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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Gingrich Cites Big Oil And Right-Wing Intern To Claim That All Economists Support Drilling»

Today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich promoted his “Drill Here, Drill Now,” dirty-energy-funded plan on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and Fox and Friends. On both shows, he touted the work of an intern at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, who Gingrich claimed “understands more more about economics than most of the politicians in this country.” His proof? The intern found a paper arguing that “the price of oil will drop almost immediately” if the U.S. expands domestic drilling.

The paper was rejected by the Energy Journal because the principle “is basically understood by every economist in the world,” Gingrich claimed. “Everybody who is a professional economist knows” that more drilling will make oil prices come down “immediately,” he declared. Watch a compilation of Gingrich’s appearances here:

Gingrich and his famed intern (who made his own appearance on Mike Gallagher’s radio show today) gleefully reported that the Energy Journal’s editor, James L. Smith, included a mocking shot at the Democratic Policy Committee in his rejection letter, claiming Democrats were the only ones who don’t understand the immediate benefits of drilling.

The cheap shot isn’t surprising, considering that Smith is a paid consultant for the world’s major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, British Petroleum, Conoco Philips, Marathon Oil Company, and Saudi Aramco. Last year, he was quoted in the New York Times praising ExxonMobil for being “disciplined” in its investments and fawning over the “Exxon way to approach every business prospect.”

Gingrich’s claim to have “every professional economist” on his side was too much even for Fox News’s Gretchen Carlson, who replied, “I find it interesting that more economists are not on the record saying that.” In fact, it’s much easier to find economists who say on the record that Gingrich is lying:

– “Obviously, if you do offshore drilling now it’s not going to give any short term help on the supply of oil. … That’s far away.” — Paul A. Samuelson, a professor of economics at MIT and winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Economics.

– “I have a problem linking the drilling to current gas prices for political reasons. The reality is there is no correlation between today’s prices and what gasoline will be discovered in the outer shelf.” — Dr. A.F. Alhaji, an associate professor of economics at Ohio Northern University

– “It won’t make any difference whatsoever [on gas prices] because new oil that could be found and produced on the new Outer-Continental Shelf won’t take place for at least eight to 10 years.” — Texas A&M Economics Professor Dr. John Moroney

– “Drilling in the Gulf starting today is not going to give us any relief this year, next year or the year after.” — Tom Oberhofer, an economist at Eckerd College in Pinellas County

– “It’s absurd to argue that ending the moratorium on drilling off parts of the U.S. coasts would quickly bring down the high price of gasoline.” — John Berry, Bloomberg columnist

– “Would starting to drill now do anything for consumers in the near future? The answer to this one…is probably not, since it’ll take so long for new oil or gas to come to market.” — Ken Green, an energy analyst with the American Enterprise Institute.

– “Opening off-shore drilling would have no impact whatsoever on gas prices today.” — Mike Rodgers, a leading oil expert with PFC Energy in Washington

Orignal here

DNC Parodies "Dems Praise McCain" Ad ... By Using The Same Talking Heads

So is John McCain a maverick who can elicit praise from across the aisle, or isn't he?

The Arizona Republican's campaign put out a web-ad this morning that featured past encomiums from several high-profile Democrats. The DNC wasted no time assembling their response ... using the same Democrats as McCain's campaign.

The DNC's response piece is a skillful mimic of McCain's ad -- straight down to the loping, country slide guitar boogie rhythm on the soundtrack.

Sens. Joe Biden, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, former Sen. Tom Daschle, and DNC Chairman Howard Dean all offer up-to-date evaluations of McCain, summed up by the ad's first two titles: "John McCain ... Maverick No More."

But where McCain's ad used Hillary Clinton's praise as the coup de grace, Democrats are giving President George W. Bush the closing honors.

After a title card reads "Let's Let President Bush Have The Final Say," the president proclaims:

"It's been my honor to welcome my friend John McCain as the nominee of the Republican Party. I wish you all the best. I'm proud to be your friend."

Original here

The New Dirty Politics McCain

The Arizona senator is running a barnyard demeaning campaign even comparing Senator Obama to Paris Hilton, lying about Obama's record of visiting our wounded warriors and lying about Obama playing the "race card." Denouncing the new Dirty Politics McCain, McCain's own former strategist, John Weaver said to Newsweek: "Its hard to imagine America responding to 'small ball' when we have all these problems."

McCain is going to lose this election. And the way he loses will take the Republicans down with him.

As a former Republican activist who, as late as 2000, was campaigning for John McCain against Bush, today I am a dedicated supporter of Senator Obama. Yes, I changed my mind. But that isn't the point. My point here is to ask how the Republicans will define themselves by the means they use to try to define and defeat Obama.

By the very way the new Dirty Politics McCain is fighting his losing election he has disqualified himself from the presidency. Simply put: Republican strategists who think that business-as-usual -- i.e., the slanderous politics of the past 30 years -- will take care of matters this time around, are deluded.

A few more lies about Obama, silly comparisons to celebrities, lies about him "not visiting" our troops, B.S. about Obama "introducing the race card" and the Republicans won't recover. That is too bad, because we need a two-party system.

Will the Republicans sacrifice themselves to vindicate the ego of one man?

The reason to vote against McCain, paradoxically, is not just McCain's flip-flop on the use of dirty politics but also his military career. He is an old warrior willing to do anything to win. His military experience and the sort of arrogance that goes with being a self-proclaimed hero, is working against him.

The problem is that the new Dirty Politics McCain doesn't see himself as a civilian. He sees himself as so honorable that he can do no wrong. That was why he felt free to abandon his first wife and his children to chase a young blond who had 100 million dollars. He was a hero! He deserved a good lay and a good bank account! Why should he put up with a wife who had had a disfiguring accident! And these days why should he lose to an uppity black man who never belonged to his private military club?

It is time for America to draw a line under the Bush years of dirty tricks, not add to them. All over the world people who have thought ill of America are now thinking better of us, simply because Obama has become a serious major party candidate. All over the world our country, which has sunk to its lowest level ever in the public's view under Bush, suddenly looks immeasurably better because we have grown up enough to embrace a black candidate, our fraught and sordid racial history notwithstanding. We might even be setting an example in spite of ourselves. All over the world people who have despaired of their old friend America are taking a second look.

In our own country millions of new voters, especially young voters, are coming into the political process that, before Obama, they had either ignored or written off. And the African-American population that has been the victim of the racism which has dragged on and on relentlessly is taking a deep breath and considering a new future.

The Republicans must say NO to the new Dirty Politics McCain's ego-driven scorched filthy games. Here is what the Republicans and others can do to come out of this contest alive and well with their future bright, whether they win or lose this election.

1. Categorically repudiate and denounce the sort of McCain slime attacks that are being mounted against Obama and his wife.

2. Refuse to go along with the snickering half-wits at places like FOX News.

3. Pay homage to what Obama means to America and what his candidacy stands for in the same way that Obama pays homage to McCain's Vietnam War service.

4. Don't let McCain be too clever by half. Play even the hint of the race card, no matter how cutely or while pretending innocence -- for instance with the bogus claim that Obama is playing the race card! -- and you're toast.

The fact that McCain has -- in the course of one campaign -- turned from an American legend into a compromised shill for the far right, the religious crazies, the neoconservatives, the warmongers and corporate America -- he even wants to lower corporate taxes in wartime while the middle and working class serve and die! -- is astonishingly sad. Some future Shakespeare will write the play about McCain's tragic fall.

In 2000 Jack Kemp (former congressman and Bob Dole's vice presidential candidate) told me, "McCain is a war maker, and I'm a peacemaker, so is George Bush. McCain would be too dangerous as President." (By the way, I noted this conversation in my book Crazy For God long before McCain was running for President in 2008 -- and therefore before Kemp's statement was topical.)

Jack and I were arguing on the phone about the then Republican primaries. I still had Jack's home number from back in the 80s when I was a right wing activist and regular guest in his home.

These days Jack Kemp (just like the rest of the Republican establishment) is supporting McCain. But in 2000 the Republican establishment's suspicion of McCain was overt. McCain -- went the word in the insider's Republican network -- was "unstable." And the dirty tricks they used against him worked.

McCain learned the wrong lesson: he's gone and hired the crew who took him down in 2000 to take Obama down now. But it's not going to work. Obama is bigger than McCain ever was, bigger in spirit, bigger in intelligence and bigger in significance. And that is what is driving McCain batty: he is jealous.

Now that the new Dirty Politics McCain is the Republican's man of the hour, Republican heavy hitters are conveniently forgetting that for years they have regarded McCain as mentally unfit for the presidency. Back in 2000 I thought they were wrong and just didn't like McCain because of his "maverick" label. They were right.

The newly diminished McCain suffers by comparison because in Senator Obama we have a real alternative, the most inspiring person to run for the presidency in my lifetime, not to mention someone who (unlike McCain) was right about -- and told the truth about -- the Iraq war from the start.

In a McCain presidency the United States faces disaster. The new Dirty Politics McCain, as opposed to the old "straight talker" McCain, will turn eight years of Bush/Cheney into twelve to sixteen years. This is something our country might not survive economically, politically or in terms of our standing in the world. If he wins by lies and deceit he'll govern that way. McCain will make Nixon look sweet. When it suits him McCain will do to us what he did to his first wife, just as he has abandoned his promise of taking the high road in this election.

Original here

What Does It Mean To Be A Conservative

Has McCain Walked Into An Energy Trap?

The energy debate took what could be a significant turn this past weekend: a bipartisan effort in Congress has created headaches for both Barack Obama and John McCain. But while the presumptive Democratic nominee has been criticized for acquiescing to the idea of some off-shore drilling, his Republican counterpart finds himself in a more tenuous position: cast as an unwilling-to-compromise defender of big oil, on the wrong side of public opinion.

On Friday, a group of ten Senators, hoping to break a stalemate on the nation's energy debate, unveiled compromise legislation to open new areas in the Gulf of Mexico to drilling (in addition to allowing exploration as close to 50 miles off of Florida's Gulf coast) while also raising taxes on major oil companies.

The five Democrats and five Republicans behind the effort were quickly joined by Obama, who objects to drilling but called the compromise "a good faith effort at a new bipartisan beginning." For this he was labeled a flip-flopper by Republican critics and given a slap on the wrist by some environmental advocates.

The short-term backlash may pale in comparison to the potholes that confront McCain. The Arizona Republican's campaign has been opaque in its response to the Gang of Ten. An anonymous aide to the Senator was quoted in the Wall Street Journal applauding the efforts, but said his boss wouldn't support the proposal because "he cannot and will not support legislation that raises taxes."

The stance has some Democrats chomping at the bits. For starters, adopting the position that Big Oil shouldn't take a hit is risky politics. A CNN/Opinion Research Poll released in mid-June showed that 62 percent of Americans blamed "unethical behavior" by industry players as the culprit for high gas prices, compared to the 32 percent who attributed the cost at the pump to basic economic supply and demand. A Gallup poll released around the same time brought the point home even further: 60 percent of Americans said that it was U.S. oil companies that deserved blame for the high gas prices, compared to 49 percent who blamed the Bush administration.

Moreover, while the American public is generally supportive of drilling, they also don't view it as a harmless enterprise. In a late July Belden Russonello & Stewart poll, 63 percent of respondents said that opening up public lands to oil and gas drilling was "more likely to enrich oil companies than to lower gas prices for American consumers."

McCain is stuck in a conundrum: express support for the Gang of Ten and incur the wrath of anti-tax crusaders or continue rolling the dice against public opinion and risk being painted as a stooge of the oil lobby. His $1.3 million in oil and gas donations in June only furthers the frame.

"I think the problem with McCain's position is that he keeps saying I'm in support for all of the above. But when it comes down to specifics in what he will really support, the only thing that comes through loud and clear is more drilling. And I think that is the big vulnerability on his part," said Bob Sussman, an energy expert for the liberal Center for American Progress. "The 'tax the oil company' issue is really difficult for Republicans, but the polling data indicates that the public thinks the oil companies have big role to play... I don't know what is really going on here or if McCain is thinking this through carefully. But I think this is undermining his credibility and to some degree is his hallmark approach: looking for bipartisan solutions to problems."

Facing a potential backlash, McCain has focused his attention on blaming congressional inaction and proclaiming Obama more eager to pursue tire inflation than off-shore drilling. The Democratic Party, nevertheless, clearly thinks it has the makings of a winning hand in the Gang of Ten. On Tuesday evening, the DNC put out a press release calling McCain hypocritical for lamenting the lack of "bipartisan compromises," while "currently fighting a bipartisan compromise on [energy]." In private, meanwhile, Democratic officials note the irony that McCain -- whose candidacy has been based in large part on his ability to forge consensus -- has ceded to Obama a constructive role in a bipartisan issue.

"McCain has backed himself into a box on this," said one high-ranking Hill aide. "In the end he might have to do exactly what Obama has done: join the compromise while saying he objects sternly to the taxes. But even then he risks getting killed by his conservative base."

And yet, there is a way to go before McCain truly risks trouble. The Gang of Ten compromise has some tepid but important verbal support within Democratic leadership. Majority Leader Harry Reid said he did "not agree with every part of it," but thought the proposal included "some very good ideas." Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, said on Monday that drilling could be part of a "larger energy package," a cover of sorts for Blue Dog Democrats and others who back the measure.

But Democrats are far from coalescing around the compromise proposal. Republicans, meanwhile, are with almost lockstep in opposition. And Congress is on recess for another month. Should McCain be forced to cast a tough vote it will likely come, if at all, when energy is not the front-burner campaign issue it is today.

"It is hard to predict if it will come to the Senate floor," said a Democratic aide. "Leadership will take in everyone's ideas. But right now everybody is in an information-gathering mode. And then, if there are some good ideas in this Gang of Ten proposal it will probably be considered. They are clearly not going to get the shaft, given that our nominee supports it."
Original here

G.O.P. Drops in Voting Rolls in Many States

Well before Senators Barack Obama and John McCain rose to the top of their parties, a partisan shift was under way at the local and state level. For more than three years starting in 2005, there has been a reduction in the number of voters who register with the Republican Party and a rise among voters who affiliate with Democrats and, almost as often, with no party at all.

While the implications of the changing landscape for Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain are far from clear, voting experts say the registration numbers may signal the beginning of a move away from Republicans that could affect local, state and national politics over several election cycles. Already, there has been a sharp reversal for Republicans in many statehouses and governors’ mansions.

In several states, including the traditional battlegrounds of Nevada and Iowa, Democrats have surprised their own party officials with significant gains in registration. In both of those states, there are now more registered Democrats than Republicans, a flip from 2004. No states have switched to the Republicans over the same period, according to data from 26 of the 29 states in which voters register by party. (Three of the states did not have complete data.)

In six states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, the Democratic piece of the registration pie grew more than three percentage points, while the Republican share declined. In only three states — Kentucky, Louisiana and Oklahoma — did Republican registration rise while Democratic registration fell, but the Republican increase was less than a percentage point in Kentucky and Oklahoma. Louisiana was the only state to register a gain of more than one percentage point for Republicans as Democratic numbers declined.

Over the same period, the share of the electorate that registers as independent has grown at a faster rate than Republicans or Democrats in 12 states. The rise has been so significant that in states like Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina, nonpartisan voters essentially constitute a third party.

Swings in party registration are not uncommon from one year to the next, or even over two years. Registration, moreover, often has no impact on how people actually vote, and people sometimes switch registration to vote in a primary, then flip again come Election Day.

But for a shift away from one party to sustain itself — the current registration trend is now in its fourth year — is remarkable, researchers who study voting patterns say. And though comparable data are not available for the 21 states where voters do not register by party, there is evidence that an increasing number of voters in those states are also moving away from the Republican Party based on the results of recent state and Congressional elections, the researchers said.

“This is very suggestive that there is a fundamental change going on in the electorate,” said Michael P. McDonald, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an associate professor of political science at George Mason University who has studied voting patterns.

Mr. McDonald added that, more typically, voting and registration patterns tended to even out or revert to the opposing party between elections.

Dick Armey, the former House majority leader and one of the designers of the so-called Republican Revolution of 1994, said: “Obviously, these are not good numbers for the party to be looking at. Democrats have always had extremely broad multifaceted registration programs.”

But in terms of the presidential election, Mr. Armey said the tea leaves were harder to read.

“I think the key in this one is, where do all these new independent voters break?” he said. “I think right now, you’ve got a guy in western Pennsylvania saying, ‘I am really disgusted right now and I’m not going to register as a Republican anymore, but I really don’t want this guy Obama elected.’ ”

Those in charge of state Democratic parties cite a national displeasure with the Bush administration as an impetus for the changing numbers, which run counter to a goal of Karl Rove, President Bush’s former top adviser, to create a permanent realignment in favor of Republicans.

“I think nationally and here, people are kind of tired of the way this administration has been conducting the policies of this country,” said Pat Waak, chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party.

Yet while an unpopular war, a faltering economy and a president held in low esteem have combined to hurt the Republican Party, Democrats are also benefiting from demographic changes, including the rise in the number of younger voters and the urbanization of suburbs, which has resulted in a different political flavor there, voting and campaign experts said. The party has also been helped by a willingness to run more pragmatic candidates, who have helped make the party more appealing to a broader swath of the electorate.

Among the 26 states with registration data, the percentage of those who have signed on with Democrats has risen in 15 states since 2004, and the percentage for Republicans has risen in six, according to state data. The number of registered Democrats fell in 11 states, compared with 20 states where Republican registration numbers fell.

In the 26 states and the District of Columbia where registration data were available, the total number of registered Democrats increased by 214,656, while the number of Republicans fell by 1,407,971.

The unsettled political ground has manifested itself in state and local elections. Twenty-three state legislatures are controlled by Democrats and 14 by Republicans, with 12 states with divided chambers (Nebraska has a nonpartisan legislature). After the 2000 election, 16 state legislatures were dominated by Democrats, and 17 by Republicans, with 16 divided.

It is a similar story in governors’ mansions. After the 2004 election, there were 28 Republican governors and 22 Democrats; those numbers are now reversed. After the 2000 election, there were only 19 Democratic governors.

Elected Democrats have made significant inroads even in places where Republicans have enjoyed a generation of dominance. In Colorado, for example, Democrats control the governorship and both houses of the Legislature for the first time in over four decades. Last year, Virginia Democrats gained a 21-to-19 majority over Republicans in the State Senate, the first time the party has controlled that body in a decade.

In New Hampshire, Democrats are in control of both the legislative and executive branches for the first time since 1874. In Iowa, Democrats have taken over the statehouse and the governor’s office simultaneously for the first time in a generation.

The changes in state government could have broad implications for Congressional redistricting and on policies like immigration, health care reform and environmental regulation, which are increasingly decided at the state level.

In many states, Democrats have benefited from a rise in younger potential voters, after declines or small increases in the number of those voters in the 1980s and ’90s. The population of 18- to 24-year-olds rose from about 27 million in 2000 to nearly 30 million in 2006, according to Census figures.

Mr. Obama’s candidacy has drawn many young people to register to vote, and some of the recent gains by Democrats have no doubt been influenced by excitement over his campaign. But even before Mr. Obama’s ascendancy among Democrats, younger voters were moving toward the Democratic Party, demographers said.

Dowell Myers, a professor of policy, planning and development at the University of Southern California, also noted that a younger, native-born generation of Latinos who have a tendency to support Democrats is coming of age.

Further, young Americans have migrated in recent years to high-growth states that have traditionally been dominated by Republicans, like Arizona, Colorado and Nevada, which may have had an impact on the changing registration numbers in those places.

The changing face of many American suburbs has also had in impact both in voter registration and voting patterns. In many major metropolitan areas, suburbs that were once largely white and Republican have become more mixed, as people living in cities have been priced out into surrounding areas, and exurban regions have absorbed those residents who once favored the close-in suburbs of cities.

“What we speculate is that density attracts Democrats,” said Robert Lang, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech who has researched voting patterns. “It is not that people move to those areas and change positions. It tends now to be a self-selection of singles, childless couples,” who tend to vote Democrat more than their married with children counterparts.

In the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas, Democrats carried nearly 60 percent of the Congressional vote in 2006 in inner suburbs, up from about 53 percent in 2002, according to Mr. Lang’s research.

This trend is particularly evident in places like St. Louis, southern Pennsylvania and Fairfax County, Va., which President Bush won in 2000 but lost in 2004.

Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, who won her seat in 2006, picked up the large majority of voters in the St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas, and Senator Jim Webb, also a Democrat, won his seat in a similar manner in Virginia, which has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964.

Democrats have also succeeded, at least in part, by running centrist candidates where they are most needed. Bill Ritter, the Democratic governor of Colorado and former district attorney of Denver, opposes abortion rights. Among the men who flipped three of Indiana’s eight Congressional seats in the midterm election in 2006, two also oppose both abortion rights and gun control.

What the demographers, political scientists and party officials wonder now is whether the shift of the last few years will be sustained.

“Major political realignment is not just controlling the branches of government,” said Mr. McDonald of the Brookings Institution. “It is when you decisively do it. We haven’t seen that in modern generations.”

Original here

Political Punch

At a town hall meeting in Berea , Ohio, today, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, pushed back against the GOP attack on his advice to a voter last week that having a tuned up car and fully inflated tires would help save energy.

"Let me make a point about efficiency, because my Republican opponents - they don’t like to talk about efficiency," Obama said.

"You know the other day I was in a town hall meeting and I laid out my plans for investing $15 billion a year in energy efficient cars and a new electricity grid and somebody said, 'well, what can I do? what can individuals do?' Obama recalled.

"So I told them something simple," Obama said. "I said, 'You know what? You can inflate your tires to the proper levels and that if everybody in America inflated their tires to the proper level, we would actually probably save more oil than all the oil we'd get from John McCain drilling right below his feet there, or wherever he was going to drill.'"

(Note: that's not accurate, as we fact-checked last week. But the larger point about energy savings is correct.)

"So now the Republicans are going around - this is the kind of thing they do. I don't understand it! They’re going around, they're sending like little tire gauges, making fun of this idea as if this is 'Barack Obama's energy plan.'

"Now two points, one, they know they're lying about what my energy plan is, but the other thing is they're making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent. It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.

"You know, they think it is funny that they are making fun of something that is actually true. They need to do their homework. Because this is serious business. Instead of running ads about Paris Hilton and Britney Spears they should go talk to some energy experts and actually make a difference."

Original here

McCain's Energy Plan: Improved Light Bulbs

The McCain campaign and conservative talk show hosts have been mocking Obama all week for suggesting that filling up your tires will promote fuel efficiency. Of course, it will, but the truth has never slowed these guys down before.

Many people have pointed out how silly and wrong this argument is already. Even NASCAR agrees that the right tire pressure is one of the most important elements to fuel efficiency. And I think they would know what they're talking about. Imagine the McCain car running out of gas in the last lap because they didn't bother to fill up their tires.

But I'll leave the facts to others. I'm a talk show host, so I'll counter with more mockery. I went back to a speech John McCain gave in April, 2007 (actually one of our listeners, Tim Coney, pointed it out originally) and found that, lo and behold, John McCain is also in favor of doing small things around the house to improve fuel efficiency. You don't say!

Here is my favorite part: Improved light bulbs!

"Energy efficiency by using improved technology and practicing sensible habits in our homes, businesses and automobiles is a big part of the answer, and is something we can achieve right now. And new advances will make conservation an ever more important part of the solution. Improved light bulbs can use much less energy; smart grid technology can help homeowners and businesses lower their energy use, and breakthroughs in high tech materials can greatly improve fuel efficiency in the transportation sector. We need to dispel the image of conservation that entails shivering in cold rooms, reading by candlelight, and lower productivity. Americans have it in their power today to contribute to our national security, prosperity and a cleaner environment."

I can't believe John McCain's entire energy policy is improved light bulbs! Maybe he needs to improve his own dim bulb! This is so unbecoming of a presidential candidate. He needs to have big and bold ideas, like more drilling. This light bulb idea is so small and petty. What a loser!

Now, of course, I don't believe that. It's a totally fine point made in the middle of a large energy speech. But if the press is going to take their asinine points seriously, maybe they'll take our asinine points seriously as well.

The McCain team is now going around passing out tire gauges at Obama rallies. So, let's call their tire gauges and raise them a light bulb. Let's pass out light bulbs at McCain rallies. This has the additional advantage of being perfectly emblematic of their lack of ideas. They need a light bulb over their head to get that more oil drilling is not the answer. Improved light bulbs -- exactly what the McCain team needs.

Original here

Baghdad Reporter Posts Youtube Video-Updated w/New Video

I just watched this video at The Raw Story site. It is a video that needs to be made available to as many people as possible, because we will never see it on any traditional media outlet. (Notice the use of traditional media, kos, because I ain't no outsider, dammit.)

The walls that we are building in Iraq, and on our border with Mexico, are simply inhumane. Have we just quit trying to communicate and solve our problems with diplomacy? Have we asked the Iraqis' to do the same thing? Is building a wall the only solution this administration can come up?

This video certainly answers that last question.

Watch the video after the fold.

I find it very disconcerting that we are now building walls between Mexico and the United States of America. Who do these walls benefit? Who are they keeping out, and who are they keeping in?

We worked hard to tear down the wall between East and West Germany. The world celebrated when that wall came down.

Now we are building walls, again. One in the name of illegal immigration problem solving, and the other in the name of supposed peace. Both are lies.

Watch the video, post it on your blog, send it out in an email. Just please get it out there.

Baghdad, 5 years on (part 1): City of walls

Updated with Part 2 and Part 3 of Baghdad Reporters Youtube Videos.

Part 2: Baghdad, 5 years on (part 2): killing fields

And Part 3: Baghdad 5 years on (part 3): Iraq's lost generation

Many thanks to LaughingPlanet for posting these in the comments. And to pontechango and TexDem for helping me update the diary, too. You guys really are the best, all of you. pb

I am going to post this video because I think it says a lot about what we did, how we did it, and what the long term repercussions of our actions may well lead to. Specifically that Saddam Hussein may well be made into a hero, when he was a sadistic and cruel leader.

My husband always says that the way to win this war was/is with hearts and flowers, and I agree with him on that. We should have made their lives better than it was under Sadam, instead we blundered in ways that will take us a lifetime to correct. Here is the video:

Iraq five years on: Remembering Saddam

Thank you, BlackGriffen.

Original here

The Rise and Fall of Stupidity in America

Flashback: Seven years ago today, Bush received ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.’ memo.»

Today marks seven years since the day President Bush received a President’s Daily Brief entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” (See the memo here.) At the time, Bush was vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, TX and stayed on vacation the rest of August 2001. Here’s how the administration reacted, according to the 9/11 Commission report:

buh34.jpg[President Bush] did not recall discussing the August 6 report with the Attorney General or whether Rice had done so. [p. 260]

We have found no indication of any further discussion before September 11 among the President and his top advisers of the possibility of a threat of an al Qaeda attack in the United States. DCI Tenet visited President Bush in Crawford, Texas, on August 17 and participated in the PDB briefings of the President between August 31 (after the President had returned to Washington) and September 10. But Tenet does not recall any discussions with the President of the domestic threat during this period. [p. 262]

The day after he received the memo, “Bush seemed carefree as he spoke about the books he was reading, the work he was doing on his nearby ranch, his love of hot-weather jogging, his golf game and his 55th birthday,” the Washington Post noted. Today — 2,557 days later — Bin Laden still remains free and “determined to strike in U.S.”

Original here

Exclusive: Auto Makers Deflate McCain’s Ignorant Hot Air On Value Of Proper Tire Inflation»

In a series of public events today, John McCain has ramped up his disingenuous attack on the impact proper tire inflation can have in saving energy. At a rally in South Dakota, a hyper McCain yelled to the crowd: “My opponent doesn’t want to drill. He doesn’t want nuclear power. He wants you to inflate your tires.” Earlier in the day, he said: “We’re not going to achieve energy independence by inflating our tires.”

Watch a compilation:

Of course, Obama has never suggested that proper tire pressure would “achieve energy independence.” McCain’s insincere demagoguing of this issue overlooks a crucial and important fact – ensuring proper tire pressure is a better and more immediate response than oil drilling to the nation’s pain at the pump.

In a post on the Wonk Room, Charles Territo, the director of communications for the Auto Alliance (which represents Chrysler, Ford, and GM, among others), notes some facts McCain should keep in mind:

• The Department of Energy estimates that 1.2 billion gallons of fuel were wasted in 2005 as a result of driving on under-inflated tires.

Fuel efficiency is reduced by 1% for every 3 PSI that tires are under-inflated.

• Proper tire inflation can save the equivalent of about 1 tank of gas per year.

Proper tire inflation also reduces CO2 emissions.

• Experts estimate that 25% of automobiles are running on tires with lower than recommended pressure, because people don’t know how to check their tires or don’t realize that tires naturally lose air over time.

Territo notes that the Auto Alliance sponsored tire pressure checks for members of Congress and their staff last week. “Surprisingly, we found that most drivers had tires between 5 and 7 pounds under inflated — some had tires under-inflated by as much as 20 pounds,” he writes. “This significantly reduced their vehicle’s fuel economy.” If conservatives truly want to take immediate action on energy, they can stop wasting time on political stunts and start checking their tires.

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Latest Zogby Poll Finds Statistical Dead-Heat Between Obama and McCain

Written by Timothy B. Hurst

Published on August 5th, 2008

zogby poll mccain leads obama with narrow marginA national Associated TV/Zogby International poll1 finds Republican Sen. John McCain taking a barely distinguishable 42%-41% lead over Democrat Sen. Barack Obama in the race for the U.S. presidency. The difference between the candidates is statistically insignificant, but nonetheless indicates a notable turn-around for McCain.

The survey results come as Obama, fresh off what had largely been viewed as a successful tour of the Middle East and Europe, including a speech to 200,000 Germans in Berlin. A recent Gallup Poll showed that Obama had actually gotten a bump in the polls while overseas. But the trip quickly became fodder for an aggressive McCain campaign strategy that included a TV ad comparing the celebrity status of Barack Obama to that of Brittney Spears and Paris Hilton.

Pollster John Zogby said:

“The McCain camp seems to have turned lemons into lemonade. Huge crowds and mostly favorable press reviews of Obama’s overseas trip have been trumped by McCain’s attacks on Obama. Loss of support for Obama among young voters may also be due to his perceived reversals on issues they care about, such as the war and government eavesdropping.”

It is not always easy for me to make the link between environmental issues and electoral politics. However, it is clear this time around that the McCain/Republican party focus on drilling for more oil may, in fact, be gaining them some political favor in the eyes of the American voter. McCain made significant gains at Obama’s expense among some of what had been Obama’s strongest demographic groups including young people, women, independents, and single voters.

So, do you think these early poll results really matter? Or more importantly, do you think that poll results themselves can have an impact on final voting outcomes?

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1. This Zogby survey, commissioned by Associated TV, included 1,011 likely voters and was conducted July 31-Aug. 1, 2008. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. A more complete methodological treatment can be found here.