Thursday, February 22, 2007

Quote of the day

"Are you mad, sir?"
--Michelangelo Signorile, talkshow host on Sirius OutQ, on Vice President Cheney's comment that the British withdrawal from Iraq is an "affirmation" that things are going well

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Why am I doing this?

Ok, I can't resist. I really don't want to write another post about Clinton and Obama, at least for a little while, but I just feel a pull to get this down. It must be the sports-like (or soap opera-like) tendencies of politics that makes it such a draw to watch and comment on.

Yesterday there was quite a dust-up between the campaigns of Senators Clinton and Obama. The Clintons were PO'ed that producer David Geffen, a former supporter and now Obama supporter, took shots at both Hillary and Bill in a column by Maureen Dowd of the NY Times (subscription required).

"Obama is inspirational, and he’s not from the Bush royal family or the Clinton royal family. Americans are dying every day in Iraq. And I'm tired of hearing James Carville on television."

"I don't think anybody believes that in the last six years, all of a sudden Bill Clinton has become a different person," Mr. Geffen says, adding that if Republicans are digging up dirt, they'll wait until Hillary's the nominee to use it. "I think they believe she's the easiest to defeat."

"It's not a very big thing to say, 'I made a mistake' on the war, and typical of Hillary Clinton that she can't(.)"

"Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it's troubling."

The Clinton camp, through the mouthpiece of communications director Howard Wolfson (who, frankly, should be fired immediately), suggested that Obama should apologize and return the money he brought in at a fundraiser sponsored by Geffen. Mind you, Geffen has no official position with the Obama campaign. He's just a high-profile supporter.

Then Wolfson went on Hardball last night and stated that when he speaks he speaks for "the campaign," not Hillary.

So break this down scientifically: The Clintons are suggesting that Obama should apologize for the comments of a supporter who has no position with the campaign, but when Clinton's communications director speaks, he is not speaking for her, he's speaking for "the campaign."

What this whole thing makes clear is that the Clinton campaign is scared, damn scared, that Obama resonates with the American people and is on the express to the nomination. And after garnering the support of Geffen, yesterday former Senator Tom Daschle endorsed Obama.

Hillary (or was it "the campaign"?) took some shots from the blogosphere for all of this.

The Huffington Post: Hillary's campaign would rather mudsling than get the facts straight

This wasn't the only ludicrous claim Wolfson made. He also suggested that the Obama campaign "put Mr. Geffen up to this." Does Wolfson really expect anyone to believe that David Geffen is taking his marching orders from the Obama campaign?

America Blog: Hillary is Sistah Souljah'ing the entire Democratic Party
It started with Hillary's unique experience on 9/11 - the day she witnessed the world falling apart while the rest of us went to Disneyland. Then yesterday we heard about how Hillary thinks terrorism is a bad thing, while her fellow Democrats think it's no big deal. And today we get an earful about those nasty rich Hollywood Jews - oh, sorry, I mean fags.

Could Karl Rove have written a better script?

It's becoming increasingly clear that Hillary isn't running as a new Democrat, she's running as as a non-Democrat. Her strategy seems to be attacking everything and everyone associated with the Democratic party, and especially its base - and using Republican talking points, at that - in order to somehow position Hillary as a modern-day Diogenes, independent, above-the-fray, alone in the wilderness, forever on the look-out for honest politics.

In other words, Hillary is Joe Lieberman.

(Note: America Blog, for those who are unfamiliar, is serious about LGBT rights. It's founder was one of the organizers of the Stop Dr. Laura campaign. Hence the sarcastic use of the word "fags.")

On top of all of this, Obama is asked to apologize for the comments of a supporter while Clinton refuses to apologize for her complicity in the deaths of 3,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Classy.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Quote of the day

"I'm suspicious of anything with 'Bill of Rights' attached to it."
--right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bigotry overload

I don't know how much hate I can take in one week.

First, there was Glenn Beck on Barack Obama:
BECK: Yeah, I -- you know, I was driving in today, and I was seeing -- because I saw this piece with him on 60 Minutes -- and I thought to myself, he is -- he's very white in many ways.


BECK: And I thought to myself: Gee, can I even say that? Can I even say that without somebody else starting a campaign saying, "What does he mean, 'He's very white?' " He is. He's very white.

Then there was Rush Limbaugh on Obama:
RUSH: So are we to conclude here that he didn't define himself as black, that the way he looks does? (Sigh.) Okay. We’ve got Obama's wife in here. We've got John Howard from Australia coming up, but, "I'm not sure I decided it"? Well, if you didn't decide it, then how did it happen?

Well, when you look like that, that's what you are.

Well, renounce it, then! If it's not something you want to be, if you didn't decide it, renounce it, become white!

Tonight on Countdown Keith Olbermann called this "sleek racism" and noted for a group of people who keep saying that we need to get beyond race they sure are obsessed with race.

Let's face it. The Re-thug-nicans are scared as hell about Obama. They know he brings something to the people that no Re-thug can. Hope.

And finally there was retired NBA player Tim Hardaway:
On a Miami radio show Wednesday, Hardaway was asked how he would interact with a gay teammate.

"First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team," the former Miami Heat star said. "And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that is right. I don't think he should be in the locker room while we are in the locker room."

When show host Dan Le Batard told Hardaway those comments were "flatly homophobic" and "bigotry," the player continued.

"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people," he said. "I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

This comment comes on the heels of former Penn State and NBA player John Amaechi coming out in his new book. The NBA wisely banished Hardaway from its All-Star festivities this weekend.

This is what happens when conservatives rule our government and our media.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Iraq, Hillary's albatross

Senator Clinton's stance on Iraq and her explanation on her resolution vote are not flying. Prediction: Clinton will not win the Democratic presidential nomination due to Iraq.

In the last week, she has taken hits from Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and America Blog.

Perhaps most disturbing of all is the Clinton team invoking 9/11 as justification for her Iraq war resolution vote.

Arianna Huffington:
Its latest explanation/rationalization? 9/11 made her do it! That's right, the Clinton camp is now reading out of the Bush administration's wing-and-a-prayer book.

John at America Blog:
I have no idea what Senator Clinton was trying to telegraph in her speech - who exactly doesn't think that we're engaged in a war against heartless enemies? - but speaking as a blog that has a pretty damn good record of treating her fairly, she really crossed the line on this one.

Don't question our patriotism, and don't talk like George Bush, or this is going to be a very problematic race.

And Markos at Daily Kos:
Arguing that since New York was hit, we had to bomb the fuck out of a country that had nothing to do with it, then invade it and lose what will eventually be a trillion dollars and countless lives is really not an endearing argument.

It seems the Clinton team doesn't realize that they are in a different world than they were in 1996. What you could get away with then you cannot get away with now.

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The Joker, William Kristol

I'm losing my patience with TIME magazine over the regular appearances of William Kristol and think it's time to take some consumer action.

The letter below is in reference to this comment by Kristol in his most recent TIME column:
Then last Sunday Clinton, under pressure from antiwar activists in Iowa, reacted indignantly to matter-of-fact statements by Bush that the broader war on terrorism--and the war in Iraq--wouldn't be resolved by the time his successor took office. Clinton took offense

Here's my letter:

William Kristol has been wrong, dead wrong, on his analysis for four years, but he continues to appear in your magazine. Kristol has been so far off base that, in reference to his commentary on Iran, comedian Bill Maher said, "Hey, you know what, Nostrodamus? Why don't you sit this one out?"

Poor analysis is one thing. Using misinformation to make a point is another. Granted, it is the neo-clown playbook to mislead the public, but when Kristol does it in your magazine, it damages your credibility. In his most recent TIME column, Kristol implies that Senator Hillary Clinton believes the entire war on terrorism should be over by the end of the Bush presidency. This is not what Senator Clinton suggested. She suggested that it is irresponsible of President Bush to leave the mess in Iraq to the next president. And she is absolutely right.

I am a 33-year-old middle class consumer, the very kind of customer magazines like your’s are desperate to hang onto. But I can take no more Kristol. Cancel his contract or cancel my subscription.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The power of diplomacy

This story should be blaring across the front page of every American newspaper for days.

North Korea agrees to wind down nuclear program

North Korea agreed Tuesday after arduous talks to shut down its main nuclear reactor and eventually dismantle its atomic weapons program, just four months after the communist state shocked the world by testing a nuclear bomb.

The deal marks the first concrete plan for disarmament in more than three years of six-nation negotiations, and could potentially herald a new era of cooperation in the region with the North's longtime foes -- the United States and Japan -- also agreeing to discuss normalizing relations with Pyongyang.

And it happened without a single bomb being dropped. It happened by talking with those with whom we disagree. Despite the rhetoric of some, war is not always the answer. In fact, it's rarely the answer.

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Quote of the day

"They can't find anything on this guy because he's been right on the issues from the time he started talking about them."
--Ed Schultz, radio talk show host, on Senator Barack Obama

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Iran is here, there, and EVERYWHERE

Now we're being told that Iran is supplying "lethal support" to militant groups in Iraq.
The assertion of an Iranian role in supplying the device to Shiite militias reflects broad agreement among American intelligence agencies, although officials acknowledge that the picture is not entirely complete.

The response here is obvious.

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The contrasts could not be greater

Senator Barack Obama today in Springfield, Illinois, announcing his candidacy for president:
And when all else fails, when Katrina happens, or the death toll in Iraq mounts, we've been told that our crises are somebody else's fault. We're distracted from our real failures, and told to blame the other party, or gay people, or immigrants.

NY Times: In New Hampshire, Clinton refuses to denounce her war vote
While she tried to keep the audience of 300 people here focused on Mr. Bush’s war management, she was forced at one point to account for her own history on Iraq, as an audience member asked her to say plainly and “without nuance” that her Senate vote to use force in Iraq in 2002 was “a mistake.”

“Until we hear you say that, we’re not going to hear all these other great things you’ve said,” said the questioner, Roger Tilton of Nashua.

Mrs. Clinton has not been willing to go as far as some of her Democratic rivals, like former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, and say that her 2002 vote was a mistake. And she did not do so on Saturday. Instead, she repeated her standard talking points about that vote, saying she would never have cast it if she had had the intelligence information in 2002 that she had now.

“I’ve taken responsibility for my vote,” Mrs. Clinton said. “The mistakes were made by this president.”

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Quote of the day

"Live your life every day so that when you leave, no matter at what age, somebody can say that your life meant something to someone."
--Rev. Al Sharpton
during a panel discussion at the State of the Black Union 2007
February 10, 2007

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Quote of the day

"I know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors... I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars."
--then-State Senator Barack Obama, fall, 2002

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

From sex to rape to prison

Time this week features an article on "A Time Limit on Rape," which focuses on a woman's right to change her mind about sex in the midst of intercourse. I'm all for a woman's right to say, "No," at any time.

But the case that has brought this issue to the fore is, in a word, outrageous.
The murkiness surrounding what's reasonable has deepened further with the Maryland case, which was tried in 2004. The accuser and the defendant agree that after he began to penetrate her and she wanted him to stop, he did so within a matter of seconds and did not climax. Even so, during deliberations, the jury sent a note to the judge asking if it was rape if a female changed her mind during the sex to which she consented and the man continued until climax. The judge said it was for them to decide. They convicted the defendant of first-degree rape, among other sex offenses.

The defendant is serving a five-year prison term.

This is yet another example of the victims' rights movement and the criminal justice system run amok. This man's life is ruined. He will lose five years. He will be forever collared with a felony charge, which will impact employment and housing. And depending upon Maryland's Megan's Law, he might have to register as a sex offender.

Yet he did what we would expect a man to do in that situation. He stopped "within a matter of seconds." I could understand a rape charge if she said no and asked him to stop and he kept going at it for minutes. But this ended within seconds.

In general, I'm with my feminist friends on a lot of issues, but this goes too far. My distrust of the criminal justice system trumps my sympathies on gender issues.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Who said that?

It's time to play "Name that Speaker!"

Who said the following?
Israel is a beacon of what’s right in a neighborhood overshadowed by the wrongs of radicalism, extremism, despotism and terrorism. We need only look to one of Israel’s greatest threats: namely, Iran. Make no mistake, Iran poses a threat not only to Israel, but to the entire Middle East and beyond, including the U.S.
But Iran is a threat not only because of the hateful rhetoric spewed by its president, not only because of its nuclear ambitions, but because it uses its influence and its revenues in the region to support terrorist elements that are attacking innocent Israelis; and now we believe attacking American soldiers. Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel this summer using Iranian weapons clearly demonstrate Iran’s malevolent influence even beyond its borders.

It is essential to those of us who care deeply about what is happening in and to, Israel, to recognize that Israel’s struggle is a struggle on behalf of a future where people will be able to live with peace and security.
Hezbollah is second only to Al Qaeda to the number of American lives it has claimed. We know too of the deep and dangerous connections these terrorists share with the governments of Syria and Iran; and we are seeing the reprehensible consequences of having these terrorist beachheads along Israel’s borders.
The highest priority of any government is to ensure the safety and security of its citizens and that is why, as I have said, I’ve been a strong supporter of Israel’s right to build a security barrier to keep terrorists out. I have spoken out against the International Court of Justice for questioning Israel’s right to build that fence of security.

Was it...
A) George W. Bush
B) Dick Cheney
C) Mel Gibson
D) Hillary Clinton

If you guessed A, B, or C, you're wrong. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, the warmonger who said these words is none other than the so-called Democratic presidential front runner, Senator Hillary Clinton.

According to Senator Clinton, "Israel is a beacon of what's right" when it...

...bulldozes people's homes (with bulldozers bought from Caterpillar and made in York County).

...fires missiles into civilian areas.

...destroys an entire country's infrastructure because two soldiers were kidnapped.

...blocks off an entire region and an entire group of people, denying access in and out and leaving people desperate.

...destroys average farmers crops, leaving them with nothing.

Apparently, Senator Clinton believes in The Other Bush Doctrine: The way to people's hearts is to beat the hell out of them.

Let justice flow...

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Shortest presidential campaign ever

One day.
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, who announced his candidacy on Wednesday with the hope that he could ride his foreign policy expertise into contention for the Democratic nomination, instead spent the day struggling to explain his description of Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat running for president, as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."

Biden makes a lot of sense when he discusses policy, but something is not right with the guy when it comes to race. Last year he made a comment about Indian-Americans, 7-Eleven, and Dunkin' Donuts.
"I've had a great relationship. In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian-Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking," Biden said.

How can someone in the public eye be this clumsy on race?

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