27 June 2008

McCain: The Gray Ambition Tour

Trying to keep those 2 million gay Republican voters in his corner, I guess. (Embedded video corrected from earlier.)

End-of-the-Week Levity

This scene from "South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut" always has me peeing my pants! (Warning: Very strong language.)

SCOTUS and Guns: Legislating From the Bench

I'll comment more on today's Supreme Court decision that overturned a 30-year-old law banning the possession of handguns in Washington, D.C., but needless to say the seriously misguided ruling has, without a doubt, made America less safe. Talk about "legislating from the bench!"

With any luck this ruling will put the issue of judicial appointments front and center in the presidential election. At least two seats look like they'll become vacant in the next presidential term; and with the Court flirting with a Fascist majority, a Democratic president is the only buffer to keep that majority from strengthening.

The courts are the one branch of government where a president's legacy will live for decades. The five justices who threw America's domestic security out the window today (Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas) were all appointed by Reagan or one of the Bushes. And they're probably not going anywhere soon, so it will be all that more vital to get Obama elected in November just to keep the progressive side of the court tredding water.

He's Such a God Damned Fucking Idiot

Good gawd...is it January 20th yet??

First Thing In the Morning

The Friday morning news...

-Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has brushed aside last minute calls for Friday's disputed presidential run-off election to be postponed or called off.

-A federal police commander has been shot dead in Mexico City, the latest in a long line of law enforcement personnel murdered in recent weeks. It is likely that he was targeted by drug cartels who are battling the authorities over a clamp down on their drug smuggling operations.

-Global markets have suffered heavy falls after a raft of bad news including a fresh record for the price of oil, which traded at more than $140 a barrel in New York on Thursday. Markets also reacted to signs that the global credit crunch was far from over.

-Hoping for a "change of tone" in relations, Russian and European Union leaders met Thursday in the Siberian city of Khanty-Mansiysk. It was the first such summit since Dmitry Medvedev became Russian president. The two-day summit is being held to launch negotiations on a new partnership and co-operation agreement.

26 June 2008

The Songs of Summer

Coldplay's new album, "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends," sold a whopping 721,000 copies and downloads during it's first week in release, and as a result it slams on to this week's Top 200 Album Chart at #1.

The title track is today's Song of Summer:

Competition for .com and .net

The engine that moves the 21st century continues to evolve...

From the BBC:
A complete overhaul of the way people navigate the internet could begin following a crucial vote in Paris. The net's regulator Icann will vote to decide if the strict rules on so-called top level domain names, such as .com or .uk, can be relaxed. If approved, firms could turn brands into web addresses while individuals could also grab a unique domain based on their name, for example.

The SCOTUS Death Penalty Decision

In a 5 to 4 ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled yesterday that the death penalty is unconstitutional as punishment for the rape of a child. As heinous and devastating as such a crime is, and even though the individuals who commit such acts are sub-human in my eyes, the justices made the right decision here.

I am one of the few Americans who is against the death penalty all together. If killing someone doesn't live up to the Constitution's protection against "cruel and unusual punishment," then I don't know what does. Murderers and rapists (especially those who rape an innocent child) are let off the hook way too easily if you kill them. I say let them sit in a cinder block jail cell in the middle of the desert with no visitation, no phone calls, no cell block socialization, and with no possibility for parole. Exercise and showers can be taken individually with guard supervision. That's how you punish this scum. Let them sit and rot while they think about what they did.

Moreover, the possibility that the state might execute the wrong person is another strong case against the death penalty. Cast in point: In 2002 several inmates on Illinois' death row were found innocent years or decades after-the-fact when advanced DNA testing cleared them of the crimes for which they had been sentenced to die. As a result, then-Governor George Ryan granted blanket commutation to all 167 death row inmates just days before leaving office.

Although the death penalty wasn't on the radar in Illinois' 1998 race for governor, that single act made me extremely proud of the vote I cast for Mr. Ryan - a Republican - on that year's ballot. (The Democratic candidate, Glenn Poschard, was actually much more conservative on most social issues, thus my Republican vote.)

The current court would never overturn the death penalty at the national level. There are too many Fascist-Conservatives sitting on that bench, unfortunately. But in this particular case, the Court made the right decision.

First Thing In the Morning

Thursday's news...

-North Korea has handed over a long-awaited account of its nuclear program to China. The declaration, which is six months overdue, is expected to detail North Korea's plutonium enrichment efforts. But analysts say it is not expected to mention its alleged and separate uranium enrichment programme or any details of its nuclear arsenal. As a result of the release of information, President Bush will remove the country from his list of terrorits. Yes...even though they are a county which really does have weapons of mass destruction.

-The AIDS epidemic in some countries is so severe that it should be classified as a disaster, the Red Cross has warned. The crisis fits the UN definition of a disaster as an event beyond the scope of any single society to cope with, the group said.

-Militants in northwest Pakistan have burned down much of a hotel in the country's only ski resort. The night time attack follows sporadic clashes this week between militants and security forces.

-NBC has settled a lawsuit brought by the family of a man who killed himself when confronted with cameras for the TV show To Catch a Predator. "The matter has been amicably resolved to the satisfaction of both parties," NBC spokeswoman Jenny Tartikoff said in a statement. The network did not release monetary details.

25 June 2008

Polls, Polls, Polls

Several polls released over the past few days show some real movement toward Barack Obama.

Obama 51%
McCain 36%
L.A. Times/Bloomberg:
Obama 48%
McCain 33%
In the all important Electoral College, Obama looks to be giving the Republicans some major heartburn...

Obama 48%
McCain 47%
This is a state that hasn't gone Democratic for president since 1964. But it borders Obama's home state of Illinois, and he is the first Democrat to actually campaign in the Hoosier state - and run campaign ads there - in a long, long time. Indiana is the first state in which polls close on Election Day. Normally the Republican ticket wins so overwhelmingly that the networks are able to call it right away. I'll be watching the state like a hawk this year. If the networks can't declare John McCain the winner of Indiana's 11 electoral votes as soon as polls close then it will more than likely be a very long and painful night for the Republican ticket.

Obama 46%
McCain 42%
The Republicans poured millions of dollars into Pennsylvania in both the 2000 and 2004 elections, hoping to bring the state back into their column for the first time since 1988. Both contests there were close, but Al Gore and John Kerry were able to beat back George W. Bush and keep the state blue. It looks to be close again this year; and the state's high senior citizen population is said to favor McCain. But Obama is more than holding his own. The poll above has him leading the Republican candidate by 4 points, and two other polls show him leading by 8 and 12 points respectively.

Obama 48%
McCain 39%
This surprises me. Although Michigan has been a reliably Democratic state since 1992, they have always had a soft spot for John McCain. That, combined with Barack Obama's tough talk to Detroit's auto industry over fuel efficiency, led me to believe that Michigan might be the one sure bet to turn from blue to red this year. McCain was up by four points in the Great Lakes state last month, but Obama has performed quite well in two polls taken this past week, including the one mentioned above. The momentum seems to be on Obama's side.

Based on these polls and averages of other state-by-state polls, here is how the Electoral College would break if the election were held today...

Obama 356
McCain 182
(270 needed to win)

And North Carolina and North Dakota are surprisingly close. If those two states swung Obama's way, his electoral vote total would be 374. Keep in mind that President Bush received 271 votes in 2000, and 286 in 2004. 356 votes for Obama would be considered a tremendous victory in comparison.

Will it shake out that way in November? Who knows. But things are looking really good a little more than four months out.

Mid-Week Brain Break

More from the late George Carlin (warning - harsh language)...

First Thing In the Morning

News for your hump day...

-The U.S. State Department will not recognize the outcome of Friday's presidential election run-off in Zimbabwe, saying that Robert Mugabe could not claim a legitimate victory amid the current campaign of violence against the opposition.

-Report: The replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty and will do nothing to combat climate change.

-Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit yesterday against Countrywide Financial Corp. for engaging in "unfair and deceptive" practices to get homeowners to apply for risky mortgages far beyond their means.

24 June 2008

Celebrating Carlin

When it came to the absolute ridiculousness of the human condition, Carlin always nailed it...

Taleban Thrives In Afghanistan

From the BBC:
The Taleban made an estimated $100m (£50m) in 2007 from Afghan farmers growing poppy for the opium trade. Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said the money was raised by a 10% tax on farmers in Taleban-controlled areas.
So not only are these guys getting away with murder, they're getting filthy rich. All the while we're in Iraq doing...well...doing what, exactly?

The President of the United States is responsible for the failure to remove the governing faction of the terrorist group responsible for the attacks of 9/11, making the world - and our nation - less safe.

The Fascist-Republicans need to stop for a minute and think this through. Had "President Gore" fumbled this war so badly and so tragically, had "President Gore" taken his eye of the ball to fight a war of choice against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, they would have impeached him and shipped him to the Hague to be charged with war crimes. Moreover, they would have called the Democrats incompetent on matters of war and peace and assured their party the presidency for decades. Why aren't you holding Mr. Bush to the same standard? The only reason I can think of is that he's a fellow Republican. And that makes you a traitor as far as I'm concerned.

Political party over national security? Talk about un-American!

First Thing In the Morning

Your Tuesday morning news...

-From Israel: Gunshots fired at the Tel Aviv airport while French President Sarkozy, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres are there. Leaders were rushed away and are safe.

-Breaking the truce announced last week, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets into the Israeli border town of Sderot today. No casualties have been reported.

-South Africa's governing ANC party has accused the Zimbabwean government of "riding roughshod" over democracy. The party said it was "dismayed" by the authorities' actions, and that free and fair elections were not possible. Oppposition presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai announced this past weekend that he was pulling, citing widespread violence as the reason.

- President Bush on Monday nominated a top logistics officer to be the first female four-star general in U.S. history, tapping Lt. Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody to head the command responsible for supplying the Army with all its equipment.

George Carlin, 1937 - 2008

The sad news from yesterday...comedian George Carlin died of heart failure. He was 71.

Very few made me laugh more, and I don't think anyone else understood America - and Americans - as much as Carlin.

23 June 2008

Obama / Webb ?

The Chicago Tribune's James Oliphant thinks the freshman senator from Virginia and former Secretary of the Navy would be an extremely smart choice as Barack Obama's running mate.

As Oliphant says:
It is widely speculated that Obama will need to choose a vice presidential nominee versed in national security matters, perhaps with a strong military background, to attempt to blunt the edge his opponent, John McCain, carries in those arenas. Webb seems made-to-order...
A decorated war hero, a "Reagan Democrat" who has been an outspoken critic of the Iraq War (and by extension, President Bush), and the man who beat the hapless George "Macaca" Allen in 2006, Sen. Webb would bring a much needed balance to the Democratic ticket; and would more than assure that Viriginia, where Obama is already holding his own against McCain, is in the Democratic column for the first time since 1964.

The Songs of Summer

The review I posted in 2007 on Amazon.com of "The Fox," Elton John's overlooked gem of an album from 1981:
"The Fox," Elton John's first album for Geffen Records, went largely unnoticed in the summer of 1981. And that is a shame because the set is full of wonderful tunes. The first two tracks, "Breaking Down Barriers" and "Heart In the Right Place" are classic Elton; and the title track could just as easily fit in on 2001's "Songs From the West Coast" or 2006's "The Captain and the Kid" as on this release.

The first single, "Nobody Wins," tells the story of lost love backed by swirling synthesizers and a haunting piano hook. The track took off on radio upon release in 1981 and raced up the lower half of the Hot 100 singles chart before stalling quickly at a disappointing number 21. "Chloe," is a wonderful ballad, yet only managed to make it to number 34 on the chart.

"Fascist Faces" has found its way back into my rotating music library. With the Republicans in control of all three branches of the American government during 6 of the last 7 years, the song takes on new meaning.

"Heels of the Wind" is an uplifting precursor to "I'm Still Standing" yet stands on its own merits. Had it been released as a single, it probably would have done well.

Finally, no review of "The Fox" would be complete without a mention of the superb "Elton's Song." A heart-wrenching ballad of a school boy-on-boy crush. Sir Elton's vocals cut deep and the writing shows early indications of songs he would later write for movies and stage.

The next time a retrospective of Elton's music is released, the producers would do well to include a track or two from "The Fox." This is a wonderful album and I urge you to give it a listen.
Today's song of summer is the title track to this classic album. It's one the best compositions in the Elton John/Bernie Taupin library. Enjoy "The Fox"...


Quote of the Day:
Surveying the decline of the airline industry...what we have now is a complete mess - a system that bankrupts carriers, embitters workers and infuriates the traveling public. But hold off on airlines for a moment and ponder his larger point.

Take any big issue that matters to the public...and what you see is a failure of government.
-Washington Post columnist David Ignatius on the government's failure to keep our domestic airlines from drowning.

The failure of the airline industry and how to best address it is going to be one of the next president's top domestic problems. Things can't continue as they are without a total collapse of the industry. And when the airlines collapse, the American economy - so dependent on air travel - will collapse with it.

For a president who wants to be remembered for how he handled 9/11, President Bush has been a complete and absolute failure on the two issues that were most affected by those attacks: energy and the airlines. That the Bush administration has turned a blind eye to these dire problems will, when they finally (FINALLY) leave office, be among the numerous absoulte failures for which they will be remembered.

Say it with me: The. Worst. President. Ever.

Brokaw Will Take "Meet the Press" Until November

NBC News announced Sunday that Tom Brokaw will moderate "Meet the Press" through this year's presidential election in November. The former anchor of NBC Nightly News is taking on the job following the unexpected death last week of Tim Russert.

The way I see it, this was the only move NBC could make right now (at both the business and personal levels). Brokaw is the perfect choice to take the show through the end of the year. He will bring a steady hand to a show that was sent reeling at the news of Russert's passing; and his credibility is beyond reproach.

First Thing In the Morning

Your Monday morning news...

-Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he is pulling out of Friday's presidential run-off, handing victory to President Robert Mugabe. Mr Tsvangirai said there was no point running when elections would not be free and fair and "the outcome is determined by... Mugabe himself".

-French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said the creation of a Palestinian state is in the best interests of Israel and its citizens. On the first French state visit to Israel in 12 years, he said a peace agreement would allow the two peoples to live in peace and security. Mr Sarkozy is to hold separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

-More than 800 people were missing on Monday after a Philippine ferry capsized in a typhoon that has killed scores and left a trail of destruction across the archipelago.

-Federal prosecutors have charged the largest contractor in Boston's $15 billion "Big Dig" road and tunnel construction project with lying about faulty work on a section where a ceiling panel killed a woman.

20 June 2008

Summer Solstice

Today is the longest day of the year. I am still working in Seattle, and the NBC affiliate here said that the time between sunrise and sunset today will be 16 hours - which means about 17 hours of light all together. Since arriving here in April I have been amazed at how much more daylight there is here this time of year compared to San Francisco.

And after weeks of off and on rain and cool temperatures, the day of the solstice promises to be perfectly sunny with highs in the upper 70's.

Wherever you are here in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy this most wonderful of days.

"A Deep and Abiding Faith In the Country I Love"

Barack Obama released his first ad for the general election campaign today. It will air in several states, including ultra-red ones like Alaska, Indiana, and North Dakota - three states that haven't gone Democratic for president since 1964. Voters in those states will find this ad has the perfect timbre. It's positive and patriotic...

The Democrats Fail; Pelosi Has Lost My Vote

A memo to the hapless Speaker of the House, my congresswoman, Nancy Pelosi:

As the Fascist-Republican congress did prior to the 2006 elections, your Democratic majority has made mince-meat out of the Constitution by handing that horrid war criminal in the White House the continued ability to listen to Americans phone conversations without a warrant. Basically you've said if the President says it's legal, then it's legal; screw the laws and the Constitution you swore to uphold.

Speaker Pelosi, as one of your constituents I am so deeply disturbed by your leadership on this issue that I am spitting nails over the fact that I voted for your renomination earlier this month.

That mistake won't be made again. In November, you will not get my vote.


Update: Larry has had it with the Speaker as well:
I'll be writing-in against Pelosi. She's an absolute disgrace for being from SF.

End-of-the-Week Levity

How can you not love Clairee, Ouisa, M'Lynn, and Truvy...

Georgia Tied

It seems one of the solid red states is thinking Obama might be a Democrat worth voting for:
McCain 44%
Obama 43%
Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr, who represented the state in the House of Representatives as a Republican during the 1990s, gets 6%.

A state of the former Confederacy, that went for Bush 58% to 41% over Kerry four years ago, is thisclose to going for an African-American presidential candidate.

How amazing can this election get, I ask you!?

First Thing In the Morning

Friday morning news...

-At a European Union summit in Brussels yesterday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the European Union will not be able to expand further without ratification of the Lisbon treaty.

-Several African states monitoring Zimbabwe's election campaign have added their voice to growing international pressure over the presidential run-off vote. Meanwhile, the wife of the mayor of Harare was killed on Thursday, beaten so severely with rocks and iron bars that her face was almost unrecognizable.

-Canadian researchers reported Wednesday that gastric bypass surgery - a treatment for obesity that is already known to reduce heart disease and diabetes - decreases the incidence of cancer by 80% over the five years following the procedure.

19 June 2008

The Songs of Summer

Like the Jacksons, Sister Sledge, and the Sylvers, Tavares were an R&B group of siblings - in this case brothers - who had a string of hits in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1976, the brothers Tavares went into the studio with Jackson and Sylvers producer Freddie Perren and turned out this top 10 smash.

From our bicentennial summer, here is "Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel"...

Obama / Richardson ?

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, today, to the New York Observer, on the possibility of joining Barack Obama on the Democratic ticket:
Look, how can anyone turn down an honor like that, honestly?
Upside? Former congressman. Ambassador to the United Nations. Secretary of Energy. Governor of New Mexico. He's a Mexican-American and would almost guarantee Obama a super-majority of the hispanic vote in November, and might even put Texas in play for the first time since 1976.

Downside? Did you see him run for his party's nomination last winter? He can come across as a bumbling fool from time to time, giving the Republicans plenty of fodder.

Putting Richardson on the ticket is definitely worth considering, however I think he'd be more useful, in what promise to be some pretty rough post-Bush years, back at the United Nations.

First Thing In the Morning

The Thursday news...

-The US Treasury Department has frozen the assets of two Venezuelan nationals for alleged links with the radical Islamist group, Hezbollah.

-By a margin of 93 votes, the UK Parliament ratified the Treaty of Lisbon (aka the EU Reform Treaty), depsite being rejected by Irish voters on 12 June 2008. The treaty would set up institutional reforms aimed at streamlining the work of the enlarged European Union; and was drawn up to replace the draft European constitution, which was thrown out by voters in France and the Netherlands in 2005.

-Hours before a truce was to take effect, Palestinian militants fired 50 rockets and mortars toward Israel on Wednesday, and Israel responded with airstrikes in Gaza, illustrating how fragile the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas would be.

-Authorities say a teenager from a faith-healing family died from an illness that could have been easily treated, just a few months after a toddler cousin of his died in a case that has led to criminal charges.

Eye Candy

Victoria Beckham, in January 2008, on her husband David's endowment:
It's great. It's huge. It's enormous. Massive!
Ain't that the truth!...

18 June 2008

More State Polls

Obama now leads McCain in Pennsylvania by 12 points :
Obama 52%
McCain 40%
For comparison purposes, Kerry won PA by 2 points in 2004.

And in Florida, a state I thought was going to stay in McCain's column all year, Obama has sneaked ahead of the Republican candidate:
Obama 47%
McCain 43%
On the one hand none of these polls mean a damn thing. At this point in 2004 John Kerry was leading in the all important Electoral College summaries; but George W. Bush was leading Kerry by about 3 or 4 points in the national popular vote...a small lead he never gave up through Election Day, when he won by three points and with the smallest Electoral College victory for a re-elected president since 1916.

On the other hand, things are much different this time around. The President's approval ratings are around 25% and just about every American (80% or so) thinks the country is on the wrong track. These numbers are very reminiscent of President Carter circa 1980, a year in which the opposition party, led by Ronald Reagan, won the White House by 10 percentage points in the popular vote, and walloped the Democrats in the Electoral College 489 to 49.

Are we on track to another 1980? That remains to be seen. But the latest state-by-state polling is encouraging.

Just for kicks, here is what the electoral map would probably look like if the election were held today:

Obama 350
McCain 188
(270 needed to win)

(For contrast, Mr. Bush won in 2000 with 271 electoral votes and in 2004 with 286. Mr. Clinton won in 1992 with 370 and in 1996 with 379.)

Little Miss Chloe

Enjoying the afternoon sun this past weekend...

Well Done, Larry

Congrats to Larry and the entire AIDS/Lifecycle riders who completed the 7-day journery from San Francisco to Los Angeles. We're all pretty damn proud of ya.

For pictures and Larry's personal play-by-play, click here.

And welcome home, Buddy!

(Photo: Larry)

Little Alex

A powerful new ad from MoveOn.org:

Some may find it a little below the belt, but that's how the Republicans are gonna play so it's good to see the Democrats growing some cajones. And better that the independent groups run these ads than the actual candidates; better to let a progressive group like MoveOn play the "Swift Boat" role than Sen. Obama.

But the ad's point is crystal clear...

Protect your children...Barack Obama for president.

Obama By 11 In Ohio?

That's a HUGE lead:
Obama 50%
McCain 39%
This very well could be an outlier, but if Obama wins Ohio by anything more than 5 points on Election Day, then he'll be on his way to a nationwide blow out.

Mid-Week Brain Break

Straight relationships down the tubes...and it's all because of the gays:

First Thing In the Morning

Your Wednesday news...

-Israel and the militant group Hamas have agreed to a truce, ending months of bitter clashes, starting on Thursday.

-A car bomb exploded at a busy bus stop in northern Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 51 people and wounding 75.

-Military lawyers told the U.S. Senate Tuesday that methods such as sensory deprivation and simulated drowning were based on training given to soldiers on resisting interrogation. The lawyers said they had raised concerns about the legality of the techniques as far back as 2002.

-Levees near Gladstone, Illinois burst following rising river levels. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich called up 1,100 National Guard members to assist.

17 June 2008

Voting Republican


Super Busy Day

Sorry for the lack of posts today. I was at work this morning at 6am and haven't been able to sit down until now.

Back to it tomorrow.

16 June 2008

Picture of the Year

Gay and lesbian couples could legally marry in the State of California beginning at 5:01pm, Pacific Daylight Time, this afternoon. The first to do so were Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 83, who have been together for 56 years.

"I think it's a wonderful day," Lyons said shortly after being named "spouses for life" by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

"Ditto," Martin added.

Godspeed, ladies...Godspeed!

Coming soon to the matrimony calendar: Larry and Trevor.

McCain vs. McCain

Perhaps his campaign should be renamed the "Straight Jacket Express"...

The Songs of Summer

During a show in Europe this past weekend, Bruce Springsteen dedicated this track to his good friend Tim Russert. From the summer of 1975, "Thunder Road"...

On Tim

One last word on the passing of Tim Russert:

There is no doubt the man was the lion of political journalism. As countless others said over the weekend, candidates for high political office had to get through the "Russert primary" - a grilling on "Meet the Press" - if they had any chance at all of being successful. I would often watch those Sunday morning grillings, aggravated that Russert wouldn't be asking questions that were tough enough, and shout at the TV from my sofa. And the questions he asked as moderator of some of the Democratic debates this past primary season seemed, to me, absolutely ridiculous.

That said, the candidates who met with Tim and the questions he confronted them with made those candidates stronger. I give him a large hunk of the credit for making both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the candidates they eventually became.

But news of his untimely passing hit me like a slap in the face for another reason all together. As a huge political junky I always found Russert's excitement at the processes of government a joy to watch. He lived and breathed the American political process. There were many nights this primary season where a junky like me wanted to be on that set with Russert and take part in the conversation.

And then there were those historic moments. One could tell that he was absolutely hankering for that split decision in 2000 - where one candidate won the popular vote and another the Electoral College - not because he wanted any sort of constitutional crisis, but because as a political junky, witnessing such a historic election would be one of the ultimate experiences. And then there was this year's presidential race. I don't think anyone in America was more excited about this year's presidential campaign, in which a woman or an African American would be the Democratic presidential nominee, than Tim Russert. That he was stricken down in the middle of it breaks the heart.

This morning, Tim's son, Luke, was on the "Today Show." Family man that he was, Russert would have been beaming. With his own sense of pride Luke celebrated his father this morning. He was solid, steady, and strong - in a situation where so many of us would have been sobbing uncontrolably.

Washington DC and the world of political journalism will never be the same. Russert was the stuff of legend.

13 June 2008

Tim Russert, 1950 - 2008

Unbelievebly shocking! Tim Russert, Washington bureau chief for NBC News and the moderator of "Meet the Press," died today after suffering a heart attack. He was 58. According to NBC News, Russert was at work recording voiceovers for Sunday’s "Meet the Press" program when he collapsed.

Our thoughts are with his wife, Maureen Orth, their son Luke, and Russert's father, "Big Russ."

On Russert...

Tom Brokaw:
This news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice. He'll be missed as he was loved - greatly.
Ezra Klein:
Presumably, he's up somewhere beyond the cloudline, hectoring God about His inconsistencies. "But Lord, in Exodus 6:12, you clearly said..."
Doris Kearns Goodwin:
I can't imagine what the news bureau is going through down there. I heard it is just wailing. He was just a giant of a person...
Marc Ambinder:
[Washington, DC] will all but shut down over the next few days, so vital was he to its voice...[He was] an unbelievable father to Luke and a loyal, devoted husband to Maureen Orth. A life marvelously well lived.

A House Divided Still Stands

Picture of the Day:

The lawn outside the Brentwood neighborhood home of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Republican-CA) and his wife, Maria Shriver (a member of the Kennedy Democratic dynasty) in Los Angeles.

12 June 2008

NBC/WSJ Poll Is Good News For Obama

Excellent news for Barack Obama in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released yesterday:
General Election/All Voters
Barack Obama 47%
John McCain 41%

Barack Obama 52%
John McCain 33%

Barack Obama 62%
John McCain 28%

Blue Collar Workers
Barack Obama 47%
John McCain 41%
Those specific demographic numbers weren't supposed to be so good for Obama according to the old Clinton campaign, but those groups have stayed with the Democratic nominee against John McCain. The hispanic and women numbers alone would put Obama in the White House.

Here is how the electoral map would look:

Obama: 329 electoral votes
McCain: 209 electoral votes
(270 needed to win)

All in all, this is a pretty nice post-primary bounce for Sen. Obama.

Loss of Cabin Pressure

Where it's headin'...

The Songs of Summer

From 1990, a "kick-ass" rocker from Bad Company. Enjoy "Holy Water"...

Now, Norway

By a vote of 84 to 41, the Nowegian parliament adopted a new marriage law that allows homosexuals to marry and adopt children, and permits lesbians to be artificially inseminated.

One more step forward while Amerika remains miles behind...

3 Years For Murder of a Gay Man

Stephen Moller, who delivered a fatal punch to Sean William Kennedy after taunting him with anti-gay slurs in May 2007 outside a Greenville, South Carolina bar, was sentenced to three years in prison by a Greenville County judge on Wednesday. Originally charged with murder, the fascist hicks of Greenville reduced the charges against Moller to involuntary manslaughter, and the fascist homophobic judge took the 7 months Moller already served and turned them into two years worth of time served, thus reducing an already insulting sentence of five years down to three.

Remember this murderer's name. I guarantee a fuck-head like this will strike again within a year of being released from prison.

First Thing In the Morning

Your Thursday news...

-Police are investigating a "serious" security breach after a civil servant lost top-secret documents containing the latest intelligence on al-Qaeda. The unnamed Cabinet Office employee apparently breached strict security rules when he left the papers on the seat of a train. A fellow passenger spotted the envelope containing the files and gave it to the BBC, who handed them to the police.

-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has narrowly won a House of Commons vote on extending the maximum time police can hold terror suspects to 42 days. The 42-day proposal was passed by 315 to 306.

-Google co-founder Sergey Brin has made a $5 million down payment to book a seat on a future orbital space flight, a U.S. space tourism company has said. Space Adventures says it is planning the first private space flight to the International Space Station in 2011 in a deal with the Russian space agency.

-Residents of the Midwest desperately shored up levees holding back rising rivers on Wednesday, while others abandoned their homes to the flood waters.

11 June 2008

Happy Birthday, Joanne Winters!

And many happy returns!

Obama / Biden ?

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, on the prospect of a Joe Biden candidacy for the vice-presidency:
Few Democrats know more about foreign policy, and few would so relish the fight against McCain on international affairs. Few are better placed to argue that withdrawal from Iraq will strengthen rather than weaken the United States.

The worst thing in a running mate is the fear of muddying his or her image in political combat. Biden would be a happy warrior.
With all of my blathering over Sen. Obama these last few months, it's easy to forget that Sen. Joe Biden was my first choice for the Democratic presidential nomination this year (my original endorsement can be read here). As such, I would be the biggest fan of an Obama/Biden ticket. Biden's foreign policy credentials are beyond reproach, and no one is better suited to be "a heartbeat away from the presidency."

Obama would be a fool not to include Biden somewhere in his administration. If not VP, then perhaps Secretary of State. The globe would heave a sigh of relief with such an elder statesman representing our great country abroad after eight years of incompetence by the current administration.

As Dionne says in the closing of his column:
To restore its strength and influence, the United States needs to return to the realistic internationalism of FDR, Truman and, yes, the first President Bush. Whether or not Obama picks Biden, he should listen to what Biden is saying.

Impeachment Now

On Monday night in the United States House of Representatives, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Democrat-OH) filed 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush that detailed a thorough indictment of numerous high crimes and misdemeanors, including not just complaints about signing statements and the war in Iraq, but also charges that the President spied on American Citizens without a court-ordered warrant, in clear violation of the law and the Fourth Amendment.

This isn't just a political issue, it's a serious Constitutional crisis; and the only way our great republic can be saved is for Congress to remove these criminals from office immediately. I don't care if they only have a few months left in office. It's the principle of the thing. If ever there was a case for impeachment...if ever the founding fathers had a best-case scenario for impeachment...George W. Bush and Dick Cheney more than meet the criteria.

Say it with me: Impeachment NOW!

Impeachment Now (Continued...)

Quote of the Day:
I do think that there is an increasing chance of a trigger event driving a fast escalation of higher and higher consequence military options. This trigger could be a mistaken signal, a ship collision, an event engineered by the Israelis...

Vice President Cheney felt it important to "tie the President's hands" when it came to Iran and to generate an event that would undermine the diplomatic track - the worry now is that the crowd in power is really talking about tying the next President's hands...tying perhaps Barack Obama's hands.

This really could be cooking -- and I think it's important for White House watchers to realize that the folks we thought had knocked back the neocons are themselves losing leverage again.

Obama and his team need to speak to this, to demystify it, and to make sure that America does not find itself tripping into an accidental war that really was no accident.
-Steve Clemons, writing for TPMCafe, on the strong possibility that Dick Cheney might be behind the plan to create "an incident" with Iran before the end of the current presidential term.

The U.S. Congress really should live up to their oath of office and follow the lead of Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Impeach these horrible people and charge them with international war crimes before it's too late!

Mid-Week Brain Break

You gotta love YouTube. People can make their own movies, comedic bits, etc. and post them on this revolutionary web site for all the world to see. This week's Mid-Week Brain Break is a mock movie trailer by a user who calls himself "ratpack1963." It's for the classic 1970 film "Airport."

Based on the bestselling novel by Arthur Hailey, the movie starred Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Van Heflin, Maureen Stapleton (Oscar-nominated for Supporting Actress), and Helen Hayes, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in the film.

The original trailer can be seen here.

First Thing In the Morning

Your Wednesday news...

-The United States and the European Union told Iran on Tuesday they were ready to impose more sanctions over its nuclear enrichment program. But President George W. Bush acknowledged the limits of U.S. influence over Tehran and, in the twilight of his presidency, appeared resigned to leaving the standoff to his successor.

-Thousands of demonstrators rallied last night in Seoul in the latest protest sparked by anger over US beef imports into South Korea. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Lee Myung-bak.

-French banking giant BNP Paribas has agreed to buy the hedge fund trading and financing unit of Bank of America for approximately $300 million.

-Whether it's Salmonella in tomatoes or E. coli-tainted spinach, outbreaks of food-borne illness are scaring people away from some foods and shaking their confidence in U.S. food safety procedures.

10 June 2008

Happy Birthday, Laurie

Hope you enjoyed your day! Many happy returns.

Wayne, Brent, and the Chlo-ster!

Howie Mandel: Terrorist?

According to some bubble-headed bleach blonde over at Fox News, that little fist tap the Obamas shared last week was a "terrorist fist jab."

Well, then! The Bush administration better get out to Los Angeles and move "Deal Or No Deal's" Howie Mandel to Guantanamo Bay immediately! All those fist jabs?! I mean...lord knows WHAT he has hidden in those suitcases of his!

Sigh. The sad thing is there are way too many stupid Americans out there who believe that actually was a "terrorist fist jab."

Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow chat about one of the more mind-boggling comments from the Fascist News Channel:

Obama / Nunn ?

From Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan:
[Obama] needs a boring white man. Because he’s an interesting black man. He needs a sober, experienced, older establishment player who will be respected by the press, the first responders of the political game. They’ll set the tone in which the choice is celebrated, or not. He needs someone like Sam Nunn. Or, actually, Sam Nunn.
For those who don't remember Mr. Nunn, he was a Democratic U.S. Senator who represented Georgia from 1972 to 1997. As chairman of that body's Armed Services Committee, and as a key player in the effort to prevent the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, Sen. Nunn would bring a certain foreign policy gravitas to the ticket. And former President Jimmy Carter (a fellow Georgian) has said Nunn would be an excellent VP nominee.

Personally, I think Obama could do better. During the 90s Nunn was notoriously homophobic. He fired two staffers in the 1980s for being gay, and was one of the architects of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Before putting Nunn on his "short list" of potential vice-presidents, Obama should sit down with him to gauge if Nunn still harbors such anti-gay sentiment. We have all been witness to individuals who transitioned from complete homophobes to PFLAG members; and while I'm not suggesting Nunn needs to have made that sort of turn around, if there's even an iota of a chance that he would deny perfectly qualified people jobs in an Obama administration based on their sexual orientation, then any talk of a Nunn vice-presidency should be squashed immediately.

If Obama wants to take Peggy Noonan's suggestion that he pick an old, gray white man then I have a better idea: Nunn's successor, Max Cleland.

Another Heartache In 2008?

From political columnist Stuart Rothenberg:
A close electoral map invariably raises the specter of a possible split decision — with one nominee winning the popular vote and the other winning an Electoral College majority. As in 2000, this seems like a serious possibility.

Obama is likely to [rack up massive] votes in Illinois, New York and California (winning them with large majorities), and he may gain some ground in normally Republican states [in the South and West] — getting closer than most Democrats normally do in those states, but not winning them.

If this happens, and if Obama narrowly loses one or two larger, traditionally Democratic states, such as Michigan...we could see an updated version of 2000, with McCain winning the White House at the same time that Obama gets more than half a million more votes.
I still think Barack Obama has the potential to change the electoral map a bit, and think that his margin of victory in the popular vote will surprise a lot of people. But when a political pro like Rothenberg hints at the possibility of a 2000 replay, the stomach sinks a bit. I don't think Americans would stand for it only two elections following the 2000 debacle.

The real danger would be very Bush-esque: McCain losing the popular vote yet governing as if he had a conservative mandate, even though Americans voted for more liberal-leaning leadership. If such a split decision occurs I would highly urge electors to place McCain in the top job and then, in states where they're not legally bound to cast their ballots based on how their state voted, turn around and make Obama his vice-president. Vice-versa if the split decisions is reversed (Obama winning the Electoral College and McCain winning the popular vote).

There is historic precedent of sorts. During America's first four presidential elections, the vice-president was the man who came in second in the Electoral College (John Adams was George Washington's VP and Thomas Jefferson was John Adams' VP. Each man came in second to the winning candidate.)

But whatever the case, whether a Democrat or a Republican comes out on top in the national vote, I really think it's time to rid ourselves of the Electoral College. It served it's purpose during our nation's early years, but in the 21st century it is antiquated and only serves to illegitimize presidencies that are won without the popular vote.

Eye Candy

Happy Birthday to Dirk Diggler himself, Mark Wahlberg...

First Thing In the Morning

Grab your java, have a seat, and read your morning news...

-Somalia's government has signed a peace deal with an opposition bloc aimed at ending 17 years of conflict in the country, the UN envoy to Somalia says.

- According to an international watchdog group, billions of dollars of aid to Afghanistan have not been spent effectively and the Afghan government and international agencies must be held to account or more will be wasted. For every $100 spent, sometimes only $20 actually reaches Afghan recipients, says Integrity Watch Afghanistan.

- A dam near the Wisconsin Dells resort area broke on Monday, sweeping away some homes, as torrential rains caused more flooding across parts of the U.S. Midwest.

-While introducing their new 3G iPhone, Steve Jobs announced yesterday that Apple Inc. cut the price of its best-selling iPhone in half Monday - to $199 - making the all-in-one smart phone, media player and Internet device more accessible than before.

09 June 2008

Obama / Schweitzer ?

Could Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana be on Barack Obama's list of possible vice-presidential nominees?

Sean over at 538 thinks so:
The first time I heard Brian Schweitzer speak, I thought: "This guy is going to be President." That is not a common reaction on my part to politicians. I've listened to hundreds and hundreds of Democratic politicians speak, and I've only had that reaction twice in my lifetime. The first was Barack Obama, the second was Brian Schweitzer...

Brian Schweitzer and Barack Obama are the two "new Democrat" styles that are extremely effective in the post-Clinton era. Both emphasize solutions over partisanship. Both are suspected by Republicans of talking a good game of bipartisanship and hewing to traditional Democratic Party ideology. Both are great communicators, but with different rhetorical strengths.
Sen. Jon Tester (Democrat-MT), who beat the geriatric crank Conrad Burns in 2006, seems to think Schweitzer is a great choice as well:

The Songs of Summer

An absolutely stunning duet by Neneh Cherry and Michael Stipe. From the summer of 1992, enjoy "Trout"...

First Thing In the Morning

News for your Monday morning...

-At least 12 people have been killed by two explosions at a train station east of Algeria's capital. A group calling itself al-Qaeda in Islamic North Africa is claiming responsibility.

-The energy ministers of the world's leading industrialized nations have met in Japan amid fears soaring oil prices could damage the global economy. The Group of Eight (G8) organization met two days after a record one-day jump in crude oil to $139 a barrel.

-While those high oil prices have caused fuel prices in major cities like San Francisco and Seattle to skyrocket well above $4.00 a gallon over the last several months, this past weekend saw the national average surge past the $4 mark.


Quote of the Day:
Well Dayum! The Fat Lady just sang her tits right off!
-Homogenius, a commenter to my cross-post on Hillary's speech over at DailyKos, on Hillary Clinton's exit from the presidential campaign.

07 June 2008

Standing With Obama, Moving Forward

Quote of the Day:
The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand, is to take our energy, our passion and our strength and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States.
-Sen. Hillary Clinton, suspending her campaign today and formally endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president.

And so this primary season ends. I'll get to the actual speech and the Senator's endorsement of Obama in a moment. First though, I must speak of the heavy heart I have this morning for my mother and the women of her generation (in fact, women of all generations). They wanted, with every fiber of their being, to see the first woman president. In Hillary Clinton they had a taste of that dream. It was within their grasp only to have their candidate fall just short of the finish line. I know full well that this sort of political loss hurts more than any other. This wasn't just any political race. For my mother and her American sisters this was very personal, and I understand full well that Clinton's loss feels like the ultimate punch in the gut.

Although she didn't reach the White House, Hillary Clinton did break one important glass ceiling: It will be common-place in future elections to see women presidential candidates; in fact, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if we have that first woman president before 2020. And who knows? Depending on the time, the place, and the politics, it could very well be Hillary Clinton.

That said, I agree fully with Sen. Clinton's comments today that women and Americans everywhere should really think hard about why we need to have Barack Obama elected president and John McCain rejected soundly. When it comes right down to it, we're all Democrats and any thought of staying home or voting Republican in November simply because your candidate lost the nomination would, after eight years of the worst presidency in American history, put self above country. And the United States can't afford four more years of Fascist-Republican rule.

My strong support of Barack Obama is well known, and my absolute horror of the vitriolic campaign the Clintons ran well documented on this blog. But I'll give credit where it is due: Hillary Clinton gave a superb speech today. During the 1990's Bill Clinton understood the importance of moments like this, giving speeches worthy of the history books, causing lumps in throats and tears for days. THOSE Clintons showed themselves in spades today. In ending her quest for her party's presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton came across as a true Democrat and - more importantly - a true American.

I don't deny her passion and strong work ethic. She will continue to be a force in American government for as long as she wants to be; and today she showed her love of that government - and of her country - by throwing her support to Barack Obama.

Nicely done, Senator. Nicely done.

06 June 2008

Beautiful Sunset

This is an absolutely stunning sunset! What makes it even more stunning than normal is the fact that this is not a picture of dusk in the Mojave Desert, it's not early evening in New Mexico, or even sundown on the fictional "Star Wars" planet of Tatooine. This is a picture of sunset...on Mars !

Impeachment Now

What the fuck will it take to get rid of these war criminals and hand them over to the International War Crimes Tribunal!?!...
A long-delayed Senate committee report endorsed by Democrats and some Republicans concluded that President Bush and his aides built the public case for war against Iraq by exaggerating available intelligence and by ignoring disagreements among spy agencies about Iraq’s weapons programs and Saddam Hussein’s links to Al Qaeda.
I don't care if these guys only have 228 days left in office. The Senate should send this report over to the House of Representatives, who should use it to vote for impeachment of both Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. The articles of impeachment should then be sent back over to the Senate, and that body should vote to remove these criminals from office and ship them off to the Hague for prosecution by the War Crimes Tribunal. It's the only way our Constitution will be saved.

Speaker Pelosi can serve out the remaining seven months of the presidential term and, in the interests of keeping Americans united, name a moderate Republican as vice-president.

The argument that congress shouldn't impeach now due the fact that there are only seven months left in the Bush presidency is a slap in the face of our founding fathers. George Bush and Dick Cheney have abused their power as no other president and vice-president in American history. They are, without a doubt, war criminals...and they should be punished accordingly.

Say it with me: Impeachment Now!

The Meeting

The political theatre over the last eight years has made political junkies like me absolutely thrilled. Who knew back then that within the following eight years we would see a very close popular-vote-win/electoral-vote-loss presidential election (prior to that it hadn't happened since 1888); followed by a close primary fight that would leave junkies like me both ecstatic and exasperated, and end with the first woman or the first African American presidential candidate of a major political party?

Just as that primary fight is being put into the history books, the winner of that contest, Barack Obama, met last night with the loser, Hillary Clinton, in a scenario tailor-made for a Hollywood movie.

Obama's campaign airplane was filling up with reporters for the trip back to Chicago, where Obama was planning to spend the weekend resting and spending some much needed time with his family. When the candidate didn't get on, reporters started wondering what was going on.

When the media found out he gave them the slip and that he was on his way to a one-on-one meeting with Hillary Clinton, TV trucks high-tailed it to the former first lady's D.C. home. And there they camped out and speculated about what these two candidates were discussing following a long and bitter primary campaign.

Only it turns out...they weren't inside the Clinton house.

Classic political theatre!

Instead, they were holded up inside the Washington-area home of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) who, according to the New York Times, "...set up two chairs [in her living room] facing each other...served them water...nothing else." Aides to both candidates were sent to Sen. Feinstein's private study and Secret Service agents stayed outside of the meeting room.

What role Feinstein played beyond hostess and what the two former rivals talked about is unknown. And quite frankly, I hope it stays that way. As much as I want to know, the idea - after 16 months of having every word of these candidates recorded and every mishap reported - of the media not being able to report any news from such a major meeting makes me grin from ear to ear.

What a movie this whole episode would make! As Sullivan said this morning:
I have no idea what was said and would one day love to see a Mike Nichols recreation.
In an era when Hollywood's creative juices seem to be drying up, a drama this good could do some boffo box office!

Dark Outlook

More bad news for the Republican ticket:
The American unemployment rate surged to 5.5 percent last month, the government said on Friday, the biggest increase in more than two decades. The report was the latest sign that workers face a darker outlook even as they struggle to cope with the housing slump and high energy prices that have cut into their spending power.
Now more than ever...Barack Obama for President.

Not So First Thing In the Morning

I had a rare chance to sleep in this morning and took full advantage of it. The morning news headlines will return on Monday.

05 June 2008

She'll Concede This Weekend

The email Sen. Hillary Clinton sent supporters this morning:
On Saturday, I will extend my congratulations to Senator Obama and my support for his candidacy. This has been a long and hard-fought campaign, but as I have always said, my differences with Senator Obama are small compared to the differences we have with Senator McCain and the Republicans.

I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party's nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise.
She's the one who sent the email so I'll take her at her word, though I'll continue to be a bit leary up until Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention this summer.

It also looks like talk of a possible Clinton vice-presidential nod is going nowhere fast. It seems the deal-breaker is former President Bill Clinton and all of the problems he'd bring to the table with personal finances and donations to his presidential library. Apparently there are some rather scuzzy goings-on in those areas, and the Obama campaign would rather avoid handing the Republicans fuel to replay the psycho-drama of the 1990s.

First Thing In the Morning

Your Thursday morning news...

-Latin American countries are refusing to sign a declaration on dealing with the world food crisis, delegates at a UN food summit have told the BBC. Senior European officials say some of those countries, prompted by Brazil, will not sign a final statement which might "demonise" biofuels.

-Zimbabwe's currency plunged to a new record low on Thursday, trading at an average 1 billion to the U.S. dollar on a recently introduced interbank market and triggering massive price increases. Analysts said the rapid weakening of the currency was being driven by inflation expectations as well as huge demand for hard currencies.

-Following United Airlines' announcement yesterday, Continental Airlines announced today it will eliminate 3,000 jobs and shrink its fleet by 67 planes, becoming the fourth major U.S. carrier to slash payroll and flights because of soaring fuel prices. Unlike other airlines, the CEO and the President of Continental will forgo their salaries for the rest of 2008.

04 June 2008

Best Case Scenario, June 4th

Whenever the urge overtakes me this general election campaign season, I'll post Electoral College map predictions. They mean absolutely nothing, as I'm basing them on different state-by-state polling, combined with a non-expert gut feeling as to how things will go.

Today I'll start with two: A best-case Obama scenario (this post) and a worst-cast Obama scenario (the post below).

If nothing goes too wrong and everything falls into place, this is the best case scenario for Barack Obama as of right now:

Obama 318
McCain 220

With the economy in shambles and John McCain being George Bush's little bitch on the issue of Iraq, we could very well see some major Republican defections or, at the least, abstentions on Election Day. That could very well turn some formerly red states blue.

I think Obama will lose Michigan. Right now I think the auto unions distrust him, plus the state seems to have a soft spot for John McCain. New Hampshire also goes red on this map. Like Michigan, the "Live Free Or Die" state seems to be enamoured with Sen. McCain.

So be it. On this map Obama picks up Virginia, Indiana, and North Dakota (where current polls show him within striking distance or tied with McCain). Those three states haven't gone Democratic since 1964. PLUS Obama picks up a vote in Nebraska (another state that hasn't gone Democratic since 1964 and where electoral votes are distributed based on results in each congressional district).

I also painted Montana blue in this scenario. Polling there shows McCain winning within the margin of error. But I think with some heavy-duty hitting by Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Sen. Jon Tester, this state might be in the Democratic column for the first time since 1992.

New Mexico and Colorado seem to be leaning Obama's way right now, but he'll have to work for them.

And finally, it's a stretch, but I colored Georgia blue. Remember, this is a "best case" scenario. As such, I count on Georgia's favorite son, Bob Barr, to do well as the Libertarian Party's candidate, siphoning votes away from John McCain. Combine that with a strong African-American turnout in the Atlanta area and the state could upset most electoral predictions on Election Night.

November's final map probably won't look like the one above. But I think the media would do themselves a tremendous favor if they resisted the urge to approach this contest as another election in the mold of 2000 and 2004 (very close Electoral College results in which only three states flipped sides between elections). It's a long time to this year's election, but at this point I still think Obama has the chance to alter those maps just a little bit.

Worst Case Scenario, June 4th

Based on absolutely nothing, this is what I consider the worst case scenario in the Electoral College this November:

Obama 217
McCain 321

In this scenario, of the states John Kerry won in 2004, Obama loses Michigan, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, plus one congressional district in Maine. His demands for a rebooting of the auto industry might very well hurt him with auto unions in Detroit; the damage done to Obama by the Clintons could hurt his chances in the Appalachian areas of Pennsylvania; and John McCain's "maverick" status still has potentcy in parts of Maine and libertarian-leaning New Hampshire.

Also in this scenario, McCain is able to keep the Bush red states without much of a problem.

John McCain - Not Change We Can Believe In

TPM's montage of John McCain's absolutely horrendous speech last night - the one he was in the middle of when the networks pulled away to declare Barack Obama the presumptive Democratic nominee - interspliced with pundit reaction.

Do yourself a favor, look at this guy, and you'll know why America can't afford to have him in the Oval Office...

Deranged Narcissism (när'sĭ-sĭz'əm), noun, (see Hillary Clinton)

A medical definition:
The symptoms of deranged nacissism revolve around a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and sense of entitlement. Often individuals feel overly important and will exaggerate achievements and will accept, and often demand, praise and admiration despite worthy achievements. They may be overwhelmed with fantasies involving unlimited success, power, love, or beauty and feel that they can only be understood by others who are, like them, superior in some aspect of life.

There is a sense of entitlement, of being more deserving than others based solely on their superiority...they are often envious and even angry of others who have more, receive more respect or attention, or otherwise steal away the spotlight.

03 June 2008

The 2008 Democratic Presidential Nominee

Graceful, Historic, Patriotic

And then this patriotic American entered the room and spoke. Sen. Barack Obama's speech was the epitome of class, grace, and patriotism. Unlike his Democratic opponent, the Senator from Illinois took the time to congratulate Sen. Clinton on a hard-fought campaign, heaping praise on the issues for which she has worked so hard as a Senator, as First Lady of both Arkansas and the United States, as a mother, and as an American. He was extremely generous to an opponent who has treated him with tremendous disdain.

But now, it's on to the general election campaign.

Barack Obama proved beyond a doubt tonight that he will be a formidable nominee for the presidency. He is a true red-blooded American who, as president, would guide us into the post-Bush years with a long-absent steady hand.

His speech looked forward, to the future. And after eight years of a presidency that took America too far in reverse, Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for president, is breath of much needed fresh air.

Graceless, Classless, Despicable

I knew it. I just knew it. Hillary Clinton couldn't do it. Rather than acknowledge the fact that tonight Barack Obama became the Democratic Party's nominee for president, rather than congratulate him on his hard fought victory, rather than celebrate the historic value of his nomination - as any normal politician, Democrat or Republican, would do - the sociopath from New York refused.

Any last lingering doubts I may have had that Sen. Clinton was intent on causing a loss for Obama this November were erased with tonight's narcissistic and venomous speech.

Make no mistake...she's threatening to take down the Democratic Party, kamikaze style, if she doesn't get her way. Because it's all about her. Not the party. Not her supporters. Not America.

Barack Obama needs to resist, with every fiber of his being, the calls to put Clinton on the ticket or, for that matter, anywhere in his cabinet. After tonight's speech (hell...after her Robert Kennedy remark last month) Hillary Clinton proved she can't be trusted. She proved that she is sociopath unworthy of her current Senate seat, let alone a seat in a presidential administration.

It hurts me to my very core to say that. I voted for Bill Clinton twice and think his presidency, from a policy level, was successful, and her turn as First Lady groundbreaking. During that administration I defended both Clintons against the very real right-wing conspiracy that tried to derail Bill's presidency.

But during this campaign, the Clintons behavior has led me to despise them. They are now no better than the Fascists who tried to bring them down 10 years ago. Their tactics have been despicable and vial and divisive.

Without a doubt the better candidate won this nomination.

But Barack Obama should be warned: Putting Sen. Clinton on the ticket would be seen by many of his supporters (myself included) as a sign of weakness. It would be like putting Richard Nixon on the ticket. Like the nation's 37th president, Clinton is a psychotic individual who suffers from a deranged narcissism. She can't be trusted, and her name should be nowhere near the list of people in the line of succession to the presidency.

Marriage Ban Amendment Makes Ballot In California

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
A constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in California was placed on the Nov. 4 ballot Monday, kick-starting an election struggle that will have repercussions across the nation.
A recent field poll showed the amendment proposal losing 51% to 43%. But complacency is not an option. This will be a major fight and every person who believes in the equal protection clause will have to make their voices heard as often as possible.

Approaching the Finish Line

From the Chicago Tribune:
A Democratic source said at least five to 10 House members would endorse Obama on Tuesday morning, at least 10 senators will endorse him by the end of the day and an additional 10 superdelegates will also endorse him during the day. That would assure enough delegates by the end of the day to clinch the nomination.
From the NY Times:
...endorsements from at least eight Senate, House members could come the moment the South Dakota polls close tonight.
The support of those super-delegates combined with the elected-delegates Obama receives from today's primaries in Montana and South Dakota should put him over the top in the count of delegates needed to secure the nomination.

This has been such a long and often times painful nominating contest that I just won't believe it until I see it with my own eyes.

As the President would say: "Heh, heh....I have cautioulistic hopefulism. Heh!"

Will She Or Won't She?

I'll believe it when I see it, but Huffington Post is reporting that Hillary Clinton finally (finally!) sees the writing on the wall and will suspend her campaign tonight following the Montana and South Dakota primaries. According to Keith Olbermann, Senator Clinton has instructed staffers not to plan events beyond tonight. They've been offered one plane ticket of their choice (either to New York for her speech tonight or to go home), and they've been urged to turn in any outstanding expense reports (with receipts) by the end of the week.

I don't know...I just don't trust her. Like I said, I'll believe it when I see it.

The Songs of Summer

One of my personal all-time summer faves...from 1988, here is Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison's classic solo single, "Rev It Up."

A Million Bucks

From the AP:
After investigating his options with his trademark intensity, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy underwent 3 1/2 hours of risky and exquisitely delicate surgery Monday to cut out as much of his cancerous brain tumor as possible.

"I feel like a million bucks. I think I'll do that again tomorrow," the 76-year-old Massachusetts Democrat.
Get well soon, Senator.

First Thing In the Morning

Your morning news...

-Syria will allow UN nuclear inspectors into the country to investigate allegations that it was building a nuclear reactor. The International Atomic Energy Agency says its inspectors are due in Syria between 22 and 24 June.

-French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is in Iraq to offer help in rebuilding the country and promoting national reconciliation. (This has to have the White House in tizzy! The FRENCH making an attempt to do that which the administration didn't have the foresight to do?)

-The large fire that erupted at Universal Studios this past Sunday destroyed a video vault which contained images of movies and television shows dating to the 1920s, as well as recent ones, including "Knocked Up" and "Atonement" and the NBC series "Law & Order" and "The Office." But in no case was the destroyed material the only copy of the destroyed material, officials said.

-Scientests said Monday that NASA's Phoenix lander is ready to start digging for ice - a condition necessary for rudimentary life-forms such as bacteria.

02 June 2008

Nation's Banks to Nation's Kids: "Fuck off"

From the NY Times:
Some of the nation’s biggest banks have closed their doors to students at community colleges, for-profit universities and other less competitive institutions.
With places like China and India hurdling into the 21st century at a much faster rate than America, the last thing American kids need is this big ol' "fuck you" from American banks. In this day and age, in my opinion, keeping loans from our kids borders on treason.

But 'cha ARE, Harriet!

Take a minute to listen to this Clinton surrogate, her emotions raw after Saturday's ruling on the matters of Florida and Michigan, and then read my response below...

She's obviously upset. Her candidate has lost an election that was extremely important to her. I know her heartache...I've voted in six presidential elections since turning 18 and have been on the losing side of four of them.

But look at that poor old bird's eyes, listen to the tenor of her voice, observe her body language, and then ask yourself, "Is she or is she not...a drag queen?"

"No," you say? "Not possible?"

Au contraire...

Iraq Today

We were supposed to be greeted as liberators following our invasion of Iraq. At least that's what the President's posse told us.


Not so much.

Moving On

So the Rules Committee to the Democratic National Convention met this past Saturday and hammered out a deal to seat the convention delegates from Florida and Michigan. Basically each state will get their delegates seated, with each getting only a half-vote as punishment for breaking party rules with regards to the primary calender. Had the Party made that decision from the get-go (rather than yank all of the delegates away) we could have prevented so much damn heartache.

And so... it's done, it's behind us, let's move on.

Will Return Late Monday

Hey folks...I was back home for the weekend because I needed some serious "Brent time," not to mention a little bit of "Chloe time," too (after this visit I won't see them for a couple of weeks). I returned to Seattle last night and have a too-early-for-mankind start time this morning. I will return to the blogosphere later today.

01 June 2008

Rider # 1004

Godspeed to Larry, his sore legs, and the entire San Francisco-to-Los Angeles crew who departed this morning for the 545-mile AIDS/Lifecycle ride. You make us all extremely proud. Be safe.

(Photos and map, courtesy of Larry's Sore Legs.)