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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Clinton - Obama Debate Live Blogging

The debate starts at 8:00 PM - Share your thoughts as you watch the debate. Just click on "Comment" at the end of this Post. This is an important debate for it comes right before super Tuesday when voters will weigh in from 22 states with over 2000 delegates at stake. As always in debates, it will not necessarily be what is said tonight but what the spin over the next several days will be.

The Obama campaign announced today they had raised a record amount of 32 million in the month of January and were planning to have media buys in almost every state holding primaries on Tuesday. In addition, they announced they are making buys in the states who hold primaries after February 5th. Maryland is on the 12th and I have already seen his spots on TV - the one with Caroline Kennedy speaking is powerful.

Here are a few teaser polls - not very relevant - were before Edwards dropped out and the Kennedy endorsements of Obama: nationwide Gallup poll -1-31 Clinton-43%, Obama-39%California - 441 delegates Rasmussen 1-29 Clinton -43% Obama-40% Edwards - 10.5%, Georgia - 103 delegates Insider/Advantage 1-30 Obama-52%, Clinton - 36%, Mass. - 121 delegates 1-30 Survey USA Clinton - 57%, Obama-33%, Alabama - 60 delegates 1-28-30 AEA/Capital Survey Obama-40%. Clinton-35%

Will this debate be a continuation of the fiery exchanges between the two exhibited in the last debate or will it be one that is calmer, more refined and focused on the issues?

opening remarks - Obama thanked Edwards, time to move forward not dwell in the past - clinton- stayed with theme of president ready to lead on day one.

policy differences between the two question - Clinton-universal health care, 90 day moritorium on forclosures, 5yr freeze on interest rates - disagreed with Obama about meeting with the five worst dictators around the world.

Obama discussed his health care plan - received applause, talked about how a 5 yr interest rate freeze would hurt people in the long run, need to reduce influence of lobbyists in D.C., was opposed to Iraq from the start, he does want to elevate diplomacy

Health care differences was next - obama -invoked Ted Kennedy who said we can get universal health care with Obama, he doesn't want to cap preminums as Clinton's plan - he wants to lower the premiums, wants to battle the health care service providers and their lobbyists.

Question on how the dem candidate would respond to repub question on tax and spend. Obama began with a great answer about the repubs were in no position to talk when they have run up a multi trillion dollar national debt, roll back the taxes to the upper income earners.

Clinton roll back the tax cuts on those making more than 250K - move to electronic medical records

Interesting side note - the candidates are sitting down right next to each other - looking at the expressions of the one who is not talking is telling

Jeannine asked question of impact on african american unemployment due to immigration - Obama-good answer here, blacks were dealing with high unemployment levels before any issue sof immigration came up -he did not believe in scape goating - huge appause here, should not use the issue of immigration to divide our country, instead focus on how to bring people together Clinton - a comprehensive immigration reform program needed.

Blitzer trying to pick a fight between the two over immigration and who is doing more and continues follow up questions aimed to agitate-this is ridiculous questioning on his part. Wolf succeeded in finally in getting Obama to talk about Hillary's flip flop on drivers licenses in NY -he said he supported position of Bill Richardson on this. Clinton came back with a smack on Obama about him not being able to answer the same question in regard to his Governor. Hardly professional questions to Presidential candidates.

McManus asking Clinton about Kennedy endorsemnts of Obama and that was best in bringing about the needed change- she went with gender card - electing a woman would be the biggest change

Obama - we are bringing in more people participating in the voting process - who can inspire people to become engage in government again - record numbers-doubling in dem voters going to the polls

Clinton gave a good answer in reagrd to clinton-bush dynasties - it took a clinton to clean up the mess from the first bush and it will take another clinton to clean up after the second Bush mess.

Wolf trying to pick a fight between the two on their positions on Iraq - the candidates did not bite. Both gave good answers - Obama - I have always been opposed from the start. Wolf still at it - asking Clinton if she was naive when she supported Bush in the war with Iraq. Obama - the authorization was for the use of force - he made the point about Clinton saying she was ready to lead from day one - he said it was more important to be right on day one.

Question about the two on the same ticket - Obama-long road ahead and it is premature to discuss this. Clinton - I agree with what obama said. another ridiculous question from Wolf

Thankfully, it is now over. Although the questioners tried to bait the candidates, they both performed well. I would call it a draw. Next Tuesday will be very telling as to if one of them breaks away - right now, I will predict it will still be close after super Tuesday.

CNN Democratic Presidential Debate Tonight

8:00 - 9:30 PM EST CNN Wolf Blitzer will moderate and be joined by Doyle McManus from L.A. Times and Jeannine Cummings from

This will take place at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California and with the number of Democratic candidates now down to two, it promises to be Live Theater at it's best!

It now appears almost certain that the Democratic Party will break new ground in 2008 by nominating either a Woman or an African-American as their candidate for President.

As the temptation grows to dissect the statistical analysis of the breakdown of the vote based on color and gender, let's hope both the candidates and the voters focus on substantive policy positions which are important to all Americans.

Plan to tune in - we'll be live blogging during the debate so you will be able to add your comments as well!.

Symbol, Sense and Substance

Jack Lynch

Thankfully, a shameful tittering did not rise from the Congress as President Bush addressed the nation. Maintaining some civility and respect for an office that many in attendance aspire to reach is a reasonable approach. While Bush suggested that earmarks be processed through full debate on the floor, even his own party will defend their right to favor special interests at home.

Now if he's willing to start a real debate and some action on the floor, he should have renounced the rule rewriting he has undertaken hundreds of times at agencies to force legislative changes without Congressional approval, such as decimating the Clean Water Act over strip mining and mountain top removal

Unfortunately, beyond saying our checks are coming, there is little Bush said or did last Monday night that will long matter to us, or his legacy as President.

The real question of character is in the content of the campaigns. Before they took a hard swing in news and symbolism towards Obama after the South Carolina primary and with the joint Kennedy endorsements, it seemed like a substantial battle of increments between Hillary and Obama for the status of first ground breaking candidate. It could still turn again on February 5 and lead on to Maryland.

What really concerns me through this process is a failure to diverge on issues in a way that helps me to distinguish them beyond media swings and symbolism, such as primary bounce and endorsement auras. Substance should be the bottom line. Where is it? It eludes me. Can you delineate the differences between Hillary and Obama's health insurance stances? What new ideas beyond hope and change can you list that exemplify hope and change? Who really has a handle on the economy and a response to looming recession and housing market plunges?

When Kennedy inspired, it was based on substance, facing the Soviets, space, poverty and needs at home. He called youth to action that involved fresh water for African villages and mud brick schools. It was real. It was common sense.

In a race where statistical percentages between an array of voter categories: gender, race, age, education, etc. are paramount; the path to election should stand on issues and achievable legislative responses to national problems. It is not clear that will be the case. And it would be a grand failure for us all and the party if the Democrats do not distinguish this election on ideas and accomplishments. This is not American Idol.

Hopefully these candidates have engaged your Democratic ideals, and led you to the light. After the posters and balloons, will you know where we're heading as a country? But like the Fourth of July patriotism, all fireworks and flash, they trudge through my consciousness foot-less and forlorn, orphans against the storm, and I am not moved. For all their symbolic importance, they fail to satisfy, even after this time of long folly and failure by Republicans.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

CNN Republican Presidential Debate

McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Paul participating

I have to say I tuned in late and it has been difficult to watch. If you watched the debate share with us your thoughts by clicking on comments at the end of this post. Here are a few quick thoughts:

15 minutes was a debate between McCain and Romney over - whether or not Romney mentioned he supported time tables in regard to the withdraw of U.S. troops in Iraq. Romney said he never said that. McCain responding with we are going to be there for some time. Yikes!! are they out of touch or what?

Paul, when he got to speak said the whole U.S. foreign policy in regard to Iraq has been wrong from the start - hey - he's right! Maybe that is why he is setting record online fund raising totals among the Republican candidates.

During the last 1/2 hour I watched of the debate it was clearly a battle between McCain and Romney - interestingly, the only sound bite similar to the Democratic candidates Clinton and Obama was McCain making the argument he was the most experienced and ready to lead on day one and Romney talking about how Washington was broken and it was time for a change from business as usual.

McCain stuck to his stump speech refrain - the biggest battle facing the U.S. today is with radical Islamic extremists - this goes back to the old Republican refrain that they are the party that can keep you and your family safe.

The little I saw from Huckabee was his talking about his experience as Governor being a strong background for President. He came across likeable.

The latest news on endorsements is California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will endorse McCain tomorrow.

Edwards Says Thank You

I just received an email from the Edwards campaign that included this video. Edwards made it official by announcing the "suspension" of his campaign. This allows him more control on the few delegates he had won to date in the primaries. His positions on the issues were admirable and both the Obama and Clinton campaigns are pressuring him hard for an endorsement prior to super Tuesday.

Click here to watch the video Dear Friend,

Let me start by saying, "Thank you." You have stood with Elizabeth and me throughout this campaign. Your support has sustained us as we have traveled across this country.

John Edwards to Drop Out Today

It is being reported that former North Carolina Senator and Democrat candidate for President, John Edwards will drop out the race today. He will make his announcement in New Orleans, the same city he kicked off his campaign for President at 1:00 PM. To read more click here :

It became obvious early that the interest generated by the Obama and Clinton campaigns had put Edwards and his campaign which focused on ending poverty in a distant third position among the Democratic Party candidates.

He was forced to accept matching funds and as such was limited in the amount his campaign could spend on super Tuesday. This will now make it a clear battle between Obama and Clinton. The question becomes, who will the supporters of Edwards now support? In a close vote between Obama and Clinton, the Edwards support could make a difference. The other question becomes, will Edwards endorse either Obama or Clinton today or prior to super Tuesday?

There will be lots of analysis of the vote in the primaries to date but one that is obvious is that Edwards received a strong percentage of the white vote in S. Carolina. Now the discussion will be on where this vote will now go.

Obama Response to Bush State of The Union

Video: State of the Union response

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Giuliani to Endorse McCain Tomorrow

Former New York Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani finished a distant third in Florida today with only 19% of the vote. He will be announcing tomorrow in California he is finished in his campaign for the Republican nomination for President. He choose to forgo campaigning in the early states with a strategy of putting his hopes into winning Florida. He believed a win there would propel him into super Tuesday and the lead. A year ago he led in the national polls among potential Republican candidates for President. Click here to read more:

He will also announce his support for Senator John McCain who won the Republican primary in Florida today with 36% of the vote beating Romney by 5 points. The big rumor out there is that after super Tuesday, Huckabee will drop out endorse McCain and become his V.P. running mate. Huckabee would give the Republican ticket appeal with evangelical and southern voters. Supposedly, Huckabee is to stay in and draw votes from Romney on super Tuesday.

Hillary's Flip-Flop on The Sanctions in Florida and Michigan

George Wenschhof

I have stated repeatedly that I opposed the sanctions imposed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Michigan and Florida. This action was a result of these two states holding their Democratic primaries prior to February 5, 2008 without the approval of the DNC.

As a result, these voters have been disenfranchised due to the inability of the DNC to reach a reasonable agreement. These are two states the Democrats need support from in order to win in November. Failing to have Democratic candidates campaign in these states was not a wise move by the DNC.

These sanctions included the stripping (removal) of their delegates from the Democratic convention in August. In addition, the sanctions included an agreement by the Democratic candidates to not campaign in those states.

The night of the Democratic primary in S. Carolina found both Clintons in different states trying their best to spin the results of a 2-1 old fashioned whooping "they" had just received from the voters.

Interestingly, both Clintons that night, Hillary from Nashville, Tennessee and Bill from Missouri spoke of "it's on to the next primary in Florida and then super Tuesday on the 5th of February".

As was the case in Michigan, Hillary Clinton stayed on the ballot. She was able to claim a "victory" in Michigan, although "other" received 41% of the vote. Now it is Florida, where campaigning on her behalf has been occurring and she intends to be there to make a speech tonight where she believes she will be celebrating her "victory". She realizes she needs a bump after being thumped in S. Carolina and will take advantage of any opportunity she has.

She is now actively campaigning to have the delegates in Michigan and Florida seated at the Democratic convention. Obviously, she will argue that she won these delegates. However, she was among the Democratic candidates that agreed to follow the sanctions by the DNC of these two states. So which position does she have? She originally agreed to support the DNC and their sanctions and now that she needs these delegates, she is opposing the actions by the DNC. You just can't have it both ways, depending on what is convenient for you.

There is no question the DNC made a huge mistake in taking the punitive action of stripping delegates from these states. Now, with the potential of a extremely close race, every delegate is important to the candidates.

How will the DNC deal with this? There is no way they can award delegates from these states to Clinton when the other candidates were not on the ballot and did not campaign. Yet, refusing to seat delegates to the convention from these two states is also a big mistake.

The DNC should have met and decided how to deal with this as they saw the primaries unfolding. They should move quickly to announce a fair manner of distribution of these delegates to the Democratic candidates. They should also provide a way to seat these delegates and allow their votes to count.

More of the Same from Bush - Time for Change

George Wenschhof

It was hard last night to listen to sixty minutes of President George W. Bush speaking in regard to the state of the union. It was painfully obvious that he still just doesn't get it.

He started off with how the U.S. economy is strong but we are going through a period where a economic stimulus plan he proposed will help all Americans while he also called on congress to make his tax cuts to the wealthy permanent.

Unfortunately, the working man and woman will not notice a significant difference in their lives when they receive a check for $700.00 in July or August. Rising energy costs, lack of affordable health care and loss of jobs to U.S. corporations operating overseas continue to be a drag on most American families.

He doesn't understand that expanding consumer choice for health care, as he put it last night, does not make it affordable to the many who are not insured today.

He continued to tout the benefits of his administration's education initiative entitled "No Child Left behind" while high ranking educators across the country shout out for it to be scrapped. The President continued his call for funding (300m) to go to private and church operated schools to teach those children where the public education system is failing. How about if we concentrate on making our public education system the best in the world?

When it came to international trade agreements he tied support to countries that are of strategic importance to the United States and called for approvals of agreements with Panama, Columbia, and S. Korea.

In closing, Bush once again spoke of the war on terror while invoking the painful experience of 9/11 with Iraq when everyone today realizes there was no connection between the two. He invoked the same saber rattling type of statements his administration had used to justify the war with Iraq and pointed them toward Iran.

We have to hope that eight years of policies that benefited the wealthy at the expense of working men and women across the country will now thankfully come to an end. Policies that ignored the environment and continued 20th century energy practices.

Universal health care, a public education system that is second to no other country in the world and a foreign policy direction that is based on human rights should be among the goals of the next President and their administration.

It is time for change.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What They Are Saying About The Kennedy Endorsements

Senator Edward Kennedy (Mass.), Caroline Kennedy, and Patrick Kennedy all endorsed Senator Barack Obama (Illinois) today. This was not a minor endorsement. This was a strong admonishment of Senator Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) and her husband, former President William Jefferson Clinton.

As I was making my rounds today the two comments I heard over and over again are as follows: "If Clinton thought she had the institutional and establishment support behind her, she needs to think again - Kennedy is a icon in the Democratic Party". and "Caroline's endorsement was even stronger for me because it was from the heart and it touched me".

Here is what the media is saying:


The Huffington Post

The New Republic

The Nation

Washington Post

Independent Commission Needed To Study Tasers

Guy Djoken

Last week the local Gazette wrote an article titled "Deputy accountable for nearly 13 percent of department's Taser deployments in two years". In the article written by Keith Martin, he noted the Frederick County sheriff's deputy who tased Jarrel Gray last December who later died, used the device nine times in two years as part of his patrol duties. This compared to the 70 times it was used in the last two years by the entire department.

That information alone should be considered at least troubling and warrant further investigation from all of us. We all know how important it is for us to live in a society where the law enforcement are mindful of civil rights as they patrol the streets and thankful that many of our policemen and women take this to heart daily.

The odds for one officer justifiably using the new "gadget" 9 times out of 70 deserve a further look. I would like to believe that all of us will take the time to call Sheriff Chuck Jenkins and ask him and other elected leaders to convene an independent commission to look into the use of tasers by the sheriff office and make some recommendations.

The major flaw in their handling of this issue is that, despite the mounting number of deaths resulting from the use of these devices, many are still in denial concerning their deadly nature.

Early this month, Maryland Delegates Brach, Anderson, Stukes and Tarrant introduced House Bill 108 aiming at restricting the use Tasers. I see that as a positive move despite those who oppose. Until this device is accepted as a deadly weapon by the those using it, we will keep on losing lives unnecessary. All of us may play a role in making that happen sooner rather than later.

Please call your elected officials and tell them what you think. On a positive note, the Frederick City Police Department anti-gang efforts as it relates to GREAT training made it to the "PERF Clips," which is collection of national news about policing efforts across the country.

We applaud the work of Chief Dine and commend him for being a leader in the region when it comes to community policing. "Kids help cops gang up on gangs with Great training" (Frederick, Maryland)

Guy Djoken is President, NAACP Frederick County, Maryland Branch

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Our Website Features A New Poll This Week

This week we will be running a Poll on "Who Has Your Vote"? Vote for one of the Democrats running for Congress in Maryland's 6th District. The Maryland primary is February 12, 2008. This Poll will close on Sunday February 3, 2008 at 10:00 PM. The Poll is located in the right-hand margin of our Home Page located below the 6th District Democratic candidate web sites. Make sure you Vote!

Senator Kennedy to Endorse Obama Tomorrow

This is a huge endorsement for Senator Barack Obama (Illinois) to land. Tomorrow, at American University in Washington D.C. at a "Stand for Change" rally, Senator Edward Kennedy (Mass.) will join Caroline Kennedy in endorsing Obama. To read more, click here:

MD 6th District Democratic Candidate Online Debate - Submit Your Questions Here!

The time period for submitting questions is now closed - thanks to all of you who submitted questions! We will post the questions selected and the answers by the candidates on Feb 8th.

Beginning today and continuing until 5:00 PM on Sunday January 27th, we will be accepting your questions to be asked of the Maryland 6th District Democratic candidates. The 6th District is a huge geographical area and is comprised of all or parts of eight counties in the state, (All of Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll, along with part of Baltimore, Harford, and Montgomery). We wanted to give you an opportunity to ask them a question from the comfort of your home and have them answer your question.

The five Democratic candidates are Robin Deibert, Jennifer Dougherty, Andrew Duck, Rick Lank, and Larry Smith. The links to their campaign web sites are in the right hand margin of my site so please go click on them and read about their positions on the issues. The winner of the Maryland Democratic primary held on February 12, 2008 will most likely go on to face ineffective eight term Republican incumbent Roscoe Bartlett who is facing opponents in the Republican primary.

They have all agreed to answer the questions we submit to them from you. We will post their answers and the questions you ask on the site February 8, 2008.

Here are the rules:

Submit your question by clicking on "comment" at the end of this post by 5:00 PM Sunday January 27, 2008. If you have any trouble with submitting your question after clicking on "comment", then click on "need help posting your comment?" on the top of our Home Page.

All of the submitted questions will be displayed in the "comment' area of this post so look at the ones submitted prior to yours so you do not repeat a question.

We encourage you to include your name and the name of the town within the 6th district you live in or the town that is closest to where you live. At the very least, indicate the county in which you live. We would love to have questions submitted from voters all over the District and this information will help us see where the questions are coming from.

You may submit more than one question, but we will most likely only use one from a person. We encourage you to submit questions addressed to a specific candidate. However, we will accept a question you would like all the candidates to answer.

Do not use excessive foul or abusive language or attack a candidate personally. We will not publish them and therefore they will not be considered for submitting to the candidates.

After 5:00 PM Sunday the 27th, we will choose from among the questions submitted and send each candidate five of your questions. They will send their responses to us and we will post your questions and their answers on the site February 8, 2008.

Thank you for participating in this online Debate with the Democratic candidates for the House 6th District seat. Please remember to vote on February 12th!

On To Super Tuesday!

Here is the list of the states who will hold a Democratic Party primary or caucus on February 5, 2008. Included in the list is the number of delegates up for grabs for the Democratic candidates. It has been reported that it will be impossible for any of the candidates to win enough delegates at the close of super Tuesday to secure the nomination.

Alabama Primary 60 delegates
Alaska Caucus 18 delegates
Arizona Primary 67 delegates
Arkansas Primary 47 delegates
California Primary 441 delegates
Colorado Caucus 71 delegates
Connecticut Primary 60 delegates
Delaware Primary 23 delegates
Georgia Primary 103 delegates
Idaho Caucus 23 delegates
Illinois Primary 185 delegates
Kansas Caucus 41 delegates
Massachusetts Primary 121 delegates
Minnesota Caucus 88 delegates
Missouri Primary 88 delegates
New Jersey Primary 127 delegates
New Mexico Caucus 38 delegates
New York Primary 281 delegates
North Dakota Caucus 21 delegates
Oklahoma Primary 47 delegates
Tennessee Primary 85 delegates
Utah Primary 29 delegates
Democrats Abroad Primary 11 delegates

Saturday, January 26, 2008

S. Carolina Polls Close at 7:00 PM - Read Results Here and Enter Your Comments - Obama Wins Big

"An ongoing thread...."

More good news concerning Democratic voter turn-out. Some exit polls are showing 2 to 21/2 times the turnout of Democrats in 2004. This continues to show the frustration many Democrats feel in regard to the current administration and the need for a change.

The turnout was also 2 times the 2004 turnout in the previous three primaries (Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada) but turnout by itself did not indicate who was receiving their support with Obama winning Iowa and Clinton winning N.H. and Nevada.

Obama had a double digit lead in the polls going into today with Edwards gaining points and Clinton losing points. Many of the political talking heads will break down today's vote as to the split among african-american, white, women, and youth.

45 Delegates are at stake here. Edwards reportedly has spent more than Obama and Clinton combined on television ad buys - he realizes he has to get some results here prior to super Tuesday.

6:05 PM - less than an hour for the polls to close. some interesting exit polls being reported at msnbc - 70% voters felt Clinton unfairly attacking Obama, and 56% voters felt Obama unfairly attacking Clinton. A breakdown of these numbers based on age, race, gender will also be interesting.

6:55 PM - some more msnbc exit polls - country ready for a woman president - yes- 74%, african american president - yes - 77%. who is best for commander in chief - Obama - 47%, Clinton - 35%, Edwards - 19%. This last question is not good news for Edwards for it likely to be close to the outcome of the vote today for this is important to voters.

7:01 PM - msnbc already calls it for Obama - using the words a substantial victory, They had Clinton in 2nd and then Edwards but they are not calling the 2nd place winner yet.

7:10 PM - more exit polls on black - white vote split. Obama - 81% - Black, 24% - white, Clinton - 17% - Black, 36% - white, Edwards - 1% - Black, 29% - white Looks like the white vote was pretty much equally split among the candidates.

Obama to give victory speech at 9:00 PM

7:38 PM msnbc projects Clinton as second place winner. So much for Edwards getting a bounce here.

Politico has a story on the robo calls made by the Clinton campaign against edwards - pretty nasty stuff - click here to read what was said:

8:10 PM msnbc showing speech by former president Bill Clinton - what's with this? Where's Hillary?

It is being reported Caroline Kennedy will endorse Obama in NY Times tomorrow.

9:00 PM Obama about to speak - 87% precincts reporting - Obama 54%, Clinton - 27%, Edwards - 19% This was a 2-1 thumping by Obama. Let's see what he has to say.

9:25 PM Wow!, another incredible speech. Spoke of the time for change, without speaking Clinton's name he nailed her over and over again. spoke of how change won't be easy, the status quo will fight with all their might, spoke about the need to bring people together on the war, health care, the economy, and education - this is about the past v. the future. he ended with for those who are cynics and think we can't change - 'Yes We Can"! I will look for the youtube of the speech tomorrow and post.

9:50 PM - Edwards gave a good speech - is still saying he is in through february 5th and beyond. He will have an impact. Hillary was giving a speech in Nashville, Tenn - gave a one sentence statement on S. Carolina and then went into her stump speech. Both she and her husband Bill earlier both also spoke of it's on to Florida - this is a ridiculous statement for like in Michigan where she was the only leading democratic candidate who stayed on the ballot, Florida has also had it's delegates stripped by the DNC so the outcome there is meaningless.

The Dollar Bubble

Jack Lynch

It used to be that the dollar was worth an equal value in real gold or silver. But that standard was dropped long ago and replaced with a system that represented products and services.

That worked well back when Americans still produced value added commodities, but today, as reported in Lou Dobbs recent commentary on the economic crisis, “…
Imports, for example, account for 92 percent of our non-athletic footwear, 92 percent of audio video equipment, 89 percent of our luggage and 73 percent of power tools. In fact, between 1997 and 2006, only five of the 114 industries examined in a U.S. Business and Industry Council report gained market share against import competition.”

Even worse, the value of the dollar today depends less on actual commodities, much of its supposed valuation, (grown from $380 Billion in circulation in 1995 to $760 Billion in 2005 (
link), and much of it in foreign hands, nearly two thirds) is now based on the iterations of the housing bubble in the U.S., grossly inflated home values and the debt and mortgage feeding frenzy that created them, with compliance from the Federal government regulators and politicians – Let the Good Times Roll, and forgotten is "They’ll be Hell to Pay One Day!"

With an aging population, house rich, while better than homeless - except for rising taxes, means much less than the investment returns supporting retirements. The stock market drops and granny has to eat more beans and less fish down in Florida.

Those foreign held dollars, both from our import frenzy at Walmarts around the country, and from petroleum costs, can be either invested back in our real estate, or diverted to economies and industries elsewhere – much to our continued economic distress.

So throwing a few dollars back to taxpayers, an intervention of about 1% of
GDP, means we’ll either buy more imports, or given the economic fear factor, pay off the credit cards and second mortgages – neither grossly effective.

It’s not hard to see the recession coming. It’s here now.

For the cadre of skilled workers unemployed for long terms, it’s a depression! They’re sitting in home offices, emailing resumes and managing social networks for leads – who knows what to say to the friend who’s unemployed that’s more than a mere palliative?

What can be done? Wait it out. It is, after all, just a market adjustment, right? Wrong, not this time. All that useless paper being written off by big banks cannot be spun back into gold. The jobs exported, the goods no longer produced, will not return.

Our economy is nearly $14 Trillion a year, national debt $9 Trillion, and trade deficits consume $6 Trillion. Producing $150 Billion a year means we can pay everything off in about 60 years. Could we get back the $500 Billion or so spent on our Iraq fiasco please?

But that’s an overly simplistic and darkly decadent view of the facts, even the gloomy, humorless economists feel much better than that about the reality and the effects of the problems – small changes in inputs create great economic values over time, like the effect of compound interest.

Let’s hope that it works this time around.

Sunday "Talking Heads"

Click here to read Politico's Sunday Talk Show Tip Sheet:

This will be after the results from the S. Carolina primary today are known. ABC "This Week" has Illinois Senator Barack Obama and CBS "Face The Nation" has Senator Hillary Clinton (N.Y.).

If Former Senator John Edwards (N.C.) surprises everyone and comes in second or a very close third in S. Carolina expect him to be a guest somewhere Sunday morning.

S. Carolina is the last Democratic Party primary prior to super Tuesday on February 5th. While the Republicans will have their votes count in the Florida primary on January 29th, the Democrats had their delegates stripped and their votes erased by the DNC when they punished the Florida Democratic Party for not abiding by their primary schedule.

Friday, January 25, 2008

MD 6th District Candidate Rick Lank Facing Child Support Charges

With less than three weeks to go to the Maryland primary on February 12th, Rick Lank, one of five Democratic candidates in the 6th district race is facing legal issues pertaining to child support.

To read more click here:

President Bush and The State of The Union

George Wenschhof

On Monday evening, President George W. Bush will deliver the annual state of the union address. I have been thinking about what he may have to say concerning the many issues facing Americans today.

I wrote a column that was published on dated May 19, 2003. It was entitled "Questions are Many for Presidential Candidates to Answer". Here is the link -

I was asking the Bush administration back then over a year prior to the 2004 election many of the same questions I still have today.

The questions are still many, beginning with the need for a coherent foreign policy based on a foundation of promoting "human rights" around the world. In addition, the Bush administration has failed to develop a national energy program leading to weaning the U.S. of it's dependency of oil is being felt even harder today.

The lack of a national health insurance program is felt by way too many Americans as they fail to seek medical attention when they are ill for they can not afford to do so. Younger Americans are fearing if social security will even be there for them when they retire and need it. As to trade, the agreements have been made with an emphasis on providing riches to the private sector wealthiest companies without regard to the impact on the worker abroad or in the U.S.

How will the President explain the growing economic problem facing Americans today? This is not a new issue and it is shameful the Bush administration has waited until now to recognize a need for some type of a economic stimulus plan.

The Republican theory of taxing the rich less for the trickle down effect will benefit the less fortunate has never worked and the last recession the U.S. experienced was a result of the voodoo economics of the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations. It took a Democrat in the White House to get the country back on track then and it will take a Democrat in the White House today to straighten out the mess of this current administration.

We can do better than this.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Will Edwards Surprise in S. Carolina?

George Wenschhof

Senator Obama had a large 15 point lead in the Polls over Senator Clinton prior to their rumble in the Myrtle Beach debate last Monday. Voters who were watching the debate had to be asking themselves who is benefiting from this nonsense?

Former President Bill Clinton was dispatched to S. Carolina to continue vying with Obama for the African-American vote which may make up as much as 50% of the voters in the Democratic primary Saturday.

The hard nosed politics has continued between the two front runners with Bill Clinton getting into arguments with a CNN reporter and the Obama campaign sending out emails from Michelle Obama appealing for funds to fight back against the untruths of the Clintons.

Meanwhile the Edwards campaign is hoping voters will begin to look at him. His positions of helping the less fortunate and opposing fund raising from lobbyists and corporate interests is certainly appealing to Democrats.

You can click on this link to read Real Clear Politics list of S. Carolina polls by date:

The polls will most likely show a tightening in the race and sure enough a Mason - Dixon poll just released today:
shows Obama - 38%, Clinton - 30%, Edwards - 19% with 13% undecided.

Stayed tuned for how the undecided vote in this primary promises to offer a wild finish. Edwards picked up 6 points and if he is able to pull off an upset and finish second in S. Carolina, the Clinton spin machine would be put to an even tougher test.

Kucinich to Withdraw Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Democratic candidate Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich will officially drop out of the race for the Democratic Party nomination for President. Read more here:

Judging A Candidate By Their Website

Jack Lynch

Today, the news travels faster on the internet than any other news media. That explains why all the news print and television station owners all have an online presence today. In politics, a good website can be instrumental in a candidate's success. Online campaigning can aid in recruiting volunteers, raising money, and most important, getting the message of the candidate out to the voters.

I thought that a judgment of the sixth district democratic candidates based on 21st century web media was worthwhile, if somewhat sad for some of the potential losers in the design and presentation fray

Internet appearance is going to be the mother's milk of campaigning for office (wake up!),....until, well.... forever.

Search engine ranking, blog links, etc. will be the foundation for success. Building in keywords and active content, daily blog updating, user comments, and having graphic ads that can be shared with other sites - those will be winners. Rule the web and increase your winning potential, beyond that, it will again be the candidate and views on issues, but failing that, nobody will bother to care.

Whatever the fallout, when you put yourself out as a candidate, you'd better be certain of your presentation prior to release, and you should be ready for public consumption upon announcing, so let's go!

Andrew Duck - an A+ for appearance, effort, content, and style. He comes across as a seasoned pro, probably due to his long efforts, professional help along the way, and because he's just plain been a serious candidate for awhile and likely our best chance of ousting Roscoe Bartlett from the office he once declared he'd only keep one term, yeah right! His photos page is nice, but the blog was dead when I checked. Nice drop down links from top menu - good work!

Jennifer Dougherty - an out and out disappointment, with work it might garner a C. For one smart lady with a real public interest, it's just a shame at present, but perhaps it's a quick effort to be revised soon, let's hope so, before any savvy voters find it. Text heavy, her pic stretched on her 'message' page, yikes! Her yellow background is nice, just needs integration into a real graphic look and feel.

Robin Deibert - a C, she is beginning to 'get it', seems harsh and second generation web design with the heavy black link buttons, her page title is 'Home', no search-ability there - she needs more background on herself as an introduction to those far flung corners of the 6th District.

Larry Smith - also an A, except for the text size and style, there is intelligence in the design and decent graphic quality. Not quite up to the Duck site standards, but a worthwhile effort and fairly effective online communication

Rick Lank - a C for web efforts, he is an interesting guy with a lot of progressive involvement - but his website reads like a long over stuffed blog - dude, get a site map and some standard page content design - an example of too much dependence on a style sheet for presentation imo - an image was missing at page top - the graphics feel clumsy and heavy handed. The differing colors of text must go!

So there's the first blush - on web communications, Duck wins hands out and gains credibility with internet savvy voters.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Andrew Duck, MD 6th District Candidate Receives Teachers Endorsement

I just received the following press release from the Andrew Duck Campaign and have posted for your information. Walter Ludwig, the campaign manager for Andrew Duck indicated there were about 10,000 MSTA members in the 6th District. Andrew Duck is one of five Democrats running for the Democratic Party nomination. The Maryland primary is February 12, 2008.



WOODSBORO, MD, January 23 -- Andrew Duck has been endorsed by the NEA Fund, the political action committee for the National Education Association.

Duck's campaign against Republican incumbent Roscoe Bartlett and four primary opponents was recommended for endorsement to the national organization by the Maryland State Teachers Association. In a letter to Duck, both the national and state groups said they "applaud your commitment to public education and children."

Duck said: "I am proud of my public education, and will work hard in Congress to make America's public schools once again the best in the world. Great public education has always been the ladder up in America. I appreciate this endorsement and look forward to the teachers' help throughout the campaign as we work together to defeat Roscoe Bartlett and return the 6th District to its citizens."

Baby, We Were Born to Bun

Jack Lynch

Way back in 1984, conservative columnist George Will got it all wrong when after a Bruce Springsteen show, he declared that the song "Born in the USA" was merely a patriotic, flag flying salute to the sort of jingoistic politics followed by Reagan supporters and then promoted the idea to the Reagan campaign, leading the old man himself to declare it, or rather misinterpret it, to much scorn.

Reagan said, "America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts; it rests in the message of hope in songs so many young Americans admire: New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen. And helping you make those dreams come true is what this job of mine is all about."

Will had written, "I have not got a clue about Springsteen's politics, if any, but flags get waved at his concerts while he sings songs about hard times. He is no whiner, and the recitation of closed factories and other problems always seems punctuated by a grand, cheerful affirmation: 'Born in the U.S.A.!"

Springsteen responded at a September concert in Pittsburgh, "The President was mentioning my name the other day, and I kinda got to wondering what his favorite album musta been. I don't think it was the Nebraska album. I don't think he's been listening to this one."

So I thought it appropriate to place Will's recent column about the mythic success of food corporation McDonald's in similar Springsteen tradition –

"There's a McDonalds at the Edge of Town"

"You Can Cook, but you'd Better Not Touch"

Will says that 85% of McDonald's are franchisee owned, but that is inaccurate, in fact, they have a goal of reducing company owned units to 30% from its current benchmark of 70% corporate owned. Link to: McDonald's Annual Report 2006 .

Further, Will claims that McDonald's has made more millionaires than any other company, another dubious claim, unless its based on the high cost of opening a franchise, which last stood at $250K plus – I guess you must be close to being a millionaire to consider it.

Will also makes overbearing claims for corporate greatness in minority opportunities, and while it certainly proposes great success in that regards, and demonstrates it somewhat, the results of studies and media suggest many better diversity promoters and advancers in the business world: Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies for Minority Workers and the Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc.

George Will's conservative shades are about as relevant as Reaganomics at this late date.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Will Burn Rate Lead To Cherry Picking?

George Wenschhof

The Democratic Party primary schedule has over 20 states holding their primary on Tuesday February 5th. The rush to have the Democratic nominee determined earlier has created two year campaigns and unprecedented sums of money being spent.

As we saw with the results from Nevada, the number of delegates a candidate receives is the determining factor in the nomination process. In Nevada, although Senator Hillary Clinton beat Senator Barack Obama by 6 points, she received 12 delegates and Obama received 13. The delegates were awarded in a proportional basis and this resulted in more of a tie than a victory. However, a candidate will always take the win and the press that goes with it at this point in the nomination process.

Here is a good guide on the delegates per state and the dates of the primaries.

There are approximately 4049 delegates that are up for grabs and 2025 are needed by a candidate to receive the Democratic Party nomination. Another important point to keep in mind is that about 25% of the total available delegates are "Super Delegates." These are made up of Democratic elected officials such as a Governor, congressmen, mayors, along with Party Leaders and activists within each state.

Obviously, the battle for the super delegates is intense. However, this battle rarely receives much media attention as these delegates are won by the individual efforts made by candidates and their staff. Another variable here is that the super delegates who sometimes pledge early for a candidate can, and many times do, waver in their support and can change their minds as to which candidate has their support.

So far only four states have held their Democratic primaries with Michigan and their delegates being wiped off the board by the DNC for failing to abide to the Party's primary schedule. Reportedly, the delegate count including super delegates is as follows: Clinton - 190, Obama - 103, Edwards - 51, and Kucinich -1.

The number of delegates up for grabs on February 5th is 2075 so this will be a critical date in determining the Democratic nominee. The amount of money being spent by the candidates (the burn rate) is also crucial to the success of a candidate at this point.

It has been reported that both Clinton and Obama campaigns had spent in the 80 million range after New Hampshire. Both campaigns had raised about 100 million as of the end of year reports so they had about 20 million cash on hand prior to Nevada. The Edwards campaign accepted matching funds and are "limited" or capped at spending 50 million throughout the entire primary.

Both the Obama and Clinton campaigns were reporting receiving as much as one million per day following the Iowa caucuses but it is extremely unlikely that rate of fund raising will continue longer than several days following a primary. It is impossible for the Clinton and Obama campaigns to continue to spend at the same rate for the burn rate will continue to exceed incoming donations. So now, the candidates after the S. Carolina primary on the 26th will have to determine how much and where to spend their money on super Tuesday.

This will lead to many strategies by the candidates and this is why the Edwards campaign has said they will stay in the race through super Tuesday. It is obvious when looking at the states holding primaries that day, that delegate rich states like California and New York will receive attention. Yet it is just not possible for the candidates to spend the same level of funds or give the voters the same amount of attention in each state as they did in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada.

Here is when the campaign strategists earn their money or, depending on the results, they are shown the door and replaced. The process of "cherry picking" (determining what states to focus on) will be crucial on February 5th.

The Edwards campaign has to hope that several things happen now. First, a Obama win over Clinton in S. Carolina on the 26th and that their two campaigns will then pour their resources into California and New York . Second, Edwards has to do much better in S. Carolina than the 4% he received in Nevada. Then, his campaign has to develop a winning strategy in enough states to earn Edwards some reasonable number of delegates on super Tuesday.

Obviously, the Clinton campaign is hoping for a solid second place finish or a surprise win in S. Carolina that would aid in her winning the majority of the delegates on super Tuesday. The Obama campaign is hoping it goes their way and the Edwards campaign has to hope that the voters sour on the nasty politics being exhibited from the front runners. Edwards must pick up some wins, delegates and most important, increased media attention after super Tuesday.

It appears the Clinton and Obama campaigns could spend 200 million just during the primary process. It is likely another 200 million could be spent in the general election. Spending 400 milion to be elected President of the U.S. is just too out of hand. Public financing must receive serious bi-partisan discussion leading to implementation.

It would be refreshing that after super Tuesday the Democratic party nomination process was not settled and the remaining states would have an impact on determining the nominee. All the Democratic voters across the country deserve to have their vote matter in determining the nominee for President.

Even more exciting would be a Democratic Party convention in Colorado in August where the delegates and their vote had meaning.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Rumble in Myrtle Beach

Whether it was the Hillary smirk, the Edwards magnanimous positions, or the Obama defensive rhetoric, this debate was contentious and a personal battle between Clinton and Obama throughout.

It started out with a question on the economy and President Bush's stimulus plan to fix it. Clinton started by rattling off her 5 year interest rate freeze, a 90 day fore-closure moratorium, and $650 for people to pay energy bills.

It quickly went downhill from there with Hillary attacking Obama on his voting present over 120 times when he was in the Illinois state senate and not actually taking a position. She received a resounding "Boo" from the audience so this did not go over well.

Obama responded with how both Clinton's had distorted his record. As the heated exchange followed, Obama came up with one of the better lines of the evening when he said he did not know which Clinton he was running against.

Clinton even brought up the Obama comment about the Reagan administration being one of ideas which everyone knew she would bring up. At one point there was an exchange between Obama and Clinton on who they represented as lawyers years ago with Clinton accusing Obama with representing a slum lord and Obama pointing out that Clinton had been a corporate lawyer for Wal Mart.

Edwards came up with a good statement about how all this squabbling was not going to help anyone and that they needed to concentrate on the issues.

Clinton continues to talk about how she is used to taking incoming fire from Republicans so she can take it from Obama. She doesn't seem to get it that the American people are tired of the rancor and gridlock in Washington and do not want more of the same.

When asked if Dr. Martin Luther King was alive today, why would he endorse you? Edwards spoke of his war on poverty and Clinton about embracing his beliefs. Obama said he probaby would not endorse any of us for he believed change came from the bottom up and not the top down. He also spoke on the need for accountability of elected officials.

The mainstream media will have fun with this debate for the sound bites are numerous. Edwards did well as a result of the Clinton and Obama spat. Obama appeared to have won in the battle with Clinton. The voters will ultimately decide who won when S. Carolina holds their primary on Saturday.

Barack Obama Speech in Atlanta, Georgia

This speech was delivered by Obama yesterday at Dr. Martin Luther King's Jr.'s church.

Video: Barack Obama at Dr. King's church

King Holiday and Service Act

Guy Djoken

In 1994 Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating the King Holiday as a national day of volunteer service. Instead of a day off from work or school, Congress asked Americans of all backgrounds and ages to celebrate Dr. King's legacy by turning community concerns into citizen action.

The King Day of Service brings together people who might not ordinarily meet, breaks down barriers that have divided us in the past, leads to better understanding and ongoing relationships, and is an opportunity to recruit new volunteers for ongoing work.In efforts to commemorate that day of service and honor Dr. King's commitment to community.

Last year, on January 15th, 2007, under the leadership of Sharida D. Gaines, Vista volunteer from CALM, Inc., The Frederick County Community Mediation & Conflict Resolution Center partnered with the Frederick County NAACP, UNESCO Center for Peace and the Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County to present the Frederick County's 1st Annual Dr. King Day of Service Event

This year, the NAACP is calling for other local groups and organization to join the coalition as we gear up for this second edition scheduled for Monday, January 21st, 2008. The Day will start by gathering elected officials and all participants at Frederick City Youth Center located at 413 Burck St. for an official kick-off of the festivities from 9:00 to 10 AM. The event is titled "A Day on and Not A Day Off," meaning that we will be conducting service related projects throughout Frederick County to assist those organizations in the community that provide services to those in need.

During the earlier part of the day we will be conducting service projects at two locations. Volunteers will be assisting with clean-up, removal of fencing and debris, processing donations and other various tasks. Volunteer Frederick is planning a MLK, Jr. Day Service Fair from 11 to 3pm. For more information, contact

Later today, the 17th annual MLK dinner will be held at the Evangelical Reform United Church of Christ at 5 p.m. After dinner, the group usually discusses Dr. King's message as it relates to today's events. The Mount St. Mary's University Center for Intercultural Development, the MLK 2008 Planning Committee and the Frederick County NAACP will also be hosting the "Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural Conversation" at the O'Hara Dining Room (Patriot Hall)- Mount St. Mary's University from 6 to 8pm. For information, please contact nixon@msmary.

I encourage you to attend these free events.

Guy Djoken is President, NAACP Frederick County, Maryland Branch

Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate Tonight

CNN and the Congressional Black Caucus are the co-sponsors of this debate from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It begins at 8:00 PM EST. Tune in and root your candidate on! The S. Carolina Democratic primary is Saturday, the 26th.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Politico Sunday Talk Show Tip Sheet

For a "Heads up" on Sunday's "Talking Heads" click here:

Face The nation has John Edwards and David Axelrod who is a senior advisor to the Obama campaign. This looks like it would be interesting.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

McCain Barely Wins S. Carolina

9:20 PM - With 82% of the precincts reporting, AP has called it for McCain -33%. Huckabee is second with 30%, followed by Thompson - 16%, Romney - 15%.

McCain was expected to win this state but he barely beat Huckabee who did very well giving his campaign a boost. Romney and Giuliani did not campaign in the state. Hunter announced he was dropping out of the race. Some are saying that Thompson will be the next to drop out and are suggesting he will endorse McCain.

The Republicans are now on to Florida on January 29th where Giuliani has said his strategy has been that Florida is where he begins his campaign. Remember the Democrats will once again have a meaningless primary in Florida after they had their delegates stripped by the DNC after they scheduled their primary on a date that was not sanctioned by the DNC.

The Democrats will hold their primary in S. Carolina in one week on January 26th.

Clinton Wins Nevada

George Wenschhof

Senator Hillary Clinton is projected as the winner by CNN at 4:07 PM. In a close race between the two front runners, Clinton was receiving 50% and Obama - 45% with 59% of the precincts reporting. A big loss for the Edwards campaign who came in a distant third with only 5%.

I was surprised by Edward's showing although the most recent Zogby poll was showing this. Edward's campaign was just unable to stand up to the overwhelming support going to Clinton and Obama. Another distant third place showing by Edwards in S. Carolina on the 26th will make it very difficult for him to compete on Super Tuesday February 5th. However, he has repeatedly said he is in for Super Tuesday and all the way to the Democratic convention.

What about Kucinich and Gravel? Neither one of them received any percentage of the vote due to the unique manner of caucuses. I believe it is time for them to thank their supporters and graciously withdraw from the race.

So much for the truce between the Clinton and Obama campaigns as talk of voter intimidation and voter suppression took front stage today. Complaints and rumors of videos shown or calls made to Latino voters were also being heard.

A strong second place showing here positions Obama well for S. Carolina as I mentioned in my earlier post today. Clinton had to win as I said earlier and she did just that.

So it's now on to S. Carolina on the 26th where Obama is presently leading in the polls.

7:10 PM update - high Democratic voter turnout continued with 114,000 attending the caucuses today. The Obama campaign manager is claiming they won in the all important battle for delgates from Nevada today. He said Obama won 13 and Clinton - 12. AP is reporting Clinton 13 delegates, Obama - 12 Either way, it sounds closer to a tie.