The Democratic Texas primary is shaping up to be the one to watch on March 4th. The polls are indicating that Texas is failing to live up to the expectations of the Clinton campaign. Prior to the debate in Ohio last Tuesday, Clinton had a 3 point lead in Texas.
Today's Rueters/CSPAN/Zogby poll has Senator Barack Obama leading by 6 points with 48% to 42% for Senator Hillary Clinton. RealClearPolitics.com has the latest Texas polls: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/tx/texas_democratic_primary-312.html
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a former Democratic candidate for President has indicated that he will endorse either Clinton or Obama today. While endorsements do not always result in actual votes, this is one that both candidates covet. Governor Richardson's influence in the Hispanic community is considerable and the demographics in Texas indicate a significant number of Hispanics registered as Democrats.
However, realize when looking at the polls, often 10% of the voters are left out which means some are still deciding who to support. Also remember the polls indicated a win for Obama in New Hampshire. The win in New Hampshire was important to Clinton but not as important as a win in Texas next Tuesday. Women, who make up approximately 57% of the Democrats voting in the primaries, are who helped Clinton win in New Hampshire - she will need them again in Texas.
Also causing some angst for the Clinton campaign is yet another wrinkle in the method of determining the allocation of delegates to the Democratic candidates. In Texas, some of the districts have higher proportional delegates based on previous election turn out of voters. Many pundits have said they feel this favors the Obama campaign.
Regardless, Texas has the most delegates of any of the states holding primaries on March 4th with 228 which include the superdelegates. Contrary to what many are saying that Senator Clinton needs to win big in Texas and Ohio, what she needs is just the win.
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Friday, February 29, 2008
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:34 AM
The recall last week of more than 143 million pounds of beef distributed by the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. of Chino, California is having ripple effects throughout the country, including Maryland. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, St. Mary's County and Charles County school officials have reported having received the recalled beef products, some of which already may have been consumed by students.
This recall -- the largest beef recall in U.S. history -- raises larger questions about the food supply and what the government is and is not doing to protect it. The USDA, which authorizes recalls of meat and poultry products, has issued five such recalls already in 2008, in addition to 58 recalls in 2007. This leaves us - the consumers - with a big question: What can we do to ensure the safety of the food we eat?
I find this to be a daunting question. We are constantly bombarded with stories about how certain foods and food addititives are either unhealthy or out right harmful, causing anything from ADHD to cancer. On February 20, 2008, The Collaborative on Health and the Environment's Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative published a "Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorder," which found that artificial food colors and additives can cause conduct disorders and have been shown in studies to cause increased hyperactivity in three-year-old children.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer also recently reported on a peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, (funded by the Environmental Protection Agency), which found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods contained biological markers of organophosphates from pesticides.
The good news is that when the children switched from conventional foods to organic foods, the traces of pesticides were not found. According to Chensheng Lu, the author of the study and a Professor at Emory University's School of Public Health, "Once you switch from conventional food to organic, the pesticides (malathion and chlorpyrifos) that we can measure in the urine disappears. The level returns immediately when you go back to the conventional diets." The article includes a helpful chart listing the amount of pesticides detected in common produce.
Such news leaves me bewildered. Walking the aisles of the grocery store, I sometimes find my head spinning with questions: Organic? Free-range? Cage-free? "All-natural" Locally-grown? I usually end up leaving the store with a mix of confusion after reading labels that I don't understand and guilt for buying the food anyway. So, how does one make heads or tails of all of this information? The following definitions may help:
Organic: The National Organic Program of the USDA regulates the standards for food that is labeled as "organic." Organic food is food that is produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing radiation. Beginning on October 21, 2002, any producer or handler who wants to sell, label, or represent their products as "100 percent organic," "organic," or "made with organic [specified ingredients or food group(s)]" must be certified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent. Contrary to conventional thinking (no pun intended), the The National Organic Program of the USDA states that the term "organic" is not synomous with "GM-free " or "natural."
Free Range or Free Roaming: In order for a producer to label a poultry product (the term does not apply to beef or pork) as "free range" or "free roaming," the USDA requires that the producers demonstrate that the poultry has been allowed "access to the outside."
Natural: This label may be applied to products containing no artificial ingredients or added color. The products may only be minimally processed. The label must explain the use of the term nature (e.g., "no added colorings" or "no artificial ingredients").
No Antibiotics: This term may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if there is sufficient documentation provided to the USDA demonstrating that the animals were raised without antibiotics.
See: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Meat_&_Poultry_Labeling_Terms/index.asp for more information.
Some say that despite federal regulations, the use of labels isn't enforced adequately so you never really know if what you see is what you get. Given all of the recent food and toy recalls and the myriad of stories about the hidden chemicals within our food, I find that being my own advocate by getting informed is the only way I can feel in control over my own food safety.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:48 AM
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:24 AM
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
John Lewis, a civil rights icon to most of us, finally made it official. As a superdelegate, Mr. Lewis changed his vote from Senator Hillary Clinton to Senator Barack Obama. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/27/civil-rights-icon-lewis-o_n_88757.htmlÂ
This is a story that was first reported in a story in the New York Times over a week ago. Representative John Lewis denied the story at the time.
Will this be the impetus for other superdelegates to change their vote? Superdelegates have been coming under increased pressure on how to cast their vote by organizations such as MoveON.org and DemocracyForAmerica.com. Both of these organization have sent thousands of signed petitions to superdelegates as well as the Democratic National Committee.
This is not what the Clinton campaign needed to hear less than a week before the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4th.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:29 PM
Steve and Vanessa Lopez
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:11 AM
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Let's see how they do tonight, one week before the March 4th primaries. How will Clinton come across tonight is the biggest question. They are sitting right next to each other - how cozy!
First question to Clinton - you went from nice to attack mode - why? Clinton points out innacuracies on her health care plan and on NAFTA put out by Obama in mailers. Obama's plan does not cover 15 million, we should not use innacurate information. Williams asks her about the Obama photo being circulated in african garb - she denies any knowledge it came from her campaign.
Obama - discusses the mandate aspect of her health care plan and that she has not said how she would enforce this aspect. Her campaign has focused negative campaigns against him and he has not whined about it. Clinton likens his mailing to something the Republicans would have sent out. She believes in universal health care. Obama - how will she enforce the mandate? Clinton is staying on this topic, cuts off Brian Williams from asking his next question.
Obama is replying and the Hillary smirk is appearing as well as she is shaking her head no.
Next topic is NAFTA - now Clinton is complaining about receiving the first question each time - references SNL and their skit - maybe we should ask Obama if he is comfortable and if he needs a pillow. This goes over like a lead balloon. as to NAFTA, we need to have a trade time out. Cleveland Plain dealer said Obama's mailers were innacurate. Obama - Clinton has shifted positions on this and this is good but she started out saying it would be good for America and it's workers. Russert stays on this subject and nails Clinton on what she said previously. will you get out of NAFTA in 6 months? no, I will renegotiate. Russert continues to say the record is clear on your position that you supported NAFTA. Obama says Clinton's position is a good one and he agrees with a renegotiation with Canada and Mexico.
Russert on Clinton pledge of 5 million jobs. In NY in the 2000 race for Senate she had pledged 200,000 jobs but there had been a net loss of 35,000. How are you going to do this nationwide? She had a good answer about Bush being elected in 2000 was the reason for the net loss in NY.
On foreign policy weakness, Obama does very well here - pointing out his position on Pakistan being right and he was right on Iraq. Clinton tries to attack - Obama willing to meet with dictators, etc. She is just not scoring points so far, yet she continues to try. Now a lengthy discussion on Iraq.
after a break they show a video of Clinton mocking Obama and his speeches - here the Hillary cackle reappears. Obama handles this well and stays on message.
A series of I got you questions asked to each candidate by Russert - Obama and his earlier pledge of public financing and now not agreeing to it with McCain. Clinton, the release of her joint tax return, the release of her schedule papers from her 8 years in the WH. Obama- how about Farrakhan endorsing you. Both candidates handle this ok.
oops, I had to take a phone call - it is wrapping up now. Clinton is talking about why she would make the best President - proud to be the first woman President, wants to be the fighter for the middle class.
My observation was no one hit the home run and Clinton needed it the most. When she attacked Obama early, she did not come across well. The same when she attacked the questioners - a flat response. She also used the fighter statement over and over - If you remember, she used this in the very beginning of her camapign about being able to fight back against the Republican right. Obama did not shine, but he did not have to.
Let the spin begin.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:57 PM
Senator Chris Dodd (conn.) and former democratic candidate for President will endorse Senator Barack Obama today. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8694.html
He is the first of the five guys I was asking about in an earlier post to endorse. The others are Senator Biden, Governor Richardson, former Vice-President candidate John Edwards, and former Vice-President Al Gore.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said over the weekend he will endorse a candidate this week. Early in the democratic primary, it appeared he was being "nice" to Clinton with hopes of a vice-president running mate in his mind. Lately, it is said, he is wavering for he likes Obama as well. His endorsement would help either candidate in Texas for he has the respect of the Latino community.
On the Hollywood star front, Ellen Degeneras endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton last night. Let's see; Oprah for Obama, Degeneras for Clinton, who wins?
Posted by George Wenschhof at 9:37 AM
NBC and the Ohio Democratic Party are sponsoring this debate held at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio. It begins at 9:00 PM ET and continues to 10:30 PM ET. Tim Russert and Brian Williams will be asking the questions.
Make sure you tune in for this is the last debate prior to the March 4th primaries a week from today. Look for Senator Hillary Clinton to take a more forceful approach as she tries to contrast the differences between her and Senator Barack Obama.
I will also be live blogging throughout the debate.
Monday, February 25, 2008
We asked "Should Super Delegates be allowed to choose Democratic Nominee"? The results were overwhelmingly No - 84%, Yes - 11%, and Undecided - 5%
Let's hope the super delegates are not the determining factor in the Democratic Party nomination process this year. More importantly, let's hope the Democratic National Committee eliminates super delegates in future elections and institutes a system that allows the voters to decide their nominee for President.
10:27 AM Here is a column I just read by Geraldine A. Ferraro who was the Democratic Vice-President candidate in 1984. She is a supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton and writes about why she supports super delegates being involved in the democratic nomination process. Ferraro helped create these delegates after the 1980 Presidential election and explains why she feels they are needed. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/25/opinion/25ferraro.html?ref=opinion&pagewanted=print
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:18 AM
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Or is this just "let's get down and dirty and let's rumble", a style more becoming of politics as usual in a tight Democratic nomination for President race. Realizing that Senator Hillary Clinton, must win in Texas and Ohio on March 4th, the campaign is using a positive and negative approach.
Clinton's best moment during the debate last Tuesday in Austin, Texas came in her closing remarks. I noted in my live blogging during the debate that she received a standing ovation when she used the line that the campaign was about the American people. The media picked up on this line as did her campaign staff. This closing remark has been packaged by her campaign staff into video campaign ads which will be used in Ohio and Texas.
Just when you thought she was going to take the positive approach, Clinton attacked Senator Obama with an accusation of using Carl Rove type of dirty tricks. This pertained to mailers the Obama campaign had sent to voters in Ohio. Some pointed out that Clinton's position on universal health care would make everyone pay, even if they could not afford it. While others pointed out that she had supported NAFTA which had contributed to the job losses in Ohio.
The headlines included "Shame on You, Obama" and these were followed by reports that she then said I'll see you in Ohio next Tuesday - that is the day of the debate. Sounds like fighting words to me!
Today, videos have hit the internet with a speech she made in Rhode Island mocking his ability to give a great speech.
Here are the latest Texas Polls in RealClearPolitics.com
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/tx/texas_democratic_primary-312.html which show Clinton with a 3 point lead (a statistical tie) and a 8 point lead in Ohio.
Will these moves light a fire under the Clinton campaign or is it more like acts of desperation from a campaign on the ropes? Let's see what the polling data looks like mid-week.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:18 PM
Ralph Nader announced on "Meet the Press" this morning that he will run as an independent for President. Many Democrats blame him for the loss suffered by Gore in the 2000 election. He also ran in 2004. His battle against corporate greed is one that is attractive to many. However, he has failed to generate any strength in support. Will he have any impact on this year's election? Time will tell
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:07 AM
Saturday, February 23, 2008
The wild and crazy Democratic Party primary season continues and Senator Hillary Clinton is working hard to show no signs that her campaign is on the ropes.
She and representatives of her campaign persist in their efforts to have the delegates from Michigan and Florida seated at the Democratic convention when it convenes in August in Denver. It's a good argument for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) should not have taken punitive action against these states, that in effect disenfranchise their voters.
There are a total of 366 delegates in Florida and Michigan and they equal 9% of the 4,049 delegates up for grabs in the Democratic Party nomination process. The candidates agreed not to campaign in these states, but to ignore and not count such a large number of delegates in such a close nominating process would be a travesty. A do-over primary in these states could yet still happen and the results could determine the nominee.
Here are the latest RealClearPolitics.com numbers on the delegates won so far:
Senator Barack Obama has opened up about a 100 total delegate lead that includes super delegates: 1374 - 1275. Interestingly, 375 of the 797 available super delegates have not been recorded as to which candidate has their vote.
The four states holding primaries on March 4th have a total which includes super delegates of 444 delegates: Texas - 228, Ohio - 161, Rhode Island - 32, Vermont - 23. Senator Clinton does not have to win big in Ohio and Texas as many pundits have claimed but she does need to win to counter the momentum Senator Obama has built. The Clinton campaign just needs to stop the inevitable tag some have placed on Obama and wins, regardless of the margin, in two large states will do that. The Clinton campaign will then be able to hammer on the point that Obama has been unable to win the big states the Democrats must win in November.
Without a clear winner following the March 4th primaries, it is doubtful either candidate will be able to obtain the necessary 2025 delegates to win the nomination. This is because only a little less than 750 delegates will be available for the candidates to win in the remaining primaries which conclude in Puerto Rico on June 7th.
Both campaigns are continuing to report large campaign contributions so it is unlikely lack of funds would cause either candidate to drop out of the race. This could easily lead to do-over primaries in Michigan and Florida in the middle of June. So the Clinton campaign's insistence that these states have their delegates seated at the convention could turn out to be a very wise strategy.
Meanwhile, Clinton has gone on the offensive accusing Obama today of taking a page out of Carl Rove's play book with misleading mailings on her position on universal health care and NAFTA to voters in Ohio. http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2008/02/clinton_obama_is_untested_just.html
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:00 PM
Here is the Politico.com Sunday talk show tip sheet: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8644.html
Will Ralph Nader enter the Presidential race one more time as an Independent? He has set up a Presidential exploratory committee and has a website: http://www.naderexplore08.org/index.html
He appears on "Meet The Press" with Tim Russert.
Nader's lifetime crusade against big business and fight for consumer rights has been admirable. In my younger days, he was a hero - especially with his book, was it called "unsafe at any speed"? about the Corvair and it's rear engine. My older sister had one (1964 model if I remember correctly) that I borrowed for the senior trip to Ocean City, Maryland. Anyway, it's time for Nader to quit the harmful games of running for President.
Senator Joseph Biden is on "This Week". Maybe someone will ask him why he has not endorsed a Democratic candidate for President.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Who are these five guys? They are all former Democratic Presidential candidates: former Vice President Al Gore, Senator Joe Biden (Del.), Senator Chris Dodd (Conn.), former Senator John Edwards (N.C.), and Governor Bill Richardson (N.M.). All of them are senior elected democrats who receive respect from the voters.
Pretty amazing that not one of them have weighed in with their support for either Senator Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) or Senator Barack Obama (Illinois). In such a close race, where less than 100 delegates separate the two Democratic candidates, why are these five guys holding back their endorsements?
The reasons are varied and the rumors run rampant throughout the media and Internet. The failure of these guys to weigh in and endorse a candidate could have an impact on who wins the nomination.
One reason would be they want to be the statesmen that are needed in the democratic party in case of a broker-ed convention. Without having taken a position, they will be in a strong position as party leaders to help provide guidance toward finding a solution.
Another reason, is some may be trying to hedge their bets, stay out of the fray and hope that the democratic nominee, after winning the Presidency, will appoint them to a important cabinet position.
John Edwards suspended his campaign allowing him to maintain control of the 26 pledged delegates he had won. Although every delegate is important in this year's nomination process, he has limited influence. What does Edwards want - to be the Vice-President candidate again? It is doubtful this would happen. Perhaps, Secretary of HUD.
The most intriguing rumors surround Al Gore. What if Senator Clinton is able to stay in the race after March 4th and all the way to June without either her or Senator Obama reaching the magic 2025 number of delegates? What if domestic and international events unfold to dramatically impact how the voter views the candidates by the time the Democratic party convenes their convention the end of August? Would Gore suddenly become the one favored to be the nominee? Very unlikely but an interesting thought.
In the meantime, the silence of these five men remains deafening.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:17 PM
Thursday, February 21, 2008
As I said in an earlier post, this Debate and the one next week in Ohio is much more critical for Senator Clinton than they are for Senator Obama. Let's see how they do!
The crowd at University of Teaxas appears fired up! John King -CNN and Jorge Ramos - Univision will be asking some questions. Campbell Brown is the moderator.
Question from King as to the problems of the economy and how the two of them differ - Obama - stop giving breaks to companies who ship jobs overseas, end tax breaks for the rich, create tax breaks for the working men and women making 75,000 or less. In the area of trade it should be viewed through main street and not wall street.
Clinton - wants a trade time out, tougher import standards on imports to stop the problems with toys, etc. Called again for a 90 day moritorium on foreclosures and a freeze on interest rates for 5 years. Also called on investment on our infrastucture. Increase green methods in all areas - We need to be the innovation nation - good line!
On immigration - both agreed on comprehensive reform. Clinton- tougher border control, carck down on employers, more federal help to communities providing services, work with neighbors in the south to help create jobs, create a pathway to citizenship. Obama - also important to fix the legal immigration system that is backlogged and not working. We need to be sure we are not discriminating.
Border fence question - Clinton voted for this fence - do you still agree? Clinton talked about working with local communities - may be areas that need fencing and other areas where other technology could be utilized. Obama - the idea that we are going to deport 12 million people is ridiculous. We need comprehensive reform - need to pass the dream act allow children to be able to receive education.
ESL - Clinton has voted against english as the official language but english does remain important and should remain as the unifying language of the country. Obama - everyone should learn english but everyone child should also be learning a second language - it is a new world today and the ability to communicate across borders is important.
after a break - King asks Clinton to explain the stements she makes on the campaign - she offers solutions and actions v. slogans and good words. Here is where Clinton iterjected where one of Obama's supporters had recently been unable to list one accomplishment he had achieved - a low blow on her part.
Obama rattled off plenty of results over the years. Clinton has said lets get real - is she not recognizing the support of the millions of people who are supporting him. Time to end the bickering and focus on solutions. Reason the campaign has done so well, need to inspire people for change. She lost in her exchange here.
Questions is now on Clinton accusing Obama on plagarism from Mass. Gov. Obama does well with this, the Gov. is his co-chair of his campaign and this is just silliness - Clinton looks bad here. lets lift the country up and not tear each other down.
Clinton stayed with the plagarizism - was booed by the crowd Now she is trying to show differences between the two on health care and other issues and received a good response. Obama - universal health care is important - tried to explain his difference with Clinton's plan - he stumbled a little here. he then criticized her approach to bringing about health care reform back in 1993.
Ramos asked question pertaining to Clinton accusation about being able to lead on day one. Clinton went back to health care issues ignoring the question. a debate ensued between the two as to who's plan is better. Ramos asks the questions again about being able to lead on day one. Clinton did not answer this very well. Obama brings in the fact that he opposed the war in Iraq and she did not. He also points out about his position on Pakistan and Musharraf being correct.
Another break - probably the last - by the way, the candidates are sitting next to each other. King - secrecy of the Bush administration. Obama -you are responsible for 91 million in earmarks and have not provided the info - Obama - not true, am happy to provide any and all info to you. In favor of more disclosure. Clinton - responsible for 342 million in earmarks does McCain have a edge on you here. No, he supported the irresponsible Bush economic plan.
Ramos - on super delegates - pelosi opposed to them selecting the candidate-clinton by-passed the answer with it will all work itself out. Obama - important the voters will is heard.
Last question - a moment that most tested you in a crisis. Obama - childhood learning to take responsiblity of his own actions, learning to bring people together throughout his life. Clinton - I lived through some challenges as you all know - huge applause. Her hits are nothing compared to those others experience every day. A good line here. A standing applause when she said this election is about the American people. A strong ending by Clinton.
Well, it was mostly a nice, nice debate. Clinton tried to attack on the plagarism charge but that went nowhere as Mass. Gov. Patrick was his campaign co-chair. Clinton ended on an upbeat but she hardly did anything to put a dent in Obama's momentum. Obama came across very confident throughout the debate.
Let the spin begin....
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:32 PM
From Austin, Texas, CNN - Univision along with the University of Texas will sponsor this debate less than two weeks before the March 4th primaries. It begins at 8:00 PM ET and will run until 9:30 PM ET. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/02/11/texas-showdown-dems-agree-to-cnn-univision-debate/
Make sure you tune in! Senator Clinton's campaign realizes they must stop the momentum Senator Obama has built with ten straight victories. Will Clinton continue with the mantra that she is the most experienced and the one who is most ready to lead on day one? You would think by now the Clinton campaign would change this strategy and the rhetoric that goes with it, for their current approach has not been working with the voters.
The Obama campaign spin since Tuesday's elections is they now have a 150+ lead in pledged delegates and it will be almost impossible for Clinton to catch up. Of course, they are forgetting the super delegates where Clinton currently has a 70 delegate lead which puts her behind by only 89 in the total delegates. The Clinton campaign is also calling for delegates to be awarded from Michigan and Florida where they are claiming they have a huge lead even though no democratic candidate campaigned in these DNC sanctioned states. The Clinton campaign is also putting out their spin that Obama has yet to win a big state, which Clinton has and that these are needed in order for the Democrats to win in November.
Stay tuned, for regardless of what the Clinton campaign may say, she needs to win both Texas and Ohio on March 4th. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has to be hoping that the nomination process takes care of itself without their having to intervene. Michigan and Florida do-over primaries would be expensive and a rules fight over super delegates would be a huge distraction on the nomination of the democratic candidate for President.
One more debate will be held prior to the March 4th primaries. It will be held at Cleveland State University in Ohio next Tuesday the 26th. We will post more information on this next week.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:03 AM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The New York Times in a story that will appear in their written edition tomorrow, discusses concern aides had with a relationship Republican Senator John McCain (Ariz.) had with a lobbyist back in the 2000 campaign.
The lobbyist Vicki Iseman and McCain have both denied any inappropriate behavior. Supposedly, this information was known some time ago but for some reason is coming out now after McCain has more or less wrapped up the Republican nomination.
Reportedly, one of the sources for the story was John Weaver, an advisor to the McCain campaign who was let go last year. The McCain campaign has issued statements to the effect that this is a part of a hit and run smear campaign.
It is doubtful either of the Democratic candidates will weigh in on this story. This is the first of these "type" of stories to appear in this Presidential campaign. It will be interesting to see if this story has "legs" as they say in the media or if it just evaporates if voters view it as more nonsense.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:00 PM
Steve and Vanessa Lopez
Inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty are the
words - - "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your
teeming shore. Send these, the homeless,
tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden
I propose erecting signs with the following message at
each of the Frederick County lines with the following
message. "Whether you're here, right or wrong,
Unless you are White and Christian you don't belong.
We don't want you crossing the Frederick County line.
If we catch you, we're going to shoot you back to
where you came from. We have 287(g) and the Criminal
Alien Program to light your way out.
I just don't feel welcome here anymore. What happened?
My feelings are a result of several recent events in
Frederick County, Maryland. The words and actions of
Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, and the
Walkersville Town council make me feel unwelcome in my
Without a public discussion, the Frederick County
Sheriff's Office signed a Memorandum of Agreement with
the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) which
delegates 287(g) and Criminal Alien Program authority
to ten Frederick County sheriff's deputies and sixteen
corrections officers. Sheriff Jenkins' justification
is that his constituents support his efforts. Funny,
English may be my second language, but when I looked
up the word constituent in the dictionary it is
defined as a resident of a district or member of a
group represented by an elected official.
I guess that makes me and my wife Sheriff Jenkins' constituents.
Yeah the Sheriff is meeting with his constituents in
Thurmont, Braddock Heights, Sabillasville, etc.. to
hear their concerns. There seems to be a noticeable
trend where the Sheriff is visiting places where the
population is at least 94% White.
Although the Sheriff assures us that there will not be
any racial profiling of Hispanics and Latinos. He said
that ICE supervision will help ensure that profiling
doesn't occur. However, actions speak louder than
words. Sheriff Jenkins has on several occasions asked
people in meetings whether they were "illegal". He
only asks this to people that aren't obviously Anglo.
He has yet to ask anyone with a fair complexion the
Telling me that deputies and corrections officers will
be supervised by ICE, is disconcerting. Just check out
Assistant Secretary of ICE, Julie Myers, posing with
the winner of a Halloween Costume Contest held for ICE
ICE supervising the Sheriff's Office use of the 287(g)
and the Criminal Alien Program only assures me that
profiling, discrimination, and harassment of minority
residents will be rampant. I believe that profiling
will be the primary mechanism for rounding "them" up
and "shooting them back".
Another turn of events that concerns me was the action
of the Walkersville Town Council in Frederick County,
which voted to deny the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's
request to build a recreational and worship center in
Walkersville, Maryland. The reason given is that the
construction of the center would create undue hardship
on the area and that there are insufficient hotels.
Oh really? There are plenty of hotels along Route 15 and
in Frederick, ten minutes away... Now if this were a
some type of Christian Mega Church wanting to build
the same size and type of structure for a comparable
type of use... well now we'd be talking about a whole
different matter. We would probably be hearing about
how this is a tremendous economic opportunity, and we
would probably be breaking ground as I write this column.
Just because I feel unwelcome, doesn't mean I'm going
to move my family. I do think racism, prejudice and
intolerance are learned. Maybe Frederick County
Schools should consider providing diversity education
to all students. Until we live in a fair and just
community; my wife and I choose to stand up to the
forces of intolerance, racism, and prejudice in
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:54 AM
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Here in Maryland, the weather has turned cold again but not as cold or snowy as Wisconsin today where the voters headed to the polls. Then there is Hawaii...well, I can only dream about it! Anyway, as the results come in from the voting today, I will post here. Look for the Hawaii caucus results tomorrow morning for they start at midnight ET
Going into today's caucus in Hawaii and the Wisconsin primary, Senator Barack Obama held a 67 delegate lead over Senator Hillary Clinton. The totals including super delegates were 1302 for Obama and 1235 for Clinton. RealClearPolitics.com keeps a running total:
Wisconsin has a total of 92 delegates of which 18 are super delegates. Hawaii has a total of 29 delegates of which 9 are super delegates. Click on the link above over the next several days to see the delegate split as a result of the vote today. Remember, because of the super delegates and the two-step proportional manner (total vote and vote by district) delegates are awarded, one candidate could perform well in the overall vote but the other candidate could stay close in the delegate count.
Obama is expected to win both states today but there was one poll released yesterday that showed Clinton with a slight lead in Wisconsin. I read where Obama's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng lives in Hawaii and has been helping in the effort there while Chelsie Clinton has been campaigning there on behalf of her mom.
Howard Wolfson, the Clinton campaign communications director has been trying to make a big deal out of Obama using some language attributed to Gov. Deval Patrick from Mass. so we get to see if any of this stuck with any of the voters today:
Clinton has also been asking for debates with Obama and the next one will be on Thursday in Austin, Texas
While Obama has been touting his pledged delegate lead:
The Wisconsin polls close at 9 PM ET but MSNBC has released some early exit polls on the number one issue concerning Dems - Economy - 43%, Iraq - 29%, Health Care - 25%
9:08 PM ET McCain wins Wisconsin Republican primary and claims he is now the nominee.
Early Dem exit polls do not look good for Clinton. 9:17 Pm ET NBC calls it for Obama. Early numbers are showing Obama - 53%, Clinton - 46% It brought back memories, listening to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, a Obama supporter speak about how it was Wisconsin who gave Eugene McCarthy a win over incumbent President Lyndon Johnson that led to his dropping out of the race in 1968. So what kind of effect will this loss have on the Clinton campaign? They expected it and a loss later tonight in Hawaii. Now, it is keeping an eye on the final tally and the delegate count.
Here is a very good summary of the MSNBC exit polls from Wisconsin that clearly shows Obama has eroded the Clinton support base from every direction: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/19/exit-polls-obama-continu_n_87475.html
2-20-08 Wednesday Morning - 7:47 AM ET Wisconsin went big for Obama 58% - 41%. Hawaii, with 70% of the vote counted shows Obama with a huge lead 75% - 24%
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:03 PM
Long a thorn in the back of the U.S., Fidel Castro has resigned as President of Cuba.
His brother Raul Castro who has been ruling Cuba for the past two years due to Fidel Castro's poor health is expected to be named President.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:52 AM
Although the votes are still being counted, it is clear the ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League - Q which supports President Pervez Musharraf suffered defeat in the election. The unanswered question is what affect this will have on Musharraf staying in power and what type of coalition government will be formed. A Reuters update on the story is as follows:
The national assembly in Pakistan had 137 positions out of a total of 342 up for election yesterday. The Pakistan Parliament also has a 100 member Senate. So who has a majority after the vote is yet to be determined. It is most likely a coalition will develop as the ruling party.
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPL) is claiming a lead in the national assembey but not a majority. Benazir Bhutto was the leader of this party until her assasination and now the leadership is shared by her husband Zardari and their son Bilawal.
Nawaz Sharif who is the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League - N was replaced by Musharraf in a bloodless coup 8 years ago as leader of Pakistan. Although he was unable to run for office due to a criminal record, Sharif has been the most vocal is calling for Musharraf to step down. His Party won positions in the vote but evidently not as many as the PPL.
So much is left to be determined as to the composition of the government in Pakistan. The Bush administration has been a staunch ally of President Musharraf and the U.S. has been sending Billions to Pakistan to aid in the war on terror.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 9:51 AM
Monday, February 18, 2008
The polls are closed in Pakistan and the counting of the vote begins
with the results expected to be known by Tuesday morning. I posted
earlier that Musharraf has stationed 80,000 troops by the polling
locations and while his announced intention of such a move was to
provide safety, it could have easily intimidated potential voters. The
turnout has been reported as between 35% to 42%. Here is an update:
President Pervez Musharraf is concerned for if he loses the majority
of seats in the Parliament, his position could be in jeopardy.
Reuters is also reporting that Chuadhry Shujaat Hussain, the leader of
the (PML-Q) Pakistan Muslim League -Q party supporting Musharraf has
lost his seat in Parliament to a rival in the (PPP) Pakistan Peoples
Posted by George Wenschhof at 3:46 PM
Last Saturday, February 16, 2008, the Asian Community in Frederick and
vicinity gathered at Thomas Johnson High School to commemorate the
Asian Spring festival also known as Lunar New Year. The 1000 people or
so who came to enjoy the festivities were satisfied by the quality of
the show as well as its diversity. Indian music and dances, Burmese
folk songs and dances, Chinese martial arts and dances, Korean drums
and music were only a few elements making the ceremony a total
Besides Frederick County, Maryland Commissioner Jan Gardner,
Kai Hagen and the City of Frederick Police Chief Dine, most of our
elected official were absent. It was reassuring to see representative
from the Governor's office and our two U.S. senators.
At the time when the minority community is feeling a little ostracized
by a small but resolute portion of our community, it is very important
that elected officials make it a point to reach out during these
ethnic festivals. On the wake of this article, it worth sharing this
letter to the editor by a well respected member of our community who
has been looking at the unhealthy debate going on since the proposal
of the anti-immigrant bill last year. Please read this
http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/opinion/display_comments.htm?StoryID=71369# and get involved in the debate.
Guy Djoken is President NAACP - Frederick County, Maryland Branch
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:07 AM
Sunday, February 17, 2008
This is the question asked by our new poll this week on the site.
Super delegates make up 797 of the 4049 delegates up for grabs by the
Democratic Party candidates for President. The nominee must win 2025
of these delegates to receive the nomination.
As we have written and others have reported, the super delegates are
not won by the vote of the people. Rather, they are made up of the
party elite in each state comprised of Governors, congressmen, various
elected officials, party staff and activists. The candidate and their staff secure their support.
To see a list of the super delegates from your state, click here: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/19/dem.delegates/index.html
Here is a story about campaign contributions received by super delegates from both the Clinton and Obama campaigns: http://www.capitaleye.org/inside.asp?ID=336 and another interesting read is " A Super Sized Contoversy" by Joan Walsh in Salon.com http://www.salon.com/opinion/walsh/?last_story=/opinion/walsh/election_2008/2008/02/18/superdelegates/
We want to know how you feel about this, so make sure you vote in the
poll! The poll closes at 7:00 PM EST Sunday February 24, 2008.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:00 PM
A look at the recent Polls show Senator Barack Obama with a 4-5 point lead in Wisconsin. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/wi/wisconsin_democratic_primary-270.html
It is reported Obama has out spent Senator Hillary Clinton 4-1 in
Wisconsin. While Clinton is continuing to focus her attention on
delegate rich states Ohio and Texas on March 4th. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/16/wisconsin-primary-latest_n_86992.html
On Tuesday, Wisconsin - 92 delegates, and Hawaii - 29 delegates - hold
their primaries for the Democrats. The most recent total delegate
count by RealClearPolitcs.com shows
Obama - Total: 1302, Pledged - 1134, Super - 168
Clinton - Total: 1235, Pledged - 996, Super - 239
While Obama is favored to win both contests on Tuesday it is doubtful
his current lead of 67 delegates will increase past 100 due to the
proportional way of allocating delegates and the super delegates the
Clinton campaign has secured.
A solid win by Clinton in Ohio and Texas on March 4th would probably
result in her delegate count being increased to within 40 of Obama's
total. More importantly for Clinton, she would show she can win two
states the democrats are going to need in November and stop the
momentum by Obama.
On the other hand, if Obama can win either Texas or Ohio, the
Democratic nomination process would be nearing a end for it would then
be obvious that Clinton will not be able to overtake Obama.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has to hope that the
nomination process is settled soon. Otherwise, they are faced with
holding expensive do-over primaries in Michigan and Florida and
experiencing a rules fight at the convention in August over super
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:18 AM
After a suspension of the constitution (some would call it martial
law), the removal of all the Justices of the Supreme Court, the return
to the country of two former exiled Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and
Benazir Bhutto - who was later assassinated, Pakistan will finally be
holding their Parliamentary election.
The Bush administration continues to send Billions without being
subject to any reasonable accountability to Pakistan. This funding by
the U.S. continues despite current Pakistan President Pervez
Musharraf's disdain for democracy and lack of respect for human
Musharraf removed the Supreme Court Justices from office when it
appeared they were set to rule that his recent reelection as President
of Pakistan was unconstitutional. Former Chief Justice Iftikhar
Chaudhry and five other Justices remain under house arrest.
So who will be the new Prime Minister of Pakistan and what will be the
make up of their Parliament? Their Parliament is made up of a Senate
(100 members) and a National Assembly (342 members) of which
approximately one third is up for election.
After the death of Benazir Bhutto, her party, the Pakistan Peoples
Party (PPP) named her husband Asifali Zardari, and her son Bilawal
Zardari as co - leaders. Bhutto's husband had the nickname of Mr. 10%
as a result of alleged kickbacks he received when Benazir Bhutto was
in office and he is one of the candidates.
Nawaz Sharif, another former Prime Minister who was toppled by
Musharraf eight years ago in a bloodless coup is another candidate.
His party is the Pakistan Muslim League - N
Musharraf's party is the Pakistan Muslim League - Q. Here is a quick
explanation and guide to the parties in Pakistan as reported by CNN:
A change in the composition of the Parliament could also result in a
move to impeach President Pervez Musharraf. A survey funded by the
U.S. conducted between January 19 -29 by the International Republican
Institute showed the following: PPP - 50%, PML-N - 22%, PML-Q - 14%
There is a very high degree of suspicion of rigged elections by the
present government and the fear violence may occur as a result. There
are reportedly over 64,000 polling locations in Pakistan and Musharraf
has said he will have troops at every polling location. Both Zardari
and Sharif have promised street demonstrations if elections are
Over one thousand international observers will be on hand to monitor
this election. Let's hope that the votes are recorded accurately and
no violence erupts as the results are made public.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Politico.com has a full roundup:
Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen who is chair of the Democratic
Congressional Campaign Committee will appear on C-SPAN. Check this
out to see if he will be talking about what seats they will be
targeting for a pick up. Although the Democrats have a majority in
the House, it is not a veto-proof majority. Will Jennifer Dougherty
in the 6th against incumbent Republican Roscoe Bartlett receive any
attention? Or how about Frank Kratovil who will be running against
ultra conservative Andy Harris in the 1st District. Harris just beat
moderate Republican incumbent Wayne Gilchrest in the primary.
Bill Bradley, former New York Knick, Presidential candidate, and
Senator of New Jersey will be on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. He has
endorsed Senator Barack Obama.
In a battle between Democratic Presidential campaign advisors, CBS
"Face the Nation" has David Axelrod from the Obama campaign and Howard Wolfson from the Clinton campaign.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 9:51 AM
Friday, February 15, 2008
The close race for the Democratic Party nomination for President has
brought even more attention to what has always been a heavily
scrutinized election. Even the casual observer now realizes that
delegate counts are the name of the game. In addition to counting
delegates, each campaign will be trying hard to catch media attention
and swing attention and support their way.
Super delegates and delegates awarded proportional by winning
percentages by congressional district and by overall statewide vote
will continue to be written about until one of the candidates reaches
the magical 2025 number and secures the nomination of the party.
The existence of Super delegates in particular have come under fire as
voters question why their vote should be marginalized by these
has the following delegate count and I see Maryland still has 4
delegates to be awarded.
Obama -Total: 1289, 1133 - Pledged, 156 - Super
Clinton - Total: 1237, 995 - Pledged, 242 - Super
The latest story surrounding super delegates is Rep. John Lewis, who
is a super delegate, and a well known long time civil rights activist
and leader had switched his vote from Clinton to Obama. The initial
report indicated that he was changing his vote and then it was
reported his office had issued a statement that contradicted the
Stay tuned to the whole super delegate mess for until a nominee is
declared this will continue to capture the attention of the voters.
Another recent flap between the campaigns were accusations being
exchanged as to who had ties to Exelon, a nuclear energy firm. David
Axelrod, a senior advisor to the Obama campaign had previously worked
for the firm as a consultant. This news was soon countered with the
fact that Mark Penn a chief strategist with the Clinton campaign had
recently had his firm provide some consulting work for Exelon.
The Clinton campaign, once the front runner and now the underdog is
still using the mantra that she is ready to lead from day one. They
also continue their theme of producing results, not slogans or
promises. There is a debate next Thursday in Austin, Texas which will
follow the results from Tuesday's voting in Wisconsin and Hawaii and
precede the March 4th primaries with Ohio and Texas. The delegates up
for grabs on March 4th is 370.
I'll provide more information about the time of the debate and who is
the sponsor as we get closer to the date. It will be interesting to
watch the tone of this debate. To date, we have seen the candidates
attack and we have seen them play nice. One thing is certain, Clinton
needs to come across well to check the momentum swing to Obama.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:23 AM