Sunday, February 17, 2008


Despite Chris Matthew's obnoxious badgering of an Obama supporter on his show, "What legislation has he passed? What legislation has he passed!?" Obama has sponsored some essential legislation in his short time in the Senate. Please read below.

Lugar-Obama Nonproliferation Legislation Signed into Law by the President
Thursday, January 11, 2007

WASHINGTON – President Bush today signed the Lugar-Obama proliferation and threat reduction initiative into law.

Authored by U.S. Sens. Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Barack Obama (D-IL), the Lugar-Obama initiative expands U.S. cooperation to destroy conventional weapons. It also expands the State Department's ability to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction.

"The United States should do more to eliminate conventional weapons stockpiles and assist other nations in detecting and interdicting weapons of mass destruction. We believe that these functions are underfunded, fragmented and in need of high-level support," said Lugar, Republican leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

About Barack Obama
United States Senator for Illinois

Barack Obama has dedicated his life to public service as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, and leader in the Illinois state Senate. Obama now continues his fight for working families following his recent election to the United States Senate.

Sworn into office January 4, 2005, Senator Obama serves on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which oversees our nation’s health care, schools, employment, and retirement programs. He is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, which plays a vital role in shaping American policy around the world, including our policy in Iraq. And Senator Obama serves on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which is focused on providing our brave veterans with the care and services they deserve. In 2005 and 2006, he served on the Environment and Public Works Committee, which safeguards our environment and provides funding for our highways.

During his eight years in the Illinois state Senate, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to help working families get ahead by creating programs like the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which in three years provided over $100 million in tax cuts to families across the state. Obama also pushed through an expansion of early childhood education, and after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, Senator Obama enlisted the support of law enforcement officials to draft legislation requiring the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.

Obama is especially proud of being a husband and father of two daughters, Malia, 9 and Sasha, 6. Obama and his wife, Michelle, married in 1992 and live on Chicago’s South Side where they attend Trinity United Church of Christ.

Barack Obama was born on August 4th, 1961, in Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham. Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983, and moved to Chicago in 1985 to work for a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods plagued with crime and high unemployment. In 1991, Obama graduated from Harvard Law School where he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review.

From Media Matters: Olbermann awarded Coulter "Worst Person" "bronze" for "B. Hussein Obama" references, and said, "Then we put her on this network today so she could do it again"

Summary: MSNBC host Keith Olbermann awarded right-wing pundit Ann Coulter the "bronze" in his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for her repeated references to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama as "B. Hussein Obama" and "President Hussein" during an appearance on Fox News' Your World. Referring to an earlier appearance on MSNBC, he also said: "Then we put her on this network today so she could do it again."

On the February 14 edition of MSBNC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann awarded right-wing pundit Ann Coulter the "bronze" in his nightly "Worst Person in the World" segment for her reference to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama as "B. Hussein Obama" five separate times and as "President Hussein" during a February 13 appearance on Fox News' Your World, as Media Matters for America documented. Olbermann then stated, "Then we put her on this network today so she could do it again."

Olbermann named Laura Ingraham the "runner-up" for stating on the February 13 edition of her nationally syndicated radio show that President Bush "welcomed [Rev.] Al Sharpton to the White House. I hope they nailed down all the valuables." Olbermann added, referring to Ingraham: "I know you and Coulter think you're satirists, but you do realize that if you're really not racist, you are enabling racism there."

Olbermann named Fox News Radio's Tom Sullivan, host of The Tom Sullivan Show, the "Worst Person" "winner" for playing a "side-by-side comparison" of an Adolf Hitler speech and an Obama speech on his February 11 broadcast.


From the February 14 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

OLBERMANN: President Bush, sit well back from your TV, please. He's next, but first time for our No. 2 story tonight, Countdown's "Worst Persons in the World."

The bronze to Coultergeist -- went on Fixed News and called Senator Obama, quote, "B. Hussein Obama" five times. The host asked her why she was calling him that, and he mentioned it then a sixth time, then she referred to him as "President Hussein."

Then we put her on this network today so she could do it again. For the record, if you want to try her trick and call her by her first initial and her middle name, it's close. Her middle initial is "H," but she'd only be A. Hart Coulter.

Runner-up, Laura Ingraham. reporting on her radio show that the president had, quote, "welcomed Al Sharpton to the White House. I hope they nailed down all the valuables." And adding, quote, "I can't believe they let him in the front door there at Black History Month." I know you and Coulter think you're satirists, but you do realize that if you're really not racist, you are enabling racism there.

But our winner, Tom Sullivan, who apparently does a show for Fixed Radio. When a caller suggested that Senator Obama's speeches reminded him of the speeches of Adolf Hitler, Sullivan then alternated clips from a Hitler speech and an Obama speech, played them consecutively on national radio. When another caller said it was unacceptable to compare Obama to Hitler, Sullivan said he wasn't, he was just noting, quote, "Adolf Hitler was able to gather a country of people and get them excited about whatever it was that he is talking to them about. He was a very fiery, enigmatic. ... And I asked the guy, I said: 'Are you saying that Obama is like Hitler?' And he said, 'No, it's the speaking style, that's all.' And the speaking style is actually kind of similar."

So, you're not comparing Obama to Hitler, but you are comparing Obama's speaking style to Hitler's speaking style. So, you're insisting you're not comparing them in any way, except when you are comparing them in that way.

Tom Sullivan of Fox Noise Radio, today's "Worst Person in the World."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Phone companies being given right to spy on you

Fearful Democrats cave on constitutional protections

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- If Al Qaeda is fighting us because they hate our freedoms, as President Bush often says, then they're winning the war.
Pretty soon, we won't have any more freedoms for them to hate.
Scratch the Fourth Amendment off the list of freedoms that we thought we had.

Read the Fourth Amendment.

Pressured by a huge lobbying effort by Big Telecom and by fears of being painted as weak on terrorism, the Democratic-controlled Senate has rolled over on your right to privacy, abandoning legislation that would enforce the constitutional requirements of probable cause and due process of law before the phone companies can help the government spy on you by turning over your phone records, emails and other sensitive information.

Instead, the bill now moving toward passage would give the phone companies broad legal immunity when they collect and turn over any information on you that the government says it needs. No warrant needed. No questions asked.

On Tuesday, the Senate, with the backing of 18 Democrats and every Republican, defeated attempts by Sens. Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold to hold the telecom companies accountable for their past illegal conduct.

Sen. Barack Obama voted for your freedom. Sen. John McCain voted against you. Sen. Hillary Clinton didn't vote but is opposed to immunity, a spokesman said.

Immunity for telecoms
The only hope for your freedom to be secure against "unreasonable searches" now rests in the hands of the House, which passed a wiretapping bill that does not give the telecom companies amnesty.

Bush has promised to veto the wiretapping bill if it does not include the telecom amnesty provision, even though he has said the bill is essential to keep America safe.

You might think the veto threat means the president values the telecom companies' profits more than he values your life, but really he values his own skin. Giving immunity for the telecoms means that Bush and his administration will never be held legally accountable for their crimes because the truth will never come out.
The Bush administration and the Republican leadership have lied consistently about the secret domestic spy program that bypasses the special court that was set up in the 1970s in response to the nation's outrage about the government spying on American citizens without a judicial order. They say it's all about listening in when Al Qaeda calls, but the secret program appears to go far beyond that admirable goal.
During the debate on the wiretapping bill, the Republicans said the government wasn't able to save the lives of some American contractors in Iraq because the legal niceties took too long. But the lives were actually lost because the intelligence agencies and the Justice Department bungled the case, not because Congress had tied their hands.

Domestic spy program still murky
It's perfectly legal (under current U.S. law) for the U.S. government to spy on terrorists in Iraq. What the Constitution forbids is unreasonable searches of American citizens inside the United States, which apparently have gone on unfettered for the past seven years.

The U.S. domestic spy program expanded by the Bush administration remains murky. What few details are known are troubling, because they suggest that the government has the ability and the will to collect massive amounts of information about ordinary citizens in real time, with the enthusiastic support of the major telecommunications companies seeking lucrative government contracts and without any check by the courts.

While the administration says the 9/11 attacks made such spying necessary, the White House began expanding its domestic spying program well before September 2001, according to court documents filed by Joseph Nacchio, the former head of Qwest, who claims his refusal to violate the law and turn over private information to the government led to the denial of a big government contract for his company and to his subsequent conviction on insider trading.
The phone companies, including AT&T that did go along with the spying are being sued by privacy advocates. Current law specifically prohibits the phone companies from turning over private information to the government without due process. One judge has already ruled against the phone companies.

In their defense, the phone companies say they were just being patriotic and that anything they did was requested by the Justice Department. But just in case their legal argument fails, the companies have spent millions lobbying to get the law changed retroactively.

The bill now being rushed through a complacent Senate would kill those lawsuits by giving the phone companies blanket immunity for past and future transgressions. No questions asked.

Because the Congress has refused to investigate the secret spying program (even in a secret session), the private lawsuits are the only way the truth about the spying program will ever be known. Giving amnesty to the telecoms effectively gives amnesty to Bush and other officials who ordered the spying.

If spying on Americans is justified, the administration should be forced by Congress or the courts to prove it. Neither the telecoms nor the administration has proven that.

Those who support ripping up the Constitution often say that if you don't have anything to hide, warrantless spying shouldn't bother you.


The same standard should apply to the phone companies. If they don't have anything to hide, then why do they need immunity? Why shouldn't Congress, the courts and the people know the full extent of the spying and its legal justification?

Chalk up another victory for the terrorists, who hate our freedom. So too, apparently, does the U.S. government.
End of Story
Rex Nutting is Washington bureau chief of MarketWatch.


You can help victims of disasters like these tornadoes by making a gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund through your local chapter, by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or online at w

Friday, February 08, 2008


"Triumph Over Tragedy"

We all have built into us the capacities for kindness and creativity and beauty. It's a matter of perspective. As Einstein said, "The single most important decision any of us will ever make is whether or not to believe that the universe is friendly." It's our choice.

AMERICAN TRAGEDIES: Random shootings break out across America. Tornadoes kill 58 in Tennessee...

Some things are beyond human comprehension. What does all this chaos, death and destruction mean? Desperate people take desperate measures. Is this a symptom of America's soul sickness?

BATON ROUGE, La. - A 23-year-old woman killed two fellow students with a .357 revolver in a classroom at a vocational college Friday, then committed suicide, police said.

MADISONVILLE, Ky. -- The five women killed in Saturday's shootings at a Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park thought of their loved ones until the end, the sole survivor said Wednesday in a statement released through police.

KIRKWOOD, Missouri - A man who police say went on a shooting rampage at City Hall in a St. Louis suburb Thursday night had recently lost a lawsuit against the city stemming from disorderly conduct convictions that resulted from his frequent clashes with city officials.

Charles "Cookie" Lee Thornton used two weapons in killing five people and wounding two others at the City Council meeting in Kirkwood, Missouri, police said. The first of the five people killed, Police Sergeant William Biggs, was shot outside the building with a large-caliber revolver and then stripped of his weapon, said Tracy Panus, spokeswoman for the St. Louis County Police Department.

The suspect then carried both guns into the council chamber, where he opened fire at the start of a council session while repeating the phrase, "Shoot the mayor," according to a witness.

Three city officials — Councilwoman Connie Karr, Councilman Mike Lynch and Public Works Director Kenneth Yost — and another police officer, Tom Ballman, were killed. Mayor Mike Swoboda was wounded and remains in critical condition at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in Creve Couer, Missouri A local reporter named Todd Smith was also taken there, but was in stable condition.

LAFAYETTE, Tennessee - President George W. Bush toured tornado-battered parts of the U.S. South on Friday and pledged to help the region rebuild after the worst rampage of twisters in nearly a quarter-century killed 58 people.


You can help victims of disasters like these tornadoes by making a gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund through your local chapter, by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or online at w

Thursday, February 07, 2008


(WARNING from Gary: THIS IS SATIRE. In case some of you are offended by this piece, please understand it is comedy aimed at white racists and it plays on certain fears. It embraces the delicious idea that Barry (Barack) might actually be a Democrat warrior who might strike fear into our enemies. He’s tall, you know. If you know Hunter, this is totally in line and actually a loving portrait of Obama in the context of the kind of shrewd exaggeration that is his stock in trade.

Memo To Hunter S. Thompson
Guest Blog by Gary Markowitz

Hunter, oh Hunter, how dare you not be here for this one?

We need you, man. We need you bad. HUGE wheels are turning but our eyes are too weak to see what sort of Rube Goldberg device they are hooked up to. If this election season had come sooner or if you could’ve held out longer – I know it was almost three years ago but it seems like yesterday to me – you never would have grabbed that gun off the kitchen counter. You’d’ve roared back from the brink, Hunter and soared to new heights… fulminating in robes and a staff and a long white, beard. Yes – a good look for you. Maybe not.

This is going to be the grand-pappy of all elections, Hunter. All elections. First, the Super Bowl last Sunday where a quarterback – a former high-school catcher and sixth-round draft pick named Brady was supposed to go 19–0. And then Super Tuesday will be upon us and the nation will be gripped with a fear similar to that accompanying a Martian landing. News anchors will hemorrhage under the strain and be gurneyed out on-air – never to be seen again. Strong men will run through the streets screaming like girls. And I’m not just talking about West Hollywood.

We are addled. After seven, mind-numbing years of The Boy Emperor we are like Zombies. We’ve been gaslighted, Hunter – gaslighted Zombies. Yes that’s it exactly. I seem to remember something about a war in Iraq and maybe getting our troops out someday but … maybe it was all a dream. I remember lots of khaki but the rest is a blur. It disappeared so slowly that I didn’t notice. It’s like the movie, Hunter, where Charles Boyer slowly drove Ingrid Bergman mad by turning down the gas a little every day and making her think she was going blind.

And if there happens to be, perchance, the occasional Iraq war article in the paper and if we can force ourselves to look at it, the words just bounce harmlessly off the retina or run down the page like mascara in the rain.

Speaking of Rube Goldberg, Hunter, the 24 hr. media have taken your long, plastic hallway - the place where thieves and pimps run free? That cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of journalism, as you called it? Well, it’s undergone a major remodel and they’ve poured a lot of money into it. There’s no way to get your head around it, Hunter and even if you could, it morphs and grows and mutates so quickly that it would only be for a brief moment in time.

I have watched it closely, Hunter, but it beggars human comprehension. I do know this: It seems to involve a series of large tunnels – the insides of which are similar to a funhouse or perhaps those old, indoor rides at Disneyland where you fly around in cars and there is no horizon. Anything that is written or said or done is vacuumed into one end of this contraption which is driven by powerful, diesel engines salvaged from old aircraft carriers. Then it ricochets around, growing in intensity in a series of chambers where the most outrageous or cheesy or humiliating or irritating things select themselves out in the way that sperm cells do. Then it goes into another tunnel where a miracle occurs: every story that comes out of it is equally true! Don’t even try to imagine the technology behind that, Hunter. And even if what comes out is patently false, it doesn’t matter because more bullshit is streaming from it every second so if you’re trying to figure out who said what or what really happened you’ve already missed the next news cycle.

Indeed. It is an alternate, anarchic environment, Hunter, this New World Order of media, and as you say, good men are dying there for no good reason. We are rudderless. The people cry out for a hero but there is none to answer the call. All we have is poor Howie Kurtzman who dutifully picks at and cauterizes a few of the lesser scabs on the cancerous body but is happy as long as he gets to have a Starbucks on his way home.

So it really hurts that you couldn’t've held out, my friend. I know your leg and hip were a mess and what with crutches and the ice building up on the steps of the cabin it must’ve really sucked. But I can’t help but wonder if your ego didn’t get in the way. You were a serious athlete in the day and I realize that mobility – sudden jukes and dangerous shifts in direction – were your bread and butter but couldn’t you have just cut off the damn leg and hired some crazed, Samoan journalism major to push your wheelchair around?

‘Cause get this, Hunter. Despite the Chicken Ranch-ization of the news, something amazing is happening. Reactionary forces are in disarray and fighting each other on the beaches even as they retreat. They are poised to fall like bark off a rotten tree. A wild-eyed senator named McCain who seems to have more than a little Captain Ahab in him is going to be the Republican nominee. Buy heavenly stock in shredders, Hunter because they can’t control him! And if, perchance, he is lucky enough to be elected, there goes their key to the executive washroom of power and the Georgetown pied-a-terre complete with leather boy and I do not mean a recliner.

And if that happens, Hunter, you won’t even need to make an appointment to see Vin Webber or Grover Norquist or Rove or Cheney. And when you do see them, they turn their pockets out and say – “Look, I got nothing… zilch. We’re gonna have to let the big boys handle this but you didn’t hear it from me.’”

And on the other side, Hunter, it’s going to be either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Or the both of them. And if it’s a Hillary/Obama ticket – and I think it will be – we could be looking at sixteen years of peace, love and understanding. Yes. Hillary (ladies first!) then President Obama. A well-tailored but hulking brute of a man destined to be the black Thomas Jefferson who will brook no tomfoolery from the likes of Turd Blossom and his pasty little friends. He will chase them down like animals and make them pick up roadside trash in florescent jumpsuits while Valerie Wilson rides shotgun and children throw slurpies from passing cars.

Of course that could never happen. But it’s sure fun to think about – at least until the hammer drops and thousands of Blackwater commandos are sent out with warrants signed by Chief Justice Roberts to restore order and roam the streets like cockroaches.

*Sigh* Bad craziness.

Remember that steep hill in Vegas you talked about Hunter? The one where if you looked with the right kind of eyes you could almost see the high-water mark – the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back?

Maybe maybe Hunter, just maybe… maybe that wave is coming back the other way.

Gary Markowitz
Malibu Canyon
February 2, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008


NECK AND NECK: Obama wins more states in the breadbasket! Hillary wins New York and California and more.
Delegate count very close.

(CNN) -- Is Super Tuesday the end?

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, it is not the end, but it is more than the end of the beginning. It is perhaps the beginning of the end.

But with only two or three major candidates left in each party, and with more than half of the country voting, surely both races will be decided on February 5.

Maybe. Maybe not.

The race isn't over until somebody gets a majority of delegates, and both parties have rules that make it difficult to get to a majority.

The Democratic rules award delegates proportional to the vote, so if a candidate gets 40 percent of the vote, he or she gets 40 percent of the delegates.

The winner does not take all. The candidate who comes in second will continue to amass delegates. The candidate who comes in first has to win by overwhelming margins in order to get to a majority quickly.

That seems less and less likely. Polls show Barack Obama gaining momentum as Super Tuesday approaches. Crushing victories by either Hillary Clinton or Obama don't seem to be in the cards.

The fact that most delegates are awarded by congressional district makes it less likely that either Clinton or Obama will sweep the field. Each contender will be able to find pockets of strength in different areas of a state.

And keep this in mind: Many states, including California, allow their residents to start mailing in their ballots weeks before primary day.

What happens to the thousands of Californians who voted weeks ago for John Edwards or Rudy Giuliani? Tough luck. They wasted their ballots.

The Republican race still has three major candidates, each of whom has won at least one state.

Mike Huckabee is likely to win delegates in states and districts where evangelical voters predominate on February. A three-way split makes it harder for a Republican candidate to build a majority.

Past campaigns have seen a reverse bandwagon effect. When a candidate gets close to winning the nomination, the bandwagon doesn't speed up. It slows down.

Voters in the late primaries say, "Oh my God! What have we done?''

That happened to Jimmy Carter twice. In 1976, an "ABC" -- Anybody But Carter -- movement led to late-season victories by Jerry Brown. In 1980, after Carter beat Edward Kennedy in the early primaries, Kennedy started winning.

The race got closer and ended up going all the way to the convention.

It happened in the 1976 Republican race. Gerald Ford defeated Ronald Reagan in the early contests. But when it began to look like Ford had the nomination, Reagan started winning the late primaries. The suspense continued right up to the convention.

If Clinton seems to clinch the nomination Tuesday, watch for a "stop Clinton" movement to emerge in the late primaries, led by Democratic officeholders terrified of running with Clinton at the top of the ticket.

The same thing could happen if John McCain is the big Republican winner on Super Tuesday. Some conservative activists have already signaled an interest in trying to stop McCain in the late primaries. His biggest competition is Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.

So even if we get apparent nominees on Super Tuesday, the late primaries offer a setting for the final phase of nominating process: voters' remorse.

By Bill Schneider
CNN Senior Political Analyst