Either Way John McCain Was Going To Blast Barack Obama Over Troops

Thanks to Business Week  and the Progressive Politics Examinerwe know that John McCain was going to throw a fit over Barack Obama and injured soldiers in Germany.  If Obama visited the soldiers or not, McCain would bitch.   Does John think a winning race is hatched by such rot?

Yesterday the Washington Post refutedthe McCain campaign ad asserting Barack Obama chose to skip visiting wounded U.S. troops in Germany when the Pentagon refused to allow media photographers to record the event.

Later in the day, the McCain campaign admitted the ad was incorrect and, in the straight talking way the Senator is so famous, blamed the press for the error. 

Today, Business Week reportsthe McCain campaign was poised to produce a negative ad  whether Obama had visited the troops or not.

What the McCain campaign doesn’t want people to know, according to one GOP strategist I spoke with over the weekend, is that they had an ad ready to go if Obama had visited the wounded troops saying that Obama was…wait for it…using wounded troops as campaign props. So, no matter which way Obama turned, McCain had an Obama bashing ad ready to launch. I guess that’s political hardball. But another word for it is the one word that most politicians are loathe to use about their opponents—a lie.  

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John McCain Not The Man He Used To Be

There are many articles as of late about the changed nature of John McCain as he runs for President in 2008.  Gone are the fun days of the ‘Straight Talk Express’ that made much news and created hope in 2000.  The latest article to make the point.

I’ve spent three days on the road with McCain this week, and except for a couple of public town-hall meetings, where flashes of his old wit and friskiness shone through, I’ve barely clapped eyes on him. The forward compartments of his charter 737—his personal seating area in the front, and the “Straight Talk” suite in the middle—are blocked off from the press section in the rear by dark brown curtains. And as soon after takeoff as F.A.A. rules allow, McCain aides pull the drapes tight, so tight that his press secretary, Brooke Buchanan, spent several frustrated minutes this week fiddling in vain with one that drooped ever so slightly off its last hook, leaving a risky sliver of daylight between McCain’s compartment and the cage of the media beast he once not only fed, but tamed.

McCain used to call the press “my base,” but if he came back to shoot the breeze with the reporters who cover him now, he’d face a million unhelpful questions that would shake him off his message of the day: Why has Barack Obama got his goat? What does he think of the indictment of Senator Ted Stevens, a Republican colleague with whom he has often tangled, on seven counts related to the kind of sloppy pork-barrel politics for which McCain has long had contempt? Does he worry that the biopsy of what turned out to be a benign little bit of his cheek this week will make voters recall that he is a cancer survivor, and about to turn 72 years old? How does he square his current support for offshore oil-drilling with his past opposition to it, and doesn’t he risk alienating the independent and swing voters who have been the mother’s milk of his political life?Paris Hilton as a breathy-voiced female narrator mocks Obama’s celebrity and suggests he’s unqualified to lead. It’s a far cry from when I last spent quality airtime with McCain, in the fall of 2006, as we logged thousands of miles over several days in small planes, often with no traveling companions but each other. No topic was off-limits, and virtually no answer was off the record.

So instead, McCain communicates in set-piece speeches and town halls, in local interviews with reporters from Reno and Kansas City, and in a new national TV ad that more or less compares Obama to Britney Spears and

Now the man who plays McCain’s role on McCain’s plane is Steve Dupree, a smart and snappy former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party who supported him when no almost one else did and has been traveling with him since January as a kind of resident grownup, friend, and foil in a world in which McCain is more than 40 years older than most of the young press corps that covers him. It was Dupree this week who came barreling into the press section tossing a couple of dozen beach balls emblazoned, “McCain For President: Another Day at the Beach,” and brandishing a bright yellow T-shirt that read, “McCain Press Shop: Making Lemonade from Lemons.”

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Madison Daylily-O-Rama

Hard to think about politics today when the world is so full of color, and it all is just yearning to be viewed so as to dazzle the eyes of those who pay attention.  Even the little ant in the lower left corner of the first daylily wanted a close-up look.  Though I was hoping the bumblebee that was in the bloom would have stayed for the picture.  (Has anyone else noticed that there are so many bumblebees this summer in the area?  I love them, and think their numbers are higher this year.  Great!)

As a boy I only knew one type of daylily, the beautiful yellow ones that came each summer in the large patch along the white garden fence in my mom’s flower bed.  However the wide variety that exists is a gardener’s delight.  The one below with crimped edges is spectacular.

The harsh reality is that the bloom is only here for one day, and so they need to viewed and admired while they are in their glory.

The ones above seem like best friends in the garden. 

I love how the colors are sharp and yet combine so nicely.

So whatever you are doing take a moment to walk and enjoy the colors of summer….so many only last for a day.


These yellow daylilies are almost like a pinwheel.

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Another Person Fighting To Save Public Access Channels On Charter Cable

A reader, John Foust,  who left a comment on my blog, also has a wonderful post of his own about Charter Communications, and the need to prevent Charter from moving public access channels to the digital tier of their programming.

In part Foust writes…..

Charter says they needed to perform this “digital orthodontia” to create more spaces of bandwidth in the higher channel ranges so they can offer more HD channels (at an extra cost) in order to better compete with satellite. They’re not just dropping the old analog channel spaces, though. In Madison, for example, the government channel has been on channel 12 for almost 35 years. It will be replaced with ONTV4U, an informercial channel.  (My emphasis)

Charter’s explanation is based on the Act 42 loophole that these channels remain available on “basic cable” and “expanded basic” levels of service – never mind that new equipment is required for most analog customers. Although the channels are not encrypted or otherwise blocked, and are available to all customers, you’ll generally need a converter box or a newer TV to watch your local PEG channels. If you watch TV via the tuner in your VCR, you’ll need a converter box. Some new mid-priced televisions (generally >$400) and a few new DVD recorders (>$200) include QAM tuners that can view the new digital channels without a converter box. If you already have digital service and are watching HBO in the living room, but have other analog TVs in the house without converter boxes, you’ll need to rent converter boxes for those other TVs now, too, if you want to watch the Senate and Book TV coverage on C-SPAN 2, or the live events and historical programming on C-SPAN 3, the statewide programming on WisconsinEye or the local coverage from your community’s PEG channels.

The second half of the loophole is that Act 42 allows them to move PEG channels to any tier subscribed to by more than 50% of customers. Although it may be true that statewide Charter has about 55% of customers on digital, it is not true community-by-community, and the law isn’t clear in that phrase. There are many rural communities where the digital customers are a distinct minority, so most customers will lose these channels. The law was drafted by AT&T’s lobbyists, so it has weak spots.

Our state PEG channels serve an important role in informing the public about the affairs of local government, school boards, civic groups and free expression. The move to digital means these channels will lose viewers, as the frugal households on basic and expanded basic cable will no longer be able to watch without additional expense. We’ll lose the universal coverage for local emergency management banners. Here in Jefferson, where about 75% of the homes have Charter, our local access channel became very valuable during the recent flooding. Our city ran daily updates, on the hour, to keep the public informed of road closings and other dangers.

The harm is not only to households. Charter delivers cable to 1,300 school buildings in Wisconsin. Many of these school districts operate their own local educational channels to show students the morning announcements, plays, sports and message slideshows. All those televisions on carts in classrooms – they’re most likely analog, not digital. On the first day of school, teachers and principals will be surprised that they can no longer view the channels that they themselves produce. These days, many schools deliver the morning announcements on their PEG channel. Let’s hope the answer is not renting a Charter converter box for every classroom, at $5 a month.

Who can change this? When Gov. Doyle signed Act 42, he urged legislators to consider remedial legislation to patch the flaws. Call your Assembly and Senate reps. Tell your council members. Alert your schools. Write to jim.rabbitt@datcp.state.wi.us at the Dept. of Consumer Protection.WISC-TV story, Charter said “they always make adjustments based on customer feedback, and if this switch goes forward and people don’t like it, it could potentially be changed back.”

And call Charter. The move doesn’t have to happen. In a recent

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House Of Representatives Finally Apologizes For Slavery

It is long overdue.

When a child commits an act that demands thoughtful reflection, and an apology, a parent would be remiss if not making sure that an apology was made.  Nations are the same, and so the House of Representative is to be applauded for the action it took on Tuesday by passing a resolution apologizing for slavery and ‘Jim Crow’ laws.  While some will complain about this matter, it needs only to be viewed from the sources that the complaints arise.  The only problem with this resolution is that it did not happen decades ago.

CNN reports.

The nonbinding resolution, which passed on a voice vote, was introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen, a white lawmaker who represents a majority black district in Memphis, Tennessee.

While many states have apologized for slavery, it is the first time a branch of the federal government has done so, an aide to Cohen said.

In passing the resolution, the House also acknowledged the “injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow.”

“Jim Crow,” or Jim Crow laws, were state and local laws enacted mostly in the Southern and border states of the United States between the 1870s and 1965, when African-Americans were denied the right to vote and other civil liberties and were legally segregated from whites.

It is not the first time lawmakers have apologized to an ethnic group for injustices.

In April, the Senate passed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, that apologized to Native Americans for “the many instances of violence, maltreatment and neglect.”

In 1993 the Senate also passed a resolution apologizing for the “illegal overthrow” of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893.

In 1988, Congress passed and President Reagan signed an act apologizing to the 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were held in detention camps during World War II. The 60,000 detainees who were alive at the time each received $20,000 from the government

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Update On “Chicago Eddie Schwartz”

Read about the death of Eddie Scwartz here.  Click link to read.

ALSOHear 2006 interview with Eddie Schwartz conducted by Dean Richards.

One of the amazing personalities and big hearts in the world of Chicago radio is that of Eddie Schwartz.  I fondly recall him on WIND, and then on WGN during my teenage years and beyond.  I know I am not the only one in Wisconsin who once spent many hours listening to his program.  If you are like me you can still hum the tune to his show opening.  And you will never forget the hours he spent promoting issues for firefighters, or raising money for food drives in Chicago.  His health issues has sidelined him from the world, and he now is in a nursing home.  But as it was reported this morning on WGN News there is a way to make contact with him, and send warm wishes.

Send your cards to:

Eddie Schwartz
In Care Of Dean Richards
WGN Television
2501 West Bradley Place
Chicago, Illinois

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Republican Senator Ted Stevens Indicted….Election Year Scandal


One had to know this was coming sooner or later.  Republican Ted Stevens, currently the longest serving GOP Senator, is also one of the sleaziest on Capitol Hill.  This story will not help the Republicans this fall as they seek to stop the damage to their party in presidential and congressional elections.  For the rest of us the timing is perfect.

U.S. officials say the Justice Department has indicted Alaska Senator Ted Stevens on charges related to a long-running investigation of business dealings in Alaska.

The AP reports that Stevens took full advantage of his position.

From May 1999 to August 2007, prosecutors said Stevens concealed “his continuing receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of things of value from a private corporation.” The indictment released Tuesday said the items included: home improvements to his vacation him in Alaska, including a new first floor, garage, wraparound deck, plumbing, electrical wiring; as well as car exchanges, a Viking gas grill, furniture and tools. 

He will be indicted on seven counts of making false statements to federal investigators.

Federal agents had raided his home about a year ago, and the news today was all just a matter of time.  His actions for far too long have undermined the trust that the public should have in their government.  Conservatives who believe in law and order will have to agree with me.

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Evangelicals Warn John McCain About Mitt Romney

I love these type of stories, as they tell a great deal about the nature of the GOP, and who pulls the strings, or hopes to.

While I think that John McCain needs to roll the dice and make a gutsy VP selection to match the desire of the electorate for change, I do not think that Mitt Romney should be refused the nomination due to his religion.  Instead Romney should not be picked as VP because McCain needs something other than the traditional white conservative male. He needs a running mate more like Carly Fiorna, the former head of Hewlett-Packard Company.  She has truly been impressive this year as she speaks for McCain.  I think a nontraditional pick for McCain could prove to be the last chance he has to shake this race up, and perhaps even win.  Short of a stunning pick McCain will continue to look stale.

But the evangelicals who wield much clout in the GOP, though a diminished role this cycle, hope to send a message to McCain.

Prominent evangelical leaders are warning Sen. John McCain against picking former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as his running mate, saying their troops will abandon the Republican ticket on Election Day if that happens.

They say Mr. Romney lacks trust on issues such as outlawing abortion and opposing same-sex marriage and because he is a Mormon. Opposition is particularly powerful among those who supported former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in the Republican presidential primaries.

The Rev. Rob McCoy, pastor of Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, Calif., who speaks at evangelical events across the country, told The Washington Times, “I will vote for McCain unless he does one thing. You know what that is? If he puts Romney on the ticket as veep.

“It will alienate the entire evangelical community – 62 million self-professing evangelicals in this country, half of them registered to vote, are going to be deeply saddened,” Mr. McCoy added.

Mr. Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, was the favorite of evangelical voters in the Republican presidential nomination contest earlier this year and won more delegates per dollar spent than any other candidate in either party.

Other well-placed Christian conservatives say that although many evangelical leaders could accept and work for a McCain-Romney ticket, Mr. Huckabee’s supporters tend to be “rabid” in their views against Mr. Romney because of his faith: They do not regard Mormonism as a Christian denomination.

The McCain campaign will say officially only that the choice hasn’t been made and that the wealthy former governor of Massachusetts is just one of several options for the Republican ticket.

In conversations with The Times, several Republican officials close to the McCain campaign also played down anti-Romney sentiment among conservative evangelicals. They cited an online poll of evangelicals by 2000 presidential primary candidate Gary Bauer that found Mr. Romney is the top vice-presidential choice of born-again Christians.

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