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Archive for February, 2008|Monthly archive page

SNL is Back! Political Humor Returns!

In Barack Obama, Democracy, Democrats, Election 2008, Entertainment, GOP, Hillary Clinton, Humor, Politics, SNL, Television on February 27, 2008 at 9:14 am

Saturday Night Live Texas Democratic Debate

The best seasons are the ones with heavy political influence!

Here’s the sketch about Texas Democratic Debate between Clinton and Obama. Geez. I have no idea why she feels like the media is picking on her. 😉 Of course, Obama Girl (yes that’s the real deal) shows up to hog even more limelight from Hillary.

Tina Fey returns as host and appears on Weekend Update with a segment about women’s issues including Hillary for President. Wait for the jab about Rush Limbaugh.

And check out Mike Huckabee on Weekend Update. It’s good to see that he can keep his sense of humor! Superdelegates!

Here he is backstage.

Gov. Huckabee on SNL’s Weekend Update

Hillary’s Campaign Criticized Over Ann Richards in Campaign Ad

In Democracy, Democrats, Election 2008, Hillary Clinton, Media, Politics, Texas Politics on February 27, 2008 at 8:05 am

Hillary Clinton Campaign

Hillary Clinton’s Campaign released a campaign ad this week inferring that the late former Governor Ann Richards would have supported Hillary. Not so says Richard’s sons.

From the AP:

Clinton’s campaign had permission from Richards’ youngest daughter, Ellen, who said in a statement provided by the campaign that her mother was an “ardent feminist” who would be thrilled by her friend Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.

“I believe that if my mom were alive today that she would be stumping across Texas and around the country supporting Hillary for president,” her statement said.

But sons Dan and Clark Richards, partners at an Austin law firm, say nobody can know who the outspoken and opinionated former governor would have supported in the race between Clinton and Barack Obama.

“As her children, we never presumed to know her mind when alive and we are not prepared to make a claim as to who she would endorse or what she would do if she were still with us,” they wrote in an e-mail last week. “We are not granting permission for her name to be used in advertisements on behalf of either candidate.”

The e-mail, provided to The Associated Press by Dan Richards, was sent to Cathy Bonner, a friend of their mother’s and member of Richards’ administration. Bonner is working with Clinton’s campaign and sent Dan and Clark Richards an early copy of the video on Feb. 19 “to make sure you are okay with it.”

Dan Richards said in an interview Tuesday that they denied permission and he’s angry the campaign published the video anyway. He said the campaign contacted him again last Friday to ask him to reconsider, and he repeated his objections.

“They asked me if I would sue the campaign, and I said no, I wasn’t in the business of suing the campaign, but I didn’t think they should do it,” he said in a telephone interview. “To try to present who she would endorse a year and a half after she died is offensive to me.”

Cathy Bonner said in an interview that after Richards’ sons objected the video was edited to remove photos of the family. “We’re not saying we speak for the family,” Bonner said. She said the video is a statement from the former governor’s supporters about the strong bond between Clinton and Richards.

Hmmm… you be the judge. Is this in poor taste or just an honorable tribute to the now infamous Texas Governor? The ad is still being played for the time being throughout Texas.

By the way, listen how Hillary’s Texas drawl comes out when speaking about Richards.

Pakistan Causes YouTube Blackout Because of Censorship: Follows Path of Other Countries

In Blogs, Censorship, China, Communism, Human Rights, Internet, Media, Olympics, Pakistan, Sports, Technology, World News on February 26, 2008 at 11:39 am

Pakistan Censors YouTube

I followed this story as it broke on Sunday. Apparently Pakistan was trying to restrict its citizens from accessing a cartoon that was considered blasphemous about the Prophet Mohammed. Pakistan, like many other countries, tried to censor the video sharing network. The result was a two hour blackout in many parts of the world. Pakistan is now stating that they have lifted the restrictions of viewing the website.

This is just another example of a country’s abuse of censorship. Remember this post about the Prisoners of Freedom City?

UPDATE: China says that it will continue talks with the United States about the concern for human rights – mostly focusing on the fact that many countries have vowed to ban the Olympics which is scheduled to be hosted by Bejing in August.

From Bloomberg:

Chinese President Hu Jintao wants to prevent the world’s largest sporting event from becoming a pressure point on issues from political freedom to China’s role in Sudan and Myanmar. Director Steven Spielberg on Feb. 12 quit as an artistic adviser for the games’ opening and closing ceremonies, citing his concern over China’s failure to help end Sudan’s ethnic conflict.

HOWEVER, today China:

Voiced its opposition to any organization or person making irresponsible remarks on the Hu Jia case, which the country has handled according to the law.

‘China is a country under the rule of law …In China, anyone who breaks the law will be punished by the law. It is the same in any country of the world,’ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a regular press conference, responding to a question concerning the case of the HIV/AIDS activist.

Punishment will be imposed on Hu Jia as well when he breaks the law, according to the spokesman.

Relevant international organizations or people should be clearly aware of that. They should not make irresponsible remarks on China’s judiciary and its handling of the case according to law, Liu said.”

-above taken from www.chinaview.cn

Bejing Olympics 2008 Click on picture for the official website of the 2008 Bejing Olympics

Mother Jones Releases Torture Playlist

In Human Rights, Military, War in Afghanistan, War in Iraq on February 26, 2008 at 11:11 am

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Ever wonder what type of torture military prisoners have to endure while being detained? Mother Jones released a list of music that guards and interrogators use during a captive’s stay. WARNING – some songs contain graphic titles and lyrics. Take extra precaution when listening to the Barney Theme Song. It’s enough to make any prisoner choose waterboarding over having to listen to that non-stop 🙂

Ralph Nader Running for President…Again

In Are you kidding me?, Democracy, Election 2008, Green Party, Politics, Ralph Nader on February 25, 2008 at 12:37 am

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader made his announcement on Sunday’s Meet the Press. You can watch his big news HERE.

The only thing that surprises me about this is the fact that he has waited this long. He hasn’t been as outspoken as he is usually is. Oh well, the third time is a charm isn’t going to make this run for president any different from the ones in 2000 and 2004. (Technically the fourth run if you want to go back all the way to 1996.)

Now the poor makers of Geritol are going to have to decide whether to endorse McCain, 71 or Nader, 73.

Just for the record, the picture above frightens me.

I guess Election ’08 really will be going GREEN.

Hillary’s Last Stand: Austin Debate

In Are you kidding me?, Barack Obama, Democrats, Election 2008, Hillary Clinton, Politics, Television, Texas Politics on February 21, 2008 at 7:39 am

Hillary Campaign Stategy

So I guess if you went from being the democrat’s shoe-in for the presidential nomination to a sky-rocketing meteor (just take a look at how her campaign is going down in flames) then you would pull out all the stops too.

On Wednesday the Clinton campaigned put their flack vests on and fired two more rounds off at Barack Obama.

Shot One:

They began circulating a video labeled “Must-See TV” of Texas State Sen. Kirk Watson failing to name any of Obama’s legislative accomplishments during an interview with Chris Matthews of MSNBC.

Shot Two:

Her campaign created a new website called “The Delegate Hub: Facts and Myths about the Race for Delegates” which is lame to say the least. It isn’t very interactive and what videos you can click on will surely bore you to tears. One link to a video boasts, “Guess Who Agrees With Clinton:See who agrees with Sen. Clinton on Super Delegates.” Once you click on it, you go to a 17 second video of David Axelrod discussing Superdelegates, never mentioning Clinton or how this video agrees with her.
Delegate Hub Link

This website is actually a spin off of “Hillary Hub” and “Fact Hub.”

It may all come down to the debate in Austin Thursday night. Lift off is at 7pm CST. You can catch it on CNN.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really sick of all the BS going back and forth. But hey, this IS politics ;-). Jesse Jackson is is even jumping in the middle of the fire and telling the dem children to play nice.

Obama and Clinton - Kiss and Make Up Kiss and make up already!!!

Obama in Houston – The Hype Has Left The Building

In Barack Obama, Democracy, Democrats, Economy, Election 2008, Energy, Enviornment, Global Warming, Houston, Human Rights, Immigration, Media, Military, Politics, Space, War in Afghanistan, War in Iraq on February 20, 2008 at 11:20 am

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The crowd awaited for hours outside and in. Doors opened at 6pm and a mad rush was made for the chance to be as close to the podium as possible. The place was sold out and some with stand-by tickets were allowed in while others waited outside. With chants and anticipation of 19,000 people filling the Toyota Center, the time FINALLY arrived about 8:45pm. No, this wasn’t a major rock concert or even a Hannah Montana venue, this was a democratic presidential candidate rally.

Odd? I was baffled at the amount of people that had shown up. I guess just not the amount of people, but the cross-cultural audience itself. I was amazed to see people of all ages and races cheering and supporting the same ideas as those sitting around them. Amongst the chants of “Barack Obama” and “Obama ’08,” the democratic candidate finally stepped out from behind the black curtain.

The crowd was boisterous, leading Obama to start off stating, “Houston, I think we’ve achieved liftoff here.”

After thanking those who were involved in and putting on the event, he made it a point to stress the importance that Texas will play in his nomination as the democratic candidate for the race in November.

“Early voting has started here in Texas. And so everybody has received one of these [voting] cards, and everybody knows that you can start voting today. And if you didn’t vote today, you can start tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. But we have early voting in Texas. I don’t want you to wait until March 4th. I want you to go ahead and start voting tomorrow here in Texas.

You’ve got February 19th until 29th to vote, and you can also vote on election day, March 4th.

Now, I know this was explained to you. This is a little confusing. You’re going to have to do two things for me now. Not only do you have to vote — and we would prefer you to vote early — but on election day, March 4th, you’re going to have to attend the caucus at 7 p.m. to get us a few more delegates. Can everybody do that, Houston? Everybody going to do that?

And on the back — on the back here are all the sites for all the early voting locations, so you don’t have an excuse for not going. And we want you to grab your cousin, and your uncle, and your niece, and your nephew. Don’t go alone. Take some friends and family to the polls.

He acknowledged his win in Wisconsin which the audience had seen projected on the screens aroud the Toyota Center prior to him coming out.

He repeated his rhetoric on hope and change that we have come to know as typical of his speeches, but he interlaced some of his plans for the types of change. Although I wish he would have elaborated more on just HOW some of the changes would be implemented, he gave a “cliff notes” version of his plans.

I put forward a plan that says everybody will be able to get health insurance that is at least as good as the plan I’ve got as a member of Congress. And if you already have health insurance, we will lower your premiums by $2,500 per family, per year. And if you can’t afford it, we will subsidize your care, and we will emphasize prevention so we have a health care system instead of a disease-care system.

And we won’t do this 20 years from now or 10 years from now. We will do it by the end of my first term as president of the United States of America.

Sounds great…but HOW???

He talked about how CEOs get tax breaks while the workers get nothing.

I want to take away those tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. We’re going to give them to companies that invest right here in America.

And we’re going to rollback those Bush tax cuts that went to all the wealthy people, and we’re going to give tax cuts to ordinary families, people who are making less than $75,000. We will offset your payroll tax.

Senior citizens who make less than $50,000, we want to say to them: You don’t have to pay an income tax. You’re already having a hard time making ends meet.

We want to promote trade and we embrace globalization, but we also want our trade deals to have labor standards and environmental standards and safety standards so our workers aren’t undermined and our children aren’t playing with toys based in lead paint. That’s the change we want.

Great again! But HOW?

And I will raise the minimum wage not every 10 years, but to keep pace with inflation, because if you work in America you should not be poor. And that’s a goal that we should set for ourselves when I am president of the United States of America.

Nice goal, but unreachable in any immediate sense such as in 4 or 8 years.

As for education:

We can assure that every child in America has the best education this country has to offer… every child needs to be nurtured and embraced. And so we are going to invest in early childhood education to close the achievement gap.

And I won’t just talk about how great teachers are; I will reward them for their greatness…by giving them higher salaries and giving them more support.

And I want the highest standards in our schools. We have to have high standards, standards of excellence in order to compete in this global economy. But I don’t want our standards measured just by a single high-stakes standardized test, because I don’t want our teachers teaching to the tests.

I want our students learning art, and music, and science, and literature, and social studies.

And I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time we made college affordable for every young person in America. So we’re going to provide a $4,000 tuition credit, every student, every year, but, students, you’re going to have to give back something in return. You’re going to have to participate in community service. You’re going to have to work in a homeless shelter, or a veteran’s home, or an underserved school, or join the Peace Corps.

Hey, I think this is one of his best ideas yet. We don’t have enough young people getting involved in their communities. Had this been an opportunity for me, I would have been more than happy to pay back my loans in this way. By the way, here is his plan for Lifetime Success Through Education. Is there a reason why he didn’t mention that some of this funding comes from our space program? Oh wait, this is Houston – home of the Johnson Space Center.

Next was talk on energy and immigration, phrasing that immigration has been used as a “political football.”

We can get serious about our borders and crack down on employers who are taking advantage of undocumented workers and undermining U.S. labor.But we can also provide a pathway for those who are living here. They can pay a fine and learn English and go to the back of the line, but we’ve got to give them an opportunity, too. We’re a nation of immigrants.

Of course the war in Iraq came up with the billions of dollars that have been and will continue to go in to the fight.

We are spending $9 billion a month in Iraq, $9 billion. We can invest that money in rebuilding roads and bridges and hospitals right here in Houston, building schools, laying broadband lines, putting people back to work, employing young men and young women in our inner cities, in our rural communities. We can create the kind of foreign policy that will make us safe and will lead to renewed respect of America around the world.

Respect? We’re still going to be seen as power and money-hungry Americans who can never get our fill. Hey, I’m right.

We will hunt down terrorists; yes, we will lock down loose nuclear weapons that could do us harm. But we are also going to lead on climate change. We’re also going to lead on helping poor countries deal with the devastation of HIV-AIDS. We’re also going to lead in bringing an end to the genocide in Darfur.

We are going to lead by example, by maintaining the highest standards of civil liberties and human rights, which is why I will close Guantanamo and restore habeas corpus and say no to torture.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I really like Barack; however, knowing that he doesn’t have any military experience, I urge him to sit down one-on-one with military issues and discuss Guantanamo and torture. That’s all I’ll say about that.

While John McCain’s wife was mocking Obama’s wife, Michelle’s comments about being “proud of America for the first time,” Obama praised McCain’s military service and called him an American hero but disagreed with McCain’s support of Bush’s economic policies.

He says that change isn’t going to be easy and that change is also attitude but it can be done. While I admire his push for change by driven hope, I came away from last night’s speech with little more than what I started in with. I really didn’t learn anything more about how these changes will take place or if there are actual plans rather than just a “plan” such as an idea. I’m a very detailed-oriented person and I want specifics.

One thing is certain, Obama has that certain appeal that Bill Clinton had when talking to an audience. When he speaks, you listen. He stands tall and projects himself with a positive and confident aura. Kool-aid wasn’t passed out at this rally so I’m beginning to think that it’s something in the air and coming through the airwaves that has made democrats follow him like the pied piper. 🙂

Here is the complete transcript of his speech.

Early Voting in Texas

In College, Democracy, Election 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas Politics on February 20, 2008 at 9:22 am

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Early voting began in Texas yesterday for the Presidential and State Primary and will end on the 29th. In Harris County, Houston, turnout for the first day was 8 times that of the turnout in 2004. Regardless of the increase in participation for the first day of voting, we were able to walk right up to the voting booth, 30 minutes before closing! I STRONGLY recommend early voting this year unless you feel the need to stand in the voting line on March 4th. See ya at the caucus!

So get out there and vote!

For more information about voting in your Texas county, check these out:

Montgomery County, Harris County map (PDF), Harris County voting information, Ft. Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, Waller County, Walker County, Liberty County.

If your county isn’t listed above, go here to find a phone number with information on early voting.

For our military members, here is info about absentee ballots for US Service Members from Texas.

I’ve also included some national website for you:

Rock the Vote information for the younger voter

Declare Yourself learn about super delegates here!

Voto Latino works to promote an enfranchised America by leveraging celebrity voices, the latest technology, and youth themselves to promote positive change

Vote Democracy geared at the young and new voters with information on voting and how to get involved

WE Vote from the women orientated tv network

Do Something! this is a great site for first time voters and those not old enough to vote

Project Vote Smart get informed!

Adiós Fidel Castro – It’s About Time

In Communism, Cuba, Democracy, Politics, World News on February 19, 2008 at 8:51 am

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Fidel Castro has finally turned in his resignation as president of Cuba. His decision to step down on Tuesday has brought mixed opinions from all over the world. President Bush is speaking out and voicing his concern that post-Fidel rule should be one of a democratic nature. Our fellow allies, France and Spain, are echoing Bush’s call to democracy. If this is Cuba’s first real change in almost 50 years, can a democracy immediately work? The leader of Russia’s Communist Party is actually commending Castro’s decision today stating, ” “It’s a brave decision and in taking it, I’m sure Fidel Castro was guided by the interests of his country and his people.”

The 81-year-old leader made his resignation official in a letter to the Web site of the Communist Party’s newspaper. He expressed confidence that the country would be in good hands with a government composed of elements of “the old guard” and “others who were very young when the first stage of the revolution began.”The announcement puts Raul Castro in position to succeed as the Cuban head of state when the National Assembly meets on Sunday. There has been speculation for some time now that Fidel’s brother would be less of an enforcer and is the basis of hope for reform in Cuba if he were to take over the presidency.

Time magazine reported on Fidel’s slighty younger brother back in 2006:

Raul is also called “the practical Castro,” and when and if he does succeed Fidel permanently, many Cuba watchers speculate that he’ll actually bring a less confrontational, more reform-minded rule to the communist island. “I think he will try to adopt more of a China economic model, probably continuing much of the harsh political regime but allowing more private enterprise and loosening foreign investment rules,” says Latell, a senior researcher at the University of Miami’s Cuba Institute and author of the recently published book After Fidel. “And I think he’s also going to want better relations and more dialogue with the U.S.”

We could only hope.

From Time Magazine Fidel and his brother, Raul (age, 76).

President Bush is calling for the international community to help Cuba move toward democracy. The UK’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown is backing Bush’s message.

I hope Cuba can change, for the people’s sake. As for Fidel, I say good riddance.

Texas’ Seven Largest Newspapers Endorse Obama

In Barack Obama, Democracy, Democrats, Election 2008, Local News, Media, Politics on February 18, 2008 at 10:06 am

Obama in Austin

Straight from Obama’s website:

With the Texas primary just weeks away, the editorial boards of the seven largest newspapers in Texas have all formally endorsed Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for President.
Today’s edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram calls Obama a “transformative” candidate and notes that:

Obama is smart and experienced in working directly with low- and middle-class Americans to better their lives, and he brings a message of hope that the country needs in this moment.

While today’s Corpus Christi Caller-Times explains:

The Editorial Board endorses Sen. Barack Obama because it believes that he offers the kind of inspirational leadership the country is hungry for… His candidacy is rooted in the notion that politics can be about solutions, not divisions, that elected leaders are elected to lead, not to drive wedges between groups of Americans.

The Houston Chronicle writes:

Obama vows to reach out to independents and Republicans with a message of inclusion and cooperation. He offers a historic opportunity to elevate national political dialogue to a higher ground.

As the Dallas Morning News explains:

Mr. Obama is our choice because of his consistently solid judgment, poise under pressure and ability to campaign effectively without resorting to the divisive politics of the past.

The San Antonio Express-News writes:

America needs a president that tries to create unity out of diversity, marshalling all the forces — red, blue or purple — that make this country great.

Sen. Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate that offers the best chance to reach that lofty objective.

The Austin American-Statesman says “Yes, Obama Can”:

Obama is the best pick Democrats could make.

Resolving the big issues confronting the nation requires a leader who can attract support from independents and Republicans. Of the two front runners, only Obama has shown the ability to bring divergent interests together. He did that as a state senator in Illinois and as a U.S. senator in Washington. And he has staked his presidential campaign on doing that in the White House.

… His optimism, unifying vision and ability to inspire are the kind of healing balm the country needs at this moment in history.

Finally, the February 10th edition of the El Paso Times writes:

The El Paso Times recommends that El Pasoans voting in the March 4 Democratic presidential primary cast their votes for Barack Obama. A weary America, tired of the status quo, fed up with business as usual, is longing for a positive change — and Barack Obama is that change.

In addition, Barack won the endorsement of the influential Texas blog Burnt Orange Report.

If you live in Texas, visit TX.BarackObama.com for more information on events in your area and to learn how you can get involved.

See the full list of over 100 newspapers that have formally endorsed Barack Obama…