We are the 99%

April 30, 2008

Rules, Rules, Rules...

The Politico on Senator Clinton's current situation. First the story she's been pushing:

Hillary Clinton leads Barack Obama in the popular vote, and this is her path to victory.

She will ultimately win the Democratic nomination by convincing the superdelegates that her popular vote lead makes it legitimate for them to support her. It gives them the cover they need to deny Obama a nomination that he otherwise would have won.

Then the reality:

First, Clinton does not lead Obama in the popular vote. It is a fantasy.

Second, the people she most needs to convince that this fantasy is true are the people least likely to believe it.

Is she really leading the popular vote?

No. Not really. Not unless you throw out the existing rules of the Democratic Party and invent a new set of Hillary Rules.

Under Hillary Rules, Clinton counts the popular vote in Michigan, where she was the only major candidate on the ballot. The Democratic Party does not recognize those votes.

Under Hillary Rules, Clinton also counts the popular vote in Florida, where candidates were forbidden to campaign. The Democratic Party does not recognize the results of the Florida primary, either.

Under Hillary Rules, Clinton throws out the “votes by the people who have voted” in the states of Iowa, Nevada, Maine and Washington, because those were caucus states, where popular vote tallies were not officially kept and where, by the way, Obama won three out of the four contests.

Under Hillary Rules, Clinton gets to choose the contests that help her, throw out the contests that do not and declare herself the winner.

And then there's the little problem of the superdelegates. So even if she were ahead in the popular vote (and that, as this article states, is a fantasy), the article points out that 56% of all superdelegates are members of the DNC. The rules that Senator Clinton wants to ignore come directly from the DNC. If they wanted a national convention they would have set one up.

The finale:

Lastly, there is the big picture: Will the DNC really overturn the choice of the pledged delegates and substitute Clinton as the nominee over Obama?

I doubt it. First and foremost, DNC members care about the party and its future. So ask yourself: Is the DNC going to shatter the party by telling black voters and young voters that their votes in legitimate primaries and caucuses do not count?

Clinton can try to make up her own set of rules, but that doesn’t mean they are going to rule the DNC or the day.

Rules. Sometimes they're important.

The DNC *IS* Wrong!

St. John McCain does not think it's fine that we would be in Iraq for 100 years -- it's more like A MILLION YEARS:


Hey McSame, here's a clue:

American presence = American casualties

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The Trib's Odd Little Editorial

This morning, The Clinton-loving Editorail Board at DickieCougarMellonScaife's Tribune-Review took on the the editorial board of the New York Times.

The result was an odd editorial that left out more than it included. The issue at hand is the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding Indiana's Voter ID law. Here's The Trib:

Leave it to liberals to declare that protecting the integrity of the franchise somehow is a threat to our democratic republic.

Yet that's exactly how The New York Times characterized the U.S. Supreme Court's commonsense ruling upholding the constitutionality of requiring voters to prove they are who they say they are at the polls.

"Democracy was the big loser" in Monday's 6-3 decision upholding an Indiana law, The Times opines. Fraud prevention, these whacked-out liberals contend, is an "interference." The ruling "solves a nearly nonexistent problem," it notes.

Which is true, by the way. According to this study, voter fraud is nearly non-existent. Take a look:

At the national level, a major new project at the U.S. Department of Justice, the Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative (BAVII) has resulted in only a handful of convictions. according to the Attorney General, since the inception of the program in 2002, "we’ve made enforcement of election fraud and corruption offenses a top priority." The result? Government records show that only 24 people were convicted of or pleaded guilty to illegal voting between 2002 and 2005, an average of eight people a year. This includes 19 people who were ineligible to vote, five because they were still under state supervision for felony convictions, and 14 who were not u.s. citizens; and five people who voted twice in the same election, once in kansas and again in Missouri.

In addition, the BAVII uncovered several vote buying schemes that have resulted in the convictions or guilty pleas of about 30 people, though most of those convicted were party and election officials, candidates for public office and elected officials, and in one case, the commander of a local VfW post. The vote buying cases involved a handful of elections in the appalachia regions of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, East St. Louis, Illinois and Caldwell County, North Carolina.

So between 2002 and 2005 there were a few dozen of convictions during which time millions upon millions of people voted. Yet the Trib board counters that with a stunningly placed non sequitur:
Like the atrocious, political-speech restricting campaign finance laws that those of The Times' ilk support?
I don't know if I need to remind anyone, but the trendy thing for conservatives to oppose in campaign finance laws is "McCain-Feingold" also known as "Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002." It too passed Supreme Court muster. In 2003.

If an OK by the Supreme Court is enough to placate the Trib's editorial board, then how do they explain their reaction to the "atrocious, political-speech restricting" laws that the Supremes have already OKed?

I wonder.

Anyway, the Trib ends things this way:

The coup de grace of the high court's voter-identification ruling is that the lead opinion was written by dedicated liberal John Paul Stevens. Which makes the liberals' protestations all the more laughable and all the more suspect.

Democrat-sponsored voter fraud certainly must be pervasive.

Again, no it isn't. But it's certainly interesting to point out what the Trib doesn't complain about in the Times editorial. The Times goes through a discussion of the issue:

In 2005, Indiana passed one of the nation’s toughest voter ID laws. It requires voters to present government-issued photo ID at the polls. Private college IDs, employee ID cards and utility bills are unacceptable. For people without a driver’s license — who are disproportionately poor and minority — the burden is considerable. To get acceptable ID, many people would be forced to pay fees for underlying documents, such as birth certificates.

This should not have been a hard case. The court has long recognized that the right to vote is so fundamental that a state cannot restrict it unless it can show that the harm it is seeking to prevent outweighs the harm it imposes on voters.

The Indiana law does not meet this test. The harm it imposes on voters, some of whom will no doubt be discouraged from casting ballots, is considerable. The state’s interest in the law, on the other hand, is minimal. It was supposedly passed to prevent people from impersonating others at the polls, but there is no evidence that this has ever happened in Indiana. It seems far more likely that the goal of the law’s Republican sponsors was to disenfranchise groups that lean Democratic.

Here's the curious part. At the tail end of the editorial we find:

Hovering over Monday’s decision was a case that was not mentioned: Bush v. Gore. In 2000, the Supreme Court took seriously the claims of one individual — George W. Bush — that his equal protection rights were being denied by a state election system, and the court had no hestitation about telling the state what to do.

On “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Justice Scalia yet again told the public to “get over” that ruling. There are many good reasons to remember Bush v. Gore, and Monday’s ruling was a reminder of one of them. Seven years after it invoked the Constitution to vindicate what it saw as Mr. Bush’s right to fair election procedures, we are still waiting for the court to extend this guarantee with equal vigilance to every American.

The Trib pounces on the first paragraph of the Times editorial but leaves this unmentioned?? What, didn't they bother to read the whole thing?

April 29, 2008

Questions! I have questions!

1) While in a completely uncharacteristic move, Keith Olbermann made NPR’s Ken Rudin his Worst Person in the World last night for comparing Hillary Clinton to Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, did he miss Eugene Robinson comparing Hillary to a "homicidal cyborg from the future" for her "sheer relentlessness" or is Robinson given a pass because he's a frequent guest on Countdown?

2) Is it more "all-consuming"ly ambitious for a man to start running for president after only being in the US Senate for a year or for a woman to refuse to drop out of a presidential race when her opponent cannot win the pledged delegates needed to put him over the top? Would the media be asking a male candidate -- say if Edwards was in Hillary's exact position now -- to drop out or even call him "ambitious" in a bad way? How often is the word "ambitious" used in a positive way when being an attribute assigned to a man and in a negative way when being attributed to a woman? When these guys see or even think of Hillary is there an actual physical occurrence of, uh, shrinkage?


3) Now that Barack Obama has gone on Fox News and even Kos himself and MoveOn are, um, "testy" about it, does that mean some of the folks who comment here will start lamenting that Barack is a tool of Murdoch like they say about Hillary? (Relax! That one was rhetorical.)

4) Will all the folks who got pissed off at Hillary here for saying she would have left Rev. Wright's church get pissed at Obama if it turns out that he has to throw Wright under the bus now that Wright has thrown him under the bus? (Again, rhetorical!)

5) Did the media (CNN, MSNBC, FOX) broadcast an hour of Rev. Wright LIVE! yesterday morning because they actually believed it was actual news or were they playing GOTCHA! with Obama -- and, are they playing GOTCHA! with Obama now merely because they are momentarily bored with playing GOTCHA! with Hillary Clinton?


.

McCain: He was against it before he was for it and was for it before he was against it!

As Dayvoe notes here, St. John McCain of the “Straight Talk Express” was against a German/Japan-style US occupation of Iraq before he was for it.

Hey, everyone can change their minds once in a while. It's not like there's a pattern, or anything:
  • McCain flip-flops on TORTURE

  • McCain flip-flops on the RECESSION

  • McCain flip-flops on the ECONOMY

  • McCain flip-flops on READ MY LIPS: NO NEW TAXES

  • McCain flip-flops on OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE

  • McCain flip-flops on PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING
  • April 28, 2008

    McCain: Flip-Flopper on Iraq

    Who'da thunk it??

    From the Huffingtonpost:

    When it comes to getting U.S. troops out of Iraq, Sen. John McCain was for the idea before he was against it.

    Three years before the Arizona Republican argued on the campaign trail that U.S. forces could be in Iraq for 100 years in the absence of violence, he decried the very concept of a long-term troop presence.

    In fact, when asked specifically if he thought the U.S. military should set up shop in Iraq along the lines of what has been established in post-WWII Germany or Japan -- something McCain has repeatedly advocated during the campaign -- the senator offered nothing short of a categorical "no."

    And so we can add "Iraq war" to the list of McCain's flip-flops. I wonder if someone in the so-called liberal media will ever call McCain on his advocating for surrender all those years ago.

    April 27, 2008

    New DNC Ad

    As they point out at Crooks And Liars:
    The media rushed to McCain’s side to shower him with love and affection after he told an audience that he’d be happy to stay in Iraq for 100 years. He’s tried to say that American casulties are his bench mark. Well sir, how many Americans do you consider expendable in Iraq? And how many Iraqi’s should die in the process too. Not that they seem to matter in his mind. Heck, it’s only their country.

    And John McCain says it would be "fine" with him for US troops to stay in Iraq for maybe 100 years.

    Too bad a majority of Americans believe otherwise. According to some recent ABC/Washington Post polling data:

    • 63% believe that it was a mistake to sent troops to Iraq.
    • 64% don't believe the war was worth fighting for.
    • 57% don't believe the US is making significant progress in Iraq.
    • 56% believe that we should withdraw our military forces from Iraq in order to avoid further US casualties, even if it means civil order is not restored there.

    All majorities. All Americans. All against continuing the slaughter of American troops in Iraq.

    John McCain wants it to continue.

    Jack Kelly Sunday

    This week (surprise, surprise) Jack Kelly spins the Republican talking points on the Clinton/Obama race.

    Surprise, surprise.

    He begins with a dig (again surprise, surprise) at the New York Times:

    No sooner had Sen. Hillary Clinton won a near landslide victory in the Pennsylvania primary than major media figures were renewing their calls for her to drop out of the race. But there is a whiff of panic about them now.

    In an editorial Wednesday, The New York Times called Mrs. Clinton's 9.2-percentage-point victory in the nation's sixth largest state "inconclusive," and described the campaign that preceded it as "even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it."

    Hmm. Interesting context for Jack to use. Let's take a look at the editorial and at where that word "inconclusive" is found. Luckily for Jack, it's found only once. In the first sentence:

    The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.
    Same thing with that "mean, vacuous..." stuff. By the way, he missed this part:
    On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.
    Now back to the editorial. Why would The Times use the word inconclusive?

    Perhaps because before the primary Senator Obama had (according to CBS news) 1,645 delegates to Senator Clinton's 1,503. At that point, 3,148 delegates had been decided. Obama had 52.26% of the delegates and Clinton 47.74%.

    As a result of the primary, Senator Clinton won 83 new delegates to Obama's 73. She chipped away 10 delegates from Obama's lead. (Note: It's not the 9 that I reported here. My apologies, I was using the numbers available to me at the time.) . So what do the percentages look like now?

    Senator Obama still has the lead with 1,718 delegates to Clinton's 1,586 and that means that 3,304 delegates have been decided.

    So Senator Obama now has 51.99% of the delegates to Senator Clinton's 48%. She gained 10 delegates and jumped about 1/4 of 1% in her percentage of the total number of delegates. His lead is now 10 delegates smaller and he lost about the same percentage-wise.

    Since, as they say, it's all about the delegates, I'd have to say that narrowing the difference by either 10 delegates out of about 33oo, or 1/2 of 1% if we're talking percentages, is pretty, (dare I say it?) inconclusive.

    His next paragraph:
    Mrs. Clinton is mostly responsible for the negative tone of the campaign, according to the Times, which had endorsed her in the New York primary. She should stop criticizing Sen. Barack Obama: "If she is ever to have a hope of persuading [superdelegates] to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs," the Times said.
    To read that alone, you'd think that it was just the editorialists at the Times who concluded that she is "mostly responsible for the negative tone of the campaign." But that's not exactly true.

    Here's ABC:

    The tough tone of the Pennsylvania Democratic campaign tarnished both candidates -- more so Hillary Clinton, with 67 percent of voters saying she attacked Barack Obama unfairly.
    That puts Jack's next paragraph in a different light:
    Hmm. Fifty-five percent seems like "the larger body of voters." The Clinton campaign reported she raked in nearly $10 million in contributions over the Internet in the 24 hours following her Pennsylvania win. That suggests some Democrats aren't put off by her criticisms of Mr. Obama.
    Take a look at the entire paragraph that "larger body of voters" phrase comes from:
    It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind when they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs.
    Note what Jack did. The Times was talking about voters nationwide and he countered with the percentage of voters who voted for Clinton in Pennsylvania. But he's right. "Some" voters aren't put off by her attacks on Obama. But if the ABC poll is correct, they're out numbered by 2-to-1 by those who are.

    She's behind in the delegate count, she's way behind (by about a half million) in the popular vote. I know that recently Senator Clinton has been boasting that she, in fact, is in the lead with the popular vote:
    "I'm very proud that as of today, I have received more votes by the people who have voted than anyone else," Clinton said Wednesday, one day after her decisive win in Pennsylvania.
    But how is that possible?

    Only by, uh, disregarding the rules (to put it nicely) and adding the vote totals for Florida and Michigan - two states that broke the rules that everyone agreed to for the primaries. The only way for her to win this thins is for her to convince the super delegates to disregard the will of the majority of the Democratic voters and the majority of the delegates.

    And to do that, she has to, uh, disregard the rules she'd already agreed to.

    No one wants to see that more than the Republicans. The more she fights the cause she can't win, the better their chances.

    April 26, 2008

    More Support For Our Troops.

    From The Fayetteville Observer:

    A spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole said Dole’s staff is contacting Fort Bragg and Pentagon officials today in response to a just-posted YouTube video that depicts soldiers living in deplorable conditions in a base barracks.

    And:

    The YouTube video shows paint peeling and falling from exposed pipes in the barracks, mildewed ceilings and showers, a toilet seat torn in half and a soldier standing on a sink trying to unplug a bathroom drain. Sewage appears to cover the bathroom floor.

    The video was made by Edward Frawley, the father of a sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division who returned from Afghanistan on April 13 and is among the soldiers now living in the barracks.

    “This is unbelievable,” Frawley says in the video. “It’s disgusting. It makes me mad as hell. If these buildings were in any city in America and were called apartments, dormitories, they would be condemned.”

    Here's a screen capture of that soldier (who, according to the narrator of the tape, was stationed in Afghanistan only days before) trying to unclog that drain:

    Note the brown water. Anyguess what that is? And remember that guy was in a war zone only hours before. This is safety, this is home for him.

    See the whole disgusting thing for yourself:

    More evidence of how well dubya supports the troops.

    And if you're thinking that I'm being too partisan in that previous sentence, just imagine if these photos were taken during a Democratic administration. What would the Republicans' reaction be? The media's?

    Do you really think this helps your candidate?

    And, since when is it a progressive value to ridicule blue collar workers?

    From the comments section to this post:
    Anonymous said...

    Maria,

    I feel so sorry for you. We elitist urban and inter-suburban dwellers have understood neither you nor your much victimized candidate.

    To think that Hillary--Ms. Inevitability and advocate for all the racist, Bible-thumping, deer gutting, Islamo-fascist, wanna obliterate Iran, NRA card-carrying hicks--has had to suffer through the sophomoric efforts of Mr. Outa Touch Obama and us bamboozled minions of his must sadden and outrage you deeply.

    We are now beginning to understand. You and Hillary know what America stands for. You and your candidate love America. You two will not let any self-loathing liberal snobs get in the way of the defense of American exceptionalism; Freedom on the March; an overcoming of the sissified wing of the Demokrat party; and a new lovefest with the Rupert Murdochs, Richard Mellon Scaifes and Rush Limbaughs of the world.

    You are the new unifiers, the transcenders of unnecesarry differences and conflicts.

    We progressives are passe, the real culprits, and political has beens who never really were.

    I commend you for your courage and new patriotic vision. Please lead us on.

    7:37 PM

    Maria said...

    Here's a clue:

    The Hillary supporters who you viciously stereotype and ridicule are the very same people who your candidate will need to count on should he win the nomination.

    Way to support your candidate!

    2:41 AM

    .

    April 25, 2008

    Missy Hart Goes Negative Early!

    Many thanks to Bob Mayo for letting us know. Here's what he wrote:
    Republicans are spotlighting Melissa Hart's anti-Barack Obama web-only ad for the national media, but Hart is not calling media attention to it locally.
    Then there's this quote from the Washington Post:
    Republican party committees and candidates have launched a series of ads this week linking Democratic candidates for lower offices to controversies surrounding Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, signaling that a racially tinged campaign may lie ahead, should the senator from Illinois secure the Democratic nomination.
    And then:

    In western Pennsylvania, a GOP challenger unveiled an ad on the campaign web site accusing freshman Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) of defending Obama after he told donors in San Francisco that white working class voters "cling to" gun rights and religion because they are "bitter".

    "Barack Obama said our bitterness makes us cling to our religion, and our guns. This was simply an insult. But maybe the biggest insult of all is how Jason Altmire continues to defend Barack Obama," says Melissa Hart, the former representative who was ousted by Altmire in 2006 and faces a rematch this fall.

    Here's the ad in all it's tinged racial-ness:

    And the transcript:

    HART: I'm Melissa Hart and I approve this message.

    ANNC: Barack Obama described small town, hardworking, God fearing, Second Amendment-respecting families of western Pennsylvania as bitter. Barack Obama said our bitterness makes us cling to our religion, and our guns. This was simply an insult. But maybe the biggest insult of all is how Jason Altmire continues to defend Barack Obama. Jason Altmire. Just how much of the liberal Kool-Aid did he drink?

    For someone voted out of office for (among other things) voting too closely with dubya, I don't think Missy Hart should be accusing anyone else of "drinking the cool-aid."

    The Trib and the P-G

    The Trib's editorial board (oh, bless their hearts) chimed in today, not on the election results but on the P-G's reaction to those election results. Note: they're being snarky by calling the P-G the "Toledo, Ohio Block Bugler." The P-G is owned by the Block Family and that family also owns the Toledo Blade. Hence the snark. Here's what they have to say:
    An amusement: The Toledo, Ohio, Block Bugler endorsed Barack Obama for the Democrats' presidential nomination. Outside of Philadelphia, Sen. Obama was trounced by Sen. Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's Pennsylvania Primary. A day late and a brain short in commenting on the results on Thursday, The Bugler turned its sour grapes of wrath on the electorate. "(V)oters were not inclined to think their votes through," it said, then chided Pennsylvania as an "old commonwealth" with "older voters" voting the "old way." There's nothing quite as amusing as a gaggle of self-styled "progressives," their entreaties rejected, throwing a hissy fit.
    Here's the P-G's editorial they're chiding. It says alot more than what the Trib describes. For instance:
    The Democratic nomination has come to resemble Iraq. A war that seemed to be over has flared up anew with a startling viciousness. At the end of the Pennsylvania campaign, both sides were trading blows as if their opponent were a Republican, but Mrs. Clinton stooped lower, even genuflecting to Karl Rove's politics of fear with an ad that summoned the bogeyman, Osama bin Laden, to make her case.
    And:

    If Mrs. Clinton somehow manages to capture the nomination, she will seem less the bold fighter than someone who has pushed her all-consuming ambition beyond the best interests of her party. In her negativity, she will have reminded Americans across the country of the seamier side of the Clinton years.

    Worst of all, she will have rebuffed the grass-roots army that is Mr. Obama's fresh and vital contribution to the campaign -- young people, independents, former Republicans, the great hope of a Democratic Party revival.

    And finally:
    No, the real winner in Pennsylvania was not Hillary Clinton but John McCain, waiting patiently in the wings to pick up the shattered pieces of the Democratic idols. He of all people has to love that the Democratic nominating process has turned into its own Iraq.
    In that light, it's interesting that a Wall Street Journal columnist, Daniel Henninger, calls it for Senator Obama. Go read the column - Henninger's hardly a progressive, self-styled or otherwise.

    April 24, 2008

    How Dubya Supports The Troops

    By covering up the rates of attempted suicides among the troops.

    CBS reports:

    In San Francisco federal court Monday, attorneys for veterans' rights groups accused the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs of nothing less than a cover-up - deliberately concealing the real risk of suicide among veterans.

    "The system is in crisis and unfortunately the VA is in denial," said veterans rights attorney Gordon Erspamer.

    The charges were backed by internal e-mails written by Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's head of Mental Health.

    In the past, Katz has repeatedly insisted while the risk of suicide among veterans is serious, it's not outside the norm.

    "There is no epidemic in suicide in VA," Katz told Keteyian in November.

    But in this e-mail to his top media adviser, written two months ago, Katz appears to be saying something very different, stating: "Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among veterans we see in our medical facilities."

    That's 12,000 per year.
    Katz's e-mail was written shortly after the VA provided CBS News data showing there were only 790 attempted suicides in all 2007 - a fraction of Katz's estimate.
    By the way, 790 is only about 6.6% of 12,000.

    More Bush Administration respect for the troops:

    Last November when CBS News exposed an epidemic of more than 6,200 suicides in 2005 among those who had served in the military, Katz attacked our report.

    "Their number is not, in fact, an accurate reflection of the rate," he said last November.

    But it turns out they were, as Katz admitted in this e-mail, just three days later.

    He wrote: there "are about 18 suicides per day among America's 25 million veterans."

    That works out to about 6,570 per year, which Katz admits in the same e-mail, "is supported by the CBS numbers."

    This is how Dubya supports the troops.

    Maps - We Got One More!

    Since I got called out in the OPJ's latest, I feel compelled to respond.

    I have an enormous amount of respect for Maria, as everyone should know by now, but misleading is about the only word that can be used to describe this map showing (in a bloggeriffic snarky way) the extent of Senator Clinton's win on Tuesday:

    As it shows only the counties that each Senator won as opposed to by what percentage each county was won by. Looking at it, you'd think the primary this past Tuesday was a complete Bush-Mondale sized blowout.

    Take a look at this map:

    Looking at it, you'd hardly guess that John Kerry's Blue Counties represent 48.3% of the vote to George Bush's Red Counties with 50.7%. Nor could you guess that Bush won by only 35 electoral votes (286-251).

    I'm just sayin'.

    And I'll say it again - for all the hoopla and the hype, Senator Clinton, who started the campaign in the state with about a humongous lead in the polls, won by only 9.2% (or so). And she only gained a handful of delegates at best.

    No dichromatic map is going to change those facts. Sorry, Maria.

    As Dayvoe said...

    ...Hillary's win on Tuesday wasn't really that significant or anything. I mean look how well Barack actually did in PA:


    I imagaine he could have swept the state even better if he had outspent her 4 to 1 instead of 3.5 to 1!

    (Map courtesy of The Washington Post.)
    .

    April 23, 2008

    For All That...

    I really hate to be a killjoy here, but for all the hoopla, all the hype, all the damn phone messages, when all was said and done, what REALLY was the result of yesterday's primary?

    According to CBS news, Senator Clinton chipped 9 delegates off of Senator Obama's lead.

    9

    Aas of this date according to CBS, she's now only 130 behind.

    Josh Marshall on Yesterday's Primary

    ACTION ALERT: Campaign Finance Reform

    From Reform Pittsburgh Now:

    This Thursday, April 24, 2008, Pittsburgh City Council will finally have a preliminary vote on Campaign Finance Reform. The final vote is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, 2008. Passing the CFR legislation would be a first, giant step towards achieving "Clean" government in Pittsburgh.

    Cities around the nation have felt the positive impact of CFR municipal laws: an increase in voters' trust and engagement with local government, an increase in the caliber of candidates seeking office and political campaigns engaging in more grassroots, face to face campaigning.

    Respected and trusted local and statewide organizations, including Common Cause, Democracy Rising, 14th Ward Independent Democratic Club, the League of Women Voters, the PA League of Young Voters and PUMP have all joined in support of CFR.

    Please help us take that next step, call or email council members, let them know you believe CFR is necessary and urge them to vote for the legislation.

    For more information on the CFR legislation, go to: http://www.reformpittsburghnow.com and use our easy one click button to email all of city officials. We need your help, if Campaign Finance Reform is to become a reality in Pittsburgh.

    .

    EQUAL PAY RALLY


    From the Women and Girls Foundation:
    Did you know that southwestern Pennsylvania has one of the most dramatic wage gaps in the country?

  • Nationally, women make 80 cents for every dollar that a man earns.
  • In Pennsylvania, women earn 73 cents per dollar.
  • In southwestern Pennsylvania, women only earn 69 cents for every dollar that a man makes.

    We will work for equality...will you?
    Join us for an Equal Pay Rally and make your voice heard!


    April 25 - Noon - Market Square

    Women and Girls Foundation
    http://www.wgfpa.org/

  • This year's speakers (in order of appearance) are:
    Cecile Springer Board Member, Women & Girls Foundation
    Ayana Ledford Exec. Dir. of PROGRESS @ CMU Heinz School
    Tiona Jones Ellis student, PROGRESS intern, Teen Council leader/Reign of Aquaria game
    Monica Shaw High School Student, Teen Council leader/Reign of Aquaria game
    Rich Fitzgerald Pres., Allegheny County Council
    Vivien Luk Gtr Pgh Non-Profit Partnership
    Magdeline E. Jensen Executive Director, YWCA
    Susan Nitzberg Incoming Pres., Nat'l. Council of Jewish Women
    Esther Bush Exec. Dir., Urban League
    Heide Tappe Representative for State Rep. Chelsa Wagner
    Sen. Jim Ferlo State Senator
    Jeanne Clark Representative of NOW
    La'Tasha Mayes Representative, New Voices Pittsburgh
    Betsy Magley Chair, PA Commission For Women
    Karen Myres Representative, Executive Women's Council
    Ed Gainey Representative for Mayor Ravenstahl
    Doug Shields President, Pgh. City Council
    Bill Peduto Pittsburgh City Council member
    Rose Bonesso Working America
    Frances M. Wright Pres., SWPA Coalition of Labor Union Women
    Kim Ellis Activist
    Sara Radelet Executive Director, New Hazlett Theater
    Vanessa German Poet, artist, activist
    Sala Udin Executive Director CORO
    Deborah Lyles Student representative, Chatham University
    Liz Rincon Executive Director, PA League of Young Voters
    Celeste Taylor Rep. Black Political Empowerment Project
    Joanne Quinn Smith President Nat'l Assn. Bus. Women (NAWBO)
    Heather Arnet Executive Director, Women & Girls Foundation


    ALSO:
    The Women and Girls Foundation invites you to join them today through Thursday, (April 24th), in Market Square, from Noon to 1:00 PM. They will be raising awareness about the need to wipe out the wage gap once and for all.

    .

    April 22, 2008

    How Pittsburgh is seen on Daily Kos

    From a thread on their PA Primary recommended diary:

    Why is he so low in pittsberg? (1+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:Spekkio

    42%

    Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt. William Shakespeare

    by notquitedelilah on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 05:16:57 PM PDT

    White trash... (5+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:Marie, Mnemosyne, jdmorg, rising sign, dmh44

    ...I mean "downscale" voters...Yes, I know... I'm so elitist... whatever...How she appeals to "downscale" voters is beyond me... sh is anything but... and never has been...

    The United States of America--the only country in the world where being educated and cultured actually *lowers* your social and political standing.

    by LordMike on Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 05:31:22 PM PDT[ Parent ]


    We LOVE you too!
    .

    HILLARY CLINTON PROJECTED WINNER IN PA

    With 3% of the vote in Pennsylvania, MSNBC has already projected Hillary Clinton as the winner over Barack Obama.

    UPDATE: Hillary in Pittsburgh pics.

    From the March 14th rally in Pittsburgh:





    From the "21st Century Jobs Summit" on April 2nd in Pittsburgh:





    From the rally in Market Square yesterday:






    .

    "Experienced Leaderhip"

    Yes, there are other races besides Clinton/Obama today: The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat spellchecks Dan Deasy.
    .

    Pennsylvania Primary Day!

    April 21, 2008

    Pics From Today's Clinton Rally in Pittsburgh

    The Littlest Clinton Supporter at Hillary Pgh HQ
    getting ready for the rally



    We had the corners covered for blocks



    Inside Market Square waiting for Hill and Bill




    Bill Clinton takes the stage




    Hillary makes her case




    The long view


    After the speeches --
    Hillary is in here somewhere shaking hands

    Post-Gazette video of the rally here and story here.

    PG audio: Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker-Knoll felt slighted by the lack of an introduction at the Clinton rally today and let everyone know about it.
    .

    The Company You Keep

    Saw this yesterday.

    There's a saying about being judged by the company you keep. It's probably a less than valuable adage but The Trib's endorsement of Senator Hillary Clinton should give everyone pause.

    Note the Headline:
    In Pennsylvania's Democrat primary for president: Vote for Clinton
    Democrat primary. They can't even name the party without spitting out the well known insult. As Hendrik Hertzberg wrote in The New Yorker some time ago:
    There’s no great mystery about the motives behind this deliberate misnaming. “Democrat Party” is a slur, or intended to be—a handy way to express contempt. Aesthetic judgments are subjective, of course, but “Democrat Party” is jarring verging on ugly. It fairly screams “rat.” At a slightly higher level of sophistication, it’s an attempt to deny the enemy the positive connotations of its chosen appellation.
    And then later:
    And no doubt there are plenty of others who say “Democrat Party” just to needle the other side while signalling solidarity with their own—the partisan equivalent of flashing a gang sign.
    And it's how The Trib editorial board began its endorsement of Senator Clinton. It should signal to everyone (even Senator Clinton's supporters) one message: We are not your friends.

    Then the endorsement runs through a familiar list of pros and cons for both candidates and ends with:

    She has a real record. He doesn't.

    She has experience of value to a president. He doesn't.

    Clearly, she's the wiser choice to represent Democrats this fall.

    Well, then. That settles things. If The Trib, a newspaper that published this only 6 years ago, likes you they really really like what they see now.

    Here's what they wrote in July, 2002:

    Perhaps it was this cozy brokerage that resulted in one of the most disturbing incidents of all: Seven years ago, Vincent Walker Foster Jr., was living on Cambridge Place in Washington's Georgetown. An attorney, deputy counsel in the White House and childhood friend of President Clinton, who had brought him to Washington, Foster also was Hillary's best friend at the prestigious Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, where they shared, among other intimacies, the securities brokerage account, Midlife Partners.

    On July 20, 1993, Vince Foster was found dead. His death officially was termed a suicide but is suspected by many to be a murder — if not a superbly planned assassination. The cover-up that followed Foster's death is one of many compelling reasons Hillary Clinton must be defeated if she ever again runs for public office.
    Hillary Rodham Clinton is a stereotype from the 1960s narcissistic era that decided to replace accountability and responsibility with deniability and deception. Despite this, she was elected by the people of New York to represent them in the U.S. Senate.

    Note the innuendo of "shared intimacies" and mention of an assassination. It was so superbly planned that even Ken Starr thought it was a suicide. Ha - good one.

    And this endorsement is one our friends on the otherside of the Obama/Clinton divide should think about. Why would they endorse her anyway? Could it be to continue the damage being done to the "Democrat Party" by the continuing nomination process? How is it possible that they now see in Senator Clinton something so appealing that they choose to endorse her six years after calling her a murderer?

    Undecided Party Tonight in Highland Park

    Questions regarding Hillary? Still undecided?

    Come to a house party for undecideds!


    WHEN:
    Tonight, Monday, April 21st @ 7:00 PM

    WHERE:
    5542 Hampton St
    Highland Park
    Pittsburgh, 15206

    Hosted by Beth Saxon
    Phone #: 412-441-8253

    RSVP:
    5542hamptonst@msn.com
    .
    SPECIAL GUEST:
    The special guest will be Allida Black. Dr. Black is the Project Director and Editor of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, a project designed to preserve, teach and apply Eleanor Roosevelt’s writings and discussions of human rights and democratic politics, and Research Professor of History and International Affairs at The George Washington University.

    Outside the classroom, Dr. Black works with human rights organizations at home and abroad. She takes particular pride in her work with Senator Clinton with Vital Voices, with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf with the Liberian Education Trust, and with UNICEF in its work with former child soldiers. In October she will serve as the State Department’s public liaison for the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She has worked with human activists in Brazil, Liberia, China, Mexico and the Soviet Union.

    She has known Senator Clinton for 16 years and has worked with her on human rights, education, and health care issues. Senator Clinton is the chair of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers advisory board and wrote the foreword to The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Volume I.

    "Queer As Folk" Cast at Hillary Pgh Headquarters

    File this under: You never know who will turn up at Hillary Clinton's Pittsburgh Campaign Headquarters

    Cast members from the hit Showtime series "Queer As Folk" (which was set in Pittsburgh) were at Hillary headquarters in Pittsburgh on Sunday. They had been all over town this weekend stumping for Hillary.



    Michelle Clunie ("Mel"), Robert Gant ("Ben")
    and Friend of 2pj Zuri Hodge


    Sharon Gless ("Debbie")

    Local LGBT groups Steel City Stonewall and the Gertrude Stein Club have both endorsed Hillary as has the Burghosphere's own Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents:

    Here's what it comes down to for me. On "the issues," they are pretty close. By that I mean, their stances on ENDA, DADT, civil unions, marriage, etc. On paper, they "appear" very similar.

    In action, they are nothing alike. Barack Obama has refused to interview with local gay media anywhere. Period. He gave one interview to the national gay magazine, The Advocate. How can one national interview, late in the primary season, build a relationship with the gay community? He made a speech imploring the African-American religious community to embrace gay civil rights. This after he brought notorious "ex-gay" Donnie McClurkin on board his swing through the south gospel tour or whatever it was called. He clearly has no problem affiliating with a movement that denounces homosexuality as something to be cured, a stance that taps right into the self-loathing so rampant among closeted minorities and youth.

    [snip]

    Hillary Clinton marches in Pride parades. Her daughter visits gay bars. She worked to stop the national "marriage protection" amendment. She lifts up the gay people in her life, particularly those who touched her family personally. Hillary grants interviews to local gay media. She reaches out with intent to build relationships with our community. She has a LGBT steering committee in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
    Speaking of The Advocate interview, Barack said the following:

    Somebody else who influenced me, I actually had a professor at Occidental -- now, this is embarrassing because I might screw up his last name -- Lawrence Golden, I think it was. He was a wonderful guy. He was the first openly gay professor that I had ever come in contact with, or openly gay person of authority that I had come in contact with. And he was just a terrific guy. He wasn’t proselytizing all the time, but just his comfort in his own skin and the friendship we developed helped to educate me on a number of these issues. (emp. mine)

    Proselytizing!?!

    Way to stereotype gays!

    ************************************************************************************
    If you'd like to volunteer for Hillary today or tomorrow:
    Pittsburgh for Hillary HQ
    213 Smithfield Street (2nd Floor)
    Pittsburgh PA 15222
    412-232-0151
    Pittsburgh@hillaryclinton.com
    .

    April 20, 2008

    Jack Kelly Sunday

    This week's column by Jack Kelly begins with the now nearly ubiquitous "bitter" quotation of Senator Obama and quickly morphs into one of Jack's occasional book reports.

    And of course, he slips (without knowing it) into a bizarre circular self-erasing logic. I'll explain.

    Jack Begins:
    If Barack Obama read Karl Marx less, and Arthur Brooks more, he might not be in such hot water.
    So you can see where this is going. The book is "Gross National Happiness" by Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks. We'll get to him in a minute.

    Here's Jack's quotation from the now infamous "bitter" answer from April 6:
    "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them ... it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who are not like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," Sen. Obama famously told fat cats at a fund raiser in San Francisco.
    Note the not-so-subtle cut at the "fat cats" in San Francisco. I'm surprised he didn't note how the number of miles it takes to drive from San Francisco to Berkeley, Ca (via google maps, it's a skosh over 15).

    By the way the complete transcript of that quotation can be found here (just scroll down a bit).

    Now this is where it gets fun. Jack writes:
    Mr. Obama's comments reek of the watered down Marxism that passes for thought on college campuses these days. "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of a soulless condition. It is the opium of the people," Marx wrote.
    Actually there's more to that sentence, much more (it's from Marx's "Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right"):
    Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

    Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people [Emphasis added]

    The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
    But I want you to notice something about Jack's rhetoric. here He connects Obama's line to Karl Marx. The connection being that what Obama said sounds (to Jack's "many commentators" at least) like it agrees with Marx and because since anything that Marx wrote, by virtue of its source, was just plain dumb if not dangerous, then what Obama said was just plain dumb, if not dangerous.

    It's the "by virtue of its source" part that interests me here.

    Who is Arthur Brooks? Jack labels him "a professor at Syracuse University" and that's true. He is. In fact he's the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy there as well as a Professor of Public Administration and a Senior Research Associate, Alan K. Campbell Public Affairs Institute among many other things. How did I know that?

    Because it's on his bio page at the American Enterprise Institute, where Brooks is also a visiting scholar. Without knowing that, though, you might be left with the impression that Professor Brooks is a neutral party in our on-going political discussions and not a scholar at one of the Nation's important conservative think tanks.

    Something Jack doesn't tell you.

    If you're still unconvinced about things, take a look at the description of the book at AEI:

    Who are the happiest Americans? Surveys show that religious people think they are happier than secularists, and secularists think they are happier than religious people. Liberals believe they are happier than conservatives, and conservatives disagree. In fact, almost every group thinks it is happier than everyone else.

    In this provocative new book, Arthur C. Brooks explodes the myths about happiness in America. As he did in the controversial Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, Brooks examines vast amounts of evidence and empirical research to uncover the truth about who is happy in America, who is not, and--most important--why.

    He finds that there is a real "happiness gap" in America today, and it lies disconcertingly close to America's cultural and political fault lines. The great divide between the happy and the unhappy in America, Brooks shows, is largely due to differences in social and cultural values. The values that bring happiness are faith, charity, hard work, optimism, and individual liberty. Secularism, excessive reliance on the state to solve problems, and an addiction to security all promote unhappiness.

    And now look at the sets of "values" set in opposition to each other. Does that look like a fair and balanced opposition or does it look skewed to the conservative right from the onset?

    But let's get back to the Marx/opiate/religion stuff. What does it mean? Austin Cline over at about.com writes:
    In the above quotation Marx is saying that religion’s purpose is to create illusory fantasies for the poor. Economic realities prevent them from finding true happiness in this life, so religion tells them that this is OK because they will find true happiness in the next life. Although this is a criticism of religion, Marx is not without sympathy: people are in distress and religion provides solace, just as people who are physically injured receive relief from opiate-based drugs.
    So right or wrong, Marx's position on religion is that it offers an illusory fantasy about finding true happiness in the next life if economic realities make it difficult to find happiness in this one.

    And what does Jack Kelly say about Arthur Brooks' book? Take a look:
    Religious people are happier than secular people in part because we think we're going to go to a nice place when we die.
    Uh, I'm sorry, but doesn't that sound dangerously close to something Karl Marx wrote?

    Barack Obama in Pittsburgh


    On Track for Change Rally with Barack Obama in Pittsburgh

    Join Barack Obama at an On Track for Change Rally in Pittsburgh this Monday, April 21st. Below are the details for this event:

    On Track for Change Rally in Pittsburgh with Barack Obama

    University of Pittsburgh
    Petersen Events Center
    3719 Terrace Street
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Monday, April 21st, 2008
    Gates Open: 7:30 p.m.
    Program Begins: 9:30 p.m.

    The event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required but an RSVP is encouraged. Space is available on a first come, first served basis.

    For security reasons, do not bring bags and please limit personal items. No signs or banners permitted.

    Sign up at mybarackobama.com to RSVP.

    Hillary and President Bill Clinton Rally in Downtown Pittsburgh

    Join Hillary and President Bill Clinton for a
    "Solutions for Pennsylvania" Rally in Pittsburgh!

    When: Monday, April 21, 2008 at 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM

    Where: Downtown Pittsburgh, Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

    Description: Join Hillary and President Bill Clinton for a "Solutions for Pennsylvania" Rally in Pittsburgh! Hillary has comprehensive solutions for the complex problems we face today. Join her and President Clinton in Pittsburgh to learn more about Hillary's lifetime record of results.

    Host: Pennsylvania For Hillary

    RSVP TO THIS EVENT HERE
    .

    Join President Clinton in Millvale TODAY


    Join President Clinton for a "Solutions for America" Event in Millvale!

    When: Sunday, April 20, 2008 at 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

    Where: Mr. Small's Theater, 400 Lincoln Ave, Millvale, PA 15209

    Description: Join President Clinton for a "Solutions for America" Event in Millvale! Hillary Clinton has comprehensive solutions for the complex problems we face today. Join President Clinton in Millvale to learn more about Hillary's lifetime record of results.

    RSVP HERE

    .

    April 19, 2008

    More Trouble for Senator Clinton

    More trouble for the Clinton Campaign.

    Via Huffingtonpost, we find two articles from the New York Times that describe new troubles for the junior Senator from New York.

    She's losing friends:
    After nearly two decades building relationships with a generation of Democrats, Mrs. Clinton has recently suffered a steady erosion of support for her presidential campaign from the party stalwarts that once formed the basis of her perceived juggernaut of “inevitability.”

    Some of it is just business, practical politicians putting aside ties to the Clintons to follow the will of the voters in their states or making a calculation about who seems best positioned to win.
    And she's got money troubles:
    Senator Barack Obama is swamping Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton with television advertising in their prolonged battle for the Democratic nomination, putting fresh pressure on Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raising machine to find new sources of money to help her keep pace.

    But her big-dollar fund-raising apparatus that was once the envy of the political world is encountering obstacles as many of those in its regular networks of donors have reached the maximum on their personal contributions or grown tired of the relentless press for donations.

    The campaign is actively hunting for new wellsprings of cash, while tapped-out donors who want to give more are contemplating financing independent efforts on her behalf that are not bound by contribution limits. So far, however, the independent efforts have been halting at best.

    She was once inevitable. Now not so much.

    In his own words

    Regarding the debates earlier this week, I'm really glad that after so many BS questions, they finally let Obama speak to the issues (1:36 minutes in on this video):



    Yeah, I'm really glad!

    How NOT to Make Friends and Influence People

    From Huffingtonpost. They have Senator Clinton on tape saying this:
    Moveon.org endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] -- which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down.
    And then

    We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me.
    First things first. According to Eli Pariser:
    Senator Clinton has her facts wrong again. MoveOn never opposed the war in Afghanistan, and we set the record straight years ago when Karl Rove made the same claim. Senator Clinton's attack on our members is divisive at a time when Democrats will soon need to unify to beat Senator McCain. MoveOn is 3.2 million reliable voters and volunteers who are an important part of any winning Democratic coalition in November. They deserve better than to be dismissed using Republican talking points.
    Then there's Jane Hamsher over at Firedoglake:

    The Huffington Post has Hillary Clinton on tape disparaging Barack Obama and his support from MoveOn, saying that the organization "didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan.

    I've tried to stay out of the pie fights of late, but as a long-term defender of MoveOn and other progressive organizations -- this is completely unacceptable.

    A couple of things here. As Keith Olbermann pointed out last night, the irony of Senator Clinton disparaging moveon.org is thick as thick can be.

    Does anyone remember how Moveon.org got started?

    It was an online petition defending President Clinton against Republican impeachment.

    It's raised millions of dollars for Democratic candidates and is an exceedingly important part of progressive grassroots political activism.

    All-in-all, not a good move for Senator Clinton.

    April 18, 2008

    NewsHour on Pgh Media Tonight

    PBS' The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer will be doing a segment tonight on Pittsburgh media:

    *PITTSBURGH MEDIA

    In the midst of an exciting political race, there has been a nationwide upheaval in how news organizations are adjusting to changing consumer patterns, largely driven by new technology and a big drop in advertising revenues. According to a study by The Pew Research Center, when people were asked where they regularly get information about the presidential campaign, fewer said they got it from newspapers, local TV news, and the nightly network news compared to the year 2000. However, cable news networks actually saw a small gain, while the Internet saw the biggest gain, going from 9% in 2000 to 24% this year.

    Due to these recent developments, newspapers and TV news stations continue to put more and more content on the Internet, but a recent University of Pennsylvania Annenberg survey showed that 89% of adults still get their information about the political race from the combination of broadcast and cable TV.

    Earlier this month, Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown went to Pittsburgh to see how local media outlets like the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and CBS affiliate KDKA-TV are covering the upcoming primary, and how they are coping with the changing interests of their consumers.

    Visit http://www.pbs.org/newshour/topic/media after 9 p.m. Eastern time for more information on this segment.
    NOTE: This local angle on our media was almost really local -- as in the very blog that you're reading. The NewsHour had originally contacted 2pj about being included in the piece, but had to drop us out the day before filming was scheduled due to time constraints. (Well, that's what they told me anyway.) If nothing more, it provided an excellent incentive to do some spring cleaning at my house!
    .

    Even More Numbers

    From TPM:
    Hillary Closes To Within Three Points In Gallup National Tracking Poll
    By Greg Sargent - April 18, 2008, 1:42PM

    Today's Gallup national tracking poll finds that the Democratic primary race has tightened, with Hillary closing to within three points -- a finding that the pollsters say provides indications that Wednesday's debate could be undermining Obama's support.

    Gallup finds that Obama is leading Hillary 47%-44%, down from an 11 point lead earlier this week. Gallup adds that last night's interviewing is the first they did since the debate...

    More Numbers

    I've taken a little heat on these pages for too often posting poll numbers on the blog. So be it. But if done fairly poll numbers offer a reliable snapshot of what a large group of people are thinking at a particular time - stack them together and you get a fairly good trend of how people think over time.

    The Washington Post/ABC News has been conducting polls about the presidential candidates for a while and here are the poll numbers. If the numbers are accurate, it is not good news for Senator Clinton or her supporters. For example to this question:

    4. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of (NAME)?
    We get these answers.

    Senator Clinton:

    NET Favorable/Unfavorable 44/54

    Senator Obama:

    NET Favorable/Unfavorable 56/39

    Senator McCain

    NET Favorable/Unfavorable 56/39

    Since we're still (STILL!) in the primary season these questions, asked of those polled who are leaning Democratic, looms large:

    10.Who would you like to see win the Democratic nomination for president this year - (Hillary Clinton) or (Barack Obama)? Which candidate are you leaning toward?

    The answers?

    Barack Obama 51%
    Hillary Clinton 41%.

    And to this question:

    Regardless of who you may support, who do you think (ITEM) - (Clinton) or (Obama)?

    Is more trustworthy?

    Barack Obama 53%
    Hillary Clinton 30%

    Better understands the problems of people like you?

    Barack Obama 46%
    Hillary Clinton 41%

    (Here it gets strange.)

    Has better experience to be president?

    Barack Obama 24%
    Hillary Clinton 67%

    WOW. That's significant. However, before we start rewriting this blog entry, take a look at this question:

    (Who) has the better chance of getting elected president in November 2008?

    Barack Obama 62%
    Hillary Clinton 31%

    Remember, these are the folks who are leaning Democratic. While Senator Clinton also scored somewhat higher (49 to 44 percent) over Senator Obama as to who is the stronger leader, the numbers are obvious - more people who are leaning Democratic want to see Barack Obama get the nomination and even more think he has a better chance of getting elected in November than Hillary Clinton.

    Then there's this:

    Of those leaning Democrats polled who think that the campaign so far has been mostly negative (and granted this is a minority of 41% polled), 52% lay the blame at the feet of the Clinton campaign. Only 14% think that the Obama campaign is to blame for the "mostly negative" tone.

    Back to the poll numbers for everyone. If the election were held today, McCain would beat Clinton 48 to 45, but Obama would beat McCain by almost exactly the same numbers 49 to 44.

    But this last poll number has to be the kicker.

    29. Please tell me if the following statements apply to Hillary Clinton or not: She is honest and trustworthy.

    Yes 39%
    No 58%

    All in all, these numbers do not look good for Senator Clinton.

    April 17, 2008

    Two Phone Messages

    When I got home from work today, there were two (count 'em TWO) phone messages on my phone machine.

    The first was from Franco Harris letting me know of an upcoming TAILGATE PARTY at the Heinz Field parking lot.

    Details here.

    The other was from the Clinton Campaign. Here's the text:

    Hello, this is Hillary Clinton for President calling.

    In his TV ads, Barack Obama sounds like he'll take on the oil companies. What he doesn't tell you is that he voted for the Bush/Cheney energy bill - a bill that's been called "the best energy bill corporations could buy."

    Every gallon of gas takes over three bucks out of your pocket so why would Barack Obama vote for a Bush Cheney energy bill that has put $6 billion in the pockets of Big Oil?

    Enough talk. It's time for action. Hillary Clinton will take on Big Oil and she has the experience to get it done.

    I was struck by the completely different tones the two messages. One was an invitation to a party, the other a negative ad. I also got curious about that "Bush/Cheney energy bill" that second caller mentioned. Twice.

    I did a little googling and found this at factcheck.org:

    Clinton faults Obama for voting for the 2005 energy bill, which she calls "the Bush Cheney energy bill." But the compromise Obama voted for was supported by most Senate Democrats and lacked many of the administration's original proposals. As we've said before, it resulted in a small net tax increase on oil companies.

    Ah, we're getting somewhere. The bill in question is the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Now we all know how a bill becomes law. Here's a primer:

    Ok. One of the things the cartoon leaves out is that if the House and Senate versions of a bill are different enough, it goes to a committee made up of both House and Senate members. Their job is to come up with a bill that both Chambers can agree on. Then it gets voted on again in each chamber and then if it passes, it goes to the President for a signature.

    Well, guess what happened to this law?

    July 29, 2005: After it returned from the conference committee, it passes the Senate 74-26.

    June 28 2005: Before being sent to the conference committee, initially passes the Senate by a vote of 85-12.

    The Junior Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton.

    Why would Hillary Clinton vote for a bill that would but billions of dollars in the pockets of Big Oil?

    April 16, 2008

    Another Endorsement

    Probably no longer news to most of you.

    Bruce Springsteen.

    Today, he writes:

    LIke most of you, I've been following the campaign and I have now seen and heard enough to know where I stand. Senator Obama, in my view, is head and shoulders above the rest.

    He has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next President. He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that's interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit. A place where "...nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone."

    At the moment, critics have tried to diminish Senator Obama through the exaggeration of certain of his comments and relationships. While these matters are worthy of some discussion, they have been ripped out of the context and fabric of the man's life and vision, so well described in his excellent book, Dreams From My Father, often in order to distract us from discussing the real issues: war and peace, the fight for economic and racial justice, reaffirming our Constitution, and the protection and enhancement of our environment.

    After the terrible damage done over the past eight years, a great American reclamation project needs to be undertaken. I believe that Senator Obama is the best candidate to lead that project and to lead us into the 21st Century with a renewed sense of moral purpose and of ourselves as Americans.

    Over here on E Street, we're proud to support Obama for President.

    Me, too.

    Your flag flyin' over the courthouse
    Means certain things are set in stone.
    Who we are, what we'll do and what we won't

    It's gonna be a long walk home.

    RESTING ON A FALLACY

    The P-G Endorsement, Part I

    Today, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton for the Pennsylvania primary election. The first eleven paragraphs note the similarity of both candidates on the issues and how they are both "uncommonly smart, thoughtful and very well-versed in the issues . . . care about people . . . care about the workings of government . . . are prepared."

    Agreed.

    So why do they endorse Obama over Clinton? This paragraph seems to be the primary reason given:
    This editorial began by observing that one candidate is of the past and one of the future. The litany of criticisms heaped on Sen. Obama by the Clinton camp, simultaneously doing the work of the Republicans, is as illustrative as anything of which one is which. These are the cynical responses of the old politics to the new.
    So, I guess that means that if Sen. Obama had heaped "litany of criticisms" on Sen. Clinton -- simultaneously doing the work of the Republicans -- the P-G might have gone the other way, or called it a draw, right?

    Say, if as far back as last year, if Obama and his top campaign people had called Hillary "disingenuous"; or had repeatedly labeled her untruthful in November of 2007 and January of 2008 (taking off time for Christmas); or if at the end of January in an interview Barack had called her "divisive" and "calculating", or maybe accusing her of "saying and doing anything to win", or, hell, saying that she was "too polarizing to win"; or maybe if in March the Obama Campaign had tried to throw out there that she was "one of the most secretive politicians in America"; or a day later they had said that Hillary was "attempting to deceive the American people" or, Jesus, what if they had claimed that she was "playing politics with war"; or if they had said, again, a week later that she was "literally willing to do anything to win" -- that would be a bad thing, no?

    I guess if Barack had used these kinds of character attacks, the Post-Gazette Editorial Board would be peeved or something. They wouldn't buy into the Right's/Obama's meme and repeat it bysuggesting that she was "suspect and shifty," would they?

    And, what if the Obama Camp had not stopped there, but had gone on to attack the last Democratic President?

    I mean, that sounds kind of Republican, no?

    What if they had put out a false story that President Bill Clinton was making money on a speech to Asia on the anniversary of 9/11? That would be a pretty crappy thing to do I'm thinking, especially if it had somehow ended up on The Drudge Report.

    Or, say, if Obama had praised Ronnie Reagan at the expense of Bill Clinton or had talked about the loss of jobs over the past twenty-five years (mentioning Clinton and Bush, but never Reagan and leaving out how well the middle class did under Clinton). That would kind of suck, no?

    It might be called the cynical responses of the old politics to the new -- that is if Obama would have done anything like that.

    And, speaking of using the Right's own talking points, can you imagine how supremely cynical it would have been if the Obama Campaign had slammed Hillary's healthcare program by mimicking the old Harry and Louise lies and fearmongering? I mean, it was the Right's Harry and Louise ads that helped to deny Americans any kind of healthcare aid for DECADES so no Democrat would possibly go there.

    And, I'm thinking it would have been oh-so-cynical and old school if Obama had used false quotes against Clinton on NAFTA in a mailer or if he had made completely misleading claims in a TV ad.

    I mean, I'm sure if Obama had actually done any of that, the Post-Gazette would have sat up and taken notice.

    Right?
    .