The Essence of Politics

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Closer Look at McCain's VMI Speech

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) yesterday lambasted congressional Democrats for letting political calculations guide their views on the Iraq war, remarks that came in the first of three major policy addresses aimed at reinvigorating McCain's campaign for president. (Watch a video here.)

The Fix was watching closely. And after an initial viewing and several trips through the transcript of McCain's remarks at the Virginia Military Institute, here's our recap of McCain's overt policy and political messages, and a look at the subtler signals he is trying to send to both conservative Republican primary voters and general election voters looking for a strong leader willing to rise above politics.....

Senate approves stem cell bill

Congress still short of votes needed to override a veto

The Democrat-led Senate's passage Wednesday of legislation seeking to allow federal funding for cutting-edge embryonic stem cell research sets up another fight with President Bush, who has vowed to veto the bill just as he did in July.

Proponents of the legislation say it is necessary even though a growing number of states led by California are undertaking state-funded research to make up for the federal government's Bush-ordered absence from almost all embryonic stem cell research. They said another presidential veto won't end their effort, although they remain shy of the votes in the Senate and House needed to override the veto.

"If we can't override the veto, we'll be back and back and back until we do,'' said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a longtime backer of embryonic stem cell research who was a sponsor of the Senate bill approved 63-34 on Wednesday.

Embryonic stem cell research has emerged as a potent political issue, and it could be again in the presidential and congressional elections of 2008, given Bush's opposition to almost all federal funding. Proponents say the research holds promise for producing cures or treatments for spinal cord injuries and such diseases as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.....

US troops stretched to new 15-month limit

US TROOPS will serve longer tours of duty

15 months - in Iraq and Afghanistan as America struggles to cope with a military stretched to breaking point.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates yesterday announced the tour extension - up from a year - to bolster troop numbers on the battlefield, describing it as "a difficult but necessary interim step".

He conceded the US military was stretched fighting two conflicts simultaneously.

Mr Gates said troops would continue to have 12 months at home between deployments.

The move affects all active duty US Army units under the US Central Command - which is responsible for operations stretching from East Africa across the Middle East and into Central Asia.

Mr Gates said the extended deployments would enable the Pentagon to maintain the current level of troops in Iraq for another year and support President George W. Bush's troops "surge" strategy.....

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Gonzales carries on as attorney general

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales vowed Friday to remain on the job, digging in even as lawmakers questioned whether he could effectively run the Justice Department with no letup in the controversy over the firings of prosecutors.

"I believe in truth and accountability, and every step that I‘ve taken is consistent with that principle," Gonzales said when questioned at a Boston event about preventing child sex abuse. "At the end of the day, I know what I did. And I know that the motivations for the decisions that I made were not based upon improper reasons."

Gonzales‘ credibility took a fresh hit this week with the Senate testimony of his former chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, who said the attorney general was regularly briefed about plans to fire the prosecutors and was involved with discussions about "this process of asking certain U.S. attorneys to resign."

"The quicker th, , ), R-Ga., adding that he would wait until hearing from Gonzales to decide whether the attorney general should resign. Gonzales is to testify on Capitol Hill on April 17, more than two weeks from now.

One senior Justice aide who helped plan the firings, Michael Elston, spent almost seven hours in a closed-door session Friday explaining his role to House and Senate investigators.

President Bush "has confidence that the attorney general can overcome these challenges," spokeswoman Dana Perino said. "And I think that you can have full confidence in somebody and believe that they still have work to do, and believe that they‘re going to get that work done."....

Republican New Hamsphire Poll

As of right now, it seems that it is almost nearly a dead heat in New Hamsphire for the Republican primary. Check out the poll and look for yourself. However Romney is close behind the two front runners.

New Hamsphire Poll

A recent New Hamsphire poll shows that Clinton and Obama have some ground to climb as Edwards gets favorable phrase.

Obama, On Letterman, Says No To No. 2

Sen. Barack Obama told David Letterman he isn't interested in running for vice president.
The Democratic presidential hopeful made his comments on Letterman's show on CBS.

Letterman asked Obama if there had been any discussion of the Illinois senator sharing the Democratic ticket with New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"No, you don't run for second," Obama said. "I don't believe in that."

Obama also told Letterman that his family is holding up well on the campaign trail.

"I take my kids occasionally," the candidate said. "Malia, who's 8, Sasha, who's 5 -- we take them on the campaign trail and they see these big crowds. I ask them sometimes, 'How's it going?' and the last time I did that, my 8-year old turned to me and said, 'This is terrific, Daddy, but what are we doing here again?'....

Obama not in 2008 race for second place

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama on Tuesday dismissed the notion he might consider accepting the No. 2 spot on the 2008 ballot -- with Hillary Rodham Clinton at the top.

"You don't run for second. I don't believe in that," the Illinois Senator said on the talk show "Late Night with David Letterman."

"That would be a powerful ticket," Letterman prodded.

"Which order are we talking?" Obama replied, drawing laughter and applause from the studio audience.

"Let's say you're the presidential candidate and Hillary is the vice presidential candidate. Now if she were sitting here, it would be different from that," Letterman joked.

Obama, a fresh face on the national stage who has served just two years in the U.S. Senate, said last week he had raised $25 million this year, almost matching Clinton and solidifying his bid for the Democratic nomination to seek the presidency in November 2008.

Obama fell only $1 million short of the higher-profile New York senator, despite the huge fund-raising network she developed through her Senate campaigns and the White House races of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.....

It's Obama Time!

TMZ cameras caught Senator Barack Obama heading into the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan to tape his appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman." He's on the show tonight with Halle Berry and Masters golf champ Zach Johnson. Not too many people can bump Halle to second billing!.....

Poll: Race, Gender Not a Factor in Presidential Election

The 2008 presidential race represents one of the most wide-open and culturally diverse list of candidates in history. A new poll from the University of Iowa asked likely democratic caucus-goers if that diversity will affect their vote.

Ninety-percent of respondents said that the candidate's race will not affect their vote. Ninety-two-percent said that the candidate's gender won't affect their vote. African-American Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton are consistently near the top of democratic polls....

New Yorkers Back Hometown Candidates

With more than a year to go before Election Day 2008, an exclusive NY1 poll shows the local candidates running for president already have a hometown advantage.

Statewide, Senator Hillary Clinton leads rival Illinois Senator Barack Obama with nearly half of Democrats surveyed pulling for her – 49 to 17 percent.

In a Republican primary, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani beats Senator John McCain by more than 40 points – 56 to 15 percent.

But when city voters have to decide between Clinton and Giuliani, the former first lady gets a whopping 70 percent of the vote. The former mayor gets nearly a quarter of the vote, with six percent undecided.

Among voters surveyed statewide, Clinton gets 53 percent to Giuliani's 39.

"Part of it is Clinton is very well liked statewide and Giuliani is not well-liked in New York City, and voters are overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in any general election contest,” says NY1 pollster Mickey Blum.

Both Clinton and Giuliani should benefit from a law signed by Governor Eliot Spitzer yesterday to move New York's primary to February 5th. About a dozen other states have already moved their primaries or caucuses to the same day or plan to do so.

Critics say holding so many primaries on the same day limits voter choice and puts candidates at a disadvantage if they aren't as well-funded.

Following are the poll results along with comments by NY1 pollster Mickey Blum......

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Florida Lets Most Felons Regain Voting Rights

Gov. Charlie Crist persuaded Florida’s clemency board today to let most felons easily regain their voting rights after prison, saying it was time to “leave the offensive ranks” of states that uniformly deny ex-offenders such rights.

The change is a major step for Florida, which bans more people from the polls than any other state, but it is not as drastic as Mr. Crist had hoped. Two of his fellow Republicans on the clemency board rejected his original plan to grant speedy restoration to everyone except murderers and sex criminals.

Florida has as many as 950,000 disenfranchised ex-offenders, far more than any other state, of whom the vast majority are black. Other states have repealed or scaled back similar bans in recent years, but roughly five million former felons remain barred from the polls nationwide.

Until now in Florida, most felons who finished prison and probation time had to submit to a lengthy review and waiting period if they wanted their civil rights back. But under the new rules passed today, the roughly 80 percent of ex-offenders whose crimes were not violent will win automatic rights restoration as long as they have paid any restitution owed to victims and have no pending criminal charges.

Convicted murderers, sexual predators and “violent career criminals” will still need a thorough investigation of their case and hearing before the clemency board, and they are not likely to win back their right to vote, serve on a jury and get jobs that require state licenses....

Dems Call for Review of Bush Appointment

Democrats called for an investigation Thursday into whether President Bush acted illegally in appointing Sam Fox ambassador to Belgium.

A day earlier, Bush named Republican fundraiser Fox to the post as a recess appointment - a maneuver that allowed him to bypass Congress, where Democrats had derailed his nomination.

"We view the recess appointment of Mr. Fox as a clear abuse of the President's recess appointment power," three Democratic senators wrote in a letter to the Government Accountability Office, Congress' auditing agency.

The senators - Democrats Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Robert Casey of Pennsylvania - also asked if Fox's appointment could be terminated if a Senate vote rejected him.

Democrats have denounced Fox for his donation to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential campaign. The group's TV ads, which claimed that Sen. John Kerry exaggerated his military record in Vietnam, were viewed as a factor in the Massachusetts Democrat's election loss.

Recognizing Fox did not have enough support for Senate confirmation, Bush withdrew the nomination last week. On Wednesday, with the Senate on a one-week break, the president used his power to make recess appointments to put Fox in the job without Congress' blessing.

Dodd said in a statement that Bush's actions were "deceptive at best and illegal at worst."....

Could Obama beat Clinton in Round 2?

What do the first-quarter fundraising totals tell us about the Democratic race?

It's still early in the game, but the first-quarter results give us some important clues about how the Democratic race is shaping up and show us that New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, with $26 million raised, and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, with $25 million raised, are in a class by themselves.

By nearly matching Clinton in total contributions, Obama proved his campaign is no pick-up team. (Interactive: Campaign finance totals)

Obama argues money follows message: "Sometimes it's the candidate who raises the most money," he said, "but a lot of times it's the candidates with the best message, and the money follows."

Obama has a strong anti-war message, but he also appeals to a longing for unity in the country. That's a rare combination, and it seems to be working. (Watch how Obama raised money online )
The Clinton campaign's response? "We are thrilled with our historic fundraising success," says Clinton campaign manager Patti Solice Doyle, "and congratulate Sen. Obama and the entire Democratic field on their fundraising, which demonstrates the overwhelming desire for change in our country.''

The first quarter tends to be easy picking for fundraisers. The second quarter is when it gets tough. You need to show sustainability. (Watch how Obama's $25 million changes the race )
Obama looks well-positioned to do that. His contributions came from twice as many individuals as Clinton's did, and in smaller amounts. He can go back to them for more.

But Clinton has some advantages, too. "He [Obama] is trying to energize a group of people who don't necessarily always participate in the process but who are hungry for something different," says Dan Balz, a reporter for The Washington Post. "I think she is going more for what you would call the core Democratic constituencies, who often have been instrumental in helping someone win a nomination.".....

Cheney accuses Pelosi of "bad behavior" in Syria

Vice President Dick Cheney accused U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday of "bad behavior" on her Middle East trip, saying she bungled a message for Syria's president that was later clarified by Israel.

Cheney harshly criticized Pelosi's visit to Syria this week and declared in an interview, "The president is the one who conducts foreign policy, not the speaker of the House."

Pelosi's Syrian stopover was opposed from the start by the Bush administration, which accuses Damascus of sponsoring terrorism and says it should be isolated from the international community.

While in Damascus on Wednesday, Pelosi announced she had told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that Israel was prepared to negotiate with Syria. That prompted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office to underline the Jewish state's preconditions for such talks -- including that Syria abandon its "support for terrorist groups."

Cheney, pointing to the Israeli reaction, said it was obvious Olmert had not authorized the message Pelosi delivered.

"It was a non-statement, nonsensical statement and didn't make any sense at all that she would suggest that those talks could go forward as long as the Syrians conducted themselves as a prime state sponsor of terror," the vice president said on the Rush Limbaugh radio show.....

Freed British sailors back with their families

The 15 British Navy personnel captured by Iran have been reunited with their families and loved ones.

The freed Marines and sailors arrived on a BA flight at Heathrow earlier. Back in their uniforms, they paused briefly for photographs and were transferred to two military helicopters which took them to Royal Marines Base Chivenor, near Barnstaple, north Devon.

At Chivenor, the 14 men and one woman are being reunited with their families and will later undergo medical checks and a full de-briefing.

Their safe arrival back in the UK came shortly after four British soldiers were killed in the Iraqi city of Basra.

Speaking at Downing Street Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "Just as we rejoice at the return of our 15 personnel, so today we also grieve and mourn for the loss of our soldiers in Basra who were killed as a result of a terrorist act."....

Bush move bypasses Congress

Using a recess appointment, he makes a big campaign donor the envoy to Belgium.

President Bush on Wednesday named Republican fundraiser Sam Fox as U.S. ambassador to Belgium, using a maneuver that allowed him to bypass Congress, where Democrats had derailed Fox’s nomination.

The appointment, made while lawmakers were out of town on spring break, prompted angry rebukes from Democrats, who said that Bush’s action might be illegal.

Democrats had denounced Fox, a St. Louis businessman, for his 2004 donation to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The group’s TV ads, which alleged that Sen. John Kerry exaggerated his military record in Vietnam, were viewed as a major factor in the Massachusetts Democrat’s election loss.

Recognizing that Fox did not have the votes to obtain Senate confirmation, Bush withdrew the nomination last month. On Wednesday, with Congress out of town for a spring break, the president used his power to make recess appointments to put Fox in the job without Senate confirmation.

This means that Fox can remain ambassador until the end of the next session of Congress, in effect through the end of the Bush presidency.

“It’s sad but not surprising that this White House would abuse the power of the presidency to reward a donor over the objections of the Senate,” Kerry said in a statement....

Clinton's war chest record not as remarkable as Obama's

Senator Barack Obama has a good reason to celebrate. He is neck-and-neck with Senator Hillary Clinton when it comes to collecting cash for his presidential campaign.

Obama has raised $25 million this year that's just $1 million less than Clinton's record-breaking $26 million.

But Obama, a relative newcomer and freshman senator, got his money from 100,000 people, that's double the number that contributed to Clinton's campaign.

"That means exponential growth is possible for him in a way that is not available to Hillary Clinton right now," said Democratic politicall consultant for ABC Joe Tripp.

Clinton's supporters say they're not worried.

"Ultimately forget the money you got to get votes and right now Hillary wins in that category. She wins every single poll today," said Chairman of the Hillary Clinton Campaign Terry Mcauliffee.

Most polls have shown Obama running second behind Clinton for their party's nomination. Former Sen. John Edwards, generally considered the third top-tier Democratic candidate, posted a $14 million campaign report.....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Thompson Wants Iraqi Vote on U.S. Troops

Presidential candidate Tommy Thompson said Wednesday that he wants the Iraqi government to vote on whether the U.S. should keep its troops there.

"I'm confident they will, but ... if they do vote no _ they don't want us there _ we should get out," Thompson said, drawing applause. Thompson, who was health and human services secretary during President Bush's first term, made the comment during his first formal presidential campaign stop in his home state.

He formally announced Sunday on "This Week" on ABC that he is seeking the Republican nomination for president.

Thompson described himself as the only candidate with a commonsense approach to Iraq.

He said he would work with Iraqi leaders to form 18 self-governing provinces that would operate under a national government. He also would encourage the Iraqi government to give each citizen a stake in the nation's oil reserves.

"We must give the Iraqi people a stake in their nation and stability in their future," Thompson said.....

Thompson formally declares presidential run

Calling himself a "reliable conservative," former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson Tuesday officially joined the crowded Republican race for the White House.

"America is facing some tough times, some uncertain times," Thompson told supporters at an event center just outside of Des Moines, Iowa. "But it's time for America and Americans to come together, roll up our sleeves and get to work,"

Thompson briefly laid out a three-step plan for U.S. involvement in Iraq, part of which includes having the Iraqi government "vote" on whether the U.S. military should remain in that country. He also said the U.S. had a "responsibility and duty" to give service members in Iraq full resources.

"Withholding funding for our troops is not the answer," he said.

Invoking the Republican losses in last year's election, Thompson promised to restore fiscal conservatism if elected president.....

Obama forced opponents from race in first campaign

The day after New Year’s 1996, operatives for Barack Obama filed into a barren hearing room of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

There they began the tedious process of challenging hundreds of signatures on the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, the longtime progressive activist from the city’s South Side. And they kept challenging petitions until every one of Obama’s four Democratic primary rivals was forced off the ballot.

Fresh from his work as a civil rights lawyer and head of a voter registration project that expanded access to the ballot box, Obama launched his first campaign for the Illinois Senate saying he wanted to empower disenfranchised citizens.

But in that initial bid for political office, Obama quickly mastered the bare-knuckled arts of Chicago electoral politics. His overwhelming legal onslaught signaled his impatience to gain office, even if that meant elbowing aside an elder stateswoman like Palmer.

A close examination of Obama’s first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career: The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it.....

Barack Obama: Race versus Substance

Much of the hype about whether Barack Obama was “black enough” for the African-American community had died down when reports began to surface that the Reverend Al Sharpton had complained about Obama’s “blackness.” Specifically, the reports alleged, Sharpton was concerned that Obama had never been active in the black community and that his campaign was largely driven by white Americans.

As the first serious black contender for the Presidency, Obama came under fire early for not being “black enough” to fully represent African-Americans. Jolivette Anderson-Douoning, facility and program supervisor for the Black Cultural Center, said the following: “His father didn’t experience Jim Crow. He was a black man not defined by Jim Crow America.” She went on to say that the black community was concerned with Obama’s family’s lack of the “black experience” and his politics towards blacks.

But is this really important? We will never be able to move away from judgments based on skin color as long as people insist on voicing such ridiculous questions. Yes it is an accomplishment that for the first time an African-American is a serious contender for the Presidency. But the color of his skin should not matter beyond that achievement. What should matter is what Obama believes, and what qualifications he possesses that would make us comfortable entrusting to him the leadership of the most powerful nation on Earth.....

Obama Raises $25 Million, Almost Matching Clinton

Illinois Senator Barack Obama raised at least $25 million in the first quarter of his presidential campaign, just below the total of Democratic rival and top fundraiser Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, a New York senator, reported on April 1 that she raised $26 million and added another $10 million from her Senate campaign account. Clinton had previously proven herself one of the best fundraisers in the country, bringing in $51 million for her 2006 re-election campaign that had no real competition.

Obama's announcement today helps fortify his position in the top tier of candidates behind Clinton, who leads in public opinion polls. The third-place contender, former vice presidential nominee John Edwards, raised $14 million in the period.

``The amount of money puts Obama on the Hillary level,'' said Stephen Wayne, a government professor at Georgetown University in Washington.

The reports offer the first glimpse of the so-called ``money primary'' in the race for a presidential nomination. While the candidates who raise the most don't always win, a show of strength in fundraising can offer a needed boost.

Obama's campaign emphasized the number of donors as evidence of widespread support. The political newcomer, who won his first race for federal office in 2004, received contributions from more than 100,000 people, his campaign said. Clinton, 59, reported receiving donations from 50,000 people....

Fox News Hires Big-Name Liberal Harold Ford, Jr.

In another indication of its leftward drift, the Fox News Channel has hired liberal former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. as a political commentator and analyst. Ford lost his Tennessee Senate race to Republican Bob Corker last year. Ford was the recipient of incredibly favorable coverage by Fox News during his Senate campaign. Fox News portrayed Ford as a moderate or even a conservative.

The news about Fox hiring Ford was expected. Bartholomew Sullivan of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that “The move to the conservative network run by News Corp. media mogul Rupert Murdoch was no surprise to Washington cognoscenti, who have read speculation about the move for weeks. Well before the November election, The Commercial Appeal noted News Corp.’s support for Ford’s Senate bid. At least 18 senior News Corp. or Fox executives, including Murdoch, were contributors to his campaign.”

Indeed, Ford received a financial contribution from Murdoch himself. AIM questioned Murdoch about it at last year’s News Corporation shareholders meeting, where Murdoch claimed he was contributing to both sides in that race. But a Murdoch contribution to Corker doesn’t show up in the Federal Election Commission (FEC) records. There is, however, a $500 contribution to Corker from Paul A. Jackson, listed as director of government relations for News Corporation in Washington, D.C.

AIM was not able to verify the complete figure of 18 News Corporation/Fox News executives contributing to Ford, but FEC records did confirm the following, in addition to Murdoch: Peter Chernin, president of News Corporation; Gary Ginsberg, Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Communications at News Corporation; Codie Brooks, a Fox News Channel researcher; Timothy S. Carry, a Fox News Channel executive; and Suzanne Feldman, a Fox News sales executive.....

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ford's carrying Democrats' message to middle-of-the-road voters

Austin was one of the first stops on a long road Harold Ford Jr. has chosen to preach a gospel of ideas to fellow Democrats eager to retake the White House. The widespread unpopularity of the Republican administration whose lease on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue expires in January 2009 sends Democratic hopes soaring.

That cliché about counting eggs is especially true in politics and so Ford — newly minted chairman of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council — has hit the road to remind fellow Democats about the differences between hopes and plans and rhetoric and reality.

"We can win if we have a message, but being anti-Bush and anti-Iraq isn't going to be enough," Ford said in a visit last week with American-Statesman editors and editorial writers.

The Democratic Leadership Council was founded as a way to connect with moderates in the South and West by trying to shake the loony liberal caricature clamped to the Democratic Party. Ford quickly noted that the leadership council didn't endorse candidates but pushed ideas.

However, Ford balked at answering a question about whether Democrats are ready to listen.
Like Republican Party purists, Democratic Party party purists know what they want to hear and get testy when they don't hear it.

And they vote.

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, considered the Democatic front runner, was challenged in New Hampshire to apologize for her 2002 vote to authorize war in Iraq.....

Harold Ford Jr. visits campus

Harold Ford Jr. visited ETSU last Wednesday for the Social Work Career Day. Ford is currently a professor at Vanderbilt University teaching a class on political leadership.

Ford spoke about how social work was so important to this country. "We are in a struggle for the human condition," he said.

Ford spoke about how there are not enough people putting time and money into the community. "I ask you to do that and more," he said.

"Since Sept 11, (America) is in a struggle for the human condition," Ford said. He elaborated, making a point that he himself supported the troops and the war but not the way it is being handled. Ford believes in educating our troops about the culture and religion they are going to have to face in the war zone.

Ford insisted that America "is all about believing that we are a great nation, but we aren't making the steps to keep it a strong nation."

Ford said, "America has lost the quality of what we once stood for," meaning that the U.S. needs to do more than just be boastful; it needs to prove its greatness.....

Harold Ford Jr. plays it forward

When doors shut, windows sometimes open.

Tennessee voters may not have given Harold Ford Jr. the open door that many other voters across the country gave Democrats in last year's midterm election. Yet Ford's shut door led to a window of apparently limitless opportunities.

Five months after losing his U.S. Senate race, Ford is chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, a vice chairman at financial services firm Merrill Lynch, a "political contributor" for Fox News Channel, and a visiting professor of public policy at Vanderbilt University.

"I would not be doing these things had I not lost the race," Ford says, "so the Lord works in mysterious ways. I am enjoying teaching a great deal, so maybe this was a needed detour."

Ford is a man in flux who does not like to linger long on the rearview mirror. Asked how he felt on swearing-in day for the 110th Congress (he gave up his U.S. House seat to run for the Senate), Ford says he does not want to think in those terms. "Naturally, that is where I wanted to be. It did not work out. I am fortunate to be blessed to do other things." .....

Harold Ford, Jr. Makes an IMPACT

“The greatness of our country rests on the shoulders of this generation,” said Harold Ford, Jr. during the IMPACT symposium last week. Speaking to several hundred students and politically conscious Tennesseans at Vanderbilt University, Ford continued his crusade for the youth of America to become more politically aware.

Although President Bill Clinton wasn’t in attendance, his previous description of Ford paints a strong picture of his unwavering determination to make some changes within the current political realm.

“[He is] the walking, living embodiment of where America ought to go in the 21st century,” according to Clinton.

This past November, Ford’s crusades lead him to the closest Senatorial race in the history of the Volunteer state. Although Ford was defeated by less than three percentage points by Republican Bob Corker, he has not faded from political or public view.

Currently, Ford teaches a course on American political leadership at Vanderbilt University. This course, according to his students, gives the charismatic Ford a perfect outlet for spreading his infectious passion for politics.....

Harold Ford Jr. makes first DLC speech

Harold Ford Jr., in his first major speech as chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, said Wednesday that he wants the 2008 presidential race to be about ideas, not money.

The former Memphis congressman, defeated in his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee last year, was in Washington to address a luncheon of Democratic Party bigwigs and their corporate sponsors.

Ford said the DLC, a centrist think tank which cannot endorse candidates, will be holding idea forums around the country to help form a Democratic agenda.

"Today we face a host of challenges," Ford told the adoring crowd. "And thanks to this administration, we face a political climate in Washington that believes the purpose of politics is to grab and gain and accumulate power, rather than to help Americans do better?.

"The next eight months could define America’s future for the next eight years. So today, we say to campaigns of both parties, and to the press who cover them: The horserace, the money chase, and the in-your-face can wait. Let’s turn the next year into the ‘Ideas Primary’ instead."

Ford laid out a six-point plan to make the country more secure, to guarantee college education in exchange for public service, making the government accountable and ending poverty for all who work......

"Clash of Wills" as AT&T Makes $4.6B Cable Move

Promising increased competition and consumer advocacy, AT&T is investing $4.6 billion in a national move into the cable industry, yet many area municipalities have accused the telecommunications giant of pursuing anything but fair competition.

Project Lightspeed is a new video product offered by AT&T that is designed to compete with cable. The corporation’s nationwide campaign has begun to raise eyes in Illinois as House Bill 1500 is currently up for review.

Under the bill, a statewide competition correction would be made, enabling AT&T to compete against cable franchises.However, the bill has irked many municipalities because as it is written, it would remove much of the standard municipal control that currently exists in the cable franchise business.

“The current franchising system doesn’t work,” said Paul La Schiazza, president of AT&T Illinois. “It is too time-consuming and cumbersome. We have negotiated for 18 months with 100 communities and we only have six agreements. We can’t break into the current system.”....

Lobbying against the AT&T Cable Bill in Tennessee

Recently I spoke against the AT&T cable bill in Tennessee. As a student and a member of the Nashville community I spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus on this matter and while most people said I did a great job, I really don't feel that I was heard in the matter that I should have been heard. I understand that our elected officials are human beings and I know that they sit in tons of meetings. However I felt as if I was rushed when speaking and that much of what I said wasn't heard because our elected officials wanted to try to get home since it was close to 6p.m.

So I am going to remain optimistic and say that I hope the Tennessee Congressional Black Caucus heard me loud and clear when I say that the AT&T Cable Bill will not bring better service or competitive rates. If it was than why can't AT&T operate like the local companies if they are sure they bring better competition. Why does AT&T need a legislative bill promising to bring competitive competition. Thus that's the problem, AT&T will cost just as much as the local cable companies, except for the fact the local cable companies will bring down their rates in order to hold on to their customers especially their wealthy customers who might join AT&T. None the less, this issue needs to be addressed and I am glad I spoke on the issue today.

Battle between Bush and Congress has familiar ring

The parallels are striking: Bold new congressional majorities swept into power by public dissatisfaction with White House policies; the administration and Congress digging in for a test of wills over federal spending; a watershed presidential election looming.

The 1995 budget fight between President Bill Clinton and leaders of the Republican revolution casts a distinct shadow over the building impasse between President George W. Bush and congressional Democrats regarding spending on Iraq. Each side believes it can apply lessons learned from that earlier battle to its strategy in the current showdown.

Republicans were outmaneuvered by the Clinton administration and found themselves blamed for a shutdown of federal agencies 12 years ago. Today, they stand behind the executive branch, with 150 Republican House members promising Bush they would sustain his veto of a war spending measure that sets a timeline for leaving Iraq.

Democrats, who sided with the president in 1995, are now the ones challenging the White House, bolstered by public sentiment against the war. Their confidence is such that Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, announced this week that he would support a separate, more far-reaching measure that would cut off money for the war within a year.

Even as those in the middle of the current clash plan their next move, some figures central to the past fight say the differences are more pronounced than the similarities.....

Jay-Z - History

(Jay-Z - History)Jay-Z - History with Lyrics

LYRICS : [Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
(Gimme a lighter)
Victory (Lighters up) is finally ours
(Lighters up)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
In search of victory, she keeps eluding me
If only we could be together momentarily
We can make love and make history
Why won't you visit me? until she visit me
I'll be stuck with her sister, her name is defeat
She gives me agony, so much agony
She brings me so much pain, so much misery
Like missing your last shot and falling to your knees
As the crowd screams for the other team
I practice so hard for this moment, victory don't leave
I know what this means, I'm stuck in this routine
Whole new different day, same old thing
All I got is dreams, nobody else can see
Nobody else believes, nobody else but me
Where are you victory? I need you desperately
Not just for the moment, to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History (yeah), so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 2: Jay-Z]
So now I'm flirting with death, hustling like a G
While victory wasn't watching took chances repeatedly
As a teenage boy before acne, before I got proactiv I couldn't face she
I just threw on my hoodie and headed to the street
That's where I met success, we'd live together shortly
Now success is like lust, she's good to the touch
She's good for the moment but she's never enough
Everybody's had her, she's nothing like V
But success is all I got unfortunately
But I'm burning down the block hoppin' in and out of V
But something tells me that there's much more to see
Before I get killed because I can't get robbed
So before me success and death ménage
I gotta get lost, I gotta find V
We gotta be together to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighters. Up.)
And the battle's finally won
(Lighter. Up.)
Victory is finally ours
(Lighters. Up.)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
Now victory is mine, it tastes so sweet
She's my trophy wife, you're coming with me
We'll have a baby who stutters repeatedly
We'll name him history, he'll repeat after me
He's my legacy, son of my hard work
Future of my past, he'll explain who I be
Rank me amongst the greats, either 1, 2, or 3
If I ain't number one then I failed you victory
Ain't in it for the fame that dies within weeks
Ain't in it for the money, can't take it when you leave
I wanna be remembered long after you grieve
Long after I'm gone, long after I breathe
I leave all I am in the hands of history
That's my last will and testimony
This is much more than a song, it's a baby shower
I've been waiting for this hour, history you ours

[Chorus: Cee-lo (2x)]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

Man in the Mirror--By Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

I'm gonna make a change,
for once im my life
It's gonna feel real good,
gonna make a diference
Gonna make it right...

As I, turn up the collar on
my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
with not enought to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It's time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways - ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that..
(Take a look at yourself and then make that..)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror - Oh yeah!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cook

It's been a long time coming but a change is surely going to come in America and the World! I am the Future of America and the World and that is the message that each of us must carry with us each and every day that we wake up on Earth! I am the Future! You are the Future! We are the Future of America and the World! That is way every election is important--primaries, special elections and general! So vote every year and hold our politicians accountable. Hold our political officials accountable by writing them, calling them and making sure they attend meetings that we the people have. "The Time for Change is not Now but Right Now!"

"EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary" should be our anthem and should be our creed as we make the positive differences in America and the world that so many people beg for and hungry for year after year! A Change is Gonna Come, A Change is Gonna Come, that's what we must say as we say "God grants us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, Courge to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference" each morning before we go about the task of making a positive change in America and the world a reality.

Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen

“When will people realize that we are Americans first and foremost, not Democrats or Liberals, not Republicans or Conservatives, not Independents or moderates. We are Americans. Stop putting a political party above America and stop putting any politican above America. America succeeds because of us the people holding our government responsible no matter the political party because the main two political parties are to blame for the condition America is in."—Hodari P.T. Brown

America with its flaws and all is a country I am proud to have been born in. America is not perfect but my love for it is perfect. That’s why all Americans must realize that we are all Americans. In fact we are Americans first and foremost. We are not Democrats or Republicans. We are Americans.

We are not Muslims, Christians or Jews. We are Americans. Too many times we recognize our differences with others rather than appreciating our similarities which are, we are Americans. We are Americans first and foremost, no matter if we were born here or moved here legally. We are all Americans, here in this country to make not only our lives better but the lives of other Americans better so future Americans can enjoy the rights and freedoms that make us all Americans.

We are all Americans. We are one party united under God. We are Americans and this is the only political party that matters. We are Americans and this is our country so let’s make sure that we make America better than how we found it so future Americans can live prosperous and joyous lives. We are Americans and must not ever forget that.

America will prosper as long we make sure we are doing our part to make it prosper and that means we can’t put any political party or politician above America. Long live America forever and long live America’s service to the world. Together, America and the world will prosper for future generations to enjoy America and the world we live in.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

This video of the ' Negro National Anthem' was originally screened at the historic African-American Church Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC on January 18th, 2009. Many of the esteemed individuals featured in this video in attendance and we presented with the ' Keepers of the Flame' award for the monumental contributions to social justice.

This version of the song was performed by the Grace Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, conducted by Derrick James. The video was produced and donated by Ascender Communications, LLC ( at the request of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

If I Was President--Wyclef Jean

If I was President that is the people's anthem. We all have ideas of what we can do as President and through this website, we will fulfill our deam as a people!

Somethings Gotta Give--Big Boi ft Mary J Blige

Somethings Gotta Give people and it begins today for all us to make sure that something is us. We the people are sick and tired of suffering. Where is our piece of the Dream that so many people dead for so that we all could see today. This is our time people to change America and the world so that the Next Generation has a better future than the past we inherited.

This is our call to service. This isn't about one political candidate or one political figure. This is about us as people coming together to finally leave up to our potential and achieving the great feats that those before us have achieved. This is our moment to lead our nation and our world to greater heights.

Somethings gotta give people and it starts with us the people making it happen. We have to improve our education system in America. We have to rid the world of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We have to go to the streets and lift a hand to another in order to decrease poverty in this world. We have to take a stand today and make sure that the future of America and the world is brighter than it has ever been.

Somethings Gotta Give and that is why we must "Remember Each One, Reach One and Teach One so America's future and the World's future continues to prosper."

John Legend - "If You're Out There"

If you're out there than you need to get started in helping to change America and the world. The world and America won't change until you get involved in making the changes you want to see in this world. If you're out there, than you must know that tomorrow started now and today started yesterday so you are behind in helping to the change. If you are tired of hatred, racism, poverty, war, and violence than the time to change it is now. If you want universal health care, world peace, democracy for every nation, equal rights, and happiness for all than you must get involved now to help the save world.

You must believe in the change that you want to see and you must act on making that change a reality. If you're out there than say it aloud and show the rest of America and the world that you're out here to make a real positive change in the communities we stay in. If you're out there than get involved now. I'm calling every women and men to join me as we take back our country right here, right now. If you're out there than the future started yersterday and we are already late so we have lots of work to do but I know we can do it together as one.


Yes We Can accomplish anything that we set out to do! We don't need charismatic or inspirational leaders to believe in ourselves and to take responsiblity for our own faith, we just need each other. Yes We Can build a new America and a new world if each of us would take action now to make the changes that we want to see in the world. Yes We Can control government by holding our political officials accountable for their actions by calling them out when they don't pass legislation that supports the common good of all man and by voting in every election to ensure that we have people representing the people locally, state wide, nationally and in the world.

Yes We Can be great! Yes We Can be what we want to be! Yes We Can be glorious in not only America but the world! Yes We can put action behind our worlds and change the world starting right here, right now! Yes We Can as Republicans, Democrats and Independents become one as we freely think about our fellow men and women and make decisions that will be in the best interest of all people and not one single group.

Yes We Can be the change that we want to see in the world! Yes We Can show the world that the youth are ready to lead! Yes We Can put our egos, our social economic statuses, our religions, our educational statuses and our skin color to the side for the better good of the world! Yes We Can be Greater than we have ever been and help others be Greater than they have ever be!

YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS IN ALL THAT WE DO! YES WE CAN, no matter what others may say, we will be glorious! YES WE WILL and YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!

YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN is what will be sung from every mountaintop, every riverbank, every household, every school yard, every factory, every sporting event, every college campus and even every place you can imagine in the world is where YES WE CAN, will be said and heard!


Keep On Pushing - Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions

Wake Up People! No matter who is elected to any public office, we have to “Keep On Pushing” as a people to make sure they don’t leave us in a worst state than what they inherited. We as a people have to “Keep On Pushing” to make a difference in the lives of others. We have to have an “EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary” attitude as we continue to push our agenda that we the people deserve and want better. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change in a positive way that will benefit all Americans no matter their age, their religion or skin color. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will improve our education system, improve our military, improve our national security, improve our healthcare system and improve our economy. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will leave America’s future in a better than how we found it and that will leave the world’s future in a better state than we imagined we could live it. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to make life better for our neighborhoods, our families and even our quote on quote enemies. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to inspire, to uplift and to guide those who need help spiritually, physically and mentally. We have to “Keep On Pushing ” so that our lives, our future generation’s lives and the lives of those who came before us does not die in vein.

“Keep on Pushing”

A War For Your Soul

A War For Your Soul-regular version from Erisai Films on Vimeo.

The moment has come for us as a nation of people to finally wake up and realize that our destiny and fate in society has rests on our shoulders. We cannot allow the forces of evil and darkness to drain us out. We have to continue to overcome all odds in order to make the future of our nation better and the future of future generations of Americans better. We have to continue to pray to our Lord and we have to continue to uplift each other in prayer as well as take action against those things that are trying to destroy us. We have to stand up once and for all and be the future that we want to be. Now is our time and we shall do together by any means necessary.

This video was created to inspire young African-Americans not to fall prey to some of the problems they face in society. The use of the voice "Master of Darkness" represents evil, which is where the blame of all problems should be placed, and not on any one group of people. This video should not to be used to divide people (Black & White), there are images of heroes that are white in this video, and there are images of Black & White coming together with the words of Dr. King in the background. Some of the images from the past can be unsettling, but they are used to show all Americans how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. This film is being strategically placed in school systems, churches and youth orgs around the country, in hope of helping a lost generation of kids that we as Americans have forgotten. As fellow Americans we must continue to love each other, and take that love and spread it to the rest of the world. **THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR SALE & I AM NOT ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR THE FILM, I ONLY WANT THE MESSAGE TO REACH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT ANY HIDDEN POLITICAL OR FINANCIAL AGENDA.
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Sitting On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

"The time for sitting is over! The time for action is now! The time for hope without action is hopeless! The time for change without a positive attitude is a change that we can't believe in! We need change that is positive of helping all people! Our time for action is now, our time for hope is now, our time for change is now and our time to believe that we can do whatever we set our minds to is not now but right now!"


The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming;
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.
And this be our motto— "In God is our trust; "
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Black President

Our Time is not now but Right Now! Our Time has finally come to change the world not now but Right Now! If you don't believe that we can change the world than watch as we do it by changing your mind into believing in us and what we can do! This is OUR TIME RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!


We got to FIGHT THE POWER! We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch injustices take place. We can no longer sit by and allow our right to vote to become unexercised. We must FIGHT THE POWER for our past, present and future! We can no longer allow our rights to be oppressed and our voice to become drained by the powers at be. We must FIGHT THE POWER and show that we have a lot to say that needs to be heard by the mainstream media. We must FIGHT THE POWER and live up to our potential as dynamic, unbelievable and phenomenal people.

We must not believe the hype but we must become the hype. We are not Harriett Tubman, Marcus Garvey, MLK, Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington, Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois, the Black Panther Party, SNCC, or any other activists but we are the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunties, and relatives of those who came before us to pave the way for us to FIGHT THE POWER! We are not next Generation of leaders who will not be honored and praised until they die but that’s the fight we accept. We are not fighting the power for glory or fame but we are fighting the power for just causes that most men and women will not understand until years or decades later.

We are fighting for our sisters and brothers in Darfur, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, China and Mexico. We are speaking for those who are poor and have no food or water. We are fighting for those who are sick and dying. We are fighting for universal healthcare across the world and human rights for all people. We are fighting for rich and poor! We must FIGHT THE POWER no matter how hard and tough the road may be. We must FIGHT THE POWER for a better today and an even greater tomorrow!



“People Get Ready” our time is coming! We have come too far to turn back now. Our train is coming and it is coming in waves. “People Get Ready”, we don’t need a ticket but we need faith and the Lord will help guide us as we take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” our moment is now and we are ready to see the change we want in America and the world. All we got to do is have faith, hope and prosperity. “People Get Ready” to face your fears. “People Get Ready” to face your demons and the challenges of yesterday because today and tomorrow we will conquer & be victorious. “People Get Ready” a change is coming and our actions will make sure that change is a real positive change that lasts forever.

“People Get Ready” because we have had enough of just talking but now is our time to show action. “People Get Ready” to take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” to take back our communities and to make our streets safer and schools better. “People Get Ready” to make all our dreams come true. “People Get Ready” to see a better present for everyone and a better future for future generations. “People Get Ready” to live up to your potential and to help others live up to their own potential. “People Get Ready” to move past hatred, bigotry, racism and sexism. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the dreams of those who came before us and those who will come after us.

“People Get Ready” as we make our actions speak louder than our words. “People Get Ready” to make words mean something again as we put action to back up our rhetoric. “People Get Ready” as we embark on a new journey that will re-write America’s history as well as the world’s history. “People Get Ready” as we make the lives of others better and the lives of future generations better. “People Get Ready” because all we need is faith, hope and action to make this world a better place. “People Get Ready” to make a difference. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the American dream. “People Get Ready" to live out the American Dream as our founding fathers wanted us to live it. “People Get Ready” because our time is now, our moment is now and our moment in time to change America & the world is not now but right now. “People Get Ready” because a change is coming!

(Let me tell you now)
People get ready, there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord

People get ready, for a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most

There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all man kind just to save his own (believe me now)
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there's no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

[Alicia & Lyfe]
So people get ready there's a train coming
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming,
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord


God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood

Lee Greenwood-god bless the U.S.A