It is hard to believe that the national elections are now only four months away - both the Democratic and Republican conventions will be held in August - afterward, the spotlight will be on Obama and McCain big time. Correction - the Republican Convention will be held Sept. 1-4 in St. Paul, Minn. The Democrats are in Denver, Colorado from August 25-28.
Today, Obama is in Independence, Missouri - He will deliver a speech on Patriotism at 10:00 AM ET. This will be good for the Republicans try to own "patriotism". If I locate the video, I will put it here. We posted earlier that McCain was outspending Obama 2-1 in TV in Missouri - he must be afraid Obama is making inroads in a Republican state.
Also today, is the last day of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) Convention - held in Chicago, Mayor Daley will speak, along with DLC chair Harold Ford, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. The two Governors are on Obama's short list for VP. Read more here.
Bill Clinton to meet with Obama - Yesterday, Terry McAuliffe, former national chair to Senator Clinton's campaign, said he expected the two to meet within the next couple of days. So far, the former President has issued a statement of support for Obama so this meeting will be good. Read more here.
Further evidence the electoral map is shifting - Here is a column about Democrats looking at picking up some southern states. Read more here. While here is a column about Democrats seeing western states in play. Read more here. Seems like Obama's 50 state strategy is getting some attention.
New radio ad by The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) - They are targeting 13 congressional seats held by Republicans. In this ad, they use a Bush impersonator and tie Republicans to big oil interests. Read more and listen to the ad here.
Here is a Veepstakes update from the LA Times. They talk about Clinton, Biden, Nunn, Bayh, and Webb. Clinton has to be looked at seriously, regardless of the personal feelings resulting from a hard fought primary. I like John Edwards who is closer in age to Obama and has a lot of energy and good ideas. He would campaign well with Obama.
The deadline for this quarter's campaign finance reports is tonight at midnight. - So if you have a candidate you want to support, send in your contribution today! Locally, here in Maryland, it will be interesting to view the finance reports from the two Democrats challenging for the two seats held by Republicans. That would be Kratovil in the first district who has received a lot of attention along with Dougherty in the sixth district. We will post their finance reports when they become available.
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Monday, June 30, 2008
It is hard to believe that the national elections are now only four months away - both the Democratic and Republican conventions will be held in August - afterward, the spotlight will be on Obama and McCain big time. Correction - the Republican Convention will be held Sept. 1-4 in St. Paul, Minn. The Democrats are in Denver, Colorado from August 25-28.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:29 AM
We published last week their columns on waste disposal options would appear today. However, due to a hectic schedule and a planned family vacation, Commissioner Kai Hagen requested an additional week to submit his column. We certainly understand and although we have Commissioner President Jan Gardner's column, we agreed to publish both on Wednesday, July 9, 2008.
We are also pleased that with their busy schedules, Jan and Kai have agreed to submit a series of columns on this important community issue and these future columns will be published on our site. So make sure you read their positions, stay informed and let them know how you feel Frederick County should move forward in the area of waste disposal. Stay Tuned.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 9:39 AM
Sunday, June 29, 2008
The changing political map across the U.S. - is the subject of a article today in the Washington Post. Virginia possibly turning blue and W. Virginia turning red is just part of the changing demographics in the country. Read it here. Also remember to follow the electoral vote by clicking on the Electoral Vote Predictor which we also have in the right hand margin of our home page. This site tracks the electoral votes of all the states and how they are leaning throughout the remainder of the campaign. Today, Obama leads with 317, McCain has 194 and there are 27 ties. 270 is needed for a candidate to win.
McCain outspending Obama 2-1 in Missouri - Perhaps, the preceding post helps explain why. It is still way early and it is unusual to spend heavily on TV in the summer months but over the last week this is what was happening - read more here. The Electoral Vote Predictor currently has Missouri and it's 11 electoral votes labeled as "weak Republican" with McCain at 50% and Obama at 43%.
McCain continues politics of fear - The Boston Globe has a good article today entitled "The same old politics of terror". Charlie Black, a senior adviser to the McCain campaign recently said a terrorist attack on the U.S. would help the McCain effort. Of course, Senator Clinton tried the same approach against Obama with the 3 AM phone call ad - unfortunately, it did have some effect against Obama in Ohio. The belief by the voter that the President can keep their family safe does impact heavily on how they vote. Stay tuned to follow how the campaigns frame this issue.
McCain plans to unveil his economic program next week - In response to the last two week economic tour by the Obama campaign, McCain will begin with his message as to how he will help create jobs etc. The economy continues to be the number one concern of voters so this is important for the candidates to address. Unfortunately, over the summer months, is not the best time to try to reach the voters attention. Read more here.
Immigration enters national spotlight - Yesterday, when addressing Latino elected officials, Obama accused McCain of altering his position on immigration. This is an emotional issue, guaranteed to raise the attention of voters. So far, in the presidential election campaign, it has not been a major issue and congress has continued to ignore the discussion of needed action in this area. Look to see this issue heat up as we near election day. Read more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:27 AM
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Obama to visit Iraq, Afghanistan , and Europe - this has been in discussion for the last month. He will be part of a congressional delegation to visit Iraq and Afghanistan. Afghanistan has been the forgotten war where the Taliban have regrouped and Poppy remains the number one export of the country. Obama will also visit England, France and Germany. All of these overseas visits will occur prior to the Democratic national convention in late August. Read more here.
Today, Obama and McCain will speak to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO). This morning they are both expected to give a speech at the conference in D.C. For Obama, this follows his Thursday night meeting with Hillary Clinton and her Hispanic supporters. Read more here.
Update 1:25 PM ET - Read Obama's remarks here. - Read McCain's remarks here.
Democrats and unity - can it happen? - Democrats have long been a party made up of people with many different ideas which prompted the famous Will Rodgers quote "I'm not a member of any organized party, I'm a Democrat". The ongoing attempt at party unity, including the choosing of Unity, New Hampshire as the location for the first joint Obama-Clinton campaign event has many scratching their heads. Today three columns appear in the media on this issue: "New Campaign for Democrats: Unity", "The Dem's Appearance of Unity", and "What it will take for Democrats to Unite".
While there is all the talk on unity, here is a column on how Obama can still lose. As the election nears, voters will want to hear solutions and not spin on the issues facing them today. Whether it is the economy, rising energy costs, health care, the war in Iraq, or affordable college tuition, voters will begin the tune in more clearly prior to making their decision.
Ohio remains close between Obama and Clinton - A SurveyUSA poll shows Obama with 48% and McCain with 46%. The margin of error is 4.2% so this is virtually a tie. Ohio is one of the swing states Obama must win in November - John Kerry lost the state in 2004 and with it, the election. Read more here.
David Plouffle, Obama campaign manager sends email to supporters explaining their campaign strategy and asking for their support. - This is a great approach to reach voters while also asking for financial help for the campaign. View campaign strategy video here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:47 AM
Meet the Press - Tom Brokaw debuts as Host and has California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Anyone think McCain can win California? Recently, the terminator weighed in on the energy crisis and it did not sound like he endorsed McCain's proposal for off-shore and arctic drilling for oil. Also appearing will be Chuck Todd, a rising start and political director for NBC News.
Newsmakers - Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich) and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus will be interviewed on C-SPAN. Earlier in the week, she was discussing names that were asked about in regard to Obama's VP by his search committee. Expect more discussion on the possible pick.
Face the Nation - has an interesting lineup. General Wesley Clark, a supporter of Obama, Independent Connecticut Senator Joementum who supports McCain, and New York Times journalist David Sanger. Sanger will be asked about his reporting on North Korea which just blew up their nuclear processing plant.
This Week - Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) who is on the short list as VP with McCain. Also, representative Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill). What should provide some sparks is Ralph Nader, who once again is running as an Independent for President. Nader was quoted earlier this week as saying Obama was trying to talk white so expect this to be part of the interview.
Late Edition - Terry McAuliffe, former national chair of the Clinton campaign will appear and presumable gush over Hillary's support of Obama. Also, Louisiana Governor Jindal (R) who is on the short list for McCain VP, and Governor Jon Corzine (D-NJ).
For a complete rundown, check out Politico.com "Sunday talk show tip sheet".
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:09 AM
Friday, June 27, 2008
Well, they have now had their first joint campaign event. It is reported 6000 attended in a town whose population is 1700. Remember, it was the New Hampshire primary that kept Clinton in the race for the Democratic party nomination after Obama had upset her in the Iowa caucuses. Here is some video of their remarks - Obama, and Clinton. Check it out and see for yourself what you think of their campaigning together. Will Clinton be the VP choice for Obama? Stay Tuned.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 3:33 PM
The Energy debate in Congress goes nowhere - The New York Times has a good read here. Much discussion, but little action on rising energy prices. As we witnessed over the last decade the move by some states to deregulate the electric market backfired with rising costs for consumers and a delivery system that is shaky, at best. It is time for congress to examine regulating the entire energy market - the incredible profits being made by the oil industry on a commodity everyone needs in order to survive is indeed troublesome and needs to end.
Barack and Michelle do what they have asked others to do - Both donated $2,300 to the Clinton campaign to help retire her debt. This is the maximum allowed for an individual. Read more here. Last night a private fundraiser was held in D.C. to introduce Obama to wealthy Clinton donors with mixed results - read more here.
The Senate passes supplemental bill - this was in addition to the 165 Billion that was approved for the military for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. As rumored, the GI Bill, extension of unemployment benefits, and flood relief all received funding. Medicare legislation to prevent a 10.6% pay cut to physicians failed. Read more here. FISA will be taken up on July 8.
Today, Clinton joins Obama in Unity, New Hampshire - Their first joint campaign event will be held at a elementary school at 11:00 AM ET. Read more here.
Obama reaches out to Gay community - last night, Michelle Obama addressed the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council at a Gala in New York City. Read more here.
More bad news on the economy - yesterday, the Dow Jones fell 350 points adding concern to a shaky economy. Consumers continue to scale back and as prices rise, so does their anxiety. People are not going out to eat as often as they were and when they go to the grocery store, each week they see price increases. The next two months will be critical to examine - if unemployment increases during a time when jobs increase traditionally over the summer, watch out. Read more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:36 AM
Yesterday, in yet another record, oil reached its highest price peak in history: over $140 a barrel. This new price is being attributed to Libya's announcement that it was considering options to cut output in response to U.S. Actions against oil-producing countries.
In response, Congress pointed its finger to the new scapegoat-of-the-month: speculators. The U.S. House of Representatives directed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to use its authority to "curb immediately" the role of excessive speculation in the energy futures markets. It is now up to the Senate to see if any legislative action will be taken.
As the price of oil has continued to climb over the past several months, it has been interesting to watch the speed at which politicians have been willing to assign blame to any person, under any theory and at any cost. First the problem was blamed on the "big oil" companies, prompting calls to tax "windfall" profits. Next we heard that the problem was the environmentalists, who were preventing the exploration, development and extraction of domestic oil (and thus contributing to America's dependence on foreign oil). Now we hear that the problem is caused by the speculators and investors in the oil market.
In the midst of this finger-pointing Senator McCain has announced his energy proposal, including a proposal for a $300 million dollar prize to be given to anyone who develops an automobile battery that delivers power at 30% of the current costs. What surprises me most about this proposal (other than the fact that a Presidential candidate is passing off a prize as energy policy) is the fact the media seem to forget and McCain seems to ignore the fact that battery-powered cars have already been developed in the United States.
As recounted by the 2006 documentary film Who Killed the Electric Car?, after the California Air Resources Board passed an emissions mandate in 1990, General Motors developed and made available for lease the EV1, which was a battery electric vehicle. Many Californians leased the EV1 and raved about it. The film shows what happened after the California Air Resources Board reversed its mandate: GM took back the EV1s from the customers and disposed of them.
Why hasn't the media reported on all of the technology that already exists that could potentially solve our transportation problems? Why hasn't the media asked McCain why he would propose that taxpayers pay money to the developer of a battery that, in essence, already exists? We're in the midst of an energy crisis and our politicians continue to bicker, point fingers and develop gimmicks.
No one – neither our elected officials nor the media – seem to give energy policy issues the serious forethought they deserve. I say it's time that we demand the end to these political quick fix gimmicks.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 8:26 AM
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Today, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court decision written by Justice Scalia said the D.C. ban on handgun ownership was unconstitutional. However, it left the door ajar by also saying government may impose some restrictions. The particulars of the law passed by D.C. and this Supreme Court decision will now be examined thoroughly by both sides of the gun control argument. Expect new gun control laws to follow interpretation from this ruling. Read more here.
Republicans and the McCain campaign will jump on this decision and try to frame Obama as a bleeding heart liberal on this issue. Politico.com has a good read here. When this argument comes up I am always reminded of the countless number of westerns I watched as a boy. One thing in particular stays in my mind - to bring order to the lawless frontier towns, the sheriffs would require no guns to be worn and visitors would have to check their guns at the sheriff's office. The same approach has been used recently in some towns in Iraq. It would seem reasonable gun control legislation could aid in the safety of the residents in a community without infringing on the "right to bear arms" in the second amendment.
This is always a hot button issue, so expect more discussion. Stay tuned.
Read more of the Obama/McCain back and forth today on this issue here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 3:42 PM
David Plouffe, campaign manager for the Obama campaign outlines his strategy for victory in November - One step involves holding on to the 20 states and 252 electoral votes John Kerry won in 2004. 270 electoral votes are needed to win. Read more here. Remember to check often the site "Electoral Vote Predictor" - we have their link in the right hand margin of our home page. The numbers change as days go by. Today, they have Obama with 328 electoral votes, McCain with 183 electoral votes with 27 ties. Stay tuned for this will change.
"... Is it because he wants to talk white?..." - this was part of the discussion from Ralph Nader as he was talking about Obama. Nader, who is running for President, was asking why Obama has not been talking about the economic exploitation of the ghettos. Nader gained a lot of respect from his years as being a consumer advocate and especially his book in the 60's entitled "Not Safe at any Speed" when he wrote about the dangers of the rear engine Corvair. Nader was also accused of being one of the reasons Bush won in 2000 as his Independent run for President received votes that may have gone to Gore. Read more here.
Obama in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania today - at 9:00 AM ET, he will meet with business and labor leaders as he winds down his economic tour. Read more here. Although, he has made a concentrated effort over the last couple of weeks to discuss his plans for our ailing economic, the average voter is just not paying attention right now.
Obama and Clinton camps continue to unify - Interesting article in the New York Times today about how lawyer Robert Barnett is helping merge the two campaigns. Read it here.
What does Patriotism mean? - Time magazine has essays from Obama and Clinton. - read here Some Republicans try to make this an issue in every election and attacks have already been made on Obama pertaining to the wearing of an American flag lapel, etc.
Will Colin Powell endorse Obama? - Robert Novak has a column in the Washington Post today - read it here. Remember Colin Powell was Secretary of State in the first term of the George W. Bush administration. Some have said he was "used" by the Bush administration to argue the urgency and the need to go to war with Iraq to the U.N. Powell has bipartisan respect and support so his endorsement of Obama would be huge.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 9:55 AM
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Obama maintains double digit lead over McCain - In a LA Times/Bloomberg poll conducted from June 19-23, Obama leads McCain by 12 points, 49-37. The margin of error is 3 points. Earlier this week, a Newsweek poll had Obama up by 15 points. Read more here.
Senator Clinton returns to the Senate - She is back on the Hill and receives a warm welcome. Let's see how she votes on the FISA bill. Read more here.
Obama asks his national finance committee to help retire Clinton debt - This is a class move that should also help win over any remaining Clinton supporters. Read more here.
Wow! 3,000 Obama "Unite for Change" House Meetings planned - Jon Carson, National Field Director for Obama for America sent an email informing supporters of 3000 House Meetings occurring across the country on Saturday June 28. Geez, is that an average of 60 per state? An impressive field organization. To find a meeting near you, click here.
Obama will meet with Business Leaders today - In Chicago, he will hold a private meeting with Business Leaders from around the country to discuss ways the private sector can help strengthen the economy. A press conference is scheduled afterward at 3:15 PM ET. Read more here.
More support from Hillary - Today, in a closed door meeting, she will urge her former supporters on the Hill to give their support to Obama. Tomorrow, she will appear at a fundraiser with Obama in D.C. and Friday, the two of them are off to Unity, New Hampshire. Read more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 9:25 AM
Last week, on June 18th, the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs met with members of the community in Frederick. The gathering turned into a very emotional presentation with community members from various organizations such as Latinos United, Nuestra Casa del Pueblo, CASA de Maryland along with other concerned residents.
Issues addressed included the escalating incidences of one-on-one blatant hate, verbal abuse, and violence against local Latinos. Some of whom are afraid to report the abuses of Latino residents in Frederick. The Frederick County Sheriff’s office was accused of racial profiling by many participants. Tears, outrage, fear, and a sense of total disappointment was a common reaction by those who testified.
The Commission left Frederick and we are hopeful we will receive recommendations from them. Some individual members expressed to me their disappointment in the Sheriff’s office policies that have created a chilling effect within the immigrant community living and/or working in Frederick County. This meeting was held to inform people about what is going on in Frederick County so that those able and willing to do something to minimize and prevent the abuse of the minority population are aware of the struggle.
In 1985, Cornell law professor Sheri Lynn Johnson reviewed a dozen mock-jury studies. She concluded that the "race of the defendant significantly and directly affects the determination of guilt." In these studies, identical trials were simulated, sometimes with white defendants and sometimes with African Americans. Professor Johnson discovered that white jurors were more likely to find a black defendant guilty than a white defendant, even though the mock trials were based on the same crime and the same evidence. The full study is available at http://www.crf-usa.org/brown50th/color_of_justice.htm
This study done over 20 years ago is still relevant today at the time when the country is about to elect the first African-American to the highest office of the land. The need to work together is real and we call on those who do not see the wisdom of a coherent community working side by side to fight crime and preserve harmony to reach out to those they do not understand. If they do, they will learn pretty quickly that there is no major difference between various segments of the population.
Criminals are indiscriminate and should be fought using the collaboration and support of all segments of the population. Targeting one segment at the expense of the other is counterproductive. Building a parallel and second class community living in the shadow of fear and deprived from justice is not American.
We hope recommendations of the Commission are forthcoming and will be the catalyst that begins a new era in Frederick where every resident working and paying taxes is respected and appreciated.
Guy Djoken is President, Frederick County, Maryland Chapter NAACP
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:40 AM
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
On Friday, in a town obviously chosen for the symbolism of it's name, Obama and Clinton will hold a "Unite for Change" rally. In the primary, each candidate received 107 votes from Unity, New Hampshire. A little on the cheesy side as to the choice for the first joint campaign appearance. This persistent hammering away on the unity theme for Democrats is beginning to wear on me. Read more here.
Senior Adviser to McCain says terrorist attack on U.S. prior to the election would help his candidate - what a bonehead - Charlie Black made the comments yesterday and soon was apologizing for what he said. Part of the Republican mantra has been "they" can keep Americans safe. Let's see if he keeps his job - stay tuned. Read more here.
Communications Workers of America endorses Obama -This is a 700,000 member union who were split between Obama, Clinton and Edwards in the Democratic primary and did not endorse anyone. Read more here.
Today Obama will discuss his energy plan in Las Vegas - He will continue his economic tour by discussing his ten year 150 Billion plan to invest in alternative energy sources. He will also mention his economic stimulus package that includes another round of rebate checks to Americans - Obama should drop this part - sounds too much like Bush. There is no current concrete evidence of any effect from the first round of rebate checks recently sent out by the Bush administration. Read more here.
12:50 PM ET Update - As I suspected, The economic stimulus checks sent by the Bush administration have had no effect in boosting consumer confidence - Read more here.
The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) is holding a national convention in Chicago this weekend - The DLC would probably best be described as moderate and rose in influence during the Clinton administration. This weekend at the Hyatt Regency Hotel they will host elected officials from across the country. Panel discussions and policy workshops will be offered to the estimated 300 guests. Read more here.
12:57 PM ET Update - Bill Clinton endorses Obama - He issues a one sentence statement saying he is willing to do whatever is needed to help Obama get elected. This is a far cry from his appearing with Obama at a Rally to announce his support but maybe that will be worked out later - stay tuned. Read more here
Posted by George Wenschhof at 9:41 AM
Whitney M. Duck
One of the most highly charged issues facing both Democrats and Republicans is a woman's Reproductive Rights. What does this mean? It is not simply abortion on demand. Often this issue encompasses birth control and how women control their ability to conceive and bear children. The issue is huge and highly complicated with a lot of gray area. Some paint this issue as black and white, you either are pro or anti abortion. I say that there is much more to it!
In a time very long ago, I was a teenage mother. I gave birth to my first child at the tender age of 17. The world was never the same. In 1977, I could not attend school with my peers and was not allowed to attend the Prom. I was schooled in the high school nurses office and asked to come late to school and leave early. I was considered a bad example to my fellow classmates. The world has changed greatly in the last 31 years! Young women now can finish their school year with their peers and the stigma attached to young mother has weaned a bit. But this issue and the right to decide when to bear children is still back in the past century!Whether or not to bear a child is personal and complex. I am surprised that the political party that wants less government intervention, the Republican Party, wants to make this issue one of the front line reasons to vote for candidates. Who in their right mind would want the government to tell or have a law that says women must bear children at all costs? The idea that every pregnancy is welcome, healthy, and conceived in love is political folly on the part of the Pro-Life group.
The media feeds this idea with happy parents and prefect children flowing across the TV and print media. Sadly this is not always the case. Tragedy does occur. Nature is not prefect and babies often do not come to full term. Some women and young women can not carry children to term. Families, at times do not wish to carry the stigma of teenage birth in their family tree. The reasons for not having a child are so varied and so life changing that placing the government in this decision seems outrageous!
The dispensing of birth control has also become a hot button. Across this great land, there are pharmacies that will not fill prescriptions for birth control. These pharmacists often have a political agenda. Why then fill a prescription for Viagra? Is Viagra too much of a money maker to say no to? Let us weigh the two – erection vs. preventing pregnancy – why is this a choice?
For young women, the 1973 Supreme Court Decision Roe vs. Wade may be so far in the past for them to fully understand the impact if it was overturned.. This landmark decision is worth reading to anyone concerned about losing Reproductive Rights. The Opinion written by Justice Blackmun is long and throws most of the responsibility of allowing abortion into the lap of state government and not federal government. I believe this opinion by the high court to be the most over read and misunderstood opinion that the Supreme Court has put forth in my memory.
I do not want the federal government to tell my daughter, or any other women, that she must have a child, no matter how the conception happened or how sick she is, or how badly nature has malformed the fetus. I have given birth to a very sick baby and in the course of the birth, almost lost my own life. But it was I, myself, who made the decision to carry through with the pregnancy! Not the doctors, spouse, or family advise. It was my choice and not the governmental law makers or those of the clergy.
In this election year, will cooler heads prevail? Reproductive Rights are important to women of all ages. Making new law to stop abortions will not stop the teenager from conceiving or mother nature from the terrible misfires that can occur during conception. Other factors like national health care and sex education might be better venues then trying to legislate morality. It is something to think about.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Tom Brokaw will host "Meet the Press" through the elections - Brokaw was a close friend of Tim Russert and a familiar face to TV viewers of the news but he has big shoes to fill. He retired as news anchor after the 2004 elections. Read more here.
More on FISA and Obama - MoveOn.org is asking it's members to demand Obama filibuster this week the FISA bill in the senate due to immunity legislation for telecoms. They say this is what he promised he would do last Spring. Obama has said he would submit an amendment but did not say he would filibuster the bill. Just days ago, MoveOn.org announced it would cease it's 527 operations saying they agreed with Obama that the election could be won by Americans giving small donations. Read more here.
Senator Clinton also due back to the Senate this week - Let's see how she votes on the FISA bill. Over the weekend, she attended a High School graduation of a volunteer, fulfilling a promise she had made. Thursday, she will address the National Association of Latino Elected Officials at a meeting in D.C. - On Friday, it was announced she will campaign with Obama, but so far it is mums the word at to where. Read more here.
Michelle Obama reaches out to Clinton supporters - She spoke at a meeting of the national partnership for Women and Families. Two of the board members were strong Clinton supporters, Ellen Malcom (President of Emilys List) and Judith Lichtman who was in charge of women outreach for the Clinton campaign. Read more here.
Attack book on Obama scheduled for release in August - This is the same publisher who released the attack book on John Kerry in 2004. It will be written by David Freddoso and is titled "The Case Against Barack Obama". Read more here.
Obama begins second week of his economic tour in Albuquerque, New Mexico - He will talk about the unique economic issues facing working women today. He will be speaking at the flying Star Cafe and Bakery, a woman owned and founded business. Read more here.
New action needed on energy markets says Obama - as gas prices rise, he offers step to regulate the market. One step would require U.S. energy futures to trade on regulated exchanges. Read more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 9:52 AM
We are pleased to announce on June 30, we will publish columns from the two Democrats (Board President Jan Gardner and Kai Hagen) on the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on the issue of waste disposal. We encourage you to read their positions and to share your thoughts by entering comments at the end of their columns. Although they both agreed to write one column, we are hopeful they will both respond with a series of columns on this very important issue.
Decisions by local government officials have a direct impact of the day to day lives of residents in their communities. How to deal with the disposal of waste ranks up there with approval of developments and where to site a new jail as decisions sure to engage the voters in a community.
In Frederick County, Maryland it does not seem it has been almost two decades since the community had an intense discussion over where to place a landfill. Local groups sprang up in opposition to the plan by the BOCC to site the landfill on land owned by a private individual who did not want to sell the land for this purpose. After much debate, condemnation procedures were instituted and as a result, the current landfill came into existence.
Many issues were discussed, including the lining of the landfill, the potential of hazardous material leaching into the groundwater and other environmental concerns, the truck traffic generated to the site, and how long would this landfill be operational.
Today, this issue is raising it's ugly head again as local elected officials grapple with how to dispose of waste in their communities. Two of the new "buzz words" that have surfaced to help describe a position on how to handle waste disposal are "Waste-to-Energy or WTE" and "Zero Waste".
In the simplest terms, "WTE" involves the building of an Incinerator and "Zero Waste" involves a more integrated and coordinated environment friendly effort, including the increase of recycling.
Once again, local groups have thankfully sprung up to express their views on this issue. This is a benefit for the community to be informed on the options so decisions are hopefully made in an educated and informed manner with the future in mind.
One such group, Friends of Frederick County, sent a letter back in August of last year to the BOCC asking that they review recycling and composting measures as opposed to incineration. Read letter here. Another local group to check out is the Maryland Waste Study Group. Recently, Caroline Eader, another concerned county resident, initiated a trip to Boulder, Colorado so elected officials could see innovative methods successfully in use today.
Those in favor of waste-to-energy, promote improved technology along with the ability to create electricity. Also noted, is the capability to serve as a regional source for waste disposal. Here is some information from Kevin Dayhoff. a Westminster, Maryland resident who supports WTE as a better alternative than landfills.
As always, this is a crucial decision for local elected officials to make. Plan to visit our site and read the views of Frederick County Commissioner Board President Jan Gardner and Commissioner Kai Hagen on this issue June 30, 2008. Make sure you become informed and let your elected officials know how you feel waste disposal should be handled, keeping in mind a vision for the future.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 7:07 AM
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Obama reacts to passage of FISA - On Friday, the House passed a compromise FISA bill negotiated by Steny Hoyer (Md), House Majority Leader. The initial reaction by Senator Obama was one of support. TalkingPointsMemo.com has a good read here.
Later on Saturday, it was reported that he was against telecom immunity and that is how he saw the compromise language offered by Hoyer. He indicated he will not support the bill when it comes to the Senate this week and will offer an amendment which would strike the compromise language. Over 40 lawsuits have been filed against telecoms for providing information to the Bush administration. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said he would offered the amendment but was doubtful it would pass. Read more here.
In a "gotcha" moment made more relevant by the floods in Iowa - the two campaigns pointed fingers at the other for how they voted in the past on the Water Resources Development Act. Read more here.
Obama plans 50 state strategy - This is the same strategy former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has been promoting as chair of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC has been funding staff positions across the country and placing them in state Democratic party organizations. These positions are to boost voter registration and get out the vote efforts. The Obama campaign will be sending paid staff to all states as well, making sure the McCain campaign does not have an easy ride in any state. It is estimated that the Obama campaign could easily raise and spend 300 million in the general election. This is plenty to have advertising in every state. The New York Times has a good read here.
Immigration could become a major issue in the general election - neither candidate or party have included this in their platform in this election. This is a shame, for states and local government have been left to deal with this emotionally charged issue. Not only is this not a local government issue, but the actions being taken by local governments are further exacerbating this issue. Yesterday, McCain challenged Obama to appear with him at the National Council of La Raza meeting next month. This is an issue where we are dealing with human rights and it should not be dealt with by a campaign gimmick. Let's hope serious discussion does begin with suggested solutions by the candidates - It is way past due. Read more here.
Will racial prejudice impact the election? - The Washington post has a good read today entitled "3 in 10 Americans Admit to Race Bias". Lots of interesting stats in this new Washington Post - ABC News poll - in the 2004 election, 77% of voters were white and 11% of voters were black. Also this Post-ABC poll shows Obama leading McCain by 6 points but among those most likely to vote, McCain leads by 1 point.
More bad news for the economy - the DOW falls below 12,000, losing 465 points last week. Read more here. While unemployment continues to increase with May national average being 5.5%, a .5% increase from April. Typically, unemployment drops in the summer months due to increased seasonal job opportunities. Read more here. If unemployment figures rise over the summer and the DOW continues to drop, expect the pressure to be on the candidates big time in September and October to produce viable solutions. Sending another round of rebate checks will not cut it.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 9:54 AM
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Obama and McCain both raise 22 million in May - McCain reported having 32 million cash on hand available for the primary and Obama reported 44 million, with 10 million earmarked for the general election.
Clinton reported the 20 million in debt that was widely rumored with 11 million of it coming from personal loans to the campaign. In the last month of their closely contest primary race Clinton spent 16 million and Obama spent 27 million. 43 million being spent by two candidate in only one month of a primary is another good reason for publicly funded campaigns. Read more here.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) has 53.5 million cash on hand while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had only 4.4 million on hand end of April - while the RNC is bringing home the bacon, the Republican Congressional and Senate campaign committees are lagging far behind their Democratic counterparts. Read more here.
AFL-CIO is concerned about McCain - they are concerned he could appeal to many of their workers. They have embarked on a 53.4 million spending plan to convince their 13 million members to support Obama. Read more here.
Obama will speak at U.S. Mayors Conference today - This is in Miami, Florida and he is scheduled to speak at 12:30 PM ET. Read more here.
Virginia Senator Jim Webb as running mate for Obama? The Wall Street Journal has a column today that makes the case for picking Webb. As a freshman Senator, he appears to bring more negative baggage than help to the Obama campaign - don't count on this pick. Read WSJ column here.
Yesterday, Obama spoke at a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida - From a Pool Report: "The choice is clear. Most of all we can choose between hope and fear. It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy. We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black? Read more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:04 AM
For some of us, it will take time to adjust to Sunday mornings without Tim Russert. Brian Williams will host "Meet the Press" on Sunday. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who is among others on the short list of Obama's potential running mate will appear on two shows this morning.
Meet the Press - Guests will be the same ones scheduled for the 15th, two days after Mr. Russert died of a heart attack. They are Senator Joe Biden (D-Del.), another one on Obama's short list for VP. Also appearing will be Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
Face the Nation - Governor Bill Richardson (NM) - look to see if he has shaved his beard, if so, then he figures he is under serious consideration for Obama's VP. Politico.com Editor-in Chief, John F. Harris will also appear - a site I read daily.
Late Edition - Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty who is on McCain's short list for running mate and Governor Bill Richardson. Also appearing will be surrogates for Obama and McCain discussing off-shore oil drilling and the economy.
This Week - a panel discussion on high gas prices (those who live in Europe are saying, "you have high gas prices?") George S. discusses the week in politics.
For a complete rundown check out Politico.com '"Sunday talk show tip sheet".
Friday, June 20, 2008
The last national Newsweek poll was done in late May prior to Obama clinching the Democratic Party nomination. The results back then were quite different, showing a 46-46 tie. This current nationwide poll involved registered voters and has a margin of error of 4 points. Poll data here.
This 15 point lead by Obama over McCain is much better than his recent predecessors, John Kerry and Al Gore polled at this point in the 2000 and 2004 campaigns. In 2000 Al Gore was tied with George W. Bush 45-45 and in 2004 John Kerry led Bush 51-45. Read more here.
A long way to go but this is good news. Stay tuned.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 6:31 PM
The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House 293-129. The majority of Democrats however, did not support the bill with 105 voting "Yes" and 128 voting "No". House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) helped craft the compromise which provides immunity to telecoms who provide proof to a Judge they were asked for this information by the President and were told it was legal. This was a sticky point for many Democrats. There are also a slew of lawsuits pending that will be affected by the passage of this bill. FISA Clearinghouse from Hoyer website.
The bill allows the continuance of a secret court that determines the legality of wiretapping, etc. by the government of individuals. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has a sunset provision of 2012. It is expected to pass in the Senate next week. Read more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 3:41 PM
TalkingPointsMemo.com has a good read on this breaking story. Although he recently opted out of Public Financing, Senator Obama has repeatedly said his campaign would not accept funds from PACs and Lobbyists. This action, by MoveOn.org is significant for in the 2004 presidential election, it is reported that half of the 20m they spent on the election came from donations higher than five thousand. This action will still allow the organization to raise and spend money on behalf of a candidate but effectively limits the size of the donation. Illyse Hogue, a spokesperson for MoveOn told TPM Greg Sargent "This is an affirmation that we, like Senator Obama, believe that this election can be won by ordinary Americans giving small donations."
Posted by George Wenschhof at 1:03 PM
Yesterday, the House approved 186.5B war appropriations bill. - In a two-part vote, the Democrats voted against the Iraq funding 151-80 but it still passed 268-155. The next vote which included GI benefits, unemployment aid, foreign aid, and disaster relief passed 416-12. This now brings the total funding of the Iraq war since 2003 to 650B. Read more here.
Still to be voted on is the FISA extension. Senators Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Pat Leahy (Vt.) are not happy with the compromise language pertaining to immunity to telecoms for cooperating with government worked out by Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md) in the House. Democracy for America (DFA) has just sent out an email to their members from Charles Chamberline, political director for DFA, urging members to call Speaker Nancy Pelosi to say no to this bill. This vote is to take place today in the House. Read more here.
Clinton to join Obama on the campaign trail next week - After taking a short time to decompress after a hard fought and historical primary, Senator Clinton will join Obama next week on June 27. This is a welcomed move by Clinton and not one that is easy, after losing such a close primary race for the Democratic party nomination. The Obama campaign said they would release more details soon. Read more here.
More Veepstakes gossip - At a meeting yesterday with the Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Carolyn Cheeks (Mich) said she asked if John Edwards and Sam Nunn were on the short list and was told yes. Although former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn has solid foreign policy experience, at 70 he does not fit the image of change. Although John Edwards was the VP just four years ago and initially indicated he was not interested, he does match up well with Obama. Read more here.
Scott McClellan testifies in front of House Judiciary Committee - The former White House Press Secretary under the George W. Bush administration is testifying now. One of the areas of interest is the outing of Valarie Plame and was this done to discredit her husband Joseph Wilson. The Dallas News has some live-blogging here.
Obama continues his economic tour meeting with Democratic Governors this morning - In Chicago, he will discuss his plans to change the economic policies of the last eight years under the Bush administration. Read more here.
Sierra Club to endorse Obama Friday - Carl Pope, their executive director, announced their support and forthcoming endorsement. The Sierra Club has 1.3 million members and is considered the largest of the grassroots environment organizations. This endorsement follows Senator McCain's announcement that he wanted to end the off-shore and arctic ban on oil drilling. Read more here.
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:41 AM
Everyone seems to have their own ideas and suggestions for making the community they live in, a better community. One only needs to gather with several others in a group, and bring up the topic of what we can all do to improve life in our communities and neighborhoods, to realize that we can all come up with viable suggestions. But, in that same group, how many of those are actually willing to inspire and enroll others to turn those suggestions into actions that benefit others? Ultimately, when we help others, we help ourselves on many levels.
We seem to be very adept at identifying the problems, and even coming up with solutions, but too many of us don't take the extra steps or go the extra mile to implement those solutions or join others that are working on solutions. Why? I believe the answer is a combination of apathy and lack of self-confidence. I'm afraid that there are too many of us that expect others to do something about problems that affect all of us. They want problems and issues to be resolved without having to get involved, and do what is required, themselves.
Lack of self-confidence is a sad reality for many people. Many individuals seem to lack the confidence in their own skills and ability to make a difference or contribution in their community. They may even be afraid to get involved for fear of "ruffling some feathers," or upsetting those that oppose them. It is much too common for individuals to settle in their comfort zones and do nothing. After all, it is easier to do nothing. But, is it easier? It may appear to be easier, but in the long run we pay dearly.
Apathy is not only a sad reality as well, it is dangerous. When we don't care enough to speak our minds and get involved, others are able to control us, manipulate us, and take advantage of us. Before we know it, others are able to usurp our rights, and to do it in a way that leaves us virtually blindsided. Think about the myriad of changes in your community, neighborhood, school, or even workplace that you are not happy about. Do you remember when things changed? Were you involved in the process? Was your voice heard? If so, did you feel empowered by making your voice heard?
I'm not suggesting that when you get involved, everything will always go your way, because it may not. However, you must never underestimate the power of your voice and your opinion. Many unwanted changes have been made, that affect us all, when no one showed up to oppose the decisions made, or when votes were taken. It appears to be easier to do nothing, but depending on what is at stake, it is easier to become part of the solution. To complain and do nothing is part of the problem.
Being part of the solution takes effort, time, research, meeting with others, speaking your mind. You may not have to do it all but your participation, at any level, is valuable to making a positive difference. You don't have to be a politician to change your community. As taxpayers and stakeholders, we can have far more power than we realize or give ourselves credit for.
I urge you to look around your neighborhood or community, and to find areas that are in need of improvement and get involved on whatever level you can comfortably participate. Everyone has a skill or talent that can be useful to others. Give of yourself willingly and as generously as you can. The feeling of empowerment, when you effect positive change, is un-matched.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
It was a memorial service befitting Tim Russert. Yesterday, the entire 1 1/2 hour service was broadcast live from the Kennedy Center. Colleagues, family and friends spoke and the attendees included Senators Obama and McCain who sat next to each other per the family's request. The Clinton's also attended and as I watched the camera on them, I remembered one of the Democratic primary debates.
It was an early one when the full slate appeared and Russert was the moderator - He asked Senator Clinton her position on the Governor of New York's proposal to grant driver licenses to illegal immigrants - she said she supported it and then flip flopped and Russert in his way, made sure everyone caught it.
The speakers all told great stories about Tim and his son Luke summed it up by imagining a "Meet the Press" in Heaven. Bruce Springsteen appeared by satellite to sing "Thunder Road" and a double rainbow was spotted outside following the conclusion of the service. Read more here. - Video
Obama will not accept Public Financing - The 84 million in public financing does not come close to what his campaign will be able to raise. The campaign pointed out the Republicans accept money from Lobbyists and PACs which Obama does not. Obama also pointed out the existence of all the 527s ( name for exempted groups) that raise funds on behalf of candidates. The Republicans will jump on this for Obama said early on, he was in favor of public financing. As I have stated in the past, public finance reform is absolutely critical. But, until such time as these reforms are instituted, the Obama's campaign position of not accepting money from PACs or Lobbyists is a good start. Read more here.
McCain adds to his disastrous approach to energy problems - first he comes out with a proposal to end the ban on drilling for oil offshore and in the Arctic, now he wants to build 30 new nuclear reactors by 2030. He just doesn't get it - Read more here.
Today, Obama has a busy schedule on the Hill. He plans to meet with Labor Leaders to discuss the economy, the Congressional Black Caucus, and Women Caucus. The AFL-CIO is set to endorse Obama within weeks. Read his schedule today here.
Four major U.S. oil companies set to receive no-bid contracts with Iraq - This was a war that was sold to the American public as a battle against terrorism and not directed toward control of the rich oil fields of Iraq. Reportedly on June 30, four major oil companies will be awarded no-bid contracts and be allowed to return to Iraq for the first time in close to 40 years. Read more here.
Michelle Obama gets her own rapid response team - This is a good move for in this age of the Internet, misinformation can travel quickly and you should have a way to combat it. Read more here. Earlier, in the democratic primary, Mrs. Obama was criticized for her statement about "being proud of my country for the first time". Some of the first evidence of this new team effort is Michelle saying she was thankful for the defense of her comment offered by Laura Bush. Also, in an attempt to show Michelle in a different light, she recently appeared on "The View".
Posted by George Wenschhof at 10:16 AM