A call we sent out to thousands of Coloradans today:
Dear ProgressNow Action Member,
When I was diagnosed with a chronic disease, I realized first hand how our healthcare system is failing.
I have healthcare coverage through Colorado Indigent Care Program, for which I am grateful. But I have no control over the type of treatment protocol I receive, which means that even if what is prescribed doesn't seem to be working to make me feel well, there is little I can do.
I am in great fear that if I were to be admitted to the hospital, without adequate medical coverage, I would be responsible for the entire hospital bill.
I know that I am not alone. More than a third of all Coloradans have inadequate health coverage or no coverage at all.
Monday, March 3rd, is Colorado's Healthcare Day of Action. Join me and thousands of our fellow Coloradans as we use this opportunity to urge our elected leaders to take action on healthcare reform and support more affordable, accessible, and accountable healthcare for all Coloradans.
Will you take just a few minutes and tell our elected officials to support affordable, accessible and accountable healthcare for all by clicking on the link below?
We'll hand-deliver your comments to our leaders at the State Capitol early next week.
You can also help by spreading the word. Forward this email to your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors, and ask them to join our call for healthcare reform now. It's up to all of us to make it happen.
Thank you for taking action.
Sincerely, Monica Koziol
P.S. If you can join us at the State Capitol this Monday, click on the following link for more details:
The Association for Women's Self Defense Advancement (AWSDA) will be holding their annual training seminar here in Pueblo in November 2009!! Participants will receive 4 days of intense self defense training and be able to explore an extensive self defense expo. Individuals may also choose to attend the conference and become a certified AWSDA Women's Self Defense Instructor, while networking with leading instructors from around the world.
12-15 hour course offered over three alternating Saturday's: March 1st, 15th & 29th at 12:00 noon to 5:30 p.m., class location @ The Dream Dance Arts Academy, 2334 N. Grand, in Pueblo. The course fee is $49 and includes a "FREE Life Time Return Policy", with completion of the course. Esther Mabry, Instructor, 719-251-5422
Sen. Shawn Mitchell said he was just poking fun at Democrats, not race, when he directed a comment today at Senate President Peter Groff and Sen. Ken Gordon that some lawmakers found insensitive.
Mitchell, a Broomfield Republican who is white, was speaking on a medical malpractice law bill sponsored by Groff, a Denver Democrat and the Senate's first black president.
Groff and Majority Leader Ken Gordon, who is white, were standing near the podium as Mitchell argued in opposition to the bill. At one point, Mitchell mistakenly addressed Gordon as Groff, prompting him to correct himself and say to Groff, "Excuse me, Mr. President. You all look alike to me."
Neither Gordon nor Groff said anything about the comment at the time and the debate continued. At a later, point, Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, who was presiding over the Senate during the debate, referred to Mitchell's comment. Shaffer said that while he didn't think there was anything "racial" about the remark, he nonetheless should have struck down the gavel when it was said and pointed out that it was inappropriate.
"My attempted joke was that a tall black man and a short white man look alike to me because of their liberal politics," Mitchell said to a reporter later in explaining his remark. "If someone tries to turn that into a racial issue, they're just playing cheap campaign games."
Groff said that Mitchell had come and apologized to him...
Does anybody else find this explanation a little, I don't know, weak as hell? Mitchell seems to have "humored" himself through some pretty nasty underlying meaning on this one.
Bottom line? I get it. "Clever" wordplay, but only a little--and tasteless above all.
I just done got my hair did. Well, a haircut anyway, by Lamar Community College's finest! Now I am making a list of things not to forget. Then pretty soon I will go back to looking in my closet and shaking my head sadly....
Anyway, if you see me, pop over and say Hi!
This is what I look like -- in black and white.
(and minus 45 years.)
In color, and these days, I have bright blue hair. Yeah, you've seen me around....
We've confirmed from multiple sources that this morning Colorado Senator Shawn Mitchell said to Senate President Peter Groff, who is black, something to the effect of "you people all look the same to me."
We're working on getting the audio of this and additional details, stand by.
Update: Pols has audio, looks like a lame attempt at humor. Still, does kind of make you wonder why this particular joke occurred to him at that particular time...
While perusing the 'Around Colorado' section of this webpage this morning I noticed an article in Colorado Pols regarding the endorsement of a local candidate for Congress by a veterans group I was not familiar with. I actually clicked on the link and read the post and the related 19 comments and was surprised to learn that as an active vet with the VVAW, life time member of the DAV, a 100 percent disabled Vietnam Vet there were two veterans organizations out there with the same initials I'd never even heard of. Not surprising... even in the 'Band of Brothers' some brothers are more equal than others when in comes to their own 'country club' organizations. It seems one of these organizations endorsed a candidate who creditials as a veteran doesn't exist.
It has been my experience that vet's organizations endorse candidates who are veterans themselves, for better or for worse, so imagine my surprise when I went to the endorsed candidate's website to find the statement that both his parents were war protestors...not usually a glowing remark that brings out the VFW, American Legion, of Disabled Veterans of America in force to support someone. The point here is that candidates endorsed by organizations who are not widely known, exclusive, or have a broad and active membership base take a chance on shooting themselves in the foot with their constituency, particularly if, as in the case of the 'Swift Boat Veterans' the foundations of the organization could be viewed self-serving and open to exploitation by opponents in the heat of an election. Some of us are interested in this kind of politics... some of us are REALLY turned off by it.
You can't see my house from here, but it's about two miles upstream and half a mile to the left.
I do not like the idea of a billion gallons of water contaminated with lead, cadmium and Lord alone knows what else whooshing by down here, bringing all the birds and fish it killed upstream as it goes.
I'm weird like that.
The ongoing screw-ups and circular finger-pointings surrounding the situation up in the Leadville mines that makes this toxic overflow a potential threat have been going on since AT LEAST 1995, and maybe longer than that, from what I've read. And you can pretty much put what's actually been DONE about it so far in your eye and never blink.
So a guy named Tom Weins, State Senator for the area, gets the idea to use this new-fangled web thingie to whip up some public outrage and attention, partly by starting a web site: http://www.savethearkansasriver.org/
The plan worked, because the affected government agencies, who seem to have more lead in their butts than Leadville ever THOUGHT of producing, have been shamed into action...maybe. In time? Maybe. We can hope.
But what is bothering me now are the folks I think of as being on MY side of the political spectrum, in favor of saving the Earth and all that, who are all PO'd about Weins' website. Why? Because...he might be getting some political gain out of it.
I'm not 100% sure HOW he's going to gain, since the mayor and some of the Leadville citizens are furious over the fallout from the revelation of the problem. Costing the town and the people there money can't possibly be good for getting future votes, and getting a reputation as a guy who will kicks up a huge fuss instead of working quietly behind the scenes with The System won't make him more liked by the Powers That Be. But maybe that's one of the many things I don't understand about Politics.
Yeah. The guy's a Republican. Some of them HAVE to be right about things SOME of the time, right? Law of averages and all that?
As I said in my comments on Colorado Confidential,
I bet if that Weins guy was a Dem, we'd be pinning a medal on him and treating him to a ticker tape parade for being such a super-duper friend of the environment.
But that's just my opinion. Why not go to the site and read the links and comments (especially the comments!) for yourself?
Maybe even leave one? Help save my favorite backyard river?
U.S. Rep. John Salazar's office said he has been under no pressure in Colorado's 3rd District to a vote on a measure that would update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
"Coloradans have been very supportive of Rep. Salazar for standing in favor of stronger civil liberty protections under FISA, and he believes they deserve their privacy rights to be protected by their member of Congress," said his Washington, D.C., spokesman, Eric Wortman.
Salazar's district includes most of the Western Slope and southern Colorado.
While Salazar has voted against bringing the FISA legislation to the House floor, the measure has been approved by the Senate with the support of Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., John Salazar's brother...
There's a family tiff you wouldn't mind seeing prolonged. Even Salazar's GOP opponent in CD-3 isn't completely blind:
Delta County Commissioner Wayne Wolf, the Republican planning to run against John Salazar in November, said the issue "highlights why the present Congress deserves such a low approval rating. Americans just want our government to make reasonable efforts to keep our county free of terrorism while protecting our privacy and liberty in this country."
Bush is "not completely innocent," Wolf said, saying the president has been "hard-nosed on pursuing security without regard for protecting people's privacy."
I assume that means Wolf would do exactly what Salazar is doing, then, since the government is already way out on a limb in terms of "reasonable efforts" to protect the country, and he's exactly right that the Bush administration, abetted by congressional Republicans, pursues its agenda "without regard for protecting people's privacy."
With John Salazar feeling no pressure from constituents (or even his Republican opponent) to change his position, does make you wonder what his brother was thinking.
People protesting outside the homes of abortion doctors and others would be limited to one sign each and would have to keep moving under a new bill being considered by state lawmakers.
Sen. Steve Ward, R-Littleton, said Monday that the bill doesn't take a position on the issues being protested and is aimed at keeping the peace in neighborhoods. Ward, who opposes abortion rights, pointed out that the bill is sponsored by lawmakers from both parties on both sides of the abortion issue.
"We have a right to be secure and peaceful in our homes," Ward said.
The bill states that targeted protests outside someone's home are intended to send a message to that homeowner, not the general public, and that protesters have plenty of other ways to get their message across...
Ward said the bill is similar to a measure he introduced while serving as an Arapahoe County commissioner because of complaints about people protesting outside the home of an abortion doctor.
Even though it also required the protests to be more spread out, Ward said residents there have been happy with the ordinance because it prevents protesters from stopping in front of homes and setting up signs on other people's lawns.
"It's the best we can do," said Ward, who said he's been working on the bill since last year.
I have respect for people's right to assemble, but this doesn't seem to infringe upon that any more than loitering laws do. People have a right not to have their neighborhoods and private property besieged, something reasonable people on both sides of this contentious issue can agree on.
The Colorado Supreme Court today reinstated Amendment 41, the controversial measure that limits and bans gifts to government officials.
The court ruling reversed a Denver District Court preliminary injunction which stopped the ban from being implemented.
"Amendment 41 is back in effect," said Nate Strauch, spokesman for Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.
The court ruled the challenge by a group of public officials was premature because the ethics commission meant to enforce the amendment was never put in place.
Strauch said only four of the five commission members have been selected so far.
When the commission is completed, it will start promulgating rules to enforce the amendment and hear cases, he said.
Then, the plaintiffs could file a new lawsuit if they felt the amendment caused them harm, he said...
This is exactly what Amendment 41's opponents didn't want. Sagely Pols weigh in:
What many of 41's opponents fear most is the Ethics Commission prescribed by the law being successfully established, since it is likely to shake out the more alarmist hypothetical cases posed by 41's detractors as baseless and establish operating procedures that administer the law fairly. What the Supremes said essentially is that commission has to be established now, and a actual sanction made before the case is "ripe" to be adjudicated. Amendment 41's defenders at Colorado Common "Curse" Cause insist that the commission will demystify the "scare tactics" used by opponents and show that Amendment 41 can work constitutionally, dramatically changing the discussion.
What, you mean the sky won't fall after all? You mean all that nonsense about kids denied scholarships...is going to be proven just that? That the will of an overwhelming majority of Colorado voters...might actually be followed?
Today's INBOX contains a disheartening new report from "Foreign Policy Magazine," the Center for a New American Security resulting from a survey of more than 3,400 active and retired officers at the highest levels of command about the state of the U.S. military. Their by-line quote is significant:
"They see a force stretched dangerously thin and a country ill-prepared for the next fight."
I find it striking that such a high level of criticism and cycism would come out of this survey population. FP and CNAS turned to the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) for the survey population and polled a very large number to build the data. MOAA is a moderate to conservative leaning group.
The seniority of the survey population largely makes the conclusions indisputable. So much for the health of the greatest military force on the face of the earth.
The wire service this morning is carrying the story that perpetual losing independent Ralph Nader has thrown his hat... or Corvair in the ring for a third go. I wholeheartedly endorse the concept of a multiplicity of parties... but please give us something other than a candidate that can be exploited as a spoiler by one or the other of the two major parties, and has no platform other than opposing what the other parties stand for... which so far isn't much anyhow. Bring back Ross Perot, hell bring back Sam Walton... at least we know where he stood... cheap Chinese products that put Americans out of work and sent jobs over the borders to increase profits. Why can't Nader find a viable candidate to support that a pluralcy could get behind and offer real change rather than running his own tired ass again? Couldn't the money wasted on another losing campaign be better spent on a viable alternative?
The Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute released some state-by-state analysis of President Bush's FY2009 budget proposal today. The proposal is likely dead on arrival, but will still influence Congress when it debates its own budget resolution and spending levels-particularly in the area of discretionary spending.
This isn't just a one-time hiccup, this is seven years of states getting choked by the Administration's mismanagement of the budget. Now, at a particularly vulnerable time, it's continuing to cripple Colorado in areas like health care, child care, job training, environmental protection and more.
The full fact sheet and analysis is available here.
Last year, as you may recall, we expressed discomfort over Colorado Board of Education member Bob Schaffer's vote to force DPS to reconsider its decision to close the Life Skills Center Denver, a charter school plagued by below-average test scores but run by a major donor to Schaffer's US Senate campaign.
Well, it's been a nearly a year, and you might find it interesting to see how Life Skills has done since Schaffer forced through one more chance for his donor buddy to get this education thing right (you know, what charter schools are supposed to do better than the public schools they siphon money from).
District staff members are recommending the board place the seven charter and contract schools that have had academic problems on two-year probation with specific plans for improvement...
Other board members said they are equally frustrated with the lack of progress at Life Skills Center of Denver, an alternative school for chronic dropouts that serves 238 students.
"I've lost my patience with several of those schools," said board member Bruce Hoyt, who would not identify ones he will vote to close.
That was yesterday. Today's papers report that Life Skills was one of the schools placed on "probation," presumably because so many charter schools are failing in Denver that they can't close them all at once. Not to mention that Schaffer would probably overrule them again.
Obviously, in voting to force DPS to remain saddled with this failing program intended to serve Denver's most at-risk students, Schaffer had the best interests of...somebody at heart. Though it doesn't appear to have been Denver's most at-risk students.
ProgressNow Pledges to Hold Benson Accountable Colorado Progressives Express Hope that New CU President "Proves Us Wrong" FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, February 21, 2008 CONTACT: Michael Huttner, Executive Director (303)931-4547
DENVER: After a three week campaign in opposition to oil executive Bruce Benson's nomination to the Presidency of the University of Colorado, ProgressNow congratulated Benson on his approval and expressed hope that the issues raised during his selection process would be addressed.
"Despite the concerns raised by many members of the CU community, Benson will be the next President of the University of Colorado and has tremendous challenges ahead of him," ProgressNow Executive Director Michael Huttner said. "We owe it to Colorado's flagship academic institution to support Benson as he tries to solve CU's conservative-engineered funding crisis. We hope he lives up to the commitments he made to reject his partisan political past and embrace the groundbreaking energy and climate research going on at CU."
Huttner noted that nearly all CU faculty and student associations condemned Benson's nomination, with at least two Regents attempting at the last minute to have the search process restarted and multiple candidates made public.
"We're going to continue to hold Benson accountable to ensure that he puts the interest of the CU community above his personal political agenda," Huttner said.
Huttner concluded, "For the sake of the CU community, we hope that Benson proves us wrong."
ProgressNow thanked the thousands of members who signed petitions at www.boycottbenson.com opposing Benson and sent thousands of messages directly to CU Regents, and promised to keep them informed about Benson's progress in the months ahead.
Two things strike me as important lessons following the GOP coup of elevating Bruce Benson to CU President: that this could have been foreseen in the GOP indignation to removing BB from the Metro State Board, and that this is the price Colorado pays for GOP dominance of any governing board like the CU Regents. The end result remains that Colorado has reduced the CU President from being a distinguished post for an accomplished leader in high education to an opportunistic prize for a marketing driven and profit focused political activist.
Every Congressional District nominating assembly/convention must take a closer look at candidates for CU Regent. Removing the GOP Regents currently representing districts of Democratic members of the US Congress should now receive higher priority. The holder of a CU Regent's seat does matter.
Considering the current season, I am familiar with a phenomenal indoor shooting range in Loveland. With sufficient interest I am ready to organize and evening or Saturday Shooting Liberally event in Northern Colorado.
All that I need is just a handful of ProgressNow responses. Then, I'll kick this off and be ready to place announcements in the Loveland newspaper to generate more interest.
Like the original organizers in Aurora I am encouraged that this is a program to demonstrate that Liberals and Progressives do support the Second Amendment to the US Constitution; without bowing to radical NRA proliferation of cheap handguns and automatic weapons. I've got some ideas to roll into the agenda on environmental protection, water quality, safety and private property rights/respect.
This is also a rare opportunity for "Sportsmen for Progress" to have a get-together. An opportunity to whittle-away at the GOP's perceived exclusivity on gun rights is very valuable. I'll even consider inviting Northern Colorado Democratic political candidates to participate.
Barack Obama's emphatic and broad-based victory in Wisconsin's presidential primary Tuesday demonstrated a widening coalition to his candidacy. He added to his base of support among the well-educated, the young and African-Americans by also prevailing among blue-collar workers in an overwhelmingly white state. His decisive victory in Wisconsin--his ninth straight--also shows strength in a Midwestern industrial state akin to Ohio, where along with Texas the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton is concentrating its resources for an all-out effort to stop Obama's momentum in the next series of primaries on March 4. In Wisconsin's Republican primary, Sen. John McCain cruised to victory and in a speech strongly signaled that he believed Obama would likely be his opponent in the fall. He subtly attacked Obama with a vow "to make sure that Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change."
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to reconsider the reach of the "exclusionary rule," a doctrine that has been controversial since the 1960s because it requires judges to throw out evidence if it was obtained improperly by the police. Several of the court's conservatives, including Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Antonin Scalia, have signaled they would like to rein in this rule. Every day, police officers stop cars or make arrests by relying on information in the files or on the computers of a police department. On occasion, the information is outdated or inaccurate. What should be done, then, if the officer finds drugs or guns in a stopped car, only to learn later that he relied on faulty information when he stopped the vehicle? Judges have been divided on that question. Some have said the evidence is tainted and should be suppressed. Others have said the evidence should be used if the officer was not to blame for the error.
The Supreme Court yesterday declined without comment to hear the American Civil Liberties Union's challenge of the Bush administration's domestic spying program. "We're disappointed," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's National Security Project. "Allowing the executive branch to police itself" is at odds with the Constitution's system of checks and balances. The ACLU brought suit on behalf of journalists, lawyers and others in charging that the administration's warrantless wiretapping that began after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was unconstitutional. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit said that because none of those in the suit could prove they had been monitored, they had no standing to bring the suit.
The Bush administration was scrambling Tuesday to pick up the pieces of its shattered Pakistan policy after the trouncing that the party of President Bush's ally, President Pervez Musharraf, received in parliamentary elections. The United States would still like to see Pakistan's opposition leaders find a way to work with Mr. Musharraf in some kind of power-sharing deal, administration officials said, but that notion appears increasingly unlikely given how poorly Mr. Musharraf's party did in the elections, against strong showings by the Pakistan Peoples Party of the late Benazir Bhutto and the party of Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister. "Musharraf is obviously a poison pill," said Daniel Markey, a former South Asia expert at the State Department under President Bush. "He is fading out. The question is, what happens next?" Senior officials from the State Department, the Pentagon and the White House were privately reaching out to Pakistan's victorious opposition parties, while trying hard "not to look like we're jumping on anybody's bandwagon," a senior Bush administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under normal diplomatic rules.
The University of Colorado regents' expected split vote tonight on whether to appoint oilman Bruce Benson to the president's job would be unconventional, higher-education officials say. The nine-member Board of Regents -- six Republicans and three Democrats -- is scheduled to vote at a meeting tonight in Denver on the controversial finalist's appointment. ProgressNow, a left-leaning activist group that has launched a campaign opposing Benson's candidacy, has sent an e-mail to its members urging them to lobby Paul Schauer and Pat Hayes, the board's two moderate Republican members, to cast "no" votes. If the board's Democrats vote against Benson, it would mark the first time in more than three decades that the regents would be split on a presidential hire. In 1974, CU regents voted 6-3 to appoint Roland Rautenstraus to the system's top job, according to historical accounts. "This may be headed for a party-line vote, and this is unfortunate for CU and all of Colorado," said Regent Michael Carrigan, a Denver Democrat. Claire Van Ummersen, vice president of the Center for Effective Leadership at the American Council on Education, said it's "highly unusual" for governing boards to cast party-line votes when appointing leaders. Rather, board members typically vote based on principles, or how they expect the candidate will meet the school's challenges, she said. Governing boards will often take a straw poll among their members and vote unanimously even if a minority has reservations, to show support for an incoming leader, officials say. "It is difficult for a new president to come into the job having that split on the board," Van Ummersen said. "It's hard enough doing these jobs."
For Democrats, 2008 was supposed to be the year of the Mountain West, when three years of relentless Republican attacks on undocumented immigrants would fuel a backlash among Hispanics that would change the playing field in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, and perhaps alter the landscape of presidential politics for a generation. But the emergence of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) as the likely standard-bearer for the GOP may have scrambled the equation, cooling a potential political revolt among Hispanics and sending Democrats in search of a new playbook. "It completely screws it up," said Charles Black, a senior McCain adviser. "We nominated the one person who will not suffer that backlash." Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), whose Tucson district is heavily Hispanic, said Democrats should change their tack toward Latinos and emphasize the economy, education and health care before even raising the immigration issue. Perhaps Democrats seeking the Latino vote would be best served challenging McCain on the Iraq war, suggested Guillermo Nicacio, Arizona state coordinator for Mi Familia Vota, an effort to encourage Latinos to apply for citizenship, register and vote.
State lawmakers overwhelmingly gave initial approval Tuesday to a tax break central to Gov. Bill Ritter's economic development plan for Colorado. The House Finance Committee lauded the bill to cut taxes the state levies upon equipment that small businesses use as part of their enterprises as a pragmatic, overdue reform. The tax break, sponsored by Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, will raise the threshold for the state's business personal property taxes up to $7,000 over the next half decade. The state taxes small business owners on equipment, such as chairs, desks and other property used in their business, worth more than $2,500. Rep. Joe Rice, D-Littleton, said raising the threshold for the state's business personal property tax could save more than 30,000 small businesses the cost of the tax and the expense of preparing their tax filings.
Abuses by home caregivers revealed in a new state report -- including a woman left dying on a toilet and improper care that resulted in an amputated foot -- are prodding lawmakers to seek more oversight of the industry. Legislation filed this week would require agencies providing nursing, physical therapy and basic caregiving in patients' homes to be licensed by the state. Colorado is one of just five states that do not license home health care providers, and the state health department says the inability to set minimum standards of care and perform inspections is resulting in increasing instances of deficiencies. A not-yet-released report from the Department of Public Health and Environment, obtained by The Denver Post, cites some of the most egregious examples of neglect reported in the past three years:
This morning brings the news that the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, has launched a new website where they are announcing how they are officially preparing to make the case that the rules of the Democratic nomination process should be changed.
Robin Morgan the award-winning poet, novelist, political theorist, feminist
activist, journalist, editor, and best-selling author, has published more
than 20 books, including the now-classic anthologies Sisterhood Is Powerful
(Random House, 1970) and Sisterhood Is Global (Doubleday, l984; updated
edition, The Feminist Press, 1996); with the recent Sisterhood Is Forever:
The Women's Anthology for A New Millennium (Washington Square Press, Simon &
Schuster, 2003). A founder/leader of contemporary US feminism, she has also
been a leader in the international women's movement for 30 years.
GOODBYE TO ALL THAT (#2) by Robin Morgan
"Goodbye To All That" was my (in)famous 1970 essay breaking free from a
politics of accommodation especially affecting women (for an online version,
During my decades in civil-rights, anti-war, and contemporary women's
movements, I've avoided writing another specific "Goodbye . . .". But not
since the suffrage struggle have two communities--the joint
conscience-keepers of this country--been so set in competition, as the
contest between Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) and Barack Obama (BO) unfurls.
Goodbye to the double standard . . .
--Hillary is too ballsy but too womanly, a Snow Maiden who's emotional, and
so much a politician as to be unfit for politics.
--She's "ambitious" but he shows "fire in the belly." (Ever had labor pains?
--When a sexist idiot screamed "Iron my shirt!" at HRC, it was considered
amusing; if a racist idiot shouted "Shine my shoes!" at BO, it would've
inspired hours of airtime and pages of newsprint analyzing our national
--Young political Kennedys--Kathleen, Kerry, and Bobby Jr.--all endorsed
Hillary. Sen. Ted, age 76, endorsed Obama. If the situation were reversed,
pundits would snort "See? Ted and establishment types back her, but the
forward-looking generation backs him." (Personally, I'm unimpressed with
Caroline's longing for the Return of the Fathers. Unlike the rest of the
world, Americans have short memories. Me, I still recall Marilyn Monroe's
suicide, and a dead girl named Mary Jo Kopechne in Chappaquiddick.)
Goodbye to the toxic viciousness . . .
Carl Bernstein's disgust at Hillary's "thick ankles." Nixon-trickster Roger
Stone's new Hillary-hating 527 group, "Citizens United Not Timid" (check the
capital letters). John McCain answering "How do we beat the bitch?" with
"Excellent question!" Would he have dared reply similarly to "How do we beat
the black bastard?" For shame.
Goodbye to the HRC nutcracker with metal spikes between splayed thighs. If
it was a tap-dancing blackface doll, we would be righteously outraged-and
they would not be selling it in airports. Shame.
Goodbye to the most intimately violent T-shirts in election history,
including one with the murderous slogan "If Only Hillary had married O.J.
Goodbye to Comedy Central's "Southpark" featuring a storyline in which
terrorists secrete a bomb in HRC's vagina. I refuse to wrench my brain down
into the gutter far enough to find a race-based comparison. For shame.
Goodbye to the sick, malicious idea that this is funny. This is not "Clinton
hating," not "Hillary hating." This is sociopathic woman-hating. If it were
about Jews, we would recognize it instantly as anti-Semitic propaganda; if
about race, as KKK poison. Hell, PETA would go ballistic if such vomitous
spew were directed at animals. Where is our sense of outrage-as citizens,
Goodbye to the news-coverage target-practice . . .
The women's movement and Media Matters wrung an apology from MSNBC's Chris
Matthews for relentless misogynistic comments (
www.womensmediacenter.com). But what
about NBC's Tim Russert's continual sexist asides and his all-white-male
panels pontificating on race and gender? Or CNN's Tony Harris chuckling at
"the chromosome thing" while interviewing a woman from The White House
Project? And that's not even mentioning Fox News.
Goodbye to pretending the black community is entirely male and all women are
white . . .
Surprise! Women exist in all opinions, pigmentations, ethnicities,
abilities, sexual preferences, and ages--not only African American and
European American but Latina and Native American, Asian American and Pacific
Islanders, Arab American and-hey, every group, because a group wouldn't be
alive if we hadn't given birth to it. A few non-racist countries may
exist--but sexism is everywhere. No matter how many ways a woman breaks free
from other oppressions, she remains a female human being in a world still so
patriarchal that it's the "norm."
So why should all women not be as justly proud of our womanhood and the
centuries, even millennia, of struggle that got us this far, as black
Americans, women and men, are justly proud of their struggles?
Goodbye to a campaign where he has to pass as white (which whites-especially
wealthy ones--adore), while she has to pass as male (which both men and
women demanded of her, and then found unforgivable). If she were black or he
were female we wouldn't be having such problems, and I for one would be in
heaven. But at present such a candidate wouldn't stand a chance-even if she
shared Condi Rice's Bush-defending politics.
I was celebrating the pivotal power at last focused on African American
women deciding on which of two candidates to bestow their vote--until a
number of Hillary-supporting black feminists told me they're being called
So goodbye to conversations about this nation's deepest scar-slavery-which
fail to acknowledge that labor- and sexual-slavery exist today in the US and
elsewhere on this planet, and the majority of those enslaved are women.
Women have endured sex/race/ethnic/religious hatred, rape and battery,
invasion of spirit and flesh, forced pregnancy; being the majority of the
poor, the illiterate, the disabled, of refugees, caregivers, the HIV/AIDS
afflicted, the powerless. We have survived invisibility, ridicule, religious
fundamentalisms, polygamy, teargas, forced feedings, jails, asylums, sati,
purdah, female genital mutilation, witch burnings, stonings, and attempted
gynocides. We have tried reason, persuasion, reassurances, and being
extra-qualified, only to learn it never was about qualifications after all.
We know that at this historical moment women experience the world
differently from men--though not all the same as one another--and can govern
differently, from Elizabeth Tudor to Michele Bachelet and Ellen Johnson
We remember when Shirley Chisholm and Patricia Schroeder ran for this high
office and barely got past the gate-they showed too much passion, raised too
little cash, were joke fodder. Goodbye to all that. (And goodbye to some
feminists so famished for a female president they were even willing to
abandon women's rights in backing Elizabeth Dole.)
Goodbye, goodbye to . . .
--blaming anything Bill Clinton does on Hillary (even including his
womanizing like the Kennedy guys--though unlike them, he got reported on).
Let's get real. If he hadn't campaigned strongly for her everyone would
cluck over what that meant. Enough of Bill and Teddy Kennedy locking their
alpha male horns while Hillary pays for it.
--an era when parts of the populace feel so disaffected by politics that a
comparative lack of knowledge, experience, and skill is actually seen as
attractive, when celebrity-culture mania now infects our elections so that
it's "cooler" to glow with marquee charisma than to understand the vast
global complexities of power on a nuclear, wounded planet.
--the notion that it's fun to elect a handsome, cocky president who feels he
can learn on the job, goodbye to George W. Bush and the destruction brought
by his inexperience, ignorance, and arrogance.
Goodbye to the accusation that HRC acts "entitled" when she's worked
intensely at everything she's done-including being a nose-to-the-grindstone,
first-rate senator from my state.
Goodbye to her being exploited as a Rorschach test by women who reduce her
to a blank screen on which they project their own fears, failures,
Goodbye to the phrase "polarizing figure" to describe someone who embodies
the transitions women have made in the last century and are poised to make
in this one. It was the women's movement that quipped, "We are becoming the
men we wanted to marry." She heard us, and she has.
Goodbye to some women letting history pass by while wringing their hands,
because Hillary isn't as "likeable" as they've been warned they must be, or
because she didn't leave him, couldn't "control" him, kept her family
together and raised a smart, sane daughter. (Think of the blame if Chelsea
had ever acted in the alcoholic, neurotic manner of the Bush twins!) Goodbye
to some women pouting because she didn't bake cookies or she did, sniping
because she learned the rules and then bent or broke them. Grow the hell up.
She is not running for Ms.-perfect-pure-queen-icon of the feminist movement.
She is running to be President of the United States.
Goodbye to the shocking American ignorance of our own and other countries'
history. Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir rose through party ranks and war,
positioning themselves as proto-male leaders. Almost all other female heads
of government so far have been related to men of power-granddaughters,
daughters, sisters, wives, widows: Gandhi, Bandaranike, Bhutto, Aquino,
Chamorro, Wazed, Macapagal-Arroyo, Johnson Sirleaf, Bachelet, Kirchner, and
more. Even in our "land of opportunity," it's mostly the first pathway "in"
permitted to women: Reps. Doris Matsui and Mary Bono and Sala Burton; Sen.
Jean Carnahan . . . far too many to list here.
Goodbye to a misrepresented generational divide . . .
Goodbye to the so-called spontaneous "Obama Girl" flaunting her bikini-clad
ass online-then confessing Oh yeah it wasn't her idea after all, some guys
got her to do it and dictated the clothes, which she said "made me feel like
Goodbye to some young women eager to win male approval by showing they're
not feminists (at least not the kind who actually threaten the status quo),
who can't identify with a woman candidate because she is unafraid of
eeueweeeu yucky power, who fear their boyfriends might look at them funny if
they say something good about her. Goodbye to women of any age again feeling
unworthy, sulking "what if she's not electable?" or "maybe it's
post-feminism and whoooosh we're already free." Let a statement by the
magnificent Harriet Tubman stand as reply. When asked how she managed to
save hundreds of enslaved African Americans via the Underground Railroad
during the Civil War, she replied bitterly, "I could have saved thousands-if
only I'd been able to convince them they were slaves."
I'd rather say a joyful Hello to all the glorious young women who do
identify with Hillary, and all the brave, smart men-of all ethnicities and
any age--who get that it's in their self-interest, too. She's better
qualified. (D'uh.) She's a high-profile candidate with an enormous grasp of
foreign- and domestic-policy nuance, dedication to detail, ability to absorb
staggering insult and personal pain while retaining dignity, resolve, even
humor, and keep on keeping on. (Also, yes, dammit, let's hear it for her
connections and funding and party-building background, too. Obama was
awfully glad about those when she raised dough and campaigned for him to get
to the Senate in the first place.)
I'd rather look forward to what a good president he might make in eight
years, when his vision and spirit are seasoned by practical know-how--and
he'll be all of 54. Meanwhile, goodbye to turning him into a shining knight
when actually he's an astute, smooth pol with speechwriters who've worked
with the Kennedys' own speechwriter-courtier Ted Sorenson. If it's only
about ringing rhetoric, let speechwriters run. But isn't it about getting
the policies we want enacted?
And goodbye to the ageism . . .
How dare anyone unilaterally decide when to turn the page on history,
papering over real inequities and suffering constituencies in the promise of
a feel-good campaign? How dare anyone claim to unify while dividing, or
think that to rouse US youth from torpor it's useful to triage the single
largest demographic in this country's history: the boomer generation--the
majority of which is female?
Older woman are the one group that doesn't grow more conservative with
age-and we are the generation of radicals who said "Well-behaved women
seldom make history." Goodbye to going gently into any goodnight any man
prescribes for us. We are the women who changed the reality of the United
States. And though we never went away, brace yourselves: we're back!
We are the women who brought this country equal credit, better pay,
affirmative action, the concept of a family-focused workplace; the women who
established rape-crisis centers and battery shelters, marital-rape and
date-rape laws; the women who defended lesbian custody rights, who fought
for prison reform, founded the peace and environmental movements; who
insisted that medical research include female anatomy, who inspired men to
become more nurturing parents, who created women's studies and Title IX so
we all could cheer the WNBA stars and Mia Hamm. We are the women who
reclaimed sexuality from violent pornography, who put child care on the
national agenda, who transformed demographics, artistic expression, language
itself. We are the women who forged a worldwide movement. We are the proud
successors of women who, though it took more than 50 years, won us the vote.
We are the women who now comprise the majority of US voters.
Hillary said she found her own voice in New Hampshire. There's not a woman
alive who, if she's honest, doesn't recognize what she means. Then HRC got
drowned out by campaign experts, Bill, and media's obsession with All Things
So listen to her voice:
"For too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even
today, there are those who are trying to silence our words.
"It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned,
or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.
It is a violation of human rights when woman and girls are sold into the
slavery of prostitution. It is a violation of human rights when women are
doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage
dowries are deemed too small. It is a violation of human rights when
individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of
women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war. It is a violation
of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide along women ages 14
to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes. It is a
violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own
families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being
sterilized against their will.
"Women's rights are human rights. Among those rights are the right to speak
freely--and the right to be heard."
That was Hillary Rodham Clinton defying the US State Department and the
Chinese Government at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing (the
full, stunning speech:
"We are, all of us, exploring a world none of us understands. . . .
searching for a more immediate, ecstatic, and penetrating mode of living. .
. . [for the] integrity, the courage to be whole, living in relation to one
another in the full poetry of existence. The struggle for an integrated life
existing in an atmosphere of communal trust and respect is one with
desperately important political and social consequences. . . . Fear is
always with us, but we just don't have time for it."
She ended with the commitment "to practice, with all the skill of our being:
the art of making possible."
And for decades, she's been learning how.
So goodbye to Hillary's second-guessing herself. The real question is deeper
than her re-finding her voice. Can we women find ours? Can we do this for
ourselves? "Our President, Ourselves!"
Time is short and the contest tightening. We need to rise in furious
energy--as we did when courageous Anita Hill was so vilely treated in the US
Senate, as we did when desperate Rosie Jiminez was butchered by an illegal
abortion, as we did and do for women globally who are condemned for trying
to break through. We need to win, this time. Goodbye to supporting HRC
tepidly, with ambivalent caveats and apologetic smiles. Time to volunteer,
make phone calls, send emails, donate money, argue, rally, march, shout,
Me? I support Hillary Rodham because she's the best qualified of all
candidates running in both parties. I support her because her progressive
politics are as strong as her proven ability to withstand what will be a
massive right-wing assault in the general election. I support her because
she's refreshingly thoughtful, and I'm bloodied from eight years of a jolly
"uniter" with ejaculatory politics. I needn't agree with her on every point.
I agree with the 97 percent of her positions that are identical with
Obama's-and the few where hers are both more practical and to the left of
his (like health care). I support her because she's already smashed the
first-lady stereotype and made history as a fine senator, and because I
believe she will continue to make history not only as the first US woman
president, but as a great US president.
As for the "woman thing"?
Me, I'm voting for Hillary not because she's a woman--but because I am.
This Wednesday at 4:00 pm the CU Regents will decide whether to approve right-wing activist and oil executive Bruce Benson as the next President of the University of Colorado. Thousands of ProgressNow members and CU community members have already gone on record against Benson at our website, BoycottBenson.com.
We need you to speak out now in opposition to Benson's divisive nomination by contacting the two swing votes:
1. CU Regent, Patricia Hayes (R-7th CD). Hayes is the Chair Board of Regents. To her credit, Hayes has reserved making a final decision until waiting to hear what people have to say. (Boulder Daily Camera, February 16, 2008)
2. CU Regent Paul Schauer (R-6th CD). Schauer, to his credit, told the media that "he is reserving the right" to make a final decision after hearing what people had to say. (Denver Post, February 1, 2008)
Please POLITELY but firmly let Regent Hayes and Regent Schauer know that you are opposed to Benson and that CU deserves better.
-- Why was there a secretive selection process that led to the sole nomination of Benson? And how did Benson get special exemptions when he doesn't even hold the basic requirements for the position, such as any post graduate degree, academic research, or any experience in higher education administration? (Denver Post, February 1, 2008; Boulder Daily Camera, February 17, 2008)
-- Why would CU want Benson, who has become the most divisive nominee for President in over 30 years when he could use his fundraising more appropriately in other roles such as the CU Foundation or the Alumni Association? (Rocky Mountain News, February 16, 2008)
-- Why hasn't there been an investigation into Benson's threat to finance attack ads against current CU Regent Paul Schauer (R-6th CD), prior to Schauer's vote on Benson's nomination, if Schauer decided to run for reelection? (Rocky Mountain News, January 31, 2008)
-- Why would CU want Benson, who as Chair of the Board of Metro State, verbally disparaged Metro's former President, Sheila Kaplan, violating a legal settlement and costing Metro and Colorado taxpayers an additional $25,000 penalty? (Denver Post, February 17, 2008)
-- How will Benson's role as a founding member of the Trailhead group, a 527 political attack organization that targeted key lawmakers including the Current Chair of the Joint Budget Committee and Governor Ritter, affect appropriations for CU? (Colorado Daily, 2/4/2008; Denver Post, Feb 17, 2008)
-- Why did Benson, an oil executive, refuse to acknowledge the evidence of climate change, claiming there was "good and bad research" on the issue? (Denver Post, February 5, 2008)
-- Why did Benson give $1,000 to the legal defense fund of former U.S. Senator Bob Packwood who was accused of sexual harassment? (Colorado Daily, February 4, 2008)
-- How will the fact that Benson has two DUIs on his record affect to the CU community, which has worked hard under the leadership of Hank Brown to rid itself of the image of an alcohol-ridden campus (Colorado Daily, 2/4/2008)?
# # #
Hearing Details: If you wish to attend or to speak at the public hearing this Wednesday at 4:00pm immediately prior to the vote, it will be held at St. Cajetan's Center on the Auraria Campus in Denver. To speak be sure to sign-in at the very beginning.
Aides to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) accused Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) yesterday of plagiarizing portions of a recent speech and continued to question his vows to reform the campaign finance system as Clinton sought to drive home the idea that her Democratic rival's presidential bid is built on style more than substance. The two-pronged attack came as Clinton attempts to slow Obama's momentum in today's contests in Wisconsin, which neighbors his home state of Illinois, and in Hawaii, where he was born. The race in Wisconsin, where Clinton dug in over the weekend in an effort to break a string of eight straight primary and caucus defeats, has turned increasingly negative. Just days ago, Clinton aides accused Obama of breaking his pledge to accept public financing in place of private donations during the general election. Obama's aides say he did not make a firm commitment to accept public financing if he won the nomination. Yesterday, key Clinton supporters accused Obama of "lifting" a passage of the rousing speech he delivered to a party gathering in Milwaukee on Saturday night from Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick, a longtime friend and supporter. Side-by-side YouTube videos distributed to reporters by the Clinton campaign show Obama repeating, almost verbatim, lines from a speech Patrick gave two years earlier.
Already a troubled system, Iraqi medical care has fallen to the brink of collapse since the U.S.-led invasion five years ago. Scores of doctors have been slain, cancer patients have to hunt down their own drugs -- even IV fluid is in short supply. On Tuesday, a former deputy health minister and the head of the ministry's security force will stand trial, a year after they were accused of letting Shiite death squads use ambulances and government hospitals to carry out kidnappings and killings. Specialists are hard to find. At one point, Baghdad -- a city of more than 5 million -- had no neurosurgeon, said Dr. Hussein al-Hilli, director of the Ibn Albitar Hospital in Baghdad. "This was something that was horrible because we had many head injuries, many spinal injuries," al-Hilli said. He described "big shortages of drugs, big shortages of everything" -- including IV fluid. "This simple thing, we don't have." Like so many areas of life in Iraq, the health care crisis is vast and complex, and there is no quick solution to improve conditions for doctors and patients.
The self-declared nation of Kosovo won recognition from the United States and Europe's major powers Monday, much-needed ballast for its decision to break free of Serbia. The support sparked another night of ear-splitting elation in this capital and a second round of recrimination from the political elite in Belgrade and their powerful allies in Moscow. The differences over Kosovo promised to erode already complicated relations among Russia, the United States and Western powers.
Cuban leader Fidel Castro told compatriots early today that he would not accept another term as president, throwing open the Communist-ruled island's leadership for the first time in nearly 50 years. Castro, 81, and ailing with an undisclosed intestinal disorder, announced in a statement carried on the state-run Granma International newspaper website early today that he was stepping down as head of state. Castro has not been seen in public since late July 2006, when he underwent surgery for an intestinal ailment and handed off power to his brother Raul, now 76. The Cuban National Assembly is due to convene Sunday to reappoint the 31-member Council of State, which Fidel Castro has headed since his band of revolutionaries took power in January 1959. But in a message to Granma, Castro said he "does not aspire to and will not accept, I repeat, I neither want nor will accept, the position of president of the Council of State and commander in chief."
The energy industry has criticized the process. Some state legislators think it has gone too far. But Harris Sherman, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, said the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) has fashioned one of the most "transparent" processes for the creation of new rules for the state's oil and gas industry. "I think there is a certain bit of misinformation out there about (this)," Sherman said. Sherman and Dave Neslin, acting director of the COGCC, spoke to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent about the ongoing rule-making process on Friday. The COGCC issued its initial "pre-draft proposal" of possible oil and gas rules in late November. That proposal came as a result of House bills 1298 and 1341, which the state legislature passed last year. Those two bills expanded the focus of the COGCC to consider public health and wildlife impacts and require use of best management practices to minimize harm from oil and gas development. Some lawmakers say the proposed rules go beyond the legislation's intent. The energy industry has criticized the rules, saying they could create permitting delays of several months and cause uncertainty to their business operations in the state. Sherman said that is not the COGGC's intent.
Legislation to crack down on payday lenders barely passed its first test Monday after an intense hearing pitting the industry against people who said they were ripped off while struggling to make ends meet. The measure -- which would cap annual interest rates for short-term lenders at 45 percent -- passed 6-5 in the House business affairs committee. Two Democrats crossed party lines and voted against the bill, and one Republican flipped to support it after amending the measure from its original 36-percent cap. Bank loans in Colorado are capped at 45 percent annual interest rates. The committee also killed a section of the legislation that required the names of people with unpaid loans to go into a database, making them ineligible for more loans. The measure now goes to the House floor. "The object of this bill is to get people out of the cycle of debt," said its sponsor, Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver. Under the proposal, lenders could charge a maximum finance fee of $60 per year. During a three-and-a-half hour hearing, where people camped out on the floor and lined the walls, payday lending companies testified the measure, if passed, would force them out of business.
The National Republican Congressional Committee could have a harder time this year helping Rep. Marilyn Musgrave hang on to her 4th District House seat due to a serious cash shortage. The NRCC, the House Republicans' fundraising arm, began the 2008 election year with $5.5 million in the bank and debts of $2.9 million. Its Democratic counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, had $35 million on hand and debts of $1.4 million. Two years ago, the NRCC spent $1.8 million on Musgrave's campaign. She won in a three-way race with 46 percent of the vote - the lowest winning percentage in all of the 2006 House races. Although the NRCC will raise a lot more money between now and Election Day, it's doubtful the group will catch up with the DCCC, and it will be hard-pressed to match what it spent on Musgrave's behalf in 2006, said Nathan Gonzales, political editor for the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report. The parties give the most to endangered incumbents who are working hard and raising significant amounts of money, Gonzales said. Candidates running for open seats are second priority, while challengers get the least, he said.
A bill aimed at providing more low-income Colorado residents with birth control options passed the state House on Monday despite objections from House Republicans that the bill will indirectly provide money for abortions. The bill -- Senate Bill 3 -- was sponsored in the House by Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley, and passed by a vote of 41-23 after succeeding in the Senate in late January. It now goes to Gov. Ritter's desk for consideration. Riesberg said the bill will save Colorado money by expanding how the federal government pays for low-income people who receive reproductive health services, including contraception and sterilization, from health-care providers. Riesberg said similar bills in Arkansas, Alabama and Florida have saved those states millions of dollars by keeping some unintended pregnancies from happening, though it is unclear how much money, if any, this bill would save Colorado if signed by Ritter. Colorado pays for half of the services it provides to many such residents. If the bill is signed, it would almost ensure that the federal government pays 90 percent for most such services while also expanding the definition of low-income residents.
I read in this post on Udall's visit to Prowers County recently that Udall came perilously close to weakly, carefully and tentatively suggesting that he might however carefully be saying that he could consider maybe just maybe being for restoring habeas Corpus and... And the Constitution Thing... you know
the separation of powers thing.
Restoring the power of Congress to make laws and have the President enforce and obey them. That would be nice. Without signing statements in which Bush states he will not enforce or obey just passed laws.
Udall's "firm declaration" really put me at ease.
"Udall as well, but he segued off on restoring habeas corpus, which he is for. I think he rather soft-pedaled why it NEEDS to be restored, but he's working that 'pulling together' angle, so I suppose that's why. I'm willing to wait to see what he actually does about it when he gets the chance, so no snarkiness from me on that topic for now."
"In Mark's concluding remarks, he talked about how America got started by over-throwing the rule of a king and instituting the rule of law instead. Given his stated intention of wanting to be able to work together with Those Other Guys, his firm declaration that we have to restore the balance of power between the three branches of government was pretty darn close to a declaration of challenge. Or so it seemed to me."
I will state my opinion very carefully so as to offend no one and without taking a stand that ruffles any feathers even those of the other Party... Not Useful!
The first duty of an opposition party is to oppose. He is either for the Constitution and against the Cheney/Bush crimes against the Constitution or he isn't. No maybe about it. "pretty darn close" don't cut it.
Given that the Cheney/Bush Administration has spent the last seven years trying to suppress the power of Congress and to ignore it, voters should forgiven if we expect Udall to have a far stronger position on restoring the Constitution and the separation of powers. A folksy friendly manner by itself doesn't serve to create change.
Seems to me that the time for "snarkiness" is now,
before the election. Put Udall on the spot. Demand that he push for public hearings on impeachment of Cheney.
Demand that he support immediate follow up on the recently passed "contempt" resolution by the House. (And Yes, I THANK Rep. Udall for voting for it)
Finally our Democratic leaders in Congress stood up to Bush on something.
But it will be revealed as merely pre-election posturing and of little importance IF Udall and Pelosi don't follow up and drag those held in contempt into either Congressional hearings or to jail. And would obeying their oath office and supporting immediate hearings on Cheney's impeachment be too much to ask for.
'pulling together' with the corrupt gang that caused this mess isn't what is needed. It is guts!
Tell your congressman and the House Judiciary Committee to support immediate hearings on impeachment now, before this opportunity to restore the Constitution and the separation of powers is lost forever. We have good contact info on our website.
Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.
This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides.
I suppose all the Clinton campaign official is referring to is a "floor fight", but it's not a good idea for them to be talking about that right now.
Senator John McCain's campaign advisers will ask the White House to deploy President Bush for major Republican fund-raising, but they do not want the president to appear too often at his side, top aides to Mr. McCain said Sunday.
Over 1500 people go on the record to oppose Benson for CU President: Over 250 are CU Students, Faculty and Staff
For Immediate Release Monday, February 18, 2008 Contact: Michael Huttner (303) 931-4547
Denver: ProgressNow today released over 1500 names and comments opposing Bruce Benson nomination to be the CU next President, including over 250 CU faculty, students and staff who have gone on the record in opposition to Benson.
"At the risk of retaliation hundreds of faculty students and staff are going on the record opposing Benson," stated Michael Huttner, Executive Director of ProgressNow, Colorado's largest online advocacy organization. "We need the public to call on the CU Regents to reopen the process and find someone less divisive."
"Benson does not possess the credentials necessary to run the flagship university in the state of Colorado. He holds an undergraduate degree in geology, is from an oil and gas background, questions climate change research, and is not fit to lead CU-Boulder."
"It is appalling that such a partisan, political figure is the SOLE finalist for an institution such as CU, which is striving to regain its high academic reputation after a difficult decade."
"As students, faculty and staff, at the very least, we deserve a CHOICE in candidates, instead of the continued single options we are "offered." Even if he were a great candidate, at least respect the university community enough to provide actual options. Surely there is more than one single person in the entire United States who is potentially capable of running this fine university."
Throughout the process of the Colorado Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform, the two large Denver newspapers have consistently failed to present factual information about the Colorado Health Services Single Payer Proposal -- the one that was most favorably evaluated by the Lewin Group.
Since March of 2007 both The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News have each printed a number of commentaries by 'free-market' health care advocates Brian T. Schwartz and Paul Hsieh, as well as commentaries by Sen. Andy McElhany and ex-Senator Mark Hillman. Only Rep. Claire Levy was granted a commentary in the Post that dissented from the predominant 'free market' view.
At least five commentaries since the Spring of 2007 have been submitted by myself and others about the advantages of the Single Payer proposal, as well as the broken system of third-party multi-payer commercial health insurances. The information has been ignored by the Post and the News. Only out-state papers like the Pueblo Chieftain and some northern Colorado papers, including the Fort Collins Coloradoan and the Northern Colorado Business Report, have consistently printed different perspectives of health care reform, including the Single Payer perspective.
In May 2007 Todd Engdahl, a Post editorial page editor, notified me that he planned to print a commentary/overview that I had written about the Colorado Health Services Single Payer health care reform proposal then being evaluated by the Lewin Group for the 208 Commission for Health Care Reform. Subsequently, Engdahl was one of eight or so reporters and editors 'retired' by the Post. I followed up with Post assistant editorial page editor, Barbara Ellis, who repeatedly assured me the paper would print a piece about the single payer health care proposal. Each time we have sent something to the Post, Ms. Ellis has responded to the effect, "Thank you, we are considering how to present health care reform, and we will be in touch."
In January, before the 208 Commission for Health Care Reform presented their final recommendations to the legislature, a piece was sent to the Post signed by the board president and vice president of Health Care for All Colorado, critiquing the draft recommendations by the 208 Commission, based on a Massachusetts-style mandate for private insurance, and elaborating on advantages of Single Payer insurance. When I followed up with Ms. Ellis in early February, inquiring why no commentary presenting the Single Payer health care proposal has been printed in the past year, I received the following email from her:
"With the governor and his staff about to propose their own health care reform plan, publishing anything by the individual groups involved in submitting proposals to the 208 Commission is taking the story backward instead of forward."
"However, if you or anyone else should have anything to write in response to that plan once it is detailed, feel free to send it to us. I'm sure you can understand that the 208 Commission's report may be rendered moot by the governor's plan, so we're trying to take the story forward. Should the single payer plan still be part of the discussion, we'd value your input."
On February 2, 2008, the Post printed an editorial wrongly stating that, of the five reform proposals, Single Payer universal health care is the 'costliest option,' costing an 'additional $15 billion a year.'
The lack of understanding of the Single Payer proposal by the Post editorial board alone is disturbing, and it is quite understandable why Coloradans who have been so poorly served by local media totally lack understanding about what the 208 Commission has done, and what the proposals would accomplish (or not), let alone the results of the Lewin Group evaluation of the proposals.
Only one proposal evaluated by the Lewin Group, the Colorado Health Services Single Payer Plan, demonstrated the capability of providing comprehensive health coverage for all, and of reducing health care costs. Reported annual health cost savings to the state were $1.4 billion. More than $4 billion additional costs savings were reported for Colorado businesses, families, providers and hospitals. See Lewin Report Single Payer Cost Savings. The $15 billion public funding for Single Payer represents a shift from the current higher rate of private out-of-pocket health care costs (premiums, copays and deductibles, etc) that we all currently pay. In place of these high out-of-pocket private health costs, everyone would pay a progressive tax (the individual and employer tax is the source of $15 billion public funding) that for all except those making over $100,000 a year, would be less than their current out-of-pocket health care expenses.
The Rocky Mountain News exercised their own version of news blackout on the issue of health reform, early on writing an editorial titled "Single Payer Baloney" advising that Single Payer reform be dismissed as unreasonable and unworkable.
After saying he wanted to present another perspective and repeatedly failing to do so, Rocky Business editor Rob Reuteman informed me in a phone conversation that he was "not going to confuse the readers by printing" my commentary about single payer, calling it "pie in the sky," and insisting that he could not understand where the funding would come from.
Is it any wonder that so many are still in the dark about health care reform in Colorado? We still have not had a honest and open exchange of information surrounding health care reform – when are we going to hear the broader perspective? If the local news media refuse to provide a forum, then who will? It is no wonder that the multi-billion-dollar insurance and pharmaceutical industries continue to write health care policy, as they did with Medicare prescription drug reform, granting themselves billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies and inflated profits to enhance their bottom lines. Simultaneously, commercial insurances game the system to increase their profits by delaying, denying and reneging on claims they should be covering.
One can only assume that the corporations that own the media set the standards of news coverage – selectively influencing what information is and is not made available to readers.
Fellow Democrats, I am very, very concerned. I think that, if we don't properly handle our nomination process over the next month, we could lose ALL of the support and good will gained with voters since 2006.
The issue that could undo us involves the Super Delegates to the national convention, and the Cognitive Dissonance they may create.
Before I go further, let me tell you about my background. I was an elected county party secretary from 2000 - 2002. I was a member of both county and state central and executive committees. I also ran for the state senate.
Now, let me tell you all a secret.
To read the rest of the blog entry, click here:
Judaism teaches us that we are all created in the image of God, that respect for the inherent dignity of another person trumps many other mitzvot. Under Jewish law, one’s own words cannot be used against oneself for conviction of a crime; how much the more so information obtained via torture.
The Torah commands us to protect the stranger more times than it tells us what to do about Shabbat or kashrut. This includes the strangers in U.S.-custody being held without trial, being subject to harsh interrogation techniques, and being subject to a technique which even our Attorney General has said he would consider to be torture if he had to undergo it (though he refuses to rule it out).
A bill recently introduced in the Colorado Senate would severely restrict sex education programs in Colorado public schools under the guise of "protecting children from sexually explicit content." Although sex education is never claimed to be the target of Senate Bill 08-125, the overly-broad language of this poorly-written legislation is fraught with "unintended" consequences.
SB 08-125 seeks to prevent children from being exposed to sexually explicit materials already prohibited to minors by federal law. The problem is that the bill categorizes nearly all "displays" of sexual activity, even those intended for medical or reproductive education, as "sexually explicit." The sweeping language in this bill may even prevent medical professionals from using visual aids and life-size models to educate patients about cancer, urinary tract and vaginal infections, and a wide range of other medical conditions that involve the reproductive organs!
This bill would complicate the job of educators trying to comply with Colorado's Comprehensive Sexuality Education Law, which Governor Ritter signed last year. House Bill 07-1292 requires that school districts that offer sexuality education provide courses that are scientifically based and medically accurate. SB 08-125 could prevent basic anatomy lessons from being included.
Take a moment right now to write your Colorado legislator and senator, and tell them not to be fooled by SB08-125:
In addition, SD 08-125 will restrict law-abiding adults' ability to browse for and purchase a range of legally-available products. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that while some restrictions on access to explicit material by children are appropriate, those restrictions cannot "unreasonably hinder" access to such materials by adults. Particularly with regard to online communications, the restrictions mandated by SB 08-125 could prove so onerous that outlets would be forced to stop providing those materials to anyone--clearly violating First Amendment protections.
Tell your legislators the truth about SB 08-125: a nice-sounding idea that goes way too far.
This one of the most insightful analysis of Obama/Clintion campaigns that I have read in a long time. It was published on MyDD.com and was written by Shaun Appleby. The anaylsis concerns not the ideals embodies within various policies as annouciated by the candidates on healthcare, national security, etc. but on the real differences in how the campaigns are being run by the managers Patti Doyle (recently replaced by Maggie Williams) and David Plouffe.
But Shaun Appleby doesn't just do a quicky analysis but gives the historical context for how Senators Obama and Clinton have a common factor- Saul Alinsky. What experiences did both candidates draw from Saul's community organizing methodology?
Senator Clinton wrote her honors thesis at Wellesly College on that topic. Furthermore she wrote:
"I agreed with some of Alinsky's ideas," she explained in "Living History," her 2003 biography, "particularly the value of empowering people to help themselves. But we had a fundamental disagreement. He believed you could change the system only from the outside. I didn't."
This essential difference has been evident in Obama's strategy for his campaign from the outset. Hillary had the support of the Democratic establishment long before her announcement, the support of party insiders, the unions and private sector alliances carefully built and nurtured from the time she began her Senate run in 2000. Her notion of organising relied on these existing structures from 'within the system' to give her an unchallenged advantage in her bid for the nomination. Not only had she acquired this support but it was so ubiquitous as to effectively deny these resources to any potential opponent.
Obama, while he had institutional support from Democrats in Illinois and a modest circle of supporters within the party, had only his message of political inclusion and an idea which traced it's lineage directly back to the 'people powered' politics of Alinsky and Chicago, with a 21st century twist.
Machine versus the people. I am reminded of Colorado politics and the way the campaigns of Ken Salazar and Mike Miles reflected that dichotomy. The "Party" backed Ken Salazar while the people backed Mike Miles. The high point was the fact that the most ardent, grass roots party activists supported Miles in the face of a well monied machine backed candidate.
My question is this: Obama in his most recent speeches talks about change that will be long lasting. The change that he is referring to is institutional change that will be brought about from the people. As new technologies impact the kinds of candidates that will be running because the people are having a greater voice in party politics.
Change, as Obama and Clinton, talk about is movement change. I would not be surprised that one of the authors that both have read is Bill Moyer, social change activist and his strategic "Movement Action Plan".
Change will not be measured by an election but through decades to affect a society.
Democratic leaders allowed House members to leave town for a week-long recess Thursday without ending a dispute over a temporary electronic surveillance law that expires Saturday. President Bush warned that inaction "could reopen dangerous gaps in our intelligence," while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Bush of "fear-mongering." "The president has all the authority he needs to protect the American people," Pelosi said. At issue is the 1978 law that allows the government to monitor the telephone conversations of suspected foreign terrorists without warrants. There is general agreement on how to modernize the law, but House Democratic leaders oppose one provision that would dismiss some 40 lawsuits against telecommunications companies accused of helping the government conduct improper wiretapping after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Arguing that phone companies operated in good faith, Bush and a majority of senators support that provision. Last August, Congress passed a temporary surveillance law that expires at midnight Saturday, with the idea of using the time to craft a permanent fix. Many Democrats opposed the temporary law. The American Civil Liberties Union ran Internet ads depicting Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as sheep who say: "Bush wanted more power to eavesdrop on ordinary Americans, and we just followed along."
Clinton's recent string of eight primary and caucus defeats coincides with an evident shift in momentum in the contest for support from party officials who will attend the convention. The former first lady still holds a sizable lead among the roughly 800 so-called superdelegates, who are chosen outside the primary and caucus system. But Christine Samuels, until this week a Clinton superdelegate from New Jersey, said during the day she is now supporting Obama. Two other superdelegates, Sophie Masloff of Pennsylvania and Nancy Larson of Minnesota, are uncommitted, having dropped their earlier endorsements of Clinton. On Wednesday, David Wilhelm, a longtime ally of the Clintons who had been neutral in the presidential race, endorsed Obama. The comments by Scott and Lewis reflect pressure on Clinton's black supporters, particularly elected officials, not to stand in the way of what is plainly the best chance in history to have an African-American president. "Nobody could see this" in advance, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking black in Congress, said of Obama's emergence. He is officially neutral in the race, but expressed his irritation earlier in the year with remarks that Clinton and her husband the former president had made about civil rights history.
A federal judge ordered the Bush administration yesterday to tell him whether two CIA interrogation videos destroyed in 2005 were relevant to a case before him. The videos showed the CIA using harsh interrogation methods on two terrorism suspects, but the government has not revealed what information was gleaned. The Justice Department has urged judges not to seek information about the tapes. U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts rejected that stance last month when he told the government to reveal what evidence it has destroyed since 2005. The deadline to turn over that information was yesterday, but the Justice Department asked Roberts to postpone the deadline.
Hezbollah's leader threatened Thursday to strike Israel anywhere in the world in retaliation for what he said was its role in assassinating Imad Mughniyah, a Hezbollah commander blamed by the United States and Israel for killing hundreds in bombings, kidnappings and hijackings over a quarter-century. In a video speech broadcast to thousands of mourners in a spare but sprawling tent in southern Beirut, Hasan Nasrallah said that because Israel had struck beyond what he called the "traditional battlefield" of Lebanon and Israel, it risked a borderless war with the Shiite Muslim group. Israel has denied involvement in the car bombing Tuesday that killed the 45-year-old Mughniyah in a tony neighborhood of Damascus, the Syrian capital. "You have crossed the borders," he said in the speech, which was vehement even by Nasrallah's fiery standards. "Zionists, if you want this type of open war, then let it be, and let the whole world hear: We, like all other people, have a sacred right to defend ourselves, and everything we can do to defend ourselves, we will do."
Bruce Benson is not the right man to lead the University of Colorado, organizations representing both CU faculty members and students decided separately Thursday. The Boulder Faculty Assembly voted 40-4 against a motion to support Benson, an oil executive and Republican political activist, as president of the CU system. Three others abstained. Chairman Uriel Nauenberg said in a statement following the closed-door meeting that the faculty group expressed appreciation for Benson's longtime support for the university but said he "lacks in academic credentials." But Nauenberg said the fact that Benson holds only a bachelor's degree -- which he earned from CU in 1964 -- is "not the issue." "The issue is a lack of managerial experience in an academic institution," he said. Nauenberg said the university "prides itself in being able to attract outstanding academic personnel to the campus," but found that Benson doesn't meet the criteria the faculty group would prefer in an institutional leader. "The (Faculty Assembly) would prefer a presidential finalist with substantial executive management experience at a peer academic institution," he said. Benson, a CU donor and one-time gubernatorial candidate, has served as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and the Board of Trustees for the Metropolitan State College of Denver. He is president of Benson Mineral Group.
The war on terror has taken a steep toll on the nation in terms of lives lost and money spent - but it has also forced Congress and the American public to confront the question of whether terror suspects can be tortured or treated harshly in order to get information. The Senate has been fighting over torture for nearly four years and Democrats renewed the battle this week when they added an amendment to an intelligence services bill Wednesday that specifically bans the CIA and other agencies from using waterboarding and other harsh or painful interrogation methods. The bill was narrowly approved on a 51-45 vote. Colorado Sens. Ken Salazar and Wayne Allard divided on the issue - again - with Salazar joining other Democrats in voting for the ban. Allard and most Republicans opposed it, saying U.S. intelligence agencies should not be bound by the same restrictions as the military. Like the White House, Allard has consistently argued that torture is illegal and that U.S. agents do not torture suspects - but he has also fought efforts to ban specific interrogation practices.
A bevy of environmental groups banded together Thursday to file four separate proposed ballot initiatives that would increase taxes on the oil and gas industry in one way or another. All of the measures would funnel the extra money -- estimated by the groups in the range of $200 million to $300 million annually -- into clean energy development, wildlife habitat preservation and mitigation efforts to communities hardest hit by booming growth in the industry. Joe Neuhof, West Slope field director for the Colorado Environmental Coalition, said the filing of multiple proposals was intended to give a menu of options for how to raise severance taxes and where to send that money. "There's quite a range here, from small nudges to a more substantive change on the front and back," he said. "What we're trying to do here is create a larger dialogue about these options. And the thinking is that presenting different options might bring more people to the table."
The pool of contaminated water trapped by the collapse in the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel is an immediate threat to the lives and well-being of Lake County citizens, according to the Lake County Commissioners. "Lake County residents and the citizens that live in the Arkansas Valley Watershed are faced with an imminent threat that cannot be ignored anymore," read Lake County Commissioner Mike Hickman at a special meeting of the Lake County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on Wednesday. With that, the commissioners declared a state of emergency in Lake County. Per the Colorado Disaster Emergency Procedures Handbook for Local Officials, local officials may declare a state of emergency when the needed response to an emergency is at or beyond the normal capability of local government agencies, said Commissioner Hickman. A blockage in the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel has caused more than a billion gallons of water of toxic acid and metal-laden water to form a pool at the headwaters of the Arkansas River, according to Commissioner Hickman.
Behind both sides' rhetoric, the issue of what the government can and can't do is complicated by a quirk in the temporary eavesdropping law adopted by Congress last August. It allows the government to initiate wiretaps for up to one year against a wide range of targets. It also explicitly compels telecommunications companies to comply with the orders, and protects them from civil lawsuits that may be filed against them for doing so.
Kurt Opsahl, from Electronic Freedom Foundation, writes:
Yesterday, in arguing for immunity for the telecom providers, the President said "If these companies are subjected to lawsuits that could cost them billions of dollars, they won't participate. They won't help us. They won't help protect America." We just can't resist pointing out what this means:
This is blackmail. It is unconscionable for the telecoms to condition protecting America on receiving a handout.
This is a flat out lie by Director of National Intelligence Mitch McConnell:
To get a court order, intelligence agents have to prove they have "probable cause" to believe a target is foreign agent or terrorist before being allowed to tap a line inside the United States, even if the communication originates and ends in a foreign country.
It is difficult for intelligence agents piecing together shreds of information to get enough to merit probable cause, he said. By the time they can amass enough information to do that, the phone number they wanted to track might already be obsolete, McConnell said.
FISA allows for upto 72 hours of surveillence without a court order.
Glenn Greenwald states the case clearly that if Democrats in Congress stand up for principals and the Constitution then the mass media will take notice because Democratic leaders in the House are willing to make a understandable case to the American people. Glenn writes:
When Democrats actually engage the debate and make their case unapologetically and with some passion, as they remarkably did yesterday, then journalists can and -- at least to some extent -- will convey the message. It's when they run away and hide and act defensively that their message does not get across.
Glenn notes this from an NPR interview with DNI McConnell:
The issue is not "intelligence gaps." Rather, as McConnell candidly admits, the "real issue" is "liability protection for the private sector."
Furthermore this, as Glenn notes, is what will the real consequences be:
...the Senate is about to enact a bill which has two simple purposes: (1) to render retroactively legal the President's illegal spying program by legalizing its crux: warrantless eavesdropping on Americans, and (2) to stifle forever the sole remaining avenue for finding out what the Government did and obtaining a judicial ruling as to its legality: namely, the lawsuits brought against the co-conspiring telecoms. In other words, the only steps taken by our political class upon exposure by the NYT of this profound lawbreaking is to endorse it all and then suppress any and all efforts to investigate it and subject it to the rule of law.
Isn't this what the hysterical Mr. Bush wants: Immunity from prosecution. Immunity from the laws that he intentional broke before 9/11.
The local television media has been completely AWOL from this most crucial debate this country's political leaders are having.
As far as I can tell from the local haha boys and girls of 2,4,7,9, and 31 there is no FISA debate on allowing a sitting president to spy on us merely on his say so. There is no debate on whether or not to jettison one of the most crucial amendments to the Bill of Rights- the Fourth Amendment on the fact that the government must have probably cause to search your home and possessions.
I don't know if it's because I am a Libra or a Liberal, but I often find myself, well, seeing a little of both sides on controversial issues.
SuperDelegates to the DNC are those lucky folks who get a critical vote of their very own to cast for who they want to see as the nominee. On the one hand, it does seem like those who are Supers because they got elected to office by The People ought to consider what those People are saying as they decide whether to rally behind Obama or Clinton.
On the other hand, the Supers get this special personal vote because they DO something for the Party. Yeah, it seems like a sweet deal to hold a glamorous office with an important title and then rake in the perks as well. But having done my tiny little job in the most minor office of a very low-populated county...it is my well-considered opinion that I wouldn't run for office EVER. Even if I won the Lotto and could afford it! It's way too much hassle for a little fleeting fame and minuscule reward.
So maybe it's fair for Supers to have their special votes.
Now that I've thought about it by writing about it, I guess my opinion is...still in the middle. (Oh, like you're surprised.)
It's kind of like what we expect from those we elect. We want them to fully study the issues they're going to be voting on, not just hang back to see which lobbyists or pollsters shout loudest before making up their minds. So it would be reasonable for the Supers to consider both their own opinions, AND how their districts voted.
What I DON'T think is okay is any hint of collusion or deal-brokering behind the scenes.
So if the Supers will be transparent in presenting their reasoning, and follow the rules as established...then I say let the votes fall as they may!
(PS, I'll give a Genuine Replica No-Prize to whoever can give the real identity of the character in the pic.)
Our thanks to Reps Udall, Salazar, Perlmutter, DeGette
John H Kennedy, Organizer IMPEACH COLORADO COALITION ImpeachCO.com
Here is Florida US Rep. Wexler saying most clearly what needed to be said. Wexler is also the Judiciary Committee member who has collected over 227,000 voter names on his letter to Judiciary Chairman Conyers in which he demands immediate hearings on impeachment of Cheney. Add your vote to his letter at WexlerWantsHearings.com
A developer recently repeated the typical talking points he believes prove that growth pays its way. He didn't anticipate he was addressing someone who's done his homework on costs of community growth.
The Senate voted Wednesday to ban waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods that have been used by the Central Intelligence Agency against high-level terrorism suspects. The vote, following House passage of the measure in December, set up a confrontation with President Bush, who has threatened to veto it. The ban would limit all American interrogators to techniques permitted in the Army Field Manual on Interrogation, which prohibits the use of physical force. It is part of a broader intelligence authorization bill, which cleared the Senate by 51 to 45, with 5 Republicans joining 45 Democrats and 1 independent in favor. The Senate action is the latest chapter in a long-running battle between the Democratic majority in Congress and the Bush administration over the treatment of detainees, an issue certain to play a role in the presidential election campaign. The leading Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain of Arizona, a former prisoner of war who steadfastly opposes the use of torture, voted against the bill. Mr. McCain said the ban would limit the C.I.A.'s ability to gather intelligence. "We always supported allowing the C.I.A. to use extra measures," he said.
After big losses to Sen. Barack Obama in Tuesday's Potomac Primary, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton signaled yesterday that she will challenge her rival more aggressively, launching new television ads and attempting to overcome the Obama campaign's clear organizational advantages. The pummeling she took in Maryland, Virginia and the District raised new questions about her campaign's message and strategy, which Democratic strategists said she must fix if she hopes to slow Obama's growing momentum in time to defeat him in what are now must-win contests in Ohio and Texas on March 4. "I don't believe she can wait to March 4," Democratic strategist Bill Carrick said. "She has to make a stand [in Wisconsin]. There is a national trend taking hold in state after state. The early polls show a big lead and then start to evaporate when the campaign gets engaged. Texas and Ohio are not demographic enclaves immune from the national political trend."
Broad spying powers temporarily approved by Congress in August appear likely to lapse this week after a daylong game of chicken on Wednesday between the White House and House Democrats produced no clear resolution. At a morning appearance in the Oval Office, President Bush pressed the House to adopt quickly a plan that the Senate approved on Tuesday to broaden the government's spying powers and give legal immunity to telephone companies. The plan is essential, Mr. Bush said, because terrorists are planning attacks on American soil "that will make Sept. 11 pale in comparison." House Democratic leaders tried to obtain a 21-day reprieve to allow more time to negotiate before the temporary measure expires on Friday night. But the proposal was defeated in the face of opposition from liberals who are against the surveillance plan and conservatives who favor it. House Democrats now say they may simply let the deadline pass without acting on the Senate plan. Mr. Bush maintained on Wednesday that letting the broadened surveillance powers lapse "would jeopardize the security of our citizens."
The assassination here of a senior Hezbollah militia leader, wanted by the U.S. in attacks over two decades, including the 1983 bombing that killed 241 American troops in Beirut, is likely to further aggravate tensions in Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East. Hezbollah quickly accused Israel of plotting the assassination of Imad Mughniyah, 45, who they said died late Tuesday in a car bomb attack. Israel denied involvement, but the killing could have violent repercussions in Lebanon, where domestic political turmoil and Hezbollah's cross-border hostilities with the Jewish state have inflamed the region for years. The death was a blow to Hezbollah's military wing, and Lebanon and Israel braced for a response from the Shiite militant group. The attack also raised questions about whether Syria might have carried out the killing to improve its relations with the West, or whether its sprawling intelligence network had been penetrated by outside plotters.
The movement against CU's sole finalist for president, Bruce Benson, seems to be intensifying. Earlier this week, 14 state legislators sent a letter to the CU Board of Regents expressing concerns about Benson's partisan past and lack of education. Benson is a multimillionaire oil-and-gas developer and former chair of the state Republican Party. Some oppose his candidacy for reasons such as his founding a political attack group and holding only a bachelor's degree. "Mr. Benson's very public role in partisan politics further exacerbates his lack of academic qualifications and experience," said the letter, signed by five state senators, including CU regent emerita Gail Schwartz and senate president Peter Groff, and nine representatives, including house majority leader Alice Madden. "Unfortunately, Mr. Benson's role in politics includes founding the Trailhead Group, which generated negative, insulting and inaccurate attacks on sitting members of the Colorado General Assembly." The signators said some targets of Trailhead's attacks could have a hard time forming a "working relationship" with Benson.
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee blasted the Pentagon on Wednesday for sending a wounded Fort Carson soldier back to Iraq, questioning whether it had been done to fill depleted ranks. Citing a Denver Post report, Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, asked about an Army captain's e-mail saying that Fort Carson's 3rd Brigade Combat Team had "been having issues reaching deployable strength," and that some "borderline" soldiers were sent overseas. "Are there shortages in deployment strength that are now causing some of these decisions to be made that otherwise would not be?" Levin asked at a committee hearing. It is against Army policy to redeploy soldiers unfit for duty, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren said. "That should not be happening," Geren said. "I can't tell you that it's not, but it certainly should not be happening. "I don't believe we've found any evidence that pressure has caused people to be sent that shouldn't have been," Geren added. Fort Carson officials have said 79 soldiers who had been given medical "no go" status were deployed. At least six have returned to the U.S. Those soldiers received light-duty jobs and continued treatment while in theater, officials said.
Everyone in Rifle knows about Black Sunday. On May 2, 1982, Exxon closed its oil shale operations near Parachute, sending thousands of people into unemployment and shaking the foundations of the town and surrounding communities. A region that had seen a big boom was now in a big bust. Almost 26 years later, commercial oil shale development could return to the area. On Wednesday, the Bureau of Land Management held an open house at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle about its draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS), which has designated about 2 million acres in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming as possible areas for oil shale development. The environmental impact statement was released in late December. Public comment on the PEIS is open until March 20, said David Boyd, a spokesman for the BLM. The Wednesday afternoon meeting drew dozens of people, most of them from local governments and the oil industry. Another meeting was scheduled for later in the day.
A lesbian couple from nearby Englewood are seeking to overturn Colorado's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, in what is thought to be the first challenge to the 2006 ballot initiative that established it. The couple, Kate Burns and Sheila Schroeder, appeared Wednesday before Judge James B. Breese of Denver County Court to face a trespassing charge stemming from a brief sit-in they staged on Sept. 24, when, accompanied by their minister, they were refused a marriage license from the Denver Clerk and Recorder Office. Judge Breese set a trial date of April 14. Earlier this week, Ms. Burns and Ms. Schroeder filed a motion with the court claiming that Amendment 43, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, violated their constitutional right to equal protection. The measure was approved by 55 percent of Colorado voters 15 months ago. "The American system does not allow for the tyranny of the majority," said the couple's lawyer, Mari Newman. "Marriage is a fundamental right, which should be for all Coloradans, not just some Coloradans."
In the current version of Senator Ken Gordon's paper ballot bill, absentee and early voters will not have their votes reported at the precinct level. So, we lose complete precinct reporting results. Grassroots organizers, precinct captains, and political demographers lose the ability to map and to target their work.
Currently we can gather results from the last four elections; not HOW INDIVIDUALS VOTED, but IF THEY VOTED and IF THEY HAVE A PARTY AFFILIATION. That information is highly valued by campaigns of all stripes.
We need to once again beat back the revolt of the clerks, and make them do the job they were elected to do instead of working hard to change their job description and lower the requirements.
Ask Ken Gordon if he'll amend the bill for us in committee. Ask your state legislator to retain complete precinct reporting.
Will Senator Clinton use superdelegates to thwart the will of the Democratic Party voters?
WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton will take the Democratic nomination even if she does not win the popular vote, but persuades enough superdelegates to vote for her at the convention, her campaign advisers say.
I caught this off Talkingpointsmemo.com:
MoveOn Jumps Into Battle Over Super-Delegates By Greg Sargent - February 14, 2008, 11:36AM
In a sign that the spin wars over the super-delegates are starting to heat up in a big way, MoveOn has just jumped into the fight, sending out a mass email asking supporters to sign a petition urging super-delegates to back whoever wins the popular vote.
"The superdelegates are under lots of pressure right now to come out for one candidate or the other," reads the petition from MoveOn, which has endorsed Obama. "We urgently need to encourage them to let the voters decide between Clinton and Obama -- and then to support the will of the people."
MoveOn says that if they get 200,000 signatures this week, they'll publish the petition as an ad in USA Today.
Should not we, who participated in the caucus on Feb. 5, call or meet with Colorado's "superdelegates" to tell them that they should support the most popular Democratic party presidential candidate?
Is this what we are becoming? A nation that is the reality of Kafka's "The Trial" and "The Castle" with the illness Solzhenitsyn's "The Gulag Archipelago"? Where there are a myriad internal "organs" held together by a common lust for power. Where "Interzone" is our nation of high tech and low morals in a mash up that corrupts all denizens of the world.
A 14-day-old infant traveling here for heart surgery died at Honolulu International Airport on Friday after he, his mother and a nurse were detained by immigration officials in a locked room, a lawyer for the boy's family said.
An insane world in which we have allowed ourselves to be stampeded into by fear.
However we can change this paradigm by forcing out those that would want us to live in fear for the rest of our lives.
We do not have to have the jack boot heel on our face forever.
We are better than the fearmongering, limp-dicked, effete George W. Cheney.
We are utterly opposed to Dick W. Bush's anti-life equation and to those that are complicit in blinding us no matter who they are.
In the blogosphere there is much agitation to remove "Bush Dems" from office. Why would Democratic elected officials want to support policies by Mr. Bush that harm America? The usual reasons for supporting policies run the gamut from their being elected in +Republican districts, to being afraid of being branded "weak" on national security by their "advisors", or being in the pocket of corporate America.
This is a heartening example of how people still matter in the political process. As many politics watchers know that Rep. Al Wynn is one of the most corrupt Democratic Representatives in the House. The primary battle was between him and Donna Edwards.
Here's a sign that supporters of Donna Edwards aren't the only ones who think she has a good shot at beating Al Wynn in Maryland's primary Tuesday: Matt Stoller is tracking Wynn's FEC filings, and in one 48 hour period, Wynn received over $100,000, with money coming from:
Foundation Coal, Verizon, Society of Independent Gasoline Markets, Reliant Energy, Allegheny Energy, American Electric Power, American Healthcare Association, BankAmerica Corporation, Cisco Systems, Coventry Health Care, Dell Inc, Dominion PAC, Eastman Kodak, Gaylord Entertainment Co PAC, General Electric PAC, Genesis Healthcare Corporation, Healthcare Distribution Management Assocation, Hogan and Hartson PAC, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Microsoft, Mirant, National Fisheries Institute (FISHPAC), National Association of Broadcasters, NODAK, Norfolk Southern, NORPAC, Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, US Chamber of Commerce
These guys are not giving Al Wynn money because he's a sure thing on Tuesday. They're giving him money because he's been a sure vote for their interests, and Donna Edwards won't be, and they think she can win.
Md. Challenger Edwards Wins Stunning Victory Over Long-Time Incumbent Wynn
Read the rest from Washington Post here. What is mentioned in the story is the fact that such grassroots national organizations like Democracy for America and the DailyKos community had a big helping hand in Donna Edwards win today.
The Boulder City Council is reported to be about to debate the merits of passing an impeachment resolution, per LINK
I sent this letter to the Boulder City Council today.
Subject: Pass a res. asking Congress to hold Hearings
Our group the Impeach Colorado Coalition is calling for Congress to immediately begin holding public hearings on impeachment to consider the evidence for passing articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney. As most any American can tell you Vice President Cheney and President Bush are the most impeachable in US history. They have violated the Constitution and their oath of office more than any previous US president. Clinton damaged the honor of the office of president. Cheney and Bush threaten our Constitution, the Separation Of Powers and our individual rights. I'll just mention Bush's 700 plus signing statements, WMD lies that got American soldiers killed and maimed for nothing in Iraq, the wiretapping and outing of a covert CIA agent for political gain.
We believe that Cheney should be impeached first to offset the claim that if Bush were impeached then Cheney would become president. In fact the only impeachment bills that exist in Congress (H Res 333 & H Res 799) seek to impeach only Cheney. If Cheney is impeached the trail will lead to Bush but it must start with Cheney. Some activists that seek to impeach Bush first know that to suggest impeaching Bush kills the public discussion because so many Americans fear a Cheney presidency (so are those activists possibly trying to stop impeachment).
The Boulder City Council needs to join with US Rep. Wexler of Florida who is a member of the US House Judiciary Committee and who is a proponent of immediately holding impeachment hearings in the Committee. Please see his website at
http://WexlerWantsHearings.com Rep. Wexler will on Friday present a letter signed by many of his House colleagues and over 227,103 Americans asking the Judiciary Committee to begin impeachment hearings. That's 227,103! Impeachment will happen. All of us should go to his website before Friday and sign up in support of hearings. Wexler knows that there is So Much Evidence that just holding hearings will force the Committee to act on impeachment. Currently H Res 333 has 24 House co-sponsors. The same number as during the effort to impeach Nixon. The reasons for impeachment today are important because the Cheney/Bush threat to our way life is far more dangerous than Nixon's.
Our group hopes that the Boulder City Council will pass a resolution asking our Colorado US Representatives to request the House Judiciary Committee to immediately begin holding public hearings on the possible impeachment of Vice President Cheney. Those who took an oath to protect the US Constitution can do no less. Almost every US and Colorado official takes such an oath. Thank you for your courage.
John H Kennedy, Organizer
Impeach Colorado Coalition ImpeachCO.com LINK
As expected, McCain swept the Republican primaries yesterday.
And, as expected, Obama swept the Democratic primaries again yesterday in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. But the results from yesterday could indicate a slight change in the race:
In Tuesday's contests, Mr. Obama showed impressive strength among not only the groups that have backed him in earlier contests -- blacks, younger voters, the affluent and self-described independents -- but also among older voters, women and lower-income people, the core of Mrs. Clinton's support up to now, according to exit polls. Mr. Obama also won majorities of white men and Hispanic voters in Virginia, though not in Maryland.
Obama took 75% of the vote in the District, 64% in Virginia, and 60% in Maryland.
And, per this post on MyDD, Obama now leads in pledged delegates even when you count superdelegates. And he leads in popular vote, even when you count Florida and Michigan (which they don't).
Despite previous indications that Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar would oppose the controversial granting of immunity to telcommunications companies involved in illegal domestic wiretapping after 9/11, today he voted with 17 other Democrats to pass a bill granting it.
The Senate today -- led by Jay Rockefeller, enabled by Harry Reid, and with the active support of at least 12 (and probably more) Democrats, in conjunction with an as-always lockstep GOP caucus -- will vote to legalize warrantless spying on the telephone calls and emails of Americans, and will also provide full retroactive amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, thus forever putting an end to any efforts to investigate and obtain a judicial ruling regarding the Bush administration's years-long illegal spying programs aimed at Americans. The long, hard efforts by AT&T, Verizon and their all-star, bipartisan cast of lobbyists to grease the wheels of the Senate -- led by former Bush 41 Attorney General William Barr and former Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick -- are about to pay huge dividends, as such noble efforts invariably do with our political establishment.
It's worth taking a step back and recalling that all of this is the result of the December, 2005 story by the New York Times which first reported that the Bush administration was illegally spying on Americans for many years without warrants of any kind. All sorts of "controversy" erupted from that story. Democrats everywhere expressed dramatic, unbridled outrage, vowing that this would not stand. James Risen and Eric Lichtblau were awarded Pulitzer Prizes for exposing this serious lawbreaking. All sorts of Committees were formed, papers written, speeches given, conferences convened, and editorials published to denounce this extreme abuse of presidential power. This was illegality and corruption at the highest level of government, on the grandest scale, and of the most transparent strain.
What was the outcome of all of that sturm und drang? What were the consequences for the President for having broken the law so deliberately and transparently? Absolutely nothing. To the contrary, the Senate is about to enact a bill which has two simple purposes: (1) to render retroactively legal the President's illegal spying program by legalizing its crux: warrantless eavesdropping on Americans, and (2) to stifle forever the sole remaining avenue for finding out what the Government did and obtaining a judicial ruling as to its legality: namely, the lawsuits brought against the co-conspiring telecoms. In other words, the only steps taken by our political class upon exposure by the NYT of this profound lawbreaking is to endorse it all and then suppress any and all efforts to investigate it and subject it to the rule of law.
Just wanted to say, I'm very sorry that I dropped my support for Mike Miles in favor of the "more electable" candidate. Of course I'm talking about one term-only Senator Ken "Nighthorse" Salazar. I can sleep easily knowing that the telecoms are immunized from the law. Let's pass a law retroactively giving immunity to anyone who broke any law over the last 8 years. What the hell, make it the last 50 years. I guess it really doesn't matter with this DOJ. Looks like my vote for a democratic senator didn't count. Maybe it'll count next time when I vote for anyone but Nighthorse.
A state lawmaker said Monday that the research underlying Gov. Bill Ritter's Climate Action Plan is flawed.
"We can't lose sight of the fact that it's predicated on junk science," Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said.
Lundberg said it has not been settled scientifically that manmade carbon-dioxide emissions contribute to global warming.
Jim Martin, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and one of the plan's authors, said the carbon dioxide/global warming connection is widely accepted as scientific fact.
"You could have a convention of all the scientists who dispute climate change in a relatively small phone booth," he said.
Now before you get too bent out of shape about Rep. Kevin "Sheep Nuptual" Lundberg, consider the source. And the venue:
Lundberg's comment came at a presentation to a handful of Republican lawmakers sponsored by the Independence Institute, a conservative Golden-based think tank. At the presentation, the group released a report assailing Ritter's plan, arguing that it provides no evidence that promised cost savings will be realized or that it will help the environment.
"There's no serious analysis," said Paul Chesser, who studies climate policies for the John Locke Foundation, a similarly conservative think tank based in North Carolina...
Ritter's climate plan is one of his policy cornerstones, something he hopes will not only help the environment but also create what he has dubbed a "new energy economy." It calls for raising vehicle-emissions standards, promoting renewable energy and increasing recycling.
Pam Kiely, a lobbyist for Environment Colorado, said the arguments put forth in the report don't recognize the serious threat global warming poses to the state.
"It's backwards thinking like this that would lead people to assume a screen door would work on a submarine," she said.
Ms. Kiely is giving our friends at the Double-Eye too much credit. It's really much simpler than that--the Independence Institute and their rightie "thinktank" friends are paid to deny climate science any way they can. Just like they're paid to attack public transportation, urban planning, and education.
They're paid by the people who stand to lose from a growing public embrace of the importance of confronting climate change, solving transportation problems, promoting responsible development, and improving education. That is, oil companies, car dealerships, speculative homebuilders, and public school haters.
Noteworthy how all those interests seem to converge nicely in an attack on climate change science, isn't it? No accident, friends.
Military prosecutors have decided to seek the death penalty for six Guantanamo detainees who are to be charged with central roles in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, government officials who have been briefed on the charges said Sunday. The officials said the charges would be announced at the Pentagon as soon as Monday and were likely to include numerous war-crimes charges against the six men, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the former Qaeda operations chief who has described himself as the mastermind of the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people. A Defense Department official said prosecutors were seeking the death penalty because "if any case warrants it, it would be for individuals who were parties to a crime of that scale." The officials spoke anonymously because no one in the government was authorized to speak about the case. A decision to seek the death penalty would increase the international focus on the case and present new challenges to the troubled military commission system that has yet to begin a single trial. "The system hasn't been able to handle the less-complicated cases it has been presented with to date," said David Glazier, a former Navy officer who is a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
Far from the snows of Maine and its Sunday caucuses, the two Democratic presidential rivals looked toward Tuesday's Potomac primaries in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, where 242 delegates are at stake, warring over who would make the stronger opponent against Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee. At a rally in Alexandria, Va., Illinois Sen. Barack Obama called Clinton a "vast improvement" on the incumbent, but added that it was difficult for Clinton "to break out of the politics of the past 15 years." He pledged to form a "working majority" with independents and Republicans both to win the White House and break the partisan divide that has left Washington in gridlock.
President Bush drew great applause during his State of the Union address last month when he called on Congress to allow U.S. troops to transfer their unused education benefits to family members. "Our military families serve our nation, they inspire our nation, and tonight our nation honors them," he said. A week later, however, when Bush submitted his $3.1 trillion federal budget to Congress, he included no funding for such an initiative, which government analysts calculate could cost $1 billion to $2 billion annually. Bush's proposal was added to the speech late in the process, administration officials said, after the president decided that he wanted to announce a program that would favor military families. That left little time to vet the idea, develop formal cost estimates or gauge how many people might take advantage of such a program. Some administration officials said the proposal surprised them, and they voiced concerns about how to fund it.
A series of bombings targeting Iraqi security forces and U.S.-backed Sunni guards killed as many as 37 people in northern Iraq on Sunday, according to Iraqi officials. The deadliest attack targeted an outdoor market in the predominantly Sunni village of Yathrib, where residents have recently battled the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq. Witnesses said the U.S.-backed guards were monitoring the market, which is less than 10 miles east of the city of Balad, when a suicide car bomber attacked in their vicinity. The late-afternoon explosion was followed by a second car bombing nearby, Iraqi police said. Hospital officials in Balad said 33 people were killed and 41 wounded in the explosions. U.S. military officials put the death toll at 23.
University of Colorado Regent Cindy Carlisle will not vote for Republican Bruce Benson as the next CU president, she said Saturday, despite having previously endorsed the political activist as the sole finalist for the job. Carlisle, a Boulder Democrat and state Senate candidate, initially supported Benson as a candidate in the search to replace outgoing CU President Hank Brown, writing a Jan. 8 letter of support to the presidential search panel and later seconding and supporting a motion to have Benson be the sole finalist. However, Carlisle told the Camera both in a phone interview and through a commentary piece in today's Insight section that she met with Benson last week to say she would not support his bid for the office.
A Fort Carson soldier who says he was in treatment at Cedar Springs Hospital for bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse was released early and ordered to deploy to the Middle East with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. The 28-year-old specialist spent 31 days in Kuwait and was returned to Fort Carson on Dec. 31 after health care professionals in Kuwait concurred that his symptoms met criteria for bipolar disorder and "some paranoia and possible homicidal tendencies," according to e-mails obtained by The Denver Post. The soldier, who asked not to be identified because of the stigma surrounding mental illness and because he will seek employment when he leaves the Army, said he checked himself into Cedar Springs on Nov. 9 or Nov. 10 after he attempted suicide while under the influence of alcohol. He said his treatment was supposed to end Dec. 10 but his commanding officers showed up at the hospital Nov. 29 and ordered him to leave. "I was pulled out to deploy," said the soldier, who has three years in the Army and has served a tour in Iraq. Soldiers from Fort Carson and across the country have complained they were sent to combat zones despite medical conditions that should have prevented their deployment. Late last year, Fort Carson said it sent 79 soldiers who were considered medical "no-gos" overseas. Officials said the soldiers were placed in light-duty jobs and are receiving treatment there. So far, at least six soldiers have been returned.
Thirty years since a U.S. nuclear reactor was last ordered and more than a decade since the last plant opened, the controversial energy source is back on the radars of utilities across the country. Federal regulators received four license applications for seven new nuclear power units in 2007 and expect to receive another 15 applications for 22 units this year. Though none of those units is proposed by Xcel Energy or planned for Colorado, the state's largest utility says it will examine the power source in future resource acquisition filings, which detail how the company will meet consumer electric needs years down the road. Xcel announced plans in December to boost generating capacity at its two nuclear plants in Minnesota. "Nuclear power needs to be a part of the nation's portfolio to meet increasing demand for electricity while reducing carbon emissions," Xcel spokesman Mark Stutz said. "We have no plans at this time in Colorado to pursue additional nuclear power. But we don't discount its use in the future, and we will at least take a look at it in future resource filings." Several factors are driving the renewed interest in nuclear energy.
A local lawmaker is predicting a "bloodbath" under the Capitol dome if Gov. Bill Ritter doesn't listen to county election officials across the state in regard to Colorado's decertified vote machines. During an afternoon briefing with Mesa County commissioners, Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, said a deal to eventually solve the situation is being "orchestrated from the top." County officials need the governor's support for a statewide mail-in ballot election and the temporary recertification of vote machines across the state to conduct an election this November, Penry added. "But if we can't, then we have to do a bloodbath on the floor," Penry said. The meeting, also attended by Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Janice Rich and County Attorney Lyle Dechant, was held a day after House Bill 1155 passed the Legislature. The bill essentially would allow the secretary of state's office to temporarily recertify voting machines. Although the bill awaits the governor's signature, Penry said he took no stock in it, given Secretary of State Mike Coffman's track record.
The Colorado Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform based its recommendations to the legislature on its own 5th Proposal, modeled after Massachusetts reform, with a mandate to purchase private insurance, no controls of insurance costs, and taxpayer subsidies to private insurances.
A cornerstone of the Massachusetts plan as adopted by the 208 Commission is an individual mandate that compels everyone to purchase private health insurance, or suffer tax penalties.
Comprehensive health plans in Massachusetts total $6,000 annually for an individual or $14,000 for a family - prohibitive costs for many. 'Affordable' coverage is often a bare-bones, stripped-down 'minimum benefit' insurance averaging $660/month for a family, and $330 for an individual - still unaffordable to many working families. Stripped-down policies, with high copays and deductibles, do not provide adequate protection against serious health or financial risk.
A 2005 Harvard Medical and Law Schools study estimated that 76 percent of those bankrupted by medical bills had insurance at the onset of the illness that bankrupted them. As noted previously, high-deductible or catastrophic insurances have contributed to a 59 percent rise in consumer out-of-pocket health expenses and a 60 percent rise in uncompensated hospital care over a decade(reported by the American Hospital Association).
The Massachusetts plan does nothing to control insurance costs or eliminate the high overhead costs, including exorbitant CEO salaries and profits, of multi-payer insurances. Therefore, Massachusetts continues to experience annual double-digit premium increases, shifting more people into taxpayer-subsidized private insurances or public programs. It is a recipe for the downward spiral that renders more people under- and uninsured, and shifts increasing costs to taxpayers.
Read 2-3-08 Denver Post article about the Massachusetts mandate - the Massachusetts 'Health Care for All' mentioned in the story co-authored Massachusetts reform, and is actually a group funded by commercial insurance companies.
"Superdelegates" are already playing a major role this year. Barack Obama is actually ahead in the delegate count at this point without counting the pledges of superdelegates. The media, however, are consistently reporting that Hillary Clinton has the delegate lead because they are including all known superdelegate pledges. And superdelegates will play an even larger role as we get closer to the convention and the race remains tight.
So it's no surprise that grassroots activists are taking notice and beginning to speak up about the questions and concerns raised by the impact of superdelegates on the race. There is a new website dedicated to educating the public about superdelegates: SuperDelegates.org. And the news media is increasingly covering this developing issue:
University of Colorado Regent Cindy Carlisle will not vote for Republican Bruce Benson as the next CU president, she said Saturday, despite having previously endorsed the political activist as the sole finalist for the job.
Carlisle, a Boulder Democrat and state Senate candidate, initially supported Benson as a candidate in the search to replace outgoing CU President Hank Brown, writing a Jan. 8 letter of support to the presidential search panel and later seconding and supporting a motion to have Benson be the sole finalist.
However, Carlisle told the Camera both in a phone interview and through a commentary piece in today's Insight section that she met with Benson last week to say she would not support his bid for the office.
"When the CU Presidential Search Committee met with the regents Jan. 30, I was dismayed Bruce Benson was put forward as the single finalist for the job," Carlisle wrote in her letter to the Camera. "Grudgingly, I voted to move the process to the next phase of evalua-tion of Benson by the university community."
She said while having only a single finalist is a "ridiculous" process, it was outcry from the university community about Benson that changed her mind about supporting him.
"I've heard from a wide variety of people who are unhappy with this choice," Carlisle said Saturday afternoon. "He is not the candidate for this job."
The wide variety of people she heard from includes the hundreds of ProgressNow network members who called her office directly, or the thousands who signed the petition opposing Benson at boycottbenson.com. We and everyone else who cares about the University of Colorado's future welcome her change of heart.
Regent Carlisle also provides an interesting bit of previously-undisclosed knowledge about the selection process in in op-ed also published today:
In recent days I learned for the first time that at least two candidates for the CU presidency not only had strong academic credentials but were leaders of large state university systems with more students and more campuses than CU. I have no idea why they were never presented to the board.
Before this process moves forward another inch, we have to know more about the other candidates and under what grounds they were rejected. Join the call to STOP Bruce Benson and start this whole thing over:
We, the people...are nothing more than small time ATM despensers to politicians and to be used for keeping them elected to their positions of keeping the status quo in this society.
Reading Matt Tabbia's "The Chicken Doves" is akin to seeing "The Matrix" for the first time or to be reminded that the reality is not what we believe in.
The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.
Rather than use the vast power they had to end the war, Democrats devoted their energy to making sure that "anti-war activism" became synonymous with "electing Democrats." Capitalizing on America's desire to end the war, they hijacked the anti-war movement itself, filling the ranks of peace groups with loyal party hacks. Anti-war organizations essentially became a political tool for the Democrats — one operated from inside the Beltway and devoted primarily to targeting Republicans.
This immoral "joke" is being played out on the killing fields of Iraq and here in the good old U. S. of A.
Rather then become the machine it is time to disassemble the machine.
The way to kill a man or a nation is to cut off his dreams, the way the whites are taking care of the Indians: killing their dreams, their magic, their familiar spirits. William S. Burroughs
Perhaps Joe Klein has a point about Obama and his followers mantra of CHANGE. Obama speaks to the people and to those who want to remove this horror show that Bush has created.
It is time for the cynical Democratic Party bosses to heed this warning:
CHANGE means that all who a complict in this will be removed.
CHANGE means that the horror show will be disassembled.
This is why the Joe Kleins of the world are now whispering: the "cult" of Obama.
Barack Obama has been projected to be the winner of the Nebraska Democratic presidential caucuses by The Associated Press. With 73 percent counted, Obama has 69 percent of the vote compared to Hillary Clinton's 31 percent.
According to an email just sent out by Richard Viguerie, results from a poll taken at the Conservative Political Action Conference indicate yet again that John McCain has a big challenge to win over the right wing base of his party:
The first question asked of the 1,000 conservative activists was: "In your opinion, is Senator John McCain a true conservative?" Yes: 19.7% No: 59.5% Undecided: 20.8%
The second question was: "If Senator John McCain is the Republican nominee, I will…" "strongly support McCain": 29.9% "I will vote for McCain, but do not expect to work or contribute": 27.9% "I will vote for the Democratic nominee": 3.5% "I will vote for a conservative third party candidate if one is on the ballot in my state": 9.0% "I will not vote": 4.0% "I am undecided at this time--I need to see if Senator McCain reaches out to conservatives in a serious and meaningful way": 25.7%
UPDATE: Case in point, McCain was beaten soundly in Kansas today by Mike Huckabee, with Huckabee well over 60% and taking all of Kansas' delegates. Check out coverage on MyDD.
When a crime occurs it time for law enforcement and the judicial system to supercede any "binding arbitration" employee contract between a multi-billion dollar corporation and a single employee. If a judge rules such that prevents justice from taking place due to said contract then it is time for our representatives to change contract law to be in line with justice and not for a corporation's fiscal and judicial benefit.
District Judge Gray Miller wrote in his order: “Whether it is wise to send this type of claim to arbitration is not a question for this court to decide.”
Read the comments section on the ABC News story "Sex Assault Suit Vs Halliburton Killed". For example:
I'm not shocked in the least. I lived with and almost married a man that works for Halliburton in Wyoming- it is common practice there for the boys to be hung over, still drunk and/or on drugs. If I showed up to the site to bring him lunch, I constantly got leered at and creeped out. I have no doubt that if we weren't on American soil and I was working with these boys I would have gotten raped or assaulted. I'm not the least surprised, and I'm happy to longer be a part of the culture and mentality assocaited with KBR/ Halliburton. Nalliburton can distance themselves all they want, but it's the same.Posted by: kdsky28 Feb-7
I hope the judge DOES NOT sweep this under carpet..it's happens too much over there and there are many more victims including myself. ITT and KBR are the worst criminal contracting companies there are...and THEY DO go by the "Good Old Boy" system...I left a 6 figure job because I couldn't stand being pinched, grabbed and slapped anymore. When I submitted a EO complaint I was told if I didn't like it to leave, I did and it hurt my ability to provide for my kids!! I had to give up a good job due to being sexually assaulted everyday by management...Being over in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar these contracting companies do not have to go by the American legal system, so they can get away with alot, including drugs and alcohol in the workplace and stealing the military's money and equipment. I hope this judge makes the right decision and nails these guys to the wall....more needs to come out about the dirty dealings amongst these contractors because people go there to support the soldiers not the contracting company's sexual needs. These contractors would never dare to pull this kind of crap here in the US!!!Posted by: Angelaa21 Feb-7
Ask you representative for a complete investigation.
Tell them to support the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 that amends the FAA by prohibiting pre-dispute arbitration agreements in all contracts involving employees, consumers or franchisees, and "in disputes arising under any statute intended to protect civil rights or to regulate contracts or transactions between parties of unequal bargaining power."
Thousands of Coloradans are trapped in a cycle of payday loan debt, eagerly facilitated by unscrupulous lenders. Currently, payday loans are made in Colorado at unconscionable interest rates of 400% or more.
Take a moment right now to write your state representative and senator in SUPPORT of HB08-1310, which will restrict payday loans to a maximum 36% annual interest rate.
On Thursday's "Tucker" on MSNBC, David Shuster, who was serving as guest-host of the program, made a comment about Chelsea Clinton and the Clinton campaign that was irresponsible and inappropriate. Shuster, who apologized this morning on MSNBC and will again this evening, has been suspended from appearing on all NBC News broadcasts, other than to make his apology. He has also extended an apology to the Clinton family. NBC News takes these matters seriously, and offers our sincere regrets to the Clintons for the remarks.
What was it that Shuster said that was so contemptible? Hint: likely to be used in the same sentence as the phrase "bitch-slap."
Specifically, while discussing Chelsea Clinton's campaign work with nationally syndicated radio host Bill Press and online columnist and former CNN correspondent Bob Franken on Tucker, Shuster...said to Press: "Bill, there's just something a little bit unseemly to me that Chelsea is out there calling up celebrities saying, 'Support my mom.' And, apparently, she's also calling these super delegates." After Press responded, "Hey, she's working for her mom. What's unseemly about that? During the last campaign, the Bush twins were out working for their dad," Shuster asked: "But doesn't it seem like Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"
There you have it, folks: Jon Caldara and Ann Coulter trade on-air jokes on a Clear Channel station about Hillary Clinton getting "bitch-slapped," all of Colorado rightie trolldom leaps to their defense.
Meanwhile, responsible media outlets like NBC enforce minimal standards. I'm not sure Shuster should have necessarily been dropped off the air for this, just as I've never once said Caldara should be taken off the air for what he said. Shuster's apology, for what it's worth, is far better than anything Caldara has said about his "bitch-slap" comments--Caldara likes the fact that you're offended by him, and he plans to keep offending you every chance he gets.
If anything, it is nice to see that despite our local example of profane media irresponsibility at Clear Channel Colorado, some broadcasters do care what their medium is used for.
Wow, thank goodness for that. Now that we know Dobson has endorsed the sure non-candidate, can we maybe say his influence has waned to the point of irrelevancy?
OK, it's probably good to not go quite that far yet--never underestimate your enemy and all that. But I, for one, am very happy that Dobson waited to endorse a sure loser of a candidate until is was far too late to matter.
Here's the full text of Dobson's statement:
"I am endorsing Gov. Mike Huckabee for President of the United States today. My decision comes in the wake of my statement on Super Tuesday that I could not vote for Sen. John McCain, even if he goes on to win the Republican nomination. His record on the institution of the family and other conservative issues makes his candidacy a matter of conscience and concern for me.
"That left two pro-family candidates whom I could support, but I was reluctant to choose between them. However, the decision by Gov. Mitt Romney to put his campaign "on hold" changes the political landscape. The remaining candidate for whom I could vote is Gov. Huckabee. His unwavering positions on the social issues, notably the institution of marriage, the importance of faith and the sanctity of human life, resonate deeply with me and with many others. That is why I will support Gov. Huckabee through the remaining primaries, and will vote for him in the general election if he should get the nomination. Obviously, the governor faces an uphill struggle, given the delegates already committed to Sen. McCain. Nevertheless, I believe he is our best remaining choice for President of the United States."
We just had the gold-medal award-winning record-breaking GOP-freaking fantastically amazing caucus turn-out of all time (so far).
There are swarms of new bees buzzing! NOW, how do we keep them active and making honey for the election in the fall?
Let's all think of some ideas, and don't worry about whether someone else will think they are the best ideas ever. Just...share them. The thing about ideas is that often they generate MORE ideas. And one that might not totally work where I live (rural and red) could be perfect for Pueblo or awesome for Alamosa.
I'll start. We are going to harvest the emails and PO addresses our county collected at the caucuses, and use those to start a 'known active' mailing list. It was pretty expensive to mail a postcard to every Dem household in our county, but mailing a few hundred postcards before other events? Doable.
An idea I want to promote down here is to start up some committees new people can join. Bake sale contributers? Someone to work a MONTHLY voter registration table? (Maybe combine those two ideas? Register people AND sell them cookies?)
I once read something about how to be happy: you need something to do, something to care about and something to hope for.
The way I see it, we Dems have the power to help a LOT of people get happy!
At a time when a new acronym, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), has entered the American lexicon because of injuries sustained to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the New York Times reports that not only are many combat helmets being given to our troops substandard, and not only was there a lawsuit about it, but the government actually placed an order with the same company for more helmets just days before the suit was settled.
To compound this is the fact that the company officials were well aware of what they were doing.
Jon Stoltz continues:
The issue at the heart of the suit were two former employees of the company who maintained (and never were disproved) that Sioux was not weaving their Kevlar at the mandated 35 by 35 thread per square inch count, but 34 by 34, and making up the weight difference by just applying more hardened resin. I think in anyone's book, that would be considered reason enough to never place a contract with the same company again. But, what's worse, that extra resin makes the helmets more brittle, which doesn't give the necessary head protection to the troops.
Isn't it about time for Americans to demand that we need our loved ones home and let the Iraqi people govern themselves?
We should utterly repudicate Mr. Bush's "The White Man's Burden" obsession.
There are many questions that need to be considered:
--Why was there a secretive selection process that led to the sole nomination of Benson? And how did Benson get special exemptions when he doesn't even hold the basic requirements for the position, such as any post graduate degree, academic research, or any experience in higher education administration (Denver Post, February 1, 2008; Boulder Daily Camera, February 4, 2008)
-- Why hasn't there been an investigation into Benson's threat to finance attack ads against current CU Regent Paul Schauer (R-6th CD), prior to Schauer's vote on Benson's nomination, if Schauer decided to run for reelection? (Rocky Mountain News, January 31, 2008)
--Why, in a memo recently made public, did Benson claim that it was his "public responsibility" to erode tenure, the backbone of higher education? (Inside Higher Ed, February 7, 2008)
--How will Benson's role as a founding member of the Trailhead group, a 527 political attack organization that targeted key lawmakers including the Current Chair of the Joint Budget Committee and Governor Ritter, affect appropriations for CU? (Colorado Daily, 2/4/2008)
--Why did Benson, an oil executive, refuse to acknowledge the evidence of climate change, claiming there was "good and bad research" on the issue? (Denver Post, February 5, 2008)
--Why did Benson give $1,000 to the the legal defense fund of former U.S. Senator Bob Packwood who was accused of sexual harassment? (Colorado Daily, February 4, 2008)
--How will that fact that Benson has two DUIs on his record affect to the CU community, which has worked hard under the leadership of Hank Brown to rid itself of the image of an alcohol-ridden campus (Colorado Daily, 2/4/2008)?
Speak out now in opposition to Benson's nomination:
ColoradoConfidential.com invites journalists, bloggers, and members of the public to please join us tomorrow, Friday, February 8 from 10:00 - 10:30 AM MST for an exclusive 30 minute discussion with Colorado presidential campaign State Directors Tyler Chafee (Clinton) and Ray Rivera (Obama). Chafee and Rivera will field questions on Colorado's importance in this year's caucus sweeps as well as discuss what strategies worked or didn't work for their respective campaigns. Members of the public and media are encouraged to attend by simply logging onto www.coloradoconfidential.com.
President Bush has now laid down his most aggressive challenge to the very constitutional authority of Congress. It is a naked assertion of executive power. The founders would have called it tyrannical. His cards are now all on the table. This is no bluff.
What do our Colorado Congressional Representatives and Senators think?
Why not call them or go down to their local offices and demand that they uphold our right to have a truly representative government rather than a dictatorship under Bush.
The White House yesterday directly joined a debate over the use of simulated drownings to force disclosures by CIA detainees, saying the interrogation technique known as waterboarding was legal and that President Bush could authorize the tactic in the future. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the CIA could use waterboarding with Bush's approval, which would "depend on the circumstances," including whether "an attack might be imminent." Independent legal experts have called the technique torture and said its use is barred by U.S. laws and treaties under all circumstances. In the past, Fratto said, "every enhanced technique that has been used by the CIA for this program was brought to the Department of Justice, and they made a determination that its use under specific circumstances and with safeguards was lawful." Fratto was pressed to comment after CIA Director Michael V. Hayden confirmed on Tuesday that the agency had used waterboarding on three al-Qaeda detainees after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Although waterboarding has been the subject of fierce congressional debate for several years, the CIA had not previously publicly confirmed its use.
A day after Super Tuesday's 22-state battle for 1,681 delegates, updated delegate counts indicated Obama ran roughly even with Clinton in the one-day contest, a strong outcome for him given that she had long been favored to win. With each candidate drawing support from broad constituencies, the 13 contests over the next month may do nothing to resolve the standoff. A total of 817 delegates is at stake in primaries or caucuses from Saturday until March 4. They include big, delegate-rich states such as Ohio and Texas, and smaller, lower-stakes ones such as Maine and Hawaii. But with such a close race between Obama and Clinton, no state at this point is too small to matter. Indeed, both campaigns have been furiously raising money, plotting advertising strategy, moving staff, and refining their messages as they hunker down for a prolonged fight - one that will perhaps carry all the way to the Democratic National Convention this summer in Denver.
By a single vote, Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an expansive fiscal stimulus package championed by Democrats, as partisan rancor engulfed the effort to inject a quick burst of spending into the slowing economy. The package needed 60 votes under Senate rules to move forward but failed 58 to 41, with 8 Republicans joining 48 Democrats and 2 independents in support of it. The majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, switched his vote to no from yes at the last second, a parliamentary move that lets him control the next steps on the bill. The political brinkmanship in the Senate stood in marked contrast to the House, where Republicans and Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi took just a week to reach a deal on an economic stimulus package with President Bush, and just four more days to pass the bill.
A long-term "relationship" being negotiated between the United States and Iraq will include U.S. "security assurances and commitments . . . to deter foreign aggression against Iraq that violates its sovereignty and integrity of its territories, waters, or airspace," according to an agreement signed by President Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last November. Or maybe it won't. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in congressional testimony yesterday that the agreement "will not contain a commitment to defend Iraq." Democrats have said that Bush is seeking to tie the hands of a new administration by negotiating a broad military commitment to Iraq. The agreement, targeted for completion this summer, is designed to replace a U.N. mandate sanctioning the U.S. troop presence that ends Dec. 31.
A bill that would allow district attorney offices to get additional extensions on wiretapping subpoenas created a bit of a firestorm in the Colorado House on Wednesday. Though HB1130 cleared the House on a 43-20 vote, it did so only after several Democratic lawmakers called it an invasion of privacy and an attack on civil liberties. Under the bill, introduced by Rep. Stella Garza-Hicks, R-Colorado Springs, and Senate President Pro Tem Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, district attorneys and the state's attorney general or their deputies would be allowed to apply for unlimited extensions on wiretaps, rather than just one. "We may just have total trust and total faith that maybe it will never be abused, but the problem I have with this is the (bill) could allow the abuse," said Rep. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora. "I don't think anyone needs an unlimited number of extensions here. And even though a judge must still go through and review probable cause, there is nothing measured about moving from a one-time extension to absolutely no limit whatsoever. It's just too extreme."
Three members of Colorado's congressional delegation have submitted legislation that would reverse a federal mineral leasing change that was hidden inside a spending bill last year. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., said legislation that he and Reps. John Salazar, D-Manassa, and Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs, submitted Wednesday will restore the traditional 50-50 split between the federal government and the states from revenue generated from federal mineral leasing activity. "It is my hope that that legislation will receive significant support from both Democrats and Republicans," said Ken Salazar, who is expecting White House opposition to the bill. In December, language was slipped into a $555 billion appropriations bill that reduces the current share of revenues states receive from leases for energy and mineral extraction on federal lands by 2 percent. The reduction means states get 48 percent of the proceeds, and the federal government 52 percent. Salazar, a Democrat, voted for the appropriations bill, while Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., did not.
Another Republican attempt to dismantle Gov. Bill Ritter's executive order creating union partnerships for state workers was stomped out at the Capitol Wednesday. A bill that would have reversed the governor's November order died on a 3-2 party-line vote in the Senate's state affairs committee. Democrats already dispatched a GOP-backed bill that would have prohibited striking by public employees -- including teachers and transportation workers. Both measures were fallout from the governor's order allowing state workers' unions to bargain with management. Sen. Shawn Mitchell, a Broomfield Republican who sponsored the bill tearing down the executive order, said the battle isn't over. He plans to introduce resolutions urging the governor to ban mandatory union dues and what he said was harassment of state workers by unions seeking to boost membership rolls. Mitchell said the executive order created a "tense and hostile environment" where state workers feel pressure to join a union. He cited examples of union representatives "harassing" employees at work and on their doorsteps. But state workers testified Wednesday that Ritter's executive order will make them less afraid at work because they can speak up without fear of retaliation. "That to me is an excitement I can't even contain sometimes," said Barbara Bond, a Department of Corrections employee.
If the voting machine debacle were a board game, the Mesa County Commission just turned the table over. The commissioners Wednesday all but decided to run the November elections without the official approval of the Colorado Secretary of State's Office. Upon hearing the news that the Secretary of State's Office decided not to temporarily recertify the county's federally compliant ES&S vote machines, the commissioners called for an "executive decision" to be made regarding their use in Mesa County on Election Day. Commissioner Craig Meis, who was visibly annoyed during the morning discussion, blasted Secretary of State Mike Coffman for his actions. "This is by far and away the worst time the Secretary of State could have done what he's done with elections," he said. "They (the Secretary of State's Office) have continually set us up for failure, and we have just got to make an executive decision to move forward. They forced us into this box, and we've got to run an election." A week ago, the Secretary of State's Office temporarily recertified the county's vote counting machines for the April municipal mail-in ballot elections in Fruita and Palisade. That act annoyed Commissioner Janet Rowland, who said, "They either work or they don't."
So my excitement about the political process hasn't waned since my first caucus training in January. If anything, I'm even more excited now. Like I keep telling people, it's never going to happen like this again... ever...
I have no idea what was going on with parking or the fire lane because I was able to walk to my location (yay! local politics) and I was in the building from 6-9:30pm. My favorite parts were when people talked about their personal experiences with the presidential campaigns and with the house district candidates. And people even brought their own resolutions to propose. Ahh! I love democracy (when I get to participate)!
Went to the Dem caucus in Evergreen on Tuesday - what a great turnout. In 2004, my heavily Republican neighborhood turned out only 5 Dems - this time, 44!and we split 2 to 1 for Obama.
My question: how did Clinton and Obama do in states that are caucus - based versus those that are primary ballot - based? Strikes me that Clinton won in states that have big Democratic party machines (except Illinois, which is of course Obama's home state.)
I'm involved with Great Education Colorado (GEC), which has released another humorous "Granny" video to tell the story of how chronic underfunding of public education is hurting Colorado's kids and classrooms.
The 45-second video (2nd in a series of 5) pokes fun at the painful truth that many Colorado students are forced to use hopelessly outdated textbooks--including geography books still featuring the U.S.S.R.--due to lack of funding for new books. The comical, well-meaning Granny is clueless about how schools--including her grandson's--are suffering.
You also can go see the video AND sign a petition supporting public education at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2700/t/5492/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=861.
If you're moved by the message, please pass it on!
GEC--a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of parents and other public school supporters--works to focus attention on the need for better funding for public schools, bring people together to create a vision of 21st century education, and advocate for all public education reforms to be accompanied by adequate resources.
A continuous rise in multi-payer health care premiums (12% annual increases for University of California retirees) has prompted California to look at cutting government retiree health benefits. Until inflationary health insurance costs are controlled, retirees' health benefits everywhere will continue to be on the line. As long as multi-payer insurances continue to protect their bottom line by increasing premiums, copays and deductibles, and denying claims, everybody will be vulnerable to health and financial risk.
Our congressional delegation should be encouraged to support single payer insurance, as written in HR676. At the very least, we can encourage our federal legislators to support Russ Feingold and Lindsay Graham's S1169 and Rep. Tammy Baldwin's HR 506, federal bills intended to free States to create health care reform solutions, by addressing issues like ERISA requirements and Medicaid waivers that now hamstring the states. There is bipartisan support for these measures to permit states greater leeway in writing reform, e.g., Reps DeGette and Musgrave both co-sponsor HR 506.
I was interviewed live on Jason Bradford's The Reality Report on KZXY public radio in Northern California Monday, and this show is archived on the web, so if you're interested, I hope you'll check it out at:
This blog is for everyone who feels xcel energy and the puc are doing nothing for the consumers in colorado. i have been written by DOUG PLATT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS at the puc of colorado. He and the puc i feel have done nothing too oversee xcel's billing practices and rate increases which keep happening more and more. (THE LATEST THIS MONTH WHERE NATURAL GAS WILL RISE BY OVER 6% ON OUR BILLS) There are various so-called sur charges and so-called taxes on every bill. For example my total usage this last month was 99.00 but my total bill was for 199.05 which is i feel is dishonest and smells of a monopoly! THOUGHTS,COMMENTS...
The primary season for progressives, liberals, and Democrats and the two main candidates- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton- is one of unity. We may quibble over the policies of both candidates and how they have performed in the Senate but both represent the tradition of liberal ideals that have made modern America.
I was reading Hullabaloo blog when Digby made a trenchent comment that we like both our candidates. Not only that but supporters of either candidate could support the winner after the convention. She writes:
That's what I see when I talk to actual Democrats, particularly those who don't spend all their time on the Internet. Not only do Democrats like both candidates, not only do they think they are going to get to vote FOR someone instead of AGAINST the Republican this year, but the primary is improving that view.
There's no doubt Democrats are torn between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But the early exit polls show they are not bitterly divided: 72 percent of Democrats said they would be satisfied if Clinton won the party's nomination, while 71 percent say the same about Obama.
As Digby admonishing that we must hold our candidates "feet to the fire" so that they are not unduly influenced by their "D.C. beltway consultants". We who must work diligently to change the rhetoric and policy on healthcare by Obama or what are the foreign policy objectives beyond Iraq by Clinton?
What is important to remember is that we are for progressive change in America as represented by Obama and Clinton.
Got my first taste last night... after twelve years living in Colorado, one of the candidates actually called my home and told us everything we needed to know about how... and where to be, what to do and when. After twelve years living in Colorado. I guess if you hang around long enough...
Now I would have thought I was derelict in my duty, or maybe just lazy... until they announced in their group precinct meeting that they were used to only seeing about fifteen people... our precinct alone had sixty-six people show up.
Of course, you had the usual grousing about waiting in the cold... because the lines were long and check in was slow... but as I pointed out to a couple of people in line, they only had two years to prepare for this.
And you could really tell where people's priorities were... most of us left after we selected our candidate for president... partially because the process of reading the rules took so long, and partially because with my back and the missus ankle, the two hours we stood and the distance back to our car in the cold was a bit much for both of us at our age.
You could also pick out the 'business as usual' Democrats from the 'we got to do something about this crap' people. The newbies, as I referred to the folks attending for the first time, many not much younger than yours truly, voted four to one for our candidate... and you could see the BAS Dems expressions sinking, when the second vote showed that the straw poll uncommitteds went with the majority.
I was very pleased that the young people in the room far from being intimidated were very vocal in the support of the their candidates and ISSUES. Maybe there's hope for this country yet.
Now that the spineless Democratic Congress has enacted something resembling care for our Iraq & Afghan Vets, the Deserter President has sent his lawyers in to fight the law...by saying that Veterans are not entitled to care!
Yes, that's right - this is not hyperbole for effect. The BushCo lawyers went into court and told a Federal Judge that the recent law mandating 5 years of care for those Vets is only a statement of eligibility, and is NOT an entitlement to care.
Please, read for yourself: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/05/MNQLUQ4IS.DTL
But here's the highlight statement:
"A federal law providing five years of care for veterans from the date of their discharge establishes "veterans' eligibility for health care, but it does not create an entitlement to any particular medical service," government lawyers said."
So, in a nutshell - get blown up by an IED and need some counseling - too damn bad. Missing a few limbs, and you start to have some mental health issues - suck it up...Exxon needs a energy subsidy.
THe Deserter President has sunk to a new low - and I already thought he was at whale shit level. Send you off to fight with no plan, no leadership and no way out. And if you get jacked up in the process, well, you're from a small town and no one there donates big money to the GOP campaign.
Rep DeGette, what in the f*ck are you waiting for? -this BASTARD needs to be impeached!
Fantasy encircles the U.S. presidential race. We have an urgent responsibility to address climate change and other environmental problems that imperil the 6.6 billion people on the planet. Anyone hear about that from the candidates? We have a health care crisis in the United States with over 40 million uninsured and premium rates skyrocketing for those with insurance. Any real solutions for that problem? Our economic system is on its last legs and our infrastructure, bridges, etc., crumbles as you read this. Zero real solutions, right, other than solutions that line the pockets of political donor's.
This is a time for intense focus, serious discussions, and open debate on policies and programs. It's the entire human species at risk. Have we heard anything about that in the presidential primaries? Not even close.
"I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language.
"I am convinced Sen. McCain is not a conservative, and in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are. He has sounded at times more like a member of the other party. McCain actually considered leaving the GOP caucus in 2001, and approached John Kerry about being Kerry's running mate in 2004. McCain also said publicly that Hillary Clinton would make a good president. Given these and many other concerns, a spoonful of sugar does NOT make the medicine go down. I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience.
"But what a sad and melancholy decision this is for me and many other conservatives. Should Sen. McCain capture the nomination as many assume, I believe this general election will offer the worst choices for president in my lifetime. I certainly can't vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama based on their virulently anti-family policy positions. If these are the nominees in November, I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life. These decisions are my personal views and do not represent the organization with which I am affiliated. They do reflect my deeply held convictions about the institution of the family, about moral and spiritual beliefs, and about the welfare of our country."
There you have it folks. Will we see a resurrection of Gary Bauer's quixotic candidacy?
Alan adds:don't be fooled into thinking this is an authentic display of moral conviction. Nothing of the kind--most of Dobson's complaints about McCain aren't related to the core "morality" planks Dobson hangs his hat on at all.
For example, when Dobson talks about "free speech" with McCain what he's really talking about is McCain's hated tendency to support reform of political campaign financing, something Dobson learned a great deal about as he toured the country the last few election cycles shadowing various Republican campaigns.
He doesn't like McCain because McCain wouldn't take part in the worst of Senate Republican judicial maneuverings to force corrupt or extremist (or both) candidates into federal judgeships.
And he doesn't like McCain because he "uses foul language."
No, the real problem here is the same problem all the GOP insiders have with McCain: though perhaps crazy, he doesn't play by their crony moneybag rules. So Dobson will sit 2008 out, and maybe all of American plutocracy with him.
I get the distinct impression that we cannot speak for or against any candidate on this website (unless of course it is a Republican)... sooooo
I will say that
I personally plan to support the nominee of our Democratic Party for president regardless of who is it,
but I prefer O????, one whose name must not be mentioned here(unless of course it is a Republican).
This is why IRV ballot process will not work. IRV can only work in conjunction with public financing of candidates only. Why? If the top two candidates in IRV can dump huge sums of money into a race then the "smaller" candidates will be squeezed out by their lack of financial clout.
Only by forcing all candidates to have the same dollar amount then will there be fairer playing field or this will happen. Politico reporter Jeanne Cummings writes:
The Arizona senator’s rejection of the presidential public financing program he once defended is just the latest evidence of how ineffective the post-Watergate reform has become in an era of multimillion-dollar candidacies.
The time is now for public funding of political campaigns because the current system is just wrong for the good of America.
The drama of the most intensive presidential nominating campaign in memory will play out on the largest stage ever Tuesday when millions of Americans, from Connecticut to California with American Samoa thrown in, cast ballots in the closest thing to a national primary that the country has seen. Republicans appeared poised to anoint Sen. John McCain of Arizona as their presumptive nominee, a long journey for a man who has often found himself fighting with his party as he sought to lead it. Democrats appear far less certain of their verdict, with signs of a tightening race between Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, even in states where Clinton had held a solid lead only a week ago.
Bush sought to increase Pentagon spending by 7.5 percent, to $515 billion - plus $70 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the coming year. At the same time, Bush proposed cuts in 151 government programs, such as grants for elders' food services and community services for the poor, and reduced spending in several others - including significant reductions in Medicare and Medicaid. Spending in many other programs was frozen. "The budget protects America and encourages economic growth," the president said, urging Congress to pass the budget quickly. He added that the plan reflects that "our top priority is to defend our country, so we fund our military, as well as fund the homeland security." But Senator Kent Conrad, the South Dakota Democrat who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, said Bush is proposing "more deficit-financed war spending, more deficit-financed tax cuts tilted to benefit the wealthiest." The president's proposal, Conrad said, is "a further explosion of debt and the undermining of our nation's economic security."
Senate debate bogged down Monday night on a bill meant to boost the sagging economy by putting more money in consumers' pockets and cutting some business taxes. Senators voted 80-4 Monday to cut off debate on a $146 billion economic plan overwhelmingly passed by the House last week. But the Senate postponed a final vote until at least Wednesday after Republicans asked for more time to examine Senate Democrats' proposed changes to the House package. The Democrats' proposal would reduce the amounts of rebates to taxpayers, but would extend benefits to the elderly, disabled veterans and the unemployed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had hoped that the Senate would immediately vote up or down on a motion to accept the Senate Democrats' proposal as a substitute for the House bill. He said Republicans were "wasting the people's time" by delaying a vote. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said GOP senators just wanted time to read and understand the proposal Democrats want to approve.
Turkish warplanes bombed more than 70 targets in northern Iraq on Monday as part of the government's ongoing battle with a militant Kurdish group that uses the area as a base for attacks in Turkey. Villagers said they were unable to flee the bombing, which took place at about 3 a.m., because heavy snow had closed many roads. The severe weather also made it impossible for local officials to determine whether the strikes caused casualties, said Brig. Gen. Omar Sharif of the Iraqi border forces. The Turkish military said it struck targets in 11 areas believed to be hideouts of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by the initials PKK. The group, which seeks greater autonomy for Kurds in Turkey, is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and the United States. "Turkish jet fighters bombed only the terrorist targets and great concern was displayed during operations not to affect civilian life in any way," Turkey's state-run Anatolian news agency quoted the military as saying in a statement.
CU sophomore Kaity Sisk said she heard about Benson's public hearing from a girl passing out flyers in the UMC. She dropped by to see what the hoopla was about. "Why I came here [to CU] is for the sciences, and his response to global warming is false," Sisk said. "He flip-flopped." CU freshman Bianca Irizarry said she doesn't think Benson is a good fit for CU. "I don't like the oil tycoon conservative Republican thing," Irizarry said. "For them to have just one candidate doesn't make it better." Leah Labovitz, a CU senior, wore a poster board proclaiming: "This extremely important decision is being rushed. Don't let this happen. Bruce Benson is an oil tycoon who only holds a bachelor's degree." She is among 17 students who've formed a nameless ad hoc group that's petitioning against Benson. The students - a loose, unofficial coalition that held its first meeting Sunday night in the UMC - mostly communicates through a Facebook group called "Boycott Benson," which has more than 400 members. ProgressNow, a liberal online advocacy group in Colorado, also began a "Boycott Benson" campaign and has launched a Web site, www.boycottbenson.com.
Colorado would open an immigration office in Mexico to bring more seasonal foreign workers to the state under a groundbreaking bill unveiled Monday by an El Paso County legislator. Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, said farms throughout the state and country are suffering because they can't get the guest workers needed to harvest labor-intensive crops. The federal H-2A visa program allows farm owners to request foreign workers for up to 10 months a year, but the process is unbearably slow and produces only about 35,000 employees a year rather than the roughly 700,000 that are needed nationally, she said. Looper's bill, which is expected to be introduced soon, would allow the state to take over the background checks, fingerprinting and health screening of potential workers. If approved, Colorado would open an office in Mexico and staff it with several state employees. To do so, however, it would have to get a waiver from the federal government to take over those preliminary duties before the feds have the final say in approving the guestworker passes. All applications from around the country now go through a central federal office in Chicago, but many disappear into what Looper called a "big black hole," only to be approved halfway through the growing season when farmers are far behind in work.
A bill expected to come before the state legislature would require the developer of the former Lowry Bombing Range to clean up more of the site than will be developed or wait until the U.S. government has fully funded the cleanup. Developer Lend Lease LLC says that could jeopardize the project and the $334 million it's expected to generate for the Colorado School Trust. Last year, Lend Lease reached an agreement with the State Land Board, which owns the property east of E-470 and south of East Quincy Avenue, to build a mixed-use project on 3,800 acres, leaving the rest of the 26,000-acre site as open space. The State Land Board acts as the trustee, and revenue generated from the property supports Colorado schools. The bill, sponsored by Arapahoe County Democrats Sen. Bob Hagedorn and Rep. Morgan Carroll, would prohibit Lend Lease from developing the parcel until the entire site is clear of unexploded ordnance.
Pentagon officials made it clear this week that they are ready to spend more than planned to destroy chemical weapons in Pueblo and at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky. President Bush's budget request for fiscal 2009 seeks $398 million for the two projects, almost $100 million more than what the Defense Department said it would spend annually. Under the request, $174 million would go to Pueblo for research and development and construction work, and $193 million to Blue Grass as well as $12 million for a defense access road project there. Pueblo's road work already is under way. Another $18 million would fund management costs, mainly at the main offices in Maryland, where the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program is headquartered. While the request is substantially larger than the $150 million the Defense Department said last year that it would spend at each site, it could grow by even more in the future.
Today's Veteran's for Common Sense email newsletter was headed by the following article.
"Veterans have no legal right to specific types of medical care, the Bush administration argues in a lawsuit accusing the government of illegally denying mental health treatment to some troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The arguments, filed Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco, strike at the heart of a lawsuit filed on behalf of veterans that claims the health care system for returning troops provides little recourse when the government rejects their medical claims."
In addition, VCS also said the administration is attempting to limit Mental Health Care to returning Iraq and Afghanistan vets to five years. So serving your country really doesn't mean much anymore. When you look at the potential for injury or death, exposure to chemical and biological agents, and lack of liability on the part of the government, might as well stay home and work for Walmart... let them contract their wars out with Blackwater and Soldier of Fortune help wanted ads. I'd like to see the ribbon magnets for cars...'Support Our Mercenaries.'
The University of Colorado Board of Regents evidently believes that oil and gas executive Bruce Benson is not just the best man to become the next president of the university, but also the only applicant who met minimum qualifications.
It's either that, or the regents are trying to do an end-run around state open-government laws.
The university's governing board voted 7-2 on Wednesday to make Benson the "sole finalist" to replace outgoing president Hank Brown. Two Democrats, Michael Carrigan and Steve Ludwig, dissented, saying they were worried about Benson's deeply partisan past. Yet he also has received nods of support from bipartisan sources, including Boulder Regent Cindy Carlisle, a Democrat.
But all the focus on the candidate's political stripes and how often he shows them completely misses another, no less important issue: In naming a "sole finalist," the regents are flouting state laws that require openness in the hiring of executives over Colorado's agencies and institutions.
According to state law, a "finalist" is "an applicant for an executive position ... who is a member of the final group of applicants or candidates made public pursuant to section 24-6-402 (3.5), and if only three or fewer applicants or candidates for the ... position possess the minimum qualifications for the position, said applicants or candidates shall be considered finalists."
In other words, in naming Benson as the "sole" finalist, the regents either determined that nobody else was worthy, or they were pulling a fast one on citizens who, under the law, would simply like to know who else was considered...
CU student leaders and recent alums are decrying the Board of Regent's pick of Republican oil tycoon Bruce Benson as sole finalist for CU President.
Students and recent alums are articulating four grievances with Benson's selection: they claim the selection process was too secretive and say that Benson is polarizing, inadequately educated, and antithetical to CU's reputation as an environmental leader...
Benson says an advanced degree isn't necessary to lead CU.
"Okay, I have a bachelor's degree," he said. "Am I going to go in there and start telling everybody how to do research? No. My business is raising money. This is a big business, it's over a $2 billion business ... I think I know how to put together the pieces to fund the institution more than it is now."
Students are also concerned that Benson is too political, partisan and polarizing.
"Higher education should not be a place for extreme polarizing partisan politics," Fenberg said.
While the past two CU Presidents - Hank Brown and Betsy Hoffman - have also been prominent Republicans, students characterize them as moderates. Benson, they say, is a polemicist.
"Hank Brown's a Republican, and Hank Brown is a very well-respected member of our community and our state," Fenberg said. "Bruce Benson is more of a political operative than an actual elected official. It's really kind of threatening to have someone that political leading our school."
Benson's critics say an oil and gas tycoon shouldn't lead a university that's vying to become a renewable-energy pioneer.
CU-Boulder is trying to be carbon-neutral by 2040 or 2050, and plans to reduce its energy use 20 percent by 2011-12. Its graduate students and faculty are conducting cutting-edge research in regard to global climate change.
That doesn't jibe with Benson's record of exploiting natural resources, said CU alum Eugene Pearson.
"The chancellor and the governor support CU's leadership in sustainability," Pearson said. "If the regents were to pick someone whose record went against that, I would hope there would be some political pressure."
Benson offers no apologies.
"I assume all those people probably drive cars and heat their homes and they probably use oil and gas," Benson said. "I think that's an interesting assessment that because I made money in oil and gas, I must be evil. I worked my tail off all my life, and I'm proud of what I've accomplished. I think it's a great industry it's a critical industry to the nation and the economy."
Asked if he'd support CU's leadership in renewable energy, Benson replied: "I would want to know that it's good science. And I'm told it is. And as long as its good science, I'm for it."
1. Once people got over their initial shock, major objections to this opaque, intrigue-driven selection process are emerging.
2. He would "want to know" that renewable energy is "good science?"
Is this really possible? In addition to his secretive nomination, his profound lack of academic qualifications as the first candidate in CU's history who wouldn't even be eligible for tenure, his GOP partisan hack record that has pre-alienated him from the people he would have to work with as CU President...he apparently doesn't "know" if renewable energy is "good science?"
Well, he's "told" it is, but how can his BA-toting oilman self ever "know?" Maybe that's the point. To leave himself with a loophole big enough for James Watt to drive a truck through.
Help us stop this train wreck from colliding with Colorado's flagship university:
Coloradans Call for Boycott of Bruce Benson for CU President For Immediate Release Monday, February 4, 2008 Contact: Michael Huttner, Executive Director (303) 931-4547
Denver: ProgressNow is submitting hundreds of names and comments from Coloradans calling for a boycott of Bruce Benson as the sole candidate in the search for a new CU president. Below are just some of the hundreds of comments expressing concern of Benson's nomination as the sole candidate.
To view comments received as of Monday morning, visit:
"We are calling on the public to visit www.boycottbenson.com to oppose Benson's nomination to be CU's next President," stated ProgressNow's Executive Director Michael Huttner. "The regents must halt the selection process until an investigation can be completed."
"I am very concerned about the fact that in 2006, Benson founded and funded the Trailhead Group, a right-wing 527 political action fund that was investigated for running questionable negative ads attacking sitting lawmakers... (Boulder Daily Camera, February 1, 2008)." --Susi Devrient, Boulder
"The fact that this man would threaten one of his future boss[es] with a 527 is reason enough to NOT allow him to obtain this position." --G. Richard Rabb, Douglas County
"...This smacks of the worst kind of patronage and cronyism, and as a dual alumnus of CU, I join in the demand that the process be investigated and, if necessary, re-started." --Casey Mulligan, Boulder
"Colorado needs the next CU President to be a qualified academic, with demonstrated ability to relate to political people of both major parties and all political views. This choice, of someone with record of demonstrated partisanship, is simply unacceptable." --Paul Day-Lucore, Denver
"It's impossible to believe that an expensive, nationwide search for a university president could yield only one candidate--and one so unqualified for the position." --Juliet Wittman, Boulder
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ProgressNow, with 365,000 members, is Colorado's largest online progressive advocacy organization.
The Sept. 11 commission's executive director exchanged frequent calls with the White House during the 20-month investigation, including taking at least four from President Bush's chief political adviser at the time, Karl Rove, a new book says. Philip Zelikow, a friend of then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, once tried to push through wording in a draft report that suggested a greater tie between al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Iraq, in line with White House claims but not with the commission staff's viewpoint, according to Philip Shenon's "The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation." Shenon, a New York Times reporter, added that Zelikow sought to intimidate staff to avoid damaging findings for President Bush, who at the time was running for reelection, and Rice. Zelikow and Rice had written a book together in 1995 and he would later work for her after the commission finished its job and she became secretary of state in 2005. The Associated Press obtained an audio version of Shenon's book, which is to go on sale tomorrow. Tags: www.washingtonpost.com
It’s the Economy Again, and Some See Similarities to 1992 - New York Times
If the United States manages to escape a recession this year, many economists say it will be because Washington policy makers jolted the economy early with a two-fisted injection of tax rebates and sharply lower interest rates. But in what could be a haunting replay of what happened to President George H. W. Bush in 1992, economists caution that voters are not likely to feel much better at election time even if the economy is rebounding. In a rare political alignment, President Bush and Democratic lawmakers in Congress are rushing to pass a package of tax rebates and tax cuts that could inject about $160 billion into the economy by summer. On top of that, the Federal Reserve has reduced interest rates, which should lead to looser credit for mortgages, car purchases and business investment. Though it takes time for interest rate cuts to take full effect, their impact on mortgage rates and home-buying can be swift. Tags: www.nytimes.com
Cross-Border Chases From Iraq O.K., Document Says - New York Times
American military forces in Iraq were authorized to pursue former members of Saddam Hussein’s government and terrorists across Iraq’s borders into Iran and Syria, according to a classified 2005 document that has been made public by an independent Web site. The document, which was disclosed by the organization Wikileaks and which American officials said appeared authentic, outlined the rules of engagement for the American division that was based in Baghdad and central Iraq that year. It also provided instructions for how to deal with the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr: his status as a hostile foe was “suspended,” and he and his key associates were not to be attacked except in self-defense. Wikileaks, a Web site that encourages posting of leaked materials, says its goal in disclosing secret documents is to reveal “unethical behavior” by governments and corporations. It has previously posted the United States military’s manual for operating its prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba; a military assessment of a 2004 attack in Falluja; and lists of American military equipment in Iraq. The American military command in Baghdad on Sunday sharply criticized the group’s decision to post the document. Tags: www.nytimes.com
After Months of Relative Calm, 2 Deadly Blasts Rock Baghdad - washingtonpost.com
At 10:50 a.m., the bombing blasted away the morning calm, killing and wounding dozens of people. About 10 minutes earlier, less than five miles away, the same grim scene had just occurred: a female bomber, a pet market, and an explosion that marred the sense of cautious hope that has returned to much of Baghdad. The two bombings killed 58 people, according to Iraqi police, and wounded more than 170 others. The attacks amounted to the deadliest day in Baghdad in more than six months. "This was a terrible thing to see," Jarbou said. "I will never forget it." In recent months, there have been at least six female suicide bombers in different parts of Iraq, particularly in Diyala province, north of the capital. But Iraqi officials said they were unaware of any previous instance in which two female bombers had struck in Baghdad at the same time. Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said he believed the bombings were a coordinated effort by the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq. Khalaf said witnesses and police reported that the two women were mentally disabled, but U.S. military officials said they knew of no evidence to support such a claim. Tags: www.washingtonpost.com
The Denver Post - ProgressNow questions Benson selection
A progressive media watchdog group called for a halt to the University of Colorado at Boulder presidential search and raised questions about the sole nominee for the post. ProgressNow launched a website, www.boycottbenson.com, in response to concerns about the secretive selection process and reports of political misconduct by Bruce Benson, said Michael Huttner, executive director of the organization. In a press release Sunday, ProgressNow encouraged attendance at public meetings this week on the CU campuses to meet Benson. These meetings are part of the selection process and not sponsored by ProgressNow. Benson will appear at CU-Boulder today at 2 p.m. in room 235 of the University Memorial Center. He will be on the Denver campuses on Wednesday. At 12:30 p.m., the meeting will be held in the UC Denver Lawrence Street Center, second floor Terrace Room. Benson will be on the Anschultz Medical Campus at 2 p.m. in room P28-2104 of Educational Building 2 North Lecture Hall. Benson refuted the misconduct claims and reinforced that he has put his politics aside for this position. "My record shows that I work with people across the aisles all the time to get things done," he said Sunday. Tags: www.denverpost.com
The Denver Post - Roadways in "quiet crisis," Ritter warns
Ritter said his transportation commission warned this week that the state is experiencing a "quiet crisis in transportation" that can't be ignored. "They use the word 'crisis' in the report. It is pretty strong language," Ritter told hundreds in attendance at the Invesco Field East Club Lounge. "We cannot approach our transportation problem as we have in the past. Action can and must begin now. It is going to take a bipartisan commitment and a unified effort of businesses, governments and communities." Ritter implored the contractors to read the panel's report and understand the consequences of what will happen if nothing is done. The panel says an additional $500 million a year is the minimum needed to maintain the state's deteriorating road system and that $1.5 billion a year in new money would be required to fix roads and bridges. The problem, said Ritter, is that the state faces declining revenues, increasing costs and increasing demands. More people are traveling on the same highways that were built years ago. In addition, the cost of construction materials has soared, and the state has not seen an increase in the fuel tax in 17 years, he said. Tags: www.denverpost.com
'No turning a blind eye' at Statehouse : Colorado Government : The Rocky Mountain News
The 1996 legislature was in session when state Rep. Bob Hagedorn got the news that his mother was dying of lung cancer. The Aurora Democrat began drinking again and ended up in rehab that fall after his father called 911, worried about his son's binge drinking. Hagedorn bounced back from his personal crisis, got sober and, to his surprise, won re-election that year. He was elected to the state Senate in 2000, and a young Democrat named Michael Garcia took his place in the House. Garcia resigned Friday morning after a lobbyist alleged in a meeting with the House speaker earlier in the week that Garcia had been sexually inappropriate with her after a fundraiser. "When I was reading the story in Saturday's Rocky about how this was a rising star, a guy who was going places, I just put my paper in my lap, looked at the ceiling and thought, 'This is modern-day Greek tragedy,' " Hagedorn said. Hagedorn said Garcia left him a message but he hasn't returned the call yet. Tags: www.rockymountainnews.com
Grand Junction Sentinel - Mesa Co. treasurer: Freeze unlikely to equal higher bills
The colossal tax increase Republicans have warned about in the wake of Gov. Bill Ritter’s mill levy freeze probably will not be so massive for most local taxpayers, according to Mesa County Treasurer Monika Todd. “It depends on where the (home’s) location is in the city. … I don’t think the mill levy freeze has that large an impact,” Todd said. She said if taxpayers do experience a spike in their tax burdens on their property tax bills next year, it primarily will be because their homes’ assessed values skyrocket, not changes in their school district property taxes. Republican politicos, including House District 55 candidate Laura Bradford, have latched onto the governor’s property tax measure, which drew the support of Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, and other Democratic lawmakers, and used it as their primary line of attack ahead of the 2008 election. Ritter’s plan, signed into law in May, prevents local school district property tax rates from falling when they normally would have. Tags: www.gjsentinel.com
Even with the freak Wednesday snowstorm that tangled traffic and kept people home on Thursday January 31, 300 people rallied at the Capitol for Single Payer Health Care, some traveling from Montrose, Pueblo, Fort Collins and the eastern plains, on the same day that the Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care presented their recommendations to the legislature for a Massachusetts-style mandate to purchase private insurance.
There was great press coverage, including Colorado Public Radio's report on the large turnout for the rally for Single Payer. Endorsing groups that provided speakers included the Colorado Education Association, the League of Women Voters, the Colorado Nurses Association and the Alliance for Retired Americans. A number of physicians from the Fort Collins area attended, including Dr. Cory Carroll, who spoke about lack of health care choices and obtacles to patient care under the multi-payer insurance system.
Betty Lehman of the Autism Society spoke movingly about how insurance companies game the system by denying needed care. In later comment before the Senate-House HHS Committees, Lehman remarked that it is immoral to require taxpayers to subsidize private insurances that profit by denying care. A number of speakers noted experiencing high out-of-pocket costs, even while paying annual family insurance premiums of $10,000 to $18,000. Also noted -- multi-million dollar annual CEO salaries and $1.6 billion stock options for UnitedHealth's retiring CEO.
Sen. Ken Gordon and Reps. John Kefalas, Jerry Frangas and Claire Levy also addressed the crowd. Larimer County Commissioner Eubanks also attended. Health Care for All Colorado board vice president Barry Keene said the group is working on legislation to keep the issue in front of the legislature, and to prevent passage of an individual mandate to purchase private insurance that will replace masses of uninsured with the underinsured.
It was emphasized that now is the time to contact our legislators, instilling in them the political will to work toward meaningful health care reform, rather than subsidizing private insurances and mandating their purchase without controlling insurance costs, as has been done Massachusetts, and was rejected in California last week. To identify one's legislators, visit www.vote-smart.org or call 1-888-VOTE-SMART.
There was also much support for Single Payer insurance during the comment period before the joint HHS Committees the afternoon of January 31. Dr. Irene Aguilar of the 208 Commission's Vulnerable Populations Task Force urged legislators to "do what is right for all Coloradans," taking into consideration the Lewin Group evaluation of savings and comprehensive coverage for all only with the CHS Single Payer proposal. The Vulnerable Populations Task Force has requested and been granted a hearing in the House HHS Committee this week.
Commissioner Mark Simon, who voted against endorsing the 208 Commission Final Report, commented on elements of his Minority Report, in which he endorses Single Payer as the only comprehensive reform capable of covering all.
The market place is clearly not a solution for improving health care access. Most businesses increase profits by providing more services of higher quality; multi-payer insurances expand profits by denying services.
My wife, of all people, sends me articles from truthout.org about how the war impacts individual soldiers and marines for whatever reason... maybe she enjoys watching me have flashbacks or telling my doctor to increase my meds.
As for supporting our troops, our kitchen table no longer exists because it is filled with packages for marine units in places I never heard of in Iraq and Afghanistan... half our Christmas cards came from officers and platoon leaders thanking us for their care packages, my old biker magazines, and kibble for the guard dogs. Great. We don't mind helping out. That doesn't mean we endorse weapons of mass stupidity... like say, POLITICIANS or there unmoving position on war.
But a story of another suicide or unnecessary death is all it takes to kick in my memories of working in a wartime military combat support hospital. The sound of helicopters, particular the old huey's used by the National Guard still is enough to throw me into a panic attack for days.
So, I hope some frigging Democrat reads this and starts talking about how they are going to keep these kids... thirty years my junior from ending up like me or this young marine in this story link:
I find it interesting that everyone on this site immediately calls for resignations and target anyone in sight who does not agree with you. Quite frankly, Caldara is one of the biggest supporters of women who are successful and helps those who are not.
I sort of wonder if some of you are proposing a fascist society where if someone disagrees with you, you go after them. Talk about putting people under a microscope! It is truly frightening.
I have been a liberal on many issues until the last 5 years or so where the tone of your debate and desire to sort of 'hate' people has reached a bizarre tone. You are the ones with hate speech!
The Democratic Caucus is only a few days away, and I'm looking toward with a mix of emotions. On one hand, I'm pretty sure that there will be some surprises on the night of Feb 5th - that Sen. Barack will be Colorado's choice for President. That maybe Rep. Udall is going to have another Dem on the ticket, nipping at his heels, and forcing him to address the Progressive Wing of the Party, instead of sucking up to Right-wing nut jobs.
But the one thing that makes this Caucus stick in my throat is the incumbent Representative for House District One - Diana DeGette. That night, she expects us to vote her on the ballot for another term - despite the contempt and disregard with she treats the people of her district.
Yes, she is a Democrat…or at least, a Democratic-shaped object. But her conduct since she was re-elected in '06 seems to obscure an arrogance of entitlement that should be punished, not rewarded.
She can't be bothered with our issues - impeachment, the war in Iraq, and health care to name a few. She certainly can't be bothered with meeting any of these insignificant people who've voted for her so many times….that would require her to explain her conduct on the House floor.
And we are angry here in Colorado House District One. A district that may be one of the most liberal in the US, we expected the Deputy House Whip to pursue our issues. She does not risk losing her seat in voting for impeachment, or not funding President ChuckleNut's endless war…and yet, she acts like timid Washington Insider, afraid to offend some other Master that might remove her from her job.
Even worse, the time that she should spend listening to her constituents is instead spent campaigning…not for her own job, but for Sen. Hillary Clinton's run for the White House. And it is not an effort spent because they share so many issues - it is to further ingrain herself with the Washington Elite. She has made it plain to all of us in CD1 that her goal is not to represent us….it is to secure a position on (hopefully) President Clinton's cabinet.
And so that makes all of us complete rubes for re-electing her. She's counting on our blind loyalty to provide her with a day job. If Clinton hits the jackpot on Nov 4th, we're the suckers that paid the bills while she gets the payout. If Clinton loses, well, she can bank on the fact that she's a pseudo-Democrat, and she can bask in 2 more years of being in the Beltway.
If Rep. DeGette can be bothered to make an appearance on Feb 5th, ask her what the hell she is doing in Washington. She's not representing CD1…and if she's not going to commit to the issues that we made pretty damn clear in Nov 2006, ask her why we should vote for her again.
As you've probably read, there is a campaign underway to qualify a ballot initiative here in Colorado that would outlaw affirmative action in education, government contracting, etc. Now they don't actually use the term "affirmative action" anywhere in their campaigning for this initiative--the intiative is presented as a civil rights initiative, seeking to "do away" with "racial preferences." And wouldn't you know, the public face of the initiative is an African-American gentleman. Lulled into complacent agreement yet?
Some things you might not have known about the public face of this movement, which if you haven't heard is coordinated and financed outside Colorado as part of a multi-state strategy, courtesy Ms. Magazine:
TWELVE YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE WARD CONNERLY, a Republican businessman, emerged as the public face of Proposition 209, a California state constitutional initiative designed to ban affirmative action for women and minorities in public employment, public education and public contracting.
Recruited by the campaign's first chairman, Connerly had the perfect resume for the job: a political pedigree as a regent of the University of California, which automatically focused the debate on education; ties to large Republican donors; and his race. Better that an African American man waged battle against affirmative action, not the two white male professors credited with authoring Proposition 209 or the white men who would profit from it...
Now, in what he is calling "Super Tuesday for Equal Rights," Connerly is leading simultaneous efforts in five states to qualify ballot measures for the November election, each claiming to prohibit "discrimination" and "preferential treatment." The deceptively named "civil rights initiatives" in Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, Nebraska and Oklahoma are really designed, like the California initiative, to ban affirmative action for women and minorities in public employment, public education and public contracting--although if Connerly has his way, the term "affirmative action" will never be referenced. What has never been widely reported in the coverage of Connerly's campaigns are his ties to the large public-works contractors and construction-industry organizations that stand to benefit tremendously from eliminating programs that help level the playing field for women- and minority-owned businesses. Connerly, in fact, has spent virtually his entire career consulting--and, through his firm Connerly & Associates, lobbying for the building and construction industry: the very network of businesses and interest groups that have long opposed affirmative action and come out full-swing against it.
Why do the contractors protest so loudly? The simple answer is money. Nationally, hundreds of billions of dollars annually are doled out by the federal, state and local governments to businesses for the procurement of goods and services,
including the construction of public works. Affirmative action helps ensure those businesses include women- and minority-owned firms. In California alone, affirmative action reforms in 1989 increased contracts awarded to minority-owned firms by the state's Department of General Services from 0.5 percent to 10 percent by 1992. And those reforms nearly doubled the percentage of contracts awarded to women-owned firms over the same period by the California Department of Transportation. Women-owned businesses must have seemed a particular threat, as they're one of the fastest-growing business sectors nationwide.
BUT public contracting will hardly be mentioned in the upcoming campaigns, at least by the initiatives' proponents. Instead, they will try to narrow the debate to the bogus question of whether "unqualified" minorities are admitted to public colleges and universities over "more qualified" (i.e., white) students...
As for the aftermath, again look to California's Prop. 209:
I've been meaning to post about a very cool blog - www.RevolutionInJesusland.com. I learned about it at RootsCamp in Ohio. It's a blog that's tracking a progressive movement among (formerly conservative) evangelical Christians. Some really amazing work by the blogger, Zack, on this site. Today, there's a post on a recent poll of born again voters, including evangelicals. Over the last 20 years, born again voters have consistently favored Republican candidates for President. But this year, there's a change in the wind:
Compared to recent presidential elections, the current leanings of the born again constituency have reversed. The new Barna study shows that if the election were to be held today, 40% of all born again adults who are likely to vote in November would choose the Democratic candidate and just 29% would choose the Republican candidate. The remaining 28% are currently not sure whom they would choose, preferring to make their selection on the basis of the candidate than strictly on the basis of his or her party affiliation. If the election were held today, and all of the remaining candidates from both parties were on the ballot, the frontrunners among born again voters would be Hillary Clinton (favored by 20% of born again likely voters), Barack Obama (18%) and Mike Huckabee (12%). No other candidate reached double figures. Thirty percent of the born again likely voters said they were still undecided as to who they would choose.
Evangelicals, a subset of born again voters, have a stronger conservative bent -- 56% are registered as Republican and only 24% registered as Democrat. But there seems to be a big shift to the left even among these voters:
If the election were held today, only 45% of evangelicals say they would support the Republican nominee for president, and 11% would support the Democratic representative. Most significant is that a whopping 40% of evangelicals are undecided. This is extraordinary, given that 62% of evangelicals voted for the Republican candidate in 1992, 67% did so in 1996, along with 67% in 2000 and 85% in 2004.
There may be a lot of reasons for this, but part of the explanation seems to be a clear shift in priorities:
"Today we have a greater proportion of faith-driven voters who are concerned about issues that are often thought of as 'liberal' social policy concerns, such as poverty and health care. Abortion and family protection remain significant issues to the faith constituency, but they are not the only issues that matter to the group - or even the driving issues. Relying upon traditional stereotypes of born again or evangelical voters will not serve candidates well this year."
With hundreds of thousands of ballots cast across the country, for the first time in MoveOn's history, we've voted together to endorse a presidential candidate in the primary. That candidate is Barack Obama.
UPDATE: Per WaPo, $28 Million of the $32 Million Obama raised in January came in online. To put that into perspective, the Post notes that it's more online money than the Dean campaign raised in total - $27 Million. And to be honest, I would argue that only ~$20 Million of what we raised on the Dean campaign could be deemed truly internet fundraising, meaning that "the ask" originated online (as opposed to online donations related to an offline event). No matter, even giving us credit for the whole $27 Million, Obama raised more in one month. Wow.
No wonder George Jr. was in town yesterday to raise money for his fellow "oily" (as we used to say in Oklahoma), Big Oil Bob Schaffer. Per Colorado Pols, it looks like Schaffer just turned in some dismal fundraising numbers for the last quarter of '07. Those are some really weak numbers ($673,000 ) for a candidate for one of the top targeted Senate races in the country. Weak enough that this could create an opening for other Republicans to get into the race.
What has Mr. Bush done to this nation but hurt all of us?
From the HuffingtonPost.com, Lolita C. Baldor writes:
The commission's 400-page report concludes that the nation "does not have sufficient trained, ready forces available" to respond to a chemical, biological or nuclear weapons incident, "an appalling gap that places the nation and its citizens at greater risk.
A three trillion dollar budget for weapons to kill human beings but Mr. Bush must increase the risk for Americans to become sick by cutting healthcare programs. AP reporter Andrew Taylor writes:
WASHINGTON - President Bush's $3 trillion budget for next year slashes mental health funding and rural health care and freezes spending on medical research, among the cuts outlined in budget documents obtained.
War for profiteering is the bottom line for Mr. Bush's ideological blindness. The madness of Mr. Bush is that he will endanger the human race as he wantonly ignores our plight in pursuit of profit over all other things good and right.
The clock is now just a few minutes from midnight:
Global warming- Mr. Bush has wasted 8 years of a 20 year window to prevent the worst effects of climate change on civilization.
Nuclear proliferation- Read what Sibel Edmonds has on Mr. Bush's intent to to have more nations and terrorist organizations to have those weapons.
Religious intolerance- Mr. Bush has done more to inflame religious zealots across the globe than any president because of his conversion to Je-sus means that he must convert the heathen or die trying.
Corporations over people- Mr. Bush favors corporations over people both at home and abroad because he has been a failure in the corporate world he now believes that he must compensate for it in the political world.
Money is power for Mr. Bush but his money both real and political are spent.
This nation he has placed on the path to ruination and becoming a pariah state in the world.
Justice will be served to Mr. Bush no matter how long it takes and by our adherence to our laws.
It's the economy, stupid! Former President Bill Clinton might have stunned the world from Colorado January 30 when he said, "We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren." This would have been remarkable, unprecedented candor from a politician, especially today in the U.S. where politicians race to promote a stimulus package to jump-start our lagging economy, but for the fact he wasn't really suggesting we do this.
I've uploaded a clip of Clinton's statement http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPDnaQMAO6E followed by Fox News commentators totally baffled by this notion. With all the talk these days about dire economic news, you may be as dumbfounded as they were. I wouldn't blame you.