Tuesday, April 29

Can Obama Shake Wright

After several days of Rev. Jeremiah Wright appearing at numerous functions defending and expanding on the firestorm that has followed him for inflammatory remarks he made in several sermons, Obama denounced the Reverend and his remarks today.

“I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday,” Obama said in a last-minute press conference today. The candidate said that after watching Wright’s appearance from Monday, “what became clear to me was that he was presenting a world view that contradicts what I am and what I stand for," said Obama today in a news conference.
According to CBSNews.com,

"The turning point was Wright’s combative appearance in Washington yesterday at the national press club, where he stood by the comments he has claimed were taken out of context in press accounts over the past months. Wright maintained that the U.S. government was capable of acts of horror such as spreading AIDS through the lack community, accused the government of committing terrorism abroad and called criticisms of such remarks an attack on the “black church.”
All I can say is it's about time. You can't have that much history with a man and not know his stance on those issues. You also can't tell me that the comments taken from his sermons were taken out of context, because yesterday Rev. Wright set the record straight himself and it was pretty much as we thought.

Here are a few more articles and perspectives:

Jeremiah Wright's Bombshell, The Progressive
Obama Says He's Outrages by Ex-Pastor's Comments, NYT
Wright, Jefferson and the Wrath of God, The Nation
Obama Discovers Wright's Unsavory (It Only Took 20 Years!), The Weekly Standard

Monday, April 28

Obama Changes His Message?

Last week I linked to an article from the WSJ that talked about how Hoosiers may be leery of a message of change for change sake. Interestingly, today there is an article that talks about how Obama has changed "his call for change by speaking more directly to voters' economic concerns."

In a state where plant closings and rising unemployment are a major issue for voters, Obama changed his stump speech to reflect how "he would bring changes to help people overcome their economic plight."

Although Obama's message of hope and change has been the driving message of his campaign, it has often lacked the details and a plan for obtaining that change. That may change a little as the Obama camp switches its message from an ideological message of change to a more 'rubber hits the road' message.

Advisers said the new message is less a response to losses in Ohio and Pennsylvania and more a reflection of the growing importance of the economy to voters. Obama communications director Robert Gibbs said that in Indiana, Sen. Obama "will focus on making sure people know what ['change'] means, and what that means specifically for them."

Sen. Obama had struggled to connect with financially insecure voters, at least one survey showed. "They're less likely to seek change, even if it's positive change they really want, because the prospect of change only adds to their insecurity," said Pam Murtaugh, a global management consultant who conducted a survey of 400 Pennsylvania voters two weeks ago and found that lofty appeals to hope were less likely to connect with those voters.

We'll know in one week if this change in approach connects with voters when Indiana holds their primary on May 6.

Saturday, April 26

A Do-It Yourself Tax Cut

This past Wednesday was Tax Freedom Day. It's the day when you stop working to pay the government and start earning money for yourself.

Americans have a love/hate relationship with taxes. Most of us are eagerly awaiting our tax stimulus checks, and as Brett Arends cautioned in his article for The Wall Street Journal,

Thanks to the deficit, these aren't really rebates. They're just loans from your kids. Something to think about before you blow the money on a flat-screen TV.
Arends goes on to suggest 14 ways that you can have a do-it yourself tax cut. Here are a few of my favorites:

#2. Stop using other banks' ATMs. Sure it's a pain to have to remember to go your own bank and get enough cash. But you'll live. If you use other banks' ATMs you may be getting dinged for fees twice -- once by that bank, and one by your own. It adds up. Do it three times a week and it could easily cost you $300 a year.

#9. The biggest waste of money for most people. "No. 1 on the list is eating out and drinking out," says Jan Geiger, a veteran financial planner in Atlanta, Ga. "That's absolutely, by far, No. 1." She says most people never add it all up. When she makes her clients do just that, "They usually freak out. It can easily be $400, $500 or $600 a month." No, you don't have to live on noodles. Just cutting one $100 meal, or two $50 meals, a month will save you $1,200 a year.

#10. Buy a cheaper car and pay cash. Yes, that brand new luxury car says "smart and rich." Unfortunately, it only says that about your car dealer. About you it says "pretentious, and probably in debt."

#13. Cutting out crap. Remember before we paid for "iced tea" and water? And half of what people buy has no obvious purpose or merit. If you don't believe me, go to the mall and look around. And most gifts are a total waste of money. I'll bet the typical household could save $500 a year just cutting out crap.

It's a great list with a few ideas you may have never considered again. Check it out!

Friday, April 25

Freedom Friday

Today, I wanted to highlight a post that I read last week called Thank you to the Providers of Freedom. I thought it was a great reminder for all of us about the people that secure and fight for our freedom every day.

"Freedom is not free…it cost someone somewhere…and today…at this very hour…someone is paying the price for that freedom. I just wanted to say “thank you” to the men and women that have served…and are serving…in our United States Armed Forces."
You can read the rest of this short post by Chris Elrod here.

If you have a picture, factoid, or post that you'd like to share on what freedom means to you, simply link up below. Many apologies for being so late posting Freedom Friday today. Would you believe I forgot it was Friday?!

Thursday, April 24

Will 'Change' Play Well in Indiana?

The Democrat message of change may not play well in Indiana, the next stop on the primary trail. According to an interesting article in the New York Times today, Hoosiers are leery of change for change sake.

“We hold onto a lot of traditional values,” said Brian L. Thomas, 39, Kokomo, as he bought a cup of coffee along the courthouse square here on Wednesday. “Saying you’re ready to change is probably not the best or only thing you would want to say around these parts. Frankly, we want it to be like it used to be.”

That sentiment was echoed by Ron O'Bryan, 58, a retired auto worker.

“What are we going to change to? You mean change to some other country’s system? What do you think they mean?”

Jeremy Lewis, a 28-year-old window washer, said simply,

“Old-fashioned can be in a good way.”

It will be interested to see if and how the candidates modify their message to connect with the people.

I Guess We Were 'Bitter'

The breakdown of Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary provides some interesting insight into how much of a misstep Obama's "bitter" comments were to the outcome of the race.

According to exit polls, "Obama lost 70 percent of Catholics, 58 percent of white Protestants and 62 percent of gun owners. Obama was saved from total disaster in Pennsylvania by 92 percent of the African-American vote, but the reverse of the racial divide was Clinton's support from whites, especially white working women," reported Robert Novak. "Clinton carried union members, wage-earners between $15,000 and $75,000 annually, and people with less than a college degree."

Tuesday, April 22

Hillary Wins Pennsylvania

I was so encouraged to hear all the fun reports about moms (and dads) taking their kids to the voting booths today. I was also encouraged to see several 20-somethings working the polls. It was a great picture to see two generations coming together to make the day run smoothly.

Analysts went into the day saying that Clinton had to win by a large margin to keep her in the game. "If she wins by 10 points or more, it will be viewed as a clear and convincing victory, but if it's closer than that, it will be less than a clear and convincing victory," said Tad Devine, Democratic strategist.

As I'm writing this, the news outlets are reporting about an 8-9% margin of victory for Clinton. Will it be enough to keep her base energized and sway undecideds in the next primary in Indiana? The race continues...

Take Your Kids 2 Vote

I'll be taking my three kids with me when I vote later today because I want them to see democracy in action. That's why I was thrilled to learn about a new organization called Take Your Kids 2 Vote.

Take Your Kids 2 Vote is a non-partisan organization created to encourage parents to take their children to vote. To instill patriotism in our young Americans as well as an understanding of the voting process, parents are encouraged to take children the polls with them when they vote in primary, local and general elections.

By taking their kids 2 vote, parents will....

  • Help their children learn how our democracy works.

  • Help them understand why voting matters.

  • Make their children proud to be Americans.

  • Build lasting family memories.

  • Make America stronger.

Their site has great information for parents and teachers and gives a lot of great ideas for how kids can get involved in the election process, how you can make the debates a date with your child, and even some ideas for how dinner time discussions can help your family learn more about important election issues.

They even have a section for kids called Pollcat Corner that has puzzles, great kid-friendly voting resources and links, and even some interesting facts about voting that I bet you don't know. (Do you know why is always the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November?)

To celebrate the spirit of this site, all you Pennsylvanians who took your kids with you to vote today...sound off in the comments section. Did your kids ask any insightful questions? Did Junior crawl under the voting booth? Did Sally blurt out to everyone gathered who you voted for?

Take your kids 2 vote!

Monday, April 21

Voter Help

I've had a few phone calls tonight from friends and family who are wanting to know who they should vote for tomorrow. Well, I wish the answer was simple but it really depends on where you live since we are also casting votes for other local races.

So after a few searches on Google, I came up with a site called Vote-PA.org that will bring up a sample of the ballot for your district. To get the information you simply type in your address and whether you are voting Republican or Democrat.

I found it to be very helpful since you don't always seem to know what races will be included on your ballot. Other than the presidential race, I have only one other race to decide. The rest of the races are with incumbents that aren't being challenged.

For those of you outside of Pennsylvania, try googling "sample (your state) ballot" to find a similar site.

Ready, Set, VOTE

Tomorrow is another pivotal primary...this time in the Keystone State of Pennsylvania. I know that for sure because I've been reminded every time I pick up my telephone, turn on the TV or listen to the radio. I even saw a crew from CNN eating a late dinner at a local Chili's tonight---just another sign that all eyes are watching this blue collar state.

A week ago analysts were predicting a possible upset for Obama, but tonight he is pretty much setting the stage for a lose. That definitely puts the pressure on Clinton to win big. And win big is what all the pundits are saying she has to do to stay alive in this race.

Why Pennsylvania Matters, Real Clear Politics
Obama's Closing Argument, Slate
Can Obama Pull Off a Win in PA?, Daily Telegraph

Friday, April 18

Freedom Friday: Choices

As I drove out of my neighborhood this morning, I was struck by all the candidate signs that are proudly displayed in yards and on street corners. Next Tuesday I will vote in the Pennsylvania
primary and those signs are a great reminder that we have a choice to vote for the candidate that best represents our values and interests.

Last month, Cuba got a new leader, but there were no signs. No primaries. No debates. No questions. No election day. No opponents. Just the announcement of the new leader chosen and appointed by the old leader...which just happened to be a family member.


If you have a picture, factoid, or post that you'd like to share on what freedom means to you, simply link up below.

Thursday, April 17

Debate Sparks Strong Opinions

What a night for me to miss a debate---and not even tape it, to boot.

As I read through today's articles from a wide-range of sources, I'm shocked by the reactions to the debate moderators and the performances of each candidate. I can't ever remember a debate garnering this much opinion. You either loved it or hated it!

Here's some great reading

No Whining About the Media, New York Times

Tough Questions on Gaffes throw both Candidates Off Message, Boston Globe

What About the Concerns of Pennsylvanians, Philadelphia Daily News - Attytood

John McCain was the Big Winner, The American Spectator

What do you think? Did Gibson and Stephanopolous miss the boat with their line of questioning? Did Clinton "win" the debate? Did you see an Obama who was flustered and off-kilter all evening?

Give me the goods!

Wednesday, April 16

Debate Reminder

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will take part in a 90-minute debate tonight at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. It is the first debate in over two months between these two candidates and the last one before Pennsylvania holds its primary next Tuesday. The meeting will be the 21st debate of the Democratic nominating contest.

ABC News is sponsoring and televising the debate, with Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos moderating.

New Poll in Sidebar

I put up a new poll today about which Democratic candidate would be more likely to defeat McCain in the general election. With Clinton and Obama about equal on the issues, it becomes a question of who could actually defeat McCain. Weigh in on the right and tell us what you think.

(yes, I'm still on a break!)

Monday, April 14

Short Break

I'm not going to be posting the rest of the week. I've got several home projects in full swing and I need to concentrate on getting them wrapped up and my house back in order, but don't let my craziness stop all of you from talking about the news of the day.

Help keep me in the 'know' by posting links and/or information about the latest political news on the candidates and the election. The last time we did this, you guys really came up with some great stories and links.

Be back soon!

Compassion Forum

How many of your caught Sens. Obama and Clinton talking about faith and politics last night on CNN? I have it taped but haven't had time to watch it yet. However, I did read about half the transcript of the forum and found it to be an interesting discussion on topics that don't always get discussed during an election.

You can read the transcript here, if you missed seeing it live on television.

Did anyone else watch it? Any viewpoints on the two candidates and their faith?

Thursday, April 10

McCain even with Obama, Clinton

According to CNN's Political Ticker today,

Barack Obama's once double-digit lead over John McCain in a hypothetical match-up has evaporated, according to a just released Associated Press poll.

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are now statistically tied with McCain, suggesting the Arizona senator may be benefiting from the drawn out Democratic primary race.

If the Democrats don't pull themselves together, they are going to hand this election to McCain.

Clinton and Obama to Discuss Faith and Issues

On Sunday, April 13, at 8:00 pm (ET), my alma mater is hosting Sens. Clinton and Obama for The Compassion Forum. CNN will broadcast this presidential candidate forum on faith, values and other current issues. NBC anchor Campbell Brown and Newsweek editor and Newsweek.com election anchor Jon Meacham will moderate

Organized and sponsored by Faith in Public Life, the 90-minute forum will address domestic and international poverty, global AIDS, climate change, genocide in Darfur, and human rights and torture. The Compassion Forum will provide the opportunity for candidates to discuss how their faith and moral convictions bear on their positions on these important issues.

"The Compassion Forum will give the candidates a chance to talk straight to voters about what they'll do as president to fulfill God's command that we be our brothers' keepers," said Governor Mike Huckabee, a supporter of the event. "I'm proud that the faith community is taking the lead in asking the candidates to confront the most pressing moral challenges of our times."

The Forum will feature Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the same stage to talk about these topics as each candidate sits down individually with the moderators. The program will also stream live at www.CNN.com.

"Issues of faith, compassion, and the common good are important throughout Pennsylvania," said U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. "We have a moral obligation to provide a stable foundation for our next generation, but it also makes perfect economic sense. This year's candidates will be well served discussing these issues in Pennsylvania and The Compassion Forum."

Sen. McCain has declined to participate, although the invitation is still open.

Wednesday, April 9

Rice Not Interested in McCain Ticket

Too bad! It certainly made for some fun speculation.

CNN has the story here.

Obama Gaining on Clinton in Pennsylvania

*Updated with new link and more details*

A few months ago, Clinton was a good 20 points ahead of Obama in Pennsylvania. The latest polls show her with only about a six point lead.

I think her 'being under sniper fire' exaggeration may have hurt her along with the story she had in her stump speech about the uninsured pregnant woman. Clinton claimed the woman was denied treatment and later died. That anecdote was pulled from her stump speech this week after the hospital came forward and said the woman had insurance and was never denied coverage.

What do you think? Vote in my sidebar poll and let me know if you think Clinton's "misspeaks" could be the beginning of the end for her.

Monday, April 7

Speculation Growns on Rice for GOP Ticket

I just saw a news story that claims Condoleeza Rice has expressed interest in becoming John McCain's running mate. Honestly, I find that hard to believe but Rice as VP would add a complete and unexpected twist to this election.

Has anyone else seen this story? Any thoughts about Rice joining the race?

The Economy

It doesn't take many minutes of listening to the news to discover that there are quite a few viewpoints about what is happenening with the U.S. economy. Some experts are saying recession, some are saying not yet, some are saying we've yet to see the worst. I've been searching the net for a clear answer but have yet to find much clairty, so I'm going to give you several links that you can explore on your own.

Open for Business

Thanks to Jo-Lynn over at DCR Design for helping me tweak some things in my template. Hopefully everything won't look and feel so cramped together now. It's amazing what a little white space and visual dividers will do! Jo-Lynn also blogs at Musings of a Housewife, Chic Critique, and Musings of a Housewife Reviews. Whoa, she's a busy one!

If you're looking to spruce up your site, add a new banner or do a complete redo, Jo-Lynn does quick work and is very reasonable. Plus, she's a Pennsy gal!

Friday, April 4

Spring Cleaning

I'm having a little spring cleaning and sprucing up done on this site today. So if things get a little wonky, please be patient! It will be all back to normal before you know it and looking better than ever.

Freedom Friday

My last post was about the viability of a third party candidate in our country's political system. As I was thinking about that question, it hit me how fortunate we are to have a choice in who all of our elected officials are at all levels of government. Many people around the world are not given any choice in who governs them. What a freedom that we take for granted!

If you have a picture, factoid, or post that you'd like to share on what freedom means to you, simply link up below.

Thursday, April 3

Noodle This: Third Party Candidates

I heard Bob Barr interviewed tonight about his possible bid for the White House with the Libertarian party. This former Republican congressman is seen as a potential threat to McCain's campaign if he gets the Libertarian nomination. According to The Washington Times:

"Republican campaign pros said a Barr bid could range from causing them some damage all the way to being the equivalent of Ross Perot's 1992 presidential bid, which many Republicans think split their party's voters, unseating then-President Bush and electing Democrat Bill Clinton."

The interviewer tonight kept grilling Barr about whether his candidacy would split McCain's votes and ultimately give the victory to the Democrats. Barr held firm that when voters are dissatisfied with a party and/or candidate, they should have other choices and not be locked into just one or two people.

What do you think?

Does the U.S. electoral system have room for a viable third-party candidate or will it always be just a drain on one of the other two parties?

For McCain, son's duty in Iraq is not a talking point

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) regularly talks about his military experience on the presidential campaign trail, but he draws the line when asked about his sons’ service in the armed forces. Jimmy McCain, 19, who returned from Iraq in mid-February, is stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. Jack McCain, 21, is poised to graduate from the Naval Academy and could join the Marines as a second lieutenant.

At a time when Democrats are calling for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq, McCain has refused to use his children’s experience to strengthen his arguments for keeping the U.S. military in the Middle Eastern country.

I don't think I knew that McCain's son was serving in Iraq. Regardless of what you think of his politics, you have to admire the guy for not politicizing that relationship.

The rest of the story is found at TheHill.com.

Interesting Pairing

"Al Gore has a spot in a potential Barack Obama administration, the Illinois senator said Wednesday.

Asked at a campaign event if he'd consider Gore for his cabinet, Obama immediately said he would."

Read the rest of this CNN Political Ticker story here.

Wednesday, April 2


I've never been a fan of James Carville, and that opinion certainly didn't change after I read this article where Carville "described the state (PA) as Paoli (a suburb of Philadelphia) and Penn Hills (a suburb of Pittsburgh) with Alabama in between."

If you live in Pennsylvania, especially the "Alabama" portion of the state, you might find this article humorous. Maybe.

Karl Rove Scared of Who?

Karl Rove recently did a Q&A with GQ that covered a wide range of topics from policy to superdelegates to potential pardons. But I thought this question toward the end of the interview gave some of the best insight into this man that has been called the mastermind of the Republican party.

Did you know that Laura (Bush) called you Pigpen?
Yeah. [laughs] Laura Bush intimidates me. All the Bushes—well, most of the Bush men marry incredibly strong women, and they all intimidate me. Barbara Bush I've lived in fear of for thirty-seven years.

You can read the entire interview here.

McCain Mulls List of Potential Vice Presidents

With his nomination secure, John McCain is beginning to look at potential Vice President choices. Who do you think McCain should consider as his Republican running mate?

Candidates Tap into Their Funny Bone

Everybody loves a good April Fool's joke, right? Well, the candidates sought to relieve some election stress by pulling their own jokes yesterday.

Hillary proved that she can enjoy April Fool's Day as much as the next guy when she played this joke on reporters, even if it was at Obama's expense.

It looks like she wasn't the only one going for laughs. Even John McCain cracked a joke or two as he yakked it up with a late night host.

Tuesday, April 1

Co-Presidency Idea Gaining Steam

The issue that has dominated much of the news over the last month has been how to resolve the race for the Democratic nomination. Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Party, announced today an idea that is rapidly gaining steam among pundits and the public that would not only unify the party but would bring the best of both worlds to the table. According to Dean,

The DNC has proposed to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the creation of the office of co-president of the United States. This would allow both candidates to serve side-by-side in accordance with the public's wishes and also tap into the vast experience and wisdom these candidates possess. This type of compromise would send a clear signal to the world that the U.S. is doubly committed to peace efforts in the Middle East and a co-presidency could even serve as a model of how waring factions can work together for the good of the human race.

Although there are still many details to work out, specifically those dealing with the constitution, Dean is confident that a deal is imminent. The ticket in the fall would list both names together as President.

The only questions that remain is whose name would go first on the letterhead (Al Gore is quoted as preferring alphabetical ranking) and how to arrange the furniture in the oval office so that one president doesn't have a better view of the Rose garden over the other president.

What's Wright to Obama?

Obama had to face his first major firestorm of the campaign when statements were made by his pastor of more than 20 years. In a widely viewed sermon from 2003, the Rev. Wright shouted from his pulpit, among other things:

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

He then went on to blame America for 9/11 since America has been engaged in state terrorism that has murdered far more innocents than were killed in America on 9/11. We should recall that when some conservative Christian leaders suggested that America had in some ways brought on 9/11 by its sins, these people were read the riot act by the mainstream media.

Last Tuesday, Obama gave a speech to clarify his relationship with Rev. Wright and to denounce "any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue."

But questions still loom about their relationship; Wright's influence on Obama over the past 20 years; and Obama's knowledge of Wright's stance on issues of race. Controversies and scandals are part of the American political system, although many don't do much more than dull the shine on a candidate. Time will tell if this controversy becomes his achilles heel as it continues to make headlines and cast a shadow on Obama's convictions.

What do you think? Do you think Rev. Wright's statements will negatively impact Barack Obama's campaign. Answer the question in this week's sidebar poll.

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