Monday, June 30, 2008

The Oil Refinery Myth. Plus McCain Doesn't Know the Price of Gas.

If you listen to the far right of the American political movement then you've probably heard the canard that environmentalists are preventing new oil refineries from being built and thus adding to the skyrocketing oil prices. Here's the truth according to the research that I have found:

Myth 1:
Oil refineries are not being built in the U.S. because environmental regulations, particularly the Clean Air Act, are so bureaucratic and burdensome that refiners cannot get permits.

Fact: Environmental regulations are not preventing new refineries from being built in the U.S. From 1975 to 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received only one permit request for a new refinery. And in March, EPA approved Arizona Clean Fuels’ application for an air permit for a proposed refinery in Arizona. In addition, oil companies are regularly applying for – and receiving – permits to modify and expand their existing refineries.[1]

An internal Chevron memo states; "A senior energy analyst at the recent API convention warned that if the US petroleum industry doesn't reduce its refining capacity it will never see any substantial increase in refinery margins."

The Memos make clear that blockages in refining capacity and opening new refineries did not come from environmental organizations, as the oil industry claimed, but via a deliberate policy of limitation and price gouging at the behest of the oil industry itself.

TPJ: Like many issues in American society, however, I doubt that many in our lazy country know this and are even willing to research it. I find that funny because I found this information within a few minutes on Google. So all a person has to have to do this research is a computer and a few minutes. However, many Americans would rather just click on the t.v. and be told what to believe and/or don't really want to know the truth because then they'd have to sacrifice, conserve and change their ways in other areas of their lives.

My hope is that there are enough people who care about finding the truth then those mentioned above. Hopefully enough people have realized that voting does matter after the disastrous policies of the past 8 years. Hopefully enough people have been burned by spin doctors enough that they are motivated to research issues on their own and reach their own conclusions rather than assuming that the talking heads on t.v. are telling the straight truth or presenting opposing views/opinions/research.

Meanwhile: Senator John McCain said he can't remember the last time he pumped gasoline or the cost of a gallon of a gas in an interview with the Orange County Register earlier this week. "Oh, I don’t remember. Now there’s Secret Service protection. But I’ve done it for many, many years. I don’t recall and frankly, I don’t see how it matters," McCain said.

TPJ: It matters because you're running for president. Apparently he wants us to believe that he's in touch with the average American's problems despite him not knowing the price of gas? Yet the McCain campaign is trying to paint Obama as the elitist? McCain and his wife Cindy own at least 7 homes!!!

This kind of talk sure makes me feel that he's more in touch with the needs of the oil industry than you or I. It is yet another example of how out of touch McCain is regarding our economy and with average Joe American.

I guess he's snoozing on all those bus trips around America because how could he not see the 15 foot signs with the massive numbers flashing the gas prices in bright red letters at gas stations which are almost located on every street corner?

What a dumb ass. Of course it matters as it affects the price of everything!! High oil prices affect the price of groceries, diapers and pretty much everything that we buy. Let them eat cake eh Johnny?

Plus: A group of American advisers led by a small State Department team played an integral part in drawing up contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq, American officials say.

In their role as advisers to the Iraqi Oil Ministry, American government lawyers and private-sector consultants provided template contracts and detailed suggestions on drafting the contracts, advisers and a senior State Department official said.

The contracts are expected to be awarded Monday to Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Total and Chevron, as well as to several smaller oil companies.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Poll: Obama Still Ahead in Key States. Let's Keep it that Way.

National polls have showed Obama with anywhere from a 15 point lead to a 6 point lead and many state polls are showing a lead for the Illinois Senator as well. These are the results from the latest Street Journal Poll:

In my state of Colorado he is up by 5 points.

In the critical state of Michigan he is up by 6 points.

In Wisconsin he is up by 13 points.

And in Minnesota is he up by 17 points.

So either way you look at it Obama is in the lead right now and this election I believe is his to lose. That is why we must not rest on these numbers and think that we can coast into the White House. The numbers can easily flip the other way so we must keep the pressure on John McCain and keep him on the defensive.

We must keep reminding people of the problems and malaise that the Bush/McCain policies have brought us. Perhaps some believe that voting for Bush's heir apparent, John McCain is a safe choice, an old shoe that one can count on to keep the ship steady. Well that's all well and good if the ship weren't shipwrecked on the beach. The party of Bush and McCain have steered America right into the jagged rocks of a weak economy, an endless war in Iraq that is draining our treasury and thus weakening our economy further, a health care crisis and mountains of debt thanks in large part too again, the Iraq war.

We need to give something else a try and that means voting for Barack Obama. Every so often a new shift in the paradigm needs to take place in order for a society/country to move forward. What does a company or sports team do when they aren't doing so well? A shakeup of leadership at the top and by extension an implementation of new ideas and plans. Obama has the courage and vision to look for new ways of addressing problems and challenges. He is willing to try new things to jump start our country and get things moving in the right direction again.

We need a new representative of our country to symbolize that America is back and new and improved. Barack is the kind of calm and rational leader that can work with the rest of world without insulting them and attempting to push them around. I fear that John McCain would continue the failed, Bush, macho "cowboy diplomacy" with his known impatience, anger and reputation for saying things before he thinks. I see Barack as tactful and balanced in his style of governing. He represents a nice blend of stability and change, seriousness with a nice touch of levity and youthful eagerness for any challenge that lies ahead.

John McCain is an outdated politician of the Cold War era and not capable and equipped to work within a new world paradigm. As well as having the bold vision to lead a new generation of leaders into a new century. Barack Obama is the leader for this moment in history.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

68 Million Acres Owned by Big Oil not Being Drilled. Yet They Want more Land off Florida?

I'm late to the party on this angle of the oil drilling/gas prices story. That being said I wanted to still discuss it a bit here to get the message out and to show that John McCain's oil drilling plans offshore from Florida are nothing more than a gimmick.

There are 68 million acres of land offshore and onshore in the United States that have already been leased by oil companies to drill on but have not yet been used. If oil companies tapped the 68 million federal acres of leased land it would generate an estimated 4.8 million barrels of oil a day - six times what ANWR would produce at its peak. (TPJ: Thus no need to drill off the coast of Florida).

Current inactive leases could produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day.

That would nearly double total U.S. oil production, and increase natural gas production by 75%. It would also cut U.S. oil imports by more than a third,

On that point, a group of Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation that would compel oil companies to drill in lands they are now leasing from the federal government.

"Oil corporations are trying to take control of as much land now during the oil-friendly Bush administration years, but are holding off on drilling until the price of oil soars to $200 or $300 a barrel so they can make even greater profits," said Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a New York Democrat and a sponsor of the drilling bill.

The bill would force oil companies to pay fees for leased lands that go unused. The fees would increase over time.

McCain recently said that opening up federal waters to drillers would have a “psychological impact that I think would be beneficial.” (TPJ: How's that work? Is it going to hypnotize me into thinking that I'm not paying as much as I am at the gas pump? The only psychological effect that this is having upon me is that it is making me psychotically furious at the McCain campaign for trying to pull one over on the American people. It's the classic Republican play book, use peoples' fears to hoodwink them into voting for you.)

Though McCain was clearly talking about the calming effect such a policy decision might have on oil futures markets, Obama cast the comment as an attempt to pander to voters. “In Washington-speak, that means it polls well,’’ Obama said, adding that the drilling would have little practical effect and amounted to “the same old gimmicks.’’

TPJ: This McCain flip-flop on oil drilling off Florida is clearly a gimmick and a smoke screen to allow Big Oil to add to their already massive acres that they aren't using. The McCain claim that drilling off Florida's coast would help gas prices in the short term has been debunked as it would take up to 20 years to see any oil pumped from those offshore acres. That is vital time that should be used to develop alternative energies.

So clearly this is a give-away to the oil companies using American desperation for relief in gas prices and fear of financial depression to line the pockets of the greedy oil corporations even further while trying to scare up votes in the process.

The unused 68 million acres owned by Big Oil reminds me of the diamond market. There are a few diamond companies and they hoard diamonds in vaults to be able to control the price to always ensure high profits. This is exactly what these oil corporations are doing by not drilling in those 68 million acres.

In other news: A new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll seems to back up the Newsweek poll. This new survey has Obama up 12 points over McCain (49%-37%). More: "On a four-man ballot that included independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr, voters chose Obama over McCain by 48% to 33%.”

TPJ: At worse, Obama is still ahead by 6 points in a Gallup poll and in another poll that I can't remember.

PHOTO CREDIT: Damaged oil platform washed up on a beach off Alabama's coast after Hurricane Katrina.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Consumer Confidence Numbers Fell Sharply in June in part from Bush/McCain policies.

The consumer confidence numbers dropped sharply in June down to the fifth lowest spot in the history of the poll. It is the lowest number in 16 years.

These numbers and the over-all crashing of the economy during the past 8 years isn't completely the fault of Bush. However his tax cuts for the rich which John McCain supports certainly hasn't done much for the average Joe who is working longer hours for less pay. There are those who say Obama is a risk but nothing can change without taking a bit of a risk.

Besides, what do we have to lose at this point? The current policies of Bush have left us in a recession and mired in a occupation in a foreign country that is bleeding our treasury thus making our economy even worse!! I'd rather take a bit of a risk that has the potential for great change and progress than staying on the current path which we know hasn't done anything but keep depressing our economy. How are we to believe that things would change under a McCain presidency that would keep the failed Bush economic policies going? And look at it this way, if Obama makes things worse (which I highly, highly doubt) then we have the chance to vote him out in 4 years. Yet we'll never know how Obama would change the direction of this country and hopefully reverse the damage that we've accrued under Bush if we don't give him a chance.

Barack Obama can't fix the economy overnight if elected but he will make a huge change in direction by refocusing those Bush/McCain tax cuts back where they belong-- to the middle class. It is the middle class, blue collar workers who have built this country and have sustained our economy over the years. And the Bush/McCain policies favoring corporate America haven't trickled down to the rest of the country. We have seen time and time again that trickle down economics doesn't work because corporations can't be trusted to "do the right thing."

If the tax cuts to the rich are so helpful then why haven't they made things better these past 8 years? Instead the bottom of the economy has fallen out and we are in the middle of a recession with some 80%--EIGHTY PERCENT of Americans feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction. We need drastic change and I just don't see that happening under John McCain. We simply can not afford 4-8 more years of the Bush economy.

The Bush/McCain policies favoring the corporations over the American worker have done nothing but drive jobs over-seas helping other countries build and shore up their middle-class. I'd prefer the Barack Obama policy that would help rebuild our infrastructure while employing more people which in the end is putting our money back into the hands of Americans and in our own economy in general. It is an investment in the American worker and that's an investment that I'd bet on any day. No one can beat the American worker when given a fair playing field to work with. As it is under the Bush/McCain policies the American worker is working with one arm tied behind their back and a blind fold over one eye.

Sound, balanced economic policy with targeted tax cuts to the middle-class is the kind of change that we need and Barack Obama is the candidate that realizes that the McCain plan to continue the failed economic policies of George W. Bush is nothing more than doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. People wonder what kind of change Obama would bring? Well this is it in large part--reversing the failed economic policies of the Bush years.

It's time to take our country back from the Bush/McCain mindset. Let's change America together from the grassroots which is what Obama is trying to do. Let us unite and let the voice of the average American be heard and advocated for again. It's necessary to shake up things from time to time to maintain a healthy state of the union. When policies keep us mired in quicksand and prevent us from moving forward then it is necessary to reinvent ourselves and electing John McCain isn't doing much but shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic as the cliche goes. It is time to take a stand and tell our politicians that we want something different. We must tell them by voting for Barack Obama that we are taking control of our country and government back from the corporate centered government of Bush and John McCain. Enough is enough.

So given the rising cost of living and an over-all fractured, if not broken economy can we really take a chance with a candidate (John McCain) who himself admitted that he doesn't know much about the economy? I don't know about you but my economic situation has only worsened in the past 8 years and I can't afford for it to stay this way if not worsen under Bush economic policy 2.0 from a McCain presidency. That is a big reason why I am voting for Barack Obama. I want new, fresh ideas and a government that listens to the needs of the average American instead of being told what is best for us.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin Dead at 71. A Tribute to my Favorite Comedian.

I come to you readers today with a very heavy heart because my favorite comedian George Carlin has died at the age of 71 of heart failure. Carlin was a revolutionary comic not unlike Lenny Bruce with his sometimes vulgar commentaries being spot on but challenged by conventional society. His biting wit was the best in the comic circuit and always hit the nail on the head. He always made you think and sometimes re-evaluate what you believed. He changed forever the way that I look at the world and I thank him for that. I always could really relate to his views and sense of humor because they were so close to my own. He made me feel sane that there was at least one person out there who thought like I did. That there was at least one other person who understood the frustrations that I have toward society.

He made you laugh at the absurdities in society and amongst the human species as well as on point political humor. He always spoke his mind and we are the better for it. He was the type of comedian who didn't just tell jokes, he also served as vanguard of common sense and realism in regards to the world we live in. He had a knack for finding the comedy in the most mundane and seemingly insignificant of events, things and behaviors.

He was controversial and we love him for it because somehow I rested easier at night knowing Carlin was out there keeping an eye on the idiots and dumb asses. We cynics and realists have lost a brother in arms and a brilliant mind. He will be missed dearly and I don't think we'll see his equal anytime soon if ever. He was a one in a lifetime comic who made a huge impact in our world and society. You could also always count on Carlin to bring the fresh material and deliver it with hilarity laced with dead serious points. He was a modern day Mark Twain and speaking of Twain, Carlin was about to get the Mark Twain award for the influence of his humor in society.

He said once that he would always find the line that society deemed "decent" and "acceptable" and deliberately cross it. He had a talent for pushing everyone's button and offending everyone at one point or another but making you laugh about it at the same time. He was a true word smith and performer.

I have several of his performances on DVD and never tire of them and I smile knowing that he will live on in those classic routines. He didn't fear much of anything that I could tell let alone death. So I will laugh my ass off today in honor of him and be happy that he is finally free from this fucked up world. Thanks for the laughs George. So I leave you with the music video for today. It's Green Day singing "Good Riddance" (Time of Your Life) with lyrics below the video:
Another turning point;a fork stuck in the road.

Time grabs you by the wrist;
directs you where to go.

So make the best of this test
and don't ask why.

It's not a question
but a lesson learned in time.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

So take the photographs
and still frames in your mind.

Hang it on a shelf
In good health and good time.

Tattoos of memories
and dead skin on trial.

For what it's worth,
it was worth all the while.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

(music break)

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

John McCain and the Role of Oil Speculation in Regards to the High Gas Prices.

Under McCain's assumption of 21 billion barrels of oil in the banned areas (Including offshore drilling in Florida which McCain now supports in a reversal of position. He use to oppose such drilling)-- higher than the Department of Energy's estimation of 18 billion barrels -- there is still only enough to support America's total consumption, at 7.5 billion barrels per year, for three years.

David Sandalow, a Brookings Institution energy expert, said of offshore drilling, "It's like walking an extra 20 feet a day to lose weight. It's just not enough to make a difference."

As for ANWR? Bush's own Department of Energy estimated that drilling in the Arctic refuge would cut oil prices by only about 75 cents a barrel. What's more, even if the refuge were opened this year, its extracted oil would not reach the market for 10 years.

Bush blamed "Democrats on Capitol Hill" who he said "have rejected virtually every proposal" to increase oil production, adding "now Americans are paying the price at the pump for this obstruction." Congress is not blocking domestic drilling. In fact, the number of drilling permits both on- and off-shore has exploded from 3,802 five years ago to 7,561 in 2007. Congress and the Bush administration have opened up so much land to drilling that oil companies can't keep up: In the last four years, the government has issued 28,776 permits to drill on public land, yet only 18,954 wells were actually drilled. Congressional obstruction is just one of the false arguments conservatives are peddling.

Another is the idea that we can drill and still "
ensure that our environment is protected." McCain declared drilling is so "safe" that "not even Hurricane Katrina and Rita could cause significant spillage from battered rigs off the coasts of New Orleans and Houston." This is patently false. Hurricane Katrina caused 44 oil spills, resulting in more than seven million gallons of oil spilled, according to the Coast Guard., nearing the nine million gallons spilled in the 1989 Exxon-Valdez disaster.

Big Oil has also vigorously backed McCain's campaign. McCain ranks second in the Senate for donations from the energy industry and has raised over $700,000 from oil and gas this election season alone.

There are three things that are driving up the price of oil: the falling dollar, speculation and buying on margin.

The dollar is tanking because of the Federal Reserve's low interest monetary policies have kept interest rates below the rate of inflation for most of the last decade. Add that to the $700 billion current account deficit and a National Debt that has increased from $5.8 trillion when Bush first took office to over $9 trillion today (TPJ: In large part too because of the Iraq war) and it's a wonder the dollar hasn't gone “Poof” already.

According to a January 4 editorial in the Wall Street Journal: “If the dollar had remained 'as good as gold' since 2001, oil today would be selling at about $30 per barrel, not $99. (today $126 per barrel) The decline of the dollar against gold and oil suggests a US monetary that is supplying too many dollars.” Wall Street Journal 1-4-08

The price of oil has more than quadrupled since 2001, from roughly $30 per barrel to $126, WITHOUT ANY DISRUPTIONS TO SUPPLY. There's no shortage; it's just gibberish.

As far as “buying on margin” consider this summary from author William Engdahl:

“A conservative calculation is that at least 60% of today’s $128 per barrel price of crude oil comes from unregulated futures speculation by hedge funds, banks and financial groups using the London ICE Futures and New York NYMEX futures exchanges and uncontrolled inter-bank or Over-The-Counter trading to avoid scrutiny. US margin rules of the government’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission allow speculators to buy a crude oil futures contract on the Nymex, by having to pay only 6% of the value of the contract. At today's price of $128 per barrel, that means a futures trader only has to put up about $8 for every barrel. He borrows the other $120. This extreme “leverage” of 16 to 1 helps drive prices to wildly unrealistic levels and offset bank losses in sub-prime and other disasters at the expense of the overall population.”

The rest of this write up is well worth reading and helpful in understanding the energy crisis. However, for purposes of brevity in this post I am just going to give you the link to the rest of it.

TPJ: There are no quick fixes folks. We aren't going to get instant gratification on this one anymore. Our gas filled utopia is coming to an end and we need to face some hard facts about our lifestyles.

The bottom line I think is that people will only change once it starts hitting their pocket books so maybe high prices are a good thing?

Spurring on quicker investment and development of alternative energies. We might have to really tighten the belt, conserve and sacrifice for a time but that's the only way. We Americans are so use to quick fixes and aren't use to sacrificing but we are going to have to get use to it for a time.

Nothing new comes without a price but in the long-term is will make our country all the more stronger. It's like the Phoenix rising from the ashes. All great civilizations have to reinvent themselves along the way to survive.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Barack Obama Leading in Key Swing States and Amongst Women.

Concerns about Barack Obama’s ability to compete in the key swing states that have decided the last several elections are falling by the wayside, as a new poll Tuesday shows him ahead of Republican John McCain in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania:

•Florida: Obama edges McCain 47 - 43 percent;
•Ohio: Obama tops McCain 48 - 42 percent;
•Pennsylvania: Obama leads McCain 52 - 40 percent.

No president has won the White House without winning two of the three states since 1960.

James: This is obviously fabulous news and combine these numbers with Obama looking to expand the map by leading in my purple state of Colorado. He also has a good chance in New Mexico and Nevada. In addition to looking good in North Carolina and Virginia that have been red Republican states. And some are even talking about Georgia. He is able to put states into play that have been traditionally difficult for Democrats to win.

The three above states have been hit hard by this recession and I think much of his lead in them is because people are responding well to his message on the economy. He is

Concerns about women who supported Hillary Clinton abandoning the Democratic nominee in favor of McCain also appear to be unfounded, according to the poll. Obama leads McCain by 10 to 23 percent among the poll of likely voters.
James: One of the bedrock values of the Democrats is the commitment to women's rights in both reproductive rights but also in regards to equal pay for equal work, increasing the minimum wage and expanding education to all children--not just those who have a lot of money to pay for a private school. As well as a firm commitment to giving all children the health care that they need and deserve regardless of economic status. Barack understands that our children are our future and backbone of our society and the way we care for them shows what we truly value. Obama embodies these values and I am convinced that he will fight with all his power to honor, respect and retain the rights of women and push for the issues that women deeply care about.

And I think you can tell what kind of commitment that Barack will have toward women's rights when you look at his amazing wife Michelle. She is a strong, independent, brilliant woman and a wonderful mother who has a successful career. She is a great example of the modern woman.

I think Obama chose wisely (as did she) and seems to have a strong bond with her. They really seem to have a balanced marriage and a great connection with their kids. She rightly seems to have just as much say in the affairs of the family and their future as Barack. She was pivotal in his decision to run for president and I think it says a lot about his respect for women that he held her opinion in such high regard, which he should.

I also think that he has an insight to the needs of women in having two wonderful girls in his life. You can see his eyes light up and water up a bit when asked about them and you can tell that they are precious and deeply loved. He has said many times on the trail of how grateful he is to Hillary Clinton for showing his daughters that anything is possible for women. She showed them that women deserve everything that men do and can do anything that men do. I have no doubt that Barack Obama is the candidate for women. John McCain stands against everything that many of the women in my life stand for and that is a big reason why I oppose him.

I can not support a candidate like John McCain who doesn't seem to take the rights and issues that women care about seriously. He received a big, fat zero from NARAL (Pro-Choice organization) and Obama received 100%). He also voted down the Title X family planning program, which provides women with health care services ranging from birth control to breast cancer screenings. He voted against legislation that established criminal and civil penalties for those who use threats and violence to keep women from gaining access to reproductive health clinics.

Yet with all this good news we must not be complacent and take these leads for granted. We need to keep up the message of change and renewal of America in every corner of the country. It is vital that we keep up the heat on McCain and fight for every vote. We must not hesitate to tell everyone we can about what Obama will do to change America. We need to blog and write editorials as often as we can.

UPDATE ON ANWR DRILLING PLAN: According to the Department of Energy drilling in ANWR in Alaska would only reduce our dependency on oil by 4%. I wanted to add that I find it amazing that McCain is comparing Obama to former President Jimmy Carter in a negative light on energy when what he suggested in the '70's was implemented in Brazil and now they are all but completely off oil.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

John McCain Flip-Flops on Offshore Drilling in Florida.

John McCain should be a ventriloquist with all the double talk that his coming out of that orifice on his face (I can also think of another orifice that he speaks out of near his waist).

McCain has changed his position on offshore drilling in Florida's beautiful coastline from when he was running in 2000. In that race he opposed such drilling (which GOP talking points even say that it could take 10 years to get any oil from so it's not a quick fix to lower gas prices) but now he is in favor of it. All the while putting out a new ad trying to make him look like a tree hugging dirt worshiper!!!

Tourism is a huge part of the Florida economy and having oil rigs dotting the beautiful views of the beaches (Many of America's top 10 beaches are in Florida), isn't going to help the sagging economy down there. We just came back from Florida this past November and I'd hate to see such a stunning, beautiful place scarred by oil platforms. Then you have your Governor Crist who use to be against offshore drilling too but since he is ass kissing McCain to get on the ticket as the V.P. choice he has now flipped his position to being against it as well. Crist's recent comments on the issue before flipping were this, "Asked last week about the possibility of opening up the Continental Shelf to drilling--including the coastline of Florida--Crist said he couldn't support it even with rising fuel prices.

Drilling operations spill thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals into the marine environment so not only does drilling spoil the view but it is poisoning our oceans that are vital for food and for tourist dollars. Plus there is an increased risk of oil spills that could damage the entire gulf coast ecosystem for generations. Is it really worth the the risk just to prolong the end of oil dependency for a few years versus losing one of our most beautiful environments in the country? I think that our money would be better spent in promoting clean energy that will help our situation in the long term.

It's a much better investment that will help our national security, the environment, the economy and so many other benefits that staying addicted to oil does not bring. They want us to believe that we can get oil out of the gulf coast over-night and drastically reduce the gas prices in a matter of days. That's complete nonsense. In addition, we wouldn't be the only ones drilling in those areas if we opened those parts of the gulf to drilling. We'd be competing with countries from Norway, Britain and even China for the oil. Are we going to out-source our coastlines and gulfs to China now?

Another thing to remember is that the oil companies don't pump as much oil when prices are low versus when prices are high. So if you let them pump off the Florida coastline than you're not necessarily going to see lower gas prices. The chances are that they would stay the same if not increase.

So all in all, why should someone who is concerned about the environment vote for the guy who is a part-time environmentalist when you can vote for Obama the full blown environmentalist?

Now it turns out President Bush is backing the McCain offshore drilling position too. So much for McCain trying to separate himself from Bush!! These two are like the three stooges minus one which I'm sure will be filled by McCain's V.P. choice.

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Don't Forget, John McCain Opposed Children's Health Care Bill.

If you have kids and are worried about getting and keeping affordable health insurance for them then don't look to John McCain. President "approval rating of 29%" Bush vetoed the popular and effective state children's health insurance program (S-CHIP). John McCain helped put the veto pen in Bush's hand by voting against the bill that would put millions of uninsured children on a plan. It is sick how much money that we are wasting in Iraq with that hopeless occupation while the number of uninsured children here at home rise faster and higher each year of the war.

What does it say about our society If we can't even sacrifice a bit to see more of our innocent children get the health care that they need and deserve? If John McCain doesn't even support taking better care of our children then how do you think he is going to help adults and seniors? McCain's health care plan basically says, "Don't get sick."

John McCain is out of step on health care with a large majority of Americans, 72% of people polled approved the renewal of S-CHIP while only 25% opposed it. There is an education impact here as well. How can we expect many of our children to improve their education scores if they are constantly sick and out of school because of not having adequate health care? If the children are our future then Barack Obama is clearly the best candidate to take our kids into a better future than we saw. He is the candidate with the vision to see what needs to be done to renew America to give optimum opportunities for our youngest citizens.

He is the candidate of change who is pushing the creation and increased growth incentives for "green collar" jobs so that our kids in places like Michigan have more choices for job employment as they enter the work force. Think how much faster we could build these type of companies and how much more people we could employ if we used some of the Iraq war money to help the green economy grow.

I have seen the potential and success of the green economy first hand with my wife working for a green company. They are growing quickly and can't hire people fast enough and the same goes for two other major green companies that have come to the area. People are applying for these jobs in droves so the demand is there.

John McCain maybe a little "greener" than many conservatives but he's not taking the bold, decisive and progressive steps toward a major shift in our economy toward green jobs like Barack. It's a win-win that Obama is talking about all across the country, we gain more jobs and bring down fuel costs. As well as help reduce the effects of global warming. John McCain has nothing on Obama in regards to the environment with "Mr. Environment" and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore on Barack's side to name yet another advantage for Obama. An advantage that ultimately is about the American people.

John McCain is not the candidate of the future but rather the president of "stay the course" and we all know where that path has taken us and our kids.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

John McCain on Women's Rights, Health and Issues.

According to a recent Planned Parenthood poll, 36% of pro-choice women in key battleground state wrongly believe that John McCain is pro-choice. McCain stated recently, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned." (Jim Davenport, Associated Press, 2.18.2007)

John McCain has long voting record against a woman's right to choose and didn't vote for the Fair Pay Act which is a bill that would restore a woman's (or men's) ability to go to court in cases of pay discrimination. Instead McCain said that women just need more education!!

McCan't relate also voted against a raise in the minimum wage which would greatly help working women, especially single moms.

John McCain is also against contraceptive education and advocation. He favors abstinence only education. Then there are these numbers: He voted against requiring health care plans to cover birth control (3/22/03). He voted against comprehensive, medically accurate sex education (7/25/06).

He voted against international family planning funding (3/14/96).

He voted against funding to prevent teen and unintended pregnancies (3/17/05).

He voted against public education for emergency contraception (3/17/05).

And he voted against restoring Medicaid funding that could be used for family planning for low-income women (3/17/05).

TPJ: So please, ladies think twice before voting for John McCain. Barack Obama is fighting for the same issues that most of you are.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Barack Obama an Elitist? Plus, Fight the Smears!!!

BREAKING: Tim Russert has died. I am shocked and saddened. I grew up watching Meet the Press with him hosting and grew to love watching his hard but fair style of interviewing. I especially loved his insight on election nights. I loved his smile too. So full of life. He was a great American and he will be missed greatly. I don't have a good segway here so I'll just say, we return you to our regularly scheduled blogging:

So the right-wing has been trying to paint Barack Obama as an elitist and unlike John Kerry the Obama campaign is fighting back and addressing that charge. So I'd like to do my best to refute that charge too.

Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks has this to say recently about Barack:
The irony here is that David Brooks is the one coming off as elitist by making this comment. He obviously himself hasn't been to an Applebee's restaurant because if he had then he'd know that Applebee's doesn't HAVE A SALAD BAR!!!

I don't know about Brooks but Applebee's is expensive for my wife and I but then again we're just average folks. Oh wait, Books is supposed to be defending the average folks. Too bad I can't make his meeting at Applebee's because I can't afford the gas to get there. Maybe David Brooks can pick me up in his company car. That being said, I guess I should want a president who can pass the "Applebee's Customer-in-Chief" test. What a load of cow dung Brooks.

Barack Obama is the son of an immigrant from Kenya, Africa, his mother had to use food stamps at one point to feed the family. She is largely descended from pre-revolutionary British colonists to the U.S. So Barack not only has the genealogy that goes back to the earliest days of America but he also has the DNA of a newly arrived citizen to America in his father. And he's of mixed race. What better a pedigree could one have to say, "All-American?"

As a teen-ager Barack worked scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robins and we all know that's an elitist job (sarcasm in case you can't tell). Of their 41 flavors of ice cream I love their edible 24k gold garnished chocolate and the free glass of Don Perignon champagne that comes with it. The cream is had churned by farmers in the Swiss Alps, imported by a jet airplane and is called, "Elitist Chocolate" (Obviously more sarcasm here).

And as a young man who was struggling to find his identity after being abandoned by his father Obama returned to Kenya to visit his family there and sit at his Dad's grave. He said that he cried many tears there and came to terms with the troubled relationship with his father. Is it elitist to struggle with one's father? Is it elitist that he traveled to Africa to connect with his family and his roots there? If you think so then you're either not being honest or you're one of the people trying to smear him.

Like most of us he had to rely on student loans to pay through college and has said that until recently was still paying them off. And following college he could have cashed in and gotten a job with a high paying, well known law firm but decided to use his education to help others. And so he became a community organizer living on $12,000 a year. He lived in a beat up apartment and drove a beat up car not unlike the rest of us. In fact, I think I lived in that apartment and drove that car. :)

So I find it interesting that McCain is using this tactic given that his wife Cindy inherited a fortune estimated at $100 million and that they live in 8 houses. I bet one of those houses is all glass and you know what they say about people who live in glass houses? They shouldn't throw rocks.

I want to end this post mentioning a bit the myths out there about Barack Obama. First, Barack is NOT a Muslim, not that there is anything wrong with being Muslim. Two, Michelle Obama has never said "whitey" as the internet rumor mill is claiming. There is NO VIDEO and I call upon the accusers to produce one scrape of evidence. They say she used the racial insult on camera and that there is video--so, produce that video and let everyone see for themselves.

Another LIE is that Barack is hiding his birth certificate because he's not an American. Here is his birth certificate, see for yourself. An additional LIE is that Obama doesn't say the pledge of allegiance or put his hand over his heart during the pledge. Watch Obama lead the pledge in the Senate.
The Obama campaign has launched an excellent website that debunks all these and other false rumors. It's called Fight the Smears. I encourage you to talk about these lies on your own blogs and make the rebuttals viral, we need to blanket the internet to fight this bullshit. Remember, FIGHT THE SMEARS!!!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Difference Between Barack Obama and John McCain on Gas Prices.

What can be done about the gas prices? In the short term, not much. The biggest action that will help the most is something that we lazy and greedy Americans do not want to face--conservation which is directly related to mandating car companies greatly increase fuel efficiencies. That is something that the car companies can very much accomplish. Who is the candidate proposing this? Barack Obama.

The next most helpful measure would be to put more money in the hands of American consumers and that demands keeping good paying jobs here in America instead of being outsourced over-seas. Who is in favor of keeping those jobs here through free but just as importantly combined with fair trade? Which candidate wants to greatly invest in a new, green collar economy that will help increase jobs and help bring down oil prices and ween ourselves off fossil fuels in the long term? Barack Obama.

Another way to put more money back in the consumers hands is to repeal the Bush tax cuts that help the rich and hurt the middle-class that built and has sustained American growth in all industries. Which candidate supports repealing those tax cuts to help the middle-class? Barack Obama. John McCain at one time supported repealing those tax cuts but has unfortunately since sold out to big business interests and is now supporting making the Bush tax cuts to the rich permanent. Plus getting out of Iraq would greatly help our economy that is in serious trouble. The money that we are wasting in that war could be used to invest more in the green economy to create more jobs.

Sticking big oil with a windfall profits tax is another way to help decrease gas prices if the income reclaimed from these companies is used to invest in cleaner energy. Which candidate is willing to do that? You guessed it, Barack Obama. He would also use that money to give rebates back to the American people to help pay for high priced groceries and heating costs which would help take the sting out of gas prices. Another consequence of the Bush/McCain tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations who make obscene amounts of money like the big oil companies is that it increases the national debt.

What is John McCain's big answer for high gas prices? A gimmick. The so-called "gas tax holiday" which actually would cause more problems for the consumer than benefits as it would take money away from summer infrastructure repairs. Remember the Minneapolis bridge collapse? Doing so would put more workers out of a job during the duration of the "holiday." And how to pay for it? John McCain would use the federal treasury which will only add to the national deficit and a majority of Americans understand it to be political pandering and a bad idea.

Hell, even Dick Cheney thinks the gas tax holiday is a bad idea!! Plus, the tax would merely increase recreational fuel consumption which will push up demand and in turn increase gas prices!!

No wonder John McCain says he doesn't know much about the economy--it shows.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

John McCain Voted with Bush 100-95% of the time in the Past Two Years. Plus, Chris Dodd, Mike Bloomberg for V.P.?

If John McCain isn't the same as inept George W. Bush then why did he vote 100% of the time with Bush in 2008 and 95% with him in 2007?

Clearly he isn't any different, the numbers say it all. It's hard to argue with cold hard numbers. That kind of voting record isn't representative of a "maverick" but rather of a lock-step Georgie Bush team player.

So by all means vote for McSame if you liked the last 8 years because if McSame is elected then it will be the greatest hits from the Bush years. Four more years? Shed more tears.

Now, on the V.P. selection front:I've been really thinking more and more that Chris Dodd would be a great Vice-Presidential pick for Obama. He is seasoned and has critical economic experience that is so important in this election year. Ron Goldstein says best:

There is a perception that Senator Obama has no record of notoriety on any matters deemed "economy", what better person to share Senator Obama's ticket than the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, the preeminent legislator in the forefront of the mortgage banking crises that precipitated our current recession woes. More than any other legislator in Washington, Chris Dodd knows where to find the keys to steer us out of our perilous economic problems. In addition that shock of white hair that Senator Dodd so proudly displayed in the early primaries would help to counter the inexperience label Senator Obama wears wherever he goes especially in contrast to the well-seasoned Senator McCain. Senator Dodd's prowess not only lies in economic issues but also extends to foreign policy as well as crafting significant domestic legislation. Loyalty is also a plus and Senator Dodd was the first ex-candidate to endorse Senator Obama, and he has worked tirelessly on the stump for Senator Obama to enthusiastic crowds.TPJ: Besides Dodd I'm rethinking Mayor Mike Bloomberg of New York City. He IS "Mr. Economy" and is a popular Independent who can appeal to many swing voters. Plus, he could possibly help Obama shore up the Jewish vote. The down side is that he doesn't give a geographic advantage to the Obama campaign as New York is a reliable Democratic state. That all being said, it might not matter in this election with the economy on everyone's minds. I hope the Obama campaign is looking closely at these two.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hillary Clinton Endorses Barack Obama. Plus, What's with the Boo-Birds?

I was quite pleased with Hillary Clinton's concession speech today and her fervent endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for president. I was worried that her endorsement was going to be said through gritted teeth but she really seemed, convincing, professional, compelling and genuine. I am convinced now that she will do everything in her power to elect Barack Obama and I want to thank her for coming around to fighting hard to prevent four more years of Bush polices under John McCain.

It's not unlike having a family dispute but once there is an outside threat to the family those two sides come together stronger than ever to defeat the common enemy (i.e. John McCain). Hillary pleaded with her supporters NOT to vote for McCain because doing so would set their causes back another 4-8 years. Especially women's rights and the Supreme Court. I know that Barack Obama is a strong fighter for woman's rights and that women can rest assured that Obama will do everything in his power to protect and extend those rights.

And what really convinced me was her resounding call of, "Yes we can!!" I thought she had a great balance of recognizing her supporters and thanking them for their hard work and stating that she will continue to fight for them while supporting the Obama campaign.

I was also very impressed with the audience who were vastly energized for uniting behind Barack but of course the boo birds were represented. There were times when boos and jeers were heard after she endorsed Obama but thankfully they were few. It got me thinking though that if they love her so much than why would they boo her now that she's gracefully conceded? In booing they are just booing their beloved candidate!!

Hillary spoke to the hard feelings though and addressed it with great maturity and poise. She encouraged her supporters not to think "if only" or "what if" because every moment we think looking back keeps us from moving forward. Live is too short and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been. What must work together for what still can be.

So all in all it was a great speech and a resounding endorsement. It couldn't have been a better speech and I thank Hillary for taking the high road. I am so happy that we are starting to unite and focus on the real problem--John McCain.

Now it's on-ward to getting Obama into the White House!!! I look forward to working side by side with Hillary supporters to take back the White House for the American people. We are living in a great time in American history and it is a thrill to be apart of it. So again, thank-you Hillary for this great speech of unity. She hit the ball out of the stadium.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Free Obama '08 Sticker. Plus, Who are the Front Runners for Obama's Vice President? is giving away free Obama '08 stickers right now so ACT NOW to get yours!!!

Obama Veep Stakes:
Now that Obama is the presumptive nominee for president I've been throwing around names who would be could picks for Barack's vice president. This list isn't in order of whom I prefer most but I would say that Bill Richardson in probably my first choice.

Mark Warner: Former Virginia governor, Warner is a very popular figure in Virginia especially in the rural, southwestern corner which is an important demographic to go toward winning the state. He is yet another moderate Democrat with a record of bipartisanship which could very much appeal to Independents and disaffected moderate Republicans. He is also quite charismatic which helps bolster Obama's own energy and charisma. In addition, he has great business/economic experience having been a successful entrepreneur.

However, there is a problem. Warner is favored heavily to win a seat that he is running for in the Senate and pulling him away from that would weaken the chances of adding to the slim Democratic majority in the Senate. An Obama presidency needs a strong Senate to work with.

Bill Richardson: He helps shore up the Latino base that had mostly favored Clinton, strong foreign policy, diplomatic experience and can help bring his swing state and the neighbor swing state to the north (my home state) of Colorado). He is very popular amongst varied demographics and even with some Republicans.

Ted Strickland: He is a very popular Gov. of Ohio who could help carry the state. Winning Ohio is critical to winning the White House and having Strickland (a Clinton supporter) could bring in Clinton voters from the Buckeye state. Strickland is a former steel worker and thus popular with union and the blue-collar working class. He is also an ordained Methodist minister which could help bring in some more conservative religious Democrats and moderate Republicans. He was also born and raised in conservative southeastern Appalachia and represented that region of Ohio in Congress. He could help bring in these rural voters that Obama struggled getting in the primary election. Strickland also has an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. This all being said, however, he isn't seen as V.P. material in his home state by a ratio of 2-1, that's not good news for an Obama win in the Buck-Eye state.

Jim Webb: My second choice. He has strong national security experience and a son in Iraq, he is also a moderate that worked in the Reagan administration that could appeal to moderate Republicans. He would be a great attack dog for Obama. However he does have some troubles with women from some comments made as well as being known for having a bit of a temper. But he could also help bring Virginia into play as the state has been trending Democratic.

Also having another senator on the ticket might not be the best choice to balance out the ticket. Americans tend to prefer governors to senators. Plus he hasn't been in the senate very long which could bolster criticism of Obama that says he is inexperienced. In addition he faces the same problem as Warner in regards to keeping and adding to the Dem majority in the Senate.

The Long Shots: Below are my long shots for V.P. and the ones I think are least helpful to Obama.

Hillary Clinton: She’s a double-edged sword and given the heated nature of the primary I can’t see her fitting into his message of change. Embracing the Clinton years by picking her isn’t exactly turning the page on the old guard. Then there is the issue that having her on the ticket would energize a fractured and disillusioned Republican party.

That all being said her positives are that she can nearly guarantee that a massive majority of women would vote for that ticket. As well as bringing in many blue-collar folks who have until now resisted Obama.

Joe Biden: He has major foreign policy experience and has the wittiness to really nail McCain with some good blows. He's an average man who still rides the train to work. His wife is a teacher and Biden has done a lot for woman's rights. The problem is that very same wit could also produce some embarrassing and troublesome gaffs for Obama.

Mike Bloomberg: Appeals to Independents and has great economic experience and can help with funds if need be being a billionaire. However, being from a solidly blue state might not help with swing states. That all being said he has great appeal within many circles of the voting population.

In other news: John McCain apparently wants to send a manned mission to Mars and I have a thought on who we could send--John McCain. And while we're at it let's toss in Bush and Cheney. However the problem is that we'd have to construct the space craft so that it could only go up there but not return to Earth.

On a more serious note I find it infuriating that McCain wants to waste buckets of money going to the red planet but wouldn't spend money to bring health care to all Americans. Nor will he stop the war in Iraq so I say we bring our soldiers home, send him and his other Republican big talkers about the war up there along with al-Qaeda and they can fight each other to their hearts content.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hillary, I'm not Angry at You but I am Saddened.

UPDATE: Hillary Clinton moving to end bid for presidency on Friday. I have a feeling that people like Gov. Rendell convinced her to move this way. Thank-you Senator and congratulations on running such an amazing, historic campaign.

Did you see Hillary's speech last night after Obama won the nomination? It was quite odd in that it didn't acknowledge the historic nature of the night being that it marked the first time an African-American became the nominee of a major party in the United State of America.

The chair of her campaign Terry McAuliffe went so far as to introduce her as, "The next President of the United States!!" That's not only disrespectful but it's down right insulting especially given the history of the moment.

In addition, she fueled speculation that she might keep fighting until the convention in Denver by not conceding which added to the weirdness of the evening. Then she really went for the gutter by saying that her 18 million supporters have been "invisible." Really? I think that's going a bit too far.

If she wants the V.P. slot then she sure is going about it in a strange way. If she is trying to force her way into the position then I think she will be disappointed, no one likes to be forced.

I don't feel animosity or anger toward here at this point but I do feel sadness. It is sad that she didn't bow out gracefully last night, take the high road and end on a positive, unifying note. It was sad to listen to her talk as though there were more states yet to vote. It was sad to see her not accept the reality of situation. Even several of her high profile supporters are disappointed with this speech and her looking like she is trying to leverage her way onto the ticket.

These people include Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, Hilary Rosen and Rep. Charles Rangel of New York. The governor stated, "You don't bargain with the presidential nominee. Even if you're Hillary Clinton and you have 18 million votes, you don't bargain." Rangel commented that she could have been far more generous towards Obama last night. Rosen saying, "I'm not a bargaining chip, I'm a Democrat" and that she is, "disappointed."

However, I was especially saddened that she did not acknowledge the historic nature of Obama's moment last night. What does that kind of flippant dismissal of history tell our young people? And speaking of our young people, I heard a lady call into our local radio station yesterday evening who literally told her daughter not to expect anything in life because Hillary Clinton lost and that apparently somehow means that women are set back because of it!!!

I know that you're disappointed that she lost but she came in a close second and yet instead of focusing on that historic break through for women this lady is throwing the baby out with the bathwater!! And what kind of a thing is that to say to a young, impressionable child? She went on to say that Barack Obama didn't deserve to win because he was just another man and that women were supposed to be next. I hope that there aren't many Hillary supporters out there like this woman.

I have also heard many ladies who have said that now that Hillary has lost that this means that women will never win the presidency. That's pretty pessimistic. I am convinced that we will see a woman president and most likely in the near future. I would be ecstatic to see that happen especially being a historian and that two of my heroes are my mother and my grandmother. I very much want a woman to be president but not Hillary Clinton. I think Barbara Boxer would be the better choice. I would vote for her in an instant.

Like I said, It's just so sad to me to see Hillary and some of her supporters act this way. I hope that they can let go of some of that anger, pride and sense of revenge for the sake of their happiness and peace in the long run.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Barack Obama Likely to Win Democratic Nomination Tonight.

I've been watching MSNBC for much of the day and saw super delegate after super delegate support Obama. Thus the number he needs to go over the top keeps dropping like the temperature here in Colorado in January. As of right now the number is down to 11.

If things go as we expect tonight Barack Obama will be the first African-American nominee for a major presidential party in American history. As well as the first viable African-American nominee for president amongst all the western countries of the world. I would love to be back in Cote D' Ivoire, West Africa again to hear the talk about this moment of history amongst my friends and "family" back there. He now stands on the precipice of being the first African-American president in the United States. He has at least a 50/50 chance of making that earth-shattering history. However, let's not get ahead of ourselves too much as tonight itself is making momentous history.

Who would have thought that he would have beaten the massive Clinton machinery to win this nomination? I supported him right out of the gate but then wandered a bit in who I supported but right before the Iowa primary I came back to him more supportive than ever.

In other news Hillary Clinton has said today that she is open to the vice-presidential selection which is being a little pushy and stepping on his moment. It seems that she is trying to take away the news headline for him tomorrow. She needs to give him his spot-light tonight and give him time to consider who he wants on his ticket. Being pushy isn't the best way to get the nod from the nominee. It seems to me that her chances diminish if he feels like he's being forced to pick her.

For what it's worth, I do not think it's a wise choice to pick her for the number 2 slot. It's not because I don't like her (which I don't) but because of the rancorous things that she has said about him and he about her during the primary campaign that will be hard to explain and defend to voters this summer/fall. In addition, having Hillary in the V.P. position might under-cut Obama's presidential power if she is actively out front in the press acting like the co-president.

And don't forget when you get Hillary you get Bill and he'll want influence on an Obama presidency and administration as well. And that means having to know exactly who those donors are to Bill's presidential library and foundation. I wonder if the Clinton's would agree to those terms but that would all be information that the Obama people would need to know before being comfortable with picking her.

Proponents of Obama picking Hillary say that she can deliver her supporters for him in November but that's not a given since the chess board will greatly shift once it's officially Obama vs. McCain. Also, having her on the ticket could energize the Republican base which is currently rather factored and disillusioned with the party. Plus, I would submit that it is possible to win over those supporters without the tension and awkwardness of having Hillary directly on the ticket. You can pick a female Hillary supporter, a male Hillary supporter or a female Obama supporter and I think he'd have a great shot at winning over her people.

I am not one who believes that all of the female Hillary supporters are a block that will not think for themselves about who is the best choice this November between the two candidates. I realize that it's heartbreaking to not see your candidate win especially after you have worked so hard to see them win. That being said, I urge everyone to look at the big picture, look down the road and picture what it would it would mean to vote in McCain. He would be devastating to women's rights and could possibly tip the supreme court in favor of over-turning a woman's right to choose if he has the chance to pick a new supreme court justice.

I really hope that Barack takes his time with the selection process, gets plenty of advice and doesn't rush to make a decision or allow himself to be forced into selecting someone. Either way I really hope that Hillary supporters will see the necessity of keeping a Bush loyalist out of the White House. We simply can not let the disastrous policies of the past 8 years to continue.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Obama Quits His Church and the Michigan/Florida Debate Settled--For Now.

ABERDEEN, S.D. — Senator Barack Obama has resigned his membership in Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, which he attended for nearly two decades, following months of controversy about pastors and their political views. “Our relations with Trinity have been strained by the divisive statements of Reverend Wright, which sharply conflict with our own views,” they wrote. “These controversies have served as an unfortunate distraction for other Trinity members who seek to worship in peace, and have placed you in an untenable position.”

Mr. Obama said he and his wife would search for a new church but probably would not make a decision until after the election in November.

TPJ: It's wise that he made this decision and isn't going to join a new church until after the election. You can call it a political move but he had do it and I'm sure there is a sincere aspect to this decision and that it was a hard decision.

This decision helps inoculate Obama from further outlandish attacks revolving around Rev. Wright during the general election. He has done everything that he can to distance himself from his former pastor short of killing the man. So hopefully this move will help focus attention back to the issues that matter such as improving this horrible Bush/McCain economy. A big way to help reverse the hemorrhaging of our treasury is to end this draining Bush/McCain adventure in Iraq. The economy is the most important issue for Americans right now and McCain's admitted lack of understanding of the economy is something that needs more attention.

So yesterday we had the fight in the rules and bylaws committee over the Florida and Michigan delegate issue. I found it telling that the Hillary people were the rowdiest and most disruptive supporters in the room. The Obama representatives at the committee had the votes to split the delegates 50/50 but they chose to offer an olive branch of peace to the Clinton camp by offering to give her more delegates than the 50/50 option but not enough to change the election.

It is irrational to think that it's fair to give all of the delegates to Hillary given the flawed nature of the actual elections themselves. The election in Michigan was more akin to a dictitorial election than a democratic one where Hillary was the only candidate on the ballot.

However, this somewhat generous compromise wasn't good enough for the Clinton folks and now they are threating to take this issue to the convention to appeal it. Come on Clinton supporters, please listen to reason and bow out gracefully once the primaries are over.

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