Thursday, August 14, 2008

Obama and black America - Erin Aubry Kaplan & Juan Williams


Erin Aubry Kaplan says that although Obama's candidacy is historic, whether it will result in meaningful progress remains to be seen. Juan Williams says it isn’t fair to put the weight of civil rights history on Obama’s shoulders.

August 5, 2008

Today's question: Does Barack Obama's candidacy signify a turning point in the history of the American civil rights movement? Previously, Kaplan and Williams discussed the leadership and goals of the modern civil rights movement.

A historic candidacy, but how much progress?

There's no question that Barack Obama's bid for the presidency is historic. It's a milestone that many of us, black and white, never thought we'd hit in our lifetime. If Obama were to disappear tomorrow, I'd still be reeling from the realization that a person of color came so close to occupying the White House (an idea that's resonated with special significance this election year). Given all the problems and inequalities that still characterize much of black America and the overwhelmingly negative images of black men the media still portray, his rise is even more impressive. Obama's skills and qualifications notwithstanding, he's beating the odds in an unprecedented way.

But whether his candidacy (or presidency) is a turning point beyond the racial symbolism remains to be seen. Though Obama's politics were certainly shaped by the civil rights movement -- he was a community organizer in Chicago's South Side and taught racism and the law at the University of Chicago -- it's hard to know how much of that will inform his leadership as president should he win the election. Of course, he hasn't been campaigning as a "black" candidate, but black people don't really expect him to. As Obama supporter Amiri Baraka said recently, "He is not running for the president of the NAACP." We all know he's stumping for every American, and black people know better than anybody the fine line you have to walk to win over whites and non-blacks who resist the idea of black people representing them in any meaningful way.

That said, Obama should certainly address issues of concern to African Americans, not simply because he's one of us (though that helps) but because such issues impact all of us. The state of black people has always been a barometer of how well America is fulfilling its democratic ideals. For that reason, all presidents, not just Obama, should be held accountable for addressing and redressing "black" issues, which have been the same for a very long time: education, housing, employment and criminal justice.

Unfortunately, we have a terrible history of presidents -- and politicians in general -- even acknowledging that black issues are important American issues. After Lincoln, FDR and Lyndon Johnson, there's virtually nobody else. ( Bill Clinton was popular with black folks, but his policies didn't serve them well, to say the least). We have very few role models for this. So as much as it distresses me, it makes sense that the public today believes that a black president should not address matters of importance to black people because doing so would be a sign of racial regression, not progress.

This is totally Orwellian logic to me. But it's a product of a post-racial campaign that this country has been running for the last couple of decades, and it's been effective. We can congratulate ourselves for having a black candidate, but that candidate can't identify too much with other black people or he risks losing his appeal, magic or whatever. It's the same old game America has always played, defining the limits and qualifications of blackness to its liking and comfort level. That's not justice. I still have great hope for Obama, though probably not the same kind of hope most of his supporters have.

Erin Aubry Kaplan is a freelance writer and contributing editor to Opinion. She is a former weekly columnist for The Times and a former LA Weekly staff writer. She blogs at

Obama is bigger than any community

Obama's sensational run for the White House is historic. It is a milestone in American history and politics and hopefully signals cultural sea change in the capacity of whites to see people of any color -- and especially black people -- as American leaders.

But every success for a black person is not a civil rights victory. It was a civil rights victory when President Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act, clearing the way for the federal government to protect the rights of black people to vote. That law led to an unprecedented increase in the number of black voters and has changed the political power equation in America. It is the heart of real black power.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act, also aided by federal courts, opened the doors of equal opportunity to all Americans. Combined with the power of the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, the 1964 legislation boosted job and educational opportunities for black people and sparked a stunning transformation of American society. The results are clear: The U.S. has a larger black middle class and people of color have more political influence in governing bodies ranging from local school boards to city halls to Congress.

The Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act and the Brown decision are the definitive civil rights victories of the last few generations.

Obama's breakthrough is partly rooted in the power of the black vote in the Democratic Party. But don't forget that Obama got his initial boost from young white voters as some African- American voices initially questioned whether he could win and whether he was authentically black. Indeed, the nearly all-white voters in the Iowa caucuses set the Obama campaign on its winning path.

Erin, you spin off into a debate far from the question of civil rights victories when you argue about the need for Obama to address black issues. He is a politician trying to win the biggest prize in American politics. To win, he will make deals, flip-flop, compromise and even turn his back on anybody dragging him down. Politicians are like that. They are not civil rights leaders operating on their conscience or appeals to justice. Obama advertises himself as a post-racial candidate who crosses ethnic boundaries to speak to issues that unify Americans. Far too many souls want to make Obama a black leader and put the weight of civil rights history on his shoulders.

When it comes to Obama and the history of the black movement in America, the most apt metaphor is that of a flower. Obama is one particularly eye-catching flower of a movement that has grown through hard Earth and vines. He has endured heels that would have crushed any hand planting a seed. His success, rooted in his impressive education, would not be possible without the civil rights victories throughout American history. But you cannot discount the host of other factors that have enabled Obama's meteoric rise, including demographic shifts, economic changes, immigration and a gradual change of heart among a large number of whites. That is why Obama is both of the black community and bigger than the black community.

Juan Williams is a senior correspondent for National Public Radio, a Fox News analyst and author of "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America -- and What We Can Do About It."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The alternative-energy bubble by Steve Tobak


August 6, 2008 6:05 AM PDT

What do you get when you mix Al Gore, global warming, whacky environmentalists, skyrocketing oil prices, lots of venture funding, and irrational exuberance? An alternative-energy bubble.

What, you don't believe that there's an alternative-energy bubble? Then you're just not paying attention. It may not be the biggest bubble in the history of technology--yet. And it may not be ready to burst--yet. But it's a bubble, all right. All the signs are there.

In solar energy alone, hundreds of millions of dollars of venture funds have been poured into the likes of Nanosolar, SoloPower, OptiSolar, HelioVolt, eSolar, SolFocus, Solel, Miasole, GreenVolts, Hydro Green, Infinia, Sopogy, Cyrium, SkyFuel, BrightSource Energy--the list goes on and on.

All the usual suspects are in the game: big-name venture capital firms, investment banks, private-equity firms, energy companies, technology companies, individual investors, a new batch of investment companies focused primarily on energy, and even a hedge fund or two.

There are lots of recognizable names, as well, including Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Microsoft founder Paul Allen, and Sun Microsystems founder and ex-Kleiner Perkins partner Vinod Khosla.

Free Field Installation in Germany

(Credit: First Solar)

On the public side, shares of First Solar have seen a Google-like rise to more than $300 since the company's November 2006 IPO. That translates to a $22 billion market cap on quarterly sales of just $200 million. At least it's profitable, but the price-to-earnings ratio of 100 is stratospheric in today's market. Incidentally, members of the Walton family (of Wal-Mart fame) own roughly 49 percent of the company.

GT Solar, on the other hand, raised $500 million less than two weeks ago in the nation's biggest alternative-energy IPO to date. But the stock is floundering, and the vultures are already circling around several securities class action lawsuits.

On July 21st, GCL Silicon Technology filed a registration statement with the SEC for an even bigger $863 million public offering. The Hong Kong-based company was founded just two years ago.

Still not convinced that it's a bubble? Let me explain how this kind of thing works.

When VCs smell a hot market, they fund a bunch of companies in that space and hope one or two make it. It's a numbers game. Sometimes they hit it, most of the time, they don't, but if they spread their fund around a bit, it usually pays off.

Now multiply that model by a few dozen VCs, throw in a host of corporate, institutional, and individual investors, and voila, you've got dozens of companies that are very well funded.

But that doesn't mean the market demand will support all those companies--and all the capacity they need to bring online for their business models to work. The principals of all those alternative-energy companies know that, but that won't stop them from doing what they're doing.

Still, no matter what they say publicly, they know they have to nail their strategy and business plans, if they hope to survive an eventual shakeout.

The magnitude of the shakeout will be proportional to the gap between market demand and supply. In the case of the dot-com bubble--which also included Internet and telecommunications infrastructure, fiber optics, and communications chips--the shakeout was huge, affecting the public markets by almost a trillion dollars. The nanotech bubble, on the other hand, has been largely localized to the VC community.

As for the nature of this particular bubble, I'm not sure if my crystal ball is better than anybody else's, but my gut tells me that we're already getting way out ahead of ourselves.

As bubbles go, I think this one's going to be big. How big? You got me. But I think that global warming, alternative energy--and solar energy in particular--like Al Gore are all overblown. The energy crisis, on the other hand, is real, but nuclear energy's the answer. And that's all I'm going to say about that here.

What does all this mean to you? It depends on your risk profile. If you're young, I say you need to take risks. Should a great opportunity arise with one of these companies, by all means, go for it. But if you have a good job with a good company, or you don't have enough working years left in you to take significant risks, I wouldn't jump ship for a hot solar start-up or bet too much of your portfolio on one of these deals.

You don't want to end up like Icarus, who got a little too exuberant and flew too close to the sun. Wings melt, bubbles burst--same result.

We Could See a McCain Landslide By Rush Limbaugh


August 12, 2008


RUSH:  See, the liberals have to blame this Russian attack on Georgia on Bush, and then, by association, McCain, otherwise Obama has no chance.  I don't think he has much of a chance, and I think the dirty little secret is that McCain could win this in a landslide.  I actually do.  I think there is so much huff and puffery here about Obama, and the bloom has long ago gone off that rose.  It happened during the Democrat primaries.  Thomas Sowell has a great column.  He once attended a course taught by John Kenneth Galbraith, the noted liberal economist, and he came in and did his first lecture to the class, and it was so good they all stood up and applauded, but every other lecture was just more and more generalities on the first lecture, and as the course went on, the class kept dwindling in size and finally people stopped showing up because there was no substance.  That's exactly what's happened to Obama.  His first speech, his first series of appearances: "Oh, man, new, unique, messiah, change, hope, future."  But now there's no substance.  You can revive the old Fritz Mondale question of Gary Hart(pence), "Where's the beef?"  And it's happening, folks.  I'm telling you, it's happening.  There are all kinds of doubts throughout the Democrat Party about this guy, 143 days in the Senate, for crying out loud.  He's a neighborhood activist; he's a street activist that they have nominated.  By the way, ladies and gentlemen, the Georgian Security Council today says it has filed a lawsuit in the International Court of Justice for alleged ethnic cleansing against Russia.  Well, there you go.  Right alongside the House Democrats' suit of OPEC for selling us oil in the first place.  Man, oh, man, the libs get exactly what they want here, take every one of these things to court? 


RUSH: We go to Aston, Pennsylvania.  This is David. You're next on the Rush Limbaugh program.  Hi.

CALLER: (silence)

RUSH: (drumming fingers) Dee-doo-bee-doo-bee-doo.  David in Aston, Pennsylvania, are you there?

CALLER:  Yes, Rush, how are you?

RUSH:  Fine, sir.  Thank you very much.

CALLER:  Good.  Thank you very much.  Listen, this kind of has to do with Obama and the Georgian conflict and all these things.  My question was, if we were on his energy plan of we're not allowed to drill for oil, we can't do anything at all, how would we ever wage a military campaign against Russia?  Would we be having like destroyers running on sunflower oil?

RUSH:  Let me see --

CALLER:  How can we do that?

RUSH:  You miss the point.  We wouldn't need to wage military campaigns because with Obama there wouldn't be any more.


RUSH: He would talk everybody out of them.

CALLER:  Of course.

RUSH:  Like according to Tim Kaine, the governor of Virginia, Obama is the one who got the ceasefire in Georgia and South Ossetia because he asked the Russians to stop it, and Tim Kaine said he's happy that the Russians listened to Obama, so... I mean, that's what the Obama camp is saying.

CALLER:  Do you understand where I'm coming from?  I mean, how can he possibly think this?

RUSH:  It's called the audacity --

CALLER:  I have no idea what he's talking about.

RUSH:  It's called the audacity of audacity.  And what it is is Tim Kaine, who's trying to be selected as Obama's veep. He's just groveling. 

CALLER: Humph.

RUSH: But, no, your rhetorical question is just right on the money.  If we're not going to have our own independent sources of energy, how in the world are we going to maintain our status as a superpower?  See, this is the problem.  We've been in a jocular mood for much of the day today, but I'll tell you, I made a speech last night in Aspen, Colorado, which is why I was not here yesterday. I had to fly out there in the afternoon to get there in time for the speech, and I spoke about what we face here.  There's a war going on in our country for the definition of our country and its structure in the future. On one side of the war is us, and we want to preserve this nation as it was founded.  

On the other side are people like Obama and the leftists, who don't like this country as it was founded. They have a problem with too much individual liberty and freedom. They want bigger governments, higher taxes and more individual control over as much of the way people live as they can get. It's very, very serious, and our legislators on our side, we do not have any elected leadership in Washington. Our legislators do not understand that we're in a war.  It's like this Gang of Ten thing that happened last week. The Republican senators in that deal do not understand how they just almost took away the one winning issue Senator McCain has and that we have over the Democrats, because they believe -- mistakenly so -- that what the American people want is for Republicans and Democrats to get along.  As I told Senator Chambliss last week: That's not what the American people want.  

What the Republicans, what conservatives in this country want is to mop the floor with Democrats! We are tired of accepting their premises and then going along with them to show that somehow we're not the bad guys.  We are the good guys. We just don't have any elected leadership. So this is going to be a grassroots, a series of grassroots operations that build conservatism back.  For example, this is not a big deal, but it was announced today that three Republicans have decided to endorse Obama.  They are former Iowa Republican Congressman Jim Leach, former Rhode Island Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee, and lawyer and former White House intelligence advisor Rita Hauser.  Now, Obama is out there, and the Democrats are saying, "Woo! Wow! We've got three Republicans endorsing Obama."

But come on, Jim Leach?  Chafee stopped being a Republican a long time ago. Jim Leach was never a Republican, he was a moderate; and this Hauser babe, nobody ever heard of.  The dirty little secret about this, the way I see it, is these are exactly the kind of moderate Republicans in Name Only that, McCain courted all these years.  Jim Leach, Lincoln Chafee, Rita Hauser, why, they ought to be the first to be endorsing...McCain!  That's the exact kind of Republican he's going after.  And look, they've signed up with Obama.  It's pathetic, but it's funny at the same time.  So, we're in this war for what kind of country we're going to have and what kind of future people's children and grandchildren are going to have.  We are a nation, a great nation, at great risk in a dangerous world, with a bunch of sophists who want control.

The Democrat Party has actually nominated a neighborhood activist, a street activist, as its presidential candidate who is clueless.  The man doesn't think.  He simply is able to reiterate what he had been taught, and if you look at the people he's hung around and the people who have taught him, it's all the Blame America Crowd that you find in academia. You've got Jeremiah Wright poisoning his mind. He's got his wife. He hangs around with his wife, and she's mad every day of the week, too; and then you've got this lunatic Father Pfleger, and then you've got this terrorist guy Bill Ayers. That's why these people's associations matter. It's why their character matters. If you look at who apparently has structured the Obama character, it's...

How else do you explain this guy telling a 7-year-old kid who wants to know why he wants to be president, because my country is "not what it once was"?  Where in the hell...? When has it been better?  When has it been worse?  When's it been better, either way?  He's just mouthing these things because that's what he thinks people want to hear, he thinks people are like him.  This is the arrogance and the condescension.  He thinks most people look at their country and find immediate fault with it.  But I'm just telling you: All these people that did not vote for him in these late state primaries, these blue-collar white traditional Democrat voters? I'm going to tell you something, folks. They're not being interviewed on television; the Drive-Bys around talking about them.

But these people, I don't care if they're Republicans or Democrats or whatever. They do not want to see a rookie presidential candidate in Berlin or anywhere else in the world run down their country, especially a Democrat presidential candidate who ought to be thanking God that he is an American, that he lives in this country, and that it has provided him and his wife such a wonderful life and a great opportunity. He's running for president, for crying out loud, and he still sees fit to criticize this country! I'm just going to tell you: All of these blue-collar white Democrats, Pennsylvania, Ohio, you name it -- wherever Obama was unable to close this thing against Hillary -- they heard it, they saw it, and they don't like it.  They may not tell a pollster that, but when they get a chance to vote, I guarantee you, it is not going to be for The Messiah.


Read the Background Material...

Real Clear Politics: Obama and the Galbraith Effect - Thomas Sowell

Could 2008 Be a McCain Landslide? By Kyle-Anne Shiver


July 13, 2008

Ah yes, dear readers, this title has nailed me.  I'm an unconventional thinker, a woman who is wont to go madly against the grain, in nearly all matters.  I'm usually in the unpopular camp, the one who disdains conventional wisdom and consensus science.  I'm just too darned independent-minded for my own good sometimes. 

And 2008 is one of those times. 

John McCain, the poor dear, is being characterized as the tired, old guy, not only by the media elites and the opposition Party, but nearly just as often, by his own prospective voters.  "We're all but doomed," say the naysayers.  Even if McCain manages to squeak through the White House door on the slimmest Electoral College majority, it will be by the skin of his ancient teeth, say the analysts.

Nearly all around the globe, the media trumpets are prematurely heralding an Obama victory with a fanfare fitting for the legendary phoenix arising from the ashes.  The American Obamaphiles are gleefully fondling all their golden eggs, and busily counting their chickens, positively certain that every single one of them will hatch on November 4.

Maybe; maybe not.   

Oh my, I can nearly hear the limb beneath my feet, straining and about to break, as I shimmy out to its farthest reach on this prognostication.

The 2008 Presidential election could be a landslide victory for John McCain.

I'm basing my assessment here on 3 factors:  Time, the Anti-Obama vote and Obama's own arrogance.


It's only July 13th, folks.  There are 113 days remaining until November 4th.  In this internet era, when news travels around the globe faster than a speeding bullet, 113 days are long enough for even the most polished, eloquent orator in American history to put both feet in his mouth dozens of times. 

And every time Obama has one of his infamous verbal slips, it's recorded for profit or just plain fun, and spun into enough YouTube entertainment to last into the next decade.  Every gaffe, every misstep, every flip-flop, turn-around and attempted take-back that the candidate utters, every single day for the next 113, will be viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, who then take their impressions to the office, the diners, the bus stops, the hairdressers and the assembly lines.  The NYT could only ever dream of such influence.

Americans tend to be a forgiving lot, but each one of us has his own personal limit to the number of take-backs he is willing to allow a single person.  I'm predicting that as Obama continues to morph into new positions nearly every day, that a great many voters are going to reach the limit, the point where they stop listening to this candidate because they simply stop trusting his word.

Trust is usually proffered generously, but once lost, disillusionment rarely permits its return, at least not within the confines of 113 days.

How many voters will still trust Obama by November 4th?  Perhaps far less than the conventional wisdom is predicting.  Time is not on Obama's side.

The Anti-Obama Vote

Discouraged conservatives and Republicans, even those who say now that they will stay home on Election Day, are at the end of the day, responsible citizens. They will, I predict, see well in advance of November 4th, just how much damage could be done by Obama, especially if he gets a filibuster-proof Senate majority and an even larger majority in the House of Representatives. 

The Republican anti-Obama vote, I believe, will hinge on two issues, namely, the Supreme Court and our war against IslamoFascism.  Forward thinking Republican voters will vote for treading water with McCain for 4 years over letting the whole American ship go down to defeat.

Disillusionment among loyal Democrats has already begun and is mounting rapidly.  In the wake of Hillary Clinton's concession, a great many disgruntled Democrats started a grassroots groundswell under one banner group, PUMA, which stands for:  Party Unity My A**.  There are already more than 200 separate groups that are uniting under the PUMA banner, with only one thing in common.  They vow that, no matter what, they will not support Barack Obama.  There is already "Democrats for McCain" gear and all the hoopla that goes with it. 

Add to these renegade groups the fact that Obama currently has a web mutiny on his hands, occurring on his very own networking site.  The largest of these mutinous web supporter groups only formed the last week of June and already has more than 22,800 members.  This particular group, "Please vote NO on Telecom Immunity - Get FISA right," formed over the latest Obama flip-flop, reneging on his October FISA promise to "support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."  Obama voted for the FISA bill, with immunity still in it.

As I've said already, trust is a fragile commodity.  Once a person loses it, disillusioned followers can get mighty angry and even vindictive.  With 113 days to go, and this many folks already vowing that the Obama they see now is "not the Obama they knew," with some even demanding returns on their campaign contributions, the emotional winds that have carried Barack this far may turn on him.

And I'm predicting that they will.  By November 4th, we could even see hurricane-force passions blowing against Obama and at McCain's waiting back.

Obama's Arrogance

There are few things in this life as satisfying to more experienced people than to see haughty pride get its comeuppance.  

How many working people in this Country have not had at least one experience with a young upstart, walking right out of college and into a position without a lick of hard knocks or humbling pragmatic necessity to be his guide?  He's the guy who's got the whole business figured out because he read a book about it, or the gal who thinks raising great kids is no harder than summarizing the mistakes of others.  And Barack Obama fits this stereotype to a perfect T.

He's 47 years old, but has spent the bulk of his adult life either coddled in an out-of-touch academia or perennially running for one office after another.  He has not even had to stare down or discipline teenage children, for goodness' sake. 

Yet, he's got it all figured out, down to the nuts and bolts of exactly why the rest of us "bitter" folks "cling to" our "religions and our guns."  His two books are little more than summations of what other people think, their motivations and their difficulties.  Reading his two autobiographical books leaves one with the uneasy impression that although Obama thinks he knows everything there is to know about us, he has yet to even figure out himself. 

So, this is the man who has all of life and everything about American politics so well mastered, that he thinks he is ready to be President?

The vast majority of American voters are over 30, and in the voting booth, a candidate gets no extra points for excitement.  No matter how thrilled some will be to vote for Barack Obama, their votes will count not one whit more than the old-fashioned, responsible votes cast for John McCain.

We've already witnessed Obama's highly fortuitous, completely unpredictable rise. 

I'm betting we may also witness his fall before November 4th, and that his fall from grace will be every bit as phenomenal as was his rise.

Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  She welcomes your comments at

The Feminine Touch Helps John McCain: First women on the trail. By Kathryn Jean Lopez


June 23, 2008, 4:00 a.m.

Editor’s note: This column is available exclusively through United Media. For permission to reprint or excerpt this copyrighted material, please contact: Carmen Puello at

If you’re looking for a First Lady, you’ve got one in Cindy McCain. John McCain would be well-served by having his wife take a more visible — and audible — role on the campaign trail.

Without the red carpet, pre-show, New York Times front-pager afforded Michelle Obama when she recently co-hosted The View — and without buying into false grievances — McCain demonstrates that she understands the national-security stakes in this election.

In an interview with Kate Snow on ABC’s Good Morning America, Cindy McCain sent a direct, if understated, signal on that score. While the Democratic campaign sends out Mrs. Obama in pretty White House/Black Market dresses hoping to style their way into the Oval Office, Mrs. McCain offers substance that highlights the differences between the two choices this November.

During the ABC interview, the wife of the Republican presidential nominee gave a real answer when asked why women should vote for her husband — an answer devoid of the usual silly-girl gender politics that pretends women look for something wholly different in the voting booth than men. Mrs. McCain said of her husband: “Supporting our troops the way he does, supporting our young men and women right now who are serving so gallantly is very pro-woman, because every mother, every wife, sister, aunt feels the way I have felt.” She continued, “The things that he does doesn’t make him any more pro-woman, pro-man, pro-anti-anything. He is about America, making America strong.”

Notably, though, the interview was spun much differently than it actually proceeded. “Cindy McCain Presses Obama on Patriotism” proclaimed. Mrs. McCain did no such thing. She respectfully presented her preferences and offered that there are differences between the two candidates. But the prospect of a catfight or a Republican questioning a Democrat’s patriotism was just way too tempting a trope — even if it’s fiction.

With two sons who have followed in the McCain military tradition — one of them having served in Iraq Mrs. McCain has absolutely no interest in playing political patriot games. To the contrary, as a military mother and wife, she has an opportunity and feels a responsibility to increase our awareness of and appreciation for those who serve. It’s a role she’s ready for. In an interview with her last month, McCain told me “I’m not any different than any other mother, father, family member around the country with children in the service. I feel the same way. I know how they feel, and so in that respect I’m absolutely no different. Each day I’m so deeply proud of their service and deeply honored that our children would do this, that they’d commit a part of their lives to serving their country. So I’m like everybody else. We’re all in this together and we feel exactly the same way.”

When Mrs. Obama made her infamous remarks at a Wisconsin rally earlier this year that “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change,” McCain did, appropriately and subtly respond. She said, “I’m proud of my country, I don’t know if you heard those words earlier. . . . I’m very proud of my country.” Still, those who are hoping to witness a catfight over patriotism may be disappointed.

What you will see, though, is clarification on the part of Mrs. McCain, and a continued softening of Mrs. Obama’s negativity. Michelle Obama started that softening with her appearance on The View, where she talked about very little of substance (an approach the show invites by its very nature). But McCain’s family circumstances make it impossible for her not to focus on the war, and what we owe our men and women in uniform, in her interviews: “I want a leader who will bring them home with dignity.”

The Good Morning America interview was filmed in Vietnam, where John McCain was once held and tortured as prisoner of war. But Mrs. McCain was there with Operation Smile, a medical mission that helps impoverished children with facial deformities. Her service for Operation Smile is the work she loves most — the children she meets serving that nonprofit, she says, remind her of her adoptive daughter, born in Bangladesh with a severe cleft palate. The McCains brought Bridget home as a baby from one of Mother Teresa’s orphanages in 1993.

None of the people campaigning for the White House are perfect. All of them are impressive. They all have stories to tell. How they tell those stories, what they choose to tell us, help in the decision-making process.

The wives aren’t running for president, they won’t be on the ticket, but their priorities are insights into the First Family, and what the candidates are really like. I know I’d like to hear Michelle Obama talk about why Rev. Jeremiah Wright was someone she thought appropriate to have her daughters listening to, why she was drawn to him, how he might have affected her husband’s thinking and political maturity. There’s a lot we don’t know about Barack Obama — a political novice compared to John McCain. But Mrs. Obama’s public statements help make the picture of her husband more complete.

So, too, does Cindy McCain’s public life reveal what a McCain White House might be like. “
I do the things that are important to me,” Mrs. McCain told Kate Snow. So often when we hear her talk that means letting our troops on the frontlines and their families be heard over the din of Democratic defeatism. Keep talking, Mrs. McCain — they’re important to us, too. 

—  Kathryn Jean Lopezis the editor of National Review Online.

© 2008, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

McCain's Experience Shows Through


By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Election '08: Russia's brutal invasion of Georgia caught America off guard. But it did give voters an idea of what to expect from a President McCain or a President Obama, and right now the differences are stark.

Read More: Election 2008 | Europe & Central Asia

John McCain understood just what was happening and called it right on the first shot.

"Russian military forces crossed an internationally recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia," he said as the news broke. "The very existence of independent Georgia — and the survival of democratically elected government — are at stake."

He was blasted by pundits as being too extreme, but events now show he was right. McCain grasped the regional implications, too.

"Russia has used violence against Georgia to send a signal to any country that chooses to associate with the West and aspire to our shared political and economic values," he said.

As he spoke, tiny Estonia and weak Ukraine began efforts to aid Georgia. Western Europe's greater powers wrung their hands.

McCain also comprehended what the attack meant for U.S. influence in the world — the specter of an ally bleeding while friend and foe alike eyed our response.

"Russian aggression against Georgia is both a matter of urgent moral and strategic importance" to the U.S., he said. He masterfully warned Russia off the cuff of specific consequences if it didn't leave — a United Nations Security Council condemnation even if Russia vetoes it; an emergency NATO session for a peacekeeping force, and a potential end to Russia's NATO partnership; a G-7 meeting that could kick Russia out; and beefed up Eastern European defenses.

In contrast, Barack Obama was all over the map, first equivocating Georgia and Russia as equally at fault and calling like a tired parent for all sides to just stop, making no moral distinction between an invader state and a nation invaded.

"Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint and avoid escalation into a full scale war," he said. It was a call for peace at any price, and implied that if Georgia should take exception to a foreign invasion, its self-defense was culpable. Jimmy Carter would be so proud.

Obama then lazily called on the U.N. to take care of the problem, which ignores the U.N.'s long record of inaction. All the same, turning it over to the U.N. conveniently extricates the U.S. from any responsibility to an ally and shields Obama from peace lobby criticism.

Obama then shifted to a slightly tougher line with more U.N. involvement, easily done with 300 foreign policy advisers, apparently including Hollywood actor George Clooney.

Obviously, one candidate has a superior sense of America's strategic interests and the emerging threats over the other, and Russia's invasion of Georgia has laid it out starkly.

McCain has a consistently clear reading on America's role in the world. He's seen war up close in Vietnam, and knows the mentality of tyrants and thugs. He also has focused on foreign affairs for decades, helping found Ronald Reagan's International Republican Institute in 1983, which, along with the National Democratic Institute, has attempted to spread democracy through the world. It's not surprising that he calls for a league of democracies to replace the stagnant U.N. and ineffective multilateral organizations.

McCain has been calling Russian intentions right since 1999, when he warned that Vladimir Putin was bad news and said Russia's strike at Chechnya would in time spread to Georgia.

It was later echoed in his defiant support of the surge in Iraq, which challenged conventional wisdom at the time but has since brought America a real victory in a long war.

It was also there in 1994, when the former POW defied Republicans to urge the normalization of trade relations with Vietnam, giving President Clinton, a draft dodger, crucial legislative cover to lift the embargo. Events show he provided America with a vital partner and emerging ally to counter the growing power of China in Southeast Asia. McCain cited that strategic picture in 1994.

In 1988, he was one of the loudest advocates for Reagan's missile shield in Europe, bluntly saying that supporters of what was then derisively called "Star Wars" "believe in protecting our security," while "opponents believe in undermining our security." Today, with military tests successfully knocking missiles out of the sky, the wisdom of that is obvious, too.

All of this shows that McCain is rapidly emerging as the 3 a.m. president.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mich. AG: Detroit mayor violated bail terms again

Mich. AG: Detroit mayor violated bail terms again

By ED WHITE, Associated Press Writer
29 minutes ago

A prosecutor on Monday accused Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of violating his bond in an assault case by spending time over the weekend with his sister, one of 11 witnesses listed by authorities.

Kilpatrick and Ayanna Kilpatrick were together at their mother's house Saturday, a day after he was released from jail for violating bond in a separate perjury case, said Doug Baker of the Michigan attorney general's office.

The mayor is charged with assaulting two investigators who were trying to deliver a subpoena at his sister's house in July in the perjury case.

In a court filing, Baker said the mayor had been ordered to have no contact with witnesses.

Kilpatrick's defense team, however, believes the mayor is not in trouble. Attorney Jim Thomas said Magistrate Renee McDuffee clarified Friday that Kilpatrick could have contact with his sister.

In a statement, Kilpatrick spokesman Marcus Reese accused state Attorney General Mike Cox, a Republican, of trying to score political points with the latest filing against the embattled Democratic mayor.

District Judge Ronald Giles will hold a hearing on the matter on Tuesday.

Giles is the judge who sent Kilpatrick to jail Thursday for violating his bond conditions in a perjury case involving Kilpatrick and a former top aide. The mayor traveled to Windsor, Ontario, for city business July 23 without first notifying authorities.

Baker's filing asked the court to look at what happened and amend the terms of Kilpatrick's bond. The document doesn't mention any possible changes, and Baker left court without speaking to reporters.

Kilpatrick was released Friday after a higher court, acting on an appeal, set his bond at $50,000.

Baker referred to the perjury case by saying the mayor has "demonstrated an inability to adhere to reasonable bond conditions."

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy confirmed reports that she met last week with community leaders, who are encouraging her to end the perjury case with a plea bargain.

Worthy, an elected official, defended her attendance at the meeting, saying it was an opportunity to listen to constituents. She declined to comment on any deal with Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, were charged in March with perjury, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office. They are to be arraigned Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court.

Prosecutors say text messages contradict their denial of an affair, a key point in a trial involving a former deputy police chief who claimed he was illegally fired.

Kilpatrick is the son of U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Bill's Comment: Whether or not there is political motivation behind this, it is another example of a high-profiled politician thinking that he is above the law.

Late Bill Payers Bullied By Debt Collectors

Late Bill Payers Bullied By Debt Collectors

Monday, August 11, 2008 - Millennium Radio

New Jerseyans waist deep in debt amid the credit crisis and economic downturn, are suffering at the hands of debt collection bullies. Know your rights! Just because you're late paying your bills, doesn't mean they can harass you.

Relentless collectors that call all night and day, pretending to be your friend, using obscene language and even calling you at work are violating New Jersey's criminal code. Flemington Attorney Bill Wolfson says if you want debt collectors to stop, write them a letter and tell them to do so. If they violate the fair debt collections act, there's a civil penalty that can be made payable to you if you take it that far...

"The collector's employer can also be assessed legal fees money damages or even punitive damages for the type of emotional distress it tends to cause some people." Wolfson says.

He says many people fall victim to debt collection bullies thinking they can be prosecuted for not paying up, but that too is a scare tactic. Log onto to learn more about your rights.

By: Racquel Williams

(Copyright 2007 by Millennium Radio Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.)

VOIGHT: My concerns for America: Obama sowing socialist seeds in young people


Monday, July 28, 2008


We, as parents, are well aware of the importance of our teachers who teach and program our children. We also know how important it is for our children to play with good-thinking children growing up.

Sen. Barack Obama has grown up with the teaching of very angry, militant white and black people: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, William Ayers and Rev. Michael Pfleger. We cannot say we are not affected by teachers who are militant and angry. We know too well that we become like them, and Mr. Obama will run this country in their mindset.

The Democratic Party, in its quest for power, has managed a propaganda campaign with subliminal messages, creating a God-like figure in a man who falls short in every way. It seems to me that if Mr. Obama wins the presidential election, then Messrs. Farrakhan, Wright, Ayers and Pfleger will gain power for their need to demoralize this country and help create a socialist America.

The Democrats have targeted young people, knowing how easy it is to bring forth whatever is needed to program their minds. I know this process well. I was caught up in the hysteria during the Vietnam era, which was brought about through Marxist propaganda underlying the so-called peace movement. The radicals of that era were successful in giving the communists power to bring forth the killing fields and slaughter 2.5 million people in Cambodia and South Vietnam. Did they stop the war, or did they bring the war to those innocent people? In the end, they turned their backs on all the horror and suffering they helped create and walked away.

Those same leaders who were in the streets in the '60s are very powerful today in their work to bring down the Iraq war and to attack our president, and they have found their way into our schools. William Ayers is a good example of that.

Thank God, today, we have a strong generation of young soldiers who know exactly who they are and what they must do to protect our freedom and our democracy. And we have the leadership of Gen. David Petraeus, who has brought hope and stability to Iraq and prevented the terrorists from establishing a base in that country. Our soldiers are lifting us to an example of patriotism at a time when we've almost forgotten who we are and what is at stake.

If Mr. Obama had his way, he would have pulled our troops from Iraq years ago and initiated an unprecedented bloodbath, turning over that country to the barbarianism of our enemies. With what he has openly stated about his plans for our military, and his lack of understanding about the true nature of our enemies, there's not a cell in my body that can accept the idea that Mr. Obama can keep us safe from the terrorists around the world, and from Iran, which is making great strides toward getting the atomic bomb. And while a misleading portrait of Mr. Obama is being perpetrated by a media controlled by the Democrats, the Obama camp has sent out people to attack the greatness of Sen. John McCain, whose suffering and courage in a Hanoi prison camp is an American legend.

Gen. Wesley Clark, who himself has shame upon him, having been relieved of his command, has done their bidding and become a lying fool in his need to demean a fellow soldier and a true hero.

This is a perilous time, and more than ever, the world needs a united and strong America. If, God forbid, we live to see Mr. Obama president, we will live through a socialist era that America has not seen before, and our country will be weakened in every way.

Jon Voight is an Academy Award-winning actor who is well-known for his humanitarian work.

Obituary - Harrigan



Burlington, NJ resident

Alice Harrigan (nee Riggins), age 87, passed away on August 7, 2008 at the Masonic Home of Burlington, NJ. She was formerly of Cramer Hill, Camden, NJ.

Beloved wife of the late Robert G. Harrigan. Dear mother of Alice (David) Sinclair and Robert W. (Karen) Harrigan. She is also survived by four grandchildren: Brian, Larry, Katie and Ellen; six great grandchildren; a sister, Marion Bejster and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Mrs. Harrigan was active in the PTA of H.C. Sharp School, Cramer Hill and a longtime volunteer with the American Red Cross.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend her Funeral Service: Tuesday, 11 AM at the FOSTER-WARNE FUNERAL HOME, Haddon and Lees Aves., Collingswood, NJ. Interment: Arlington Cemetery, Pennsauken, NJ. Friends may visit with the family Tuesday, 10 to 11 AM at the funeral home.

The family request in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in her memory to the Masonic Home, 902 Jacksonville Rd., Burlington, NJ 08016.

August 11, 2008 12:00 AM

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Singer, songwriter Isaac Hayes dies at age 65

Singer, songwriter Isaac Hayes dies at age 65

40 minutes ago

Isaac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose relentless "Theme From Shaft" won Academy and Grammy awards, died Sunday afternoon, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said. He was 65.

A family member found him unresponsive near a treadmill and he was pronounced dead an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, according to the sheriff's office. The cause of death was not immediately known.

In the early 1970s, Hayes laid the groundwork for disco, for what became known as urban-contemporary music and for romantic crooners like Barry White. And he was rapping before there was rap.

His career hit another high in 1997 when he became the voice of Chef, the sensible school cook and devoted ladies man on the animated TV show "South Park."

Steve Shular, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, said authorities received a 911 call after Hayes' wife and young son and his wife's cousin returned home from the grocery store and found him collapsed in a downstairs bedroom. A sheriff's deputy administered CPR until paramedics arrived.

"The treadmill was running but he was unresponsive lying on the floor," Shular said.

The album "Hot Buttered Soul" made Hayes a star in 1969. His shaven head, gold chains and sunglasses gave him a compelling visual image.

"Hot Buttered Soul" was groundbreaking in several ways: He sang in a "cool" style unlike the usual histrionics of big-time soul singers. He prefaced the song with "raps," and the numbers ran longer than three minutes with lush arrangements.

"Jocks would play it at night," Hayes recalled in a 1999 Associated Press interview. "They could go to the bathroom, they could get a sandwich, or whatever."

Next came "Theme From Shaft," a No. 1 hit in 1971 from the film "Shaft" starring Richard Roundtree.

"That was like the shot heard round the world," Hayes said in the 1999 interview.

At the Oscar ceremony in 1972, Hayes performed the song wearing an eye-popping amount of gold and received a standing ovation. TV Guide later chose it as No. 18 in its list of television's 25 most memorable moments. He won an Academy Award for the song and was nominated for another one for the score. The song and score also won him two Grammys.

"The rappers have gone in and created a lot of hit music based upon my influence," he said. "And they'll tell you if you ask."

Hayes was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

"I knew nothing about the business, or trends and things like that," he said. "I think it was a matter of timing. I didn't know what was unfolding."

A self-taught musician, he was hired in 1964 by Stax Records of Memphis as a backup pianist, working as a session musician for Otis Redding and others. He also played saxophone.

He began writing songs, establishing a songwriting partnership with David Porter, and in the 1960s they wrote such hits for Sam and Dave as "Hold On, I'm Coming" and "Soul Man."

All this led to his recording contract.

In 1972, he won another Grammy for his album "Black Moses" and earned a nickname he reluctantly embraced. Hayes composed film scores for "Tough Guys" and "Truck Turner" besides "Shaft." He also did the song "Two Cool Guys" on the "Beavis and Butt-Head Do America" movie soundtrack in 1996.

Additionally, he was the voice of Nickelodeon's "Nick at Nite" and had radio shows in New York City (1996 to 2002) and then in Memphis.

He was in several movies, including "It Could Happen to You" with Nicolas Cage, "Ninth Street" with Martin Sheen, "Reindeer Games" starring Ben Affleck and the blaxploitation parody "I'm Gonna Git You, Sucka."

In the 1999 interview, Hayes described the South Park cook as "a person that speaks his mind; he's sensitive enough to care for children; he's wise enough to not be put into the 'whack' category like everybody else in town — and he l-o-o-o-o-ves the ladies."

But Hayes angrily quit the show in 2006 after an episode mocked his Scientology religion. "There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins," he said.

Co-creator creators Matt Stone responded that Hayes "has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians." A subsequent episode of the show seemingly killed off the Chef character.

Hayes was born in 1942 in a tin shack in Covington, Tenn., about 40 miles north of Memphis. He was raised by his maternal grandparents after his mother died and his father took off when he was 1 1/2. The family moved to Memphis when he was 6.

Hayes wanted to be a doctor, but got redirected when he won a talent contest in ninth grade by singing Nat King Cole's "Looking Back."

He held down various low-paying jobs, including shining shoes on the legendary Beale Street in Memphis. He also played gigs in rural Southern juke joints where at times he had to hit the floor because someone began shooting.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Pentagon Papers defendant Anthony Russo dies at 71

Pentagon Papers defendant Anthony Russo dies at 71

1 hour, 58 minutes ago

Anthony J. Russo, a researcher who helped leak the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers to the media and prompted wider public questioning of the war, has died, police said.

Russo, 71, died in his native Suffolk on Wednesday, police records technician Susan Hart said Sunday. The cause of death was not immediately made public.

The case that became known as the Pentagon Papers helped put the Vietnam War on trial.

It began when Daniel Ellsberg, a top military analyst disillusioned with American policy, decided to release a top-secret, 47-volume Defense Department study of the U.S. role in Indochina over three decades. Russo helped him reproduce and distribute copies of the study.

Ellsberg first offered the study to several members of Congress and government officials before deciding to leak it to newspapers. His action was branded by President Richard Nixon as treason.

The government initially tried to stop publication of the Pentagon Papers, first in The New York Times and then in The Washington Post, prompting a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision barring prior restraint of free expression.

Ellsberg and Russo were subsequently charged with espionage, theft and conspiracy for the leak. As co-defendants, they subsequently went on trial in Los Angeles, where the papers had been copied.

But in 1973, a federal judge dismissed the case, ruling that the government was guilty of misconduct, including a break-in at the office of Ellsberg's Beverly Hills psychiatrist denounced as having been orchestrated by White House officials seeking to discredit him.

The Times reported on its Web site Sunday that Russo "chafed being called the 'Xerox aide'" because of his long nights spent copying and reproducing the classified study's thousands of pages.

Russo, a Rand Corp. researcher, visited Vietnam for a study involving interrogating Viet Cong prisoners. He came back radicalized.

"I knew what I was told about the war was totally false," he said.

Ellsberg met Russo in Saigon in 1965 and they were both troubled by what they saw during their research there.

"In 1968 I came back and Dan was across the hall at Rand," Russo recalled. "He had been a total hawk in Vietnam. But everything about him seemed shattered. It was as if he was trying to grow himself back. He was going through a metamorphosis. ... He was very tortured. There was no way he could justify the war anymore."

Ellsberg went on to become an anti-war icon. Russo, retired as a researcher for Los Angeles County, subsequently devoted himself to anti-nuclear issues and led Persian Gulf War protests.

Ellsberg mourned Russo's death in a posting on an anti-war blog linked to his official Web site. He called him a courageous collaborator.

"I knew that he was the one person with the combination of guts and passionate concern about the war who would take the risk of helping me," Ellsberg wrote.

It was not immediately known if Russo had any survivors. Funeral arrangements were unknown.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.