April 2007


Barack Obama’s “Turn the Page” Speech Wows California Democratic …
California Progress Report – Oakland,CA,USA
Departing from his stump speech, Barack Obama had the California Democratic Convention spellbound for 23 minutes as he appeared with State Senate Majority

Calif. Democrats warm for Clinton, wild for Obama
Reuters via Yahoo! News Sat, 28 Apr 2007 4:36 PM PDT
Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois wowed California Democrats at their annual convention on Saturday, drawing a more passionate welcome than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton received hours earlier in this state that carries new clout in the presidential primaries.

Can Obama’s Substance Match His Style?
Newsweek Sat, 28 Apr 2007 6:19 PM PDT
In the next two months, Barack Obama will embark on a quest to prove that he’s got as much substance as style.

Obama’s policy director, Mark Alexander, knows this all too well. His résumé looks much like Obama’s: Alexander is a graduate of Yale Law School and law professor at Seton Hall, and he is part of a new generation of African-American political stars. (He is also close to Cory Booker, the recently elected Newark, N.J., mayor.) But, unlike Obama, Alexander bears the scars of a previous presidential campaign. In 1999 he was issues director for former senator Bill Bradley, as the former NBA star mounted an insurgent challenge to Al Gore. After several months on a listening tour, Bradley offered up a detailed, $65 billion plan for universal health care. Within weeks, Gore revived his lackluster campaign by eviscerating Bradley’s plan as impractical and irresponsible. "I think that was definitely one of the reasons for the vice president’s ultimate success in the primaries," says Alexander. "It was effective campaigning, but ultimately it wasn’t helpful [to the country]." Now Alexander’s challenge is to offer up enough details to be credible, but not too many to make Obama vulnerable. "It’s important to strike that balance," he says.

Bob Somerby’s Daily Howler
On just how insidious Brian Williams’ use of right wing spin was during last week’s debate…

Where is Barack Obama coming from? [Very long article including biographic material]
New Yorker – New York,NY,USA
and very short hair—sitting around a rectangle of pushed-together tables in a nondescript room, talking with their junior senator, Barack Obama.

There are three things that Democratic political candidates tend to do when talking with constituents: they display an impressive grasp of the minutiae of their constituents’ problems, particularly money problems; they rouse indignation by explaining how those problems are caused by powerful groups getting rich on the backs of ordinary people; and they present well-worked-out policy proposals that, if passed, would solve the problems and put the powerful groups in their place. Obama seldom does any of these things. He tends to underplay his knowledge, acting less informed than he is. He rarely accuses, preferring to talk about problems in the passive voice, as things that are amiss with us rather than as wrongs that have been perpetrated by them. And the solutions he offers generally sound small and local rather than deep-reaching and systemic.

The ‘Rat-Ballers’: Obama’s High School Crew
ABC News Thu, 26 Apr 2007 10:10 PM PDT
Barack Obama’s Childhood Classmates, Friends and Teammates Talk About the Man They Knew as ‘Barry’

The basketball court became a place of refuge. His old friends say they had no idea of his struggle until they read his book more than 20 years later.

"In reading that … it doesn’t surprise me at all that he said that because we were all going through our things out there," said Lum. "I mean, I didn’t know to the extent of what he was going through for sure but we were all going through our things. And maybe that’s why, the basketball court was kind of, a sanctuary for us too. … Kind of bring us together and. … Get us away."

And it would become the very place where Obama would refine perhaps his most important talent: his ability to communicate.

"He could beat anybody in a debate and we wouldn’t even realize we got beat because we’d end up agreeing with him," Hale said. "He would be very straight to the point and then he’d just have a way of just getting people to agree."

Barack Obama in the Lowcountry
WCSC – Charleston,SC,USA
He spoke about education issues nationwide, an issue that wasn’t discussed in Thursday’s debate. The war in Iraq was also big on Obama’s political agenda.

S.V. Antigua
S.V. Antigua – Long Island, NY – 1954

As the Washington Post’s Tom Shales says

Perhaps the truth shall eventually set you free, but first it might make you very, very depressed. Tonight’s edition of “Bill Moyers Journal” on PBS is one of the most gripping and important pieces of broadcast journalism so far this year, but it’s as disheartening as it is compelling.

It’s always depressing to learn that you’ve been had, but incalculably more so when the deception has resulted in thousands of Americans dying in the Iraq war effort.

In this 90-minute report, called “Buying the War,” Moyers and producer Kathleen Hughes use alarming evidence and an array of respected journalists to make the case that, in the rage that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the media abandoned their role as watchdog and became a lapdog instead.

An excerpt from the debut last night of Bill Moyers Journal

Dear Supporter,

stand up and be countedSomething remarkable is happening to our campaign right now, and I wanted to share with you the terrific news.

You’ve already heard that after everything was counted and double-checked, we reported to the Federal Election Committee that an astonishing 104,000 donors gave over 25 million dollars to the campaign through March 31st.

What’s happened to the campaign since then has been even more remarkable.

In April alone, over 37,000 people have donated to the cause — almost 90% of them for the first time.

On the eve of the first candidate debate this Thursday night, the keepers of the Washington status quo are nervous. Those invested in keeping things as they are have a hard time grasping that a movement made up of people who want a new kind of politics can actually change things.

Now’s the time for every person who supports Barack Obama to make one thing perfectly clear: we’re here, we’re serious about change, and we’re going to be heard. When people come together one by one, astounding things can happen. This is just the beginning — we can continue to grow this movement, but it’s up to you.

Will you become the next person to be counted by making a donation today?

http://www.barackobama.com/becounted

We’ve seen what happens when the will of the people is swept aside.

Corruption and incompetence paralyze our government, America’s ability to lead the world is diminished, and the fundamental fairness of our society diminishes to benefit the privileged few.

We need a movement of ordinary people to elect our next president because, for so many of us, what our president does is personal.

Here’s an example of what I mean. On Monday, Barack laid out a foreign policy vision that captured why rebuilding America’s moral leadership in the world is personal for him.

That day we asked for the same from you; what we heard back were thousands of powerful, incredibly personal reasons why we need a new era in America’s foreign policy.

We’ve heard from retired soldiers and diplomats about the decades of work undone by this president’s recklessness and failures. We’ve heard from family members of servicemembers in Iraq who want their loved ones out of harm’s way. We’ve heard from ordinary Americans from every region and every walk of life who want to once again feel the pride of knowing that our president is truly the leader of the free world.

That’s why we need a movement behind our next president. Only by electing a president accountable to no one but the people will we restore America’s global moral leadership.

Some people don’t believe it can be done. But you can show them the way by making your donation and demonstrating that this campaign is a movement of people willing to step up and take personal responsibility for change:

http://www.barackobama.com/becounted

So far in April, over 20,000 people have donated to the campaign over the Internet — and for more than 18,000 of them, this was their first donation to the campaign.

It’s not just happening online. Our movement continues to grow everywhere: on April 14th over 20,000 people rallied with Barack in Atlanta, Georgia, the largest political rally in that city’s history.

People like you are proving that no matter what any pundit says, this campaign isn’t about what happened already — it’s about what’s going to happen.

More people are going to be involved than ever before.

People like you will have more power over the process than ever before.

And, if we succeed, we’re going to elect a president who answers to the American people for a change.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
David

David Plouffe
Campaign Manager

P.S. — The debate will be live from South Carolina on MSNBC at 7pm Eastern Thursday. If you want to invite some friends over to watch with you, you can plan your event here: http://my.barackobama.com/debatewatch

Sen. Obama tries to reassure Jewish voters…
jewishinstlouis.org – St. Louis,MO,USA
WASHINGTON – US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to reassure Jewish voters concerned about his Muslim ties that he has

"If I go to Jakarta and address the largest Muslim country on earth, I can say, `Apa kabar,’ – you know, `How are you doing?’ – and they can recognize that I understand their common humanity," Obama said. "That is a strength, and it allows me to say things to them that other presidents might not be able to say. And that’s part of what’s promising, I think, about this presidency."

Barack Obama Fires Back at Rudy Giuliani for Terrorist Comment
My Fox Colorado.com – Denver,CO,USA
Barack Obama accused Rudy Guiliani of "fear-mongering" over the Republican’s comment that America could face a major terrorist attack if a democrat is

WASHINGTON  –  Democrat Barack Obama fired back at Republican presidential candidate  Rudy Giuliani Wednesday for his comment that the United States could face another disastrous terrorism attack if a Democrat is elected president in 2008.

Obama, an Illinois senator, said the man who served as New York mayor’s during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks should not be making the serious threat that faces the country into "the punchline of another political attack."

"Rudy Giuliani today has taken the politics of fear to a new low and I believe Americans are ready to reject those kind of politics," Obama said in a statement. "America’s mayor should know that when it comes to 9-11 and fighting terrorists, America is united. We know we can win this war based on shared purpose, not the same divisive politics that question your patriotism if you dare to question failed policies that have made us less secure."

Clinton loses black leaders to Obama charm offensive
Belfast Telegraph – Belfast,UK
When a mobile phone started to ring on the podium as Senator Barack Obama was addressing members of the National Action Network in New York a few days ago,

Signs that black elected officials in the state are drifting into the Obama camp come as his campaign continues to build momentum. In the first quarter of this year he matched Mrs Clinton in raising funds, while a new poll released on Monday showed him dead-even with her nationally for the first time.

Loyalty among black leaders in the state can be traced back to the high popularity of President Bill Clinton in the African American community, but the sudden rise of Mr Obama appears to be stirring a degree of ethnic pride and excitement that is straining those old assumptions.

"I would have supported Hillary if it were not for Barack Obama," Adam Clayton Powell IV of the state assembly told The New York Times. "He can identify with my African American community in a way that no other candidate can." Jeffrion Aubry, also an assemblyman, concurred: "His presence as a legitimate politician at a national level brings a certain pride. It makes you have to make a choice."

Obama to Israel: Status quo failing
Jerusalem Post – Jerusalem,Israel
Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said Tuesday that America needs to ask Israel to help change the status quo in its conflict with the

"The United States government and an Obama presidency cannot ask Israel to take risks with respect to its security," he told the crowd of Democratic activists and campaign contributors. "But it can ask Israel to say that it is still possible for us to allow more than just this status quo of fear, terror, division. That can’t be our long-term aspiration."

Freshman senator Barack Obama’s appeal to change the status quo of American politics has propelled him into the top tier of Democratic presidential contenders, and he evinced the same optimism on the intractable Israeli-Palestinian issue.

It’s important to be "hard-headed and clear-eyed about the dangers" in the Middle East, Obama said.

"We also have to recognize that the status quo is not inevitable, that we can aspire to something greater," he continued, "we should want to have that difficult, tough discussion…about how we’re going to arrive at what I think everybody wants, which is two states living side by side in peace and security."

4/24: Why Obama Will Win
National Journal – Washington,DC,USA
Barack Obama’s (D-IL) 4/22 address to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs was received warmly, but not enthusiastically, by the netroots.

Sen. Barack Obama‘s (D-IL) 4/22 address to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs was received warmly, but not enthusiastically, by the netroots. They liked his emphasis on the need to solve global problems by cooperation and leadership and his de-emphasis on the threat terrorism poses. But they didn’t like his plans to leave some forces in Iraq or his call for a larger military. MyDD‘s Matt Stoller said the speech was straight "from the Clinton playbook."

And that’s exactly why Obama will win the Dem nod. Whether its his rock-star quality or ’03 anti-war position, whatever the reason, the netroots just trust him more on foreign policy even if his actual positions are indistinguishable from Sen. Hillary Clinton‘s (D-NY). So even though Matthew Yglesias says "the idea of maintaining a semi-permanent counterterrorism force in Iraq is a very bad idea" he’s still eager to give Obama some "wiggle room" on the issue since he’s "pretty confident that Barack Obama and his team would exercise good judgment in this matter." With his anti-war credentials beyond reproach, Obama will have way more flexibility to appeal to undecided primary voters as events in Iraq unfold.

As you may know, Illegal Aliens, the last movie Anna Nicole Smith worked on before she died, is the product of Rutland area B-movie film mogul, David Giancola.

As a result, you may have seen David’s name splashed across the pages of publications like US Weekly and People, as he provided some background following the death of Anna-Nicole’s son, who also worked on the film.

Anna Nicole Smith - Illegal Aliens

But, what you likely do not know, is that I went to elementary school with David Giancola, from 2nd to 4th grade. And, like all great auteurs, David used to film movie shorts of his vast collection of Star Wars merchandise.

Alas, there ends my attenuated tie to Anna Nicole.

But that won’t stop me from posting the text of a hilarious unfriendly review of Illegal Aliens from today’s NY Post…

April 23, 2007 — Calling Anna Nicole Smith’s final film, "Illegal Aliens," the worst movie of all time is an insult to truly awful flicks.

The movie – due to hit video stores next month – was the last the blond buttercup made before her death from a drug overdose in February.

Smith’s performance proves true the adage that there are, in fact, people out there who cannot chew gum and walk at the same time.

It’s hard to know where to start in describing this completely unfunny and poorly written and performed farce. The premise is that Smith – starring as Lucy – is one of three ditzy aliens sent to Earth to protect the planet from anyone who wishes to do it harm.

Conveniently, such a person appears – played by lantern-jawed actress Joanie Laurer, who is more famously known as the former professional wrestler Chyna.

That’s about as far as the plot goes. It’s really like "Charlie’s Angels" from outer space, but only if the Angels didn’t actually solve crimes and couldn’t speak English – or any other language, for that matter.

Blissfully, Smith doesn’t have many lines. The few she does have – delivered in a slurred, bug-eyed whimper – include these cringe-worthy gems:

* "To pee or not to pee. That is the question. I think I’ll pee."

* "Wee! Bumper Cars!"

* "Nobody sticks a missile in Lucy’s butt and gets away with it."

And:

* "Why is my poopy hole sore?"

Smith’s untimely demise may be the greatest thing that ever happened to the film’s producers, as its novelty value might actually get a few people to see it.

And here’s the trailer…

Barack’s rock
Chicago Tribune – Chicago,IL,USA
While South Side activists praise her program, Barack Obama’s union supporters have been critical of the management of many large hospitals for how they

One of its most formidable tasks, after all, is to win over Democratic-leaning women tempted to help make Sen. Hillary Clinton the first woman president, and Michelle Obama figures prominently in the promotion strategy. She’s a charismatic public speaker, an accomplished professional whose life as a working parent looks familiar to all kinds of women.

More than just a spokeswoman, she’s a crucial part of the Obama package itself, complementing and shaping her husband in ways that are both politically and personally significant.

Michelle Obama vs. Hillary Clinton
New York Times – New York,NY,USA
The Chicago Tribune has a major profile today of Michelle Obama, Senator Barack Obama’s wife, capturing not only her personality but also her strategic role

Barack Obama criticizes Bush as he outlines foreign policy goals
International Herald Tribune – France
CHICAGO: Senator Barack Obama said Monday that even though the global image of the United States had been sullied by the war in Iraq and a "foreign policy

Obama’s groundswell:grass roots on the Web
Allentown Morning Call – Allentown,PA,USA
The Internet has transformed Michele A. Timms from a political novice into a political organizer, and Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is the catalyst.

Obama, the Internet, and New Grassroots Politics
City on a Hill Press – Santa Cruz,CA,USA
In this whirlwind first quarter of fundraising, Barack Obama has once again caused a stir, raising an unexpectedly high amount of money in a manner that is

New Hampshire Voter Tearfully Appeals To Obama To End Iraq War
WBBM780 – Chicago,USA
NASHUA, NH (AP) — A woman’s tearful plea to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to end the Iraq war momentarily caught him off guard Friday at a

NY Legislators For Obama?
New York Press – New York,NY,USA
in the state is standing behind their hometown senator and her presidential bid, a few are moving away from Hillary Clinton and toward Barack Obama.

Obama: Change gun laws for mentally ill
MSNBC – USA
WASHINGTON – Illinois Democrat and presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama wants stronger laws to prevent the mentally ill from buying guns.

Obama pushing for carbon reductions in car fuel
Honolulu Advertiser – Honolulu,HI,USA
DURHAM, NH — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says the fuel used to power automobiles should contain less of the carbon that pollutes the air

Obama has edge over Clinton with mainline Protestant Democrats
The Christian Century – USA
White mainline Protestants who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning voters favored Senator Barack Obama (D., Ill.) slightly over Senator Hillary Clinton (D.,

Latest Rasmussen poll has Clinton & Obama tied
USA Today – USA
"For the fourth straight week, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has gained ground and he has finally caught New York Senator Hillary Clinton in the race for

Antigua - 1954
Antigua – Long Island, NY – 1954

I finally bought a replacement for the Largan Chameleon Mega, the cheapest digital camera ever made.

And now I, too, can take pictures of my dog

Moxie
Moxie

OK, well that’s not exactly right. But, we did make it into a piece that begins on the front page of today’s Burlington Free Press.

That counts, right?

In an article highlighting the dramatic superiority of Obama’s fundraising in Vermont, Sam Hemingway writes

The disclosure of the Vermont fund-raising figures comes as the presidential primary campaigns for the major presidential candidates are showing their first signs of life.

Obama supporters in the state have organized 10 grass-roots groups with 213 members in all, according to Neil Jensen of Monkton, the "group administrator" for the largest of the groups, Vermonters for Obama.

Jensen, in an e-mail, said his group had its largest gathering a week ago in Burlington and has begun discussing how to organize Vermonters to work for Obama in New Hampshire, site of a critical early 2008 primary.

Also, Matt from So. Burlington pointed us to "a great interactive graphic" on Q1 fundraising in the NY Times. He makes the point that "Obama raised a grand total of $46,271 in Vermont. Clinton, Edwards, McCain, Giuliani and Romney raised a COMBINED total of $41,725. So in our state, Obama out-fund-raised all of the other front-runners combined by a little less than five grand.”

NY Times graphic

Following Bill Doyle’s Town Meeting Day Survey that showed Obama with 47%, Clinton 33%, and Edwards 20%, this is even more evidence to suggest that Vermonters are for Obama.

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