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Archive for August 1st, 2008

McCain’s Relationship With Press Sours

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2008 4:41 am by HL

McCain’s Relationship With Press Sours
Todd Purdum, who has been traveling with Sen. John McCain, says the Arizona’s senator’s once warm relationship with the press has cooled considerably as his aides force him to stay on message.

“It’s a far cry from when I last spent quality airtime with McCain, in the fall of 2006, as we logged thousands of miles over several days in small planes, often with no traveling companions but each other. No topic was off-limits, and virtually no answer was off the record.”

Purdum also reports that McCain is struggling “at having to rein in his natural instincts, in no small part because he well knows that it was his close relationship with the media that kept him alive a year ago when so much of the smart money — and so many of the big mouths — in his party had left him for dead.”

The Art of the Leak
Democratic strategist Tad Devine explains how a political campaign can get damaging information out to the public without harming the reputation of their candidate.


Something Else To Apologize For: Neglecting AIDS in Black America

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2008 4:40 am by HL

Something Else To Apologize For: Neglecting AIDS in Black America
You knowYou know we have a real race problem in America when The New York Times, in the second paragraph of its story on the severity of AIDS infection in the African-American community, writes that a just-released report “provides a startling new perspective” on the epidemic. Where have y’all been? The report, by the Black AIDS Institute, is old news. The problem is that the news media has been so dazzled by the show of support for people living with HIV in Africa by President Bush and other conservatives that it doesn’t ask the question I always ask when I hear Bush talk oh-so-compassionately-conservative about AIDS in Africa: “What about us here in the U.S.A?”…

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You know we have a real race problem in America when The New York Times, in the second paragraph of its story on the severity of AIDS infection in the African-American community, writes that a just-released report “provides a startling new perspective” on the epidemic.

Where have y’all been?

The report, by the Black AIDS Institute, is old news. The problem is that the news media has been so dazzled by the show of support for people living with HIV in Africa by President Bush and other conservatives that it doesn’t ask the question I always ask when I hear Bush talk oh-so-compassionately-conservative about AIDS in Africa: “What about us here in the U.S.A?”

The answer: We’ve been dying.

The report, “Left Behind: Black America: Neglected Priority in the Global AIDS Epidemic,” notes that AIDS is the leading cause of death among Black women between 25-34 years and the second leading cause of death in Black men between 35-44 years of age.  There are about 600,000 African Americans living with HIV in the U.S. today, and another 30,000 are infected each year, the report says. If the U.S. African-American population were a separate country, it would rank 16th in the world in the number of people with HIV, and ninth among the 15 countries targeted by the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief.

President Bush made a show Wednesday of signing a bill that wouild over five years commit $48 billion to PEPFAR. The transcript of the signing ceremony was filled with platitudes — “With this legislation, America is showing its tremendous regard for the dignity and worth of every human being” — but betrayed no indication that AIDS was anything other than a distant problem for a distant people.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration has actually proposed cutting funding for HIV programs targeted at the African-American community, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative was funded at just under $400 million in 2006 and peaked last year at $402 million; the current budget request for fiscal year 2009 is $387 million, a 4 percent cut. The total domestic HIV/AIDS budget in that period would increase from $15.9 billion to a proposed $18.2 billion. Given inflation, that’s just slightly better than level funding in real terms. Spending on the global AIDS initiative, meanwhile, is set to increase from $3.2 billion in fiscal 2006 to $5.9 billion in fiscal 2009, an 84 percent increase. The share of U.S. AIDS spending that goes overseas has grown from 17 percent of the budget to 25 percent.

The bottom line: The Bush administration, and its enablers in Congress, have chosen to make black Americans losers in an AIDS-funding musical-chairs game.

But we shouldn’t be surprised. Back in 1984, in the vice-presidential debate between John Edwards and Dick Cheney, moderator Gwen Ifill asked both candidates a pointed question about the fact that “Black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts.” Cheney admitted, “I had not heard those numbers with respect to African American women. I was not aware that it was that severe an epidemic there.” Edwards was hardly better, dodging the question to make a point about health care generally. Ifil, clearly dissatisfied with the non-answers, nonetheless said, “OK, we’ll move on.” And move on we did.

That moment is recaptured in another Black AIDS Institute report, “We Demand Accountability,” released late last year to push the issue of AIDS in the African-American community into the 2008 presidential debate. The report includes a four-point platform: Reduce the rate of HIV infection among black people by half within five years, increase the number of black people who know their HIV status by 50 percent in that period, ensure that all people living with HIV have access to appropriate care, and eliminate the stigma associated with HIV infection.

There is a fifth agenda item that is implicit in all of this: Eliminating the disparities in health care in this country that exist based on race. The even more outrageous story in the “Left Behind” report is this:

Standing on its own, Black America would constitute the world’s 35th most populous country and its 28th largest economy. Yet although Blacks in the U.S. reside in the most economically powerful country on Earth, they do not benefit equally from the fruits of America’s affluence. Black America would rank 105th among the world’s countries in life expectancy and 88th in infant mortality; Blacks in the U.S. have a lower life expectancy than Algeria or the Dominican Republic, and the infant mortality rate in Black America is twice that of Cuba’s. More than one-fifth of Black Americans lack health coverage, and nearly one in four live in poverty—patterns that differentiate Blacks in the U.S. from all other high-income countries. On every major health, social and economic indicator, Blacks in the U.S. score significantly more poorly than whites.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by a voice vote a resolution apologizing for slavery. I hope you will forgive me for not rushing to accept the apology. I would have a lot more heartfelt gratitude for a Congress and a White House that was resolved, together with every element of the African-American community, to erase once and for all the conditions that allow the length and quality of lives to be determined by skin color — whether because of HIV infection or any other reason. I’d like to hear an apology for all of the times in which we’ve allowed people in the White House and Capitol Hill to pat themselves on the back for making a show of caring about “poor people” in Africa and Asia while showing their backside to people of color in their midst.


Is Kaine a Smokescreen for Kathleen Sebelius?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2008 4:39 am by HL

Is Kaine a Smokescreen for Kathleen Sebelius?

I just spent two hours writing up a theory that came to me at midnight. The gist is that Sen. Barack Obama, by leaking to the mainstream media that Hillary is not on his shortlist while not discouraging talk about Virgina Gov. Tim Kaine, is manipulating a planned succession of leaks.

Obama has hit his truth in advertising wall: He's got to show he's the progressive candidate for real change because that is how he sold himself to American voters. He's committed to expending untold sums of money to go after unregistered voters in the swing states — the young, minorities and others who firmly believe he represents change. If his VP choice doesn't also embody change from politics as usual in Washington, he becomes reduced to spouting just words about change, which in turn gives him an electability problem. [More…]

The young might believe he's a sellout, pointing to FISA. The elderly, with enough uncertainty in their lives as to their final years,will have more important things to worry about than deciding between two same-olds, one of whom came out of nowhere. That's leaves Obama's path very clear. He's been working on it for year and I as wrote earlier, it will be on full display in Denver. He's going after unregistered voters, the disaffected among us, because Obama is banking on them buying into his grand plan to have them enter the Big Tent as invited guests.

For reasons I’ll describe in my next post, which may or may be finalized tomorrow, Tim Kaine doens't fit the mold. Either does Evan Bayh. Joe Biden kills it. Kathleen Sebelius could be his key.

I’ve broken down the analysis but it needs fine-tuning and I need to add source links before I go public on it. Right now, my money is on Sebelius. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Sebelius.


I Love Rick Davis

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2008 4:38 am by HL

I Love Rick Davis
It’s pretty hard for a Republican to lose Andrea Mitchell.


Media Hyping Viagra for Women for Drug Company Greed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2008 4:37 am by HL

Media Hyping Viagra for Women for Drug Company Greed
Drugmaker Pfizer is claiming a new use for Viagra, which would conveniently treat the side effects of one of its other drugs.

Afghanistan: The Other Illegal War
The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was every bit as illegal as the invasion of Iraq. Why, then, do so many Americans see it as justifiable?


Desperate Times, Desperate Measures.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2008 4:36 am by HL

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures.
Rick Davis attempts to defend the recent attack ads that the McCain campaign has launched, especially the charge that Obama is a “celebrity”. As far as I am aware there are no tabloid style magazines which actually feature Obama on their covers, but plenty of newspapers and political journals which do. And the charge of celebrity is especially weak when one considers that John McCain has been playing on his celebrity ever since his plane was shot down. There is hardly an ad run by his campaign
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Marty Lederman dissects today’s ruling on executive privilege

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2008 4:35 am by HL


Marty Lederman dissects today’s ruling on executive privilege and separation of powers….


Jesse Ventura to speak at Paul rally

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2008 4:34 am by HL

Jesse Ventura to speak at Paul rally
Jesse Ventura to speak at Paul rally

Exxon has biggest profits ever
Shell sees 33% jump in profits. Total job losses staggering half-million.


Bachmann Lies: Claims Democrats Won?t ?Pass The Tax Credit For Solar And Wind? After GOP Blocked It

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2008 4:33 am by HL

Bachmann Lies: Claims Democrats Won?t ?Pass The Tax Credit For Solar And Wind? After GOP Blocked It
During an interview with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) today, right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham asserted that Congressional Democrats “are acting as the ultimate obstructionists” on energy policy. Bachmann agreed, saying that “this is mission accomplished for them” because they don’t want to “increase American energy resources.” Declaring that the Congressional Democrats are “so strange,” Bachmann […]

bachmann.jpgDuring an interview with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) today, right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham asserted that Congressional Democrats “are acting as the ultimate obstructionists” on energy policy. Bachmann agreed, saying that “this is mission accomplished for them” because they don’t want to “increase American energy resources.”

Declaring that the Congressional Democrats are “so strange,” Bachmann then claimed that they wouldn’t “pass the tax credit for solar and wind,” despite being “the big solar/wind people”:

BACHMANN: Oh, without a doubt, without a doubt. What we want to do is accomplish the people’s mission, which is open up every source of energy there is. They’re so strange Laura, they won’t even pass the tax credit for solar and wind right now. I mean, they claim to be the big solar/wind people, they won’t even pass that.

Listen here:

Bachmann’s claim about who blocked “the tax credit for solar and wind” is flatly false. Just yesterday, the AP reported that “for the fourth time this summer” Senate conservatives blocked action on legislation that would provide “tax credits to an array of renewable energy entrepreneurs”:

For the fourth time this summer Republicans stopped the Senate from taking up wide-ranging legislation that extends tax breaks for teachers, businesses and parents and provides tax credits to an array of renewable energy entrepreneurs. […]

The bill would extend some $18 billion worth of renewable energy tax credits, helping out investors in wind and solar power, clean coal, plug-in electric vehicles and a variety of others.

In fact, when the House passed the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act of 2008 in May, Bachmann voted against it, along with the majority of House Republicans. The bill was then filibustered by Senate Republicans in June.

What’s truly “so strange” is that Bachmann can act as an ex post facto advocate for legislation she actively opposed.

Transcript: (more…)


Sex Trumps Corruption on Senate Sin List

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 1st, 2008 4:28 am by HL

Sex Trumps Corruption on Senate Sin List
Margaret Carlson, Bloomberg