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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Today's Must Reads

The new Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yosaf Raza Gillani has a column in the Washington Post entitled 'Pakistan's Moment". Pervez Musharraf remains in power as President and the news from Pakistan since their parliamentary elections has been sporadic.

In The New York Times there is a column entitled "Pakistan's Planned Accord with Militants Alarms U.S.". The change in government has resulted also in some change in tactics pertaining to militants in the mountainous borders of Pakistan.

The Economist has a piece entitled "Afghanistan: A Changing War" which gives a current assessment of the status in that country where the Taliban just recently attempted to assassinate President Karzai who was reviewing a military parade in their capital of Kabul.

Brian Wesbury has a column in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Deja Vu: The Fed's Interest Rate Dilemma". He gives his take on what action is needed by the Fed to get us out of our current mess. has a column by Gebe Matinez entitled "Latinos outraged over CBS report". Hispanics and civil rights groups are upset over alleged inaccuracies in CBS reporting on the cost related to illegal immigrant women who give birth in the U.S.

American Idol Politics 101

Whitney M. Duck

I cannot be the only person out here in voter land that can see the strange parallel between the race for the White House 2008 and the race to become the 2008 American Idol winner. It appears that both contests are running on emotions and not on whom is the best qualified for the job.

It appears that if someone utters the wrong word or gives the wrong impression, this can jolt the voter into another candidate's camp. I have never seen the voting public so fluid! The constant ups and downs and ins and outs of each candidate can make a person dizzy! Because of this, the American voter transforms into a voter that is easily swayed by emotional issues and not the cut and dry issues of the day. Please let me explain.

Over the last few months - okay maybe over the last year, I have watched office seekers and the Congress sway one way and then to sway another way. I have listened to the "talking heads". All of them seem to have insight about the American voter, which the American voter might not even have! Poll after poll is released and taken apart to the nearest tenth of a percent. The matching of the noise made on the campaign trail to the poll numbers, at times, appears not to match at all. At this point in time, I would like to put my own two cents in with these compelling and nonscientific observations –

1. The once heir a parent, Senator Hillary Clinton, is now an albatross hanging around the Democratic Party's neck. Any Governor or member of Congress, who came out early for Senator Clinton, now must deal with a huge backlash about their decision. It appears that nothing can stop her or make her go away, no matter how lousy she does in the next primary! She has become the fly that you cannot kill who keeps buzzing around your head!

2. Senator Barack Obama is more human then we thought. It is the little things that throw him. He cannot shake off a bad debate performance and move forward. He is not able to make a love connection with many voters and he is dumb founded by this. Sure he can speak to a crowd but what about how I feel?

3. Senator John McCain is not as smart about the economy as we would like a President to be. True he has served his country and is a hero. This is not enough to keep the naysayer away. His own party has expressed grave doubts about Senator McCain's ability to lead the Conservative Movement. I am not so sure I want flip answers about the national economy.

4. Neither one of the democratic candidates have been able to put the other away with a win. Instead they make false statements or nasty comments about each other's ability. There is no clear front runner. There is no one leading the pack. There is not one single message that rings clearly and loudly to unite the American voter.

It appears that every primary has become a "do you like me vote?" instead of a vote about the issues facing America today. Because each candidate sings a different tune in each state contest there is no single theme that binds the candidate and their party together. There is no front runner or leader to cheer for. It also appears that if one person is for Clinton and not for Obama, race gets interjected. If a voter is for Obama and not for Clinton, then gender is brought forth as the reason.

If the voter is pro McCain, then they must be pro-war and pro-business. I am not so sure that any one of the above statements rings as the deciding point with any voter. I do know that there is an Anti-Clinton, Anti-Obama, and Anti-McCain voter out there and these are the voters that all of the candidates must convince in order to seal their victory in November!

If the voting population could dial in every week and score the candidates as they are able to do for the contestants on American Idol, I not so sure there would be any of them standing! As a life long Democrat, I had my first chance to vote for either a women or African American as my party's nominee for President of the United States! What a historical election to take part in!

Much to my sadness, neither Sen. Clinton nor Sen. Obama has given me that one single issue or promise that sends my vote straight into their corner. I truly do not know how they stand on some of the big national issues facing the country today. What I do know is, that they both believe that can beat Sen. McCain in November and both appear to be of sound mind to be the President.

McCain, I am not too sure of the sound mind idea. I hear he has a bad temper! So does my dog, but my dog is not running for office! I can no longer stand the daily droning on about character and who is going more negative. Give me a plan! Give me some hope! Give the reason to vote for either one of you! I do not want the same old song about the evil of President Bush and the current government. I know way too much about that and not about how it can fixed!

Sing to me a song of equal opportunity and positive government! I had a shudder moment last week when Sen. Clinton talked about Iran and their nuclear program. Is she making plans for a nuclear hit if Iran goes after Israel? The comment was made with too much haste and not a lot of discussion! Neither Sen. Obama nor Sen. McCain had enough time to weigh in on this statement. I say, let's put Sen. Clinton up for the vote!!! If you think this is a good idea press #1. If you do not think this is good idea press #2.

This is important stuff and the voter must be allowed to weigh in! Alas, the moment has passed and we are now dealing with Reverend Wright and his appearance at the Washington Press Club. I do believe that the comment about using nuclear weapons is worth far more discussion then the wringing of hands of what Rev. Wright did or did not say.

See what happens when we pay too much attention to the "like me" idea instead of "what is going on in world" idea!!! The real truth gets lost in the muck and mire and never gets a fair hearing. No, we would much rather the talking heads on TV set the tone for what will or won't be discussed. Can someone bring me some polling results?! Ah, those change hour by hour!

With the North Carolina and Indiana primaries coming up next Tuesday, I would like to see and hear some real policy and solution talk among the candidates. I want to hear how they each view the issues of the day and how will they go about changing what is broken. Especially with gas prices and the troubles facing the over all economy! I would like to see the constant pecking at each other stopped and begin a real debate, front and center, about the state of our union.

I do not want a song and dance routine either!!! Stop the music!!! Stop the back biting!!!! Stop and listen to the voters!!!! Will somebody hand me my cell phone! I want to cast my vote!! Hey what is with the busy signal? Oh well, I will catch them on the flip side!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama Responds to Recent Speeches By Wright

The recent speeches by Reverend Wright in Detroit on Sunday and yesterday in Washington D.C. prompted Senator Barack Obama to hold a news conference this afternoon on this subject. This comes exactly one week before the primaries in North Carolina and Indiana so this kind of press attention can not be helpful to the Obama campaign. Here are some of the first responses from the pundits:

MSNBC First Read (includes video) - Obama Denounces Wright

The Huffington Post ( includes video) - Obama: Wright's statements "Offend Me, They Rightfully Offend All Americans"

NY Times The Caucus - Obama Says He's Outraged by Ex-Pastor's Comments

Talking Points Memo (includes video) - Obama on Wright

Clinton Gains in N.C., Leads By 9 in Indiana

In a poll conducted 4-26 to 4-27 by Public Policy Polling (PPP), Obama leads in North Carolina by 51-39 over Clinton. In five previous N.C. polls by PPP, Obama's lead over Clinton was 18-25 points. In a poll conducted 4-25 to 4-27 by Survey USA, Clinton has jumped in front of Obama in Indiana 52 to 43.

In another boost for the Clinton campaign, popular two term North Carolina Governor Mike Easley is expected to endorse her today. Also, reaction to speeches by Reverend Wright on Sunday in Detroit and Washington D.C. yesterday have not been positive for the Obama campaign.

Remember, just a week ago the opposite was occurring. Obama, who had been far behind in Pennsylvania, spent heavily and pulled within 10 points in their primary. North Carolina (115 pledged delegates) and Indiana (72 pledged delegates) have the most available delegates in any of the remaining states in the democratic schedule.

Although Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary by 10 points, she only picked up a plus 10 delegates out of the 158 available pledged delegates. This is due to the convoluted two step proportional manner of awarding delegates by the democratic party - one step is the popular vote and the second step is by congressional district. So although it is likely and expected that Obama will win N.C. by double digits, it is unlikely he will pick up more than 10 - 15 delegates than Clinton.

The Obama campaugn had previously put out the spin that Indiana was the tie breaker and now they are behind by 9 points in one poll a week before the primary, they may be sorry they used that spin. If Clinton could narrow the loss in N.C. to single digits and win Indiana, the momentum would continue to be on her side following the win in Pennsylvania. However, after the Indiana and N.C. primaries, there are only five states and Puerto Rico remaining in the democratic primary schedule. Combined, they only have a total of 217 pledged delegates.

The Florida (210 delegates) and Michigan (156 delegates) debacle continues to loom large as well as the remaining 300 undeclared superdelegates. One of them will decide who the democratic nominee will be unless one candidate withdraws from the race.

As of today, Obama is only leading in the total delegate count by 136 delegates out of the 3,322 awarded delegates to date: 1729 to 1593. 2024 delegates are needed to secure the democratic party nomination.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Today's Must Reads

Out of the countless op-eds and articles read daily, several caught my attention and I highly recommend.

Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Democratic candidate for President John Edwards has a op-ed piece in the NY Times on media coverage of the campaign. She is battling cancer and in this piece she talks about the need for the media to concentrate on the specifics each candidate has on health care. This as opposed to the "gotcha" style of media reporting on the campaign.

Former President Jimmy Carter, fresh from a trip to Syria where he met with leaders of Hamas writes about how the U.S. needs a foreign policy that involves negotiation rather than isolation.

The Huffungton Post talks about today's announcement the Pentagon Suspends Military Media Analysts program. The fact that the Pentagon was using retired Military analysts to spin the Iraq War on TV is incredible and should result in congressional hearings. Both democratic candidates for President have denounced this program.

While The Hill talks about the Supreme Court upholds voter ID law. This pertains to the state of Indiana who was requiring photo identification of voters. This law was supported by Republicans and opposed by Democrats. Reportedly, other states have similar laws they wish to advance and were awaiting this decision. Democrats have argued this would lead to the disenfranchisement of many poor voters who do not have driver licenses or other type of photo identification - a sort of modern day poll tax. With the Democratic primary in Indiana only a week away, it will be interesting to see what Obama and Clinton have to say on this subject.

Fox Interviews Obama

In case you missed it, the HuffingtonPost has a write up of the interview and video you can watch.

Greg Sargent on TalkingPointsMemo has a good read entitled: Obama Doesn't "Take Fox On", After All.

The announcement of this interview caught the attention of many due to the conservative bent of Fox News. While watching parts of the interview of Senator Barack Obama by Chris Wallace of Fox, two things became clear. First, the questions were going to be focused on the speeches by Reverend Wright, the wearing of a flag pin, and if he would take the advise of General Petraus. Secondly, Senator Obama did a very good job of responding in a calm and succinct manner.

So much for a "gotcha" moment - it just did not happen.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

This Week's Democratic Campaign Tidbits

Senator Hillary Clinton did what she had to do and won Pennsylvania by 10 points. However, in the all important delegate count she continues to trail Senator Barack Obama by 134 in total delegates 1726 - 1592. In Pennsylvania, Clinton won only ten more delegates than Obama, 83 - 73 with numbers still being crunched to determine the last 2 delegates. This is due to the democratic party convoluted two-step proportional method of awarding delegates.

As a result of the victory in PA, the Clinton campaign brought in a record haul of 10 million in the first day following the election. Her campaign was heavily in debt so this was much needed to both reassure supporters and to be able to compete in future primaries.

Interestingly, it was the Obama campaign who was saying just a short number of weeks ago, don't let the superdelegates determine the nominee. Today, the Obama campaign is engaged in a intense battle for the remaining 300+ superdelegates for they realize they can not reach the 2025 number to secure the democratic nomination without them.

The failure of the DNC to broker a re-vote in Florida (210 delegates) and Michigan (156 delegates) will forever leave a stain on the 2008 democratic party nomination process.

Clinton is now pressuring Obama for more debates after he refused to participate in a debate in North Carolina that had been scheduled for today with Katie Couric as the moderator. Clinton's latest jab is a call for Lincoln-Douglas style of debates with no moderators. The Obama campaign refuses saying they have participated in 21 debates to date and it is important now to talk directly to the voters in N.C. and Indiana. Here are the dueling letters from the campaigns.

Look for Clinton to try to make some points on a statement made by Obama pertaining to Senator McCain's proposal of a gasoline tax holiday. Obama basically called the proposal a scheme.

Coming up on Saturday is the democratic primary in Guam. Yes, I said Guam, one of two U.S. territories still to hold democratic primaries. Guam has 4 pledged delegates and my records show an additional 5 superdelegates, but that does not sound right. Puerto Rico (55 pledged delegates) will hold their primary on June 1st.

Indiana (72 delegates) continues to be pivotal for Clinton for is she loses Indiana and North Carolina (115 delegates) on May 6th, it could spell the end of her campaign.

Meanwhile, the foreign policy failures of the George W. Bush administration continue to receive the spotlight as members of the Taliban attempted to assasinate Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai during a military parade in Kabul.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sunday Morning 4-27-2008 "Talking Heads"

CNN's "Late Edition" will discuss the nuclear reactor situation in Syria who reportedly received aid from North Korea. Also sure to be discussed will be the potential of Iran developing a nuclear weapons program. Democratic California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Republican representative from Michigan Pete Hoekstra will be guests.

NBC "Meet the Press" has Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair, Howard Dean. The punitive action taken by the DNC to strip the delgates from Michigan (156 delegates) and Florida ( 210 delegates) will go down in history as one of the most colossal mistakes ever made by the DNC. Dean will surely talk about how he wants the remaining 300 uncommitted superdelegates to commit no later than the end of June.

If neither Clinton or Obama withdraw by the end of the primary sechedule on June 3rd, it is almost impossible for either one to have won the 2025 delegates needed to secure the nomination. So the superdelegates will determine the democratic party nominee. Perhaps Howard Dean will be asked why he put off scheduling a DNC hearing of appeals on Michigan and Florida until May 31st.

"Fox News Sunday" finally has Obama who they have been trying to have appear for some time. This will be interesting to see how Senator Obama handles this interview. Surely all the gotcha moments of the campaign so far will be revisited including the Reverend Wright speeches as Wright was interviewed by Bill Moyers Friday night.

CBS "Face the Nation" will have strategists Howard Wolfson - Clinton and David Axelrod - Obama. Last Sunday on "Meet the Press" Axelrod faced off against Geoff Garin. Garin, who at least on paper, replaced Mark Penn who was demoted? - did not fare well against Axelrod so it is no surprise that Wolfson is replacing him this week on the talk shows.

ABC 'This Week" will have Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana who supports Clinton and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle who has endorsed Obama.

For a complete rundown of the Sunday morning talk shows check out's "Sunday talk show tip sheet".

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Machinery of Death Ticks Along

Ann-Marie Luciano

The Supreme Court's decision last week on lethal injection in Baze v. Rees was another step back for death penalty opponents and another jump ahead towards quickening the machinery of death. In a 7-2 decision, the court ruled that Kentucky's three-drug method of execution by lethal injection does not violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

There is much well-documented evidence that the first drug administered often fails to sedate death row prisoners before they are given the second and third drugs that paralyze them.

Although this has been rejected by the American Veterinary Association and banned by 42 states for use in animal euthanasia, the court nevertheless found that for humans this method of execution did not amount to cruel and unusual punishment. For his standard of "cruelty," Judge Roberts cited to a Supreme Court principle from 1890 that defines cruelty as limited to punishments that "involve torture or a lingering death."

With this decision, the hopes of a continued moratorium have vanished. Since the Supreme Court's decision, several states have announced that they will resume executions. Virginia has lifted its death penalty moratorium and many states have already scheduled executions, such as Texas (which has so far set three execution dates), Georgia (which has scheduled an execution for next month), and Oklahoma (which has plans to schedule executions for two death row inmates).

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has remained uncommitted as to how he will proceed after the Supreme Court's ruling. As a result of his silence, The Maryland House Republicans and others have increased pressure on O'Malley to address the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling in December 2006, which found that the state improperly adopted its death-penalty procedure and therefore could not execute inmates until the problem was corrected.

Now that the issue as to the constitutionality of Kansas' method of lethal injection has been temporarily resolved (although not necessarily settled), it may be time to engage in a broader dialogue about not only the propriety of the methods of execution, but also of the very idea of state-sanctioned killing.

My last post discussed the myth surrounding the deterrence and costs arguments often raised by death penalty supporters. In my opinion, the most important reason to oppose the death penalty comes down to something fundamental: the risk of executing someone who is innocent.

It seems to me that no one could disagree – not even the staunchest death penalty supporter – that it is okay to have a flawed system that executes innocent people every once in awhile. But this is precisely the position that many death penalty supporters impliedly take when trying to debate all of the statistics of innocent prisoners being set free after a wrongful conviction. Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, there have been an alarming 128 people released from death row. (You can read the stories about each person's conviction and ultimate exoneration at the Death Penalty Information Center website).

Despite this, some death penalty supporters argue that the exoneration's actually show that the system works because the wrongful executions were prevented. What these supporters fail to recognize is that so many other death row prisoners have not been so lucky, either because the evidence from the crime scene wasn't preserved (and thus there is nothing to test to prove one's innocence), their appeals had been exhausted or their lawyers didn't have the time or resources to fully investigate and prove their innocence. The Death Penalty Information Center lists eight cases of death row prisoners who had strong evidence of their innocence but were nevertheless executed.

Reading these stories always leaves me outraged. How is it, in 2008, that we can continue to allow the machinery of death to run, despite all of the innocent people swept up into our flawed justice system? How can we continue to close our eyes to these injustices, especially as we stand alone as the only western democracy that still kills people as a form of punishment?

As the saying goes: an eye for an eye will leave us all blind.

Frederick County, MD Rightfully Refuses to follow Prince William County

Guy Djoken

Yesterday, April 24, 2008 we called a press conference to oppose Frederick County Maryland Commissioner Charles Jenkins's latest English Only proposal and Commissioner John L. Thompson's proposal to count illegal immigrant students in county. The Frederick County, Maryland Branch of the NAACP expresses its strong objection and vehement opposition to both propositions. It is a pity that these two elected officials will get so low as if they were looking for ways to antagonize the peaceful community that is still recovering from previous attempts to ostracize them.

It is reassuring to know that we have a majority of Frederick County Commissioners who are wise enough to resist the slippery slope that some are trying hard to get us in. For those who do not understand logic and economics, I invite them to read and think twice before proposing such controversial laws in Frederick. I hope Commissioner Jenkins will call Prince William County supervisor Frank Principi to find out why he is moving to repeal the anti-immigrant law. That may give him an opportunity to take a second look at his next proposal before bringing it to the floor.

Thanks to Frederick County Commissioners Jan Gardner, David Gray and Kai Hagen, Frederick County will be saved from these kind of humiliating proposals. Common sense does prevail in Frederick, thanks to ardent Civil Rights Advocates and Great Spiritual Leaders such as Mr. James Upchurch and Visionary County Leaders such as Jan Gardner, David Gray and Kai Hagen.

Here are the reasons why we should oppose the proposed English only proposal: English-only ordinances are a bad solution to a problem that does not exit. Almost every American already speaks English. According to the U.S Census Bureau, 92% of Americans Speak English. The vast majority of Americans (215,423,57 out of 262,375,152- 82%) speaks only English at home.

Government business is almost exclusive done in English. Studies by the federal government General Accountability Office have consistently shown that the overwhelming majority of U.S. government documents are printed in English only. In fact, only about 200 or less that 1%--of U.S government documents are published in a language other than English.

English-only ordinances would not increase the use of the English language. Immigrant adults want to learn English, but have few opportunities to do so. All over the country, English language learners face long waiting lists for adult ESL classes, especially in-demand evening and weekend classes. In New York City, for example English courses are so oversubscribed that last year only 41,347 adults out of an estimated one million adult English language learners were able to enroll.

English-only ordinances would place the health and safety of all Americans at risk. By restricting communication with people who are speakers of other languages, these ordinances could weaken the delivery of public health and safety messages that are intended to protect all Americans. If some portion of the community does not receive information that it can understand about immunization or other health threats, the entire public is at risk.

English-only ordinances would also make it difficult to respond to a natural or man-made disaster. These ordinances would make it more difficult for local first responders and agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to respond to a pandemic flu, another natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina, or another terrorist attack.

Today's immigrants learn English as quickly as previous groups. A recent report found that the second generation of immigrants is largely bilingual; 92 % of second-generation Hispanic immigrants speak English well as do 96% of second-generation Asians, though most also speak another language at home. By the third generation, the pattern is English monolingualism.

English-language acquisition is important. All Americans, including immigrants, understand fully the importance of mastering English in order to achieve the American Dream. English-only policies will not help us achieve this important goal.

On the Request by Commissioner Thompson to count illegal immigrant students in county, it is a pity to play politics with the education of our kids. What is the rationale behind such a move? We know that federal law does allow young students to receive an education regardless of immigration status. Trying to label students as "illegal immigrants" can only lead to discriminatory actions against those labeled as such. Last year it was the so called race neutral legislation that has nothing neutral about it.

Early this year, Thompson was bullying Felicia Turner, chairwoman of Delta Youth Days for an event held at Winchester Hall to introduce government to minority students and encourage them to get involve in local government.

What about focusing on the economy that is hurting Frederick County residents with health care that is becoming more and more unaffordable? This is more of the typical and cynical "scare tactics" policy that are very counterproductive at a time when people are worried about losing their home and lifetime saving.

Guy Djoken is the President, NAACP Frederick County, Maryland Branch

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Former MD 6th District Candidate Selected to Fill local Democratic Central Committee Position

I received the following from Bob Kreslein and have published for you to read.

For Immediate Release Date: 4/24/2008

Contact: Robert Kresslein

Frederick, MD -

The Frederick County Democratic State Central Committee recently selected former 6th District Congressional Candidate Andrew Duck to fill the vacancy on the committee created by the resignation of Adam Schultz. Mr. Schultz resigned in March to attend University of Oregon Law School. Mr. Duck will serve until September 2010 finishing out the balance of Mr. Schultz's term. A prompt selection of Mr. Schultz's replacement was necessary for the local committee to comply with party rules requiring gender-balanced representation. Each committee must comply with party rules in order to participate in the Maryland Democratic Party meeting scheduled for May 3, at which committee members will select the final slate of unpledged party leaders and elected official delegates (i.e. superdelegates) to the Democratic National Convention in Denver Colorado this summer.

Robert Kresslein, local Democratic Party Chair stated, "We are extremely please that Andrew applied for and was selected for this position, he brings vital energy and real campaign experience to the committee." Mr. Duck was the 6th District Democratic nominee for Congress in 2006, but was defeated by incumbent Representative Roscoe Bartlett. He ran unsuccessfully against current Democratic Congressional nominee, Jennifer Dougherty in February's primary, but gave an immediate and strong endorsement of his former opponent.

"Andrew has demonstrated his loyalty to the party and his ability to see the big picture," added Mr. Kresslein, "and he brings expertise in fundraising and organization to the committee."

Four applicants vied for the position, including Mr. Duck, Frederick Community College, Professor Ken Kerr, Stephen Wilhide, a retired health care consultant and J. Burke Miller, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland. According to Mr. Kresslein, "Each of the applicants offered an important entrée into an important segment of our community and each possessed an expertise and enthusiasm for the mission of the party; we will be asking them to stay involved."

All the Kings Horses!

Jack Lynch

A Buddhist might be amused at the controversy over waste issues in Frederick County, Maryland. They might look to the basic fact of physics that all matter is ultimately only transformed and does not disappear atomically, it can only be transformed into heat or light – thus the large remainder of ash waste to be land-filled by any incinerator technology.

But a Buddhist would probably prefer a gas plasma torch facility, since it essentially conforms to the nature of the universe by blasting things into their constituent atomic substances.

Still, we have a classic confrontation between the will of government planners, hip deep in waste daily, and the activist public. The general public tending to sit silently to the side and ask for all the problems to go away, but please keep my taxes low, beyond that, I don't really care what you do with my waste.

Much like the planners they tend to want an easy solution – but are there any more easy solutions, when most of those easy solutions have proven to break us from the essential harmony of things implied in Buddhist thought, that everything should work towards the ultimate health and happiness and godliness of the universe.

County officials for the most part are trapped in their own assumptions. To make a shift towards the sort of resource recovery proposed is an extraordinary feat, a leap of faith most municipal systems cannot imagine, the fear being a setback.

But all the King's horses will not avoid the clash of civilizations that is coming on waste issues. Approving an incinerator plan will only delay the ultimate change that will surely come. If there are two laws of politics, they are first, that the "same old ways folks" will be replaced by the more advanced tribes of people, and second, that economics will beat common sense every day.

Given the seeming standoffishness of local officials, I see waste issues to be the biggest negative in Frederick County Commissioner Jan Gardner's recent career and pending future. Steadfastness on waste incineration looks to be a wedge between her and the activist public calling for new solutions and greener actions.

Sally Sorbello, who has led an effort against the incinerator, said on Frederick County Commissioner Kai Hagen's online forum, "There are 23 pages of toxins listed that come out of the Harford County, Maryland plant--everything from A for arsenic to Z for zylene, [are] listed...hundreds of toxins are reported, thousands are produced. These toxins are not routinely tested for, but they are routinely emitted."

My own suggestions that any ten story tall smokestack be painted like a big cigarette have been dismissed and ignored! But you must ask why it needs to be ten stories tall, no one builds ten stories needlessly – it is because of the air borne waste.

Years may remain before a final incinerator decision can stand, and many of these players may be long gone from the scene. However, their legacy will be determined by the steps they put in place towards incineration.

Proponents are the knee jerk enthusiasts in this scenario, they have failed to even consider the implications of management issues, full life cycle costs, waste transportation, additional landfill, and the Frederick County state delegation failure to allow waste franchise authority.

So the need to choose proven systems takes weight, as other communities risk new technologies, such as the first plasma based waste disposal system in the US, scheduled to come into operation in St. Lucie County, Florida.

The county states that they hope to not only avoid further landfill, but completely empty their existing landfill—4.3 million tons (3.9 million metric tons) of waste collected since 1978—within 18 years. The plant is scheduled to come into operation in 2009, and to produce 600 tons (550,000 kg) of solid rubble from around 3000 tons (2.7 million kg) of waste per day at around 5500°C.

The city of Tallahassee, Florida has signed the largest plasma arc waste to process 1,000 tons daily from the city and several surrounding counties. Completion of the project is scheduled for October 2010.

Change will come, why wait thirty years as the world turns away from incineration? The response to the incineration proposal will only grow and opposition will spread, but will it come soon enough to halt a bad process? The choice is ours to determine.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Clinton PA Victory Speech and Obama Speaks from Indiana

For those of you who did not stay up long enough to watch the late speeches from Clinton and Obama last night -Here is the Clinton victory speech and here is a clip from the Obama speech from a rally in Evansville, Indiana.

As I indicated in an earlier post, it is doubtful Senator Clinton will gain more than 15 delegates over Senator Obama as a result of yesterday's primary in Pennsylvania. However, her victory has prompted a surge of cash to her campaign which was desperately needed. Some reports are saying the Clinton campaign has raised 3 million since last night. is showing an allocation of 146 of the 158 delegates from Pennsylvania so far with 80 to Clinton and 66 to Obama so if the remaining 12 delegates are split, Clinton ends up with a plus 14 delegates. They are showing the total delegate count to be Obama - 1716 and Clinton - 1588, a 128 delegate difference.

Yet, the Obama campaign has shown they are able to maintain the huge donations to their campaign due to the large number of Internet contributions under $100. It is highly unlikely Clinton will be able to make up the 128 delegate difference in the remaining primaries. However, it is also highly unlikely that Obama can close out the primary schedule with the 2025 needed to secure the nomination. There are only 408 pledged delgates available to be won from the remaining primaries.

The remaining unpledged 300 Superdelegates along with a Florida and Michigan resolution will be the deciders in this race unless one candidates withdraws from the race prior to the end of the primary schedule on June 3rd.

Michigan and Florida Loom Large

A re-vote in Michigan and Florida may be the only fair way to determine the democratic party nomination. The failure of the Democractic National Committee (DNC) to resolve their state primary schedule prior to this year will forever stain the outcome of the 2008 democratic primary. The resulting sanctions by the DNC stripping both Michigan (156) and Florida (210) of their delegates will go down in history as the most ill-advised action ever by the democratic party.

This action by the DNC of disenfranchising voters who had nothing to do with the setting of the date of their primary did not show strength of the party but instead showed the shortsightedness of their current administration. In fact, in Florida, it was a Republican controlled legislature that set the date of their primary.

Howard Dean, the chair of the DNC is pushing for the remaining 300 plus uncommitted superdelegates to pledge their support by June. He realizes that neither Senator Clinton or Senator Obama can reach the magic number of 2025 delegates needed to secure the nomination without them. There also remains a remote mathematical possibility that even with the superdelegates, neither of the candidates would reach 2025 prior to the convention.

The ten point win with a 210,000 vote advantage of the popular vote yesterday by Clinton in Pennsylvania indicates the battle for the democratic nomination will continue. The DNC should be spending more time pressuring for a revote in Michigan and Florida. These are states where millions of voters in states the democrats must win in November have not had their votes counted. This makes more sense than pressuring 300 plus superdelegates to make the decision. The question the DNC should be considering is who would they rather have make the determination of the democratic party nominee, the superdelegates or the voters in Michigan and Florida?

One thing should be certain following this primary election and that is the need for the democratic party to revisit their entire primary election process. Everything from the scheduling of the dates for the states, the need for superdelgates, the proportional two step manner of awarding delegates by total vote and congressional district, as well as the different methods of voting from caucuses to traditional voting booths.

Fortunately for the democrats, they have two excellent candidates for President. Either one would be a huge improvement for the country from the current Bush administration. The closeness of the race has also brought more attention to the democrats while the presumptive republican nominee Senator John McCain receives little attention.

Both democratic candidates have heard what the voters want. They have stressed the need for new direction to aid an ailing economic, health care for all, the withdraw from Iraq and a coherent U.S foreign policy, as well as the need for a comprehensive energy plan for the country.

The DNC should work hard to ensure delegates from Florida and Michigan are involved in the nomination process to avoid the stigma that would come from the failure to count the votes from these two states. It is also important that democrats come together to support the eventual nominee for a McCain administration would be four more years of Bush.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PA DEM Primary Results - Live Blogging

Some have said a high voter turnout will favor Senator Obama - the result of massive voter registration drives - It is being reported that several counties in the state have actually gone from republican to democratic as a result of high voter registration by Dems. Besides a double digit win, Senator Clinton will be looking for a 200,000 total vote advantage in the state - this would help her campaign's argument of being ahead in the overall vote at the end of the primary schedule.

Both campaigns are lowering expectations - Obama campaign saying they were behind by 20 points at one time and the Clinton campaign talking about how Obama outspent them 3-1 in PA.

Another rumor has a large group of superdelegates set to go public with their support of Obama. This is the second time in the last few weeks this rumor has surfaced.

Beautiful weather across the state may be helping the 2 million voters who are expected at the polls today. There were some reports of voting machines not working but nothing out of the normal according to state election officials.

I saw a very funny short (30-45 second or so) clip on TV late afternoon called "Baracky:The Movie" It was based on the theme of the movie "Rocky" with Obama in the role of Rocky and Clinton his opponent. Anybody have a link to it we can post? I have not been able to find it.

6:37 PM ET Exit polls are coming out now - Who they believe will be the eventual nominee? 54% Obama, 43% Clinton - This is a tough one for Clinton, Gun Owners - 58% Clinton, 42% Obama, College degree - Obama 54%, Clinton 46%. I believe the link I provided will be updated as exit polls are released. The PA Polls close at 8:00 PM ET.

7:25 PM Sure enough, the Dem. Party is reporting voter turnout will double the 26% turnout in 2004 - this is a huge number for a primary. Drudge in the link above shows a 5pm exit poll showing Clinton 52%, Obama 48% - no one else is reporting these numbers and it is early.

7:55PM ET Polls close in five minutes. Women are voting for Clinton by large numbers. 20% of the voters made up their minds within last week and 58% supported Clinton. 92% of Black vote went to Obama but only 14% of dem voters in PA are Black. Younger voters and new voters are also going to Obama.

8:15 PM ET Obama is on his way to a rally in Indiana while PA remains too close to call. The bottom line has it that if Clinton only wins by 4-6 points, her campaign will have difficulty staying in for the funds will most certainly slow and her debts are huge. While the cash keeps rolling in for Obama.

8:37 PM ET MSNBC has early numbers 65% Clinton 35% Obama with 0% precincts reporting. This means nothing.

8:49 PM ET MSNBC projects Clinton the winner. 3% reporting 55% Clinton 45% Obama

Last Sunday, I published a post where I predicted Clinton winning 52-48 over Obama. The spread is very important for Clinton - the larger the spread, the more likely she stays in and is able to raise funds. However, a 4 point win by Clinton will give more attention to the newest Obama slogan "stop the drama-vote Obama".

9:09 PM ET 9% precincts reporting, Clinton 54%, Obama 46%. If Clinton wins by 8 points or more her campaign will talk about being outspent 3-1 by Obama and they still won. The Clinton campaign is already raising the issue that Obama can not close it out.

9:34 PM ET 22% reporting, Clinton 53% Obama 47%, 10:14 PM ET 58% reporting Clinton-55% Obama-45%
Senator Clinton is about to give her victory speech.

10:15 PM ET Clinton victory speech - stakes are high and challenges are great - stays with the theme she will be a president ready to lead on day one. making the economy work for working class. believe in the promise of America-in the race to fight for you - everyone that has been counted out, those who are paying the outrageous prices at the gas pump. I will stand up for you in the White House. commend Obama in this race, went on about young girls being able to do anything they want. This is your victory tonight. We need to be able to compete with an opponent that outspends us so dramatically - this campaign is in your hands. some people wanted me to quit-the American people don't quit and the voters need a president that will not quit either (good line). because of you the tide is turning - although outspent 3-1, the people of PA had other ideas today. Time to start solving our problems-I have been offering solutions. independence from foreign oil. health care for every American, real improvements in public education, renewed commitment to science. I look forward to speaking to the voters in Indiana and N.C. and the rest of the states as we move forward. She is honored by the support of the voters in PA - thanked Ed Rendell, Nutter, husband Bill, daughter and the rest. If she is able to pull off the dem nomination, Gov. Rendell will be on the short list for V.P. We need to be the can do nation, break the barriers and lift up all people, will we take back the white house and out country - hope can become reality - "yes we will" a good speech. Obama will speak next even though the loser typically speaks first.

10:15 PM ET 74% reporting Clinton 54% Obama 46%

10:44 Pm ET Obama speaks from Indiana at a rally with singer John Mellencamp, - congratulated Senator Clinton for her victory today and thanked the thousands of PA voters for their support. they registered a record number of voters - were not blown out. we are here because workers in a Indiana town losing their jobs because the plant moved overseas. people worrying about if their paycheck will pay the bills. we can't afford to play the same Washington games with the same players. McCain not offering any meaningful changes from Bush. Hammered McCain for some time. The question is will we bring about change? the crowd began chanting "yes we can!" We all hold common hopes for the future. Change occurs from the bottom up. He used a 2004 slogan of Howard Dean - "you have the power"

11:11 PM ET 86% reporting Clinton 55% Obama 45% The undecideds went for Clinton by a large margin and contributed in a big way to her victory. The negative attacks on Obama worked in Ohio, Texas and now PA - this will add to the argument how would he withstand the sure to come attacks from the Republicans? This win in PA will allow Clinton to continue but she needs to raise funds asap and she needs to narrow the 9 point deficit in N.C. and she needs to win in Indiana that she is leading by only 2 points. These primaries are in two weeks on May 6th.

A 8-10 point loss after out spending Clinton 3-1 is not good, but Obama still has the delegate lead and a substantial war chest. For Clinton, she needed this win - now let's see what she can do in two weeks.

Let the spin begin. Goodnight

The Rumble in PA

After six weeks of intensive campaigning by both democratic candidates, the voters finally have their say as they go to the voting booths today.

The scenarios are literally all over the board - from a surprise Obama victory that would surely end the Clinton campaign to a double digit win by Clinton that would put momentum back on her side.

Politico has a good quick read "Five things to watch in Pennsylvania". The 158 delegates up for grabs today are the most by far of any of the remaining states in the democratic primary schedule. The proportional manner of awarding the delegates by both total vote and congressional district makes it difficult for either candidate to win substantially more delegates than the other.

A ten point win by Clinton may only result in a 15 delegate advantage. However, this large of a margin would allow the Clinton campaign to continue the argument that Obama can not win the big states. There would be even more pressure exerted on what to do about the disenfranchised voters from Michigan and Florida who have a combined 366 delegates. The 300 or so unpledged superdelegates might also feel no urge to make a quick declaration of support.

In just two weeks, Indiana (72 delegates) and North Carolina (115 delegates) hold their primaries. The polls show Obama with a strong 15 point lead in N.C. In Indiana, the polls are showing a very close race with Clinton up by a few points.

Now it's time for the voters to speak in Pennsylvania. We will be doing some live blogging as the results come in tonight.

Stay Tuned.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Nuggets From The Campaign Trail

The importance of Pennsylvania continues as the candidates appear on TV the night before the primary. Clinton earlier appeared with Olberman on MSNBC and is scheduled to appear on Larry King Live - 9:00 PM ET. Obama is on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and both are on "Today" tomorrow morning

Bill Clinton explains that under the Republican Party primary election rules, Senator Hillary Clinton would be winning and he is right - read more here.

Obama refuses to debate in North Carolina - April 27th date with Katie Couric as moderator is cancelled due to scheduling issues.

The closing Ad by Clinton - "if you can't stand the heat - stay out of the kitchen" and the Obama response using a quote from Bill Clinton.

Ten Point PA Win By Clinton Would Hurt Obama

Upon review of the polls yesterday, I wrote that undecideds would break toward Senator Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania tomorrow and she would win by a margin of 52% to 48%. One of the reasons for the close showing by Senator Barack Obama would be the incredible amount of money his campaign has spent in Pennsylvania. The reports are that Obama has outspent Clinton by a 2-1 and maybe even 3-1 margin.

The polls out today show Clinton receiving the nod from those undecideds and even pulling further ahead of Obama. Zogby is saying today that a ten point Clinton victory is possible tomorrow. If Clinton can pull off a double digit win, it will spell problems for the Obama campaign.

Over the last six weeks since the last primary many issues have been pounced upon by both campaigns and the media, most of them being emotionally charged and not distinctions on a policy. We've heard countless number of times the Clinton misspeak on the Bosnia landing and fear of snipers, the speeches by Reverend Wright, Obama's statement on voters in small towns being bitter and clinging to guns and religion, and most recently the reporting of a casual relationship Obama had with Mr. Ayers, a former member of the 60's radical group, the weathermen underground.

With money apparently not being a major issue to either campaign, negative ads became the standard bearer, whether it was robo-calls or television. MSNBC First Read has videos of some of the negative ads.

It will be interesting to examine the exit polling of the vote tomorrow. Women of all ages and young voters under thirty helped Obama in Iowa. Then in New Hampshire, it was women who significantly helped Clinton. Much has been said about rural voters breaking toward Clinton versus voters from urban areas breaking for Obama. In addition to age and gender, the breakdown of the vote by race will be anaylized.

If Clinton does manage to pull off a double digit win in Pennsylvania, she will be the comeback candidate. Her supporters will be able to put some results behind the rhetoric that Obama will not be able to stand up to the Republican heat sure to come in the general election. They will also surely point out how much they were overspent, yet still prevailed. They will point out Clinton did not just win, but won by a significant margin and this is why the campaign must go on.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What Are the Polls Telling Us?

The political polls in this election year have been watched very closely by voters and the candidate campaign staff. The close race between Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama for the democratic party nomination has added to this fascination of the polls.

One thing we know is that the poll numbers can vary dramatically by the pollster and the methodology used by them. We have seen the polls be off dramatically prior to the New Hampshire primary won by Senator Clinton. This led to the Clinton campaign using these poll numbers and her winning result to put out the spin she was the comeback kid. In reality, Clinton had been leading by double digits prior to the Obama win in Iowa. He did narrow the margin but he was never seriously expected to win a state Clinton had said was her firewall in the campaign.

Today's Daily Gallup Poll ( a national tracking poll) shows Clinton with a lead 46% to Obama with 45%. Gallup indicates this is the first time Clinton has led this poll since March 18-20. It is hard to say if this is a result of the hammering that Senator Obama has received or if people are paying a little more attention several days prior to the Pennsylvania primary. Obama currently leads Clinton in total delegates 1648 to 1508 with 2025 need to win the democratic party nomination.

Senator Clinton needs a solid win in Pennsylvania (10 points or more) to put to rest the growing whispers from her supporters that it is time for her to exit for the good of the democratic party. The Zogby poll dated 4-18 to 4-19 shows Clinton 46% and Obama 43%. The Obama campaign with a much larger campaign chest have outspent the Clinton campaign by a 3-1 to 4-1 margin in Pennsylvania. There is no doubt that a narrow win by Clinton would result in more pressure for her to drop out. A victory here by Obama would most certainly end the Clinton campaign so it is understandable that the Obama campaign is taking this approach in Pennsylvania.

It appears Clinton will win Pennsylvania, but by only a 52% to 48% margin with 60% of the 9-11% undecideds indicated in recent polls voting for Clinton.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sunday Morning 4-20-08 "Talking Heads"

All of the Sunday morning shows continue the trend of having their guests be surrogates of the democratic presidential candidates. CNN's "Late Edition" has former Senator Bill Bradley - Obama supporter and N.J. Governor Jon Corzine - Clinton supporter.

NBC "Meet the Press" has campaign strategists Geoff Garin - Clinton and David Axelrod - Obama. Mr. Garin supposedly has taken the position of Mark Penn who was demoted but kept on the campaign staff after meeting with Colombian officials. This after Senator Clinton's announced position has been in opposition to the trade agreement with Colombia. Howard Wolfson of the Clinton campaign has actually taken on a more public face with the Clinton campaign. Why Penn is still on the Clinton payroll remains a mystery unless it is due to large contracts with his firm on advertising development.

CBS "Face the Nation" has entertaining Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell who is a Clinton supporter and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey a Obama supporter.

One of the topics sure to be discussed is the dueling health care plan ads being run on Television in Pennsylvania prior to their primary next Tuesday. Senator Clinton's ad talks about how the Obama plan leaves 15 million out in the cold. While Senator Obama's ad says the Clinton plan forces everyone to buy insurance even if they can't afford it.

The other hot topic will surely be follow up discussion on last Wednesday's debate debacle.

For a complete run down of the Sunday morning shows check out Politico Sunday talk show tip sheet

Clinton Questions Caucus Method of Voting

The latest in the "gotcha" style of politics today is the media reporting on comments made by Senator Hillary Clinton in regard to the caucus method of voting in some state primaries. At a fundraiser, she is reported as saying Democratic activists and groups like intimidated her supporters in caucuses held in Texas and Nevada. The Huffington Post has a report you can read and a video you can watch here.

It was Senator Barack Obama who was the brunt of "gotcha" style politics last week for comments he made at a private fundraiser in San Francisco pertaining to small town Pennsylvania voters being bitter and clinging to their guns and religion were made public.

The democratic party primary process has come under much scrutiny as a result of the close contest between Obama and Clinton for the nomination. Many democratic voters have learned for the first time of the existence of 796 superdelegates who make up approximately twenty per cent of the total delegates available for the candidates to compete for the 2025 delegates needed to win.

Then there is the proportional way in which delegates are awarded to the candidates by both the popular vote and then by legislative district. While at the same time the states of Florida (210) and Michigan (156) have a total of 366 pledged delegates which will not be counted due to sanctions by the democratic national committee. The 366 pledged delegates in these two states is more than 10% of the total pledged delegates up for grabs.

While Senator Clinton may be technically correct in the role party activists play in the states that hold caucuses, she of all people should have been keenly aware of this process and worked harder to win their support.

The democratic party process used in the nomination of their presidential candidate is certainly up for discussion and most likely will see revisions prior to the next election. However, all the present democratic candidates for president in this election knew the rules when they filed for the office. These rules although arguably flawed, have applied equally to all candidates.

Friday, April 18, 2008

MD 6th District Fundraising Totals

Total Raised and Spent


Roscoe G. Bartlett (R)*

Raised: $114,079
Spent: $31,729
Cash on hand: $279,585
Last Report: 3/31/2008

B/L/I pie


Jennifer P. Dougherty (D)

Raised: $47,690
Spent: $28,448
Cash on hand: $19,240
Last Report: 3/31/2008

B/L/I pie


The above information is provided by The cash on hand is significant as republican incumbent Roscoe Bartlett has $279, 585 compared to democratic challenger Jennifer Dougherty who has only $19,240.
Due primarily to the heavily weighted republican registration in the 6th district, Roscoe Bartlett has held this seat for 16 years. This, in spite of his ineffective record of serving the voters in western Maryland.

The Alliance for Climate Protection Releases New Video

Al Gore continues his work toward solving the climate crisis with The Alliance for Climate Protection. They recently started a "We" program aimed at enlightening more people of the issue and enlisting every one's help in developing solutions. recently released their first television advertisement. You may have seen it - it featured Reverends Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton.

It is refreshing to see a non partisan approach in solving a global problem.

This advertisement features former House Speaker Republican Newt Gingrich and current Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Watch the video here:

Edwards, Biden, Carter and Gore - Peacekeepers or Deciders?

George Wenschhof

These four men so far have stayed out of the fray as democrats determine their candidate for President. All four are influential democrats who can play an important role as peacekeepers or as decision makers for the party.

John Edwards has been noncommittal since he suspended his campaign for the democratic party nomination despite meetings arranged by both the Obama and Clinton campaigns. The only inkling of how he may be leaning is comments attributed to his wife Elizabeth. Mrs. Edwards who is battling cancer has stated that she felt the Senator Clinton's health care plan was better than the one offered by Senator Obama.

Senator Biden also a former candidate for the nomination has stated he is not interested in being selected as the vice-president running mate of the eventual nominee or as serving as secretary of state. Remember, it was Biden who early on, was attributed with saying that Senator Obama had a good appearance and spoke well. Although this statement was questioned by some at the time as having some racial overtones, Biden made follow up statements and Obama made a statement in support of Biden.

Former President Jimmy Carter is meeting with Hammas leaders in Syria today much to the consternation of the George w. Bush administration. Carter believes that Hammas should be included in negotiations leading to Israel - Palestinian peace. Although the Bush administration officials have called for Carter to be excluded from the democratic convention in August, look for Carter to not only be there but to be heard from. Indications are that he favors Senator Obama as he has publicly stated his whole family likes Obama.

It is also unlikely that former vice-president and 2004 democratic party candidate for president Al Gore will endorse prior to the convention. Many still feel he won the 2000 election that put George W. Bush in office. You may recall that in that campaign he did not enlist the aid of President Bill Clinton in his campaign so it is doubtful Gore will endorse Senator Hillary Clinton. Gore tremendous success in battling the effects of global warming have lead his supporters to hope for a draft Gore movement at the democratic convention in August.

Meanwhile Howard Dean becoming increasingly paranoid over the failure to date of determining the nominee, a trait hardly becoming of a chair of the Democratic National Committee. He is calling for uncommitted superdelegates to make up their minds now - watch CNN video.

Dean does not realize that this continued battle for the nomination has been a positive for the democratic party and has helped energize voters. He should be dusting off the party rules and guidelines that surround the procedures of a democratic convention so all the rules are followed properly at the convention.

Dean fails to realize that all the attention is on the democrats, leaving the presumptive republican nominee Senator John McCain battling for recognition of the voters. Voters are tired of the conventions that are merely a coronation for the democratic presidential nominee and long for a convention that has meaning.

Let's hope the voters all across the country are who decides the democratic nominee.