Webmaster Search Engine

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why the Plagiarism card is a bad one for Hillary

Sometimes I have to wonder if Howard Wolfson is actually an undercover Obama supporter. Because the things he chooses to fight for are constantly re-affirming the widely held belief that Hillary is petty and negative.

Take this 'plagiarism-gate' for example. The Clinton campaign attacks Obama for borrowing from Patrick's speech. Of course they know internally that this is done all the time in politics. It's somewhat akin to making a pop song- there are only so many melodies that sound pleasing, and after that it's kind of all re-hash. So somebody at the Clinton camp thought they could get some headlines out there about Obama not really being the master orator that the world believes he is. So stupid.

By focusing on Obama's speech, the Clinton campaign just gave Obama millions of views of free advertising. It was a key point of Obama's that he was making in the clip- that words are inspirational, motivating, and in fact can bring about change. As I read a transcript of the Clinton confernece call about this subject in disbelief, I was struck not as much by the fact that Obama used Deval Patrick's words, but that Clinton would now pretend that words do matter. Well, you can't have it both ways.

Either words DO matter, regardless of who says them, and they can bring about change... or they don't do much to bring about actual change, as she originally stated. But with this mismanaged political stunt the Clinton camp reaffirmed Obama's point that words do matter. And people will walk away with the words he was saying, not where he got the words from.

This points out a central problem that has existed during this whole campaign for Hillary. Her people do not understand what it is that people don't like about her. And they don't understand what it is that people do like about Obama.

Obama came out quickly and said, basically, 'yeah, I probably should have given Deval the credit, but it's no big deal. Oh and by the way, Hillary uses my words too.' So, the story is dismissed instantly by Obama as petty, the tables are turned, and he comes out remaining above the fray.

For fun, check out Hillary's blatant plagiarism of Obama before the Iowa caucus: Clinton Plagiarises Obama

And on a personal note, give me inspirational borrowed rhetoric before uninspired originality any day of the week.

Original here

Say What You Will (Requiem for a TV News Career)

Maybe this was always the way it had to be.

When I was 19, I broke into the offices of WVUM -- the radio station at the University of Miami -- live, during an installment of my weekly radio show. I raided a file cabinet and my crew and I proceeded to read the minutes of that week's executive board meeting on the air, paying special attention to a recurring topic of conversation among my apparently exasperated supervisors -- a series of incidents which, collectively, were referred to as "The Chez Situation."

The board as a whole was less-than-pleased with, for example, my insistence on jokingly pointing out to my audience the fact that WVUM's faculty adviser seemed to be waging and winning a valiant war against sobriety, and as such deserved congratulations all-around. There was also my insinuation that one of the station's sponsors, a club which had just opened on South Beach, would likely be closed in two weeks then renamed and reopened two weeks later. (In fact, it took about a month to close.)

I regularly ignored the program director's God-awful musical "suggestions," choosing instead to play whatever I felt like hearing.

I ridiculed the University's decision to replace the garbage cans on campus with new, attractive, and extraordinarily expensive stone receptacles immediately after making an announcement that tuition for the coming year would be skyrocketing.

I poked fun at the frat boys.

I advocated mischievous insurrection.

I occasionally threw out a few low-level swear words on-air.

I was kind of a punk kid, and I admit it.

Yet, despite the all of this, I remained on the air simply because even though my superiors may have been irritated by the fallout from my juvenile antics, they usually found the antics themselves eminently entertaining. I was good at what I did; I had a voice and I wasn't the least bit afraid to use it, consequences be damned -- or not considered at all. Being exactly who I was, for whatever reason, seemed to be more important to me than any other consideration.

When I got into television, I did my best to bury my inner-revolutionary. For 16 years I've been a successful producer and manager of TV news, cranking out creative, occasionally daring content on good days and solid, no-frills material on the days in between. I've won several awards and for the most part can say that I'm proud of what I've done in the business, particularly since I never intended to get into it in the first place; by the time college was over, I was playing steadily in a band and fully believed sleeping on floors and subsisting on beer and Taco Bell to be an entirely noble endeavor. I wound up working at WSVN in Miami only after the band imploded, taking my dreams of rock n' roll glory with it. Since those earliest days, I've come to understand that the libertine, pirate ship mentality I found so seductive during my time in a rock band is pretty much a staple of most newsrooms, particularly at the local level. What's more, it's accompanied by a slightly better paycheck (although often only slightly).

Over the past several years though, something has changed. Drastically. And I'm not sure whether it's me, or television news, or both.

With the exception of the period immediately following 9/11, which saw the best characteristics of television journalism shocked back into focus and the passion of even the most jaded and cynical of its practitioners return like a shot of adrenaline to the heart, the profession I once loved and felt honored to be a part of has lost its way.

I say this with the knowledge of implied complicity: I continued to draw a salary from stations at the local level and national networks long after I had noticed an unsettling trend in which real news was being regularly abandoned in favor of, well, crap. I may not have drank the Kool-aid, but I did take the money. I may have been uncomfortable with a lot of what I was putting on the air, but I was comfortable in the life that it provided me. I just figured, screw it, most people don't like their jobs; shut up and do what you're told, or at least try to. Besides, I told myself, what the hell else do you know how to do?

That attitude began to change in April of 2006 -- when I found out that I had a tumor the size of a pinball inside my head.

I was working for CNN at the time, a job I had been proud to accept three years earlier as CNN was in my mind the gold-standard of television journalism. I readily admit that it was Time-Warner's medical plan that provided me the best care possible for the removal of the tumor and during my subsequent recovery, but following my operation, what had been clawing at my insides for years finally began to come to the surface. TV news wasn't the least bit fulfilling anymore, and I either needed to get out of it once and for all or find an outlet for my nascent iconoclastic tendencies.

So I started a blog.

I did it mostly to pass the time, hone my writing skills, resurrect my voice a little, and keep my mind sharp following the surgery. As is the case with many online journals, not a soul other than myself and a few close friends and family were even aware of what I was doing, much less read my stuff regularly. I thought nothing of returning to work at the end of my medical leave while continuing to write online. Really, who the hell knew who I was? Who cared what I had to say?

As it would turn out, over time, more than a few people.

My admittedly worthless opinions on pop culture, politics, the media and my personal past were quickly linked by sites like Fark, Gawker and Pajiba and I found my readership growing exponentially. During this time, I still didn't consider telling my superiors at CNN what I was doing on the side, simply because, having never been provided with an employee handbook, I hadn't seen a pertinent rule and never signed any agreement stipulating that I wouldn't write on my own time. I hadn't divulged my place of work and wasn't writing about what went on at the office. The views expressed on my blog, Deus Ex Malcontent, were mine and mine alone. I represented no one but myself, and I didn't make a dime doing it.

For 20 months after starting DXM, I continued to work as a producer on American Morning, one of many charged with putting together the show. During that time, I received consistently favorable reviews (while in Atlanta I was told that I was well on my way to becoming an executive producer) and, more importantly, neither my credibility nor objectivity was ever called into question. Like anyone who considers him or herself a respectable news professional, whatever my personal opinions were, they were checked at the door when I walked into work. Having grown up in a household in which the highest ideals of journalism were never more than a conversation away -- my father was an old-school investigative reporter -- I knew full well that you couldn't avoid having opinions and viewpoints, but you never let them get in the way of your journalistic responsibility

As far as CNN knew, I was a valued employee, albeit one with almost no say in the day-to-day editorial decisions on American Morning. This held true even as I began contributing columns to the Huffington Post, giving my writing more exposure than ever before.

Then, last Monday afternoon, I got a call from my boss, Ed Litvak.

Ed, seeming to channel Bill Lumburgh from Office Space, informed me of that which I was already very well aware: that my name was "attached to some, uh, 'opinionated' blog posts" circulating around the internet. I casually admitted as much and was then informed of something I didn't know: that I could be fired outright for this offense. 24 hours later, I was. During my final conversation with Ed Litvak and a representative from HR, they hammered home a single line in the CNN employee handbook which states that any writing done for a "non-CNN outlet" must be run through the network's standards and practices department. They asked if I had seen this decree. As a matter of fact I had, but only about a month previously, when I stumbled across a copy of that handbook on someone's desk and thumbed through it. I let them know exactly what I had thought when I read the rule, namely that it was staggeringly vague and couldn't possibly apply to something as innocuous as a blog. (I didn't realize until later that CNN had canned a 29-year-old intern for having the temerity to write about her work experiences -- her positive work experiences -- in a password-protected online journal a year earlier.) I told both my boss and HR representative that a network which prides itself on being so internet savvy -- or promotes itself as such, ad nauseam -- should probably specify blogging and online networking restrictions in its handbook. I said that they can't possibly expect CNN employees, en masse, to not engage in something as popular and timely as blogging if they don't make themselves perfectly clear.

My HR rep's response: "Well, as far as we know, you're the only CNN employee who's blogging under his own name."

It took self-control I didn't know I had to keep from laughing, considering that I could name five people off the top of my head who blogged without hiding their identities.

Uh-huh, as far as you know.

When I asked, just out of curiosity, who came across my blog and/or the columns in the Huffington Post, the woman from HR answered, "We have people within the company whose job is specifically to research this kind of thing in regard to employees."

Jesus, we have a Gestapo?

A few minutes later, I was off the phone and out of a job. No severance. No warning (which would've been a much smarter proposition for CNN as it would've put the ball effectively in my court and forced me to decide between my job or the blog). No nothing. Just, go away.

Right before I hung up, I asked for the "official grounds" for my dismissal, figuring the information might be important later. At first they repeated the line about not writing anything outside of CNN without permission, but HR then made a surprising comment: "It's also, you know, the nature of what you've been writing."

And right there I knew that CNN's concern wasn't so much that I had been writing as what I'd been writing. Whether a respected and loyal CNN producer of four years, like myself, could've gotten off with a warning had I chosen to write about, say, my favorite pasta sauce recipes, who knows. I'm dead sure though that my superiors never concerned themselves with my ability or inability to remain objective at work, given my strong opinions; they worried only about an appearance of bias (specifically, a liberal bias), and apparently they worried about it more than any potential fallout from firing a popular blogger with an audience that was already large and was sure to grow much larger when news of his firing put him in the national spotlight.

It's probably right about now that I should make something perfectly clear: I'm not naive -- I always understood that CNN, like any big company, might be apt to fire whoever it damn well pleases so long as the law remains intact at the end of the day.

Should they have fired me though?

Probably not, and only arrogant myopia would make them think otherwise.

As soon as the official word came down, I picked up the phone and called a friend of mine named Jacki Schechner. CNN junkies will recognize her as a former internet reporter for the network, one who pulled double-duty on American Morning and The Situation Room -- that is until the day she was taken out into the figurative woods without any warning and given the Old Yeller treatment. CNN's willingness to fire someone like Jacki tells you everything you need to know about how backward the network's thinking is when it comes to new media. It pays more lip-service to bloggers and their internet realm than any other mainstream media outlet, but in the end that's really all it is -- lip-service. Jacki was not only popular in internet circles, she had forged personal relationships with most of the big names in the blogosphere and knew her stuff inside and out. Inevitably though, CNN -- particularly American Morning -- chose to wear down and ultimately piss away this asset in favor of an on-air acquisition that fell right in line with the tried-and-true "TV" sententia: Veronica De La Cruz. The network never considered for a minute that new media might behave differently than television -- that the regular rules might not apply.

And that's the problem.

As far as CNN (and to be fair, the mainstream TV press in general) believes, it still sits comfortably at the top of the food chain, unthreatened by any possibility of a major paradigm shift being brought to bear by a horde of little people with laptops and opinions. Although the big networks recognize the need to appeal to bloggers, they don't fear them -- and that means that they don't respect them. Corporate-think dictates that the mainstream television press as a monstrous multi-headed hydra is the ultimate news authority and therefore is in possession of the one and only hotline to the ghosts of Murrow and Sevareid. Sure those bloggers are entertaining, but in the end they're really just insects who either feed off the carcasses of news items vetted through various networks or, when they do break stories, want nothing more than to see themselves granted an audience by the kingmakers on television.

This, of course, is horseshit.

During my last couple of years as a television news producer, I watched the networks try to recover from a six year failure to bring truth to power (the political party in power being irrelevant incidentally; the job of the press is to maintain an adversarial relationship with the government at all times) and what's worse, to pretend that they had a backbone all along. I watched my bosses literally stand in the middle of the newsroom and ask, "What can we do to not lead with Iraq?" -- the reason being that Iraq, although an important story, wasn't always a surefire ratings draw. I was asked to complete self-evaluations which pressed me to describe the ways in which I'd "increased shareholder value." (For the record, if you're a rank-and-file member of a newsroom, you should never under any circumstances even hear the word "shareholders," let alone be reminded that you're beholden to them.) I watched the media in general do anything within reason to scare the hell out of the American public -- to convince people that they were about to be infected by the bird flu, poisoned by the food supply, or eaten by sharks. I marveled at our elevation of the death of Anna Nicole Smith to near-mythic status and our willingness to let the airwaves be taken hostage by every permutation of opportunistic degenerate from a crying judge to a Hollywood hanger-on with an emo haircut. I watched qualified, passionate people worked nearly to death while mindless talking heads were coddled. I listened to Lou Dobbs play the loud-mouthed fascist demagogue, Nancy Grace fake ratings-baiting indignation, and Glenn Beck essentially do nightly stand-up -- and that's not even taking into account the 24/7 Vaudeville act over at Fox News. I watched The Daily Show laugh not at our mistakes but at our intentional absurdity.

I mentioned calling Jacki Schechner -- so what did she tell me?

"Think about how frustrated and disillusioned most of the American Morning staff is."

Not simply frustrated and disillusioned, but outright miserable.

And then she reminded me that in the past year-and-a-half, nearly 20 mid to high-level people have left American Morning; many of them quit with no other job to go to -- they just wanted out of the business. That speaks goddamned volumes, not simply about the show but about the state of the entire profession.

CNN fired me, and did it without even a thought to the power that I might wield as an average person with a brain, a computer, and an audience. The mainstream media doesn't believe that new media can embarrass them, hurt them or generally hold them accountable in any way, and they've never been more wrong.

I'm suddenly in a position to do all three, and I know now that this is what I've been working toward the last few years of my career.

Awhile back I was watching a great documentary on the birth of the punk scene, it closed with former Black Flag frontman and current TV host Henry Rollins saying these words: "All it takes is one person to stand up and say 'fuck this.'"

I truly hope so, because I'm finally doing just that.

And I should've done it a long time ago.

Original here

Hillary Clinton says "Yes we will!"


This is a video response to Obama - Jokes, Comedy - Very Funny

Texas poll shows dead heat among Dems

(CNN) -- It's all tied up in Texas.

art.clinton.texas.gi.jpg

Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are running a tight race in Texas.

Click to view previous image
1 of 3
Click to view next image

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll suggests the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination between Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois is a statistical dead heat in Texas, which holds primaries March 4.

In the survey, out Monday, 50 percent of likely Democratic primary voters support Clinton as their choice for the party's nominee, with 48 percent backing Obama.

But taking into account the poll's sampling error of plus or minus 4½ percentage points for Democratic respondents, the race is a virtual tie. Video Watch Democrats target Texas. »

Two recent polls by other organizations also show the race statistically even. Map: National and state polling

"One reason the race appears to be tight is that Texas Democrats are having a hard time choosing between two attractive options," says CNN polling director Keating Holland.

"Likely Democratic primary voters would be equally happy if either candidate won the nomination, and they don't see a lot of difference between them on several top issues.

"Roughly a quarter of likely voters say they could change their minds in the next two weeks -- and not surprisingly, those people are splitting roughly equally between Clinton and Obama."

Many political strategists and analysts consider Texas and Ohio -- which also holds a March 4 primary -- must-win states for Clinton. Obama has won the past eight contests and is now ahead in the overall battle for delegates, 193 of which are at stake in Texas.

The new survey indicates Arizona Sen. John McCain is the clear favorite for the Republican presidential nomination.

Among Republicans, 55 percent of likely Texas GOP primary voters support McCain as their choice for nominee. Thirty-two percent back former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and 11 percent support home-state congressman and former Libertarian standard-bearer Ron Paul. The poll's sampling error for Republican respondents is 4 percentage points.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted by telephone from Friday through Sunday. Pollsters talked to 1,506 adults in Texas, including 553 likely Republican primary voters and 529 likely Democratic primary voters.

McCain is the overwhelming front-runner in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination and party leaders have rallied around the candidate in an attempt for party unity.

The poll was released on the same day the only living former Republican president -- George Herbert Walker Bush, the current president's father -- endorsed McCain at an event in Houston. Video Watch McCain get a big boost »

But McCain has had trouble winning conservative voters. Just last week, McCain lost the conservative vote to Huckabee in the Virginia primary, according to exit polls. The new survey, though, suggests McCain may have better luck in Texas.

"It looks like McCain has made some inroads with conservative Republicans," Holland said.

"McCain is picking up a bare majority among conservative likely voters in the GOP primary. The McCain campaign probably wishes that number were higher, but it does mean that a McCain victory in Texas would not be based on the votes of moderates and independents, as has happened in several states in the past few weeks."

Texas Democrats and Republicans may not see eye to eye on the issues, but the poll suggests they do agree on what's the most important issue. Thirty-five percent of Democrats and an equal number of Republicans said the economy was the most important issue in their choice for president.

The second most important issue for Democrats was health care, at 23 percent, followed by the war in Iraq at 22 percent, illegal immigration at 10 percent and terrorism at 7 percent.

Nineteen percent of Republicans said illegal immigration was their most important issue, putting it in second place, followed by the war in Iraq and terrorism at 17 percent and health care at 8 percent.

Sixty percent of Republicans say they'll definitely support the candidate they are now backing. That number climbs to 76 percent for Democrats.

Likely Democratic primary voters view Clinton and Obama on roughly equal terms. Seventy-nine percent say they would be satisfied if Clinton were the nominee; an equal number feel the same way about Obama. Seventy-nine percent say it's likely Clinton can win the nomination; 82 percent say the same about Obama.

The two candidates are essentially tied on immigration, Iraq and the economy, but Clinton has an advantage on health care and abortion.

Original here

Deval Patrick: I asked Obama to use my words

Two days after the Clinton campaign first published videos on YouTube that sparked allegations of plagiarism on the part of Barack Obama, the press was still on the case. And in an appearance on ABC News' Good Morning America on Tuesday, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, an Obama friend and supporter, addressed the issue.

Clinton campaign official Kiki McClean told GMA, "The focus of the speech is how important words are, then you find out the words weren't his. That's the irony of the whole issue here."

Patrick was the source of Obama's allegedly lifted words, and he laughed off the accusation of plagiarism, calling it "elaborate" and "extravagant."

"I think it's a sad comment on the state of the race and the state of our politics that the Clinton campaign is taking this particular tack," he told Diane Sawyer.

The Democratic governor also said it was not necessary for Obama to credit Patrick for drawing from his words.

"It's not like he's writing a law review article or a book or something like that," he argued. "He should have credited me with the use of two words, meaning those words, 'just words.'"

Some voters interviewed by ABC News appeared to agree with Patrick.

"I don't care what he says about someone else's words," one voter at a Clinton campaign event said.

A video clip from Patrick's appearance on Good Morning America is presented below.

This video is from ABC's Good Morning America, broadcast February 19, 2008.



Transcript via closed captions

:: now let's turn back to the political news here at home. voters heading t the polls in three states this morning. republican primary in washington state, caucus of democrats in hawaii and primary of both parties in wisconsin. polls show that the race there is tight which made the last 72 hours as heated as anything we've seen in the race so far. and abc's kate snow has a ring-side seat from milwaukee, wisconsin. kate.

:: good morning. they'll be filling out ballots in wisconsin but hillary clinton and barack obama heading to the next big battle. she in texas, him in ohio. where things don't look so good for clinton. a new poll shows a virtual tie in texas.

:: i'm asking you to hire me for the hoardest job in the world.

:: reporter: her campaign seized on an obama mess-up. he admitted he borrowed language from his friend, massachusetts deval patrick for a speech last summer.

:: don't tell me words don't matter. i have a dream, just words.

:: the focus of the speech is how important words are, then you find out the words weren't his. that's the irony of the whole issue here.

:: reporter: obama said it was no big deal.

:: deval and i do trade ideas all of the time. he occasionally used lines of mine. i notice senator clinton used words of mine as well. i don't think that's the kind of stuff the workers here are concerned about.

:: reporter: our reporter asked by obama didn't simply give patrick credit.

:: i thought they were good lines. i'm sure i should have.

:: reporter: voters we asked at a clinton rally didn't seem to care much.

:: i don't care what he said about news of somebody else's words.

:: look what they say, they do. not what they're saying.

:: reporter: both candidates are desperate for anything tt might help them stand out from wisconsin to hawaii. obama is native sun but look who spent the weekend island hopping. chelsea clinton got the royal treatment even tried a bit of hula. hillary clinton trying to pick up a couple delegates but here in wisconsin she's hoping that the whole battle over language will stick.

:: all right. let's turn now to the man whose words that were originally his words. governor deval patrick. he's another harvard lawyer who ran against a female opponent in his campaign. he joins us in a "gma" exclusive.

:: governor patrick, good morning to you.

:: good morning, diane.

:: the clinton campaign accused barack obama of plagiarizing the words you used in the 2006 campaign. you're laughing. that's a serious charge.

:: i am laughing. it's an elaborate charge, an extravagant one. i've known barack for almost 15 years now. we talked a good deal during my own campaign and his. we fully expected. i fully expected he would sus sustain a charge at some point trying to belittle his ability to motivate people with language. i got the same kind of attack when i was running f governor of massachusetts. i told him about i had responded because i think word dos matter.

:: so you told him this. but he, himself, said he should have credited you.

:: well, look, i hear that. it's a little -- it's not like he's writing a law review article or a book or something like that. he should have credited me with the use of two words. meaning those words, just words. i suppose he should have credited the declaration of independence, and john f. kennedy and franklin roosevelt whom i quod as well. these are iconic phrases. the point is, we have a candidate here, barack obama with terrific ideas, with more law making experience than hillary clinton as fine a candidate she is but pe has added vision to motivate people to reach for it. that's a terrific asset to bring to bear.

:: would you see the same about all this if hillary clinton used your words?

:: sure. they're good words. it's a great argument. and a logical one, frankly. i think it's a sad comment on the state of the race and state of our politics that the clinton campaign is taking this particular tact.

:: let me tackle this one more time, though. they say very specifically that if you're going to talk about the value of words, this is a quote, the words ought to be your own. in fact we have some video. senator clinton came back on the press plane, you can see her there in a casual gathering. she, her self-this said. if your whole candidacy is about words, they should be your own words. is that fair? isn't that fair?

:: no, i don't think that's fair. first of all, barack obama's candidacy is not only about words, it's about really great ideas. it's about a record of legislative and community activism. about bringing change and being an agent of change. and the dimension of being able to articulate what that vision is and motivate people to reach for it is an added dimension. so, sure, the competitor candidate is going to try to trivialize that. i don't and i don think most voters do. nobody's great policies by the way end up on the sides of monuments or buildings in washington. it is those words, ability to inspire. i think that is a tremendous power of barack obama. i'm neither surprised nor troubled that he used the words that i asked him to use of my own.

:: governor patrick, thanks for being with us.

:: thank you, diane.


Original here

Clinton targets pledged delegates


Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder predicted riots in the streets if the Clinton campaign were to overturn an Obama lead through the use of superdelegates.
Photo: AP

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.

This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides.

What? Isn’t that impossible? A pledged delegate is pledged to a particular candidate and cannot switch, right?

Wrong.

Pledged delegates are not really pledged at all, not even on the first ballot. This has been an open secret in the party for years, but it has never really mattered because there has almost always been a clear victor by the time the convention convened.

But not this time. This time, one candidate may enter the convention leading by just a few pledged delegates, and those delegates may find themselves being promised the sun, moon and stars to switch sides.

“I swear it is not happening now, but as we get closer to the convention, if it is a stalemate, everybody will be going after everybody’s delegates,” a senior Clinton official told me Monday afternoon. “All the rules will be going out the window.”

Rules of good behavior, maybe. But, in fact, the actual rules of the party allow for such switching. The notion that pledged delegates must vote for a certain candidate is, according to the Democratic National Committee, a “myth.”

“Delegates are NOT bound to vote for the candidate they are pledged to at the convention or on the first ballot,” a recent DNC memo states. “A delegate goes to the convention with a signed pledge of support for a particular presidential candidate. At the convention, while it is assumed that the delegate will cast their vote for the candidate they are publicly pledged to, it is not required.”

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer told me Monday he assumes the Obama campaign is going after delegates pledged to Clinton, though a senior Obama aide told me he knew of no such strategy.

But one neutral Democratic operative said to me: “If you are Hillary Clinton, you know you can’t get the nomination just with superdelegates without splitting the party. You have to go after the pledged delegates.”

Winning with superdelegates is potentially party-splitting because it could mean throwing out the choice of the elected delegates and substituting the choice of 795 party big shots.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned against it. “I think there is a concern when the public speaks and there is a counter-decision made to that,” she said. “It would be a problem for the party if the verdict would be something different than the public has decided.”

Donna Brazile, who was Al Gore’s campaign manager in 2000 and is a member of the DNC, said recently: “If 795 of my colleagues decide this election, I will quit [the DNC]. I feel very strongly about this.”

On Sunday, Doug Wilder, the mayor of Richmond and a former governor of Virginia, went even further, predicting riots in the streets if the Clinton campaign were to overturn an Obama lead through the use of superdelegates.

“There will be chaos at the convention,” Wilder told Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation.”

“If you think 1968 was bad, you watch: In 2008, it will be worse.”

But would getting pledged delegates to switch sides be any less controversial? Perhaps not. They were chosen by voters, but they were chosen to back a particular candidate.

And it is unlikely that many people, including the pledged delegates themselves, know that pledged delegates actually can switch.

Nor would it be easy to get them to switch.

If, however, after the April 22 Pennsylvania primary the pledged delegate count looks very close, the Clinton official said, “[both] sides will start working all delegates.”

In other words, Clinton and Obama will have to go after every delegate who is alive and breathing.

Original here

Why I’m Switching from Hillary to Obama

Yesterday I wrote a diary here re. the general election matchups between Hillary and McCain and Obama and McCain –

http://www.dailykos.com/...

Another state poll has come out today from SurveyUSA for Wisconsin and the trend I discussed is further amplified. It seems that Obama continues to clobber McCain in these matchups, while Hillary is struggling mightily. Electability has always been the top issue for me in whom I support. Unlike a large number of people on this and other blogs, I have always for the most part liked both Hillary AND Obama in terms of personality and their positions on the issues. The deciding factor has always been electability for me.

I cross-posted my diary of yesterday on MyDD. One comment there went as follows:

"I can't possibly imagine anything more deceiving that head-to-head matchups right now, when one nomination campaign has been decided and the other is still a fierce battle. That's almost the dictionary definition of when NOT to poll, because supporters of one Democrat are likely to say to a pollster, out of the heat of the moment, that they won't support the other in the general. Of course they will. All the head-to-heads show us right now is that Clinton supporters are more generous (and level headed) and say they will support Obama. Obama supporters are more likely to say they won't, when of course they will."

I thought it was a good point. But thinking about this some more over the last 12 hours, the logic in the comment just doesn’t add up. If indeed Clinton supporters are being more generous than those of Obama right now, the big difference we see between Hillary and Obama in how they perform against McCain would be rather uniform across various states. But that is not the case. In Kentucky, for example, Clinton continues to perform relatively much better against McCain than does Obama. (In most other states, ofcourse, the opposite is true). It’s illogical to think that Obama supporters in Kentucky are somehow more generous than Obama supporters in Colorado. Something else has to be the cause of this discrepancy – but it’s not what the person who made the above comment is postulating.

At this point, the only logical explanation I see as to why Obama is performing so much better than Hillary when matched against McCain may simply be that he is indeed a lot more popular than she is among independents and other swing voters who will decide this election. I am a Democrat first and foremost, and being a Hillary supporter has always been secondary in that respect. Looking at these numbers, and with the primary election still close, it is untenable for me to continue to support Hillary. The fate of this country, including the Supreme Court, health care, and a whole host of other important issues hangs in the balance.

Photobucket

After months of campaigning on both the Democratic and Republican sides, I feel that the country now has a pretty good idea of how they feel about Hillary, Obama and McCain. In virtually every primary, Democratic turnout has been dramatically higher than Republican turnout – so we know for a fact that Democrats are more energized than ever. The war still continues to be very unpopular. Therefore, it is inexcusable that Hillary continues to perform this badly against a war monger like McCain. There really is just no excuse at this point. We must nominate someone who has a good chance in defeating McCain in November. It appears that that individual is Barack Obama.

I must add that there’s actually another reason which helped me to make this decision. Recently, the Hillary campaign indicated (in a somewhat oblique, yet understandable way) that they may actually fight for the nomination by attracting superdelegates REGARDLESS of how the pledged delegate count OR the popular vote final result turns out. After the tragedy of what the Republicans did in November and December 2000 – taking away the Democratic popular vote victory as well as our rightful electoral vote victory via their party apparatus theft of Florida – it is unconscionable for any Democrat to even hint at doing something similar this time around. Yet the Hillary campaign has hinted at doing just that. This is perhaps an even important factor for me in deciding to switch my support.

I have updated my maps below, and will continue to update them as polls come in from other states:


Polling used:
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/ - Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania
http://www.surveyusa.com/... - Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Washington, Wisconsin
http://www.quinnipiac.edu/... - Florida, Ohio

Original here

Yesterday I wrote a diary here re. the general election matchups between Hillary and McCain and Obama and McCain –

http://www.dailykos.com/...

Another state poll has come out today from SurveyUSA for Wisconsin and the trend I discussed is further amplified. It seems that Obama continues to clobber McCain in these matchups, while Hillary is struggling mightily. Electability has always been the top issue for me in whom I support. Unlike a large number of people on this and other blogs, I have always for the most part liked both Hillary AND Obama in terms of personality and their positions on the issues. The deciding factor has always been electability for me.

I cross-posted my diary of yesterday on MyDD. One comment there went as follows:

"I can't possibly imagine anything more deceiving that head-to-head matchups right now, when one nomination campaign has been decided and the other is still a fierce battle. That's almost the dictionary definition of when NOT to poll, because supporters of one Democrat are likely to say to a pollster, out of the heat of the moment, that they won't support the other in the general. Of course they will. All the head-to-heads show us right now is that Clinton supporters are more generous (and level headed) and say they will support Obama. Obama supporters are more likely to say they won't, when of course they will."

I thought it was a good point. But thinking about this some more over the last 12 hours, the logic in the comment just doesn’t add up. If indeed Clinton supporters are being more generous than those of Obama right now, the big difference we see between Hillary and Obama in how they perform against McCain would be rather uniform across various states. But that is not the case. In Kentucky, for example, Clinton continues to perform relatively much better against McCain than does Obama. (In most other states, ofcourse, the opposite is true). It’s illogical to think that Obama supporters in Kentucky are somehow more generous than Obama supporters in Colorado. Something else has to be the cause of this discrepancy – but it’s not what the person who made the above comment is postulating.

At this point, the only logical explanation I see as to why Obama is performing so much better than Hillary when matched against McCain may simply be that he is indeed a lot more popular than she is among independents and other swing voters who will decide this election. I am a Democrat first and foremost, and being a Hillary supporter has always been secondary in that respect. Looking at these numbers, and with the primary election still close, it is untenable for me to continue to support Hillary. The fate of this country, including the Supreme Court, health care, and a whole host of other important issues hangs in the balance.

Photobucket

After months of campaigning on both the Democratic and Republican sides, I feel that the country now has a pretty good idea of how they feel about Hillary, Obama and McCain. In virtually every primary, Democratic turnout has been dramatically higher than Republican turnout – so we know for a fact that Democrats are more energized than ever. The war still continues to be very unpopular. Therefore, it is inexcusable that Hillary continues to perform this badly against a war monger like McCain. There really is just no excuse at this point. We must nominate someone who has a good chance in defeating McCain in November. It appears that that individual is Barack Obama.

I must add that there’s actually another reason which helped me to make this decision. Recently, the Hillary campaign indicated (in a somewhat oblique, yet understandable way) that they may actually fight for the nomination by attracting superdelegates REGARDLESS of how the pledged delegate count OR the popular vote final result turns out. After the tragedy of what the Republicans did in November and December 2000 – taking away the Democratic popular vote victory as well as our rightful electoral vote victory via their party apparatus theft of Florida – it is unconscionable for any Democrat to even hint at doing something similar this time around. Yet the Hillary campaign has hinted at doing just that. This is perhaps an even important factor for me in deciding to switch my support.

I have updated my maps below, and will continue to update them as polls come in from other states:

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Polling used:
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/ - Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania
http://www.surveyusa.com/... - Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Washington, Wisconsin
http://www.quinnipiac.edu/... - Florida, Ohio

Original here

Bush Judicial Nominee Arrested for DUI in fishnet hose

Yup. More entertaining sleeze from the conservative movement.

Pensito Review and All Spin Zone are both carrying this story about a Bush judicial nominee who was picked up for DUI wearing a little black dress, fishnet stockings and stilletto heels.

Okay, this is one of those people he's been threatening recess appointments for because they are going to protect our moral values. Apparently, Federal Judge Robert Somma, rear-ended another motorist in his Mercedes-Benz after tying one on in a local gay bar. He had difficulty locating his drivers license in his purse.

His wife, Wendy, says he's not interested in talking to the press right now.

I hope the dems bring him up the next time Bush threatens them with a recess appointment.

Original here