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    • Could Obama have fixed the economy?
      I want to revisit this. Obama was the last person who had a real chance to change and fix things. A crisis is an opportunity. FDR used the Great Depression to change America. Reagan used stagflation to change America. Bush used 9/11 to change America. Obama could have used the financial crisis to change America. […]
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“Check or Checkmate” – Will Clinton Win in the End?

Keep your enemies close?

Dakinikat found this terrific op-ed by Colleen O’Connor at San Diego News Network, and posted a link to it in the previous thread. I thought it was so on-point that it deserved a post of its own. O’Connor describes the Obama-Clinton competition as a chess game, and argues that although Hillary lost the battle for the Democratic nomination for President, she is besting Obama and all of her other opponents for the nomination today.

The patient, wily, and deft player often triumphs more frequently than the flashy, lightening quick one.

A grand master will pick off the pawns as they cross into enemy territory and then concentrate on checking the King.

The Queen has the greatest maneuverability of all the chess pieces. She can be the most lethal.

The King, by contrast, is often barricaded behind a wall of defenders, with little room to escape-save in a bold and risky fashion.

The King is dying. Long live the Queen.

Quietly, and under almost everyone’s radar, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been vanquishing her foes, while President Barack Obama has been multiplying his.

Furthermore, she has been paying off her debts, while Obama has been multiplying his (and the country’s) I.O.U.s.

Obama is down in the polls. Clinton is up. He is losing his liberal base and taking heat on health care, the wars, broken promises, gate crashers, the bailouts, and a grand design that leaves his base behind.

And O’Connor points out that Hillary is poised for another victory tomorrow if her early supporter Martha Coakley wins the nomination as Ted Kennedy’s replacement in the Senate. Obama’s supporters have all endorsed Coakley’s opponent Michael Capuano, but Coakley still has a comfortable lead in the polls. Today, she got a very big endorsement–from Bill Clinton.

If Coakley wins, O’Connor points out, it will be the second time the Clintons have bested the Kennedys in a race to fill a vacated Senate seat–remember the demise of Princess Caroline Kennedy?

There is much much more in this excellent, well-argued op-ed. Please read the whole thing and then come back here to discuss it. We aren’t surprised that Hillary is still going strong, are we fellow Conflucians?

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Friday Morning News

bd_morning_paper

California Wildfires

Arson caused California blaze

A massive fire that has charred nearly 145,000 acres in Southern California and destroyed dozens of homes north of Los Angeles was caused by arson, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman said Thursday.

A homicide investigation has been initiated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department into the deaths of two firefighters as a result of the Station fire, said spokeswoman Rita Wears. The firefighters died Sunday in a vehicle crash while trying to escape fast-moving flames.

Arson fire is most unacceptable crime, Sheriff says

Massachusetts Senate Contest

Martha Coakley has officially thrown her hat into the ring

“We face a crisis of confidence. We have lost our distinguished and tenacious senator, Ted Kennedy,” Coakley said Thursday at an event surrounded by supporters. “We have depended upon him in the commonwealth and in Washington, and we will miss his strength, his leadership and his sense of humor. As some have noted, no one can fill his shoes, but we must strive to follow in his footsteps.”

Coakley is the first candidate on either side to officially enter the race for the seat that for more than four decades was held by Kennedy, who died last week.

On a more bizarre note, former Red Sox pitcher, and right wing nut Curt Schilling would not rule out running for the Massachusetts Senate seat.

“I do have some interest in the possibility,” Schilling wrote Wednesday on his blog, 38 Pitches (named after his uniform number with the Red Sox). “That being said, to get there from where I am today, many, many things would have to align themselves.”

A registered Independent, Schilling campaigned for George W. Bush in 2004 and for John McCain last year, and often vents, in populist voice, against Washington insiders who have lost touch with constituents.

Ted Kennedy’s Autobiography

Chappaquidick haunted me ‘every day of my life’

In a memoir titled “True Compass,” to be published Sept. 14, Kennedy called his actions in the 1969 car crash that led to the death of his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne “inexcusable.” When his car drove off the bridge, he wrote, he was afraid, overwhelmed and “made terrible decisions.” The senator was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and given a two-month suspended sentence.

Writing at the end of his life, as he struggled against brain cancer, Kennedy concluded: “That night on Chappaquiddick Island ended in a horrible tragedy that haunts me every day of my life.” Forced to live with the guilt over his failure to report the accident for hours, he acknowledged that Kopechne’s family suffered far worse. “Atonement is a process that never ends,” he wrote.

The Ongoing Health Care Nightmare

Health Care Idea Has Public Plan Only as Backup

As President Obama faces conflicting pressures from the left and the right over his proposal for a new public health insurance program, White House officials are investigating a possible compromise under which the government would offer its own health plan only if private insurers failed to provide affordable coverage.

No, Mr. O, that just isn’t going to be good enough. Think again.

Obama Will Lay Out Specifics in Health-Care Speech, Aides Say

Uh huh….I’ll believe that when I see it. Obama has never been specific about any policy yet.

Don’t be fooled by the public option

The fight over the public option has occupied much of the media coverage, but left unsaid is the fact that weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations have weakened the public option proposal to the point that it is hardly an option at all.

Who’s Blocking Health Care Reform Now? Blue Dogs? Senate Dems? House Progressives? Or the White House Itself?

The only obstacle to passage of the president’s health care — or health insurance legislation is the White House itself. Barack Obama knows better than any of us the difference between what he promised and what is about to be delivered. The undeniable difference is dawning on much of the public too, and is reflected in sagging poll numbers for Democrats and the president. The dozens of Democrats who have declared they will vote against any health care — or health insurance — bill that does not contain what they call a “public option,” are only trying to insulate themselves and protect President Obama from the worst consequences of his own treachery in selling out the vision of universal health care to big pharma and the insurance companies. They aren’t blocking the president’s bill. They’re trying to ensure that there is something in the bill they can defend to the outraged public who elected them to pass health care reform.

Black Caucus warns Obama on speech

Man bites off another man’s finger at Obama health care rally in CA

Ventura County sheriff’s deputies were called to Lynn Road and Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks near Los Angeles, according to TV station KTLA.

There, an estimated 100 supporters of healthcare reform affiliated with MoveOn.org had gathered as part of a nationwide array of pre-Labor Day rallies to attract attention in support of Obama’s reform plans currently before Congress.

Instead, the rally attracted the attention of a group of anti-healthcare-reform protesters across the street….

A scuffle ensued. And the pro-protester had a finger bitten off. (Updated at 8:18 a.m.: Conflicting later reports indicate the biter was a healthcare proponent and the now nine-fingered man an opponent.)

Interview with man who had finger bitten off at town hall

State Department

U.S. Suspends $30M to Honduras

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced Thursday that the United States would formally suspend nearly $30 million in aid to the coup-installed government in Honduras. She also suggested for the first time that the United States might not recognize the country’s elections this fall if the ousted president was not returned to power by then.

How will Hillary Clinton, State Department respond to obscene behavior at U.S. embassy?

U.S. embassy in Kabul bans alcohol at guard camp

Torture

Report Suggests Physicians Experimented on Detainees in U.S. Custody

CIA doctors face human experimentation claims

The American Medical Association, the largest body of physicians in the US, said it was in open dialogue with the Obama administration and other government agencies over the role of doctors. “The participation of physicians in torture and interrogation is a violation of core ethical values,” it said.

The most incendiary accusation of PHR’s latest report, Aiding Torture, is that doctors actively monitored the CIA’s interrogation techniques with a view to determining their effectiveness, using detainees as human subjects without their consent. The report concludes that such data gathering was “a practice that approaches unlawful experimentation”.

Human experimentation without consent has been prohibited in any setting since 1947, when the Nuremberg Code, which resulted from the prosecution of Nazi doctors, set down 10 sacrosanct principles. The code states that voluntary consent of subjects is essential and that all unnecessary physical and mental suffering should be avoided.

Has everyone completely forgotten about MK-Ultra? More on MK-ULtra:

Project MK-ULTRA, or MKULTRA, was the code name for a covert CIA mind-control and chemical interrogation research program, run by the Office of Scientific Intelligence. The program began in the early 1950s, continuing at least through the late 1960s, and it used United States citizens as its test subjects.[1][2][3] The published evidence indicates that Project MK-ULTRA involved the surreptitious use of many types of drugs, as well as other methods, to manipulate individual mental states and to alter brain function.

Project MK-ULTRA was first brought to wide public attention in 1975 by the U.S. Congress, through investigations by the Church Committee, and by a presidential commission known as the Rockefeller Commission. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MK-ULTRA files destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms’ destruction order.[4]

Although the CIA insists that MK-ULTRA-type experiments have been abandoned, 14-year CIA veteran Victor Marchetti has stated in various interviews that the CIA routinely conducts disinformation campaigns and that CIA mind control research continued. In a 1977 interview, Marchetti specifically called the CIA claim that MK-ULTRA was abandoned a “cover story.”[5][6]

Doesn’t anyone remember the Church hearings? Come on people, the seventies weren’t *that* long ago.

Afghanistan

Obama’s meaningless war

Gates open to sending more troops to Afghanistan

Afghanistan War is not slipping away

Famous last words before Gates goes the way of Rumsfeld?

Science and Nature

Are there specific genes that make us uniquely human?

New Antibodies to HIV found

Arctic warmest in 2,000 years

We’re all mutants, say scientists

Oddball News: Boston Gangsters

Famed Boston gangster Whitey Bulger turned 80 on Thursday.

Whitey Bulger needs his candles blown out

FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive

Where the heck is he, anyway?

Former mob underboss laid to rest

The Two Dons are Dead

Have a Fabulous Friday!!

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A Wrench in the Kennedy Machine

Hillary is 44 is following the labyrinthine maze that is the Caroline Kennedy for Senate campaign in NY and has turned up some very interesting connections.  Like, does anyone know why Charles O’Byrne, Gov. Paterson’s former right hand man, resigned about a week before the November election?

Charles J. OByrne (Source- NY Times)

Charles J. O'Byrne (Source- NY Times)

And who recently paid O’Byrne’s enormous back tax fines and does he have to pay taxes on it, seeing as it’s sorta like income?  (Hint: the Smith branch of the Kennedy family makes an appearance)

Curiouser and curiouser…

Just go read it all.  As Lambert would say, it’s full of “linky goodness”.

One more thing:  Alegre says another possible candidate for Hillary’s seat is Leecia Eve, one of Hillary Clinton’s former advisors on Homeland Security.  She is quite an accomplished woman, seems to have the blessing of party stalwarts like Charles Rangel and she’s African-American. She tried to line up support for a shot at Lieutenant governor of NY in 2006 but was told to take an old cold tater and wait while Paterson was nominated instead.  Hmmm, I wonder if that’s a move that will pay off for her now?

Leecia Eve, center, with supporters David Dinkins (L) and Charles Rangel (R)

Thursday: The Village, SIDS and everything

I’ve been searching for a plot summary of the 2008 election and the four years to come.  What explains the way things have played out?  What are the forces at work?  Who has the true power?  I can say with assurance that if the DNC had gone with Hillary Clinton, the party and the country would have been better off, even if the economy and government were in a shambles.  Instead, we have something that is dead before it begins.

But first, a little diversion.  Back in the day, when certain kinds of high powered workstations were new and groovy, they were also prone to failure within a few weeks after delivery.  The technical support specialist would come on site, open the sucker up, poke around a bit and say, “I hate to tell you this but your elunium pu36 explosive space modulator has SIDS and we’ll have to swap it for a different one.”  Hmmm, I would say, perplexed.  What happened?  The TSS would smile thoughtfully.  “It just left the factory that way.  It has a flaw.  Sometimes it’s one thing, sometimes it’s another.  It happens.  We test them before they leave but we don’t test them long enough to catch everything.  If the unit is going to fail, it usually does it within the first month and it’s probably a major failure.  So, we don’t even bother trying to fix it.  We just replace the whole unit.”

Conflucians, the Obama administration has SIDS.  It is already a failure.  It has a flaw in its design.  The flaw has been there since the beginning but the product was so shiny and new and promised to make our lives so much better that many people overlooked it.  The sucker is version 1 and no one in their right mind buys version 1 unless it comes from Apple.  And even then, you make sure you buy it with your platinum VISA with the extended product purchase warantee and a direct line to some geeky Genius.

The QC test for the Obama administration is the Villagers, that little bastion of political pundits and DC courtiers with the narrow minded collective conscious that is stuck in the fifties.  They are the status quo.  They are the power.  Piss off a Villager and your job is misery for four long years.  The Clintons know that the Villagers never forget.  Their memories are lonnnnnnng.  Their grudges never ending.  They pass judgement on everything: Your marriage, your clothes, your children, your interns, your policies that might cost them a teensy bit more in taxes or anything that might make THEIR lives uncomfortable.  You can’t do anything in DC without the approval of the Villagers.  They control the horizontal and the vertical.  Step out of line and your ass is glass.

Both Hillary and Obama knew that.  But where Hillary was willing to take them on and was actually succeeding, pressing forward inch by inch against the hurricane force gusts of Villager hot air, Obama decided to gain their confidence.  He bravely marched over to the Villager side and adopted all of their conventional wisdom.  Hillary was a monster, women should be seen, not heard, the new FISA law is good, telephone companies were viciously maligned, the Iraq War isn’t nearly as bad as we thought, Michelle will make a great “Mom-in-Chief”.

Obama bowed and dipped and flattered and danced a merry little Pavane.  All was cheery and delightful.  He was the perfect solution to their civil rights dilemma.  Why, he is just like them, except a little darker.

Meanwhile, David Axelrod and David Plouffe fluffed the nation’s nipples in extended foreplay, whispering sweet nothings into our ears about how good it was going to feel when Obama finally won.  There would be multiple orgasms across the nation.  It kept building and building and many waited in breathless anticipation for the next big thing, the new electronic gadget that we all had to have by Christmas time.

Well, we’ve got it.  But it will never work right.  Because in order to get the presidency, Obama had to play the Villager game.  And these people might be stubborn in their foolish consistencies but they aren’t stupid.  They know the creature that Obama is.  He’s b-b-b-bad to the bone.  He’s corrupt as all get out.  They know and he knows that Blago knows where all of the bodies are buried.

Now, Obama can make all kinds of promises and policies and have Jon Favreau insert “hope!” and “Change!” into every speech but Obama knows that if he proposes anything to displease the Villagers even one little bit, he’s going to be slung with a big, stinky albatross called Milorod Blagojevich for the duration of his four long years. And we have seen that Obama is very reluctant to court controversy.  He’s not a fighter.  He’s a “get out of town on the day of a tricky vote” kinda guy.  He will not stand up to the Village because he is afraid of them.  Before he can sign one bill into law, Obama is already a non-functioning unit.

So much for hope and change.

As for Hillary, well, we can’t look back.  We can only look forward.  It’s not a good year for her.  It seems like she’s got enemies everywhere but she actually had only one- sexism.  I’ve tried to figure out what it is that would cause her to lose so spectacularly and nothing else makes sense.  It can’t be arrogance because the powers that be tolerated a surfeit of that from Obama.  It’s not stupidity.  She outshined her opponents.  Ruthlessness was hailed in Obama but condemned in her.  I think we have to acknowledge that sexism is at the root of all evils that befell Hillary this year.  It’s the kind of sexism that emanates from political scions like Ted Kennedy, whose own family had issues with women who were a bit too unorthodox.

The Jezebel wore Scarlet

The Jezebel wore Scarlet

His own sister Rosemary was lobotomized, not for mental retardation, but because she was an angry young women who didn’t fit in with her wealthy social climbing family.  Think about that for a sec.  Women in Kennedy’s family were kept in a convent and parts of their brains were removed because they threatened to ruffle the smooth facade of the Kennedy mysitique.  We shouldn’t forget this.  The Ted Kennedy generation of his family is full of socialites with charitable causes, debutantes and women who married for titles.  Women were  definitely subordinate and objects of affection, or non-consensual sex for the likes of Ted Kennedy’s generation.  This is the man who put all of his lever pulling to work for Obama and to the detriment of Hillary Clinton.  This is his mindset.  It’s sexism.

But she nearly beat the old dudes.  Nearly wrested the power away from them.  Nearly banished the Villagers from court.  If it weren’t for the corruption, the flaw, that lies at the core of Obama’s meteoric rise to fame, she could have pulled it off.  Instead, we have a president who will be frozen in amber by that corruption.  Stray but a little from the edge of a knife and he will be the victim of Villager backlash. And they will be vicious.  Blagojevich will be blackmail that keeps Obama in line for the next four years.  Even if Obama had initially courted them with the intent of defusing them with legislation later, this latest scandal with Blagojevich threatens to make that impossible.  It’s already out there and the ties are there, like faint silvery lines just waiting for the press to do its job and illuminate them.  At its own convenience, of course.

The Obama administration has SIDS.
Update: Kudos to Joseph Cannon for bringing us a little Fitzmas.  He’s done a stellar job following the Blagojevich indictment.  Today, he rewrites The Little Drummer Boy and Oh Come, Oh Come Emanuel!  Deeelightful!

Wednesday: For Sale- Senate Seat, like new, barely used

Kudos to myiq2xu for coming up with that ad copy.

The Governor of Illinois sounds like he’s a bit tetched.  He’s a megalomaniacal, power hungry, corrupt pol in deep, deep denial.  His approval ratings are hovering right down there with George Bush.  And he *knows* he may be recorded when he flat out asks for a quid for his pro quo.   What made him so damn cocky? 

We have learned from years of the Whitewater investigation that where there’s smoke, there isn’t necessarily fire.  It could very well be that Barack Obama had no interactions with his personal Jim McDougal regarding the disposition of his senate seat.  But those of us who witnessed how the primary was stolen from Hillary Clinton already know how corrupt Mr. Obama is.  A man who gets $600,000,000 in campaign contributions, some of them from untraceable pre-paid credit cards and manages to buy superdelegates to flip and whose campaign organization threatens various states to withhold funds from downticket races if their delegates don’t switch sides, has more than enough experience with buying his way to the top. Some stupid Obamaphiles and media types will say that’s just hardball politics and everyone does it.  But when money and favors exchange hands in order to bump someone out of the way and gain you an undeserved advantage is viewed by the skeptical eye of Patrick Fitzgerald, it looks a lot like corruption- and it’s illegal.

Barack Obama is already as corrupt a politician as Rod Blagojevich.  But as to *this* indictment,  this is no failed real estate deal where innocent people are getting caught up in a political vendetta.  This is the selling of a US Senate seat coming on the heals of one of the most brazenly  corrupt primary and general election seasons I have ever seen in my life.  And Patrick Fitzgerald is no Ken Starr but there is a very real possibility that in little more than a month from now, he could be out of work if Barack Obama chooses to replace him.  Now why would he want to do that?

And Rod Blagojevich is a little bid mad, un poco loco en la cabeza, unpredictable and curiously reluctant to step aside during his indictment.  Oh, the things he knows.

So far, the only good that seems to have come out of this is that Jesse Jackson Jr. will probably not be going to the Senate:

Even before Mr. Obama was elected president, Mr. Blagojevich was recorded telling an adviser on Oct. 31 that he was giving greater consideration to one candidate (described only as Senate Candidate 5) after an approach by “an associate” of that candidate who offered to raise $500,000 for Mr. Blagojevich, while another emissary of the Senate hopeful offered to raise $1 million. “We were approached ‘pay to play,’ ” Mr. Blagojevich said on a recording.

But prosecutors, who have made it clear that the investigation is continuing and who issued a plea on Tuesday for people to come forward with information, warned against drawing any conclusions about the true roles of candidates or anyone else in Mr. Blagojevich’s plans. And they emphasized repeatedly that the affidavit made “no allegations against the president-elect whatsoever.”

Several people among the half-dozen whose names have been suggested publicly as Senate possibilities did not respond to requests for interviews. Others, including Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr. and Mr. Jones of the State Senate, who has been one of Mr. Blagojevich’s few allies in Springfield, issued statements expressing shock over the accusations, but they did not answer requests for interviews.

“If these allegations are proved true, I am outraged by the appalling, pay-to-play schemes hatched at the highest levels of our state government,” said Mr. Jackson, who had openly expressed interest in Mr. Obama’s old job and who met with Mr. Blagojevich, whom he is not known to be close to, for 90 minutes on Monday afternoon to discuss the post.

Cry me a river, Mr. Jackson:

I guess we should be grateful that he only offered a bribe and didn’t threaten the state of Illinois with making their legislative agenda dead in the water if the governor didn’t appoint his niece.

Still, what goes around comes around.

Lest we forget

Lest we forget

In other news, DeeDee Myers, President Clinton’s former press secretary, is pretty steaming mad over the Favreau picture:

What’s bugging me is his intention. He isn’t putting his hand on her “chest,” as most of the articles and conversations about the picture have euphemistically referred to it. Rather, his hand—cupped just so—is clearly intended to signal that he’s groping her breast. And why? Surely, not to signal he finds her attractive. Au contraire. It’s an act of deliberate humiliation. Of disempowerment. Of denigration.

And it disgusts me.

Oh, I know: If Hillary can get over it, why can’t I? Her spokesman, Phillipe Reinnes, tried to make light of the incident. “Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon’s obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application,” he told the Washington Post in an E-mail. Obviously, she has no interest in making a federal case out of this particular incident, particularly as both the Clinton and Obama camps work on letting bygones be bygones. She has to pick her battles, and for her this ain’t a hill worth dying on.

But there is a larger issue at stake. At what point does sexist behavior get taken seriously? At what point do people get punished in ways that suggest this kind of behavior, this kind of thinking, is unacceptable? At what point do we insist there will be consequences? Clearly, that didn’t happen during the recent presidential campaign, when Hillary was—as I guess she is now—fair game. The press, the pundits, and the public could say things about her (“She’s a shrew!”) and to her (“Iron my shirt!) that were over-the-top sexist—yet got almost no reaction.

Indeed, Ms. Myers, where do we draw the line and hold people accountable?

KEEP THE PRESSURE ON GROPERGATE!

1. Sign the Pumasphere Petition and Send it to Friends and Family:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Fire-Jon-Favreau/

2. Send an email to the obama transition team, demanding that Favreau resign!

vjarrett@barackobama.com

3. Call Transition Headquarters:

202-540-3000 press option # 2 for a live person

Tuesday: Jon Favreau Must Go

I was very disappointed in James Carville’s remarks last night.  He condoned, even praised the “boys will be boys” attitude of Mr. Favreau and his buddies.  I hope that Carville sits a minute in thought over this one.  Here’s why Favreau must go:

  1. Because Favreau is now the face of the Obama administration.  Everytime Obama opens his mouth, we will see Favreau and his frat boy drinking buddies acting like young macho thugs.  He is writing the words for the President of the United States.  Obama’s credibility is already compromised with us.  Every time Obama pulls out the hopey-changey shtick from now on, we’re going to know that it came from the mouth of Jon Favreau.
  2. Because it means that Obama has no real understanding of the kind of discrimination and behavior that women are subjected to in public, at work or in the family.
  3. Because Hillary Clinton is not the only one disrespected by it.  Jon might as well be groping all of our breasts.
  4. Because the longer it sits out there, the more it looks like Obama is insensitive to the disrespect shown towards women.  We already know this but we think it is time for Obama to get with the program and shows us that he gets it and will not tolerate male adolescent fantasies of degrading powerful women.
  5. Because dismissing groups like The New Agenda as a bunch of female whiners sends a strong message that women’s priorities are inconsequential to Obama.
  6. Because Obama stole the primary with hooligan idiots like Favreau and we want these idiots punished.

Either Obama is going to be the president for all of us or he’s going to be the president for only males.  He’s either going to respect all of us or only the people with Y chromosomes.  We already know that our primary votes didn’t count.  Keeping Favreau on as his head speechwriter is the biggest “Fuck you” I think he could be sending us right now. At this point, the best thing Obama can do is replace him and send Favreau to State where he can undergo some sensitivity training.

We are watching and we’re not going away.

Contact the obama transition team and demand that Jon Favreau resign.

copy and paste these email addresses into your message:

vjarrett@barackobama.com

info@barackobama.com

prowl@pumapac.org

howarddean@dnc.com;
deanh@dnc.org; info@hillpac.com; donna@brazileassociates.com; tflourno@aft.org; germonda@dnc.org; griffinassoc1@aol.com; alicehuffman@sbcglobal.net; hickes@msek.com

CALL THE OBAMA TRANSITION TEAM AND DEMAND THAT JON FAVREAU BE FIRED!

202-540-3000 press option # 2 for a live person.

Item #2: What the Hell was Ted Kennedy implying in this message to Governor David Paterson?

The elder Kennedy (D-Mass.), who’s battling brain cancer, has sent word to Gov. Paterson’s office that Caroline Kennedy, 51, has contacts and family connections that would mean legislation affecting New York would receive prompt attention, family sources said.

Here’s how I interpret this: “Nice attention all your legislation is getting in the Senate.  You wouldn’t want anything to *happen* to it”.  This is extortion plain and simple.  “Hire my niece and you get attention and connections to make your legislative fantasies come true – or else.”

Now that I think back on it, there have been 2 times when the Democratic party has gone off the rails in recent history and in both cases, Ted Kennedy was involved.  The first was in 1980 when he initially refused to back down at the convention when he was far, FAR less entitled to a floor fight than Hillary Clinton.  Actually, Hillary Clinton won the primaries.  This is an easily proven fact.  She was denied her party’s nomination in large measure by Ted Kennedy.  But in any case, it was Kennedy’s machinations and temper tantrum which led to the creation of the superdelegate system.

But this last child and permanent baby of the Kennedy clan isn’t finished stamping his foot and demanding his way.  Now, he’s insisting his niece, who has never expressed an interest in national politics before, jump ahead of several more deserving women.  And it sounds very much like he’s willing to use extortion to get his way.  No Caroline, no attention to your legislative agenda.  Niiiiicce.

If you can’t say something nice about someone, say nothing at all but it is past  time for Ted Kennedy to retire.

Let Governor Paterson know you want an experienced politician who has earned her right to be Hillary’s replacement.

To Write To The Governor:
David A. Paterson
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

518-474-8390

To Email The Governor:
Click here to email the Governor.

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS.
Responses may be sent via the U.S. Mail.

For Information on Legislation:
Please access the New York State Legislative
Session Information page at
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All Roads Lead to Ted

Geraldine Ferraro wrote an Op/Ed piece for the NYTimes today about the role of superdelegates that is bound to stir up some controversy. The piece, Got a Problem? Ask the Super, challenges the conventional wisdom about why the superdelegates were created. It was not intended to put an end to Children’s Crusades to win the nomination for George McGovern in 1968, though the superdelegates might have mitigated that situation as well. No, the superdelegates were created to prevent the kind of highjacking that Senator Ted Kennedy tried to pull off in 1980. It tore the party apart and lead to Jimmy Carter’s loss to Ronald Reagan:

After the 1980 presidential election, the Democratic Party was in disarray. That year, Senator Ted Kennedy had challenged President Jimmy Carter for the presidential nomination, and Mr. Kennedy took the fight to the convention floor by proposing 23 amendments to the party platform. When it was all over, members of Congress who were concerned about their re-election walked away from the president and from the party. The rest of the campaign was plagued by infighting.

Ahh, yes, I remember it not so well, but I *do* remember it. It was the first year I was eligible to vote in a presidential election and George Bush had visited Pittsburgh that campaign season. The cold, arrogant and brusque way he handled that appearance told me everything I ever wanted to know about Republicans. First impressions and all that.

But that Democratic convention was no picnic either. There were bad feelings all around capped by Jimmy Carter standing on stage after having clinched the nomination, extending his hand to Ted Kennedy and Ted, just barely mustering the most insincere handshake imaginable. The two sides couldn’t have been further apart after all the bitter feuding and behind the scenes manipulations. The superdelegates were created to provide cooler heads and prevent that from ever happening again.

Now, here we are in the midst of another contentious party battle. And whose name keeps popping up in the news? None other than that uniter himself, Ted Kennedy. He endorsed Obama last month along with Senator Kerry. The bulk of the Kennedy clan piled on, in fact. Obama and his wife, who have been compared to JFK and Jackie, have been re-packaged accordingly. The Massachusetts connection continues with Obama ripping some of Deval Patrick’s campaign scripts although it is not clear that this repackaging comes with Kennedy’s stamp of approval. But for those wondering how Obama could have racked up so much money to start his campaign, Kennedy and Kerry campaign donor lists would not be an unreasonable place to start. So, Kerry says he just gave Obama his lists only recently. So, he might be fibbing a little. (Should be easy enough to prove with a little cross checking of Obama’s early donors and Kerry’s lists from 2004)

But let’s get back to these superdelegates. Kennedy has demonstrated his reluctance to aim for party unity before. Why start now? He has a Kennedy legend to protect. He wasn’t able to get to the Oval Office in his brothers’ footsteps but, by golly, that doesn’t mean he can’t get there through back door means, right? And here we have a virtual tabula rasa, so spotless. No record, no votes to worry about, no accomplishments. Just a fresh, clean palette. Less a Teflon than a tofu candidate upon which the dreamer in all of us can cast our favorite flavor of Democrat. As long as he stays soft and amorphous, he can be the carrier for all of our tastes. Perfect!

And why worry about those pesky superdelegates. Just lean on them and threaten them with primary challengers as Ms. Ferraro intimates and they’ll follow you everywhere. Because, after all, Obama’s got powerful friends with lots of connections in the liberal end of the pool who could make things very trying indeed. “Nice congressional district you got there. You wouldn’t want anything to *happen* to it, eh?”

So what if your activist nutcase supporters show up in droves to the caucuses, overwhelming their civic minded Democratic regulars with their displays of haka-like intensity? So what if you pad your delegate count with low hanging fruit from states your party doesn’t have prayer of winning in November? You *do* want to win, right? Just threaten to tear the party apart and people will be so scared, they’ll give in to you. “Nice chances of winning the Oval Office in November. You wouldn’t want anything to *happen* to it, eh?”

Like in 1980, you mean?