Friday, December 5, 2008

Why Australia Worries Me About Barack Obama

One year ago, Australian voters returned the Labour Party to federal prominence after nearly eleven years of leadership by John Howard, George W. Bush's "Mini Me."

That should be good news to a proud liberal like myself, right? Well, not so fast. While the new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaks fluent Mandarin and may be a terrific Prime Minister, his education policies are as profoundly stupid as those many rank-and-file conservatives.

This should come as no surprise since politicians drop 100 IQ points when discussing matters of education. If you need any evidence, remember that No Child Left Behind was co-sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy and Congressman George Miller who hold onto the worst educational policy in history with two clenched fists.

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard is youthful, articulate, capable and dangerously stupendously ignorant on education matters - a deadly reality for Australian children since she is also the Federal Minister for Education. Although she has proposed more than a billion dollars in what could lead to a laptop for every Australian student, the plan is so ill-advised and ham-fisted that not even the Aussie edtech community trusts it. Since Australia invented 1:1 computing in schools, it would be nice if Deputy Prime Minister Gillard took some time to be advised by my colleagues with twenty years of classroom-based 1:1 expertise.

The Rudd/Gillard Government are also pushing national curriculum, school report cards and decidedly anti-teacher union policies for a Labour party. They may accomplish what their conservative political opponents never dreamed of.

The lesson of Australia's recent election is that good liberals can be as wrong on education as conservatives. I recently wrote about my concerns regarding President-Elect Obama's education plan in Why I'm Scared to Death About Obama's Education Policies.

Below is an article I hoped would be published by an Australian newspaper. It was inspired by the Australian government inviting New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to tour Australia as an educational savant. I was horrified that one of the worst, most divisive and least qualified education leaders in American history would be embraced by another nation I adore. This is doubly horrifying since Mr. Klein is often mentioned as a potential Secretary of Education in an Obama Administrator.

Read my article, recently published in the Australian political blog, Crikey, below and please share your thoughts in this blog's comments.

Nothing Good Can Come of Chancellor Klein’s Visit
As an American teacher educator and consultant I have enjoyed the great privilege of working with dozens of Australian schools and thousands of teachers over the past eighteen years. My work has taken me from the most-troubled to the most affluent schools across your nation. The world is indebted to Australian educators for their innovations in primary education, literacy development and 1-to-1 computing.

Therefore, it is from a position of expertise and vast experience that I question this month’s tour of Australia by New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. Had Deputy Prime Minister Gillard not invited Chancellor Klein to “share his reform experience,” I might have suggested he visit Australia to learn a thing or two about education. His seven years in New York City have failed to demonstrate even a rudimentary understanding of teaching, learning or leadership. There is not a sliver of difference between Chancellor Klein’s education policies and those of George W. Bush. In fact, you might call Klein, the “Donald Rumsfeld of education.”

Mr. Klein is not the first ideologue with no education qualifications and simplistic get-tough theories to be put in-charge of a large American school district. He may just be the worst. Upon being named Schools Chancellor by the billionaire mayor of NY, Michael Bloomberg, the duo’s first order of business was to suspend democracy and eliminate elected school boards, as well as parental involvement across the city. Now accountable to nobody, but his mayoral benefactor, Klein changed the district’s organisational structure so many times that chaos ensued. Klein spent millions on public relations, British examiners and smearing critics while cutting services to students. Class sizes are up. Morale is down.

Anyone with access to Google could easily learn that Klein’s claims of miraculous test score increases have been discredited by experts across the political spectrum. This is particularly tragic since under his leadership, NY City schools have been turned into Dickensian sweatshops where frightened administrators browbeat otherwise creative teachers into following scripted curricula in order to increase student test scores. Klein’s heralded school report system with which he seeks to shame schools into increasing test scores have proven invalid as schools nationally recognized for excellence have earned low marks.

Klein takes pride in the retention of students while research demonstrates that holding children back does not lead them to catch-up, but does increase dramatically their probability of dropping out . He unilaterally banned cell phones from schools over the safety objections of parents and then proposed a scheme in which students would be awarded cell phones for improved performance. In some neighbourhoods, corner milk bars charge poor students $3 per day to store their phones on the way to school. He extended the school day by thirty-seven and a half minutes each day and killed off extracurricular activities in the process.

Recently, the New York City Council held its first oversight hearing of the school district in five years. When one Councilman compared Klein’s leadership to Marshall Law that has kept parents severed from the educational process, the combative Chancellor served up a scrumptious Orwellian confection. Klein offered a faux mea culpa and apologized for not acting quickly enough to follow-up on the millions he spent to hire “parent coordinators” in each school and admitted that he had waited too long to create the post of a “chief family engagement officer.” Klein’s administration is full of similarly hilarious job titles.

Klein is considered a tyrant, bully and worse by teachers in his schools who indicated that 82% believed he had little confidence in his teacher’s expertise while 85% believed that the emphasis on standardized testing has failed to improve schools. His tenure has been marked by a constant attack on tenure, teacher rights and unionization. Klein has not resisted an opportunity to engage in union busting, intimidation or teacher bashing.

Klein may be best remembered for the sordid period of the “rubber rooms.” I am the last person to defend incompetence or malfeasance on the part of teachers. Any teacher accused of crimes or infractions should be removed from the classroom and be afforded due process in a swift and deliberate fashion. Despite his prosecutorial experience Klein has failed to remove “bad teachers” from the system while violating the civil liberties of countless others who may be wrongly accused.

Run afoul of Klein or his enforcers and you may find yourself with the more than seven hundred teachers assigned to what are known as “rubber rooms” across the city. Rather than engage in the process of firing accused teachers or putting them on leave, Klein prefers to humiliate and punish them before any guilt has been proven. These 700+ teachers must report to a “teacher reassignment center” where they stare at a clock all day, five days a week. If this were not sufficiently Kafkaesque, Klein employs psychologists who use dubious assessments to determine fitness to teach. It doesn’t matter that the 7th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals deemed such quackery illegal, get a memo to visit the good doctor and your next stop is the “rubber room”. A veteran educator named “Teacher of the Year” by Mayor Giuliani has spent close to five years in a “rubber room.”

Why is a foreign bank, UBS, sponsoring Klein's visit, especially during a time of global financial collapse? Surely there are ethical concerns in both the United States and Australia regarding such a gratuity to a public official.

How expensive could this trip be? A Qantas Boomerang Pass costs approximately $2,000 and would allow Klein to visit several cities. Then he could stay in the homes of educators like so many Americans who visit Australian schools. Better yet, he could spend some his personal millions for a proper Aussie holiday, one that won’t destroy the educational future of Australian children.

Gary S. Stager, Ph.D. is an educational consultant, journalist and Visiting Professor of Education at Pepperdine University. He earned his Ph.D. from The University of Melbourne. The views expressed in this letter are his own.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Senator Biden Interviewed by a 5th Grader

..and yes, the Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate is smarter than a fifth grader!

(The kid is terrific too) Be sure to watch until the end!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Penguin & John McCain Separated at Birth?

Is this a precursor to Wednesday night's debate?

For all you mashup fans...

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

1999, the Straight Talk Express and Pork Barrel Spending

Check out this fabulous bit of video of Daily Show "reporter," Steve Carell following John McCain's last campaign for President.

It's well worth watching through to the end.

From New Yorker's "Annals of Entertainment: Is It Funny Yet?" by Tad Friend, from February 11, 2002:
"In late 1999, one of the show's correspondents, Steve Carell, boarded Senator McCain's campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express, and asked the candidate to name his favorite movie and his favorite book. Then, with no change in his expression, he asked McCain how he could reconcile his criticism of pork-barrel politics with the fact that "while you were chairman of the Commerce Committee, that committee set a record for unauthorized appropriations." For a long moment, McCain was speechless. Carell started laughing. "I'm just kidding!" he said. "I don't even know what that means!"

"That's a true fact, that question," [then-head writer Ben] Karlin said. "And McCain was caught in the headlights. But we punctured it with a joke, so all you're left with is funny and awkward. It's bittersweet."

Thanks to this article in the Huffington Post for calling my attention to this video gem.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, September 8, 2008

No Maverick

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Another Conservative Concerned about Palin

Labels: , ,

Friday, August 29, 2008

If you Enjoy NCLB, You'll Love what McCain/Palin have Planned for Schools

Mission Accomplished!
Although much of what recently elected and newly minted Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin says in her education plan for Alaska reads like an undergraduate homework assignment, she does express support for something called ABC Schools.

While parents are an integral part of the student experience, students bear the lion’s share of the effort. ABC students have nightly homework, back to basics curriculum, patriotism, ethics and citizenship training. Each of these is a key ingredient to providing a child a consistent education that meets the values of their parents while keeping them challenged in class.

Parent reviews of one of the ABC Schools reveals much of what I suspected and feared:
Birchwood ABC is a wonderful magnet type school. This school teaches Kindergarten students phonograms and how to read in the first half of the year and spelling rules and how to write during the second half. My child has already read 40 16-page phonis readers. They are using the Riggs-Spalding methods for reading and Scott Foresman for math. The students will be doing timed addition and subtraction test by the end of the year. I cannot say enough about this school. The teachers are really great and the parents are very involved. The students have gym class and music class twice a week, art class and library time once a week, and recess every day. The school also stresses academics, citizenship, patriotism, responsibility, respect, and courtesy.

Another parent gushes...
I have been involved in this school for 7 years and every moment of it has been pure blyss! The staff members are a joy and the children are wonderful also! The school offers amazing physical and mental chalenges. It hosts a class for gifted children and for even more gifted children. Over all the school deserves 20/10 stars!

I left the spelling errors in to demonstrate just how well their commitment to phonics is paying off!

The good news is that the school has a segregated class for gifted children and even more gifted children!

Here is a review of another Alaska ABC School by another satisfied phonics customer, a student:
this school is so focused on how u behave and the teachers really want to motvate u to get a good grade in every class. ive been at northern lights abc since a 2nd grade and they have really helped me in a lot of things, evn when im struggling really bad in grades.

Also from Palin's education plan:
The private sector will be integrated into the education system. I am looking for a dramatic change in this area in particular. Employers know what is needed for the workplace. They can provide curriculum and expectations for students to ensure they have all the skills that will invest them in success later in life.

Due to Sarah Palin's incredibly short time in office, I have been unable to find much more information regarding ABC Schools or her relationship with teachers or her education policies as Governor. Please share any info you have with me via this blog.

This just in... (added 4PM PST 8/29/08)
According to The Boston Globe
The Anchorage Daily News reported that Palin said the following about creationism at a debate:

"Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information....Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject -- creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides."

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Joe Knows Foreign Policy

Read this fascinating article about Senator Joe Biden's foreign policy leadership and knowledge.

On September 10, 2001, Senator Biden, then (as now) chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, prophetically warned of the new Bush administration's exclusive focus on missile defenses in a speech at the National Press Club. He said, "We will have diverted all that money to address the least likely threat while the real threats come into this country in the hold of a ship, or the belly of a plane, or are smuggled into a city in the middle of the night in a vial in a backpack."

While you're at it, check out this video clip of Biden reminding John Ashcroft of American values.

Labels: ,

The Line Cut from Dennis Kucinich's DNC Speech

This article from The Hill suggests that the Obama campaign wants all speakers to stress a "rags-to-riches" narrative. The article also states that only one sentence was struck from Congressman Kucinich's Tuesday speech.
They’re asking for another four years — in a just world, they’d get 10 to 20.

Regardless of your politics, the Congressman's DNC speech was entertaining and energetic - well worth watching!

Labels: ,

Monday, August 25, 2008

Shameful Disrespect for History and Elders

The political conventions are like a four-day Superbowl for me. I can't get enough. I am however concerned about the stagecraft and the political calculus that requires the Obama campaign to distance themselves from the proud traditions of the Democratic Party

President Carter, one of two living Democratic Presidents, was met with thunderous applause as he and Mrs. Carter walked across the convention stage, waved and then fled. That's right a former President and Nobel Prize Winner was used as a prop and then made to disappear. The in-house band should have played Ray Stevens' 70s classic, The Streak during his minute in the spotlight.

What was the Obama campaign afraid of? Were they afraid President Carter would call for peace, not war? Were they concerned that he would call for economic justice, racial equality, disease eradication, civil rights, human rights or an end to torture?

Soon after President Carter was whisked off to an undisclosed secure location, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. took the stage.

He got to speak as a reward for throwing his father, Jesse Jackson, Sr. under the bus. How shameful it was when he publicly chastised his father for personal political gain. Congressman Jackson invoked the bloody battle for voting rights in Selma, Alabama and the heroic leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while expecting the audience to forget that his father worked tirelessly and risked his life for decades in order to help America "rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." Reverend Jackson was in Selma and with Dr. King on that fateful balcony

Jesse Jackson, Sr. endorsed Barack Obama for President nearly two years ago. The reward for his loyalty is that neither he, Congressman Charles Rangel or Congressman John Lewis were invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention.

In fact, Senator Obama can't seem to be photographed in the same room with the civil rights leaders on whose shoulders he stands. Without the heroism and sacrifice of this greatest generation, Obama's presidential nomination would have been impossible. Without Jesse Jackson's historic presidential campaigns and the millions of new voters he registered, Barack Obama would not be a viable nominee.

While the Obama campaign pretends that racism is a prehistoric memory, they cannot be associated with leading African American leaders who risked life and limb to make racial equality possible.

It's all very sad. This denial of history, elders and expertise is reminiscent of the edublogosphere and so much of our culture where youth and immediacy are over-valued.

I have contributed to the Obama campaign and I will vote for him in November. However, I won't be half as proud as when I puled the lever for Jesse Jackson, Sr. in 1984 - the first time I was old enough to vote in a presidential primary election.

At least Ted Kennedy got the attention and respect he deserves. It was glorious to see the enormous smile on Senator Biden's face as Senator Kennedy spoke and delighted the delegates in the arena.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Web 2.Cola

Extend your PBD (personal beverage democracy) and order bottles of Cola featuring your favorite Presidential candidate. Now, thanks to the wisdom of the crowds, you - lonely blogger, can also be a candidate for POTUS, if only virtually via soda bottles.

The web truly does change everything in revolutionary ways.

Give me liberty or give me root beer
- Lawrence Lessig

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Petty & Pathetic Show of Disrespect and Tact

I realize that many of my fellow Americans are racists and that Barack Obama's poll numbers drop anytime "race" is an issue. One pundit joked (half-heartedly) that Senator Obama will be disavowing Nelson Mandela by November.

Here's another fine example of how the presumptive Democratic nominee is bending over backwards to avoid being associated with the previous generations' civil rights leadership. Congressman Charles Rangel, the highest-ranking Democrat in Congress is being kept off the Democratic National Convention program because he supported Senator Clinton's bid for the nomination.

The Obama campaign is denying House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel a speaking role at this month's Democratic National Convention - a move those close to the powerhouse Harlem congressman view as a spiteful snub... But they were told that the 78-year-old congressman's support for Clinton earned him a place at the end of the line behind Barack Obama's loyalists - even if Rangel played a crucial part in prodding Clinton to abandon her presidential bid in June.

This snub supports my concern regarding Obama's tactical ability after he wins the Presidency. Does he have relations with the powerful Congressional leaders required to make "change?" You would think that the guy responsible for tax policy would be a good friend to have.
Read the entire story here.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Read the rest of the article here...

Labels: , , ,

Monday, August 11, 2008

John McCain's Wikipedia Problem?

A Wikipedia editor notices some similarities between Sen. John McCain's speech today on the crisis in Georgia and the Wikipedia article on the country Georgia. They appear similar enough that most people would consider parts of McCain's speech to be derived from Wikipedia.

Read the rest of the article here...

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Paris Hilton for President!

She is a modern genius! You have got to watch this video clip!!

Article about Paris Hilton's need to respond to John McCain

Link to the video below

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Paris is tougher, quicker, funnier, more media savvy and hotter than Obama too!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wow! Moveon.Org Must Think We're Really Stupid!

As Bluto (Senator McCain) runs lying ads attacking Senator Obama for dissing "the troops," the left is running a middle-school-quality stoner video for "young people."

Way to go Net Roots. So funny, a voter will be insulted! You guys rock!

Won't it be ironic when the Democrats lose the presidential election? LOL! ROTFL!

Ah gah gah ga gah gah gah gah gahhh! Hey, Olive!

Labels: ,

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Watch John McCain Squirm!

Ladies, be sure to vote early and often for John McCain. He's on your side. Really!

Labels: ,

Monday, May 12, 2008

Why has There Been So Little Discussion of This in the Primaries?

A McCain Court Could Overturn Roe In "Maybe A Year"


Friday, April 4, 2008

Op-Ed Claims Obama to have Exploited the "Race Card"

Princeton history professor, Sean Wilentz, wrote Obama was the First to Play the Race Card, in the Philadelphia Enquirer on March 30th. His arguments, including the following are quite compelling.

Although Wright had until recently been obscure to the American public, political insiders and reporters have long known about him. On March 6, 2007, the New York Times reported that Obama had disinvited Wright from speaking at his announcement because, as Wright said Obama told him, "You can get kind of rough in the sermons." By then, conservative commentators had widely denounced Wright. His performances in the pulpit were easily accessible on DVD, direct from his church. But Clinton, despite her travails, elected to remain silent.

Instead, she had to fight back against a deliberately contrived strategy to make her and her husband look like race-baiters. Obama's supporters and operatives, including his chief campaign strategist David Axelrod, seized on accurate and historically noncontroversial statements and supplied a supposedly covert racist subtext that they then claimed the calculating Clinton campaign had inserted.

In December, Bill Shaheen, a Clinton campaign co-chair in New Hampshire, wondered aloud whether Obama's admitted youthful abuse of cocaine might hurt him in the general election. Obama's strategists insisted that Shaheen's mere mention of cocaine was suggestive and inappropriate - even though the scourge of cocaine abuse has long cut across both racial and class lines. Pro-Obama press commentators, including New York Times columnist Frank Rich, then whipped the story into a full racial subtext, charging that the Clintons had, in Rich's words, "ghettoized" Obama "into a cocaine user."

Read the rest of Professor Wilentz's Op-ed piece.

Labels: ,

Obama Repeats Bush Admin Mistruths About 9/11

Kristin Breitweiser, one of the prominent 9/11 widows who forced the government to create the 9/11 Commission, writes in the Huffington Post that presidential candidate, Senator Obama, repeats the patently untrue Bush Administration story about the 9/11 attacks.

OBAMA: Oh, well, the--I don't think anybody predicted 9/11. And, so, we don't know what kinds of circumstances are going to come up.

Yup. That's right, Barack Obama glibly stated that he didn't "think anybody predicted 9/11."

Some thoughts:

1. Maybe Obama needs a tutorial from former Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, who just endorsed him yesterday. Heck, even Hamilton knows and has to acknowledge that 9/11 was predictable...

Read the rest of the article, 9/11: Where Barack Obama and Condi Rice Sound Alarmingly Alike.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Christopher Hitchens on Barack Obama

"You often hear it said, of some political or other opportunist, that he would sell his own grandmother if it would suit his interests. But you seldom, if ever, see this notorious transaction actually being performed, which is why I am slightly surprised that Obama got away with it so easily. (Yet why do I say I am surprised? He still gets away with absolutely everything.)"

Read the entire essay, Blind Faith, by Christopher Hitchens.

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Oil Man" Bush Causes Gas Prices to More than Triple

Further analysis here...


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Clinton Aide Calls Obama a PooPoo Head!

Although she was my 5th or 6th choice at the start of the Presidential Primary season, I now support Senator Clinton over Senator Obama. However, the first Obama decision that impressed me was selecting Samantha Power as a foreign policy advisor. Power is a brilliant and courageous expert, scholar and journalist who speaks truth to power. (See her blog with video of recent television appearances)

Power's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, is fantastic and holds accountable the United States Congress and the Clinton administration for its inaction and deadly impact on the Rwandan Genocide. Power did some research about Senator Obama and offered to quit her Harvard job and do anything, including answering phones to help him. Isn't this the sort of democratic idealism on which our system is based?

Appointing someone of Power's stature to his campaign team offered me with hope about Obama's leadership ability and revealed Power's desire to work to make the world a better place.
But then IT happened!

In an off-the-record interview, promoting her new book, with the Scotsman newspaper in Scotland. Professor Power referred to Hillary Clinton as - wait for it - "a monster."

Monster... Should such a petty slur force a leading advisor to resign and apologize? Worst of all, Obama failed the leadership test by throwing his friend and advisor, Ms. Power, under the bus and refusing to defend or protect her. This is akin to when Bill Clinton abandoned his long-time friend Lani Guinier as the nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, despite her remarkable talents and accomplishments, because his enemies called her a radical.

Don't parents refer routinely to their toddlers as monsters? Isn't this the sort of harmless barb (or term of endearment) six year-olds exchange? When did we become such pathetic babies?

I suspect the truth is that members of Congress called for Power's dismissal because is an articulate fearless critic of their deadly effect of their policies overseas, not for her Clinton comment.

Politics ain't beanbag. NPR recently presented a story in which foreign correspondents covering our Primary elections were startled by the civility and post-debate hugging demonstrated between Obama and Clinton. After all, in many countries you murder your opponents and their supporters. Is calling someone a monster, off-the-record, a death-penalty offense? Should Billy Shaheen have been forced out of the Clinton campaign for saying that the Republicans will ask Barack Obama about his past drug-use, especially since Obama wrote about the issue in his own autobiography?

Loyalty toward friends and advisors is one of the character traits I look for in a political candidate.

Why are we so juvenile and thin-skinned? Can someone please dial down the fake outrage machine? The world is a dangerous place. I'd hate to think that we'd attack another country because its leader called our President "funny face."

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Great and Witty Hillary Clinton Interview

Labels: ,

Monday, March 3, 2008

8 Year-old Pundit Predicts the Ohio & Texas Primaries

I just got off the phone with my 8 year-old nephew, "Homer," During our conversation, I asked him who he thought would win tomorrow's Texas and Ohio Primaries."

Without hesitation, "Homer" offered, "I think they will each win one." Followed by, "Hillary and Obama are the two best candidates I've ever seen."

Take that Chris Matthews!

Labels: , ,

Ambassador Wilson on Obama's Hollow "Judgment" and Empty Record

Former US Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson writes the following about Senator Obama's foreign policy credentials in The Huffington Post...

I was involved in that debate in every step of the effort to prevent this senseless war and I profoundly resent Obama's distortion of George Bush's folly into Hillary Clinton's responsibility. I was in the middle of the debate in Washington. Obama wasn't there. I remember what was said and done. In fact, the administration lied in order to secure support for its war of choice, including cooking the intelligence and misleading Congress about the intent of the authorization. Senator Clinton's position, stated in her floor speech, was in favor of allowing the United Nations weapons inspectors to complete their mission and to build a broad international coalition. Bush rejected her path. It was his war of choice.

There is no credible reason to conclude that Obama would have acted any differently in voting for the authorization had he been in the Senate at that time. Indeed, he has said as much. The supposed intuitive judgment he exercised in his 2002 speech was nothing more than the pander of a local election campaign, just as his current assertions of superior judgment and scurrilous attacks on Hillary Clinton are a pander to those who now retroactively think the war was a mistake without bothering to acknowledge Senator Clinton's actual position at the time and instead fantasizing that she was nothing but a Bush clone. Obama willfully encourages and plays off this falsehood.
Read the entire article here.

You might also enjoy Ambassador Wilson's article, "The Real Hillary I Know -- and the Unreal Obama."

For the record, I was against the war in Iraq too, but I didn't claim to have a crystal ball.

Labels: , ,

Economist Paul Krugman on Obama's Electability

If Mr. Obama secures the nomination, the honeymoon will be over as he faces an opponent whom much of the press loves as much as it hates Mrs. Clinton. If Mrs. Clinton can do nothing right, Mr. McCain can do nothing wrong — even when he panders outrageously, he’s forgiven because he looks uncomfortable doing it. Honest.

Bob Somerby of the media-criticism site predicts that Mr. Obama will be “Dukakised”: “treated as an alien, unsettling presence.” That sounds all too plausible.

If Mr. Obama does make it to the White House, will he actually deliver the transformational politics he promises? Like the faith that he can win an overwhelming electoral victory, the faith that he can overcome bitter conservative opposition to progressive legislation rests on very little evidence — one productive year in the Illinois State Senate, after the Democrats swept the state, and not much else.

Read the entire New York Times Op-Ed piece.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 29, 2008

The American Bigotry Hierarchy

Ask Mitt Romney about the hostility towards Mormonism across the Christian evangelical community and observe how Republicans embrace the tactic of repeating Senator Obama's (Islamic-sounding) middle name and watch widespread bigotry crawl out of its corner.

As of February 29, 2008...

The American Bigotry Hierarchy is:

• Religion
• Gender
• Race

Let's play the Family Feud!

By the way, if Barack Obama were a Muslim, Jew or Mormon, would he be disqualified to be President?

As we congratulate ourselves for voting for an African American, we ought to recognize that ignorance and bigotry remain a large stain on the American fabric.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Arrogant Pundits Shill for Obama

In tonight's non-binding Florida Democratic Party, one million VOTERS may have cast their ballot for Senator Clinton.

Keith Olbmermann, Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough on MSNBC made all sorts of juvenile snarky remarks about what they view as Clinton's phyrric victory. They talked over her speech and cut away in the middle of it so they could tell the country that a million votes and substantial victory over Senator Obama do not matter.

CNN didn't broadcast Clinton's speech at all. This is inexcusable!

It's not as if the windbags on the cable news networks have lots of Britney Spears stories to discuss. They each dedicate hour upon hour to Florida Primary coverage.

In case you are wondering how one million votes cannot matter. Here is a synopsis...

Last spring, the Florida Republican Governor and Legislature decided to violate party rules and move the state presidential party from March until January in order to have a greater impact on the process. Both parties threatened to decertify the primaries, but only the Democrats decided to play by their established rules. Therefore, Florida delegates are not supposed to be seated at the Democratic convention, thereby making the primary a straw poll rather than delegate-awarding primary.

All of the Democratic candidates promised not to campaign in Florida, yet Barack Obama broke that pledge and ran frequent commercials across the state (more here & here). I personally saw them last week while working in Florida.

Sure, I wish that Senator Clinton was not asking for the Florida delegates to count now that she won. The voters of Florida should sue to reclaim their franchise. However, since her opponent is getting so much favorable press and so clearly broke the party rules regarding campaigning in Florida, Clinton had very little choice, but to give voice to the wishes of the electorate who chose her by a huge margin.

One would think that an activist with a commitment to civil rights, like Senator Obama would 1) play by electoral rules and not run expensive commercials across Florida and 2) fight to make sure that the votes of Floridians count.

By the way, not one pundit pointed out that Senator Clinton's Florida thank you speech was made without the need for the TelePrompTer relied upon by Senator Obama.

Read more about the Florida Primary mischief at

PS: Rudolph "9/11" Giuliani (who came in 3rd in his must-win primary) just said that he ran a "positive uplifting campaign." Those TV commercials featuring the attack on the World Trade Center didn't seem uplifting to me. MSNBC is running Rudolph Giuliani's entire speech. I guess losers deserve more respect.

Tough guy Rudy just got choked up when he said, "Reagan." The biggest loser just came out for school choice (including home schooling and parochial schools too). Great stuff!

This just in! MSNBC cut away from Guiliani (we'll have to wait for whether he stays in or quits like he did when Hillary Clinton won her Senate seat). They cut away for the Great Rudy for 2nd place Romney's speech. That must really sting.

Romney just said that America is competing against "countries like Asia and India." Perhaps Obama can lend Mitt his TelePrompTer?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Troubled by the Similarities Between GW Bush and Obama

I am a lifelong Democrat and will support the eventual nominee. I like Obama a lot. I just think that Americans should know what he believes and what he would do if elected. I have long worked for minority candidates and underdogs. I was 1 percent of Jesse Jackson's vote in 1984 in my hometown and supported Geraldine Ferraro and Jane Harmon. It would be fantastic for an African American to be President of the United States.

However, the similarities between George W. Bush and Obama scare me.

Both had Ivy League educations, put on fake southern accents, go with their "gut" feelings over facts, dismiss experience and have never done anything before.

Both President Bush and Senator Obama have campaigned as "Uniters." Haven't we learned that lesson?

I'm not looking forward to 4-8 years of amateurs and staff running the country.

This all plays into the Andrew Keen stuff about the cult of the amateur and extends the growing anti-intellectualism in our culture.

The system is indeed broken when one junior high school popularity contest causes people with a lifetime of expertise to drop out before a vote is cast. Biden, Richardson, Dodd, Clinton and even Kucinich have a record of accomplishments that Obama does not share.

Labels: , ,

If Obama Wins, Thank Howard Dean!

If Barack Obama happens to win the his party's nomination and takes the White House it is the result of Howard Dean's leadership as party chair and first candidate to to use the social aspects of the Web successfully for organizational purposes and to excite young voters.

In 2004, Howard Dean tapped into the anger over the war in Iraq and contempt of the Constitution displayed by the Bush Administration. He said that NCLB was a disaster. He was right on many of these issues and more. He revolutionized online fundraising and introduced the political world to blogs and

After being destroyed by an open mic and a giddy mainstream media, Governor Dean became Chair of the Democratic National Committee. This represented the first time that the party leaned left and moved away from the Democratic Leadership wing of the party led so successfully by the Clintons.

When Dean became party chair, he promised to have the Democratic party compete in all 50 states for the first time in generations. I seem to remember that the old guard of the party thought that was a terrible idea. The party has gone on to build an effective grass-roots machine all across America.

Obama is now taking advantage of Howard Dean's vision, contempt for the Clintons and brilliant organizational talents. I just wish Obama had Dean's courage and willingness to address policy with specificity.

Labels: , , , , ,

Why Do Independents Get to Vote in Party Primaries?

If you are not a member of a political party, because you are too lazy or cowardly to commit, at least for one election, stay home.

I switched parties for one election, in order to participate in a primary. It took a few minutes in both directions. I made the effort and played by the rules.

Primaries are not run by America, they are run by the political parties for their members. I'm sick of "independents" creating mischief in the election when they didn't make the effort to join a party.

Independents should stay home and watch Matlock reruns until next November!

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Republican Lie on Healthcare

I just watched the Republican Presidential candidates yuck it up about the healthcare disaster in this country. There was no discussion of the marketing costs or bureaucratic excess or greed causing 47 million men, women and children from being uninsured or underinsured. Mitt Romney thinks Americans lack health insurance because of personal irresponsibility and greed.

Moderator, Charlie Gibson, asked, "Why we are the only industrialized country that does not insure all of its citizens?" The G.O.P. candidates all blurted out in unison,
"How come everybody from around the world comes here when they need medical care?"

That canard is a big stinkin' shameless LIE. I've never seen any data suggesting that foreigners are beating down the doors of our hospitals, but even if they are, it is only rich people who can afford to travel to America for medical care. (Given our increasingly inhospitable immigration policies, I doubt many sick people, even rich ones, are coming to the USA for treatment).

We need a system that protects the health of all Americans, not just wealthy ones.

Labels: , , , ,