Eating Liberally Food For Thoughtby Kerry TruemanIt's a safe bet that diabetics outnumber[...]
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It's become apparent that the Bush administration, since the defeat last year of immigration-reform legislation, has completely capitulated to the GOP's rising nativist element. The result has been a harsh series of raids that have had the effect of[...]
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copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert
Some pundits say it is over. The Democrats are ready to come together as one. The primary results came in late on Tuesday May 6, 2008. Before the tally was final, Barack Obama took the stage. He congratulated Senator Clinton; Presidential hopeful Obama was conciliatory. Hillary Clinton offered an overture. "This has been an extraordinary experience." Political experts muse, thank goodness. The Party needs to heal. The North Carolina and Indiana primaries were decisive. The campaign has been too divisive, disruptive. Distractions aplenty were destructive. If the Democratic Presidential contenders continue to battle, most believe these diversion will be no less damaging. Countless, citizens and columnist say, Hillary Clinton cannot survive.
After the polls closed, and ballots were counted in "The Old North state," and in "Hoosier" country banner headlines screamed a long awaited message. The New York Times printed, Support for Clinton Wanes as Obama Sees Finish Line. The left-leaning Village Voice harshly, decreed, Burying, Not Praising Hillary Clinton in the Indiana and North Carolina Primaries. Perhaps, that was wishful thinking, wistful at best. The Democratic race to the nomination has been long and hard.
However, other periodicals were less decisive. Perchance, these publications predicted what would ultimately be the Democratic Party's and the nations truth. Post Primary Election Day, The Chicago Sun Times cautiously announced, Clinton declares victory in Indiana, Obama wins N.C. In Indiana, the Star reported, Clinton squeaks by Obama in Indiana. The Los Angeles Times, vigilantly reported, Obama takes North Carolina; Clinton wins Indiana. However, a day later the periodical broadcast, Hillary Clinton's campaign is doomed, media commentators say. Readers could not be certain why the Times turned. Perchance they followed the lead of the Washington Posts headline which may have boasted a certain knowledge. The title Clinton's End Game, may have left an erroneous impression. However, the text foreshadowed what was to come. Journalist Dan Balz? wrote early on May 8, 2008 . . .
How will the Democratic nomination battle end???
At a time when the Hillary Clinton faces ever-longer odds in her quest to deny Barack Obama the nomination, that question has becoming increasingly important to the candidates and the party. Will it end happily or unhappily? Will the loser go graciously or bitterly? Will the Democrats end up united or divided???
Clinton has vowed to stay in "until there is a nominee," but even with six primaries left on the calendar, the party is beginning to coalesce around Obama. The Illinois senator may lack the necessary delegates to secure the nomination, but after Tuesday's results in North Carolina and Indiana, Clinton advisers recognize that it will take a dramatic and unexpected change in the race to prevent him from winning.??
Still, from the Clinton's campaign, there is no talk of bringing the race to an end any time soon.
Clinton makes case for wide appeal
By Kathy Kiely and Jill Lawrence
May 8, 2008
Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed Wednesday to continue her quest for the Democratic nomination, arguing she would be the stronger nominee because she appeals to a wider coalition of voters - including whites who have not supported Barack Obama in recent contests.
"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."
"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.
Clinton's blunt remarks about race came a day after primaries in Indiana and North Carolina dealt symbolic and mathematical blows to her White House ambitions.
Later in the evening Clinton Senior Advisor, Howard Wolfson, assured a Chris Matthews audience, Hillary Clinton's strategy is to triumph. Some viewers were left with an impression contrary to the claim Clinton Aide, Terry McAuliffe expressed earlier in the day. While, the Clinton's Campaign Manager said in a televised interview, "I don't see it going to the convention," Wolfson seemed to imply, Senator Clinton will take contest to the Convention floor. Spokesperson Wolfson sings the tune, 'It is not over until it is over,' or until the former First Lady sings. Hence, America must sit tight.
Just as the predictions were wrong when pundits hastily declared a winner in Iowa, the prophecy offered post a May primary is incorrect. Citizens may hark back to the calculations made in New Hampshire. There too the prophecy proved false. Today, talk of a time when Hillary Rodham Clinton resigns herself to a lose is forged. The periodicals, the Democratic Party, and perchance the people may wish to end the madness, the mania, and the milieu of discordance. However, for Hillary, there is but one truth; she is a fighter. The woman who often speaks of her return to the White House defiantly declares, "I will win!." America must wait to be united. Hillary Rodham Clinton has not and will not fall.
United We Stand. Resources for a divided Democratic Party . . .
On the May 8 edition of NBC's Today, co-host Ann Curry interviewed Cindy Hensley McCain, Sen. JohnMcCain's wife, who said in response to calls for her to release her taxreturns: "[M]y husband and I have been married 28 years, and we havefiled separate tax returns for 28 years. This is a privacy issue. My husband isthe candidate." Curry responded by asking, "Soyou'll never release, you're saying? ... Even if you'refirst lady?" After McCain said, "No," Curryadded, "Because that is -- even though[...]
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Excerpt from VASS
From time to time I am asked questions about the stock market, investing, owning a business, and other questions relating to generating and maintaining wealth. Most often the question for those without a high personal net worth is how to create wealth, and for those already on the path how to accelerate their growth. These are not simple questions and each has several different answers. There is no single blueprint that leads to wealth or a higher personal net worth.
Perhaps one thing I?ve noted is that anyone can create a net worth if they are willing to commit the time to it. Another universal fact, in my opinion, is that creating and growing net worth is based on time perhaps more than any other factor....
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After my previous diary on the Women's Voices Women Vote robocall/voter confusion issues in which spokesperson Sarah Johnson responded to a series of questions, I was invited earlier this week to submit additional questions to WVWV President Page Gardner.
Ms. Gardner was able to answer some of my questions, but not all of them. As a lawyer myself, I am loath to draw any inference from any non-answers. Given the ongoing NC Attorney General investigation (PDF) and NAACP complaint, WVWV has every right to be cautious in what it says until it is confident it has determined what happened (among other reasons for restraint). So while I'll note the non-answers below, I'm going to confine my commentary afterwards to the substantive responses.
1. Your latest press release states that "We do not believe that people who are in fact registered to vote jump to the conclusion that they can't vote simply because they are offered another opportunity to register." Given that there were published news reports and statements from elections officials in multiple states that already-registered voters were in fact confused by hearing phone calls and receiving new registration applications which suggested that without filling out new forms they couldn't vote, what was the basis for that belief?
Every state's Department of Motor Vehicles is tasked under the so-called "Motor Voter" law with providing registration for anyone coming in for a driver's license or other DMV service. They do that every day they are open for business. They don't have a voter file there to look up whether or not you are registered when they offer you the opportunity to register and they offer the opportunity to everyone that comes in. We do not believe this confuses people that are already registered to vote. Moreover, this occurs whether the primary is more than 25 days away or less than 25 days away. Similarly, when people are approached at a shopping center and offered the opportunity to register, they are offered the opportunity whether they are already registered or not, and the groups conducting these registration efforts are not generally accused of confusing those people that are already registered to vote.
2. After Virginia, WVWV promised to stop placing robocalls anonymously and didn't. Your spokesperson said this was a "mistake". How did this mistake occur?
3. When was the Board made aware of the complaints as to voter confusion and the anonymity of your robocalls?
4. How did you arrive at your list of target states? What criteria were used? And on what dates were voters in each state called?
Target states were arrived at using criteria that included the number of unmarried women in a state that were not registered to vote or were registered to vote and had not voted compared to the same criteria for married women. In other words, what was the marriage gap in electoral participation between married and unmarried women in the state. We also wanted states from every region of the country, as well as states that have same day registration and states that do not. We also wanted some states with women elected officials at high levels (governor, US Senator) and states without. All of the pre-calls drawing people's attention to our mail and its voter registration form were delivered on the same two days, Thursday and Friday, April 24 and 25.
[According to her 5/5 diary these states were Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.]
5. Your April 24 letter to Gary Bartlett (NC Board of Elections) speaks exclusively of your work with unmarried women, not men. Why is that?
6. After the NC situation became public, what steps did WVWV take to inform NC voters (a) that if they were already registered, they could vote without a problem and (b) if they were not registered, they could still register and vote in person via the one-stop process? If no such steps were taken, why not?
[No response. However, in her May 5 diary, Gardner stated, "WVWV offered to make corrective follow-up calls, but upon further consideration and consultation with individuals in the state, concluded that additional calls should not be made."]
7. Are African American males the only group covered by the Voter Participation Center not already covered by WVWV? In what states has VPC (or WVWV) attempted to register male voters?
The Voter Particpation Center attempts to register under-represented demographics including African American men, African American married women and married Latinas so these are the other targets for our voter registration other than all unmarried women regardless of ethnic or racial background.
The Voter Participation Center attempts to register these under-represented demographics in every state that WVWV operates, so in the most recent mailing that meant 24 states from coast to coast.
8. For how long has VPC been involved in registering male voters? Are there print materials, or materials sent to (potential) contributors, reflecting this?
The Voter Participation Center was created as a project of WVWV by the Board of Directors in 2007 following the testing of using our direct marketing techniques to register other under-represented demographics in 2006.
9. How is VPC funded?
As a project of WVWV, the VPC is not separately funded. It is funded out of WVWV funds.
10. Was your husband's company involved as a vendor for these projects? If yes, through what kind of process was this contract awarded, and was the Board made aware of the potential conflict of interest and involved in approving such contracts?
WVWV also released a statement this week offering an account what what has transpired.
Reaction: I have tried to extend to WVWV the benefit of every doubt, but I have trouble accepting its answer to the first question. There's a difference between making registration available to people at public sites, versus anonymously contacting them in their homes and suggesting that they've been specifically identified as folks who need to take additional steps in order to register to vote.
This is especially the case with regards to the "Lamont Williams" calls to African American male voters. Unlike the VPC calls to married women which stated "Hi, just a reminder: your voter registration form is in the mail and on its way to you. Your voice counts, and your vote makes them listen. Sign it, date it, and send it in. Thanks," the calls to these men was much more insistent on the need to take action with phrases like "need to do" and "then you will be able": "All you need to do is fill it out, sign it, date and return your application. Then you will be able to vote and make your voice heard." Then, as in you can't yet.
Moreover, of course, WVWV was on actual notice that voters found the calls to be confusing, via the complaints and media articles in previous states. So on the whole I just don't find this explanation plausible.
Here's a story I would find plausible, though I must stress that this is only my conjecture, based on what we know publicly and my private conversations with voter targeting professionals: suppose WVWV's primary goal was not to register as many new voters as possible, but the slightly different goals of (a) reaching out to as many targets as possible and (b) generating as many voter registration forms being filed as possible.
Both goals would generate impressive-seeming statistics which can be used to impress funders as well as the board of directors, both of which are crucial as to the group's overall viability. Assume it's true, as others have claimed, that you can generate a lot of responses from a call for registrations post-deadline, pre-primary. But if that's the case, what WVWV was also generating was a number of false positives -- registered voters being contacted who don't need to re-register, but who will do so anyway because now they believe they have to. Making robocalls and sending materials that looked official, that did not clearly disclose their source as non-governmental (certainly not the calls), and which did not make clear that already-registered-voters need do nothing ... well, that ends up furthering the goals -- if "boosting the number of forms sent in" supersedes voter confusion as a priority, and especially if boosting those numbers generates higher revenues to WVWV vendors with significant ties to the Board and leadership team.
In other words, voter confusion may have become a recognized, but undisclosed cost, accepted as necessary to maximize certain overall metrics -- and to be fair, we have no idea just how extensively voters were confused here. It could end up being a very small number -- or one which WVWV underestimated -- and we can certainly debate how much confusion might be an acceptable cost based on the number of successful new voter registrations generated.
I want to be clear about two things: (1) that's only a theory, so please don't treat it as proven; and (2) voter registration is hard, unglamorous and difficult-to-fundraise-for work. Regardless of what may have happened this year, WVWV's past successes are undeniable, and it is incumbent upon all of us to support those groups like Project Vote and Rock the Vote which do this necessary work on the ground level. This is especially true in the wake of the onerous voter ID laws now approved by the Supreme Court (with immediate dire, bizarre consequences). I hope that Women's Voices Women Vote again gives me the confidence to include them again on such a list of righteous organizations, but they've got a lot of work to do first.
Sweet Jesus, I hate Tucker Carlson. And Joe Scarborough isn’t exactly far down that list either. However, this exchange between the two of them was so far outside anything that that we in the reality-based community could recognize that I actually have to ponder out loud what color the sky is in their world. [...]
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The NYTimes, on April 20, past, broke a long story which focussed on revelations that the Pentagon and the Bushevik regime had embedded military propagandists, mainly former Generals, in important consultative and commentariat positions with the major US Corporate Media organizations. The NPR Ombud addressed the issue at some (ultimately unsatisfying) length and delicately danced around the problem. She quoted NPR Defense correspondent Tom Gjelten:
Gjelten: "...A General wants to be a military analyst on NPR or some other news organization in order to curry favor with the Department of Defense which in turn will benefit him in his defense contracting. That's a hypothetical scenario we have to be concerned about."In reply to which, I sent the following message to the NPR Ombudsone:
"Gen. Scales appeared in NPR reports, by your own accounting, some 100 times, and nobody, apparently, could EVER have anticipated he'd have an agenda? Nobody looked at who ELSE he was working for?
"Now, he says, he complained about the conduct of the operations. Okay. Very courageous, I guess. But that's what I call a 'technical' complaint. He was critical of tactics, and perhaps there were others, too; but I cannot recall ever hearing anyone above the rank of sergeant quoted on NPR with anything critical to say about the invasion, conquest, subsequent occupation--to say nothing of the rape and pillage--of Iraq. And probably no more than one or two of them, at that, and I think they're dead.
"The whole episode, including NPR's response, illustrates my long-held contention that in the corporate state, corporate media are STATE Media, and any and all reporting or 'news' or similar species of information exuding therefrom must be regarded, de facto, as State propaganda.
"This was how the Russians survived Communism. We have come to an entirely predictable, but still terribly sad place, if the People of the USofA have to take lessons from the People of the old USSR in the art of discerning what was really news in the steady diet of propaganda.
"I know that my criticisms, along with the several dozen more which I have read here (and with the substantial majority of which I totally concur) must be difficult for you to see and consider. Perhaps you are tempted to dismiss these criticisms as the rantings of fanatics and partisans. Perhaps you can taste the bile of denial behind your teeth. But often truth does indeed hurt. And that taste? Might it be self-revulsion for playing such a willing part in such shameful events, and even now trying to rationalize, excuse or justify them?
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Here's part of a good article of an American playing baseball in Japan. A link to the rest "Dragons slugger Woods at home in Japan".
Woods, who helped the Chunichi Dragons reach the Japan Series, led the Japanese leagues with 47 homers and 144 RBIs this season while hitting .310.
His grand slam in the top of the 12th inning of a 9-3 win over the Yomiuri Giants on Oct. 10 clinched the Central League pennant for the Dragons.
Woods has developed a reputation for getting big hits with runners in scoring position but says he approaches every at-bat the same way.
"I try not to put too much pressure on myself," Woods said before Saturday's Game 1. "Every time I go up to the plate I think of it as an opportunity to drive in a run. I just see the ball and hit it."
Woods said keeping things simple is key to his approach at the plate.