Tag Archives: Obama

Underreported News

Obama’s long lost brother has been found

I don’t know how this isn’t all over the news, but apparently Vanity Fair has tracked down Obama’s half-brother.  He’s living in a shanty town somewhere in Kenya, near Nairobi.

He’s living there on less than a dollar a month, and this is how he describes his existence:

Huruma is a tough place, last January during the elections there was rioting and six people were hacked to death. The police don’t even arrest you they just shoot you….I have seen two of my friends killed. I have scars from defending myself with my fists. I am good with my fists.

It’s kind of a crazy story (and you can read the rest of it here).  I just want to make two quick points:

1) He’s not that “long lost” since Obama met up with him in 2006 while travelling in East Africa.

2) It just goes to show how where you are born can really determine your future.  Anyone has the potential to do something great.  But in some places, the opportunities just never present themselves.

[Via: Streeter Seidell]

Politics

Is Obamamania fizzling out?

Until recently, Barack Obama’s lead in the polls appeared insurmountable.  The presumptive Democratic nominee’s message of change seemed to be resonating with the American public, while his Republican counterpart’s efforts to endear himself to evangelical voters was proving largely fruitless.  In July, for example, polling website electoral-vote.com had Obama leading his opponent by over 100 electoral college votes.  Similarly, the results of a national poll released in mid-June showed Obama holding a healthy 15 point lead over McCain. 

Over the last few weeks, however, Obama’s lead has shrunk dramatically.  Pollster.com shows him leading by less than 70 electoral college votes, with states like Indiana and Missouri – until recently considered winnable by Obama – trending Republican.

Electoral-vote.com paints an even worse picture for Obama fans.  According to its calculations, McCain is leading in the vitally-important swing states of Ohio and Florida and, to a lesser extent, Colorado.  Under this scenario, Obama’s margin over McCain is a measly 3 electoral votes; a virtual dead-heat.  Should the election unfold along these lines, Virginia, the only remaining state in the ‘undecided’ column, would decide the presidency.  Both candidates have a realistic shot of taking Virgina – but it’s hardly the situation Obama expected to be in as the summer draws to a close.

So what happened?  Are people fed up with his incessant, ambiguous demands for ‘change?’  Perhaps.  More likely, though, is that McCain’s negative attack ads are finally having an impact.  Joan Walsh, writing in Salon, notes: “John McCain’s decision to slime Barack Obama … seems to be paying off in the short term, judged by his recent climb in many polls.”  And a host of news outlets and editorial boards have offered similar analyses.

McCain appears to be taking a page out of Bush and Rove’s playbook.  A cursory glance at 2004 polling data reveals a striking similarity between the two election cycles: during the summer of ’04, Kerry led Bush by several dozen electoral college votes and looked poised to take back the Oval Office for Democrats.  However, shortly after the launch of the now-infamous Swift Boad ads, Kerry’s lead began to evaporate.  Of course, we all know how that story ends.

Is a similar fate in store for Obama?  Hopefully not.  Already, he’s started to fight back.  According to an article in today’s Independent, Obama is “now running an uplifting national advertising campaign while delivering fierce attacks on his opponent at the local level in key swing states [Emphasis added].”

While some would say that Obama’s new strategy is hypocritical given his pledge to “transcend the bickering of national politics,” I think it’s about damn time he started to fight back.  Negative campaigns win, whether we like it or not.  And, to be perfectly honest, I’d rather see Obama take the White House with a vitriolic campaign than lose it with an “uplifting one.”

Regardless, if he doesn’t manage to reverse his sliding poll numbers soon, negative campaign ads could be the least of Obama’s worries.

Music

Obama and McCain’s favourite music

If you remember, way back in April, we briefly covered the presumptive presidential candidates favourite music.  At that time, John McCain had not really let any kind of full list go.  Now we have it.  Blender Magazine (the unloved offspring of Maxim) has compiled a list of the candidates’ own choosing.

Check it out below.

John Mccain’s Top Ten
1. Dancing Queen ABBA
2. Blue Bayou Roy Orbison
3. Take a Chance On Me ABBA
4. If We Make It Through December Merle Haggard
5. As Time Goes By Dooley Wilson
6. Good Vibrations The Beach Boys
7. What A Wonderful World Louis Armstrong
8. I’ve Got You Under My Skin Frank Sinatra
9. Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond
10. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes The Platter

Barack Obama’s Top Ten
1. Ready or Not Fugees
2. What’s Going On Marvin Gaye
3. I’m On Fire Bruce Spingsteen
4. Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones
5. Sinnerman Nina Simone
6. Touch the Sky Kanye West
7. You’d Be So Easy to Love Frank Sinatra
8. Think Aretha Franklin
9. City of Blinding Lights U2
10. Yes We Can will.i.am

If I was living in the US, I think the fact that Obama picked Sinnerman as one of his favourite songs would be enough to convince me to vote for him.

It’s also pretty funny that Obama had to pick that will.i.am song (Yes we can).  It’s basically a 4 minute long celebrity endorsement of Obama.  Not that I blame him for publicizing it, it’s probably a pretty smart move.

McCain’s choices are even more amusing.  It’s hard to imagine a grizzled POW and war veteran loving ABBA so much, but to each their own, I guess.  And at least he does love Louis Armstrong, extra points for that for sure.

[Source: NPR thanks to Blender]

Politics

Gore backs Obama

Al Gore has come out in support of the Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

After Bill Clinton’s repeated meltdowns during the primary season, Gore is probably now the most respected Democrat in the party.  Many still see him as having won the 2000 election, and now that he won a Nobel Prize he’s doing pretty well for himself.

This is only major news because Gore stayed neutral on purpose during the whole Democratic primary.

The former vice president turned Nobel Prize winner playfully said he recalled one Republican nominee wondering out loud whether his Democratic rival for president was “naive and inexperienced.”

“And yet another said the United States cannot afford to risk the future of the free world with inexperience and immaturity in the White House,” said Gore. “Who were they talking about? Every single one of those quotes came from the campaign of 1960, when the the Republicans attacked John Fitzgerald Kennedy for allegedly lacking the age and experience necessary to be president.”

I think it’s funny that the first statement he made was going back to the whole JFK comparisons that have been all over this campaign.

What’s amusing is that the Republican’s big comeback is that Sen. Lieberman (the other half of Gore’s 2000 ticket) has endorsed McCain a while ago, and Gore’s only now coming out in support of Obama.

[Source: CNN]

Politics

McCain’s advisor promised to leave campaign

Well, only sort of.  This is an extremely long overdue post (especially since Obama is now actually the Democratic nominee).

Back in May, almost exactly a month ago, Mark McKinnon kept his promise that he would leavve the McCain campaign if Obama was going to win the nomination. read more »

Music Politics

Nas Raps Political

Scroll down for some new heat by Nas. Produced by Green Lantern, the track – called ‘Black President’ – is a meditation on Barack Obama. Although Nas’s rhymes are undeniably dope (“America, surprise us/Let a black man guide us”) it’s the Tupac sample Green Later flips for the hook that steals the show: “and although it seems heaven sent/We ain’t ready, to see a black president.”

Nas – Black President (2008, ?)

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Featured Politics

Obama clinches the nomination

So it’s finally happened.

Barack Obama has “won” the Democratic nomination to stand as a candidate for President of the United States.

Now, what this actually means is that he has enough pledged delegates and pledged superdelegates to officially win the nomination at the national convention.

It’s a sure thing, and he has made history as being the first African-American to stand as a presidential candidate for any of the major parties.

What’s hilarious is that Hillary Clinton still refuses to concede. In a speech she gave in New York today, she kept hammering that she was the most “electable” and
that she stood the best chance against McCain.

She goes on to say that she won’t be making any decisions tonight, and that she wants her supports to visit her website to give her advice and tell her what they want.

Part of me admires here persistence, but at the same time this can only be even more damaging to the dems in the long run. The longer Clinton continues her impossible quest, the less likely it is that her supports will get behind Obama.

So far it seems that Hillary is the only one who thinks that she’s still in this race. Obama’s pretty much begun to ignore her, and McCain gave a speech today where he already declared that the primaries were over and the general election had begun. He launched some attacks at Obama.

It seems like Clinton’s relevance in this whole thing is fading rapidly. This is definitely a blow to her supporters, and by no means is she at all inferior. She did run a strong campaign and managed to pull off some big wins. She’s also, despite what the internet likes to say, not a terrible person.

No matter who you supported, this has been the most electrifying primary season in my memory, and I absolutely think that anything that engages people in politics is fantastic.

Here’s a fascinating quote from the CNN article: “Sen. Clinton was asked whether she was open to the idea of running as vice president and repeated what she has said before: She would do whatever she could to ensure that Democrats take the White House back and defeat John McCain,” the former first lady’s campaign said in a written statement Tuesday afternoon.”

Clinton does not seem to be living up to what she says. By giving such a defiant speech tonight she just continues to divide the party. This fuels McCain and doesn’t help “take the White House back”. Absurd.

James Carville, the kingpin of the Clinton campaign, gave a pretty funny discussion during the CNN wrap-up. He kept mocking the other pundits saying he was “befuddled” why anyone thought she was conceding tonight. He insisted that she never indicated she would concede tonight, and that these decisions “take time”. Frankly, I don’t see how it can “take time”, when your opponent has already achieved the votes necessary to clinch the nomination.

Not a good way to start things off if she really is actively pursuing the VP spot.

[Update]

Terry McAuliffe, Clinton’s spokesperson, made an appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart where he desperately (and hopefully satirically) pleaded the case for how Hillary’s still going to win the ticket.  He claims she’s won the major contests coast-to-coast, and he even claimed that she won South Dakota and Montana.  He’s half right.  She did win S. Dakota (no offense, but who really cares?).  However, CNN and all the major pundits are predicting a Barack win in Montana.  Plus, he’s already clinched it.  When will the madness end?

Politics

The Nightmare Ticket

The Onion, in a stroke of genius, has run an article lampooning the hundreds of times we hear about possible VP nominations for each party.  Especially on the Democratic side.

Ever since we heard that Obama’s nearly got the show wrapped up, we’ve been hearing demands from the Clinton camp that she be made VP as a “consolation prize”.  Others have been saying that Obama and Clinton should want to get together to form the “Dream Ticket”.

Well, my friends, I give you the Nightmare Ticket.

According to the Onion (yes, it’s fake news, for those who don’t know) McCain, Clinton, and Obama would run together.

“”No other ticket is capable of rallying this nation around a clearer, more unified message of chaos and hopelessness,” the candidates said in unison from three separate podiums, each adorned with its own American flag arrangement and personal message. “Together, we will lead this nation into the future—a future where absolute deadlock over even the most minute decisions and total inefficiency on matters of the war, the economy, and the environment will launch a bold new age of confusion and social decay. For America, the only choice is [indecipherable]!”

Hilarious.

They also make jokes about how they’d split up the office into President, Vice President and also a “Middle President”.  Sounds funny, but it’s probably pretty accurate about what would happen if Obama did pick Clinton.  I think Bill would be heading for that “Middle President” role.

Featured Politics

Edwards Endorses Obama

It’s funny, this is huge news, and yet it also isn’t.

John Edwards has finally made a decision in who to endorse, and has officially come out on behalf of Barack Obama. This will probably be the final blow to Clinton, but comes as no real surprise considering how much of an insurmountable lead Obama has.

There has also been a lot of talk that Edwards is gunning for a VP spot, and while I don’t doubt that this plays some factor, I also don’t believe he would get it. After Edwards’ failed VP run with Kerry during the last election, I think he’d be too much of a political liability. Instead, I think Edwards can expect a plum cabinet post, or possibly the Attorney General job if Obama becomes the president.

Newsweek is arguing that this will help Obama amongst white male voters. He’s obviously struggling to capture this vote, as his pummeling in West Virginia shows. However, I don’t think Edwards has the same pull as other Democrats may with the the so-called NASCAR Democrats. Despite actually being a Southern boy, he doesn’t come across with the down-home sensibility that is required to pull these voters for Obama. Despite his actual wealth, Edwards does seem to have some credit with lower-income Americans, having spent much of his campaign on extolling the need to address their problems. This can help Obama, as his largest appeal seems to be with the slightly higher-income demographic.

One thing is for sure, with Edwards coming out and publicly endorsing Obama, I think we’ll see another surge of Superdelegates moving over and finally declaring their support. Even if they wait for the formality of special meeting to do so, I think it’s over for Clinton.

Ideally, this will also push Clinton to start reducing her vitriol. Even if she continues to ‘campaign’, and refuses to concede, she should be careful not to stir up more trouble and damage Obama too much. It doesn’t help anyone to continue the infighting.

Edwards and Obama made a carefully staged announcement, calling for Democrats to unite against the McCain threat. It’s a smart move, because in many ways it further sidelines Clinton. Instead of even paying attetnion to what’s left of her campaign, Obama’s already acting like the nominee. Considering that it’s absolutely mathematically impossible for Clinton to win, I think that’s a safe bet. If the Democrats have any chance of winning, it’s important that they actually make a decision soon.

For those of you who missed it, John McCain made an appearance on Saturday Night Live, and you can watch it below.

McCain was quite clever and on point. Despite the fact that it was very obvious he was reading the teleprompter (his eyes were nowhere near the camera), he was making some very good points. He was teasing the Democrats and used the hosts of Weekend Update to mutter a “That’s right, fight amongst yourselves” that actually made me laugh. He knows that the longer the Democrats take to pick a candidate, the better his chances are.

That should be a major message to the Dems. if the Republicans are well aware of how your infighting is helping them, maybe it’s time to stop the bleeding.

Politics

Senators say whether they’d agree to be vice president

TheHill.com has somehow managed to ask all 97 sitting Senators whether or not they would consider the VP nod from the presidential candidates.

They’re reproduced (verbatim, they claim) the responses from all the Senators.  Here’s a couple of nice little jewels:

Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah)
“Of course. Big house, big car, not much to do. Why not?”

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.)
“I would be honored to be asked. I’ve got to appraise the position in considering it. But I haven’t gone to the step of saying whether I would or wouldn’t at this point … I’d probably take away from the ticket, too. There’s always pros and cons. I’m strong pro-life, pro-marriage, and some people would say, ‘Well, I don’t like that.’ But really, people vote for president. Not vice president. I think vice president can hurt you more than it can help you. I can’t remember any time in my lifetime where I voted for a president because of the vice presidential nominee.”

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.)
“Yes. Sign me up. I’ve been kidding people for years: The hours are better, the wages are just as good — whoever heard of a vice president getting shot at? — and it’s a great opportunity to travel. And actually since time has gone by, the job is robust … So sure. Anybody here would, if they’re going to be honest. The chances are slim to none. But I promise you, I would deliver all three of Delaware’s electoral votes.”

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho)
“I would say ‘No, Hillary.’ ”

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)
“No, I’d have Jon Stewart stand in for me. Jon Stewart. That’s my guy.”

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
“If I were asked, I would say, ‘You’re out of your mind.’ ”

There’s tons more of these in the article above.  Really, these answers cast a whole new light on the US Senate.  For one, there are a lot of insanely old Senators.  There was one talking about how he was shortlisted for a VP spot back in ’76, and a few more who’ve been around at LEAST that long.   There’s self-deprecation, with one Senator saying that there are lots of capable people, and he’s not one of them.

It’s a good read, so definitely check it out.