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Archive for June 17th, 2008

Historians Give McCain Little Chance

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 17th, 2008 4:38 am by HL

Historians Give McCain Little Chance
According to Politico, historians “belonging to both parties offered a litany of historical comparisons that give little hope to” Sen. John McCain. “Several saw Barack Obama’s prospects as the most promising for a Democrat since Roosevelt trounced Hoover in 1932.”

“The biggest obstacle in McCain’s path may be running in the same party as the most unpopular president America has had since at least the advent of modern polling. Only Harry Truman and Nixon — both of whom were dogged by unpopular wars abroad and political scandals at home — have been nearly as unpopular in their last year in office, and both men’s parties lost the presidency in the following election.”

Meanwhile, CQ Today predicts the presidential election will likely be a blowout — for either Obama or McCain.


No More Steny! No More Joe! Name That PAC!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 17th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

No More Steny! No More Joe! Name That PAC!
As Glenzilla teases at here, we’re going to be forming a new organization to target elected officials who have become more responsive to K Street money than their constituents. First up? Steny Hoyer and everybody’s favorite…Joe Lieberman. This election is not going to be 2006 all over again. We learned our lesson.

Anyway, we’re looking for a name for the organization, something that is short and pithy and lets people know that we’re there to hold politicians accountable.

And we’re taking suggestions in the commments. If we pick your idea you’ll win a copy of Matt Taibbi’s Great Derangement, which — if you missed Saturday’s book salon (and Taibbi’s flame war in the comments with a 9/11 Truther) — is da bomb.

The Democrats are getting ready to sell us down the river.

Again.

Having failed to do anything they were elected to do in 2006, they managed to do one thing right — not pass retroactive immunity for the telecoms. But according to CQ and The Hill, Steny Hoyer has brokered a deal and entered into an agreement with the White House and the GOP that effectively gives the telecoms everything they want, with a nice bit of kabuki for a screen.

Unacceptable.

As Glenzilla teases at here, we’re going to be forming a new organization to target elected officials who have become more responsive to K Street money than their constituents. First up? Steny Hoyer and everybody’s favorite…Joe Lieberman. This election is not going to be 2006 all over again. We learned our lesson.

Anyway, we’re looking for a name for the organization, something that is short and pithy and lets people know that we’re there to hold politicians accountable.

And we’re taking suggestions in the commments. If we pick your idea you’ll win a copy of Matt Taibbi’s Great Derangement, which — if you missed Saturday’s book salon (and Taibbi’s flame war in the comments with a 9/11 Truther) — is da bomb.


Denver Host Committee Falls $11.6 Million Short of Fundraising Obligation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 17th, 2008 4:36 am by HL

Denver Host Committee Falls $11.6 Million Short of Fundraising Obligation

The Denver Host Committee, under a contractual deadline to raise $40.6 million by today for the Democratic National Convention in August, has confirmed it fell $11.6 million short of that amount. So, what now?

Barack Obama has raised $265 million for his campaign so far. Will he now assist the Host Committee in obtaining contributions for the convention?

The Obama campaign has broken all political fundraising records largely by mining the Internet for small contributions, collecting some $265 million. A fundraising pitch to those donors could vastly boost the convention's fundraising, several observers said.

While the Host Committee is confident the money will be raised one way or another, Committee Co-Chair Steve Farber addressed that possibility today:

“There are discussions occurring. We could definitely use the help of the Obama campaign,” said Steve Farber, a Denver lawyer and leading member of the host committee. “The fact that we have a candidate now does help.”

Today in Michigan, Al Gore endorsed Sen. Obama. He even sent out an e-mail to readers of his own website asking them to contribute to Obama. [More…]

Maybe he should have asked his supporters to contribute to the Convention, particularly since the Host Committee seems reluctant to ask the Obama campaign:

[Host Committee spokesman Chris] Lopez, the host committee's spokesman, insisted the campaign would not be held responsible for making up any fundraising shortfall. “Obama's great for the party, and there's a lot of love for him out there. But we can't depend on that,” Lopez said. “We're under contract to raise the money and we expect we'll hit our target. It's not on the senator or his campaign, it's on us.” An Obama campaign spokesman, Bill Burton, referred all questions about the convention efforts to the host committee.

In recent elections, with the nominee chosen in advance of the convention, the convention chiefly has served as a vehicle to rally the delegates and introduce the nominee to the folks watching at home. The more excitement generated by the convention, the more enthusiastic voters will be in November, not just about voting for President, but for down-ticket Democrats as well.

There's no question Sen. Obama will be the star and the chief beneficiary of the convention publicity. I think it would be of great help to him, and to the down-ticket candidates, if his campaign would turn some of its fundraising prowess to helping ensure the convention is the best it can be.

[To be cross-posted at 5280.com]


WHEEEEEEEEEE

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 17th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

WHEEEEEEEEEE
Oil hits new record.


Back From the Dead: What Dog Cloning Means for Our Human Future

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 17th, 2008 4:34 am by HL

Back From the Dead: What Dog Cloning Means for Our Human Future
Humans could be on a slippery slope towards Gattaca-like eugenics.


Obama To Visit Iraq Before The Election

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 17th, 2008 4:33 am by HL

Obama To Visit Iraq Before The Election
On the trail moments ago, Obama confirmed that he will be visiting Iraq before the November election: The presumed Democratic presidential nominee said he spoke with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Monday about the war and told him he…


Belgrade Blogging

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 17th, 2008 4:32 am by HL

Belgrade Blogging
As many of you know, David Kurtz is our indispensable managing editor here at TPM, which means you see him with some frequency writing on the main blog and you’re almost always seeing his work, as editor, though without always…


Responsibility. For All.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 17th, 2008 4:31 am by HL

Responsibility. For All.

Jonathan Martin at Politico considers Obama’s speech on fatherhood “includes some remarkable language about absentee dads that only he could deliver.”

But I don’t believe it’s true that only one person could give such a speech.

Yes, he’s eloquent. And yes, he’s African-American. But there’s some critical substance that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Consider that when Bill Cosby delivered a similar speech, he suffered far more criticism from other African-Americans than Obama did. Why is that?

In the great Ta-Nehisi Coates Atlantic article on Cosby, Coates notes that Cosby’s lectures are part of “the ‘organic’ black conservative tradition: conservatives who favor hard work and moral reform over protests and government intervention, but whose black-nationalist leanings make them anathema to the Heritage Foundation and Rush Limbaugh.”

Whereas Obama’s speech coupled personal responsibility with shared responsibility.

Dana Goldstein of Tapped observed that Obama’s speech “avoided falling into conservative tropes by admitting that while two-parent households are one solution to the challenges facing poor children, social services are necessary as well,” citing the following passage from the prepared text:

We should be making it easier for fathers who make responsible choices and harder for those who avoid them.

We should get rid of the financial penalties we impose on married couples right now, and start making sure that every dime of child support goes directly to helping children instead of some bureaucrat. We should reward fathers who pay that child support with job training and job opportunities and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit that can help them pay the bills.

We should expand programs where registered nurses visit expectant and new mothers and help them learn how to care for themselves before the baby is born and what to do after – programs that have helped increase father involvement, women’s employment, and children’s readiness for school.

We should help these new families care for their children by expanding maternity and paternity leave, and we should guarantee every worker more paid sick leave so they can stay home to take care of their child without losing their income.

And it’s not just that Obama made such a linkage in a single speech, but the themes of personal responsibility and shared responsibility have been woven throughout the campaign.

He has established credibility as a leader who is willing to invest our government’s resources for the common good, with the understanding that our government can’t effectively step up to solve problems if we as a people don’t step up in response.

Therefore, his exhortations cannot be easily rejected as cold, callous finger-pointing, but more easily embraced as tough love, since it is backed up with substantive compassion.

You don’t have to be a great speaker to make the connection between personal responsibility and shared responsibility.

Though of course, it doesn’t hurt.


EX-JUSTICE OFFICIAL MAY FACE GRAND JURY PROBE

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 17th, 2008 4:30 am by HL

EX-JUSTICE OFFICIAL MAY FACE GRAND JURY PROBE
EX-JUSTICE OFFICIAL MAY FACE GRAND JURY PROBE

Iran leader trusted over Bush: poll
A new World Public Opinion poll of 20 nations finds that just 2 percent say that they have “a lot” or “some” confidence that President Bush will do “the right thing regarding world affairs…”


FLASHBACK: McCain Brushed Off Allen?s ?Macaca? Remarks, Praised Him For His ?Courage?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 17th, 2008 4:29 am by HL

FLASHBACK: McCain Brushed Off Allen?s ?Macaca? Remarks, Praised Him For His ?Courage?
During a press conference today, a reporter asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) if he was offended when, in August 2006, former Virginia senator George Allen used the word “macaca” to refer to a campaign volunteer of Indian descent working for Jim Webb’s campaign. McCain brushed off the question about the racial slur, saying only […]

alleng433.gif During a press conference today, a reporter asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) if he was offended when, in August 2006, former Virginia senator George Allen used the word “macaca” to refer to a campaign volunteer of Indian descent working for Jim Webb’s campaign. McCain brushed off the question about the racial slur, saying only that he “thought it was very wrong” and “urged Senator Allen to apologize for that very quickly“:

Q: Many voters in Virginia took offense when Senator Allen used the word ‘macaca’ to describe one of Senator Webb’s volunteers who was of mixed ethnic background. Did you take offense when Senator Allen used that word?

McCAIN: Well, I thought it was very wrong and in fact, right away I urged Sen. Allen to apologize for that very quickly.

At the time, however, McCain didn’t seem all that offended by Allen’s remark. McCain appeared with Allen at a rally in Norfolk, VA, just five days after the incident. During that appearance, he praised Allen for his “leadership, his vision and his courage.” “We all make mistakes, and I have made my share,” said McCain [RichmondTimes-Dispatch, 8/17/06].

In fact, it’s not clear that McCain understood why the Macaca reference was offensive. Macaca often refers to a “monkey,” but can also be “considered a racial slur against African immigrants.” Yet at that rally with Allen, McCain remained attached to monkeys and cracked a joke about a man who used a monkey to get out of performing air raid drills. In the end, the monkey — rather than the man — is promoted to admiral. An excerpt from the joke:

I caught this monkey, and I trained the monkey that when the siren went off, he’d come out of the jungle, get into my airplane, start the engine, sit there, the “all clear” siren would go off, he’d shut down the engine, get out of the airplane and go back in the jungle. It was wonderful. I was sleeping like a baby.

Well, sure enough, one night it was not just Washing Machine Charlie. It was a real Japanese air raid. I came out of my tent just in time to see that monkey taking off in my airplane. I said, ‘Well, I can certainly see why you were not promoted!’ He said, ‘That’s not what makes me mad. The monkey retired as an admiral last week!’

Allen also went on to showcase McCain in television ads during his campaign.

Pat Garofalo