Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Currently, Legislature draws the districts its members represent, which leads to efforts to “marginalize the minority party and to draw districts that favor incumbents of both parties. Schwarzenegger explains that when this happens “you have politicians picking votes rather than voters picking politicians”. The changes could bring increased competition for legislative seats across the state. The new rules of redistricting, which will start with the 2010 census, require a 14-member committee composed of multi-partisan individuals who will draw the congressional boundaries for the Assembly, the State Senate and Board of Equalization. The new rules do not allow space for “considering incumbent politicians or party registration numbers”. Instead they will create “communities of interest” and the districts will be composed of neighborhoods.
Prop 11, however will lead to changes not favorable to Democrats. The Democrats believe “as long as they control the redistricting gerrymander, they'll never loose control of the Legislature”. But, the reason why Prop 11 passed, in contrast to similar reform measures, such as Prop 77 in 2005, is that the Democrats did not fund the opposition team as strongly as they had in the past. Instead, Schwarzenegger put in his own $3million to support the measure, and good government groups, such as the AARP, Common Cause and League of Women Voters, raised $15million to support the bill, overshadowing the opposition's $10million. In addition, all the other important measures on the ballot allowed redistricting initiatives to “[fall] by the wayside in this month's election, overshadowed by the presidential race and Proposition 8. So because of the Democrats “other priorities”, their Congressional seats may not be as stable as they once were. Yet we all know the power of the incumbency and so I don't foresee massive changes in our legislature. But nonetheless, congratulations to the governor for his long sought victory, and may be have a more effective legislature in the future!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This evidence of military activity is particularly upsetting due to the government's call for an immediate ceasefire on November 12, just one week ago. In addition, Sudan is heightening efforts to protect President Omar Hassan al-Bashir from charges of involvement in war crimes in Darfur (which include "10 counts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity"). The Darfur conflict is 5 years old and has killed 200 000 while driving 2.5 million people from their homes.
And so, unfortunately, its still politically correct to sport our "stop genocide in Sudan" t's.
I've found other speculation that this ceasefire was initiated in hopes of persuading the UN to cease its indictment of the Sudanese president, Mr. Bashir. In addition, the call for a ceasefire was created by the Qatari-backed initiative, which the rebel groups did not join. Without the involvement of the rebel groups, Sudan is unlikely to achieve a state of peace.
Read more: http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1113/p99s01-duts.html
"Jewish community leader Isaac Abraham of Brooklyn had a simpler explanation.
"It's obvious what's going on here: The Christmas tree is being taken out of the White House and the menorah is being brought in the back," he quipped."
Note, both picture and article are in the link
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Although, Prop 8. started another form of progress. At a No on 8 forum, participants agreed that they will not allow Prop. 8 to create divisions among the African American community and the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community. This is a good sign, when some feel that the result of a poll justifies blaming the African American community for the passage of Prop 8. This exit poll, produced by CNN said that 70 percent of African Americans had voted yes on 8. A No on 8 campaign worker noted that “In less than 24 hours, you had rampant reporting that African Americans voted yes on 8. You couldn't get away from it”. Despite such reports, most find that this “viewpoint [of voting yes on 8] wasn't reflected among...friends and associates”. In spite of this, others are willing to blame internal issues within the No on Prop 8 campaign itself for the defeat. Some said that the campaign was not culturally competent and that it should have extended into areas in San Fransisco and the greater Bay Area where there is a less friendly attitude toward gays. Despite all this, gay marriage supporters appear to be attempting to reexamine their strategies and work together—instead of pointing fingers—which can only be good news.
Has Obama already initiated the change he promised?—never before has the electorate been this excited and passionate about the possibility for reform and the capabilities of government.
The first program details how the Federal government will buy up to 100,000,000,000 ( or 100 billion) dollars with of debt issued by govt.-sponsored morages enterprises (Fannie, Freddie, and Federal Home Loan Banks) and up to 500,000,000,000 dollars of mortgage securities backed by Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie Mae.
Program number two lauches a 200,000,000,000 dollar facility to "support consumer finance, including student (woot!), auto, and credit card loans and loans backed by federal Small Business Administration" which will lend to investors who hold securities backed by this debt. There is a safety net as well! (gasp!) $20 billion will come from the $40 billion in allocated funds from the $700 billion rescue fund that will help cover any losses the Fed might face.
Hopefully by detracting from the massive amounts of debt plaguing American citizens people will begin to invest again and American will find itself moving back onto the track to economic prosperity. I can only hope the government has found someway to pay for this and/or will be making cuts accordingly otherwise we may rescue the populus only to have to dig the government out and there will be inflation like nobody's business but with any and all luck we won't be using it to fuel our fires or as toys any time soon.
Cross your fingers and hope we make it out of this with both economy and global reputation/status intact.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Whether or not Bush will be able to handle the sudden influx of people asking for pardons is another question, but more importantly, whether or not he will pardon those involved with the violent interrogations of individuals thought to have been involved with the 9/11 attack.
The debate lies in this,should the fact they were just trying to protect their county or were just following orders keep them from being charged for war crimes or other criminal charges?
Obama's choices have given the stock market a brief rise although it seems to fluctuates at the drop of a hat these days. Hopefully the people President Elect Barak Obama has picked the right people to lead us through this crisis and their effect will not be limited to a brief rise in the stock market.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Despite the fact that there has never been an assassination attempt at a persidental inauguration, threats against Obama have been higher than any other president-elect in American history so some precautions are being take. They range from thousands of video cameras, sharpshooters, air patrols, searches by machines and security personnel, undercover officers, and bomb sniffing dogs to countersnipers who are trained to hit a target the size of a teacup saucer from 1,000 yards away.
If you want information on which companies are downsizing (in the words of Dwight Schrute) go to the following site!
Friday, November 21, 2008
For more info:
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The following is a collection of the top ten unfortunate political one-liners of America's history:
"I am not a crook." -Richard Nixon, 1973
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman." -Bill Clinton, 1998
"Read my lips: no new taxes." -George H.W. Bush, 1988
"The fundamentals of the economy are strong." -John McCain 2008
"I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times." -Jimmy Carter, 1976
"It's vile. It's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction."- Mark Foley, 1998
"We still seek no wider war."- Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964
"That depends on what the meaning of 'is' is." -Bill Clinton, 1998
"The fundamental business of the country, that is, production and distribution of commodities, is on a sound and prosperous basis." -Herbert Hoover, 1929
"You know, I always wondered about that taping equipment but I'm damn glad we have it, aren't you?" -Richard Nixon, 1973
Nuclear weapons use more likely in future: US intelligence
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The use of nuclear weapons will grow increasingly likely by 2025, US intelligence predicted Thursday in a report on global trends that forecasts a tense, unstable world shadowed by war.
"The world of the near future will be subject to an increased likelihood of conflict over scarce resources, including food and water, and will be haunted by the persistence of rogue states and terrorist groups with greater access to nuclear weapons," said the report.
"Widening gaps in birth rates and wealth-to-poverty ratios, and the uneven impact of climate change, could further exacerbate tensions," it concludes.
Called "Global Trends 2025 - a Transformed World," the 121-page report was produced by the National Intelligence Council, a body of analysts from across the US intelligence community.
It has good news for some countries. Among its conclusions:
-- A technology to replace oil may be underway or in place by 2025;
-- Multiple financial centers will serve as "shock absorbers" of the world financial system;
-- Global power will be multipolar with the rise of India and China, and the Korean peninsula will be unified in some form.
But the report also says some African and South Asian states may wither away altogether, organized crime could take over at least one state in central Europe; and the spread of nuclear weapons will heighten the risk they will be used.
"The likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used will increase with expanded access to technology and a widening range of options for limited strikes," it said.
The report highlighted the risk of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East where a number of countries are thinking about developing or acquiring technologies that would be useful to make nuclear weapons.
"Over the next 15-20 years, reactions to the decisions Iran makes about its nuclear program could cause a number of regional states to intensify these efforts and consider actively pursuing nuclear weapons," the report said.
"This will add a new and more dangerous dimension to what is likely to be increasing competition for influence within the region," it said.
The report said it was not certain that the kind of deterrent relationships that existed for most of the Cold War would emerge in a nuclear armed Middle East.
Instead, the possession of nuclear weapons may be perceived as "making it safe" to engage in low intensity conflicts, terrorism or even larger conventional attacks, the report said.
"Each such incident between nuclear-armed states, however, would hold the potential for nuclear escalation," it said.
The spread of nuclear capabilities will raise questions about the ability of weak states to safeguard them, it said.
"If the number of nuclear-capable states increases, so will the number of countries potentially willing to provide nuclear assistance to other countries or to terrorists," it said.
"The potential for theft or diversion of nuclear weapons, materials, and technology -- and the potential for unauthorized nuclear use -- also would rise," it said.
The report said terrorism would likely be a factor in 2025 but suggested that Al-Qaeda's "terrorist wave" might be breaking up.
"Al-Qaeda's weaknesses -- unachievable strategic objectives, inability to attract broad-based support, and self-destructive actions -- might cause it to decay sooner than many people think," it said.
"Because history suggests that the global Islamic terrorist movement will outlast Al-Qaeda as a group, strategic counterterrorism efforts will need to focus on how and why a successor terrorist group might evolve during the remaining years of the 'Islamic terrorist wave.'"
The report was vague about the outcome of current conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and nuclear armed Pakistan.
In 2025, the government in Baghdad could still be "an object of competition" among various factions seeking foreign aid or pride of place.
Afghanistan "may still evince significant patterns of tribal competition and conflict."
"The future of Pakistan is a wildcard in considering the trajectory of neighboring Afghanistan," it said.
Obama campaigned on the slogan of "change we can believe in" but as he continues to form his cabinet, he is appointing many people in high positions who are definitely not new to Washington. Although it is favorable that the people appointed have experience, many are angered by the lack of "change" in Obama's cabinet. Many want to see new faces in Washington instead of the recycling the same leaders. However, if Obama were to have chosen completely new politicians to advise him during his presidency, I believe that American's would also be angered because some think that Obama himself isn't experienced and at times would need Washington insiders to lead the way. Also, it seems as though Obama has been using Clinton's cabinet as a model for his own. Many perceive Clinton's cabinet in a good light (despite his affair...) because of what they were able to accomplish as a team. It may be beneficial that Obama rely on Clinton's cabinet as an example so that completely new and inexperienced people are not appointed to the highest positions in the government. Although many would like to see new faces in government it is vital that these positions are filled by people who are accustomed to Washington and American government.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
(CNN) -- Some lawmakers lashed out at the CEOs of the Big Three auto companies Wednesday for flying private jets to Washington to request taxpayer bailout money.
Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli, left, and Ford CEO Alan Mulally testify on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
"There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they're going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses," Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.
"It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious."
He added, "couldn't you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it."
The executives -- Alan Mulally of Ford, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Richard Wagoner of GM -- were seeking support for a $25 billion loan package. Later Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reversed plans to hold a test vote on the measure.
An aide told CNN that Reid decided to cancel the test vote when it became clear the measure would fall well short of the 60 votes needed. Reid did, however, make a procedural move that could allow a vote on a compromise, which several senators from auto-producing states were feverishly trying to craft.
At Wednesday's hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, pressed the private-jet issue, asking the three CEOs to "raise their hand if they flew here commercial."
"Let the record show, no hands went up," Sherman said. "Second, I'm going to ask you to raise your hand if you are planning to sell your jet in place now and fly back commercial. Let the record show, no hands went up."
The executives did not specifically respond to those remarks. In their testimony, they said they are streamlining business operations in general. Watch Nardelli ask for help »
When contacted by CNN, the three auto companies defended the CEOs' travel as standard procedure.
Like many other major corporations, all three have policies requiring their CEOs to travel in private jets for safety reasons.
"Making a big to-do about this when issues vital to the jobs of millions of Americans are being discussed in Washington is diverting attention away from a critical debate that will determine the future health of the auto industry and the American economy," GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said in a statement.
Chrysler spokeswoman Lori McTavish said in a statement, "while always being mindful of company costs, all business travel requires the highest standard of safety for all employees."
Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker pointed to the company's travel policy and did not provide a statement elaborating.
But those statements did little to mollify the critics.
"If it is simply the company's money at stake, then only the shareholders can be upset or feel as it might be excessive," said Thomas Schatz, president of the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.
But in this case, he said, "it's outrageous."
"They're coming to Washington to beg the taxpayers to help them. It's unseemly to be running around on a $20,000 flight versus a $500 round trip," Schatz added.
The companies did not disclose how much the flights cost.
Analysts contacted by CNN noted that the prices vary with the size of the plane and the crew, and whether the aircraft is leased or owned by the company.
The video also includes a picture of Obama wearing a kippah (Jewish skullcap) while praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Al-Zawahiri then makes the comment that Obama has betrayed his Muslim father and of creating ties with Jewish organizations to further his political ambitions. He continues and states, "You have reached the position of president, and a heavy legacy of failure and crimes awaits you". He later says that Obama must "Be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them" and that despite claims Obama is not a force of change.
Wow. He must be living in a cave with Osama Bin Laden.
Although it may seem that foreign groups may be more accepting of America once an African American is president, obviously this will not be the case. Hatred toward America continues to grow despite a shift in power. This will be a major struggle that the Obama administration will have to face and try to overcome in the future.
you should not go to the following site or watch the following video if you are sensitive...
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
WASHINGTON— Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens has lost his bid for a seventh term. The longest-serving Republican in the history of the Senate trailed Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich by 3,724 votes after Tuesday's count. That's an insurmountable lead with only about 2,500 overseas ballots left to be counted.
Stevens, who turned 85 Tuesday, also revealed that he will not ask President George W. Bush to give him a pardon for his seven felony convictions.
Stevens had already been removed as top Republican on the Commerce panel and his ranking position on the powerful subcommittee responsible for the defense budget.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Here is some of the speculation out there from the horses mouth regarding republicans he might appoint to cabinet posts. (Obama's answer to a question about republicans he would work with at a town hall event in Manchester N.H.):
1. Dick Lugar who is a moderate republican that Obama says he liked working with in the senate. (He has been consistently mentioned as a candidate for Secretary of state.)
2. Sen. Chuck Hagel who is a moderate republican and Vietnam war veteran.
3. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who as the republican gov. of California has been a worldwide leader on global warming and environmental issues.
Since his election he has repeated his promise to have at least one republican in his cabinet. Abraham Lincoln? I'm not sure, but to borrow his campaign catch phrase, appointing a republican really will be change.
View the following links for more info:
It is important that politicans set an example for American citizens when it comes to being open to working with people that may not share the same ideals/beliefs. Often it is easy for us to reject the ideas of members of the opposite political party, but this is only holding our nation back from reaching its fullest potential. Politicians must work together to solve this nation's problems because the issues we face today do not face only Democrats or only Republicans but every single American. Although it may be more difficult to work with someone that is not exactly like you, it is important that politicians go through the struggle in order for the govermment and its policies to represent and meet the needs of as many citizens as possible. Also, by working together Obama and McCain are unifying Americans and demonstrating that to succeed everyone must be eager and willing to work together and reach solutions.
During the election/campaign process, hatred between the opposing parties has been more evident than ever. McCain and Obama's attempts to work together have displayed that American's must put their differences aside for the good of the country.
If you would like to know the specifics when it comes to what was discussed during the talks visit....http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122694399164234073.html
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Today, I am ending one journey to begin another. After serving the people of Illinois in the United States Senate -- one of the highest honors and privileges of my life -- I am stepping down as senator to prepare for the responsibilities I will assume as our nation's next president. But I will never forget, and will forever be grateful, to the men and women of this great state who made my life in public service possible.
More than two decades ago, I arrived in Illinois as a young man eager to do my part in building a better America. On the South Side of Chicago, I worked with families who had lost jobs and lost hope when the local steel plant closed. It wasn't easy, but we slowly rebuilt those neighborhoods one block at a time, and in the process I received the best education I ever had. It's an education that led me to organize a voter registration project in Chicago, stand up for the rights of Illinois families as an attorney and eventually run for the Illinois state Senate.
It was in Springfield, in the heartland of America, where I saw all that is America converge -- farmers and teachers, businessmen and laborers, all of them with a story to tell, all of them seeking a seat at the table, all of them clamoring to be heard. It was there that I learned to disagree without being disagreeable; to seek compromise while holding fast to those principles that can never be compromised, and to always assume the best in people instead of the worst. Later, when I made the decision to run for the United States Senate, the core decency and generosity of the American people is exactly what I saw as I traveled across our great state -- from Chicago to Cairo; from Decatur to Quincy.
I still remember the young woman in East St. Louis who had the grades, the drive and the will but not the money to go to college. I remember the young men and women I met at VFW halls across the state who serve our nation bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I will never forget the workers in Galesburg who faced the closing of a plant they had given their lives to, who wondered how they would provide health care to their sick children with no job and little savings.
Stories like these are why I came to Illinois all those years ago, and they will stay with me when I go to the White House in January. The challenges we face as a nation are now more numerous and difficult than when I first arrived in Chicago, but I have no doubt that we can meet them. For throughout my years in Illinois, I have heard hope as often as I have heard heartache. Where I have seen struggle, I have seen great strength. And in a state as broad and diverse in background and belief as any in our nation, I have found a spirit of unity and purpose that can steer us through the most troubled waters.
It was long ago that another son of Illinois left for Washington. A greater man who spoke to a nation far more divided, Abraham Lincoln, said of his home, "To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything." Today, I feel the same, and like Lincoln, I ask for your support, your prayers, and for us to "confidently hope that all will yet be well." With your help, along with the service and sacrifice of Americans across the nation who are hungry for change and ready to bring it about, I have faith that all will in fact be well. And it is with that faith, and the high hopes I have for the enduring power of the American idea, that I offer the people of my beloved home a very affectionate thanks.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Now that we know it worked, the program should be disabled. Although they are exceptions, some minorities hide behind affirmative action. It is a fact that an African-American in a poor area has a much better chance of going to an Ivy-League University with financial aide and scholorships than a white person in an affluent suburb, even thought the latter probabaly went to a better school.
This is my opinion, what do you think? I have yet to hear any compelling arguements for affirmative action that do not have something to do with segregation, newsflash: the students benefiting from the program never experienced it.
"President-elect Obama plans to to publish these weekly updates through the Transition and then from the White House."It seems that President-elect Obama is going to bring FDR's fireside chats to the modern age by going to be the first President to deliver their weekly address by video. From his first video address, it is quite clear that he plans to do something about the current economic crisis when he is inaugurated. One of his points is, "It means investing $150 billion to build an American green energy economy that will create five million new jobs, while freeing our nation from the tyranny of foreign oil, and saving our planet for our children." seems like an ambitious plan, perhaps too ambitious....
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The East Palo Alto police department recently has been inundated with burglary and breaking and entering reports. The vast majority of witnesses say that they saw black males leaving the properties. The police chief of East Palo Alto, following her logic, instructed her police officers to look for suspicious middle-aged black males and ask who they were. This incited an uproar, and there have been multiple marches and protests about the "racial profiling" that the police department is engaged in. This is not racial profiling, it is merely looking for a suspect based on eyewitness reports and the descriptions of the perpetrators thereof.
If the police department was arresting minorities because they thought that such people may have committed a crime, but had no evidence to support this, then that is racial profiling, but looking for suspects based on criteria which is based on eyewitness descriptions is good police work. It would not make sense to question Hispanic females rather than black males when all reports point to black males committing the crimes.
However, recently, the East Palo Alto police chief went to a black church to apologize for the misunderstanding, but they shunned her, and refused to hear her point of view, and dismissed her as a racist. The lieutenant, a black woman, argued for the chief, and said that what she was instructing her officers to do was in no part racist.
The debate ensues, and is drawing the attention of the NAACP, ACLU and other minority rights organizations, outraged at the racism that the police department is allegedly proliferating.
In my opinion, this is ridiculous. Nothing is wrong with searching for suspects based on eyewitness reports, and this whole fiasco should never have happened.
(by the way, the article linked to in the title is an argument that it is racial profiling)
After this summer's war between Georgia and Russia, threats to the United States from Russia over the missile defense shield, and two casualty intense wars that have no end in sight, all the news networks can cover is the scandal over whether the Obama family will cave to the public and buy a dog from the pound. This seems a little ridiculous. after all of the domestic problems in America, be it home forecloses, poverty, the recent spike in burglaries, and the manic-deprissiveness of the NYSE, all the media (and most of America for that matter) cares about are frivolous issues of non-import.
Something has got to give. The media has truly overstepped its madate this time; they should be covering to housing crisis, or how Iran's president supported Obama until he realized that Obama doesn't want Iran to have nuclear weapons either. Seriously, can anyone say they acutally care about what kind of dog the Obama family will have over serious international and domestic crises?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Ninety years ago, World War I ended with the Germans signing the Armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Today, we celebrate and honor the services of those who served in our country's military. It is interesting to know that another name for World War I was the War to End All Wars, but it has evidently failed to do so. Nonetheless, today remains the day to pay our respects to veterans, in both wartime and peacetime. Whether or not you agree with United State's current involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is important to recognize the sacrifices that soldiers give to their country.
Anyhoo, enjoy your holiday and may God bless America.
Here is George C. Scott's rendition of Patton's famous speech to the members of the Third Army.
Monday, November 10, 2008
However, it is important that we save face in the world community by finding Bin Laden and finishing the Iraq war, both of which President Obama plans to do. This may prove risky, as the war is unpopular and many people have forgotten the war in Afghanistan. I think that all troops need to be sent home today, period. But practically, this is impossible.
Today, for the first time in his life, Barack Obama saw the Oval Office in person. In ten weeks, he will not only take the oath to be the highest political office in the United States, but also be the first black American to do so. Along with the White House, Obama is given a mandate to command and a democratic Congress. However, whether or not Obama will preside wisely and carefully have yet to be seen. Like they say in Spiderman the movie:
"With great power comes great responsibility."
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Edit: For anyone who gets the San Francisco Chronicle look at the front and back cover of the front section today (sunday). It is exactly what I was looking for when I made this post last night, it shows a ton of front pages from newspapers around the world. The Chronicle publishes most of their articles free online as well but I couldn't find this particular one.
Here is another interesting link though concerning Obama and the President of Russia.
Friday, November 7, 2008
I saw this quote and it reminded me, suddenly of the economy, but it's kind of confusing why it reminded me of it. Here we are, all pumped for the outcome of this election, but I've forgoten about the current ecomonic crisis, not only here in the US, but also overseas (like in Russia, that's why the quote reminded me about this subject in the first place).
On a more serious note, Obama has much to think about regarding the economy. Obama held his first press conference as president-elect, stressing that the focus of his efforts would be the struggling middle class.
"We need a rescue plan for the middle class that invests in immediate efforts to create jobs and provides relief to families that are watching their paychecks shrink and their life savings disappear," Obama stated.
I think that the choices he makes first will reflect stopping the economic disaster that is hanging in the balance. I searched for an article of any sort regarding Obama and his ideas to "rescue the middle class" with jobs and such, but all I found was that statement. Obama might be too busy preping for the White House, but in my opinion he should lay out his ideas to get us out of this mess.
CBS news this morning said that although the economy dropped a few weeks ago, here in California we are only just being hit with it. For some, it won't be too bad, but for others, it means losing jobs and homes. Nonetheless, this is an important issue and I think Obama would be making a smart choice by making it his top prioity when entering the White House.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Here are several excellent sources on this:
Eugene Volokh on what will likely happen, legally speaking
Matthew Yglesias on the "backlash"
And of course Andrew Sullivan has a bazillion posts on this subject, which is fitting, since he -- FAR more than Gavin "Whether You Like It Or Not" Newsom -- really helped make gay marriage a reality over the past 15 years.
As mentioned in class, I don't see there being a legal remedy besides putting it back on the ballot and convincing more people on the merits. Maybe this will be ruled to be such a significant change that it requires a 2/3 vote, as there are 2 mechanisms for changing the California Constitution, and that would invalidate prop 8 (and enrage its fervent supporters.) But I doubt it. The best way to get gay marriage is to increase the respect in society for gay people, and frankly, I thought the no on 8 campaign completely failed in that respect. To earn more respect, we have to embrace the real fears that people have and talk them down. I find it telling that prop 8 passed by wide margins where few gay people live and was voted down by pretty wide margins where gay people are commonplace. Hmm. Familiarity breeds respect.
The Yes on 8 campaign capitalized on those fears, and their ad and direct mail campaign was pretty outrageous to me. "Hate is not a family value" remains the best bumper sticker of all time. Yet, while there is some irrational prejudice that borders on hate out there, calling all the Yes voters haters is not a winning strategy. Turning the other cheek and talking to people with respect? Much more difficult, but much more effective.
So tomorrow, some number of people, including myself, will be wearing black as a symbolic protest. I hope that no one gets overly confrontational about it on either side. Asking someone to articulate their reasoning is not offensive. Being outraged about holding a position that approximately half the State holds could be, and, moreover, it doesn't change anyone's mind.
I must admit that it was more than a little disheartening to be left out of what was a moment of national pride and reconciliation. Obama's victory was a very nice moment for the country that I celebrated heartily. Many Republicans who couldn't vote for Obama on policy grounds were similarly patriotic. Progress is good, even with a band of counties from Texas up through West Virginia that went against the otherwise across-the-board trend for Democrats which can't be explained away without involving race.
Still, it stung, more than I would have thought. As a teenager, as I realized that I was actually a disrespected minority, I became very interested in the struggle for racial justice. I loved my college coursework on the subject, and the civil rights movement was my favorite unit when I taught US history. I fear that had I not faced prejudice of my own that I might not have had much empathy or understanding for cultural identities beyond my own experience. So, far beyond the policy and politics of the moment, I cherished Obama's rhetorical calls for unity as well as his victory. And then, a few hours later, a major letdown, one that would not have happened had African-American turnout been especially high for this particular election. Had prop 8 been defeated by a narrow margin, it would have felt like a huge win, but really, we are talking about a different level of respect from 5% of the population, which is within sight, and I thank the many students who have expressed their solidarity over the past few days. There is little doubt that by the time your generation takes the reins of national power this issue will be about as settled as race seems to be here in 2008.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
If you watched Obama's speech last night then you probably heard Obama mention Ann Nixon Cooper, a 106 year old woman who voted for Obama. Cooper was born a generation after the end of slavery. She lived to see women earn the right to vote, and the end of segregation. This is a woman who has lived through a lot!!! It was only fitting that Obama honor her with his speech, and with this call that you see in this video.
It shows all the other results from past elections which is really cool to see the difference in turnout.
Both candidates had a tough campaign, and there were times when both looked like they could come out on top. McCain stated he would put his "Country First" something the citizens needed to hear, while Obama won support through by contrasting himself with the current office. In his victory speech, Obama thanked his organizational teams, campaign volunteers and all his supporters. But those people are not the only reason he won.
For starters, Obama focused on a core theme of change. Americans everywhere are struggling and he gained support by offering them hope. Obama constantly slammed McCain for being "just more of the same", when the country really needs different approachs.
Second, Obama made a great decision in not taking public funds, allowing him to expand past the maximum ammount set, and raise as much money as possible. The money helped get his ideas published, television adds, and more volunteers.
Thirdly, (something we didn't exactly touch on in class) was that Obama had a difficult fight in the primaries against Senator Clinton. Unlike McCain, Obama had to start the race, with "full arms a-blazing" and was on the defence and offense from the get go. I'm not sure how much this greatly effected the outcome last night, but it's still something to consider.
Any other opinions? Is there something I missed?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I don't mean to spam this blog but it's been difficult to find the results of the propsitions as they come in so here it is:
Only prop 8 and prop 4 are at the very bottom. So far it's not looking too good.
So this website is fun to play around with. It shows what states CNN has allready called and it allows you to play around with the other states and determine who will win in them. Basically it becomes clear that if you make the assumptions that Obama will win CA (not exactly a risky bet) and Hawaii, then Obama really only needs one other state that has more than 3 electoral votes in order to secure the neccessary 270 electoral votes. In order for McCain to win he would need to win every other state that has not been called by CNN (excepting CA and Hawaii which i continue to assume will go to Obama. So McCain needs 15 more states to win, while Obama only needs 3 more.
Now exit polls are not always accurate, but for now it's all we have.
So far, Obama has potentially secured Vermont, and McCain has gotten Kentucky. Indiana and Virgina are too close to call.
Indiana is 50% McCain, 49% Obama.
Virgina is 53% McCain, 46% Obama.
We are toying with the idea of updating every hour or so.
Any comments so far?
Monday, November 3, 2008
With elections literally hours away, most people have finally chosen their favored candidate. As the campaign continues in full swing for both parties, some people have claimed to still be undecided. About 4% (says the most recent Gallup poll) are still weighing the pros and cons of both candidates and probably won't decide until tomorrow in the polling booth. But as for now, the current standards leave Obama at 53% and McCain at 40% of the registered voters.
Gallup has predicted that Obama will win the general election in 2008, and they've only been wrong twice since they started polling in the late 1930s. Things look good for Obama, who currently holds the vote of about 83% of all non-white voters. McCain might have a slight lead in non-white votes (51%-44%), but Obama's lead is now more significant because of the increase in non-white registration this election.
Although the polls have been released, and Gallup has picked it's candidate, things are still up in the air--things could always change. We will only know for sure (hopefully) tomorrow night so in the mean time, get some sleep and remember to vote tomorrow (if you can). Have fun, poll workers. :)
This Articles in this Teen Magazine is very good and here are some links of what the candidates think about the death penalty.
McCain supports the death penalty for federal crimes. McCain says we should extend use of the death penalty and implement stricter penalties for violent felons. McCain supported legislation to prohibit the use of racial statistics in death penalty appeals and supports banning it for persons under eighteen.
( http://cfc.wciv.com/external.cfm?p=mccain )
According to this article, it is not necessarily a given that McCain will win his home state of Arizona. McCain served two terms in the House of Representatives for Arizona, before his four terms as Senator for Arizona. For a state that he has served so loyally for so long, to turn there back on him now is not an encouraging sign. The 20 point lead McCain held over the summer has now been reduced to only 3.5 points, a drastic change. This doesn't bode well for his success in the polls tomorrow. Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan all managed to secure the electoral votes from their home states, and not that he can't possibly win without Arizona, but this speaks volumes about how loyal his constituents are to him. So will Arizona go red or blue? Thoughts?
According to this article there is over 80 percent turnout expected tomorrow. I am signed up to help at the polls tomorrow and last night when I was talking to the supervisor of my precinct he said he's heard that 80 percent were expected to vote and I was shocked, because as we know from our wonderful AP gov class, normally the percent of people who CAN vote who DO, cirlces around 50 percent. But some polls are expecting up to 83 percent this election which is awesome. Could it be that these candidates apeal to a wider range of people? we know men are more likely to vote than women, but now we have a woman candidate, and also Clinton possibly got a lot more women involved at the primaries, and whites are more likely to vote than minorities, but here we have a black man running, so that could get minorities more involved.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Recent studies by a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Sunday indicated that Palin has steadily been growing less popular among voters and may be costing McCain the election. With such a close race, it makes one think about what might have happened if McCain had chosen someone else? Democrats rejoice at the news of this survey, while Republicans are disappointed at the results.
Who would have thought that a Governor from Alaska, with little to no experience or qualifications for the Vice-Presidency would have generated bad beat? That someone who cannot speak for herself publicly, people tell her what to say, confuses her, and then she doesn't know what is what anymore, would create such a fuss and would potentially cost McCain the election.
Palin's popularity rating may prove to be the cause of McCain's downward spiral, but this is just one survey. Perhaps more surveys will pop up, but as of now, it could only possibly be suggested that Palin dragged McCain down with her.
For the past two weeks, McCain has been spending a lot of time in Pennsylvania trying to convince voters to vote for him. Although Pennsylvania is Democratic, and Bush lost Pennsylvania four years ago, McCain seems to believe that he has a good shot at taking Pennsylvania. Should McCain be worrying about Virginia instead?
It seems that Virginia has become a swing state in this election. Although Virginia has usually been a state won by Republicans, in recent years, Virginia is becoming an example of the "crumbling of the GOP coalition." Virginia may yet be a harder state for McCain to win.
These two states are important swing states along with many others. For McCain, seemingly a maverick in a losing battle, these states could cost him the elections. Does McCain have what it takes to win these swing states knowing that Bush barely won them? Even though Bush had lost by only 2.5% vote in Pennsylvania, should McCain have focused on swing states that he could have had a better chance at? Like Ohio?
Where did all the spending go specifically, you might ask? Well a majority of the money went to advertising through media resources. Examples of this would include the Robocall made by the GOP stating that Clinton is endorsing McCain. Another example is the Republican party calling Pennsylvania and Ohio voters and taking Obama's words about coal-burning technology out of context and claiming that he will "bankrupt the coal industry."
A lot of negative campaign still continuing with the Republican party. But, they are not only to blame for the spending. the Democratic party released a new TV ad highlighting Cheney's endorsement for McCain as Cheney states that he is "delighted to support John McCain."
The spending doesn't stop at media spending. The spending continues into the employment of people to support them. workers run around, going door-to-door asking people to support and vote for Barack Obama. It has been a tough run, but the candidates aren't stopping till the "fat lady sings."
Of course, you shouldn't always believe what you hear. During the Democratic primary campaign, Clinton is quoted as saying "In the White House there is no time for speeches and on-the-job training. Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign and Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002. I think that is a significant difference." Although Clinton is heard saying this, she clearly states that she is not endorsing McCain.
A spokesperson for Clinton stated that "Senator Hillary Clinton does not approve this message, and as she crisscrosses the country, she has said time and again that the choice in this election could not be more clear. The McCain/Palin ticket offers only more of the same failed policies while the Obama/Biden ticket offers the vision, leadership and positive solutions we need. I wonder why the Republicans aren't using those words."
And here's a random video I came across of a prank call made by a Quebec Comedy Show:
The people of Battle, England created an effigy of Governor Sarah Palin holding a machine gun with a slogan at the base saying "too hot to handle." After this effigy was created the people blew it up with fireworks and other explosives.
click here to see the picture
Organizers of the event stated that this "was not meant to cause offense."
The townspeople of Battle have been doing this since 1646. In recent years, the people have done the same thing with their last prime minister and Tony Blair.