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Archive for July 13th, 2008

Research 2000: Obama Leads in Missouri

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2008 4:42 am by HL

Research 2000: Obama Leads in Missouri
A new Research 2000 survey in Missouri finds Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain, 48% to 43% with 9% undecided.

Poll Shows Obama Losing Momentum
The latest Newsweek poll shows Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain by just 3 percentage points, 44% to 41%. The statistical dead heat is a marked change from last month’s survey, where Obama led McCain by 15 points, 51% to 36%.

“But perhaps most puzzling is how McCain could have gained traction in the past month. To date, direct engagement with Obama has not seemed to favor the GOP nominee. McCain has announced major initiatives on energy and the economy but failed to dominate the conversation on those issues. Last week’s shake-up of the campaign’s senior management did little to halt calls from Republicans for a major overhaul in McCain’s message. Nor did it quell the lingering suspicion among Republicans that 2008 is simply destined to be a Democratic year.”


Blue America Welcomes Back Mark Begich (Sen-AK)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2008 4:41 am by HL

Blue America Welcomes Back Mark Begich (Sen-AK)
Live interview with Alaska Senate candidate Mark Begich, who is challenging Senator Ted “Toobz” Stevens.

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The first time I ever spoke with Mark Begich, I asked him to define himself in a few words so that Blue America participants could get a feel for how he sees himself.

“I’ve been married to Deborah for 18 years,” he began. “I have a young son, Jacob, who’s five and a half. Deborah owns and runs four retail stores in Anchorage and I’ve been an entrepreneur / businessperson for over 25 years– in real estate and retail. I served 10 years in the City Assembly (the Anchorage City Council) and now I’m in my second term as mayor.” And now he’s taking on one of the most entrenched politicians in America.

Mark’s never had an easy election. He’s always been up against a hard to beat opponent. He’s the first person to ever beat a mayoral incumbent in the history of Anchorage (2003). It’s important to know that Anchorage has 43% of the population of the state and when you add in the boroughs attached to Anchorage, you get close to 60%.

Ted Stevens may have been around longer than anyone can remember, but there can’t be many people who aren’t aware of Mark and what he’s been doing. The Anchorage media market has brought him into the homes of everyone in the state for years.

Most Alaska voters (over 60%) have not registered as Democrats or Republicans. Alaskans have a real independent streak. Bush took the state in 2000 with 59% and four years later with 61%. The first time Ted Stevens ran for the Senate, back in the early 1960s, he was defeated (58-42%) by Ernest Gruening, one of only two senators to oppose the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which LBJ used to trick us into a war of aggression against Vietnam.

When Democratic Senator Bob Bartlett died in 1968, Gov. Walter Hickel appointed Stevens. After his initial victory, he has never received less than 66% of the vote, and more often he’s gotten over 70%. This year, no one expects that to happen. Stevens, although still liked in many circles, is recognized as being… past his prime, if not senile. He’s also enmeshed in the worst corruption scandal to hit Alaska in history. Recent polls show a neck and neck race and several have shown Mark ahead.

Mark isn’t campaigning on Stevens’ corruption investigations but

the clear contrast on ethics issues between the two men is undeniable. Mark has been an effective advocate for transparency in government.

And, after what they’ve gone through in the last year, Alaskans are sick and tired of backroom deals with special interests and nothing being done out in the open.

If Stevens comes across as feeble, corrupt and technology-challeneged, and a complete shill for Big Oil, Mark is an incredibly dynamic candidate who is presenting a comprehensive Alaskan energy plan that includes funding conservation, research, and renewable energy development through revenues from traditional resources here.

Alaska is ground zero for global warming and Mark has had tremendous success as mayor instituting conservation strategies and renewable energy sources.

He wants to bring the results-oriented mindset to the Senate. Mark has been a great spokesperson for preserving American liberties and showing how Bush’s (and Stevens’) incursions into the 4th Amendment are a threat to the 2nd Amendment as well.

Of the non-presidential candidates, only Jay Rockefeller took bigger bribes “donations” from the Telecom companies than Stevens this year, who scooped up $41,400 ($263,950 in his Senate career). While Mark opposed the FISA bill, Stevens was one of its biggest proponents.

But it is more basic, down to earth, mundane matters that will probably decide this election. Ted Stevens is a product of a corrupt system and an eager servant of corporate special interests. Mark’s focus is on issues that touch working families’ and small businesspeople’s real lives most directly:

Education, health care, the right of working people to organize and bargain collectively and government’s legitimate role in making people’s lives better.

A good example has been the contrast between Ted Stevens and Mark Begich on veterans. Stevens has voted against veterans every single time he’s had an opportunity, 15 times since 2003. A few weeks ago, the pressure from Mark was so intense that Stevens was forced to reverse himself and abandon Bush and the GOP– for the first time ever on veterans’ well being– and vote with the Democrats on the updated GI Bill. It’s as if that were Mark Begich’s first vote in the U.S. Senate.

Mark’s going to be taking questions in the comments section for the next couple hours. We added him to the Blue America ActBlue page and I hope you’ll join me in donating to his campaign. He’s going to be a strong and independent voice in the U.S. Senate. More information at his website, at Progressive Alaska, and at this interview from our friends at BlogTalk Radio.


Could Miami’s “Little Havana” Turn To Obama?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2008 4:40 am by HL

Could Miami’s “Little Havana” Turn To Obama?

Miami's large Cuban population, often referred to as “Little Havana” has always been predominantly Republican. Sunday's New York Times Magazine has a five page article questioning whether Cuban support in Miami might shift and vote Democratic in November. Primarily it examines some Democratic challenges to traditionally Republican House seats in Florida, But it also touches on the Presidential election.

Backstage, something very new is happening. Call it the Miami Spring, or Cuban-American glasnost. This community that has clung for decades to its certainties — about the island itself, about the role the exile community would play after the Castro brothers passed from the scene, about where Cuban-Americans should situate themselves in terms of U.S. domestic politics — is in ferment. This matters not only in terms of the destiny of the Cuban-American community itself but also in terms of the 2008 elections since, despite claims made on background by some of Barack Obama’s advisers, Florida is likely to play a pivotal role in determining whether Obama or John McCain becomes president, and the Cuban-American vote is likely to play its usual outsize role in deciding which candidate prevails in the state.

The Times recounts Obama's May speech in Miami seeking the Cuban vote. The Times reports:[More…]

Whether Obama really expected to make inroads into the Cuban-American vote with the speech is questionable. When Hillary Clinton was still in the race, she was far more circumspect, even if, off the record, her aides expressed views not that dissimilar from those of the liberal Cuban-Americans whom Obama was echoing. But that the presumptive Democratic nominee would think the speech worth making at all, in a community where he is the subject of a great deal of mistrust and hostility and in a state where he is not polling well against Senator McCain, exemplifies the change that is taking place in the Cuban-American community.

But, is it a change that translate into votes? The Cuban exile community remains fiscally conservative. That bodes well for McCain. And the younger generation is, according to a few sources, apolitical.

Regarding the 300,000 or more people who have come from Cuba to the United States in the past 10 years, Rivera presented a subtle picture. “Anecdotally,” he told me, “it’s not that the post-1994 generation is pro-Castro, but instead that they think politics ruined their lives in Cuba, and so they are deeply apolitical. Whatever my Democratic friends may be telling themselves, whatever Raul [Martinez] and Joe [Garcia] may be hoping, they’re not ready to be energized politically.” There is little doubt that antipolitics is the strongest form of politics among these recent arrivals. Unlike earlier generations of exiles, most are not mourning the non-Communist Cuba that was and might have been. For them, Communism is a fact of life from childhood, not something alien — however much most may detest the regime and be glad to have made their way to the U.S. And while most would probably say they value the freedoms of the United States, there is little doubt that many, if not most, left for economic and family reasons.

One thing about Obama, he doesn't hesitate to go after voting blocks that are difficult for him to win over, whether it be evangelicals or Cubans. I just hope he makes the same concerted outreach to rural, working class voters. There are so many more of them and it's their votes in November that could be the deciding factor in whether we get a Democractic or Republican president.


Morning thought

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2008 4:39 am by HL

Morning thought
What always gets me about conservative policies is the way they make all the problems they purport to solve worse, thus generating the “need” to do more of the same. For example, being “tough on crime” actually creates more tough criminals, so then you “need” to have more severe (and more expensive) policies and more prisons and get even tougher.

It’d be nice if people finally started to see through this scam.

Update from Philly Boy in comments:

Avedon leaves out one component. Conservatives blame all problems on liberals, so when their (conservatives’) policies make a situation worse, their response is to blame the deterioration on liberals and try to implement even dumber versions of their policies.

It’s a perfect feedback loop for conservatives — they implement policies, the policies fail, they blame liberals and implement even dumber policies, the policies fail even worse, they blame liberals even more, etc.

The end result of global warming will be Rush Limbaugh on a Colorado mountain peak surrounded by oceans blaming the entire situation on Al Gore.

Signed,
Not Atrios

Getting On Myself
So awesome.

Q: But do you go on line for yourself?

Mr. McCain: They go on for me. I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself. I don’t expect to be a great communicator, I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need – including going to my daughter’s blog first, before anything else.

Q: Do you use a blackberry or email?

Mr. McCain: No


Chomsky: Bush & Cheney Always Saw Iraq as a Sweetheart Oil Deal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2008 4:38 am by HL

Chomsky: Bush & Cheney Always Saw Iraq as a Sweetheart Oil Deal
U.S. war planners want an obedient client state that will house major U.S. military bases, right at the heart of the world’s major energy reserves.


Countdown: War Crimes Prosecutions Possible

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

Countdown: War Crimes Prosecutions Possible
Many of us have been saying this for a long time, but now the International Committee of the Red Cross have reported to the CIA that what the US have been up to at Guantanamo Bay is “categorically torture, violating both American law and international law”. The report also “warned that that the abuse constituted war crimes”.The Bush administration have been practicing plausible deniability, pretending that the legality of what they have been doing is subject to debate. It’s not. What they are
—- link


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LeftWord: The Best Liberal Blog Posts
All The Best Liberal Blog Posts From Arond The Web.


Hmmm . . .

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2008 4:36 am by HL

Hmmm . . .
The Treasury Department is telling us that media reports in Germany — quoting Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt on Obama’s possible Brandenburg Gate speech — took his remarks out of context and out of time: He made his remarks last…


The Week in Blog: Timetables Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

The Week in Blog: Timetables Edition

The latest edition of The Week in Blog is up at Bloggingheads.tv, where we discuss Obama’s consistency, T. Boone Pickens’ admission that we can’t drill our way to energy independence, and the brand new Health Care for America Now coalition. Check it out below.


Census Bureau won’t count gay marriages

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2008 4:34 am by HL

Census Bureau won’t count gay marriages
Census will automatically assign ‘unmarried partner’ category.

Blogger fired after criticizing atty
Blogger fired after criticizing atty


Army to review firing of Arlington whistleblower.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 13th, 2008 4:33 am by HL

Army to review firing of Arlington whistleblower.
As Arlington National Cemetary’s director of public affairs, Gina Gray “pushed vigorously” to give journalists increased access to the funerals of U.S. soldiers, defying Pentagon efforts to keep the media out of earshot and photo range. A few weeks after the Washington Post first noted efforts, she was demoted and eventually fired. Today, the Post […]

As Arlington National Cemetary’s director of public affairs, Gina Gray “pushed vigorously” to give journalists increased access to the funerals of U.S. soldiers, defying Pentagon efforts to keep the media out of earshot and photo range. A few weeks after the Washington Post first noted efforts, she was demoted and eventually fired. Today, the Post reports that Army Secretary Pete Geren has asked his staff to review Gray’s case. Gray responded that she is “definitely encouraged by any investigation into the mismanagement at Arlington Cemetery.” (HT: Karen Tumulty)