A number of you wrote in regarding Indiana's vote and the shennangians there. If you think there was tampering, pursue it. I don't necessarily think you are wrong. As C.I. pointed out, the mayor of Gary is a Barack supporter and his little stunts election night (refusing to foward the totals and then fowarding the Barack votes only) were designed to prevent Hillary from having the headline "Hillary wins Indidana." Instead it was "Barack Wins North Carloina, Inidian Still In Doubt." It was never in doubt (as C.I. told me that night so I could go to sleep because I was so nervous). That alone is a stain on the Obama campaign.
Hillary won. Do the totals look suspect to you? If so, call them out. I'm not going to and that's because I don't want (no one in the community wants) to be an idiot hate monger like Brad Blog and Mark Crispin Miller and John Nichols and all the other looneys whining over New Hampshire. With Indiana, the stunts the mayor of Gary pulled are a lot more concrete than anything the three men had on New Hampshire but don't hold your breath for them to call it out.
I'm not going to play sore loser. First of all, my candidate won Indiana. Second of all, I think it would look as ridiculous as Mark Crispin Miller did telling Scott Horton in Harper's that he knew KNEW New Hampshire was stolen.
If you only cry foul when it's your candidate, you look like an idiot. Mark Crispin Miller, unless he calls out the stunts in Indiana, is nothing but an idiot. I'm glad his parents were able to get him a university job. At least it will keep food on his table.
Other big thing is why I didn't link to this or that within the community? The most requested link in the e-mails I was able to read was Ava and C.I.'s "Dear Betsy Reed." That is incredible. Everything they write is incredible. If we could all write on their level, we'd all be great writers and most of us don't feel we are. But, as with reading e-mails, I just haven't had the time. My posts have been about the campaign trail.
And loving Indiana which I did and do. Next year, I'll be going back to just visit. That is a wonderful state full of amazing people. I thank everyone who I met there.
But just so people don't keep writing asking, "Are you mad at ___?" I'm not mad at any of them. I love them all.
The Common Ills -- C.I. started this community, C.I. built this community. I was there near the start. I still marvel over what C.I. did. I still marvel over all the things C.I. is able to write. And write well. C.I. would be the standard for all of us but we know we'd never measure up.
Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude -- Rebecca. What can you say about Rebecca but she's fierce. She's many things, but she is so fierce. Yazz, a community member of many years, will tell you he used to razz on C.I. about the "in fairness" thing (C.I. really can see all sides of an issue) and Rebecca was just going to tell it from her view. And she was pissed and she upped the level community wide with her site. There's nobody like her.
Third Estate Sunday Review -- Confession (that the Third gang knows), I didn't care for Third much when it started. That's because I was wanting C.I. writing and C.I. working on Third meant less at The Common Ills on the weekends. (It still means that.) They had to win me over and they did. I think it's a wonderful site. It's a weekly magazine, not a blog. You have group writing which used to be not so uncommon but we're all in the singular "I" world today, aren't we? What they achieved by group writing was including everyone. They are a diverse group and they have reflected that in their writing. I enjoyed the musical pieces early on and miss those but I still love it. (Yes, I participate now in the writing sessions but, late Sunday, I still read over the pieces and enjoy them.) Ava and C.I. What can you say? They are the two hardest hitting feminists online. And they changed Third. When they took over the TV reviews, they carved out not only a voice in those but also gave a real direction to Third. I won't link to it because I don't have time to look it up but in 2005, there was a "60s edition." It was solid. But reading it, Jim noted this in his note for that edition, it became obvious that Ava and C.I. were pushing the envelope. Jim and Ty will tell you, Ava and C.I. raised the bar and forced everyone else to dig even deeper. In the 60s edition, Ava and C.I. tackeled a Law and Order show. They wrote it as if they were watching it during the sixties, as if they were two teenagers in the sixties. It was magic. And as Jim pointed out, they all should have carried that out on all the features. It was still a great edition but they are the ones who raised the bar and everyone scrambles to catch up. The roundtables are a nightmare. Less so since Jim started working on making them shorter. But the roundtables are a treat to read and to participate in. I think the roundtables are now one of their calling cards as well. And they've always had hard hitting editorials and wonderful parodies. I know Wally and C.I. are talking about some stuff for this week. Minor tweaks to pieces. If we all just did Third, it would be amazing. Maybe if all the sites go dark in November, we can keep Third alive?
Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man -- Betty. Betty and Trina get less attention than anyone at other sites because they post once a week. Either Friday night or Saturday morning. And the rest of us have already posted. We all say, while working on Third, I'm going to highlight that Monday. Then Monday comes and we're scrambling. We put it off. Next thing you know the week's gone by and we never highlighted. Betty knows what she wants to do and has carried it off so very well (she would disagree). She is telling the story of Betinna. But the story of Betinna is the story of globalization. It is the story of uncaring rightist and thoughtless leftists. It is a very complex and challenging story and only if you reflect on Betinna's arc of growth throughout the three years of this online novel, do you get how hard each chapter is for Betty. She first of all has to do a stand-alone. You have to be able to enjoy and follow it just on that one chapter. But it also has to fit into the outline she works from. It's very difficult and I saulte her for pulling it off.
Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills) -- I'm such an old member of the community, I remember when Kat first showed up. Taking on the Disney Kids. Shooting straight while everyone else played dumb about music. She is an amazing musical critic. Her reviews have added a feminist voice to musical reviews that I haven't seen since Ann Powers stopped doing her columns. At her own site, she focuses on music and other things and puts into practice: "It is what it is." A motto so wonderful and right on that even Hillary's been known to say it.
Mikey Likes It! -- Mike and Elaine are not blog twins. They are a couple. Yes. But the blog twins were and are Rebecca and Mike. He is the yin to her yang or however it goes. Mike was pissed off, by the hideous BuzzFlash among others, and started his site. He's still angry and still funny. Mike can pick up what we wish we'd said, what we wished we'd noticed. Right now, he's focusing on Hillary's campaign -- as the bulk of us are -- and even there he finds a way to surprise.
Cedric's Big Mix -- Cedric. He started his blog on Blogdrive. It exists there now as a mirror site. He called it a "mix" because it was really going to be like "Highlights" is at Third. Then he got involved with his church in an outreach to a nursing home. I miss those posts. They were wonderful and go to his amazing depths. But I know they could be hard to write (such as when Vern died). Now he does joint-posts with Wally and I think the two are funnier together than solo.
Like Maria Said Paz -- Elaine we all knew (community members) due to the fact that she was writing for the gina & krista round-robin. Rebecca got her to fill in for her in the summer of 2005 while Rebecca was on vacation. Mike led the lobbying effort to get Elaine to do her own site. Elaine hates blogging. She thinks her writing is useless. The snapshot -- reposting it -- is really the only reason she continues to blog. She doesn't give herself enough credit. She's very talented and hits harder than she realizes. She is also frequently the leader online. She'll be on something before most of us note it or expanding on something C.I.'s mentioned but didn't have time to really go into. She and C.I. are so much alike it's shocking. As a general rule, if Elaine says something, C.I. agrees and vice versa. Not a little agree, full on agree. (She, C.I. and Rebecca are friends from college, for any who don't know that.)
The Daily Jot -- Wally. My hero. My hero before Indiana but my hero for sure now. If I was ever going to be attracted to a man, it would be Wally. (Don't fear for him, I'm not attracted to men.) His site went dark for a little over a week when the Senate confirmed Roberts or Alito. I forget which. He was in DC (with C.I. and I believe Ava and Kat) during that and it depressed him. Wally doesn't get depressed very often. He's an upbeat person who makes you feel good just to be around him. But when he gets depressed, he's sad. (Jess is that way too. Jess is also a very nice guy. I know him less well.) I always liked Wally but I have a whole new appreciation for him after three weeks of campaigning with him and having him show me and teach me how it's done. My hero.
Trina's Kitchen -- Trina who opens her home to me any weekend I visit. It's a wonderful home. But her kitchen really is the heart of her home. And she is amazing cook. She fixed something last month that amazed me. I asked her to show me and realized how much work she does at her site because she keeps it as basic as possible. She posts easy recipes and doesn't try to be snobby about it because her goal is to reach people who are afraid of cooking or nervous about it. She mixes in politics and reaches an audience that the rest of us never could.
Ruth's Report -- Ruth is the story of strength. I hestitate here because I'm not sure how much to write even though she's written about it herself. Her husband passed away. She closed down. They'd been married for over forty years. It was a very huge loss. Her family tried to get her back into the swing of life when she was in a severe depression, avoiding even the grocery store because someone would come up, weeks after, and say, "I'm so sorry about your husband" and she'd lose it. Her grandson Jayson came out as a young gay man one Sunday lunch and that was that. There was no more time to mourn. Her grandson was gay and her attitude was that he would face some obstacles and hatred for that and he needed his grandmother so she was going to be there. Shortly after that, her granddaughter Tracey talked her into writing for The Common Ills and she did covered radio for it. We all love Ruth and see in her our own strength.
And that's everyone. I'm not mad at any of them. I just have very little time these days.
Okay, this is Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: The Path Foward" (HillaryClinton.com) for the only candidate that can go up against John McCain in November and win:
If You Watch One Thing Today: On CNN yesterday, Howard Wolfson described the path forward. Watch here.Superdelegate Watch: Yesterday, Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina and Indiana Rep. Brad Ellsworth both announced their support for Hillary. Read more.
Previewing Today: Hillary hosts "Solutions for America" rallies in Charleston, WV, Sioux Falls, SD, and Central Point, OR.
I’ve Come Back: Last night, before "a crowd of 1,500 gathered at a 'Generations of Women for Hillary' event, Hillary said: "I've been counted out more than once. But thanks to all of you I've come back,....When I was counted out in New Hampshire, it was the women of New Hampshire who came back and said, 'No, she's not finished yet.' When I was counted out before Super Tuesday it was women from California to Massachusetts who came and said 'No, we're not finished yet.' When I was counted out before Ohio, before Indiana, we have always come back." Read more.
Shepherdstown, WV: Hillary spoke "before a charged and raucous crowd of about 350 people at Shepherd University" yesterday. At the event, Hillary said, "I'm staying in this race until there’s a nominee." Read more.
Making Her Presence Known in the Magic City (aka Billings, MT): "Montana for Hillary supporters opened their campaign office on Monday evening in downtown Billings and people gathered to rally and show support for the New York senator...'It's a real positive feeling here in Billings and around the state of Montana…People are very supportive of Hillary...she connects with them,'" said Yellowstone Country Commissioner Bill Kennedy. Read more.
GOTV in WV: Across West Virginia, elected leaders are joining volunteers in knocking on doors, making calls, and holding visibilities to get out the vote for Hillary. "If there was ever a critical time to vote in a primary election, this is it...The Mountain State has made the difference in choosing a President before and we can do it again by supporting Hillary Clinton," said Kent Carper, President of the Kanawha County Commission. Read more.
On Tap: Tomorrow, Hillary holds a campaign event in Portland, OR and will deliver remarks to the Kentucky Democratic Party dinner in Louisville, KY.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, May 8, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, a city passes on a resolution, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee battles the VA, and more.
Starting with war resistance. The Olympian reports, "A resolution that would have made Olympia a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants and war resisters died in a city council meeting. No one moved to consider it at Tuesday's meeting." Matt Batcheldor (The Olympian) reported last week that "several councile members say they won't consider the resolution, one day after the May Day rally became violent on the streets of Olympia, when some participants broke windows on two downtown banks and six people were arrested." Batcheldor quoted Joshua Simpson stating, "I'm not accountable for, like, what a few individuals decide to do." Simpson was among those working to see the council pass the resolution. It's now on hold. Possibly waiting, possibly tabled. Did the May Day breaking of "windows on two downtown banks" kill the resolution? Probably not. It's an easy out. Another one, the one people would be clucking right now if there had been no violence on May Day, is, "It was pushed too soon! People weren't ready!" A council that refuses to consider a motion because some people in the city of Olympia (six were arrested) broke some windows is looking for any reason to avoid addressing it. Good for Simpson, File Bohmer, Katie Olejnik and all the others working on the issue and getting it before the council to begin with. (I personally support both points of the proposal but we're focusing on war resistance.) They got the issue in front of the city, whatever else happens, they did that. And they did so at a time when others ignore the issue. Some, like The Nation magazine, have ignored it for years while others, like Amy Goodman, clamped down on the topic right before Ivan Brobeck went public (November 2006). Organizations? The ones not worth noting all seem to have lost interest with Ehren Watada. You can read the faux activists put on their mock rage about whatever Congress does next, but the reality is that they always have something to do instead of talking about, writing about or taking action for war resisters. Always. So congratulations to the citizens of Olympia who worked to get the resolution this far. Hopefully, it will go further in the coming weeks. Regardless, they took the issue and turned it into news.
In Canada, war resisters are hoping the Parliament will take action on a motion waiting to be debated. Currently, you can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Yesterday in the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs they examined benefits. During the hearing US Senator Patty Murray
I think there's a lot of important bills in front of us today but before I talk about them, I do want to bring up the topic of great concern to everybody here and that is the tragic incidents of veterans' suicides and the VA's attempts to conceal the true numbers from Congress. Mr. Chairman, we all know that there are sincere health care professionals across the VA who are doing their very best to find and help veterans who might be considering suicide. Those health care professionals face tremendous challenges -- enough challenges with winning the trust of veterans today who aren't convinced that the VA is in their corner. But their jobs are really made a lot more difficult when they are fighting the perception that the VA is more concerned with p.r. than in getting the veterans help with the services that they need. Now yesterday the VA had the chance to tell the public about what happened. Secretary Peake and Dr. Katz testified in front of the House Veterans Affairs Committee about the cover up and based on their testimony yesterday, I have to say, Mr. Chairman, I am greatly concerned about the transperancy and truthfulness of the Department. We all know Congress has to have accurate information if we are going to provide the VA with the resources it needs and make informed policy decisions. And we've got to get this right so that the veterans benefits programs we're talking about improving today have a maximum impact. So Mr. Chairman, I just want to reiterate my concern about that to you. Now we do have a number of bills before us, I look foward to the hearing them. I do want to say that I want to commend Senator Webb for his tremendous work on the GI Bill. I'm very proud now to be a co-sponsor of that bill. I know that the Department of Defense and VA are currently opposing it but I think that he has really worked to make this bill work for today's world and I really want to commend him for the tremendous amount of work and this great presentation that he put in front of us. I think recognizing the needs of today's forces is absolutely critical for retention and I believe his bill does that.
Murray wasn't just noting a hearing the day before (see here and here for that hearing), she was also noting the very real frustration with the Veterans Affairs Department on the part of the Congress which includes begging off and blowing off the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. This was a consensus that went beyond party lines. Republican Richard Burr would vocalize the frustration for the committee in the hearing.
At the opening of the hearing, Senator and committee chair Daniel Akaka noted the various bills under discussion:
First, S. 2617, the "Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2008" would increase the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans, among other benefits, effective December 1st of this year.
Many of the more than three million recipients of these benefits depend upon the tax-free payments not only to provide for their own basic needs, but for the needs of their families as well. Without an annual COLA increase, these veterans and their families would see the value of their hard-earned benefits slowly diminish. We, as a Congress, would also be in dereliction of our duty to ensure that those who sacrificed so much for this country receive the benefits and services to which they are entitled.
S.2309, the proposed "Compensation for Combat Veterans Act," would ease the evidentiary requirements facing veterans who file claims for disabilities incurred while serving in a combat zone. During oversight visits to regional offices, Committee staff has identified a number of cases where service medical records of veterans serving in combat areas are missing. Discussions with physicians who have served in those areas confirm that records are not always made or maintained. As a result, combat veterans have had claims denied or unduly delayed. This bill would result in faster and more accurate decisions.
The "Veterans' Rating Schedule Review Act", S. 2737, addresses the authority of Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. This legislation would give veterans a legal recourse to challenge portions of the rating schedule that fail to conform to the law.
S. 2825, the "Veterans' Compensation Equity Act" would provide a minimum disability rating for veterans receiving medical treatment for a service-connected disability. In the course of its oversight work, Committee staff has found a great deal of inconsistency in the ratings assigned to veterans with minor, but chronic conditions. This bill would ensure that any veteran requiring continuous medication or the ongoing use of an adaptive device, such as a hearing aid, would receive at least a 10 percent rating for that disability, entitling them to a minimum level of compensation.
In the area of readjustment benefits, I have introduced two bills that would help servicemembers and veterans return to their civilian lives. S. 2471, the "USERRA Enforcement Improvement Act of 2007", which I co-authored with Senator Kennedy, would strengthen the employment and reemployment rights of returning servicemembers by imposing compliance deadlines on federal agencies. It would also implement measures to reduce inefficiencies and improve the information collected by the government on USERRA compliance.
S. 2864, the "Training and Rehabilitation for Disabled Veterans Enhancement Act of 2008", would improve VA's Independent Living program, which serves veterans whose disabilities render them unable to work. The bill would eliminate the annual cap on the number of enrollees in the program and shift the program from a discretionary pilot initiative to a mandatory program. It would also make improvement in quality of life -- an explicit objective of training and rehabilitation services of the Independent Living program.
Finally, I have introduced two complimentary bills that would improve the opportunities available to veterans for home ownership. The first bill, S. 2768, would temporarily increase the maximum loan amount for certain VA-guaranteed home loans. The second bill, S. 2961, would raise the maximum guaranty limit on refinance loans and decrease the equity requirement for those who want to refinance to a VA-backed loan.
As is the case every Session, the biggest hurdle for implementation of these bills into law is cost. I am working to find appropriate offsets within the Committee's jurisdiction.
Finally, I am pleased to see S. 22 back on the agenda this morning. I have worked hard with Senator Webb to develop this proposal, and I believe that the measure as we have it before us this morning is a good one. I am certain that it would not only be a vastly improved readjustment benefit for our newest generation of veterans but it also gives the armed forces a valuable recruitment and retention tool. As one of the 8 million veterans who attended school on the original GI Bill after World War II, I am committed to seeing that this legislation go forward.
Those were the items up for discussion. The VA wasn't prepared to discuss many of them.
Senator Richard Burr: Thank you to the VA for being here and if I could take the opportunity to reiterate what the Chairman said: I guess our choice, when testimony doesn't come on time, is just not to have people testify. That may be what the Veterans Administration is attempting to do -- is not come up here and have to do it. Maybe sort of egging us on to just ignore you. I've committed to the Chairman before and I will stay committed. Something's going to change. The testimony has to come. And I realize -- and have been lobbyied not to say this -- because there was additions to the hearing today from the standpoint of legislation it we don't get delays. We don't get the opportunity to say I'm just not going to be ready tomorrow so we'll just put if off or we'll delay when it happens nor does any agency of the federal government. I'm sorry that the three of you have to sit there and take this because I know with every ounce of knowledge that I have that it's not your fault. And all I can do is ask you to be an effective communicator back through the chain to say this can't happen anymore. It must stop.
A big debate during the hearing was between Senators Jim Webb and Lindsey Graham. Graham wanted "tranferability" for veterans meaning that a veteran could transfer benefits to his or her spouse or family member. Graham appeared to be attempting to derail Webb's bill with his comments and Webb noted it was a false issue on the part of the Defense Department. They have the power, under the law, to implement a pilot program to explore that and have for many years. Only the Army, in 2006, attempted to do so. Out of 17,000 service members, only 300 elected to transfer the benefits. Webb did not see this as a pressing issue and stressed that if the DoD did or does, they already have the power to implement pilot programs. He spoke of all the years his father spent in night school -- graduating college when Jim Webb was a high school senior -- and how transferability might have been a concern to him were it available but something to keep in mind is that the government needs to be very careful when you take a benefit away. Webb noted that no one in the government is skilled to look into family dynamics. Which might be (or might not be), him making the point that a service member might, for instance, transfer their education benefits to a spouse and marriages can break up. What happens then? And (this is me) carrying this even further, if education benefits could be transferred, what's to prevent them from being dubbed community property in any divorce settlement?
The VA is for it and may be for it simply because if the benefit is transferred to a spouse or child then the service member loses it. This could effect retention because some might transfer their benefit in good faith and full knowledge only to have circumstances change five to ten years later, want to leave the US military but, having given away their education benefits, decide that they would stay put. There's really no reason to be bringing up the issue (as Graham and the VA were) other than to stall Webb's bill (or kill it). Webb's bill is not dependent upon that issue being resolved and does not mention that issue.
For a government agency that's opposed to a bill (as the VA is to Webb's), stating
"Senator, I don't want to speak any futher on this issue because it really is something that the Department of Defense needs to address" really doesn't cut it. If you're opposed to it, you need to be clear what your opposition to it is. If you can't be, you should probably stay silent. As Webb noted repeatedly, if DoD decides transferbility is an issue, they have "available in the law" the right to implement a pilot program to determine whether this is a pressing issue to veterans. Except for one pilot program carried out by the Army, no one has elected to do so.
Webb's bill largely seems to upset the VA (by their remarks and not by my speculation) is the issue of payments. Currently, VA witnesses testified, they cut two checks: full-time training or part-time training. There was whining on the part of the VA that there would be a new system covering tuition, a living stipend and a book stipend.
Webb asked if his bill (S22) getting objections from the VA only on the transferability aspect means that they approve of all the other aspects? The VA witnesses couldn't answer that clearly but, pressed by Webb, said "If we could rank the concerns, that would probably be right at the top." Webb's bill has 56 co-sponsors and that includes Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Barbara Boxer, Olympia Snow, John Warner, Harry Reid. 288 members of the House are supporting it -- including Reps Tammy Baldwin, Don Young, Shelley Berkley, Corrine Brown, Lynn Woolsey, Rush Holt, Sheila Jackson Lee, Peter DeFazio, Ellen Tauscher, Henry Waxman and Maxine Waters. Webb offers a (PDF format warning) overview of the bill here. Last month Florida's The Ledger published an editorial advocating for the passage of Webb's bill entitled "Pass Better G.I. Bill." The editorial notes that presumed GOP presidential nominee John McCain is opposed to the bill.
In Iraq the assault on Sadr City continues. Though the US military issues a press release claiming, "Leaders from the government of Iraq, Iraqi Security Forces and Multi-National Division -- Baghdad continued humanitarian aid missions in Sadr City May 7." Apparently "humanitarian aid" is giving an eviction notice. Selcan Hacaoglu (AP) reports, "Some residents of Sadr City claimed Thursday that Iraqi soldiers warned them to leave their houses and go to nearby soccer stadiums for security reasons. The U.S. military denied the claim and called it a 'rumor'." Hacaoglu also notes, "U.S. forces have increased air power and armored patrols in" Sadr City. CNN reports the puppet government in Baghdad's press flack, Tahseen al-Sheikhly, has "discounted reports that soldiers have been using loudspeakers to tell people to leave." Meanwhile Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) notes UNICEF's figure of 6,000 for the number of residents already leaving Sadr City and quotes International Organization for Migration's Dana Graber Ladek explaining, "Certain parts of Sadr City are like ghost towns . . . No one is venturing out." Other areas are without electricity and water, according to Dana Graber Ladek.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 Baghdad rocket attacks that claimed 2 lives and left two people wounded, 3 Baghdad roadside bombings that wounded 5 Iraqi soldiers and ten Iraqi civilians, a Baghdad minibus bombing that claimed 1 life and left five people wounded, a Baghdad car bombing claimed the lives of 3 police officers and 4 civilians as well as injuring nineteen more people and a Salahuddin Province bombing targeting Nathim al-Juboor who is the head of an "Awakening" Council and he survived this "second assassination attempt".
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports armed clashes ongoing in Basra. Reuters notes the US military states they killed 17 people ("gunmen") in Baghdad "on Wednesday and Thursday."
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Mosul. AFP reports 7 corpses turned over to hospitals in Sadr City.
Los Angeles Times' Tony Perry (at the paper's Baghdad & Beyond) writes about Paula Carruth whose daughter Casey Casanova became the 97th US female service member to die in Iraq: "The 97 include 79 Army, nine Navy, seven Marine Corps and two Air Force personnel. Women make up about 2% of the nearly 4,1000 U.S. troops killed in Iraq." Casey Casanova was 22 years old when she died in Al Anbar Province May 2nd in a roadside bombing that also claimed the lives of 3 other Marines Miguel A. Guzman (21-years-old), James F. Kimple (21-years-old) and Glen E. Martinez (31-years-old).
Turning to US politics, sleaze merchant Mark Karlin flaunts the idiocy that has run so many away from BuzzFlash in the last year or so by declaring "Except for Her Anatomical Features, Clinton is no Feminist." Mark Karlin is a pig and proves that throughout this campaign cycle in his scribbles for Lotta Links. But feminism isn't about "anatomy" -- in fact, Queen Bees like Besty Reed -- responsible for publishing 491 men and only 149 women in 2007 -- prove that gender alone does not a feminist make. Mark Karlin -- who has linked to Larry Fl**t and topless photos of women (such as the woman riding Ahnuld's back) really is the last person in the world to crawl out of his gutter and attempt to lecture on feminism. Dragging his knuckles further he tries to make an issue out of something that should be a non-issue. If it becomes one, we'll address it. Mark Karlin is a blight on humanity. He should worry more about Barack's latest attempt to stretch the truth (happens to often to be called "misspoke"), in his Tuesday night acceptance speech when he declared, "It is the light of opportunity that led my father across an ocean. It's the founding ideals that the flag draped over my father's coffin stands for. It is life and liberty and the pursuit . . " What! Barack's father was Kenyan. He studied in the US (as an adult, an already married adult -- a currently married adult when he met up with Barack's mother) and then returned to Kenya. What flag is Barack claiming was draped over his father's coffin? And does he pledge to that one?
Meanwhile Susan (Random Thoughts) takes on Tim Russert's nonsense that it's over for Hillary by posting that video as well as one of Tim stating if she "wins Indiana, then the race goes into June." (Hillary won Indiana Tuesday.) And I'm hearing on another phone that the lame brains (like Mark Karlin) are trying to make an issue out of non-issue. Hillary told USA Today, "I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on" and cites an AP poll "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." Her comments reflect the press analysis at all major outlets. It's not an insult to anyone, it is reflective of the categories the press has set up for this election cycle. Turning it into an issue -- have at it, it will backfire -- is what the Obama Pigs have done all along. Like Betsy Reed and all the other LIARS. There ought to be a law about falsely calling "racism" in a crowded room. If there were, a lot of White people would be in jail right now.
I'd be a little more worried about closet-case Donna Brazile (can you still be in the closet after being outed) who is sending out e-mails that conclude with "Message to the base: stay home" meaning Whites and Latino Democrats (and possibly other groupings as well). This follows her CNN meltdown when Campbell Brown pointed out the obvious, Donna is supporting Barack while going on programs as an 'impartial' observer.
Of course, there's also the fact that Barack's 'small donors' are now getting attention. Pam Martens (via Black Agenda Report) notes:
The first clue to an entrenched white male bastion seeking a black male occupant in the oval office (having placed only five blacks in the U.S. Senate in the last two centuries) appeared in February on a chart at the Center for Responsive Politics website. It was a list of the 20 top contributors to the Barack Obama campaign, and it looked like one of those comprehension tests where you match up things that go together and eliminate those that don't. Of the 20 top contributors, I eliminated six that didn't compute. I was now looking at a sight only slightly less frightening to democracy than a Diebold voting machine. It was a Wall Street cartel of financial firms, their registered lobbyists, and go-to law firms that have a death grip on our federal government.
Why is the "yes, we can" candidate in bed with this cartel? How can "we," the people, make change if Obama's money backers block our ability to be heard?
Seven of the Obama campaign's top 14 donors consisted of officers and employees of the same Wall Street firms charged time and again with looting the public and newly implicated in originating and/or bundling fraudulently made mortgages. These latest frauds have left thousands of children in some of our largest minority communities coming home from school to see eviction notices and foreclosure signs nailed to their front doors. Those scars will last a lifetime.
These seven Wall Street firms are (in order of money given): Goldman Sachs, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. There is also a large hedge fund, Citadel Investment Group, which is a major source of fee income to Wall Street. There are five large corporate law firms that are also registered lobbyists; and one is a corporate law firm that is no longer a registered lobbyist but does legal work for Wall Street. The cumulative total of these 14 contributors through February 1, 2008, was $2,872,128, and we're still in the primary season.
But hasn't Senator Obama repeatedly told us in ads and speeches and debates that he wasn't taking money from registered lobbyists? Hasn't the press given him a free pass on this statement?
Like Karl Rove, the Obama campaign tries to destroy your strength. It's a very dirty campaign and that's why Betsy Reed, Mark Karlin and other noted 'feminists' are trying to tear at Hillary's women support. They aren't feminists any more than tired and ugly ____ ___ a feminist. They're frauds and the liars. Matt Phillips (Wall St. Journal) writes about Hillary's Wednesday night rally. He leaves out media and the glory hog also didn't get named in the Times this morning. Poor ____ -- the Red 'Green' posing as a Democrat as heard the alarm sound on her fifteen minutes. Someone get her a pie. Preferably in the face.
Kelly Nooning writes about Lousiville, Kentucky:
Wednesday morning we had a very strong showing with a very enthusiastic group of 16 Hillary supporters gathered to show their support for the Senator during the morning rush hours at the intersection of Bardstown Road and Eastern Parkway here in Louisville. Our morning visibility was especially significant because we not only had the ability to celebrate our Indiana victory but it kicked-off our increased efforts here in Louisville after sharing our resources with Indiana in support of our neighbor's primary.
Everyone driving by was thrilled to honk and holler in support Hillary after our Indiana victory. All the people taking their morning walks and waiting for the bus were also enthusiastic about Hillary and we recruited a bunch of new volunteers to come down to headquarters to volunteer for the campaign.
Kentuckians are very excited that the focus is now on them and their primary on May 20th. With less than two weeks to go until our primary, I'm counting down the days until I cast my vote for Hillary. In the meantime I'm planning on having a good time while working round the clock to do everything I can to ensure Hillary becomes the next president of this great country.
Meanwhile Team Nader posts An Unreasonable Man so you can see what Nader was up against in 2000 and 2004 and still in 2008: "We've broken it up into five parts - Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five. Take a peek." If the likes of Mark Karlin run Hillary off, remember a vote for Nader sends them to an early grave.
los angeles times