Saturday, May 31, 2008

New MoveOn Bush/McCain ad

From MoveOn,

Earlier this week, President Bush held a fundraiser for John McCain—but McCain didn't want the press to take photos of the two of them together. We put an ad together to make sure voters see that the two stand together.

It's not your average political ad—it's funny, quirky and light-hearted. It's been getting tons of press coverage—including the Washington Post, MSNBC and the Associated Press—and really great reviews.

We want to drive it to #1 on YouTube for today—so that lots more people see it. Check it out below—and if you like it, you can chip in to help keep it on the air.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Scott McClellan's everyone but Mea Culpa

I realize that essentially there is nothing new in Scott Mclleland's new book and that it will probably end up as a footnote to the eventual histories of the Bush/Cheney years. From everything I've gleaned about the book, from news reports, it's all been said before. We know about the selling of the war from frank Rich's The Greatest Story Ever Sold and much else about the administration's "war on Terror" from among others Richard A. Clarke's Against All Enemies. I have a shelf of books on the inadequacies and the impeachable offenses of the Bush/Cheney administration.

But I've been thinking about whether Scott McClellan needs to go into the witness protection program. After all, as my favorite political columnist Mike Lupica says,
You are inclined to say that Scott McClellan is like the first one out of The Bada Bing Club, scurrying into the light and looking for redemption, except that it has become clear by now that even the hoods from "The Sopranos" would be out of their weight class with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.
And you know what the mob does with turncoats. So we should probably protect McClellan before the Bush, Cheney, Rove mob gets to him. Don't forget the war crimes indictments have not come down yet.

Well anyway when you finish reading Mike Lupica's excellent take on the Bush mob, here's the first part of Keith Olbermenn's interview with McClellan:

Save gay/lesbian marriage rights

It's really important that we all sign this petition ASAP.

From The Human Rights Campaign:

The recent California Supreme Court decision was a historic triumph for equality over bigotry, for inclusion over injustice.

And it could last all of 173 days.

If California voters pass a same-sex marriage ban in November, our legal victory will be wiped out.

What's more, right-wing lawmakers have resurrected the dreaded Federal Marriage Amendment—which would write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution.

If ever there was a time to show that we've got strength in numbers, this is it.

Sign the Million for Marriage petition today!

Here are three things you should know right now:

Raising the Bar: We've been hard at work collecting signatures from supporters like you for our Million for Marriage petition. But the right-wing opposition gathered 1.1 million signatures to get their marriage ban on the ballot (albeit by spending millions on paid signature gatherers). So we're setting a new goal today: 1.1 million. Sign now

Federal Marriage Amendment Déjà Vu: The California decision has angered and emboldened opponents of equality. Right-wing lawmakers have introduced an anti-GLBT amendment to the U.S. Constitution that’s a replica of the Federal Marriage Amendment we helped defeat in 2004. We'll be working to make sure this hateful proposal garners little support.

Santorum Emerges: Good old Rick Santorum, the extreme anti-GLBT former Senator who championed the Federal Marriage Amendment and lost his seat soon afterwards, was back in the fray last week. In a column published in the Philadelphia Inquirer he said the relationship between committed same-sex partners was equal to his relationship with his mother-in-law. Seriously. (“Heck, I even love my mother-in-law. Should we call [that] relationship marriage, too?”)

It’s no longer enough to sign up one million people for marriage equality. With anti-equality groups spreading their discriminatory message, and raising millions in the process, we have to muster an even stronger show of support.

Before you click to the next blog post, sign the Million for Marriage petition. Help us collect more than 1.1 million signatures! Then tell your friends and family to sign.

We can’t rest. We will win this struggle, but only if we are relentless, vigilant, and unyielding. Thank you for your continued passion for this cause.


Joe Solmonese

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

June 24 & 25: Two Palestinian Films

Two Palestine films: This Way Up and Open Heart
At 2008 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival

Tue Jun 24 at 9:00 pm
Wed Jun 25 at 1:00 pm & 6:15 pm

Walter Reade Theater on W. 65th St.

Admission: $11 public; $8 seniors (62+);
$7 Film Society members & students (with ID) and children (6-12, accompanied by an adult).
(Please note: there is a $1.25 service charge per ticket ordered online and cash only transactions at the box office)

This Way Up
NY Premiere
Georgi Lazarevski, France, 2007; 60m video. In Arabic

Just east of Jerusalem lies the formerly bucolic Our Lady of Pains, a senior citizens’ home for Palestinians. The grimly spectacular and unavoidable wall of separation a few meters from the front door isolates the seniors from their children and the outside world, including the staff that attends to them. With beautiful imagery, contemplative pacing, moments of laughter and brilliant use of a quietly humorous guide, filmmaker Lazarevski fashions a film whose political message grows like an approaching thundercloud.
screening with
Open Heart
NY Premiere
Claire Fowler, UK/Palestine, 2006; 22m video. In Arabic and English
The life of a Palestinian couple's son is threatened by congenital heart disease. A charity offers a life-saving surgery in Jerusalem, but to get there the family must make an uncertain trip through Israeli checkpoints. An emotional journey highlighting the plight of the struggling Palestinian healthcare system under occupation.
Both films in this program are presented in association with Arte East,

Lieberman kisses a little Hagee ass for McSame

Last week McSame rejected the support of Pastor John Hagee because of Hagee's hateful and destructive rhetoric. But there is one person who you've constantly seen standing next to McSame: Conn. Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Lieberman even sits on McSame's shoulder to correct him when he mixes up Shia and Sunni. He may even be McSame's vice-presidential choice. And the very same Joe Lieberman is headlining Hagee's Christian Zionist meeting (pretentiously called a Summit) on July 22. Is Lieberman standing in for McSame? Lieberman is one of the sleaziest characters in national politics.

According to Max Blumenthal on The Huffington Post:
Senator Joseph Lieberman is scheduled to headline Pastor John Hagee's 2008 Christians United For Israel Washington-Israel Summit this July 22. In accepting Hagee's invitation, Lieberman became the most senior elected representative confirmed to appear at the annual gala. Last year, when Lieberman spoke at Hagee's summit, he compared the Texas televangelist to the biblical prophet Moses, dubbing him "an Ish Elochim," or "a man of God." Unless he rescinds his pledge to appear at this year's summit, Lieberman can be expected to deliver another soul-stirring tribute.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Guillermo del Toro to direct The Hobbit films

Although I know this isn't hot news, I'd like to put in a word about the film version of Tolkein's The Hobbit. Actually there will be two films (prequels to Lord of the Rings ). I assume that everyone who loves The Rings trilogy wanted Peter Jackson to direct The Hobbit. But that wasn't to be. The producers of The Hobbit films (including Jackson) have shown their commitment to continuing the quality of the original trilogy. They have turned the directing reins over to Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro directed what I think was head-over-heels last year's best film, Pan's Labyrinth. Despite the absence of Jackson from the director's chair, I think del Toro will bring a new and very exciting sensibility to the two Hobbit films. Del Toro said:
Contributing to the Lord of the Rings legacy is an absolute dream come true.
He has already brought Ian McKellen on board as to reprise his role as Gandalf.

Bill Clinton needs to shut up and let Hillary run her own campaign

From ABC News:
Sarah Amos reports: Former President Bill Clinton in South Dakota today delivered a harsh critique of how his wife has been treated during her presidential bid, telling the crowd that he has "never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running," and that, "she will win the general election if you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure you don't."

Clinton spent more than six minutes calmly discussing what he called a "frantic effort to push her out" of this race, saying that no one asked Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson or Gary Hart to end their presidential campaigns early. Clinton also spoke against bullying superdelegates to make up their minds, saying, "I cant believe it. It is just frantic the way they are trying to push and pressure and bully all these superdelegates to come out. 'Oh, this is so terrible: The people they want her. Oh, this is so terrible: She is winning the general election, and he is not. Oh my goodness, we have to cover this up.'"
If the former president would shut up, for a change, Sen. Clinton would get a lot more respect as a candidate in her own right. It's also interesting how easy it is to attack when you don't have to identify who the "they" are.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

McSame follows Clinton's losing strategy

I have thought for a long time that McSame is following the Hillary Clinton losing strategy. Today's (Sun) New York Times reports Steve Schmidt, a senior McSame advisor, said
Mr. McCain would take tough action, part of a contrast he said they would draw with Mr. Obama for "giving great speeches" but having no record of accomplishment.
Does that sound familiar? Remember this from Clinton:
Tonight I want to talk to you about the choice you have in this election and why that choice matters. It is about picking a president who relies not just on words but on work, on hard work, to get America back to work, The best words in the world aren't enough unless you match them with action.

More thoughts on Hillary's unfortunate comment

From Andrew re: Thoughts on Hillary Clinton's assassination remark

I agree that the technicalities of Bill Clinton and Bobby Kennedy's campaigns argue against Hillary's claim, Keith Olbermann's diatribe seemed overboard. He claimed one word, though tragic, is a word that implies she is waiting for someone to assassinate this black guy. That is blatantly not true, or at least I hope it is not. She seems to really only be attempting to invoke the only democratic party's campaigns that lasted until June. The fact that one of those is one of the most tragic moments in our nation's history is not something that can be held against Hillary. She could not have said assassination, but it is a fact that Bobby was assassinated. Words are words, Bobby Kennedy was on his way to being one our country's most inspiring leaders before he was assassinated or killed or his campaign "ended"...She was trying to make a point. A thin and wishful point, but a point using facts nonetheless. To say she is invoking taking it a bit too far...Olbermann invoked more tragedy by going on in his report than she did.

From Dan:

Of course Olbermann's "comment" is over the top. That's Keith Olbermann. But I think much of what he has to say is worthwhile.

I don't pretend to know what's in Hillary Clinton's heart of hearts, but I do believe that as you said "words are words" and using the word "assassination" was a stupid mistake and people have to take responsibility for what they say, tired or not tired, mistake or intentional. Words once spoken have consequences. Remember that Clinton commercial about the mythical 3AM phone call? I think that we need a president who won't misuse words when it counts.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thoughts on Hillary Clinton's assassination remark

It is extremely difficult, not to say scary as hell, to attribute to any politician - no matter what the stakes - what seems on its face to be the import of Sen. Clinton's remark on Bobby Kennedy's assassination. So one wants to take her barely-there apology as the truth. On the other hand she may simply have lost it and be displaying more of what New York Gov. David Patterson called her desperation. I simply don't know. Mark Shields pointed out on the PBS News Hour that in addition to the inappropriateness of her assassination comment her history is flawed:
I mean, her history is absolutely faulty. Robert Kennedy's first primary,...was in May 7th of 1968. He was murdered four weeks later. She's talking about a long campaign.

This campaign began the first week in January. She's still talking about June. So, I mean, it's faulty there.
And others have pointed out that Bill Clinton may not have actually gone over the top until June, but he solidified the victory in March. The senator seems to say whatever she thinks works at any given moment.

Here are her original comments defending her staying in the race.

Here's Keith Olbermann's take on the controversy.

May 28: Bush-McCain Challenge

28 May, 12:30 PM

Manhattan Bush-McCain Challenge

Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park across from 59th St. and Broadway.
Central Park South at Columbus Circle

Bush and McCain agree on most of the issues which have sent Bush's approval ratings plummeting to the near-teens in the last couple of years - yet the media is still framing McCain as a moderate, a maverick and even a 'generic Republican.'

So on Wednesday May 28th, we ( are gathering at Columbus Circle at 12:30pm to hold a live, in-person version of the 'Bush-McCain' challenge, in order to reveal the real John McCain to the public and to the media.

Central Park South at Columbus Circle (Map)

(Directions: A, B, C, D and 1 Trains all stop at 59th Street and Columbus Circle. Southbound Broadway buses also stop there as does the 59th Street crosstown bus.)

We will have tables on either side of the main entrance to Central Park at the end of Columbus Avenue across from the where the statue of Columbus Stands in the Circle itself. The sidewalk area is handicap accessible.

May 27: Americans United's Barry Lynn live on CSPAN

Tune in Tuesday, May 27, 8:30–9:30AM

Barry W. Lynn discussing the issue of teaching creationism in public schools on CSPAN’s “Washington Journal”

Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn is scheduled to be on CSPAN’s “Washington Journal” on Tuesday, May 27, from 8:30–9:30 a.m. (Eastern time). Barry will be discussing the issue of teaching creationism in public schools with a representative from the Creationist hub the Discovery Institute. This live program often gives viewers the opportunity to phone in questions, so please tune in!

Friday, May 23, 2008

"All I Want is You" from Juno

Ellen Page and Michael Cera perform "All I Want is You"
from one of my favorite films of last year Juno

May 31: Pedal for Peace 2008

Pedal for Peace 2008
Saturday, May 31, 11AM

Central Park
110 St. & Adam Clayton Powell Blvd
(Rain or Shine*)


This will be NYC-United for Peace & Justice second annual fundraising ride. It is a family-friendly 15-mile ride through East Harlem, Harlem and the Upper Westside. View the map of the route. The revenues generated from this ride are vital to help NYC-UFPJ to be able to continue to coordinate city-wide anti-war actions and amplify the work that our member groups are doing in neighborhoods around the city!

Riders are encouraged to get sponsors and there are great gifts for raising $250, $500 and $1000 (including an I-Pod shuffle for raising $1000). All riders get a fabulous Pedal for Peace T-shirt! But you don't have to ride to help us reach our fundraising goal of $10,000. Check out the Pedal for Peace donations page to donate!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Will Clinton carry her fight to the the convention floor?

It seems more and more that Hillary Clinton is not going to stop anytime soon. In fact she may take her fight for the nomination to the Democratic convention. Here's how AirAmerica's Rachel Maddow sees it:
After the primary calendar has ended, Clinton's campaign can only justify or explain her staying in the race if she makes the case that the Democratic Party still has not chosen a nominee conclusively. Clinton needs an argument that the game should go into extra innings. Overtime. Bonus round. Detention. Whatever. Clinton has now found that argument -- she says she will not stop campaigning until the issue of the Florida and Michigan delegates is settled to her satisfaction.

The Florida/Michigan issue get settled, of course, by the Democrats' Rules and Bylaws Committee... unless of course that committee's decision gets appealed to the Credentials Committee... unless of course that decision, too, gets appealed... to the floor of the convention.
As I have said before, it is her right to do exactly that. That is after all what democracy We have gotten used to the conventions being little more than an extended commercial for the party's candidate. But in the past, many conventions have actually chosen the final candidate. Of course in most of these instances there were real differences between the contenders, usually in some form of the moderate v. right-wing positions. This doesn't seem to be the case between Sens. Clinton and Obama. It seems to me that Clinton just can't give up, even though her chances are virtually non-existent. She seems more and more like Sheridan Whiteside in The Man Who Came To Dinner. She came to the party and refuses to leave, even though it's over and everyone else has gone home.

Many people are arguing that Clinton is losing the nomination because she is a woman and is being defeated by a man. Although there have certainly been instances of sexism. Perhaps the best known instance was the person, at a McSame rally who said, "How do we beat the bitch?" McSame, of course, laughed. But few reporters mention that the question was asked by a woman. The real cause of Clinton's downfall has been a terrible campaign strategy. It began with the assumption that the campaign would be a coronation rather than a nomination. In other words, she didn't have to worry about the nomination and could go right to the general election. So in 2003 she voted to give the presidential Bush the power to invade Iraq in order to show, in the words of one of her key supporters, her "testicular fortitude." This kind of decision making has brought her to the present unhappy situation.

There also seems to be quite a bit of hypocracy in her arguments. She wants to stay in the race to give everyone a chance to express their opinion. She wants to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations, not because it would enhance her delegate count, but because she is the champion of democracy. Then she tells the Super Delegates: forget the delegates who were elected through the primaries, pick me because I am more electable.

One of the key questions we need to ask is: If Clinton can't even manage a political campaign, how will she run the country (from day 1)?

Anyway we can derive some solace from the fact that even Sheridan Whiteside eventually decides to leave.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NBA lottery: # 6 Knicks

The Kentucky & Oregon primaries weren't the only significant election Tuesday. The NBA lottery was also held. Here are the results:

1. Bulls
2. Heat
3. Minnesota
4. Seattle
5. Memphis
6. Knicks
7. LA Clippers
8. Milwaukee
9. Charlotte
10. Nets
11. Indiana
12. Sacramento
13. Portland
14. Golden State

Primary results: Kentucky & Oregon: ongoing results

Well here we are again. If it's Tuesday, it must be primary day. So far the results are as expected.

at 8:30PM: Kentucky: 74% of the vote counted,

Clinton 65% (341,788)
Obama 31% (161,628)

Oregon polls will close in 2:22

Back about 10PM:

at 9:50PM: Kentucky: 99% of vote counted

Clinton 65% (451,579)
Obama 30% (207,484)

Back about 11:30PM

at 11:15PM: early Oregon results 15% (which NBC has given to Obama)

Obama 61% (113,672)
Clinton 39% ( 74,884)

at midnight: Oregon: 51% of vote counted

Obama 58% (249,545)
Clinton 42% (181,636)

Monday, May 19, 2008

From Andrew: Anagraming the presidential candidates

I don't know exactly what to make of this but Andrew sent it along. Stick with it until the speaker gets to anagraming the candidates' names. It's from a videoblog (vlog) created by two brothers (Hank and John Green) to facilitate inter-communication. It's called Vlogbrothers. I don't know if this is Hank or John, but enjoy.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bush McCarthyite tactics in Israel; with May 19 addenda

Bush has learned very well how to use the McCarthy playbook from his teacher Karl Rove. That is, of course, assuming that Rove isn't still calling the shots from behind the scenes (and then commenting on them). Clearly truth plays at best an accidental role in Bush's pronouncements - particularly about international affairs. And what's even more fascinating is how completely McSame has adopted the neo-con line. After Bush stood before the Israeli Knesset and virtually said, "I have a list of appeasers in the Democratic Party," (as McCarthy once said about the State Department) McSame echoed it without even a moment's hesitation. The Straight talk Express has become the pandering vehicle. Much as Putin did in Russia. When faced with term limits he got a stooge elected, who then appointed him Prime Minister. I suspect Cheney and Bush have something similar in mind for McSame.

At one level last week's "appeasers" speech was a direct intervention into the presidential election, but at another level it is part of a debate about what a post-Bush world will look like. And that's what Bush is trying to influence. His arrow is pointed well beyond the 2008 election. But as someone suggested the Republican need to win Florida in the Fall wasn't far from his mind as he chose the Knesset as the venue in which to make his pronouncement.

With regard to the post-Bush world Mark Engler has this to say:
If pressure from the base of the [Democratic] party lets up after the elections, it would hardly be surprising to see a victorious candidate revert to Bill Clinton's corporate model for how to rule the world. However, a return to a pre-Bush-style of international politics may be easier dreamed [by the corporate elite] than done.

The Neocon Paradox

To the chagrin of the "free trade" elite, the market fundamentalist ideas that have dominated international development thinking for at least the last 25 years are now under attack globally. This is largely because the economic prescriptions of deregulation, privatization, open markets, and cuts to social services so often made (and enforced) by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have proven catastrophic.
The accompanying videos, which layout the debate Bush's Knesset speech provoked, also demonstrate the limitations of corporate-owned media to talk about a post-Bush world (which obviously can't come too soon).

May 19, 2:30PM: Yesterday I watched the Tim Russert Show (MSNBC) with JFK's closest advisor Ted Sorensen and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. One of the main topics of their conversation was the Cuban missile crisis. I couldn't help thinking that if Bush/McSame (or even Sen. Clinton) had been president during that moment in time it's very unlikely that any of us would be sitting here today. Only talking, even to people we don't like, can resolve international problems. Bullets and bombs can't change the situation it can only (as in Iraq) make things worse. Communication requires people who are not afraid to talk, so presumably that excludes Bush/McSame and even Clinton. The truth is that even the possibility of a post-Bush world depends on what we do between now and November.

May 19, 11:15PM: I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but things keep coming to my attention regarding the Bush "appeasement" speech.

I wonder if the Knesset members knew the history of the man they were applauding because he said things they liked. The irony of a member of the Bush family talking about appeasing the Nazis boggles the mind. While many radicals, progressives and Communists (labelled by some as "premature anti-fascists" but really known as the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade") flocked to Spain to fight Franco's Fascist government, Bush's family collaborated with the Nazis in order enhance their wealth. Robert Parry writes:
The archival evidence is now clear that Prescott Bush, the president’s grandfather, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from and collaborated with key financial backers of Nazi Germany.

That business relationship continued after Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and even after Germany declared war on the United States following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. It stopped only when the U.S. government seized assets of Bush-connected companies in late 1942 under the “Trading with the Enemy Act.”
And he has the nerve to lecture us about appeasement.It should come as no surprise that the corporate-owned media has made any reference to this shameful Bush family history.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

House votes against war funding: It's about time

From United for Peace and Justice:

New York, NY -- In an amazing turn of events, the House of Repre- sentatives today voted AGAINST the supplemental funding for the war in Iraq.

The bill would have provided $166 billion in war funding, the largest single provision since the war started in 2003. In a move that no one expected, dozens of Republicans voted "present," which is the same as abstaining on the vote. This meant that the 149 NO votes were enough to defeat the bill. (141 votes where cast in favor.)

"This was a tremendous victory for the antiwar movement. It was the hard work of people all around the country that secured those 149 clear NO votes. But our work is far from over," said Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator of United for Peace and Justice.

California OKs gay and lesbian marriage

From the Human Rights Campaign:

Today, the California Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision and ruled that same-sex couples have the same right to marry as different-sex couples under the state constitution. In a landmark decision, the court ruled that it is a violation of the state constitution to deny same-sex couples the right to marry, and that it is not enough to provide rights to same-sex couples through a separate system of domestic partnerships.

The court’s decision involved several consolidated cases, collectively referred to as In re Marriage Cases. The cases were filed in 2004. In March 2005, a state trial court ruled that, under the state constitution, same-sex couples must be permitted to marry. In October 2006, the California Court of Appeal reversed the trial court in a 2-1 decision. The California Supreme Court’s decision today (.doc; pp. 11-12; .pdf is here) overrules the Court of Appeal’s ruling:
Right now, our opponents are raising millions of dollars to overturn this ruling through a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. For months, HRC and Equality California, as part of the Equality for All coalition, have been working to educate voters on the harmful effects of this amendment and counteract the efforts by anti-gay conservative groups to place this amendment on the November ballot.

HRC has set up a special fund – the HRC California Marriage PAC – to fight against the anti-marriage ballot initiative in California. CLICK HERE for more information on how to contribute to the efforts to defeat the marriage ban.

Bush sacrifices his golf game in solidarity with Iraq dead

President Bush, in an interview yesterday (Monday), may have finally expressed his true understanding of the sacrifice young American men and women have made in Iraq.
I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” he said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.
Well it is certainly wonderful to know that the president, who never served in the armed forces, is finally making a sacrifice "in solidarity" with the families of young men and women who have been killed in Iraq. I suspect it would also offend the sensibilities of the survivors of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed in Iraq if they saw the POTUS playing golf.

Here's Keith Olbermann's "comment" on Countdown in response to Bush's comments

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Steve Sack Clinton/Obama cartoon

Steve Sack, Minnesota, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

I thought this might amuse you.

The side-view mirror says, "Object in mirror is not as close as she thinks."

What the cartoonist doesn't say is that Clinton is staying in the race just in case the car gets into an accident.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

West Virginia changes nothing for Clinton

Joe Raedle / Getty; Mark Wilson / Getty
Hillary Clinton won the West Virginia primary today by a margin of 67% to 26% with approxi- mately 97% of the vote reported. But fundamentally it changes nothing. During the next week there should be a continuing movement of Super Delegates to Obama. There are probably a number of pundit explanations as to why Clinton is continuing this farce of the primaries. But it seems to me it's primarily (pun intended) pique.

How many times have you seen a parent and child on the street, the parent wants the child to come along, and the child stands there, crying and stamping its feet? That's how I picture Hillary Clinton staying in the race. She expected an inevitable coronation from the Democratic Party and through a number of miscalculations on her campaign's part it ain't gonna happen. Now she's pissed and stamping her feet and refusing to budge.

Does that maniacal laugh that erupts from her whenever she's asked a question mean she's really lost it?

Monday, May 12, 2008

May 17: NYCLabor Chorus SPRING CONCERT

Ann's chorus The New York City Labor Chorus is performing Saturday evening at the People's Voice Cafe.a

Saturday, May 17th, 8:00pm
at the Peoples' Voice Café
45 E 33rd St (between Park & Madison)

Doors open at 7:30 - general admission
Donation $12 - nobody turned away

This will be one of the last concerts at the People's Voice Cafe in its current manifestation. The building has been sold and it has to move.

Clinton rattles her sabers at Iran

It may, at this point be beating a dead horse. The Clinton campaign may be history, but I still think it's important to check out this Keith Olbermann interview with Hillary Clinton, particularly the section on "obliterating" Iran. After all how much different is Clinton's attitude toward Iran from Bush's "axis of evil"? And we know how far that has gotten us. Do you really want someone who echoes the politics of Conn's Sen. Joseph Lieberman answering that mythical 3AM phone call? Someone who has already been rattling her sabers at countries who are only an enemy in her (and McSame/Lieberman's) mind. Also remember this was all said just before the Pennsylvania primary. Was it primarily (no pun intended, well maybe) intended to influence the Jewish vote?

(For more on Clinton and Iran, see Robert Weitzel "Hillary Clinton's 'final solution' to the Persian Problem")

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Longest Walk - 30 years later

It's hard to believe that it's been 30 years since that July afternoon in 1978 when we were at a rally in Meridian Hill Park in Washington, DC to welcome the Longest Walkers who had "completed a five month march from San Francisco. The 2,700 mile march then ended at the Washington Monument.
Although the entire effort was run by a coalition of more than a hundred Native American tribes and groups, it was planned and organized by the American Indian Movement (AIM) because it felt that Native water and land rights were under threat. (see Jo Freeman)

At the time we were involved with NASC (Native American Solidarity Committee). Ann was on the National Committee and I was with the New York City chapter and working with Jimmie Durham at the IITC (International Indian Treaty Council). So here's the lowdown on the anniversary activities
On Feb. 11th, Longest Walk participants embarked on a 5-month journey from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. arriving on July 11th. The Longest Walk south route is being led by AIM co-founder Dennis J. Banks. It is an extraordinary grassroots effort on a national level to bring attention to the environmental disharmony of Mother Earth, sacred site issues, and to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the original longest walk.

Friday, May 09, 2008

McSame's religious skeletons in his closet

Notice who is getting a free-media ride. After all the sound bites focused on the Rev. Wright, Parsley goes virtually unnoticed by the corporate-owned media. How can we account for the love affair between McSame and the media?

Will the Democrats stand up for peace or lay down for war?

A message from Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator of United for Peace and Justice regarding a proposed $162.6 billion war funding bill the House of Representatives will consider next week:
We are outraged that the Democratic Party leadership is working to give President Bush every penny he has asked for to continue a war they say they oppose. Amazingly, the bill includes $66 billion for fiscal year 2009, giving the next president the opportunity to continue the war with little or no accountability to Congress until next summer. This is an appalling abdication of responsibility.

We should be clear about what this means. What Congress is really doing by authorizing this war for another year, is writing a death sentence for hundreds if not thousands of U.S. servicemembers and Iraqis.
And here's the bottom line. There will be consequences. UFPJ Legislative Coordinator Sue Udry stated.
United for Peace and Justice and other national peace groups are watching this vote, and will make sure voters are reminded this fall who voted to continue the war, and who voted to end it.

May 13: Students or Soldiers? A Community Forum

Tuesday, May 13, 6:00pm

Students or Soldiers? A Community Forum

El Faro, Harlem United - 179 116th St. (Bet. Lexington & 3rd)
(6 Train to 116 st.)

Speakers include:
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer
City Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito
NYCLU Director Donna Lieberman
Ya-Ya Network Youth Activists Juan Antigua and Adana Austin

Refreshments will be served.

Free & Open to the Public

Join elected officials, advocates, and youth experts as they examine the problem of unrestricted military recruitment, the availability of meaningful alternatives to military service and the effect of unbridled recruitment on the lives of New York City youth.

Be a part of this powerful evening focusing on ensuring student opportunities, protecting students' educational rights, and holding the NYC Department of Education accountable.

New York City students are entitled to explore a wide range of college and career options. Yet in many schools, the ones most actively reaching out to them are the military recruiters. The NYC Department of Education continually refuses to take responsibility for protecting its students. There are regular reports of recruiters in classrooms, of wholesale violations of student and parent privacy rights, and a lack of a full range of career opportunities for NYC students.

RSVP: 212.669.4462

Sponsored by: Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, State Senator José M. Serrano, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, and the Students or Soldiers? Coalition (NYC-UFPJ is a member of the Students or Soldiers? Coaltion.)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Michigan and Florida cunundrum

One of the lingering legacies of the soon-to-be interred Hillary Clinton campaign is what to do about the Michigan and Florida delegations to the Democratic convention. Clinton, of course, for her own selfish reasons wants them seated because it increases her delegate (and popular vote) count. If Obama had won these primaries she'd be making the exact opposite argument. Now that Obama has pretty much sealed the deal he can afford to be more magnanimous. According to USA Today:
LANSING, Michigan (AP) — Michigan Democratic leaders have settled on a plan to give presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton 69 delegates and Barack Obama 59 as a way to get the state's delegates seated at the national convention.
But that's not the point. Clinton has focused the anger or disappointment of the delegates (and voters) at the wrong target.

The villain(s) of the piece are not The Democratic National Committee or Barak Obama but the people who, despite warnings, re-scheduled their primaries earlier than the rules allowed. They were told if they re-scheduled the primaries to an earlier date, the votes and delegates wouldn't count. All the candidates, including Clinton. agreed. But the Republicans in Florida went ahead anyway. (Probably to make mischief as they have done.) The rational of the Michigan Democrats is harder to fathom. But the why of it is not really important. It's the fact of it. The story becomes more complicated when Clinton started stirring up trouble over these delegates. But the facts of the story haven't changed. Unless the Democrats want primary scheduling chaos in 2012, they better enforce their rules and not allow themselves to be guilt tripped into seating outlaw delegates.

In a democratic (or Democratic) collective rules make social behavior possible. Actions have consequences in the real world. These states' leaders did what they did and now there are consequences.

Obama is today's story, Clinton is yesterday's

Ever since Tuesday's (May 6) primary results may have changed the U.S. political playing field forever most of the corporate-owned media commentators have focused on Hillary Clinton's loss. Will she or won't she? What will it take to get her out of the race? All this is important but it's not the story. The real story is much more important. It's about the first person of color to very likely become one of the two mainstream parties' presidential candidates. Now that's a hell of a story. How did a virtually unknown (outside Illinois) one-term Senator beat today's (or I guess yesterday's) most powerful political machine. But the trials and tribulations of Hillary Clinton ("The Perils of Hillary") have been getting all the press attention.

But in the middle of all this one of the two best political commentators Mike Lupica (the other is Keith Olbermann, both interestingly enough with backgrounds in sports journalism) has written something that captures an aspect of the 2008 campaign that everyone else has missed. In today's New York Daily News (May 8), he writes:
.... and it all goes on while Obama runs the closest possible thing we have seen in 40 years to the campaign Robert F. Kennedy was never allowed to finish in 1968.
Of course, before this amazing insight, he does talk about Clinton, but even then with greater truth than most of his colleagues:
She stays in the race now for the worst possible reasons, hoping that there is some new bogeyman like Wright around the corner and Obama will somehow break down in the stretch like a fragile racehorse.

It is the Clinton version of the politics of hope....
I don't think that's the person we want answering the mythical 3AM phone calls, or at any other time for that matter. All the stories about Obama not being able to win the match fell by the wayside last Tuesday night.

(Also see the Kos on the Lupica piece)

Stewart v. O'Reilly: A tie?

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart practically matches O'Reilly's ratings.

The Pew Reasearch Center asks the quesion
How popular is The Daily Show? According to a April 2007, 16% of Americans said they regularly watched The Daily Show or the Comedy Central spin-off, the Colbert Report. Those numbers are comparable to some major news programs. For instance, 17% said they regularly watched Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, and 14% watched PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer regularly.
Of course, the question really is: which show (Stewart or O'Reilly) presents more reality-based news.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Clinton hoping for a dead body to feed on

photo from African Safari Pictures
Let ME be clear. Hillary Clinton has every right to stay in the race. That's what democracy is made of. But having the freedom to do something isn't necessarily a reason or excuse to do it.

Sen. Clinton seems more and more like a vulture circling, circling, waiting for someone to die so she can feed on the carcass. And that's not a pretty sight.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Indiana and North Carolina primaries

I'm sitting here at midnight Tues/Wed watching MSNBC and the Indiana primary results, still to close to call. Obama has already cleaned the Clinton clock in North Carolina (56% to 42% with 99% of the vote counted).

In Indiana, with 92% of the vote counted, Clinton 51% Obama 49%.

Earlier today (Tues) while walking home from shopping I was thinking how the American people proved their smarts in 2000 by electing Gore before Bush/Rove used the Supreme Court to steal the election, 2004 was less clear (it too may have been stolen), then in 2006, we proved again you can't fool us all the time. But the predictions for today were that Clinton would sweep Indiana and maybe even win or come close in North Carolina. I thought, would Americans allow Clinton to buy their votes with 30 pieces of gas silver. Well, however Indiana ends up, the results today are the exact opposite of the predictions. Obama sweeps North Carolina and either Clinton squeaks through in Indiana or Obama pulls out a close call.

12:12AM: Tim Russert just said, pointedly, "We now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be and nobody is going to dispute it." Clearly, he means Obama. Most of the commentators are writing Clinton's campaign obituary. And despite myself, I'm beginning to feel sorry for her. I hope someone is writing "The Making of the President, 2008." It's going to be one hell of a story.

1AM MSNBC just went off the air. Indiana still too close to call.

Sorry. MSNBC is still on the air. Just a change of anchors.

Probably no decision on Indiana tonight (this morning) still uncounted absentee ballots.Although they are calling her the "apparant" winner.

!:10AM NBC declares Clinton Indiana winner by a hair. Will she or won't she go on. I think she will go on. There hasn't, after all, been a rational reason for her to go on for sometime. The explanation for her to go on is what can she get from Obama, from the Democratic Party, in exchange for quitting.

For the first time tonight Clinton said, "I will vote for whoever is the Democratic candidate. We have to win in November." She's cancelling this morning's (Wed) talk show appearances. But she will appear at a fundraiser in DC

Me? I'm going to bed.

So perhaps you thought the people running the Iraq occupation were sane. Guess again.

“Iraq to me is an open field. I have never in my life seen an opportunity with the potential that Iraq has with its skilled workforce and oil reserves.”

I know, you think these are the words of either Cheney or Bush in private, but they were said by Llewellyn Werner. Who is Mr. Werner? You ask.Try this on for size.
Mr Werner, chairman of C3, a Los Angeles-based holding company for private equity firms, is pouring millions of dollars into developing the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience, a massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum. It is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland. “The people need this kind of positive influence. It’s going to have a huge psychological impact,” Mr Werner said.
According to The Washington Post
In its introduction, the [The Downing Street] memo Iraq: Conditions for Military Action notes that U.S. 'military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace,' but adds that 'little thought' has been given to, among other things, 'the aftermath and how to shape it.'
Well now the plan for "the aftermath" is clear: Disneyland in Baghdad will "shape" Iraq into a functioning democratic society.

The Iraq fantasy continues. Here's the rest of the story.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Rev. Wright: Difference not deficiency

Last week I watched the Reverend Wright's speech at the Washington press Club and was very impressed by the breadth of its knowledge and erudition. And then watched a bunch of monkeys from the corporate-owned media ask questions that had nothing to do with the speech.

The fundamental argument of the speech was that the Black church and the white church were different and after discussing the historical circumstances that brought about these differences he made what I think was his main point: difference is not deficiency, to be different is not to be deficient. None of this was of any interest to the "gotcha" media. They were only interested in poking their sticks until they provoked more of the same sound bites that had been run over-and-over again on the corporate-owned news channels. They kept trying to provoke him. And unfortunately he all too often obliged. I can't help but wonder what they would have done if he hadn't.

But even the most provocative comments he made are quite different when put in context. AIDS to decimate the Black community, I, of course, know from listening to many right-wing preachers that god sent AIDS to punish gay men. Obviously not everyone has heard that. But how far a stretch is it to believe the AIDS story in a country where stories abound (perhaps, exaggerated) of Indians being given small-pox infected blankets, Black men with venereal disease being promised a cure and then left to die to carry out a study, Black people in New Orleans after Katrina being left to fend for themselves without government assistance, perhaps to "cleanse" the city. The point is how far fetched is a belief (and I emphasize belief) that such a thing could be true.

With regard to the "chickens coming home to roost" comment after 9/11, I'm reminded of Malcolm X's similar statement after the JFK assassination. He too was responding to a question from the press, but his speech, which did not have that idea in it, has come to be known as "chickens coming home to roost" speech.
It was Malcolm X's answer, that the President's death was a case of "chickens coming home to roost" -- that the violence that Kennedy had failed to stop had come back to him
The fact is we still haven't stemmed the violence particularly in the Middle East. Obviously Osama bin Laden is a criminal, but al Queda couldn't recruit a mass of militants willing to give up their lives for a cause, if they didn't hate us and people don't hate for nothing. The point of all this is that if you consider the context, Wright's comments are much more rational than they appear as sound bites on the evening news.

What's even more important is, as Bill Moyers says,
Behold the double standard: John McCain sought out the endorsement of John Hagee, the war-mongering, Catholic-bashing Texas preacher, who said the people of New Orleans got what they deserved for their sins.

But no one suggests McCain shares Hagee’s delusions or thinks AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuality. Pat Robertson called for the assassination of a foreign head of state and asked God to remove Supreme Court justices, yet he remains a force in the Republican religious right.

After 9/11, Jerry Falwell said the attack was God’s judgment on America for having been driven out of our schools and the public square, but when McCain goes after the endorsement of the preacher he once condemned as an agent of intolerance, the press gives him a pass.
This corporate media created controversy may hurt Obama, but if it derails his candidacy (which I doubt) it may be because he's different, but not deficient.

Friday, May 02, 2008

May 7: Amy Goodman & David Goodman book signing

May 7, 7p

A talk and booksigning with journalists Amy Goodman and David Goodman.

Barnes and Noble
Union Square,
33 E. 17th Street
New York City, NY

Award-winning journalist Amy Goodman, host of the daily, grassroots, global, radio/TV news hour Democracy Now!, is on a national speaking tour to mark DN!'s 12th anniversary and launch her third book with her journalist brother David Goodman,
Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times.


McSame: Bush's third term

I think this new MoveOn bumper sticker speaks for itself. As does the video. Sometimes I think they may be Siamese twins, who have been separated (or not).

I just took The Bush-McCain Challenge -- an online quiz to see if you can tell the difference between George W. Bush and John McCain. Check it out, and see if you can do any better than I did!

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Thursday MAY 1st, 4:30PM
Stop the Raids & Deportations
Legalization Now · Justice for ALL

Meet up with NYC-UFPJ at the Gandhi Statue, (the SW corner of Union Square)
Stop the Raids & Deportations. Legalization Now · Justice for ALL

On May 1 (today), immigrant communities and allies across the country will vigil and march for justice.

In solidarity, United for Peace and Justice calls on the peace and justice community to join the May 1 activities. UfP&J joins the call for justice for immigrant communities as we challenge the Bush administration's policies both at home and abroad. We know that peace abroad is impossible without fighting for justice at home.

March behind the UFPJ banner! Meet at the Gandhi statue at 4:30 PM. For more information about activities throughout the afternoon, go to

"Mission Accomplished" plus 5

"In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country," President George W. Bush told the crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln May 1, 2003. (AP)

Now in its sixth year, the war in Iraq has claimed the lives of at least 4,058 members of the U.S. military - 3,924 of whom have died since Bush landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and standing under a "mission accomplished" banner spoke the above words. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed and millions have been displaced from their homes. And there are currently more U.S. troops in Iraq than there were when Bush spoke the above words.

How much is your vote worth? The gas tax holiday

Once upon a time there was a man who sold his soul for thirty pieces of gold. How much is yours worth?

Republican candidate John McSame proposes to suspend the gas tax for the summer months, thereby, in true Republican fashion, pandering to the voters at the expense of bridge, tunnel and highway maintenance and ignoring the harmful effects of using more oil on the environment. Hillary Clinton's twist on this idea is to tax the oil companies' windfall profits (which would only increase with this proposal) to compensate the Highway Trust Fund that builds and maintains roads and bridges. Given the current composition of Congress, I'll bet you can guess how far that idea will go. So, in effect, her suggestion is really no different than McSame's. The only one of the three mainstream candidates for president who is acting in a principled way and doing what's best for the U.S. now and in the future is Barack Obama.

This should prove to anyone who is paying attention that McSame and Clinton are simply not suited for the presidency. We desperately need someone who is capable of making the hard decisions. The New York Times says in an editorial today:
Senators John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton have hit on a new way to pander to American voters.... The proposal may draw applause and votes from Americans feeling the pain of nearly $4-a-gallon gasoline. But it is an expensive and environmentally unsound policy that would do nothing to help American drivers.
That's the last thing we need.

Most analysts think that the summer 2008 gas holiday won't save consumers much money and to the extent that it would save any, contrary to McSame's claim, it would save the rich considerably more than anyone else. but it remains just a gimmick to get your vote. It's likely to save consumers about $28-30. With these proposals both candidates are just pandering for votes in the short run at the expense of infrastructure maintenance and the environment in the long run. Obama (see video) is the only one who is being honest. And what we need most after the last nearly eight years is a president who has the courage to be honest with us.

May 10: Celebration of Ralph Digia's Life

Karin DiGia and the Ralph DiGia fund for Peace and Justice
invite you to a

Celebration of Ralph Digia's Life

May 10, 2-5 pm

Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue (between 9th and 10th Streets)

Music, film, photos, remembrances, and time to share stories with each other. Childcare available.

Food and drink will be served.

RSVP by May 1 to the Ralph DiGia fund:
or email