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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Election Day 2008: News, Information and Analysis on the Presidential Race

This blog has moved. Now posting here.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Larger Shame

From Nicholas Kristof's piece in today's New York Times:

"If it's shameful that we have bloated corpses on New Orleans streets, it's even more disgraceful that the infant mortality rate in America's capital is twice as high as in China's capital. That's right - the number of babies who died before their first birthdays amounted to 11.5 per thousand live births in 2002 in Washington, compared with 4.6 in Beijing.

Indeed, according to the United Nations Development Program, an African-American baby in Washington has less chance of surviving its first year than a baby born in urban parts of the state of Kerala in India.

The national infant mortality rate has risen under Mr. Bush for the first time since 1958. The U.S. ranks 43rd in the world in infant mortality, according to the C.I.A.'s World Factbook; if we could reach the level of Singapore, ranked No. 1, we would save 18,900 children's lives each year.

So in some ways the poor children evacuated from New Orleans are the lucky ones because they may now get checkups and vaccinations. But nationally, 29 percent of children had no health insurance at some point in the last 12 months, and many get neither checkups nor vaccinations."

Full column here.

Monday, September 05, 2005

It was forewarned

"No one thought the levees would break"-George W. Bush

"The administration of President George W. Bush cut the 27.1 million-dollar budget requested by the Corps of Engineers for improving the levees in 2005 by more than 80 percent to 3.9 million, although Congress finally raised the grant to 5.7 million, compare to 10 million in 2001."-AFP news report

In 2002, the New Orleans newspaper reported (in eery detail) exactly what could happen if the levees broke:
Washing Away (five-part series published June 23-27 2002)

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hurricane Relief

Detailed information about how to assist (donate/volunteer/etc.) victims of Hurrican Katrina can be found on Craig's List.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Poverty rate on the increase

From the New York Times:

Even as the economy grew, incomes stagnated last year and the poverty rate rose, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. It was the first time on record that household incomes failed to increase for five straight years.

The portion of Americans without health insurance remained roughly steady at 16 percent, the bureau said...

Median pretax income, $44,389, was at its lowest point since 1997, after inflation.

Though the reasons are not wholly clear, economists say technology and global trade appear to be holding down pay for many workers. The rising cost of health care benefits has also eaten into pay increases.

Full story here.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

John Kerry concludes his battle on behalf of Americans with grace

From John Kerry's address at Fanueil Hall:

"I promise you, that time will come. The time will come, the election will come when your work and your ballots will change the world, and it's worth fighting for.

I want to especially say to the American people in this journey, you have given me honor and the gift of listening and learning from you. I have visited your homes. I have visited your churches. I've visited your union halls. I've heard your stories, I know your struggles, I know your hopes. They're part of me now, and I will never forget you, and I'll never stop fighting for you.

You may not understand completely in what ways, but it is true when I say to you that you have taught me and you've tested me and you've lifted me up, and you made me stronger, I did my best to express my vision and my hopes for America. We worked hard, and we fought hard, and I wish that things had turned out a little differently.

But in an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans. And that -- that is the greatest privilege and the most remarkable good fortune that can come to us on earth.

With that gift also comes obligation. We are required now to work together for the good of our country. In the days ahead, we must find common cause. We must join in common effort without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor. America is in need of unity and longing for a larger measure of compassion.

I hope President Bush will advance those values in the coming years. I pledge to do my part to try to bridge the partisan divide. I know this is a difficult time for my supporters, but I ask them, all of you, to join me in doing that.

Now, more than ever, with our soldiers in harm's way, we must stand together and succeed in Iraq and win the war on terror. I will also do everything in my power to ensure that my party, a proud Democratic Party, stands true to our best hopes and ideals.

I believe that what we started in this campaign will not end here. And I know our fight goes on to put America back to work and make our economy a great engine of job growth. Our fight goes on to make affordable health care an accessible right for all Americans, not a privilege. Our fight goes on to protect the environment, to achieve equality, to push the frontiers of science and discovery, and to restore America's reputation in the world. I believe that all of this will happen -- and sooner than we may think -- because we're America. And America always moves forward."


The end of this election also means the end of this blog. But I encourage people to remain vigilant and active. The fight for liberty and social justice is just as vital now as it ever was. The most important battles are not the high profile ones, but the ones which are done in the trenches. GET INVOLVED.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Oil prices shoot up in anticipation of Bush victory

Reuters reports:

"Oil prices spiked up above $50 a barrel on Wednesday as signs of an electoral victory for President Bush raised the prospect of continued high U.S. demand and Middle East supply anxiety.

Some U.S. tallies showed Bush just one electoral vote away from reelection, helping to reverse a slide in prices this week on speculation that a win by Democrat Senator John Kerry could usher new energy policies leading to lower prices...

'A Bush administration continued in its present form would have a Department of Energy that is extremely fossil fuel-centric and, because of the focus on fossil fuels, we would expect prices to rise,' said economist Jason Schenker at Wachovia Securities."

Monday, November 01, 2004

Daily Outrage

"The trickery also extends to Florida, where Republicans are running newspaper ads and distrubuting fliers placing Kerry's picture next to Yasser Arafat in an attempt to convince Jewish voters that Kerry supports the ailing Palestinian leader. On Sunday morning stickers reading 'Arafat endorses' appeared on Kerry- Edwards signs in heavily Jewish Miami Beach, though it's not clear who put them up. Kerry has a 100 percent lifetime pro-Israel approval rating from AIPAC and his website calls Arafat 'a failed leader unfit to be a partner for peace.'

These tactics aren't new. In 2002, Republican Saxby Chambliss defeated incumbent Democratic Georgia Senator Max Cleland on the strength of an ad flashing pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden before Cleland while questioning the war hero's "courage to lead" because of his procedural votes against the creation of a Department of Homeland Security. Cleland--who lost three limbs in Vietnam--supported a Democratic version that, unlike the Republican bill cited in the ad, included normal labor protection provisions for its workers."

-Ari Berman, "Misleading By Mail"


"I was all set to vote for George Bush even after finding out that he wouldn't let me marry Mary Cheney if I wanted to. And when he made the pronunciation of "Lambeau Field" a campaign issue? It seemed fair. After all, he's proved that not knowing the names of foreign leaders is much less important than correctly pronouncing the homes of popular sports teams. Of course, he totally sold me with the debates: any man who explains a mystery bulge as bad tailoring is more than confident enough to take on the Euroweenies. But in the end, with the fate of the free world at stake and all, I've got to go with the guy who would admit that sending thousands of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians to their deaths to protect us from imaginary weapons was, in fact, a mistake."

- Ana Marie Cox, aka "Wonkette"

The Choice Is Yours

Photo courtesy of Reuters

John Kerry made the following remarks Friday:

"In Iraq, every day, every headline, has brought fresh evidence that our Commander-in-Chief doesn’t see what’s happening -- isn’t leveling with the American people about why we went to war in Iraq…how the war is going – and has no idea how to put our policy back on track.  His mistakes and misjudgments have hurt our troops, driven away allies, diverted our focus from Osama bin Laden and the real war on terror. 

At home, George Bush looks at lost jobs, falling wages, and rising costs and tells struggling middle-class families that everything’s just fine.  That’s because for the powerful and well-connected friends he’s spent the last four years fighting for, it really is the best economy of their lifetime.  And now he’s asking us to give him another four years so that he can keep giving them more of the same. 

This is George Bush’s record.  But it doesn’t have to be our future...

When I’m President, I will bring other nations to our side and train Iraqis so that we can succeed and bring our troops home. As president, I will fight a tougher, smarter, more effective war on terror.  We will hunt down, capture, and kill the terrorists wherever they are. I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president.

But I believe we need a president who can do more than one thing at a time. 

America has always been driven by a powerful idea:  that with hard work and good values, we can give our children a better life.  Our economy, our society is built on that basic bargain:  Everyone who works hard and does right should have the chance to get ahead.

Not long ago, that middle-class dream was within reach of all those willing to work for it.  But this President walked away from our basic bargain – and today, America’s great middle class is in danger because this President doesn’t share your values.

With almost every choice he’s made, George Bush has given more to those who have the most at the expense of middle-class families who are working hard to get ahead. 

Jobs get shipped overseas, but the companies who send them there get tax breaks.

Today, America is replacing high-paying, middle-class jobs with temporary and part-time jobs that don’t pay enough to make ends meet.  But big corporations keep getting higher profits and larger tax breaks. 

The middle-class is paying a larger share of the tax burden, but the wealthiest individuals making an average of $1.2 million are getting $89 billion in tax cuts.

American families are earning less but paying more.

Health care’s up 64 percent.  College tuition’s up 46 percent.  Medicare premiums are up 56 percent.  5 million more Americans don’t health care.  220,000 students couldn’t afford college last year.  But George Bush thought it was a good idea to give Enron a $254 million tax break, the big drug companies $139 billion in windfall profits, and Halliburton a $7 billion no-bid contract.  You know, as Ronald Reagan used say, facts are stubborn things.

This is George Bush’s record, but it doesn’t have to be our future.  On Tuesday, we have the opportunity to make sure the American Dream touches every American heart.  We can bring back good-paying jobs for middle-class families so that they don’t just get by – they get ahead.  We can bring down the cost of health care and child care and tuition so that you can pay the bills and give your children the same chance at life that your parents gave you. 

This can be our future.

But first we must choose.

It’s a choice between four more years of George Bush’s policy to ship jobs overseas and give tax breaks to the companies that do it -- or a President who will reward the companies that create and keep good jobs here in the United States of America. 

You can choose a fresh start.  And when I’m President, that’s what you’ll get.

On Tuesday, you’ll face a choice between four more years of George Bush’s giveaways to the big drug companies and the big HMOs -- or a President who will finally make health care a right, and not a privilege, for every American.

You can choose a fresh start...

On Tuesday, America faces a choice between four more years of an energy policy for big oil, of big oil, and by big oil -- or a President who finally makes America independent of Mideast oil in ten years.  A choice between George Bush’s policy that just yesterday showed record profits for oil companies and record gas prices for American consumers.  I believe that America should rely on our own ingenuity and innovation, not the Saudi Royal family. 

You can choose a fresh start.  And when I’m President, that’s what you’ll get.

I believe that the only way to do this is by coming together as One America.  It is time for America to put the politics of polarization behind us.  It is time to appeal to the best instincts of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike. It is time again for America to honor the truth that what unites us is stronger than what divides us.  It is time for America to renew the faith that there is something for everyone single one of us to do – and challenges each of us to try. 

My fellow Americans, running for president has been a privilege and a gift.   Over two years and more, I have traveled into the communities, the homes, and the town squares of America.  I have seen heartache, but I have also seen hope.  I have been told stories of struggle, but in those voices there is also a sense of optimism.  The people I have met understand how hard the last four years have been, but they know in their hearts that if we believe in ourselves, America’s best days are ahead of us.  

Our choice could not be clearer.  And the stakes could not be higher."

LA Times: "A Failed Presidency"

Joining most of the major newspapers in the country, the Los Angeles Times endorsed John Kerry.

The staff writes:

"If elections were solely a job performance review, President George W. Bush would lose in a landslide. He has been a reckless steward of the nation's finances and its environment, a divisive figure at home and abroad. It's fair to say that Bush has devalued the American brand in the global marketplace.

What keeps this a close race is voter discomfort with Sen. John F. Kerry and the success of Republicans in stoking concerns about Kerry's fitness for office. But the thrust of the Bush campaign message — essentially, you are stuck with me in this frightful time because the other guy is too unreliable — is a tacit acknowledgment that he can't allow the election to be a referendum on his record...

Try to imagine Franklin D. Roosevelt being so disdainful of government while trying to rally the nation during World War II. It wouldn't have worked. Nor would it have worked if he had starved the Treasury of the resources needed to accomplish the mission. That is what Bush has done with his reckless tax cuts and unabated domestic spending.

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the White House initially opposed the move to federalize airport security. Bush was also against creating the Department of Homeland Security, until he realized he was going to lose that fight too. Often forgotten, these were revealing moments...

The Bush years have been a Vegas-style all-you-can-eat buffet for special and not-so-special interests. He is the first president in more than a century not to veto a single piece of legislation, and in the ensuing anything-goes environment, even recent legislation meant to end export subsidies declared illegal by the World Trade Organization somehow degenerated into a $140-billion corporate welfare program."

Full story here.