Friday, October 17, 2008

E-N endoresment speculation

The Express-News editorial board has so far stuck with its rule of endorsing Republicans and incumbents almost exclusively. If you are an incumbent Republican, you are guaranteed an endorsement from the E-N. If you are a Democratic incumbent, you have about a 50-50 chance. And if you are a Democrat challenging a Republican, forgetaboutit.
The other day, the E-N endorsed all the incumbent Congressmen from San Antonio except for Democrat Ciro Rodriguez, which is the only race that is being seriously contested. Today they endorsed Republican John Cornyn for the U.S. Senate over challenger Rick Noriega.
The only question now is how they will come down Sunday when they are do to make their presidential endorsement. Will they continue their Republican tilt and endorse John McCain? Or have they been endorsing all Republicans up until now in an effort to innoculate themselves from criticism that they are too liberal if they endorse Barack Obama?
As lousy as their endorsements have been so far, I think there is still a chance that they could endorse Obama for the simple reason that they can see the writing on the wall and will want to present themselves as having been on the winning side. That is pretty much why the wingnutty editorial board at the Washington Post just endorsed Obama.
Nevertheless, I will still be somewhat surprised if it does go that way. I fully expect they will continue their hard-right tilt led by the Cheneyesque Neo-con Jonathan Gurwitz who calls all the shots there these days.

McCain wins one

Watching excerpts of John McCain and Barack Obama’s remarks at the 63rd annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner last night made me realize how quickly McCain will be able to rebound from what will undoubtedly be a trouncing in this election. He’s a funny guy. And he can be very charming when he is being self-effacing.
McCain clearly gave the better performance at the dinner. Whether it was due to having a better speechwriter or a more practiced and comicly-timed delivery I’m not sure, but if we were voting on an after-dinner speaker rather than a president, Obama might be in trouble right now. McCain’s years of being on the lecture circuit at just these kinds of events, plus his numerous appearances on the David Letterman and Jay Leno show’s clearly showed last night.
His best line of the night was probably when he deadpanned that despite being amongst a group of Manhattan Democrats he felt that there were some out there who were pulling for him. He then paused a moment to allow some light applause before looking over into the audience with a big smile and saying “Hillary! I’m so glad to see you here tonight!”
I also liked when he kidded himself about calling Obama “That One” during one of the debates, saying that it was just a pet name that he has for him and noted that Obama has a pet name for him too — George Bush.
Obama wasn’t bad, but it was hard to match McCain who seemed to turn on a dime from being a grouchy, angry old man to a debonair and witty dinner host.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Speaking their language

What struck me about last night’s debate was not that McCain was throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Obama, but that he seemed to be going to great lengths to appeal to his right-wing fundamentalist base by touching on many of their pet issues as he could and using buzz words that only really mean anything to that small demographic group.
It was a given that McCain was going to raise the non-issues about William Ayers and ACORN (though interestingly nothing about Rev. Jeremiah Wright), and Obama was ready with his responses which effectively neutralized those attacks. But McCain went further by raising Obama’s vote in the Illinois Senate against the so-called Born Alive Infant Protection Act which is really only familiar to people on the far fringes of the anti-abortion movement. Why McCain thinks he needs to appeal to people like TTFKAM is beyond me.
Nevertheless, Obama’s answer was definitive, noting that state law already protected the life of a baby born alive (not to mention the Hippocratic Oath) and that the act was simply an attempt to chip away at abortion rights and was unConstitutional in its present form.
McCain then decided to throw himself under a bus by mocking concerns about a woman’s health in respect to abortions. His complaint that the definition of “health” is stretched too far is a common tactic of the far right, but it is not commonly discussed in polite society so he came across sounding crass and cold. Obama, on the other hand, made it clear that he wants to seek a middle ground that will help reduce the number of abortions without taking away a woman’s choice in the matter.
Ultimately, I thought it was clear that Obama won the debate as the polls later confirmed.

On a side note, I was disappointed to see that infant mortality rates in the U.S. are still high.

Infant deaths in the United States declined 2 percent in 2006, government researchers reported Wednesday, but the rate still remains well above that of most other industrialized countries and is one of many indicators suggesting that Americans pay more but get less from their health care system.
Infant mortality has long been considered one of the most important indicators of the health of a nation and the quality of its medical system. In 1960, the United States ranked 12th lowest in the world, but by 2004, the latest year for which comparisons were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that ranking had dropped to 29th lowest.

It is interesting to note that the U.S. is even behind Cuba in this all-important measure of our nation’s health.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Their vilest hour: The GOP's Ayers attack

There’s a great column in the Wall Street Journal today by Thomas Frank defending William Ayers.
Not his actions when he was a radical in the 1960s, but his life since then in which he has been a model citizen and respected university professor in Chicago.

I am a friend of Mr. Ayers. In fact, I met him in the same way Mr. Obama says he did: 10 years ago, Mr. Ayers was a guy in my neighborhood in Chicago who knew something about fundraising. I knew nothing about it, I needed to learn, and a friend referred me to Bill.

Bill's got lots of friends, and that's because he is today a dedicated servant of those less fortunate than himself; because he is unfailingly generous to people who ask for his help; and because he is kind and affable and even humble. Moral qualities which, by the way, were celebrated boisterously on day one of the GOP convention in September.

Mr. Ayers is a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where his work is esteemed by colleagues of different political viewpoints. Herbert Walberg, an advocate of school vouchers who is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, told me he remembers Mr. Ayers as "a responsible colleague, in the professional sense of the word." Bill Schubert, who served as the chairman of UIC's Department of Curriculum and Instruction for many years, thinks so highly of Mr. Ayers that, in response to the current allegations, he compiled a lengthy résumé of the man's books, journal articles, guest lectures and keynote speeches. Mr. Ayers has been involved with countless foundation efforts and has received various awards. He volunteers for everything. He may once have been wanted by the FBI, but in the intervening years the man has become such a good citizen he ought to be an honorary Eagle Scout.

Rightwingers insist that Ayers is “unrepentent” which is disingenuous. Mr. Ayers has in fact repudiated the violent actions of the Weathermen (which, by the way, did not harm anyone except for some of their own members who were killed when a bomb accidently went off).
What he has not repudiated is his opposition to the Vietnam war. When rightwingers say Ayers is unrepentent, this is what they really mean. The only way he could truly reform himself in their eyes would be to come out and say that he was wrong to oppose the Vietnam War. And then vote Republican.
Short of that, the rightwingers are extremely unforgiving and will hold a grudge to the bitter end.

Frank goes on to express his disgust over the Republican campaign to try and vilify Ayers today in an attempt to drag Obama down. its haste to convict a man merely for associating with Mr. Ayers, the GOP is effectively proposing to make the upcoming election into the largest mass trial in history, with all those professors and all those do-gooders on the hook for someone else's deeds four decades ago.
The McCain campaign has made much of its leader's honor and bravery, but now it has chosen to mount its greatest attack against a man who poses no conceivable threat to the country, who has nothing to do with this year's issues, and who cannot or will not defend himself. Apparently this makes him an irresistible target.
There are a lot of things to call this tactic, but "country first" isn't one of them. The nation wants its hope and confidence restored, and Republican leaders have chosen instead to wave the bloody shirt. This is their vilest hour.

I’m not sure what rightwingers expected Obama to do back when he was first introduced to Ayers, who at the time was an established and highly respected academic and social activist.
Refuse to shake his hand? Spit in his eye?
Is that what John McCain would have done?

But the point is that Repubicans don’t want anyone to think that deeply about this issue. All they want is some excuse, no matter how contrived, to associate Obama with a “terrorist” and make people question his patriotism or what have you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who's “paling around” with terrorists?

You’ve got to be kidding me. This is insane.

William Timmons, the Washington lobbyist who John McCain has named to head his presidential transition team, aided an influence effort on behalf of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to ease international sanctions against his regime.
The two lobbyists who Timmons worked closely with over a five year period on the lobbying campaign later either pleaded guilty to or were convicted of federal criminal charges that they had acted as unregistered agents of Saddam Hussein's government.

So, McCain’s choice to head his transition team is a guy who used to lobby on behalf of Saddam Hussein.

And McCain is trying to make a big deal out of Barack Obama serving on the same board with William Ayers once?!?!?!

William Ayers was a radical anti-war activist in the late-60s whose group set off some bombs but never hurt anyone other than the time a bomb accidently went off and killed some of their own members. I’m not sure how or why Ayers escaped punishment for his activites back then, but he eventually went on to become a respected professor in the Chicago area where he once served on a board with Barack Obama as part of a school reform initiative sponsored by Republican philanthropist Walter Annenberg.
And Ayers once hosted a fundraising “coffee” for Obama during one of his state Senate campaigns.
That is the full extent of their relationship. And of course Ayers has no connection whatsoever with Obama today or with his presidential campaign.

But here we have John McCain who taps as the leader of his transition team a guy who used to be a lobbyist for Saddam Hussein! Talk about ‘paling around with terrorists’! Sheesh!
This is not some guy that McCain had a fleeting and tenuous relationship with in the distant past. He is set to be a leader in a McCain administration. The people who head the transition team for the president-elect invariably wind up with key positions in the administration.
Key positions! A lobbyist for Saddam Hussein!!!
Have I stressed this point enough?

Needless to say, I don’t want to hear another word from Republicans about William Ayers.

Express-News thumbs nose at Ciro

The Express-News editorial board outdid itself today with a glowing endorsement of Republican Lyle Larson for the 22nd District Congressional seat held by Democrat Ciro Rodriguez.
Nevermind that Democrats are in the majority and are on the verge of substantially increasing there majority next term and for the forseeable future. Nevermind that Ciro sits on the coveted House Appropriations Committee which is vitally important for San Antonio and all of its military bases.
No, the E-N thinks we need to pitch our veteran congressman out on his rear and replace him with a freshman Republican who will be stuck in the minority with no power and no influence for who knows how long.
In the editorial, they don’t say one word that is critical of Ciro and give no explanation for why they want to turn him out of office. It is just all glowing praise of Larson and how wonderful and independent he is. Bullshit! He will be just like John Cornyn and vote with the rightwing of his party on each and every issue.
What’s more is he is parroting John McCain’s moronic stance against “earmarks” without considering that those so-called earmarks are what is funding many of the big military projects here that are propping our local economy up - the same projects which the Express-News is always touting and raving about.
I am completely disgusted with the local paper and its rightwing neocon editorial board. They endorsed Bush twice and have been consistent cheerleaders for the quagmire in Iraq. Now I am just waiting for their John McCain endorsement next weekend. It should be good for a few laughs.

Monday, October 13, 2008

GOP - Party of fiscal irresponsibility

This was a great post over at Daily Kos....

The national debt when Jimmy Carter arrived at the White House:

$660 billion.

Added during Carter's four years: $337 billion.

Added during Ronald Reagan's eight years: $1.6 trillion.

Added during George H. W. Bush's four years: $1.6 trillion.

Added during Bill Clinton's eight years: $1.5 trillion.

Added during George W. Bush's seven years, nine months: $4.5 trillion.

Portion of the $9.5 trillion added to the national debt during the past 31 years and seven months that came during Republican presidencies: $7.7 trillion.

Percentage of that $7.7 trillion added during George W. Bush's two terms: 58%.

Good Lord! When you look at the numbers like that it is just astonishing. Ronald Reagan set us on this mega-debt rollercoaster and Bush Sr. went along for the ride. Bill Clinton was just managing to put the brakes on when Bush Jr. got in there, threw the breaks away and sent us over a cliff.

The Shrill One wins a Nobel prize

I was thrilled this morning to see that one of my favorite columnists - Paul Krugman - won the Nobel prize in economics this year.
This starts to make up for the Nobel committee’s snubbing of John Kenneth Galbraith while giving its top prize to Milton Friedman many years ago.

Throw the bum out!

What a moroon!

West Palm Beach Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL), whose predecessor resigned in the wake of a sex scandal, agreed to a $121,000 payment to a former mistress who worked on his staff and was threatening to sue him, according to current and former members of his staff who have been briefed on the settlement, which involved Mahoney and his campaign committee.
Pic: Congressman Tim Mahoney and his alleged former mistress, Patricia Allen
The affair between Congressman Tim Mahoney and Patricia Allen began, according to current and former staffers, in 2006 when Mahoney was campaigning for Congress against Foley, promising "a world that is safer, more moral."
Mahoney, who is married, also promised the woman, Patricia Allen, a $50,000 a year job for two years at the agency that handles his campaign advertising, the staffers said.

The guy has an affair while winning a congressional seat he would not have won otherwise except for the fact that the incumbent (Mark Foley) was involved in a sex scandal. Idiot!!
I don’t care if it means giving the seat back to the Republicans, I don’t want an idiot like Mahoney in Congress. representing my party. He should resign his seat immediately.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Impeach Sarah Palin!

The Troopergate report is absolutely scathing in its assessment of Gov. Palin's chronic abuse of power during her brief tenure as Alaska's governor.
When somebody is as demonstratable vindictive as that with that kind of power, the last thing you want to do is hand them even more power.
The citizens of Alaska who thought they were cleaning our their corrupt government by electing Sarah and Todd Palin were sadly mistaken.