May 2007 Archives

By now, most everyone knows about the record profits made by oil companies over the last few years. In the first quarter of this year Exxon-Mobil and Chevron-Texaco made $14 billion combined, while gas prices soared to their highest price in decades. Prices may soon jump to $4.00 a gallon in much of the country.

House Democrats have introduced a bill, H.R. 1252, which would make price gouging a federal crime punishable by 10 years in prison. MoveOn.org is asking its members to sign a petition in support of the bill and put an end to these outragous practices.

Over 155,000 people have already signed the petition today. Please join them here: Stop Price Gouging

Don Cheadle, actor and star in the incredible film Hotel Rwanda, speaks about the current genocide in Western Sudan's Darfur region:

Yesterday, this post on Daily Kos about the first presidential debates caught my eye:

Just what did the good ol' MSNBC boys ask Democratic candidates compared to Republican candidates?

Here then are the first three questions asked in each debate.

Senator Clinton, your party's leader in the United States Senate, Harry Reid, recently said the war in Iraq is lost. A letter to today's USA Today calls his comments "treasonous" and says if General Patton were alive today, Patton would "wipe his boots" with Senator Reid. Do you agree with the position of your leader in the Senate? In the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, just 22 percent believe this country is on the right track. Mayor Giuliani, how do we get back to Ronald Reagan's morning in America?

Okay, in round one, a Democratic leader is declared a treasonous weakling based on a misquote and ravings from a LTE. A former Republican leader is seen as the goal to which we should aspire. Certainly "fair and balanced" so far.

Senator Obama, you have called this war in Iraq, quote, "dumb," close quote. How do you square that position with those who have sacrificed so much? And why have you voted for appropriations for it in the past? Senator McCain, most of the public pessimism today has to do with Iraq. What would you need, as commander in chief, to win the war in Iraq?

In round two, a Democratic senator is shown to be a hypocrite who doesn't respect the troops, while a Republican senator is asked what he needs to dispel public gloom and seize victory. Nothing to see here.

Senator Edwards, you made a high-profile apology for your vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution. You have said, quote, "We need a leader who will be open and honest, who will tell the truth when they made a mistake." Was that not a direct shot at your opponent, Senator Clinton? Governor Thompson, if you're commander in chief and you want to win this war in Iraq, what do you need to do to win it?

And in round three, Democrats are invited to wallow in their past mistakes and take pot shots at each other, while Republicans are given another opportunity to win, Win, WIN! All good. Look for more of that "liberal media bias" at work in tonight's debate, as Republican candidates are forced to field tough choices between whether they think mom, apple pie, and Jesus are merely great, or really, really super cool.

It is astounding that a major media outlet like MSNBC can get away with this kind of hackery. This also gives even more illegitimacy to Democrats for not participating in Fox debates, which certainly would have had even more biased questions (if that's possible).

http://msnbcmedia2.msn.com/j/ap/69166a61-7cb0-4928-bf9c-ae7ca35a4292.widec.jpgSo far the 2008 presidential primaries are producing more cash, more
media attention then any other primary in history. But things could get far more interesting. Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator from Nebraska, has expressed interest in running as an independent. Although Chuck Hagel has a consistent Conservative record, he breaks with his party on his support for a withdrawal from Iraq. If Chuck Hagel runs an effective independent presidential campaign, it could spell doom for the republican prospect for the White House. Since all of the candidates running for the Republican nomination claim staunch support for the Iraq war, Hagel would effectively split Conservatives who still support the war with those who don't. Leading the running Democrat to an easier victory.


There are now rumours that Michael  Bloomberg, the Republican mayor of New York City, is also considering a run as an independent. I'm afraid this would hurt the Democratic candidate far more than the republican. Even though Bloomberg is officially a republican, in many ways he has governed in an out right liberal manner. He has raised taxes numerous times to counter a deficit, he spearheaded the New York city ban on trans fat in restaurants, and he has recently proposed a plan to cut green house gases by planting a million trees and tolling cars in the city. He is also pro choice, pro gun-control, and pro gay-marriage. It shouldn't be surprising then that he was in fact a lifelong Democrat until he ran for mayor. Bloomberg is very appealing to Democrats who are sick of party insiders. I, for instance, would have trouble voting for Hillary Clinton over Bloomberg. He is also worth billions, meaning he could outspend any candidate on the field without raising a single dollar.

Keep your eyes open and your seat belts fastened for it could get hectic!

Here's a scenario that would be amusing. The Democrats put up Hillary.
The Republicans Giuliani. And Bloomberg runs as an independent.

A recent Boston Globe article touts the potent power of a growing 18-24 year old voting bloc:

Spurred into action by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the war in Iraq, youths 18 to 24 years of age have dramatically accelerated their participation in politics, both at the ballot box and on college campuses. After a steady decline in youth voting since the close of the Vietnam War, young voter participation increased from 36 percent in 2000 to 47 percent in 2004, representing a huge jump. Analysts also project that the final statistics from 2006 will show it to be a record year for youth voting in a midterm congressional election.

Not only are the statistics pointing towards greater youth turnout in 2008, but these voters are also more likely to bring a progressive mindset into the polling booth:

Further, the current crop of young voters is trending more Democratic -- unlike the previous generation of youth -- giving the eventual Democratic nominee a key advantage in the general election, according to two independent surveys of young voters.

"We've got the potential for this to be like SDS on steroids," said John Della Volpe , director of polling at Harvard University's Institute of Politics, referring to the Vietnam-era Students for a Democratic Society.

Young people are driven by a strong moralistic streak -- not so much on conservative social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, but on matters such as poverty, climate change, and the genocide in Darfur, according to polling by the Institute of Politics, which has conducted an ongoing survey of young people since 2000.

Young voters favor Senator Barack Obama of Illinois among the Democratic contenders and Giuliani among the GOP candidates, according to the Institute of Politics survey. College supporters of both men cited a mutual desire to elect someone they said was not mired down in Washington politics and who could unite the country.

While the jump in young voters stands to have a big impact on both parties' primaries, Democrats are well positioned to benefit from the trend in the general election. Unlike the previous generation -- the voting patterns of which largely mirrored the electorate as a whole -- the current crop of young voters is increasingly Democratic, according to a survey of "Generation Next" by the Pew Research Center.

"This is the first time since the 1970s that young people have voted significantly differently than the rest of the country," favoring Democrats more heavily than the rest of the electorate, said Andrew Kohut , director of the nonpartisan Pew center. "I think it's the times. It's the war."

While final numbers have not been released, early data on spikes in regional voting indicate that young voters played a pivotal role in electing Democratic senators Jim Webb of Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana in 2006, victories that helped give Democrats control of the US Senate, Della Volpe said.

By only focusing on the presidential race, the article fails to recognize a key aspect of the broader potential effect of a strong young voting bloc next year: another major congressional tidal wave for Dems.

Maybe I'm a little over idealistic or out of touch with societal trends, but I think the younger generation in America is beginning to use the web to create global change with an altruistic spirit. I recently joined the daily email list of an organization based in Tennesse call Cool People Care, which aims to let people know about quick things they can do online every day to make a difference. Today's email directed me to an amazing organization call FreePledge.

Visit Youth Philanthropy Worldwide's store
Shop. Donate. Feel Good.
Through FreePledge, customers can make purcheses online at Amazon, Ebay, iTunes Music Store, Hotels.com, and over 100 other sites. With each purchase FreePlege donates a certain percentage of the amount to a non-profit of your choice. The best part is that the donation is completely free of charge to customer.

FreePlege was mentioned in a SF Chronicle article a few weeks ago, which led me to another online organization called Dotherightthing.com, set up to rate the "social performance" impact that different companies have on the world. The interesting thing about these organizations, as noted the the SF Chronicle article, is that they are all founded and run by young idealistic executives at major tech companies. They are not content simply with their own personal fortune, as has been the case with previous generations, they want to make a difference in the lives of others who are less fortunate.

These organizations fit it with a hope that I've always had, which is that the internet can be used for so much more than porn or myspace or videos of people singing badly. It can be used to connect people from across the globe to make our world a better place for everyone. There are already countless non-profits already established to deal with every issue imaginable, and now I believe the internet is beginning to give them the attention they need.

That's right, 38 seconds into the ad there is a brief clip of me say "we the people" in my living room. Check it out...

After months of steady gains, Barack Obama has finally topped Hillary Clinton in the reputable Rasmussen national poll for the Democratic nomination.


ClintonObamaEdwards
4/3030%32%17%
4/2332%32%17%
4/1632%30%16%
4/0934%29%15%

Former Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard Perle called former CIA Director George Tenet "sloppy by nature" and criticized his new book At the Center of the Storm. It's an interesting situation because neither man has much credibility with the public. Perle and the neo-cons have gone after every administration defector for years now, while Tenet is obviously trying to stir up buzz to increase his book sales. My question for Tenet is "where were you a year ago? Two years ago? Three years ago?" If he really believed that the Bush administration did such a terrible job in the lead up to war, then why didn't he say anything before it became politically popular and his book came out?

Iraq is like Vietnam, we could bomb every single city to ash and we still would not win. The notion that we can continue to point guns in their faces until they love us is an illustration which is costing our nation untold billions.