Category: Elections 2008

A Green Future is Our Only Real Hope

Under the Microscope
by Glynn Wilson

In a world of hurt and bad news as the global economy implodes, there is some good news to report this Sunday morning as the late October air finally begins to cool off the brick walls of The Bunker.

The best news is that the presidential election of 2008 is almost over. One more week of negative TV ads and lying robo-calls and then we can all breathe a sigh of relief and get on with trying to turn this country in a better direction after eight years of black Bush anti-rule.

That is if the Democrats win and we don’t have to spend another four years fighting the idiotic conservative policies of the angry John McCain and his right-wing nut running mate Sarah Palin.

The other good news is that with one week and two days to go, the aggregated polling at Pollster.com shows the Democratic Party ticket winning in a landslide on Nov. 4. Let’s just hope the lead holds up for a few more days so that Karl Rove’s hackers cannot steal another election.

While the not-so-liberal New York Times issued it’s reasoned endorsement of the ticket of Barack Obama for president this week, our wildly conservative Republican hometown newspaper just had to extend its losing streak with this hilariously misleading endorsement of McCain.

We are still waiting on the apology from that editorial staff for their two-time endorsement of the dufus president-prince George W. Bush. It’s a wonder the racist “pro-life” newspaper sells any papers at all in a city full of liberals and African-American voters. I guess it’s safe to say they sell more newspapers in the white-flight suburbs than the city itself. The financial calculation had to be that an endorsement of Obama would have finished off the paper that has lost a significant portion of its staff of late to early retirement packages.

If only they knew how to produce a Website readers could use, they might have a chance of surviving in this new online world. There are a number of us out here who will never forgive them for their role in killing the one Scripps paper in Alabama, The Birmingham Post-Herald, which might have been able to provide the kind of Web journalism this state needs. Other Scripps papers around the country are doing some amazing work, including the Rocky Mountain News in Colorado and the Knoxville News-Sentinel in east Tennessee.

But that’s OK, because we have a long-term plan to continue providing a viable alternative to the people of this state who want a FREE free online news source without all the bureaucratic baggage of a conservative chain newspaper where corporate profits rule the editorial roost.

Since we already endorsed the Democratic Party’s pick in this race, there’s no reason to re-endorse the Obama-Biden ticket. Our recommendation is for voters to check the Big D and vote a straight Democratic Party ticket on the Nov. 4 ballot, not so much as an endorsement of “the man,” but to throw the Republican bums out who have screwed up just about everything they can in this country for the past eight years.

It is really hard to understand how anyone can vote for another Republican with the economy in the worst shape since the Great Depression, along with the debacle of the Iraq war, the failures associated with Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and the complete loss of trust of the United States by people the world over.

We are concerned with some of Barack Obama’s suggested moderate policies, such as his hedge to the private sector on national health insurance. And we were not happy with his vote this summer for Bush’s spying bill that gutted the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

But we believe he is an educated man with an even-keel personality who can negotiate our way back into the hearts and minds of people around the world. And that should be our number one priority right now. We are going to need the good will of the world to right the wrongs and reverse the bad policies of the Bush-Cheney years.

Our first priority has to be an energy plan that begins to reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East, a policy that also begins to address the top problem facing the world right now: climate change due to global warming. Even the Bush CIA and Senator John McCain realize that’s the world’s top problem, although that news gets buried in an election year when, in American elections, no one wants to be labeled a “liberal environmentalist.”

Once this election is over next Tuesday, that will be our focus. We will be working to influence the new administration in dealing with our energy and environmental problems, as well as figuring out how to provide health care to every American citizen. While the conservatives will continue to scream about “big government,” it’s going to take a pretty big government in the U.S. to tackle these problems.

And the fact is, it’s going to take a pretty big government, as well, to provide the leadership and incentive structure to fix the shattered economy. Our vision is that the only real future we have is a green future. We can grow our way out of this mess with green technology. That is our only real hope.

Early Voters Unfazed by Long Lines

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Moms carried small children on their hips while the pre-teens looked around in disgust. Elderly women moved ahead to sit down while their husbands kept their place in line. Younger men and women spoke in hushed tones. Though crowded, nobody wanted to leave and miss their chance.

Early Christmas shopping? Nope; the line that stretched around the inside lobby of Laman Library held hundreds of citizens taking the opportunity to vote early as Arkansas’ polls opened Monday, Oct. 20.

A Long Wait — As I got into the end of the line, I noticed it stretched along the library’s back wall and past the children’s library.

I arrived around 11:10 a.m. after purchasing $2.23 gas at the Indian Hills Kroger on John F. Kennedy Boulevard. I thought the gas line was long, but I wasn’t prepared for the line to vote. The last time I practiced early voting, it was an in-and-out affair as very few people took advantage.

That’s not the case this year. Luckily, I kept speaking with a corrections’ officer through the wait, passing the time and being continually amazed at the numbers of people who kept pouring in the doors. I’m sure he said something about the turnout first, maybe along the lines of “This just shows people want a change.” I just remember saying it did my heart good to see so many people wanting to exercise their Constitutional right.

Keep on coming — This shot looks back to where the line started when I arrived at the right end of the bookshelf (where the man wearing a green shirt stands). By the time we left the lobby, the line stretched past the left end of the bookshelf into the foyer.

We discussed the issues while moving inch-by-inch, around the outside wall while trying not to disturb the library patrons working on the computers but having no choice but to glance at their computer screens as we moseyed by. A middle-aged woman tried breaking in line. No one said anything to her, but she must have gotten hot under the collar as the stares could’ve sent knives into her back; she finally moved to the end of the line, all the way back across the lobby.

As 11:15 stretched to 12:20 and we’d made it but halfway around the lobby, I decided it’d be a good idea to call work and let them know I might be late. “It shouldn’t take too long. Now that I’m here, I want to make sure I vote,” I told Amy Meeks, the secretary of Arts & Humanities at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. She replied that it was not a problem and she’d let the dean know.

A Controlled Chaos — This scene greeted citizens who waited nearly two hours to enter the voting room. Citizens would walk down the center row, then turn left to serpentine toward ID check and ballot assignment (back of the room). Finally, they would walk through the last three rows (right side of picture) to get to vote.

It takes roughly an hour-and-a-half to two hours for the 100-mile drive between North Little Rock and Monticello. I knew I’d be pushing it, but I’d already stood in line this long. Usually, I am not the type to wait in line at a grocery store; I’ll leave the buggy and come back later. The only similar-type lines I’ve ever found worth the wait were for student tickets to the University of Tennessee-University of Arkansas football game in 1998 and for student refund checks while an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. But to vote? I feel this election undoubtedly deserves the same rapt attention as refund checks and football tickets.Read more: Early Voters Unfazed by Long Lines

Southern Arkansas Election Issues Forum

UAM PRESENTS 2008 ELECTION ISSUES FORUM

MONTICELLO, Ark. – You’ve heard the candidates, now it’s time to also consider the issues.

Attend the 2008 Election Issues Forum at the University of Arkansas at Monticello in the University Center Green Room on Tueday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.

Brought to you in part by the UAM American Democracy Project, the UAM Journalism Club, and the UAM Speech and Debate Program, this event promises to educate the public about ballot initiatives prior to the Nov. 4 election.

Supporters and opponents of the ballot issues facing Arkansas voters will speak about the proposed State Lottery, Unmarried Couples Adoption Ban, Water Bond Act and more. Confirmed interest groups sending representatives include the Family Council of Arkansas, Hope for Arkansas and Arkansas Families First.

Audience members in this Town Hall-style forum will submit questions for the candidates to answer following the discussion of each issue.

American Democracy Project Encourages Civic Participation

Western Carolina University students attend the American Democracy Project - South conference at Kennesaw State  University  in Georgia. (photo by Dustin Wheeler)
Western Carolina University students attend the American Democracy Project – South conference at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. (photo by Dustin Wheeler)

   As Super Tuesday looms, commentators question whether younger participants might make a difference in the next general election. Many contend younger participants must get involved in the process for democracy to truly work, but younger voters historically refuse to vote in large numbers.

   Yet over two days in the fall semester, more than 50 college and university students started their involvement by participating in the third annual conference of the American Democracy Project’s Southern Consortium at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga. Conference coordinator Michael Ross, KSU’s associate professor of middle grades education, confirmed that 81 people – 51 students and 30 faculty or staff members – registered for the conference.

   ADP seeks to produce graduates who understand and are committed to their roles as citizens in a democratic republic. Currently, 228 institutions in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities participate in the project.

   “How can we drive the commitment to civic engagement to the core of the academy?” KSU’s Provost Lendley Black asked a room full of college and university students, professors and administrators prior to Associate Dean Michael Heard introducing the Alabama circuit judge who ruled against the Ten Commandments’ Judge in the late 1990s. “Too many students see citizenship as an on-again, off-again activity.”

Adjudicating Democracy

   Alabama Circuit Court Judge Charles Price provided insights into continuous citizenship during a plenary address to the ADP-South conference. Price’s ruling that the courtroom display of the Ten Commandments was unconstitutional brought death threats but earned him both the Wiley Benton award, honoring the lawyer of the Little Rock Nine, and the John F. Kennedy Profile of Courage, which chose Price as Alabama’s first black recipient.

   “I respect people of faith for I am one of them,” Price said. “As a judge however, I will do what is legal and what is right.”
Continue this article.

Krystal Ball: It’s Thompson vs. Gore in ‘08


Connecting the Dots
by Glynn Wilson

As I woke up and smelled the coffee this morning and consulted the wires, the polls and Krystal Ball, it became obvious already what’s going to happen in the Presidential election of 2008.

So you may as well go ahead and place your bets now at PaddyPower.Com, or take us up on the Yuengling odds.

Krystall Ball has been a tad fuzzy on ’08 so far, since it’s WAY to early to be talking about a presidential election that is more than a year and a half in the future.

But now, with Tennessee actor Fred Thompson’s announcement that he is “testing the waters” and will jump into the race by July 4, it is fairly obvious how this whole thing is going to play out.

Thompson Moves To White House Run

It’s Sen. Fred Thompson vs. Oscar winner Al Gore in ’08.

What’s Krystall Ball’s reasoning?

Up to now, the Christian Right really hasn’t had anyone in the race to vote for.

Rudy Giuliani of New York, with his pro-abortion and gay rights record, would never have cut it in the conservative Republican primary.

And Sen. John McCain’s numbers have been way down in part due to his push for more troops in Iraq and in spite of his foray to the Falwell mountaintop.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney could never carry the day, because the polls show the Christian Right will never vote for a Mormon. Sad but true. That’s the problem with this religious voting issue in the U.S.

Watch for the Karl Rove political machine, with the Bushes out of the way, to start painting Thompson as the next Ronald Reagan. He is a well-known Southerner from his days of playing the president in movies and a lawyer on TV and he has amassed a solidly conservative voting record in the U.S. Senate.

Hillary might have been able to beat Giuliani or even John McCain. But she hasn’t a prayer against Thompson. Sorry Bill.

As for why Al Gore will run, Krystal Ball says she doesn’t believe Gore when he says he is not running. He may not be in the race yet.

But when it becomes obvious from the polls that Hillary or Obama or even Edwards won’t be able to out-celebrity Thompson, the liberal bloggers will draft Gore and the Democratic Party hierarchy will have to go along or face losing in ’08 – which could bring back talk of the party’s demise at the hands of Karl Rove.

Another interesting question is: Who will get the nod for Veep on the Democratic side?

Krystal Ball says it will most likely be Barack Obama, the popular black senator for Illinois, since chances are, Hillary would not be interested in being the first woman vice president without having Bill living in the White House as first hubby. Obama is young enough and new enough in American politics to take the Veep slot to position himself to run for president in the future.

But don’t place your Yuengling bet or Irish political bet on this one just yet. Krystall Ball needs to wait and see how everyone reacts to Thompson’s announcement around Independence Day.

The one other calculation is: Who will win in ’08? Krystall Ball says the Democrats will still pull it out in a squeaker. It won’t come down to hanging chads in Florida this time or a few thousand stolen votes in Ohio. It will all come down to Louisiana, which will go Democrat no matter what due to the Bush administration’s handling of Katrina.

Bet against us if you dare. But the Thompson v. Gore match-up is a one Yuengling bet right now. It should be up to a six pack by the Fourth of July, when Thompson formally makes his announcement.

And that’s the word from Locust Forkland, where the river runs cold and true, the great blue herons dance like Elvis and the people like to shoot the breeze (and they are usually right).

Edwards Announces Presidential Run in New Orleans

by Glynn Wilson

NEW ORLEANS, La., Dec. 28 – In one of the most novel presidential announcements in American political history, John Edwards stood in a muddy back yard in the Ninth Ward in blue jeans and said he chose the site to formally say he would run for president in 2008 because the neighborhood is a prime example of the two America’s he’s been talking about for years.

The growing divide between the rich and poor is a theme he’s pitched since leaving a lucrative law practice in North Carolina nearly a decade ago to give something back by getting involved in politics.

john_edwards2.jpg
Photo by Glynn Wilson
John Edwards announces for president as a modern-day populist, in blue jeans…

“New Orleans is a place where you can really see the two America’s I’ve been talking about. You can get out here and see what the problems are and take action to do something about it,” he said. “Instead of staying home and complaining, we’re asking Americans to help. We want people to take responsibility, to join this campaign to actually take action now, not later, not after the next election.”

The former Democratic Party vice presidential nominee and U.S. Senator said his campaign will be a grass roots, ground-up campaign for people “not afraid to get their hands dirty.”

The domestic economic issues in his campaign platform will include raising the minimum wage, pushing for universal health care and rolling back President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And in a nod to labor, which could help swing the Democratic Party’s nomination to Edwards next year, he said he has already been involved in and will continue to push for the organization of American workers.

“We need to ask Americans to be patriotic on something besides the war,” he said. “We need to get rid of some of the tax cuts for the people at the very top.”

He said he will also champion taking action on global warming, including raising taxes on the oil companies and investing in alternative energy sources.

“We need to ask Americans to be patriotic and conserve energy,” he said.

He also said America needs to lead by beginning to pull the U. S. military out of the quagmire in Iraq.

“We need to reestablish America’s moral leadership in the world. We can’t do that without beginning to pull our troops out of Iraq,” he said. “This needs to be done now, not after the next election.”

He said it would be a major mistake to escalate the U.S. military’s involvement in Iraq with more troops, as the president seems to be on the verge of announcing – in part at the urging of Sen. John McCain, who could be the chief competition for Edwards in the run for president if both win their party’s respective nominations.

In fact the entire presidential race in 2008 could come down to opposing philosophies on this issue, some experts already think, especially if the war continues to go badly and the conflict still holds center stage as the campaign heats up next year.

“If America doesn’t lead, there is no stability in the world. It’s just chaos now,” Edwards said. “It’s our responsibility to lead. The world needs to see our better angels, and they will respond to us differently.”

As he has in the past, Edwards admited his vote in support of the resolution Bush used to justify the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.

On the controversial issue of national health care, Edwards said he would not shy away from pushing for universal health care unequivocally.

“We need it desperately,” he said.

When asked at the press conference about one of his alleged weaknesses, his limited experience in government, especially in foreign affairs, Edwards took his biggest swipe at the Bush administration.

“Rumsfeld and Cheney had a lot of experience, but the war is a disaster,” he said. “Experience does not guarantee good government, vision or the ability to adapt to a changing world.”

Bush was also criticized in 2000 for his total lack of experience in foreign affairs and was expected to focus on domestic economic issues as president, until 9/11 intervened. Historians now say the outcome of the war in Iraq is likely to define his presidency, and not in an altogether flattering way – unless something changes drastically in the next few months.

Edwards said he has been traveling around the world since the 2004 campaign and has learned a lot that will help him if he is elected president.

On MSNBC’s political show “Hardball” a couple of weeks ago, Edwards handled this issue by proving he could name most of the world leaders thrown out by Chris Mathews – unlike Bush in 2000, who got stumped.

When asked what he would do to counter the notion held by the national punitry that Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were the early front runners – even though neither have announced – Edwards refused to go negative. He said America needs good people in government and politics, especially in the presidential campaign in 2008.

But he indicated he has hope that the “ground will begin to shift” after his announcement, set as it was in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, one of the most devistated areas in the country by the nation’s worst national disaster ever.

If he had been president at the time, he said, he would have been on the ground finding out what needed to be done and taking action.