Friday, August 31, 2007

Another one falls

Think Progress says CNN is reporting that Tony Snow is stepping down. Dana Perino will be taking his place as Chief Propagandist, aka President's Liar to the Public.

The Bush administration has begun it's fall, and there aren't many left to go.

On a side note, Snow is saying he's leaving because he needs to make more money. Here's Snow a year ago, regarding his salary:
MR. SNOW: I think my salary's like $162,000 or $163,000.

Beyond the fact that he's obviously making well above the average American's salary, I find it interesting that Snow's reaction to cancer is that he needs to make more money.

Let's compare that to Elizabeth Edwards. The first time she was diagnosed, right at the end of her husband's presidential campaign:
Well, I have, you know, told the doctor when we met her, I said, ‘I have 40 years of plans.’ I need 40 years, you know? That's all I'm asking you for is another 40, because I've got so much that I want to do. We'll stay here and get treatment through the end of the school year. At about the end of the school year, we'll sell the house in Washington and move back to North Carolina with-- bought some land in a rural area next to a farm with cows and a creek and a pond. And the kids can grow up in the kind of surroundings that we think are going to be really healthy for them. And continue to get my follow-up treatments down there. And we'll see what life has to offer.

And recently, about the time her husband announced his '08 bid:
“We’ve been confronted with these kind of traumas and struggles already in our life,” Edwards said. “When this happens you have a choice — you can go and cower in the corner or you can go out there and be tough.”

Elizabeth Edwards added: “We’re always going to look for the silver lining — it’s who we are as people.”

I can't help but notice the difference, and while I'm not campaigning for John Edwards, I respect that he and his wife chose what was more important to them. They clung to what mattered. And Tony Snow has also clung to what matters to him. The money. Just a little confirmation about why I've never trusted him.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Why aren't they in jail?

Mother Jones has a story titled School of Shock that turned my stomach.

It starts off:
Rob Santana awoke terrified. He'd had that dream again, the one where silver wires ran under his shirt and into his pants, connecting to electrodes attached to his limbs and torso. Adults armed with surveillance cameras and remote-control activators watched his every move. One press of a button, and there was no telling where the shock would hit—his arm or leg or, worse, his stomach. All Rob knew was that the pain would be intense.

Every time he woke from this dream, it took him a few moments to remember that he was in his own bed, that there weren't electrodes locked to his skin, that he wasn't about to be shocked. It was no mystery where this recurring nightmare came from—not A Clockwork Orange or 1984, but the years he spent confined in America's most controversial "behavior modification" facility.

BoingBoing sums The Judge Rotenberg Education Center up this way:
The school is run by a rogue behaviorist who uses discredited "punishment" techniques -- electroshock -- on children as young as nine to change their personalities. Matthew Israel, the school's $400,000/year executive director, straps homemade, overpowered shock apparatus to children (including severely autistic and retarded kids) and has his staff administer strong shocks for even minor infractions. Some children have been shocked thousands of times a day, and several children have died at the school.

This school was investigated by the New York State Education Department and here is the list Cory Doctrow put together of the findings:
* Staff shock kids for "nagging, swearing, and failing to maintain a neat appearance" and once threatened to shock a girl who sneezed and then asked for a tissue.
* Some students must "earn" meals by not displaying certain behaviors. Otherwise they are "made to throw a predetermined caloric portion of their food into the garbage."
* When students enter and leave the school each day, "almost all" are wearing some type of restraints, such as handcuffs or leg shackles.
* "Students may be restrained"--on a four-point restraint board or chair--"for extensive periods of time (e.g. hours or intermittently for days)."
* Some students are shocked while strapped to the restraint board.
* A "majority" of employees "serving as classroom teachers" are "not certified teachers."
* Rotenberg's marketing reps bestow presents on prospective families--"e.g. a gift bag for the family, basketball for the student."
* Although the center has described its shock device as "approved" by the fda in its promotional materials, it "has not been approved."
* The facility collects "comprehensive data" on behaviors it seeks to eliminate, but "there was no evidence of the collection of data on replacement or positive behaviors."
* The facility makes no assessment of the "possible collateral effects of punishment such as depression, anxiety, and/or social withdrawal."

What I want to know is - why aren't they in jail? If a parent did that to their child, they would most certainly be jailed for child abuse. How can a supposed school get away with it? What is wrong with our country?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Verbal Flogging?

Here's an idea that just might work:

For three hours during a townhall meeting last night, Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) “was verbally flogged by hundreds of his constituents for no longer supporting the quick withdrawal of troops from Iraq.” “There is only one way to end an illegal and immoral war, and that’s to end it,” said Zamme Joi. “You have screwed up, my friend. You have screwed up and you have to change course,” another constituent said. “We don’t care what your convictions are,” said Jan Lustig of Vancouver, “you are here to represent us.”

So, how do we pin Matheson down, and let him know that Utah Democrats want out of Iraq, and a lot of the Republicans do, too. I'd love to participate in giving him a verbal tongue lashing for making the wrong decision on that, and other issues such as Habeas Corpus.

Generation Obama Launch

Generation Obama Salt Lake City launched last Saturday, with about 25 people in attendance at the BBQ. Most of the faces were familiar, though we did meet a couple of new people. We all signed public supporter cards, so the campaign can use our names as endorsers. Here are most of the children who were in attendance:


Drake, Preston, Victoria and Autumn all made their own "Kids for Obama" t-shirts, and Chase wore the extra one I made. They all spent time designing and coloring their own Obama signs at the BBQ, too.


This shows most of the attendees, including Ivonna, the "Momma for Obama" who was featured in news reports during the sign-making for the Obama rally recently. Ivonna also arranged for us to have PA equipment for the BBQ, allowing everyone to hear Barack during the Generation Obama conference call, and to listen to music during the BBQ.


Maria and Kim sit near while Autumn and Chase work on their Obama signs.


I'm guessing they were watching Theo grill, hoping the food would hurry and get done!

This BBQ generated a lot of excitement, and great ideas, and also served as a good time to have an impromptu steering committee meeting. The purpose of Generation Obama, GO, is to get the younger generation involved in the campaign, and allow them to use their excitement and energy to help transform the nation. We will be having a fundraiser at a local club on September 14 or 15. Theo will be announcing the details, soon. Theo will also be organizing the contact information that we have, so that it can be better used by our group and for mobilizing voters for the primary on February 5.

A big "thanks" goes to Mark, Nikki, Theo, Ivonna, Strider and Jenee for helping put the event together, and set it up. We have an amazing group, and the Obama campaign even knows it, considering that Barack specifically pointed out that SLC was one of the limited number of cities who were invited to participate in the GO launch. 

I hope that anyone interested in being part of Generation Obama will join the group. You don't have to be "under 40", as long as you're young at heart! 

Monday, August 27, 2007

Amazing Qualifications for New Secretary of Homeland Security

So, CNN thinks Michael Chertoff is going to replace Alberto Gonzales. Mr. Chertoff happens to be the head of Homeland Security. So, who is going to get his job?

CNN Video is reporting that Clay Johnson III is the likely replacement.

Let's take a look at Mr. Johnson's qualifications, currently serving as the Deputy Budget Director.

Of course, he's a Bush Loyalist. Not that there would be any doubt among Americans, since Bush only appoints Loyalists. In case there is, though, the final proof is the George W Bush doll that he keeps on his desk.

In fact, Mr. Johnson is so loyal, that he's apparently been given the rare privilege of spanking the President's dog, Barney.

Bush has known Mr. Johnson since they were in prep school, and Mr. Johnson has served his country uhh, his state George W Bush in the past as his Gubernatorial Chief of Staff, in Texas.

In fact, King George chose Mr. Johnson for the Chief of Staff position because:
"I want someone whose primary interest is me - George Bush - and who doesn't hope to parlay this into something and isn't trying to curry favor with this one or that one," Bush told Johnson and his wife, Anne Sewell Johnson, over lunch.

Taking a look at Clay Johnson III's bio, I see nowhere that he's got an ounce of relevant experience, though. (I'm doing something rare and putting the whole thing here, assuming that it will likely change in the near future)
Clay Johnson III
Deputy Director for Management
Office of Management and Budget

Clay Johnson III

Clay Johnson is the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget. The Deputy Director for Management provides government-wide leadership to Executive Branch agencies to improve agency and program performance. Prior to this he was the Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel, responsible for the organization that identifies and recruits approximately 4000 senior officials, middle management personnel and part-time board and commission members.

From 1995 to 2000, Mr. Johnson worked with Governor George W. Bush in Austin, first as his Appointments Director, then as his Chief of Staff, and then as the Executive Director of the Bush-Cheney Transition.

Mr. Johnson has been the Chief Operating Officer for the Dallas Museum of Art and the President of the Horchow and Neiman Marcus Mail Order companies. He also has worked for Citicorp, Wilson Sporting Goods and Frito Lay.

He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and a Masters degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. In Austin, he helped create the Texas State History Museum, and was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas Graduate School of Business. In Dallas, he served as President of the Board of Trustees for St. Marks School of Texas, and as a Board Member of Equitable Bankshares, Goodwill Industries of Dallas, and the Dallas Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization.

So, that leaves me scratching my head, wondering how Johnson's Bush doll, experience spanking Barney and undying loyalty to Bush are going to protect our homeland?

(h/t Think Progress)

P.S. I wonder if the Bush doll looks like this?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Vietnamese Say Bush Was Wrong

We're all probably aware that Bush rejected the comparison of Iraq to Vietnam, more than once.

We're also probably aware that Bush recently compared Iraq to Vietnam.
"One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 'reeducation camps' and 'killing fields,' " Bush told a receptive audience at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention.

Beyond pointing out that "I was against it before I was before it", I was floored when I heard that statement. Just floored.

So, while Bush may no longer reject the comparison of Iraq and Vietnam, Vietnam definitely rejects it.
HANOI, Vietnam - President Bush touched a nerve among Vietnamese when he invoked the Vietnam War in a speech warning that death and chaos will envelop Iraq if U.S. troops leave too quickly.

People in Vietnam, where opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq is strong, said Thursday that Bush drew the wrong conclusions from the long, bloody Southeast Asian conflict.

"Doesn't he realize that if the U.S. had stayed in Vietnam longer, they would have killed more people?" said Vu Huy Trieu of Hanoi, a veteran of the communist forces that fought American troops in Vietnam. "Nobody regrets that the Vietnam War wasn't prolonged except Bush."

'nuff said.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

War Protest Next Tuesday

I'm hoping to make it, to this, and providing I don't have another meeting that I have tentatively scheduled, I will be. The protest is called "Stand up for Peace", and is going to be at Liberty Park, instead of downtown like most of them are.

Here is part of what the MoveOn email I got about it said (emphasis mine):
We learned yesterday that the White House and pro-war donors have put together a massive $15 MILLION media fund to keep the war going.1 It's an enormous ad buy—and it's aimed at stopping Republicans from breaking with the president now that it's clear that the surge has failed.

Now is the time to fight back. We don't have super-rich corporate donors to match a $15 million ad campaign—but we do have each other. There are millions of us around the country and we're getting together next Tuesday to tell Congress that the time to stand up to President Bush and redeploy our troops out of this unwinnable civil war in Iraq is NOW.

We're gathering at vigils all over the country to honor those who have given their lives in this war and tell Congress and the media that we can't afford another years worth of casualties. If enough of us show up we can counter the White House spin with real people and real voices.

The White House front group, "Freedom Watch" is running ads in more than 20 states and they're targeting mostly Republicans, but some Democrats too. They're trying to convince voters and members of Congress that the "surge" is working and that Congress should give Bush more time.

But the truth is time has run out on the White House policy in Iraq. The "surge" is a total failure. Consider these key facts:

* 2007 is already the bloodiest summer for American troops since the war began.2
* There has been little to no progress on the political benchmarks that the president said the "surge" would help accomplish.3
* 64 percent of conservative foreign policy experts say the escalation is having either a negative impact or no impact at all.4
* 7 out of 10 foreign policy experts support redeployment of US troops out of Iraq.5

This big ad blitz is happening now because this September is going to bring the biggest showdown on Iraq since the war began. The White House will try to convince Congress to let them continue their reckless policy in Iraq and if they succeed we could be in Iraq for another 10 years.6

We have to show up in force on Tuesday, before Congress returns to D.C. for the big September fight, and show them that voters want our troops out of the religious civil war in Iraq now—not in six months, not in a year, now.


1. "Democrats Refocus Message on Iraq After Military Gains," Washington Post, August 22, 2007

2. Iraq Index, Brookings Institution, August 20, 2007

3. Ibid

4. The Terrorism Index, Center for American Progress, August 20, 2007

5. Ibid

6. "Petraeus: Iraq 'Challenges' to Last for Years," Washington Post, June 18, 2007

Keep an Eye on 'Em!

Thanks to Widgetbox and Open Congress, I now have an easy way to keep an eye on what my representatives are doing.

Widgetbox allows you to submit the URL of any blog and create what's called a Blidget. Open Congress has a feed for all of the Senators and Representatives, so all I had to do was join Widgetbox, which I'd already done. Then click "Submit Blidget", and paste the RSS feed link from the representative's page on OpenCongress. Out came this:

I've made Blidgets for
Senator Bennett,
Senator Hatch, and
Representative Matheson, or you can create your own. You can see mine on the right side of this blog, if you scroll down a bit, and there's a link by each of them if you'd like to add them to your own blog.

If anyone wants to make one and needs more help, just let me know.

My President Will Be...

Russ Feingold, of the Progressive Patriots Fund, sent me an interesting video today. You can read the story behind it on the Progressive Patriots Fund web site.

One of the things I thought about as I read the signs was that I think almost anyone could agree that these are all qualities our next president should have. But our ideas of how each candidate matches up to them are very different.

I'm not really certain if anyone reads this blog, but if you do, post a comment and let me know how some of the descriptions apply to your choice of candidate, or if you're undecided, how they apply to one or two of your top choices.

And consider adding your own descriptions to the "My President" collection.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Two Years Ago

Two years ago:

THE PRESIDENT: You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of "we're going to stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.

Q What did Iraq have to do with that?

THE PRESIDENT: What did Iraq have to do with what?

Q The attack on the World Trade Center?

THE PRESIDENT: Nothing, except for it's part of -- and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a -- the lesson of September the 11th is, take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq. I have suggested, however, that resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill to achieve an objective. I have made that case.

Rudy was a Yankee, not a Rescue Worker after 9/11

Remember when Guiliani said this:
I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. ... I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them.

I think we all knew it was a BS claim, and here's the easy-to-understand truth:
What was he doing instead? Giuliani's beloved New York Yankees made it to the World Series in 2001. We decided to compare the time he spent on baseball to the time he spent at the ruins of the World Trade Center.

The results were, considering the mayor's long-standing devotion to the Bronx Bombers, unsurprising. By our count, Giuliani spent about 58 hours at Yankees games or flying to them in the 40 days between Sept. 25 and Nov. 4, roughly twice as long as he spent at ground zero in the 90 days between Sept. 17 and Dec. 16. By his own standard, Giuliani was one of the Yankees more than he was one of the rescue workers.

Just in case the numbers don't make sense, maybe Faux News has a few people confused, here's a handy-dandy little chart:

So, rather than the Hero of 9/11 that he'd have you believe, he's the #1 Fan of the Yankees.

Just think, if he becomes president, he can spend far less time flying to get to all those games since he'll be on Air Force 1!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Olbermann getting primetime NBC slot

I don't watch sports, in fact I pretty much hate watching any of them (with a few exceptions). However, I think I'll chance being subjected to a few minutes of football, in order to support Keith Olbermann's primetime run.
“Countdown With Keith Olbermann” the highly rated cable news program, will be shown on network television on Sunday before a preseason NBC football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since Mr. Olbermann, right, will have a regular role in NBC’s football coverage once the season begins — appearing as a co-host on the pregame show “Football Night in America” on Sundays — this weekend’s appearance of his cable show will give a wider audience a look at what he has been up for the last four years. “ ‘Countdown’ is rocketing right now over at MSNBC — its ratings are going through the roof,” said Phil Griffin, senior vice president of NBC News. (In July Mr. Olbermann’s show averaged 721,000 viewers, an increase of 88 percent over last July, according to MSNBC.) Mr. Griffin added, “The world has changed, and I think people have come in line with the smart, focused approach he has on the show.” No immediate plans for additional network appearances of “Countdown” have been made, but Mr. Griffen did not rule them out. “It may be the first of several times you see Olbermann on the network,” he said.

(via Think Progress)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Threat Can Be Overcome By Hope

This morning as I was cooking bacon, and had time to myself without the hustle and bustle of life, I wondered how I'd gotten to this point in my life. The point where I'm the Chair of this group, Utah for Obama, as well as Field Director for an area of Salt Lake for our county Democratic Party. Barely more than a year ago, my life seemed plenty full, between children, my boyfriend and work. How have I found the ability to add in the responsibility of helping out the county Democratic Party, as well as the one of leading a group dedicated to getting Barack Obama the Democratic Nomination this coming February?

More importantly, why am I doing this? It would be so much easier to throw myself into work, make some more money on the side to support my family and pursue my own interests, of reading, computers and living the good life. And it occurred to me that I felt threatened by our government. My children, and the life I'm living, are at risk because America chose poorly in the last two presidential elections.

Part of that risk is obvious - this pathetic war that our country is in. But, much of it is less obvious, and stands in the shadow of the war. Our government has taken away many of the freedoms and rights that I consider myself having been born to. Right now, I consider myself, and anyone else who disagrees with the administration, at risk of being hauled off in the night and disappearing to Guantanamo Bay, without true reason. I don't consider this a likely thing, by any means. But, given the current administration, and the abuse of our Constitution that I have seen, it is within the realm of possibility.

And so, it's not a matter of finding the time for these political activities. It's a matter of knowing I have this responsibility, a responsibility to my children and family and friends, to help in whatever way I'm able, to bring a change to our government. A change taking us back to the America we once were, with the Constitution we hold dear. While our government may never be totally trustworthy, we are able to elect leaders who are. And I believe Barack Obama is the only choice we have in the next election, if we are to have those things.

Yes, I agree with his stance on leaving Iraq, and focusing on where the terrorists really are. I agree with his idea that our foreign policy should begin as a diplomatic one, and that war is not the only way. I agree with his idea that every American has the right to healthcare, and his ideas of helping change the inner cities through fixing the problems and not the symptoms. I agree with so many of his views. But, the same could be said of other candidates. The difference is, they are not holding out the same hope for change. I can see in their body language, in their history, that their idea of change is to maybe get out of the Iraq War, but it is not to bring about the Change to Washington, or the Change to a better America.

The other candidates may offer relief from the worst parts of George W Bush's adminisration, but it goes no further. And I don't believe we have to settle for the least worst candidate, this time. We can have a president who cares about the America that we all love, and every one of the people in it. His decisions won't be party line, or influenced by a lobbyist who bought his vote. He will look at the bigger picture, and know that signing a bill that fixes one problem, and causes another, is not right. He won't give us Universal Healthcare by plunging us into further debt. He will give us Universal Healthcare by giving us the best solution and finding the best way of funding it. He won't pull out of Iraq and ignore the problems we leave behind. He will pull our troops out of Iraq while finding diplomatic ways of helping to fix the issues there. He will not do what he thinks is best for our country while lying to us. He will do what he thinks is best for our country, while trusting Americans with the truth.

And for those reasons, I believe that the threat of the Bush administration is only temporary. And I believe that I want and need to work to help other Americans, especially Utahns, to see the hope we have for our future.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jose Padilla Verdict: Guilty

Jose Padilla was convicted on all 3 charges today.

I'm unsure about whether this is good, or bad. Jose Padilla was held (and tortured) without trial at Guantanamo Bay. He is a US citizen. Black and white - that was wrong.

Now he's had a trail, though given the mental illness that came as a result of his extended stay at Gitmo, he was unable to competently assist in his own defense.

If the charges are true, and he really was the terrorist that they'd have us believe, the sentence is too short. However, I'm not sure I do believe the stories. For example, the fingerprints they say they have - were "normal" procedures followed, as they would be in a US crime case? There are a million ways that those fingerprints could have made it on the paper. Was the jury sufficiently convinced that there was no doubt that he put them on the paper, or were they a victim of our current "Terror Regime", and had so much prejudice against an accused terrorist that true evidence was unnecessary?

I think he's probably guilty of something, but given the facts surrounding his stay at Gitmo, I don't think Jose Padilla is still the guy in Jose Padilla's body, and his guilt, or lack thereof, nor his punishment, matter much to him. But, it does to me. I'm a US citizen, and I just watched our president trample on our constitution.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Gitmo to Stay Open as Human Rights Sanctuary

From Derek, of Brilliant at Breakfast:
Spit take-inducing headline of the day

Put down that cup of coffee, unless you like a mess. Courtesy of TPM Muckraker:

Gitmo to Stay Open as Human Rights Sanctuary

Turns out it's more than just a catchy headline. The story is that the good ol' Bush administration wants to slim down the prisoner headcount at Gitmo from the current 360 to 150. So good news for 210 wrongfully-imprisoned and even-more-wrongfully tortured detainees? Actually, no. We've still got one more level of wrongful to go: there's nowhere to drop them off. Their home countries and all of the possible foster-home states that have been asked either won't take them, or won't take them without promising not to torture or kill them. So they get to stay in Guantánamo, where their human rights will be, uh, protected.

It only gets more absurd from there. Read on.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Look at Republicans

Rudy, the Idiot
"Freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

Romney, the Incompetent
As former governor of Massachusetts, you'd think Mitt Romney might know how many counties there are in the state.
At the Wilton Candy Kitchen, which says it is the "oldest ice cream parlor/soda fountain in the world," Romney told an adoring crowd of mostly elderly residents that his son Josh was about to complete a tour of all 99 counties in Iowa.

A woman raised her hand. "Yes, please!" Romney said.

"How many counties are in Massachusetts?" she asked.

"Thirteen," he said. A few feet away, an aide shook his head and said, "Ten."

"Oh, no, I think it's 13," Romney said. "Not like your 99."

He paused for a moment. "Yeah, if you count Dukes County ... " he trailed off. "So, anyway, we have very, very few."

"Ninety-nine counties," Romney said, apparently hoping to change the subject, "Why didn't you get to 100?"

The crowd laughed good-naturedly.

A spokesman for Romney said he shortly thereafter, "corrected the record" to the right number of 14.

McCain, the Loser
McCain's support has collapsed in Iowa. His support among registered Republicans dropped from 14.4 percent in March to 1.8 percent in July-August. UI political scientists note that McCain has been passed in popularity not only by former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., who earned 5.2 percent support, but also by a Democratic challenger, Obama, who is supported by 6.7 percent of Republicans. No other candidate received more than 3 percent support.

It's just really, really sad.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

AFL-CIO Debate

I have to admit, I haven't gotten to watch the debate yet, but if the rest of it went as well as the Pakistan discussion did, it is clear that Senator Obama won. Crooks and Liars has video that truly is "must see".

The most heated moments from tonight's AFL-CIO forum came when the topic turned to Senator Barack Obama and his claim for the last debate that he would invade Pakistan to fight terrorism, even without permission from President Pervez Musharraf. Senator Chris Dodd was asked about his critical response to Obama's statements and reiterates his criticism and things get going from there. Obama stands his ground and jabs Dodd and Clinton for voting for the invasion of Iraq, then turning around and attacking him "for making sure we are on the right battlefield, and not the wrong battlefield in the war against terrorism," which drew huge applause from the audience.


Senator Clinton once again attacked Obama on this issue which didn't go over well with the crowd…

I'd love to know what you think of the debate. Please write your thoughts in the comments, or post links to video clips or to your own blogs.

P.S. I think it's entirely possible that Hillary was guided by Our Lord to say exactly what she meant just this once. :)

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Senator's Visit (Update 1 w/ Video)

Sunday's "Roadside Rally" that Utah for Obama put together was amazing! I only helped a little with the planning, since I had out of state relatives visiting. Nikki Norton headed up the effort, and it really paid off!

We found out Friday that the Senator was going to stop and give a speech (which I'll blog about separately soon), and we couldn't tell anyone until the press was notified on Saturday evening. It was very hard to keep my mouth shut and not tell the whole world! We had expected around 50 - 100 people to show up, and it turns out that we had over 1,000, according to Secret Service estimates.

The next three pictures (taken by climbing some stairs attached to the Visitor's Center) will give you an idea of how many people attended. They were taken about 30 minutes before the Senator arrived, according to the timestamp.
Far left side of the crowd.
Center part of the crowd. By the time Barack Obama arrived, there was not an empty spot on that hill, as you can see in later photos.
Far right side of the crowd.

Strider had the privilege of introducing Senator Obama when he arrived.

Strider also had his shirt signed, later.

During his speech, Senator Obama had people pretty much on every side, so he turned a lot, in order to speak to the whole crowd.

We had a couple of people take photos for us of the Senator with (mostly) just Utah for Obama Steering Committee members. Mark Rothacher was missing from this one, unfortunately.

I thought Gail might pass out from excitement!

Here's some video taken by Adam Forgie

(h/t Aramis of Wasatch Watcher)

Here are the news articles, blogs and other people's photos that I know of covering the event. If anyone knows of more, please let me know!

Official Campaign Blog

Mike Place's photos

Salt Lake Tribune and more Salt Lake Tribune.

Photos taken by our group (still growing)

ABC 4 News

Deseret Morning News


Photos of the sign-making party on Yahoo!

Chicago Sun Times

I will update these links as more become available.

Why me?, or AT&T Insurance is a fraud

My Cingular 8125 PDA phone got dropped and the display is broken. A mild inconvenience, but at least I have phone insurance, right? For only $5 per month, and a $50 deductible, they'll overnight me a new phone when something like this happens. I should be back to my mobile self by Tuesday!

Yeah, right.

So, I call, and go through what had to be engineered as the world's most complicated voice system, where they actually try to trick you into pressing the wrong buttons. I have to answer all sorts of questions via button, before I finally get a live human. He begins processing my claim, and cheerfully tells me I'm on to the next step, where I get to speak with a "specialist". I get to go through a very similar voice prompt system, with slightly different questions, and I'm back to another live human.

Except the voice prompt just told me I needed to provide a blood sample and prove maternity of my firstborn child.

Ok, I can do that. They'll still be sending my phone out today, and I'll be ok for tomorrow.


No, I have to print out this Sworn Affidavit and Proof of Loss Statement, fill it out, get it notarized, find a page from my last billing statement (which I toss every time, wishing they'd just go paperless) and give them a copy of my photo ID.

They'll send the phone as soon as they get this stuff, right?

Ummm, nope.

They'll have someone contact me 1 - 3 business days after they receive the papers, who will then let me know the status of the claim.

I'm just guessing here - but I have this feeling that the phone call will be to inform me that the claim is pending, and it will be weeks before I have a phone. In the meantime, I don't even use a home phone. What in the hell am I supposed to do in the meantime?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Standing up to Bill O'Reilly

I blogged yesterday about Chris Dodd standing up to BillO. I got an email from the Dodd campaign today, and I thought I'd share it here.

Dear Misty,

Support the Netroots, Stand up to Bill O'Reilly - Stand with Senator Dodd in support of Yearly Kos, the netroots community and against Bill O'Reilly's unfair attacks - Click to Watch the VideoBefore I leave for the YearlyKos convention and candidate forum in Chicago, I wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for your support, encouragement and enthusiasm over the past few days.

As many of you know, I decided to go on Bill O'Reilly's show and confront him on his unfair attacks against the netroots.

Here's the video:

Mr. O'Reilly ought to be honest with his viewers. His problem isn't with a micro-sample of comments on DailyKos or any other blog, it's with our progressive principles and bold leadership on the most important issues of the day.

His problem is with our desire to begin bringing troops home from

It's about our respect of the Constitution and the rule of law.

It's about acknowledging global warming and climate change are grave threats to our planet.

These are issues that I've led on throughout this campaign, and I hope as we get a chance to continue this discussion you'll help spread the word about them.

Until then, here is the video of my appearance on the "O'Reilly Factor" last night.

Take a look, forward it to your friends, and let's make it the most watched video on YouTube today.

Thanks again for all of your support over the last days, weeks, and months.

On to Chicago,

Chris Dodd

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Proud of Dodd!

I've seen a lot of people try to smack down the hatred that is Bill O'Reilly, but I've never seen anything this successful! Not only that, but he gets BillO to recommend that every viewer go there and make up their own mind. Mind blowing stuff!

I gotta tell you, even though I don't think Dodd has a snowball's chance of winning the primary, I'm damn sure glad to see a good guy like him running.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

See Barack!

Barack Obama will be in Park City for a private fundraiser this coming Sunday, August 5. The fundraiser has a $500 minimum donation to attend. If you are interested in attending, contact Mark Gilbert. His cell is 561-350-5030, or home 435-940-9430.

Utah for Obama is holding a roadside rally to greet Barack as he travels to the fundraiser. Check out the information on that here.

After he leaves Park City, Barack will be in Elko, NV at 5 PM. Krish is the Nevada Border State Director for the Obama campaign, and has posted information about the event here, for anyone interested in hearing him speak.

These are exciting times in politics here in Utah. Besides Barack's first visit this weekend, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd have already been here. Our local news has had a lot of coverage about Democratic candidates, as well as covering the Utah for Obama group. People all across our state are paying attention to all of the candidates, and the Democratic Party is making a comeback here in Utah.

Mexican Wal-Mart Exploits Teen Labor (Updated)

There's a new Newsweek article about how Wal-Mart in Mexico, like many other retailers, employs teenage (14-16 years old) labor for bagging, but pays them nothing at all. They work for tips.
Wal-Mart is Mexico’s largest private-sector employer in the nation today, with nearly 150,000 local residents on its payroll. An additional 19,000 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 16 work after school in hundreds of Wal-Mart stores, mostly as grocery baggers, throughout Mexico—and none of them receives a red cent in wages or fringe benefits. The company doesn’t try to conceal this practice: its 62 Superama supermarkets display blue signs with white letters that tell shoppers: OUR VOLUNTEER PACKERS COLLECT NO SALARY, ONLY THE GRATUITY THAT YOU GIVE THEM. SUPERAMA THANKS YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING. The use of unsalaried youths is legal in Mexico because the kids are said to be “volunteering” their services to Wal-Mart and are therefore not subject to the requirements and regulations that would otherwise apply under the country’s labor laws. But some officials south of the U.S. border nonetheless view the practice as regrettable, if not downright exploitative. “These kids should receive a salary,” says Labor Undersecretary Patricia Espinosa Torres. “If you ask me, I don’t think these kids should be working, but there are cultural and social circumstances [in Mexico] rooted in poverty and scarcity.”

In a country where nearly half of the population scrapes by on less than $4 a day, any income source is welcome in millions of households, even if it hinges on the goodwill of a tipping customer. And Wal-Mart did not invent the bagger program that, as a written statement from the company notes, pre-dates the firm’s arrival in Mexico, nor is it alone within the country’s retail sector in benefiting from the toil of unpaid adolescents. But in Mexico City, for example, the 4,300 teenagers who work in Wal-Mart’s retail stores free of charge dwarf similar numbers laboring unpaid for Mexican competitors like Comercial Mexicana (715) and Gigante (427). Although Wal-Mart’s worldwide code of ethics expressly forbids any “associate” from working without compensation, the company’s Mexican subsidiary asserts that the grocery baggers “cannot be considered workers.” The Mexico City government’s top labor official dismisses that contention as so much corporate hogwash. “To my mind, that is not an accurate description because the bagger is providing a service on the store’s premises that benefits the company by serving the customer better,” argues Federal District Labor Secretary Benito Mirón Lince. “In economic terms, Wal-Mart does have the capability to pay the minimum wage [of less than $5 a day], and this represents an injustice.”

Read the whole article here.

This is just one more reason that I'm glad I've stopped shopping at Wal-Mart.

UPDATE: Well, that's one reason, here's another: