2008 Campaign Flyer for Edwards/WaPo Story of Obama & UBS President Golfing…I’m just sayin’….

Came across an Edwards’ flyer the other day from Feb. 5, 2008. Made me wistful for the visions for recovery he had.

Senator John Edwards ’08

"returning the government to the people"

"It is time for the American people to be patriotic about something other than war."

37 million Americans live in poverty
47 million Americans lack insurance
50% of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck
the top 300,000 Americans make more than the bottom 150 million.
5 million jobs have been sent offshore
there are over 60 lobbyists for each member of Congress
$23 million was paid out by lobbyists during the 2006 campaign
1% of imports are inspected
80% of toys come from China (1 million Fisher Price toys recently recalled for lead)
20% of drugs come from India and China
40% of active ingredients for drugs come from India and China
it costs $1 million to run for Congress
it costs $8 million to run for Senate
8 corporate conglomerates control the majority of media content
Mortgage payments are beginning to jump 30% each month for many homeowners. (The Secretary of Treasury has asked lenders to VOLUNTARILY freeze their rates and not let them explode on the homeowners. Only 1% have obliged thus far.)

Edwards’ Commitments:

* Universal Health Care providing full coverage for all Americans, with a choice between government or private insurance plans and subsidized premiums for low- and moderate-income families.

* 50,000 troops out of Iraq now; all combat troops out in 9-10 months.

* End poverty in America within a generation (as outlined in his book, Ending Poverty in America — a comprehensive, multi-pronged program to end poverty.)

* Fair wages and labor standards for all workers in the United States and with U.S. trading partners throughout the world.

* An end to corporate and big money influence on policymaking and legislation.

* Clean energy and "new energy technologies," without the use of nuclear power, creating one million "green collar" jobs in America.

* Restoration of our constitutional freedoms and the rule of law.

The same day I also came across a WaPo story of Obama golfing during vacation with the president of UBS Americas.


One of President Obama’s golfing buddies Monday was a top donor to his campaign and the president of a bank at the center of a U.S. investigation into illegal tax shelters.

Robert Wolf, the president of UBS Americas, a Swiss-based bank, joined Obama at the elite, and difficult, Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs. Deputy press secretary Bill Burton described the two men as "friends."

According to news reports, Wolf and Obama met late in 2006 as the then-Illinois senator was about to launch his presidential bid. Wolf raised more than $250,000 for Obama’s presidential bid, according to a Post report last year.

But Wolf’s firm was caught up last year in a Senate probe of financial firms that attempted to shield millions of dollars in offshore accounts from U.S. taxes.

Last August, the Post reported, "The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations completed its report on UBS’s role in helping wealthy investors shield money from federal taxes. Bank spokeswoman Rohini Pragasam said the donations were "categorically not connected" to the Senate inquiry. The bank also is under scrutiny by the IRS and the Justice Department."

To me President Obama just doesn’t seem terribly earnest about "returning the government to the people." I’m just sayin’. He’s playing at golf and cronyism.

Why The News Is In Decline

Two articles caught my eye today, both having something to do with the deplorable state of broadcast journalism. The first is Glenn Greenwald’s. After noting that MSNBC is hiring Jenna Bush as a "reporter", he goes on to observe:

They should convene a panel for the next Meet the Press with Jenna Bush Hager, Luke Russert, Liz Cheney, Megan McCain and Jonah Goldberg, and they should have Chris Wallace moderate it. They can all bash affirmative action and talk about how vitally important it is that the U.S. remain a Great Meritocracy because it’s really unfair for anything other than merit to determine position and employment. They can interview Lisa Murkowski, Evan Bayh, Jeb Bush, Bob Casey, Mark Pryor, Jay Rockefeller, Dan Lipinksi, and Harold Ford, Jr. about personal responsibility and the virtues of self-sufficiency. Bill Kristol, Tucker Carlson and John Podhoretz can provide moving commentary on how America is so special because all that matters is merit, not who you know or where you come from.

It’s Time To Embrace American Royalty

As Glenn notes, there are plenty of experienced and professional journalists who can’t find jobs nowadays, and yet MSNBC hired a woman whose only real accomplishment in life is being born to someone who occupied the White House. That so many of these folks are conservatives who rail against affirmative action and civil rights legislation is particularly ironic, but not the worst thing about this trend. The worst thing is that place where most people in America get their news from is becoming increasingly incompetent at providing it. That trend is at least partly to do with who it hires and who it doesn’t.

In an interview this spring on Bill Moyers Journal, TV producer and former Baltimore Sun reporter David Simon summed up the changes that have hit the news business in the last twenty-five years when he talked about what happened to his former employer: (more…)

Roll Over, John Phillip Sousa

Oh Wingnuttia, is there anything you won’t bitch about?

If you’ve ever been stuck on hold with a congressional office in the past, at least you’ve been able to enjoy some good patriotic music, as opposed to the lilting tones of generic smooth jazz that have been driving elevator users insane for decades. For years, congressional offices have played patriotic anthems as the background music during hold times.

Not any more. After we were startled by the hold music when we called a House office recently, sources on Capitol Hill informed us this week that the Democratic House leadership has made a sweeping decision that congressional offices now have the options of “smooth jazz” elevator music or no music at all.

I’ll be the first to admit that "smooth jazz" blows like Kenny G, but ‘hold’ music should have, at the very least,  either minimal entertainment value or soothing qualities to make you forget that you’re on hold. These are not attributes I associate with patriotic music. Then again, I’m not one to put it on the speaker phone and march about the room in my underwear, so your mileage may vary.

I suggest a compromise:

If a libertarian ever wins an election, they can always petition for Red Barchetta which is like I Can’t Drive 55, only stupider.

Joke Line Just Called IF Stone’s Grand-Daughter “Pathetic”

If you haven’t read this righteous post

 Last week I went to a cookout on the beach here with some old friends (Sausages and seafood, but no cocktail weenies!) Every year they do a cookout, and then a birthday party, and for years I’ve known that one of their guests was Joe Klein. I never mixed it up with him because, after all, well…the opportunity never presented itself and while I’m pretty aggressive in print no one really goes up to someone and picks a quarrel with them, do they?

Or maybe they do. Yes, I guess they do.

Then go read the whole thing. It’s required reading for understanding how Joke Line came to call IF Stone’s grand-daughter (the author of the post) "pathetic."

Just before he called Glenn Greenwald a "thoroughly dishonorable person."

Anti-Family R-71 may barely qualify for the ballot, pending judge’s ruling

The Washington Secretary of State announced today that they’ve verified about 900 signatures over the threshold of 120,577 needed for ballot qualification.  The anti-child, anti-family ballot measure may qualify for the ballot, but just barely.

Final certification is scheduled for Wednesday morning by the Secretary of State.  Also expected first thing Wednesday morning is the court ruling on a request for an injunction in the certification filed by Washington Families Standing Together (WAFST).  The court heard arguments on that question this afternoon.  If the ruling is in favor of WAFST, the referendum would fail to qualify because up to 36,000 invalid signatures that the Secretary of State accepted in error would be thrown out.

Addendum: There may still be an opportunity to challenge the certification in court after the fact, if need be.  The law provides a 5-day window for challenge, although it isn’t clear if the basis of WAFST’s challenge would be permitted.  I guess we’ll hear more about that soon enough if it comes to that.

The security and legal stability of almost 5,900 pairs of domestic partners and their children hangs tenuously in the balance.



* WAFST.org files suit over illegitimate Referendum 71 signatures

* Judge Assignment Gives Gary Randall Agita (and a fundraising hook)

* Larry Stickney’s bid for Special Rights fails

UPDATE: Some details coming in from today’s hearing.  The lawyer for the SoS had to answer on two points raised by WAFST:

1.  Several thousand petitions were accepted by the SoS in error because the petition circulator’s declaration was either not signed, or was stamped with the name of the campaign manager, Larry Stickney.

2.  Although all petition signers are by law required to already be registered voters, the SoS considered valid signatures from people who registered as late as the day before their signature get a third check.

The attorney for the SoS presented some interesting excuses for his actions.  In the matter of the unsigned petition declarations, they said that the SoS was bound by the advice of the Attorney General, who in 2006 released an opinion that while the law requires the declaration to be printed in the petition, there is nothing in the law stating that anyone need write their name on the the line provided for that purpose, which comes right after the word “I”.  (The AG didn’t seem to have anopinion on whether signing a name there fraudulently was equally acceptable.)

On the matter of late-registering voters, the SoS’s lawyer contended that the SoS is unable to determine both when someone actually filled out a voter registration card and when they signed a petition.  He also pulled out the tiny violin and described how inconvenient it is for some theoretical poor new voter to follow the letter of the law and be registered before signing.  The scenario went something like this:  a non-voter sees a petition they want to sign, fills out voter registration card and gets it stamped somewhere official to prove they’re registered, then runs back out and HOPES that the petition circulator is still out there.  Convenience, in other words, is more important than following the law, according to the SoS’s lawyer.

REMINDER about what is at stake

The Domestic Partnership Law (SB 5688) was passed by the Legislature in 2009 to ensure that all Washington families are treated the same, with the same protections, the same rights and the same obligations as their neighbors.  Under this law, registered domestic partners (same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples where at least one partner is over age 62), and married couples, are treated equally under state law throughout Washington.

Key rights and obligations in the law include:

  • Death benefits for the partners of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty.
  • Pension benefits for the partners of teachers and other public employees.
  • Victims’ rights, including the right to receive notifications and benefits allowances.
  • The right to use sick leave to care for a seriously ill partner.
  • The right to workers’ compensation benefits if a partner is killed in the course of employment.
  • The right to receive unemployment benefits if an employee must leave a job to care for a seriously ill partner.
  • The right to adopt a partner’s child without paying for a home study.

    The areas covered by the law include labor and employment law; pensions, survivor and other public employee benefits; family law; insurance rights; higher education; banks, financial institutions and loan agencies; creditors’ rights and business licenses.

    Opponents of the domestic partnership law are seeking to repeal it.  Referendum 71 would ask voters whether the law should be approved or rejected.  A vote to “APPROVE” keeps the law so that all families will have these protections in all parts of the state.



    Referendum 71 voters will be asked to approve or reject the domestic partnership law.


    Ballot Title

    Statement of Subject: The legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5688 concerning rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners [and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill].

    Concise Description: This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.

    Should this bill be:

    Approved ___

    Rejected ___

    Ballot Measure Summary

    Same-sex couples, or any couple that includes one person age sixty-two or older, may register as a domestic partnership with the state. Registered domestic partnerships are not marriages, and marriage is prohibited except between one man and one woman. This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of registered domestic partners and their families to include all rights, responsibilities, and obligations granted by or imposed by state law on married couples and their families.

    Late Night: Craven and Bigoted is No Way to Go Through Life, Son.

    “These boys is MISCEGENATED!”

    Everyone knows that Capitol Hill is a hotbed of morally challenged, opportunistic leeches available to corporate interests at discount prices, but who knew the scum would float to the top so quickly?  It’s only been seven months since Obama’s inauguration, and daily stories about some pinheaded wingnut embracing his or her venality already seems . . . routine.

    The latest bigotrix, Kansas’ Lynn Jenkins, spent the weekend gnawing off her leg to escape the trap she set for herself:

    Alas, The Ottawa (Kans.) Herald finds one reason to doubt Jenkins’s excuse. A month ago, the freshman lawmaker supported a resolution that included the very phrase "great white hope" in a historical context that made clear its origin.

    In late July, the House of Representatives passed, by unanimous consent, a measure urging the president to pardon heavyweight champion boxer Jack Johnson, whose career brought him success in the ring and racist vitriol outside of it. Included in the resolution, which passed on July 29, was the following phrase:

    "Whereas the victory by Jack Johnson over Tommy Burns prompted a search for a White boxer who could beat Jack Johnson, a recruitment effort that was dubbed the search for the ‘great white hope.’ 

    Would you like a fire extinguisher for those pants, Ms. Jenkins?

    And when there’s a lull in the legislative branch of fearmongering and hating, the religious nuts step up to fill the void, reaching stratospheric levels with the offensive rhetoric:

    Chris Broughton, the man who brought an AR-15 rifle and a handgun to an Arizona Obama rally earlier this month, says he "concurs" with his fundamentalist pastor’s prayer for President Obama "to die and go to hell."

    And in an interview with a local TV station, pastor Steven Anderson himself elaborated on his statement to TPMmuckraker that he would prefer Obama to die of natural causes so "he’s not some martyr."

    "I don’t want him to be a martyr, we don’t need another holiday. I’d like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer," Anderson now says. 


    Palestine in Pieces, A New Education Model, and Due Process for Immigrants

    There are few US writers who have spent as much time in Palestine as Kathleen and Bill Chritison. Over they years they’ve provided an indispensable overview of life in Palestine and their assessment of what’s happening today is grim indeed. Settlements are continuing apace and there doesn’t appear to be a serious or even a minor shift in US policy. Former CIA employees they have traveled to the region regularly and have authored numerous books and articles, most recently, Palestine in Pieces: Graphic Perspectives on the Israeli Occupationir?t=lauraflanders-20&l=as2&o=1&a=0745329292

    Then, do incentives work? And are they a way to improve education? Well, Ayele Shakur, Executive Director of the Boston Learning Center, and Gary Bracey, Project Director of Building Inspiration to Fight Failure (BIFF) say that it is one way of motivating students. They are co-founders of the Smart is Cool campaign and have developed a model that they say not only keeps kids in school but keeps them engaged. They’re joined by two of their students, Samantha Zubieta and Dominique Wilson.

    Also, restoring the right to due process for all immigrants. Breakthrough’s Restore the Right to Due Process campaign has covered the impact of detention and deportation on immigrants in the United States. 

    Thanks to  The Real News Network and Breakthrough for video in tonight’s show.  

    South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer outed?

    (Sorry, couldn't resist inserting this graphic! — Pam)

    crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

    I was in the middle of writing something good about the Carrie Prejean situation but then I got knocked on my ass by the following:

    A South Carolina politician with a lengthy antigay voting record who has denied that he is gay is lying, according to blogger Mike Rogers.

    Rogers, whose work outing closeted politicians who vote antigay figures heavily into the documentary Outrage, reports that South Carolina Lieutenant Andre Bauer has reportedly flirted with several gay men, and one source has admitted to having sex with him.