was until a recently a Vice President for Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals, a position that paid her $273, 618 in 2006 (Sweet 2007).

And Obama’s sixth largest contributor is Exelon, the proud Chicago-based owner and operator of more nuclear power plants than any entity on earth (Center for Responsive Politics 2007a).
I am genuinely ambivalent about the two remaining Democratic candidates. I just think Obama is more likely to win, to help Democrats win, and will be a new good direction for our country. I worry about the corporate ties he tries to hide and his right-leaning statements on Social Security, health care, the bankruptcy bill, and other issues. You are not getting big policy differences between Hillary and Barack.

Is he about rhetoric or true beliefs? If it is true beliefs will his "toning down the partisan rancor" actually be a good thing or is he just too willing to compromise? When has he taken a hard stand on an issue? When has he valued principle over what was in it for his political career? Does he have enough experience and is he tempered?

My sister believes he is likely a deceitful, opportunist who will say good things in public while cutting deals in private. Isn't that a mark of some of our more effective politicians? But is this even correct? If it is correct, if, is that what we want in Washington, another LBJ cutting deals behind closed doors?

My heart still belongs to Edwards but of the remaining choices Barack Obama is better for the country and better for the Democrats than Hillary Clinton. I am not ambivalent that either would be better than the Republican candidates. I sometimes wonder if McCain will make it to the election without losing his cool on TV or having a heart attack. He's too old and even more duplicitous than Obama and Clinton.




Why your Texas electric bills might be high


Houston KPRC 2 News found the Texas house member in charge of regulating electricity having a big fund raising party thrown for him by the Texas electric industry - video. Transcript - partial here:
King is the chairman of the Regulated Industries Committee that oversees legislation effecting electric companies and in a perfect position to help thousands of you who continue to call us about problems with your electric bills. But after repeated calls and e-mails to his Austin and Weatherford offices over several months, King never called us back.

Back to that party some 300 miles from King's North Texas district and the voters who elected him.

We found a veritable "who's who" of the energy industry donating anywhere from $250 to $5,000 to support King. Just to drop a few names -- Phillip Ricketts, former member of the PUC, now an attorney for a group of electric companies, and James Grace, James Barkley and David Searle, all energy attorneys with ties to CenterPoint.

"I think it's potentially a problem," said University of Houston Political Science professor Brandon Rottinghaus.

He says while this type of fundraising is not illegal, it should be top of mind for voters concerned about their electric bills.

"Consumers are going to have to make their own choices about what kinds of influences are being had there," said Rottinghaus.

It's no secret the lion's share of the money in King's campaign coffer comes from the electric industry. We told you in November that King received more than $80,000 from electric industry insiders. The latest reports show between August 2007 and the end of January, he's collected another $114,000 from people in the industry.

But it's not just cash.

CenterPoint's Rozzell also generously gave King two tickets to the 2004 Super Bowl in Houston. Campaign finance reports show Rozzell spent $876 on King and King's son during the game.


Dumb and dumber

The NYT asks if Americans are getting more hostile to smarties?




Houston Chron Endorses Obama, McCain

Surprised me, and probably it shouldn't have. Obama's appeals to end partisan bickering was the edge:
Of the two finalists for the Democratic presidential nomination, the Chronicle believes Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is best-qualified by life experience, skill and temperament to be the standard bearer for his party. In a conference call, Obama told the Chronicle editorial board that "more than any other candidate, I can bridge some of the partisan as well as racial and religious divides that have developed in this country that prevent us from getting things done."

Those who have viewed the numerous campaign debates know there's not much to separate Obama from his opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. Either could ably represent the Democratic Party. Both candidates favor ending the war in Iraq by withdrawing combat troops and initiating regional negotiations to stabilize the country. Both would press for dramatic strides toward providing all Americans with health insurance.

Both support a cap and trade system to begin reducing America's carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Each promises to initiate multibillion-dollar efforts to promote conversion of the economy to clean energy technologies. They favor securing our borders, initiating comprehensive immigration reform and creating a path to earned legal status for those already here who are working and contributing to their communities.

However, there is a decisive difference. Obama vows to reach out to independents and Republicans with a message of inclusion and cooperation. He offers a historic opportunity to elevate national political dialogue to a higher ground. Those who insist on vitriol and obstructionism would be marginalized.
Interesting article on Hillary getting the old Democratic network in Texas supporting her. Would be inspiring if it wasn't their only expertise the last decade was in losing elections.

For McCain:
McCain closely resembles Reagan in at least this regard: Most Americans disagreed with one or more of Reagan's policies, yet they trusted his sincerity. The same can be said for McCain. His well-known disdain for popularity-seeking has won him the support of establishment Republicans, independents and swing voters.

McCain's reputation as a maverick is well-deserved, but voting one's conscience should not be regarded as radically unorthodox. McCain simply does not let party dogma interfere with effective policy-making....

Criticism from talk show hosts and other commentators that McCain is not sufficiently conservative to lead the party is baseless and absurd. McCain opposes the right to choose abortion; he is a hawk on Iraq; his long voting record consistently matches mainstream conservative thought; he opposes changing the Constitution for trivial reasons. Some critics fault McCain for opposing President Bush's income tax cuts, but McCain's opposition to the resulting runaway deficits is classically conservative.

Of all the candidates who sought the GOP presidential nomination this year, McCain is the most experienced and stands the best chance to attract the swing voters he needs to keep the White House in his party's control.
Seems typical centrist Chronicle.



Christians Now Support Usury

A study of payday lenders who offer up to triple digit loans find they are strongly corelated with areas of Christian political power. A map of pay day lenders superimposed over states with a Christian power index greater than average is informative. The authors of the study speculate that this may be the effect of a political deal-with-the-devil a couple of decades ago; after all, Christianity has historically been against usury:
Peterson, who also holds an appointment at the University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law, said he believes part of the explanation for their findings lies in politics. "When the Christian Right allied itself with conservative Wall Street business interests in the 1980s and early '90s, consumer protection law was placed to the side as an inconvenient sticking point. The laws allowing an astonishing number of triple-digit-interest-rate lenders throughout most of the Christian South and Mormon West are a legacy of that political alliance.

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