100K Match Pledge – Donate To No On Prop. 8 Now

The effort to protect gay marriage in California is in need of our support. Tim Gill and Scott Miller have offered to match No On 8 donations up to $100,000. The campaign needs to raise 1.5 million by midnight tonight and your help is needed.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

The effort to protect gay marriage in California is in need of our support. Tim Gill and Scott Miller have offered to match No On 8 donations up to $100,000. The campaign needs to raise 1.5 million by midnight tonight and your help is needed. I’™m publishing the following request from No On 8 and I ask you to consider making a donation.

This morning’™s Field Poll carries news that Prop 8 is narrowly losing, 44 to 49%.

This initiative battle is razor thin. We know that 7 to 10% of voters are still up for grabs.

And Tim Gill and Scott Miller will match your donation up to $100,000 if you respond NOW.

We knew we needed something more. Something big. Something to remind California voters that there were times in our history when we did not stand up against discrimination, and these are times we now regret.

So our new ad ‘” which we call ‘œHistory’ ‘” focuses on the central fact of this campaign: it is wrong to discriminate and wrong to treat people differently under the law.

This new ad, narrated by renowned actor Samuel L. Jackson, drives home the message that discrimination is always wrong. Watch the ad and make a donation to keep it on the air.

Now it’™s our turn. It’™s our turn to make sure we do everything we can do so the next generation grows up in a more decent society ‘” a society where discrimination against LGBT Americans remains part of that sorry past rather than enshrined in our Constitution.

We must keep this ad on television statewide through Election Day. To make that happen we must raise at least $1.5 million today. Please donate NOW.

With your help, we will defeat Prop 8. Please continue your support with a donation and ask the people who care for you to do the same.

In solidarity,

Geoff Kors

Executive Committee Member

No On 8


Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Friday, October 31st, 2008 by Richard Blair |

All the Albatrosses of John McCain, and One with Lipstick

McCain has carried a big burden, about fifteen albatrosses, in this election, and boy is his neck tired. It was going to be tough winning against the Bush legacy, but McCain tied some of these albatrtosses around his own neck, including the one with the lipstick. Your task is to decide which is the biggest albatross that plagues him.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

John McCain surely knew this election would hold challenges for him. He already had George Bush hanging around his neck, as did all the Republicans running for the nomination this year. But the big problem with this election is that John McCain had several other albatrosses hanging around his neck by this last week of the campaign, some of which he hung there himself. Now it may be too early to write a history of why McCain lost, if he does indeed lose this election, but we can certainly count the bird that have weighed him down. One place to go birdwatching is at the polls.

The NYTimes/CBS poll, for instance, shows evangelical Christians supporting McCain, but not as much as they supported Bush, and not with nearly so much fervor. The big albatross here, though, is Christian groups coming out and supporting Barack Obama, even to the point of forming a 527 group and running commercials supportive of Obama. Looks like even the nomination of Palin as Veep didn’™t help.

Speaking of Sarah Palin, she’™s an albatross in lipstick. That same NY Times/CBS poll shows Sarah Palin’™s waning popularity is dragging McCain down by the neck. HEre’™s a bit of the analysis from the New York Times:

All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.

And in a possible indication that the choice of Ms. Palin has hurt Mr. McCain’™s image, voters said they had much more confidence in Mr. Obama to pick qualified people for his administration than they did in Mr. McCain.

That’™s a whole bunch of people who won’™t vote for McCain because of the most important choice any candidate makes during his campaign, the choice of a running mate. That’™s gotta be a heavy albatross, you betcha. Of course, Palin is a stand-in for the Radical Right Wing Christian Cleric albatross, and they’™re evidently conceding this election. Of course, they style themselves as ‘œsocial conservatives,’ whack jobs that they are, and they’™ve scheduled a pow wow next week to exorcize the demons they have brought to the election. Or maybe they’™ll just whine a lot. Oh, I shouldn’™t say anything. the meeting is supposed to be SECRET!

Here’™s an interesting albatross in the Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll, where Obama is surging. Seems even the most faithful of McCain demographics, those men who idolize war heroes, are moving towards Obama slowly but surely. And both the white vote and the conservative vote are headed to the Senator from Illinois as well. Here’™s a taste of the Reuters analysis:

Obama held steady or expanded his edge among several crucial blocs of swing voters, leading by 19 points among independents, 10 points among women, 9 points among Catholics and 7 points among voters above the age 65.

Obama also moved ahead of McCain, an Arizona senator, by 5 points among men. McCain still leads by 8 points among white voters but only earns the support of about 30 percent of Hispanics, a fast-growing group that gave President George W. Bush more than 40 percent of their vote in 2004.

The poll also found Obama was doing a better job of reaching across ideological lines, earning the support of nearly 20 percent of self-described conservatives. McCain wins about 10 percent of liberals.

I must say it is awfully fun tracking all the troubles, albatrosses, that have hampered McCain’™s clear sailing. Of course, there’™s more than the Palin selection that’™s his fault. He courted the Radical Right Wing Christian Clerics, after all, he displayed ignorance of economic policy, then an almost spastic need to pander to every voter group in the country. McCain’™s already angry demeanor was only emphasized by the constant negatives against Barack Obama. Every time an ad ran saying something about ‘œconsorting with terrorists,’ with some ominous announcer, it ended with McCain saying he approved of the message. Holy crap! Isn’™t he the one who helped add that ‘œI approve this message’ bit? His own campaign finance laws, of course, are another set of albatrosses.

It’™s hard to calculate all the other self-inflicted burdens McCain has placed around his own neck. There was the cancellation of the first day of the GOP Convention, the ‘œsuspending the campaign’ stunt, the poor debate performances by both Palin and McCain, the blatant racism among his supporters, some of them, which is turning off independents. The tarnished Republican brand? That goes without saying. But it’™s your turn.

What’™s the biggest of these problems McCain has draped himself with? Could it be that the biggest problem is that he’™s running against a man of genuine stature and leadership in Barack Obama? I’™d like to think so.

Friday, October 31st, 2008 by Richard Blair |

Flat Stanley Visits Barack Obama, Courtesy of Aron Mondschein, 7

This is heart warming. A class of kids in Connecticut wrote letters to famous people, and Aron wrote his to Barack Obama. Obama wrote back, and it’s all over the Hartford Courant. Aron is a celebrity and the letter is personal and sweet. Hey, folks, that’s Presidential, too. Nobody can imagine McCain doing the same thing, can they?

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

This is heart warming. A kid in a Jewish school in West Hartford Connecticut sends a letter, just like the rest of his class, to a famous person. In his case it is Barack Obama. He includes the Flat Stanley character from the book the class is reading. And he gets an answer from Obama. Here it is from the Hartford Courant:

An envelope addressed to her son, Aron, 7, had been delivered to the school that morning. It was from Barack Obama, senator from Illinois and Democratic presidential candidate.

“They were all excited,” Mondschein said. “The whole school was abuzz. They took a picture of [Aron]. He was like a little celebrity.”

. . .

Obama’s three-page letter to Aron described Flat Stanley’s visit with him and his staff in Washington, D.C. It chronicled their busy day together, which included coffee with constituents, a Senate committee meeting and a trip to the gym. It also had historical facts about the U.S. Capitol, details of Obama’s job and a confession from Obama.

“Sometimes I get a little nervous before talking in front of a crowd, but Flat Stanley helped me practice the speech,” Obama wrote. “He made me recite it in front of him and then even gave me some advice so the speech would go smoothly. Flat Stanley is really a great coach.”

To make this truly inspirational, Barack Obama would have written the letter himself. I sure hope that’s the case. The beautiful thing is that he’s made a little boy he has never met a celebrity in his own right.

Hey, if Obama wins this thing I think Aron and his mother ought to be invited to the Inaugural Ball. Yamulka and all. After all, it is that affable and personable Obama who has charged to the finish line, as cool as can be, but with warmth enough even for a little boy.

Friday, October 31st, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |

The Latest GOP Voter Suppression, the Mentally Challenged

The GOP in Californai, led by Chuck Bell, the State’™s GOP Attorney, wants to question the votes of ten developmentally disabled adults who were helped in their voting by their caretaker. He thinks they were coerced. The real case is that the voters didn’™t vote for Republicans, but 9 to 1 for Obama. As one said, when asked, the black guy.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

I suppose there are legitimate reasons that one might want to pass a mental acuity test to qualify voters in this country. Given how many people voted for George Bush, and how many people think Sarah Palin is qualified, it would seem the Republican Party would be dead set against such a law. But, no! They are challenging the votes of six developmentally disabled adults in Tuolumne County, CA. This is too stupid to be believed. From ABC 7 in San Francisco:

Michael Rascon voted in his first presidential election. He and nine other developmentally disabled clients at the Thumbs Up adult care home in Tuolumne County recently cast their absentee ballots. All but one voted for Barak Obama.

‘œDid someone help you vote?’ asked the ABC reporter.

‘œDave did,’ said Michael.

David Simerley is the home’™s director. He admits to helping any client with his ballot who asked.

‘œNo one’™s vote should be coerced, I think that’™s the bottom line,’ said Chuck Bell, the State’™s GOP Attorney.

The state Republican Party now questions the validity of the Thumbs Up votes. They want the Secretary of State to investigate.

‘œIf they haven’™t been declared incompetent to vote and they’™re a citizen of the United States and they’™re over 18 and they’™re a legal resident, they’™re entitled to vote,’ said Professor Pamela Karlan, from Stanford University School of Law.

Karlan says legally, someone like Director Simerley can fill out a ballot for his clients, if they’™re illiterate or incapable. Freedom of speech even gives Simerley the right to share his political opinions.

Chuck Bell, the GOP State’™s Attorney thinks there is some kind of coercion? First, you have to wonder what he would say if the guys voted for McCain. He’™d probably crow about his expanding base in California. Second, it is obvious the guy is on the wrong side of the law, so one might wonder why he is in the position he is, as a defender of the law. Finally, I have never met a more honest group of people in my life than the people who work with the mentally disabled. Never. Not ever. To impugn their motives is frankly just another ugly whine on the part of the Republicans.

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

Obama’s 30 Minute Special and McCain’s Whiney Response = Done Deal

Obama put up an uplifting 30 minute ad, and McCain responded with carping and ugliness. The ugliness is failing, even when they get a fresh piece of smear, as with the Khalidi situation. Why? People don’™t want to hear negatives. They’™ll read negatives on the internet, and reinforce their voting decision. It’™s a different story on the tube.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

The Obama 30 program last night was uplifting. I remember my wife worrying, as she always does. She was afraid Obama would promise too much, or look like he expected to win too much. None of that happened. The program seemed designed to encourage supporters to get out the vote and to convince independents with a sunny and ‘œcan do’ attitude that better times are coming. (Anyone reminded of Reagan there?) The show got the ratings it should have, beating out the usual ratings of the primetime shows that normally air on the three major networks, and it was money well spent in my book. The record turnout we are hoping for will likely come about, in part because Barack Obama took time and money to step forward and talk directly to an audience of millions. I’™m proud of him more than ever.

McCain? Not so much. Not so much details about policies in his response. not any positive take on our society. No vision of the future. Indeed, there was no McCain giving a response. It showed up on the Palin/McCain web site, and in a few ads, in the form of a list of ‘œfact checks,’ each time concluding with the accusation of ‘œliar.’ The ad campaign is called ‘œJust Words,’ and it is all attack, with nothing about what McCain will do. Yeah, that’™s the wrong approach, the Bush approach to campaigning, as they note on electoral-vote.com:

What is noteworthy about this campaign is McCain’™s response. He just attacked Obama more, saying he is not ready to be commander in chief and his economic policies would undermine our national security. He is also making robocalls’“in Arizona (!)’“a state that wasn’™t thought to be competitive. What is so astounding about this strategy is that most Republicans worship Ronald Reagan, not so much due to his specific policies, but for the tone of his campaigns and administration. He was always talking about hope and ‘œMorning in America,’ rarely attacking his opponents. McCain could easily have countered Obama’™s film with an upbeat message saying: ‘œI also believe in a good future for America, but a future produced by hardworking Americans like Joe the Plumber, not by government bureaucrats.’ He didn’™t do it. Just attack, attack, attack. You can see Atwater-Rove-Schmidt writ large on McCain’™s whole campaign. Spend all your time tearing down your opponent, rather than saying what your plans are.

It is not necessarily the Obama program that seals the deal in this election. It is more likely the McCain response that has done so. Not even one’™s supporters are likely to respond well to constant attacks on the opponent rather than hopeful messages. Heck, even McCain’™s hopeful messages are whines about pollsters and ‘œthe media’ counting him out too soon. His whines begin to sound and feel like the worst I’™ve seen in my political life, like the scowling Nixon, or the smirking Rove. It is hard to understand from the McCain response why anyone would want to vote for him. Oh, McCain might make some people in his own base hate Obama a whole bunch, but to win an election you must get people to wqant to vote for You. That strategy, or simple common sense, really, is absent throughout the McCain campaign, and as a result Obama keeps whittling away at the Palin/McCain supporters.

Even the fresh attacks, like the one concerning Barack Obama’™s friendship with Rashid Khalidi are failing miserably. Jason Linkins of Huffington Post describes CNN last light, which had a McCain defender on, Michael Goldfarb, and the CNN host asked asked a couple cogent questions of the guy that he simply couldn’™t answer. According to Goldfarb, the Obama friendship with Khalidi was emblematic of many anti-semitic friends with influence on Obama. He was asked why McCain funneled money to Khalidi, and. . . crickets. He was asked to name just one other supposed anti-semite Obama supposedly hangs with and. . . crickets. The charges against Barack Obama, even the new ones, are empty.

More than that emptiness, the McCain campaign has gone full-bore negative for well over a month now. In that time Barack Obama has improved in the polls and McCain has dropped. Of course, whippings in the debates add to that movement in the polls, but that’™s because McCain was mostly negative and combative and ugly in them as well. Let’™s add in the fashion Queen, and the stupid ‘œJoe the Plumber’ fiasco, and you’™ve got a Palin/McCain campaign that can’™t shoot straight. Heck, I’™m thinking even McCain’™s base is beginning to wonder if he is qualified to lead, given how screwed up his campaign is.

How will McCain move forward from here? He’™ll run even more attack ads, as long as his money holds out, and he’™ll crank up the Robocalls, even in Arizona, his home state. Heck, if I am right and the Palin/McCain 24/7 attack campaign is the cause of its drop in the polls, then maybe, just maybe, the Obama/Biden campaign has a shot in Arizona.

This may spell the end of Rovian politics for a time. Will it be one cycle, two? I’™m beginning to think that this is a reflection of the internet phenomenon. Let’™s face it, we on the internet tend to go negative and carp and throw around snark all the time. Our fellow supporters of Obama think this is just fine. But snark in public turns off voters, and constant carping, which we expect and enjoy online, is not what we expect in commercials and in speeches and in debates. I’™ll have to think on this some more, but it is very possible the GOP inability to understand the internet has made it so that the typical GOP Rovian tactics and strategies are dying. We can all sing praises for Al Gore’™s invention, then.

HEck, even Goldwater won Arizona, didn’™t he?

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

“Where’s Joe?” – Did The Plumber Just Flush McCain?

Either John McCain is a confused camper or Joe the Plumber has moved onto greener pastures. Either way, the McCain campaign is looking more and more like a sinking ship where it’™s every man or woman for themselves.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

So much for Joe the Plumber! Now that Joe is busy turning his fifteen minutes of fame into a book deal or a country music recording contract’¦or some other means to capitalize on his notoriety so he can actually earn the 250K he told Barack Obama he planned to make when he bought his fictional plumbing business’¦he’™s suddenly missing in action at John McCain’™s rally in Ohio. Watch McCain ask Joe to stand up at his rally this morning; only to realize that Joe is no where to be found.

Yep, just like their honorable leader, Joe and Sarah put country first, eh? Apparently NOT’¦Joe has taken the same route as Sarah Palin‘¦the one where it’™s every man or woman for themselves (maybe Sarah and Joe can be paired up on the GOP ticket in 2012?). It’™s also consistent with the McBush economic philosophy’¦the one they like to call ‘œThe Ownership Society’’¦the one that Barack Obama appropriately described as the ‘œyou’™re on your own’ philosophy.

You see, while John McCain has been busy selling us on the notion that Joe the Plumber and the rest of us hard working Americans will be the victims of Barack Obama’™s ‘œsocialist’ agenda, he and his hypocritical minions have been busy looking for the means to snatch power and line their own pockets.

Yes, John McCain believes in change’¦the kind that puts the big bucks in the hands of the wealthy’¦the kind that leaves the rest of us checking our pockets for enough change to feed our families.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

Why is John McCain Funding Terrorism?

John McCain is trying to smear Barack Obama with a relationship to Rashid Khalidi, a man he implies is a terrorist. But back in the early 90′™s John McCain headed the International Republican Institute, which funded Mr. Khalidi’™s academic pursuits. So why does John McCain fund people he thinks are terrorists, and why does he hate America?

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

I just finished writing about this, but I think it deserves another go. McCain is trying to smear Barack Obama with a supposed relationship to Rashid Khalidi, a US citizen and distinguished academic who used to be the spokesperson for the PLO. Turns out McCain, in his role as the Chairman of the International Republican Institute, granted Khalidi $448,000 to carry out a study concerning peace in the Middle East. I think that’™s money well spent. Evidently the McCain campaign thinks that is equivalent to funding terrorism.

Why is McCain funding terrorism? Why does he hate America?

Thursday, October 30th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

$10,000 Premarital Abstinence Prize Going Unclaimed

The Radical Religious Right sponsors these abstinence programs, and they’ve been funded by the Bush Administration. You can expect failure with that background. There’s enough stupidity to go around here, including the notion that the abstinence advocates ignore the facts about American sexual behavior.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

This is big example of the failure of the abstinence only sex education movement. There are no takers. It’s failing, and that’s no surprise, because it is supported by Bush Administration money. Feministing has some good comments on this story, but I’ll take my quotes from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

There seems to be one small problem with a contest that would pay $10,000 to an engaged couple –- they can’t be engaged in premarital sex.

How else to explain that in this sinking economy, no one has stepped forward to enter the Marriage for a Lifetime contest?

Did we mention the cash prize? Or the free flowers, the invitations and other bridal goodies?

The Oct. 31 deadline is fast approaching –- but so far, no entries.

“Someone asked me, –Is anyone going to respond?’ ” said contest organizer Phillippia Faust, director of an abstinence education program for Rockdale, DeKalb and Newton counties. “In our society, it is going to be hard to find [a couple who has not had premarital sex]. … But the standard is the standard.”

There’s lots of people who could have predicted this result. Heck, the statistics about premarital sexuality in this country are what they are. Used to be that marriage was actually a license to engage in sex. Now there is no such license, but among those who used to feel marriage was a prerequisite, I’d guess the engagement is the license now. Yes, even among the constituency who might take up this offer they see the engagement as the permission slip to engage in sex.

But the whole contest is stupid. What are they going to do to assure the couple who comes forward to take the abstinence pledge and claim the prize actually carries through with the pledge. Are they going to test them every day?

Finally, who the F cares? If it is true that premarital sex is the overwhelming norm, and has been for decades, then let’s work with the facts, not the fantasies. The Bush Administration has been trying to work with fantasies instead of facts on this issue for a very long time. Yet another reason to kick all Republicans out of office.

January 20 can’t come too soon.

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |

Wasup? Change Is Coming

There’s a number of ways to frame elections. One of the most memorable is based upon Reagan’s “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” In the following video, the 2008 election is framed similarly utilizing the famous and funny “Wasup” beer commercial from a few years back.
Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

Remember the “Wasup commercial for Budweiser? Well, there’s a new version for the 2008 election that’s certainly worth viewing. I think it may well be the most effective campaign commercial I’ve seen this election cycle. Take a look at both below and let me know what you think.

Budweiser’s “Wasup” Commercial
Wasup 2008 – Change

Saturday, October 25th, 2008 by Daniel DiRito |

Buh-Bye Lipsticked Pit Bull – Caribou Barbie Gets A 150K Makeover?

Well, well…it looks like it’s the McCain-Palin campaign that has “champaign wishes and caviar dreams”. While the right wing pundits have been pushing a false story on Michelle Obama’s supposed elitist tastes, it looks like Caribou Barbie has been the beneficiary of a 150K makeover.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

Oh how I love irony! My frenzied friends on the right have done their damnedest to portray the Obama’s as snooty elitists…despite the fact that it’s the McCain’s who own seven homes, thirteen automobiles, and a virtual department store of haute couture for Cindy to show off on the campaign trail.

None of this should come as a surprise since the GOP has spent the last three decades pretending to care about the interests of the common man. With the emergence of the maverick McCain-Palin reformers ticket, that persona has been put on steroids…championing the likes of Joe Six-Pack, Joe The Plumber, and Tito The Construction Worker.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to play a caribou killin’ moose burger eating mom, with a doggone down home dialect, when one is dressed up in 150K of name brand clothing purchased with campaign funds. It’s especially problematic when just days earlier your rabid right ring rottweiler’s are pushing a story about Michelle Obama partaking of a delectable dinner fit for an airing on an episode of Robin Leach’s “champaign wishes and caviar dreams” Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

So here’s the problem…it turns out the Michelle Obama story was false…shooting a huge hole in the efforts to paint her as none other than an angry and arrogant African American manifestation of Mommy Dearest meets Leona Helmsley.

From The New York Post:

The source who told us last week about Michelle Obama getting lobster and caviar delivered to her room at the Waldorf-Astoria must have been under the influence of a mind-altering drug. She was not even staying at the Waldorf. We regret the mistake, and our former source is going to regret it, too. Bread and water would be too good for such disinformation.

Now cue the creation of Caribou-Barbie-wears-Christian-Lacroix (yea, that’s close enough for Vic the Voter to draw a connection to hockey’s Pierre Lacroix, right?) and you begin to see the sweet irony that comes with exposing those whose expertise is found in concocting ill-conceived illusions.

From Politico:

The Republican National Committee appears to have spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.

Politico asked the McCain campaign for comment, explicitly noting the $150,000 in expenses for department store shopping and makeup consultation that were incurred immediately after Palin’s announcement. Pre-September reports do not include similar costs.

Spokeswoman Maria Comella declined to answer specific questions about the expenditures, including whether it was necessary to spend that much and whether it amounted to one early investment in Palin or if shopping for the vice presidential nominee was ongoing.

Think about it…when Sarah Palin asked us to imagine the difference between a hockey mom and a Pit Bull, we foolishly believed it was limited to lipstick. Well, we now know it includes skirts and suits, handbags and high heels, dresses and designer wear, and anything else one can buy on a paltry allowance of 150K.

Not to worry though, John McCain and Sarah Palin plan to share the pie with the two Joe’s and Tito and Vic…that’s what Republicans do when they cut taxes for all of Robin Leach’s BFF’s. A word of caution to the wise though…you better stay alert…I wouldn’t want you to miss out on a few of the crumbs when they fall off the table.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 by Daniel DiRito |
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