Monday, December 03, 2007

White House Obstructing Valery Plame Investigation

This is reveaed by Huff Post writer Sam Stein , who writes..

"The Bush Administration is actively blocking Congress' investigation into the outing of once-covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, according to House Oversight Committee chairman Henry Waxman.

In a letter sent today to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Waxman notes that "White House objections are preventing Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald from disclosing key information to investigating officials." Among the documents being withheld are interviews taken from White House officers during Fitzgerald's investigation into the leak of Plame's identity."

Wonder what they're hiding?

Robert Reich Attacks Hillary Clinton for Her Attacks On Barack Obama

In his blog, Robert Reich , a former Labor Secretary of President Clinton's, came after Senator Hillary Clinton for attacking Barack Obama. The full blog post is below and here.

Why is HRC stooping So Low?

I’m becoming increasingly concerned about the stridency and inaccuracy of charges in Iowa -- especially coming from my old friend. While I’m as hard-boiled as they come about what’s said in campaigns, I just don’t think Dems should stoop to this. First, HRC attacked O's plan for keep Social Security solvent. Social Security doesn’t need a whole lot to keep it going – it’s in far better shape than Medicare – but everyone who’s looked at it agrees it will need bolstering (I was a trustee of the Social Security Trust Fund ten years ago, and I can vouch for this). Obama wants to do it by lifting the cap on the percent of income subject to Social Security payroll taxes, which strikes me as sensible. That cap is now close to $98,000 (it’s indexed), and the result is highly regressive. (Bill Gates satisfies his yearly Social Security obligations a few minutes past midnight on January 1 every year.) The cap doesn’t have to be lifted all that much to keep Social Security solvent – maybe to $115,00. That’s a progressive solution to the problem. HRC wants to refer Social Security to a commission. That's avoiding the issue, and it's irresponsible: A commission will likely call either for raising the retirement age (that’s what Greenspan’s Social Security commission came up with in the 1980s) or increasing the payroll tax on all Americans. So when HRC charges that Obama’s plan would “raise taxes” and her plan wouldn’t, she’s simply not telling the truth.

I’m equally concerned about her attack on his health care plan. She says his would insure fewer people than hers. I’ve compared the two plans in detail. Both of them are big advances over what we have now. But in my view Obama’s would insure more people, not fewer, than HRC’s. That’s because Obama’s puts more money up front and contains sufficient subsidies to insure everyone who’s likely to need help – including all children and young adults up to 25 years old. Hers requires that everyone insure themselves. Yet we know from experience with mandated auto insurance – and we’re learning from what’s happening in Massachusetts where health insurance is now being mandated – that mandates still leave out a lot of people at the lower end who can’t afford to insure themselves even when they’re required to do so. HRC doesn’t indicate how she’d enforce her mandate, and I can’t find enough money in HRC’s plan to help all those who won’t be able to afford to buy it. I’m also impressed by the up-front investments in information technology in O’s plan, and the reinsurance mechanism for coping with the costs of catastrophic illness. HRC is far less specific on both counts. In short: They’re both advances, but O’s is the better of the two. HRC has no grounds for alleging that O’s would leave out 15 million people.

Yesterday, HRC suggested O lacks courage. "There's a big difference between our courage and our convictions, what we believe and what we're willing to fight for," she told reporters in Iowa, saying Iowa voters will have a choice "between someone who talks the talk, and somebody who's walked the walk." Then asked whether she intended to raise questions about O’s character, she said: "It's beginning to look a lot like that."

I just don’t get it. If there’s anyone in the race whose history shows unique courage and character, it's Barack Obama. HRC’s campaign, by contrast, is singularly lacking in conviction about anything. Her pollster, Mark Penn, has advised her to take no bold positions and continuously seek the political center, which is exactly what she’s been doing.

All is fair in love, war, and politics. But this series of slurs doesn't serve HRC well. It will turn off voters in Iowa, as in the rest of the country. If she's worried her polls are dropping, this is not the way to build them back up.

CNN Listening? - Jesse Jackson Jr. Publically Tells Jackson Sr. He's Wrong About Barack Obama

When the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. openly criticized the Democratic Candidates for forgetting about African Americans, it was taken as a slam against Senator Barack Obama by CNN and others, including me. In fact, CNN did not waste time reporting this.

Now, one week later, Jackson's son, Jesse Jr. comes out publically to tell the World that his father's wrong about Obama. He did this in the Monday Chicago Sun Times. Read below and let's see if CNN is quick to report this. If so, they're being fair. If not, it's another sign that they're trying to help Senator Clinton.

Jesse Jr. to Jesse Sr.: You're wrong on Obama, dad

December 3, 2007

During his historic run for the presidency in 1984, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. was dubbed ''Thunder'' by the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him. It was a fitting name for Jackson, whose electrifying oratory, energy and intellect shed light on critical issues as he took the country by storm.

In his column on Tuesday, ''Thunder'' struck again, criticizing Democratic presidential candidates for having ''virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country.'' While causing quite a stir, Jackson's comments unfortunately dimmed -- rather than directed -- light on the facts. But, they should be clear.

» Click to enlarge image

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (left) defended his close friend Barack Obama (D-Ill.) from criticism by Jesse Jackson Sr. (right). Jesse Jr. responds to his dad's column in an open letter to the Sun-Times.

• Jesse Jackson Sr.'s column
• Jackson Jr.'s relatively critical
• Campaign splits Jacksons
• Sweet blog: Jesse Jackson Jr. rebuts Dad
As a national co-chairman of Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, I've been a witness to Obama's powerful, consistent and effective advocacy for African Americans. He is deeply rooted in the black community, having fought for social justice and economic inclusion throughout his life. On the campaign trail -- as he's done in the U.S. Senate and the state Legislature before that -- Obama has addressed many of the issues facing African Americans out of personal conviction, rather than political calculation.

It is a testament to his deep commitment and new vision that Obama is poised to become the first black man to make it all the way to the White House. Taking him there will be the character, the judgment and the principles that are propelling his rise.

So often, the place where a candidate begins a campaign points to the direction where he intends to take the country. It is a hint of things to come.

Obama launched his presidential campaign at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous speech calling on a divided nation to come together. Arguing that slavery was morally wrong, Lincoln professed this: ''I believe that this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.''

Lincoln's words were not just poignant, they were prophetic. His campaign defined the challenge and changed the country, setting in motion an immortal, inevitable clash of armies and ideas. In the clamor and convulsion of the Civil War, President Lincoln rallied the nation, freed the slaves and saved our Union, ushering in ''a new birth of freedom.''

Almost a century and half later, Obama stood only steps away from where Lincoln warned of a ''house divided.'' Like Lincoln, Obama called on us to come together and ''to face the challenges of this millennium together, as one people -- as Americans.'' He called on us to join with him to conclude a war without end, to solve the health care crisis, to build better schools, to create better jobs and to provide greater opportunity and justice for all. He said, "I want us to take up the unfinished business of perfecting our union, and building a better America."

Clearly, African Americans -- as all Americans -- are listening and responding. On the same day that Jackson's column appeared, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies released the results of its latest national survey of likely black presidential primary voters. The study found that many African Americans were paying close attention, with nearly 75 percent having a favorable view of Obama.

They see the light.

Julia Allison and Meghan Asha Search For White Tech Guys at TechCrunch

Ok. You're wondering what's up with the title's smarky angle "Julia Allison and Meghan Asha Search For White Tech Guys at TechCrunch"? Well, it's simple. It's true.

If you've ever been to an SF Bay Area tech event as a Black male, you discover five things:

1) The party's mostly white
2) The men are cool to talk with
3) The women there act like they're afraid to talk with you if you're Black.

And establish these rules...

1) You have a better time if you just hang with one group and don't mingle much.
2) You have a fantastic time if you don't wait for people to talk to you, and totally avoid anyone
-- including some women -- who seem to have an issue with your presence.

I'm serious about this.

As the video reveals, of all of the people at these parties, it's generally non-tech White Women that generally act like they're looking only for White and at times Asian tech guys, as opposed to just plain networking. (And by "non-tech" I mean those who are not in tech positions. There are some exceptions if you read on, but that's my general experience. Julia, for example, is not herself a programmer or videoblogger or game developer, or web designer.) And their focus is so hard on this type of guy that they most of them will not do the normal act of simple networking with manners. By contrast, the guys act, well, normal. I've got to be honest about this. Hey, when you're one of , say, three Black men out of 300 people you see a different side of society at these events.

And before you go there, I didn't learn this by trying to establish a conversation, but more by simply noticing patterns -- where people went to at these parties and mostly who they took the time to strike up a conversation with, and also seeing how other Black men were treated, and quickly establishing the set of ground rules you see above and moving forward.

Hey, someone's got to point this out; might as well be me because the rules you see above have become habit for me. It's hilarious. For example, I remember the founder of a certain "scrapping" website app that ryhmes with "Scrabble" just pass and brush against me ( and with her chest, folks. Her chest!) without even saying so much as "excuse me" or "how's it going?" -- terrible behavior which I took as a weird form of passive-agresssive flirting or a rude "I don't want to see you" brush off and said nothing to her.

Folks like her are what makes the World a little less cool and a lot more hurtful. I just wish they'd realize how inappropriate they're being, but that may be asking too much. A simple "Hello" will do in the future.

I can report there was one woman at these events that was really cool and normal, and she knows who she is. Maybe there will be more like her, and less like the Julia Allisons.

Not that I've met Julia Allison. I may be wrong about her, but my experience tells me otherwise. I'd bet the ranch I'm right. But I can't lose. If I'm right, then my World is easier for noting the problem, if I'm wrong, then she's not what is the norm and that's good, and if I'm right and she's sensitive to this, she'll change, and we'll all be better.

I just want to attend one Tech party where everyone's cool. I know that party's out there, somewhere.

(Oh. And if you're one of those who's going to stupidly remark about this and claim that -- for example -- I'm racist for pointing out racism, be smart enough to realize that if people stopped behaving in the patterns I identify, I'd have to reason to complain or dish. Think about it. What I'm sharing with you is conversation that Blacks generally reserve for Black-on-Black environments. I dont' do that. I'll let you know what's on my mind, period. Also, stating that a person's racist for identifying racism is like saying one person's a robber for identiying a robbery.)

CNN / YouTube Debates - My Message To Steve Grove and Dave Bohrman

This video and post present my message to Steve Grove, the News and Politics editor for CNN, and to Dave Bohrman, the Executive Producer of the CNN / YouTube Debates for CNN.

My take is that CNN/YouTube was lucky to realize the ratings record that was set for the debate, and this was achieved for two reasons: 1) the time of year -- it's the fall holiday season, and 2) the fact that all of the Republican Presidential Candidates were there, which is no small feat.

Still, CNN/YouTube handled this debate differently than the Democratic Debate. First, the level of promotion of the event was dramatically scaled back compared to the first. Second, there were fewer questions picked out of the 5,200 that were submitted : 34 questions versus 43 for the first debate. Third, there was an annoying tendency to pick Blacks who submitted questions about Black issues, when there were videos from people who were not Black, but did ask questions about Blacks and the Republican Party.

(As a momentary aside, I think that practice shows an America that does not exist. It shows an America where only Blacks care about Black or minority issues, and not the real America, where a diverse set of people care about all Americans, and will ask questions regarding how Blacks are treated. To not show this -- the real America -- is criminal and paints America as far more racist than it really is. This country has come a long way and is better than it's ever been.)

CNN/YouTube also didn't handle its video talent properly. In the video I present myself as an example. In the begining I was -- and still am -- part of the sample video for the CNN/YouTube Debates. I'm also on the YTDebates channel, at least as of this writing and you can see my photo on the channel here in this blog post. So when I learned that YouTubers were being flown out by Google to the debates, I thought -- rightfully -- that somone would call.

Nope. Didn't happen.

I also sent an inquiry to determine if this was the case, and didn't get an answer from Steve Grove.

So it makes one wonder -- in this case, me -- what's going on over at CNN / YouTube and why they treat people in this way - or at least me. But given the thousands of people who have made and submitted videos, and the other talent that was promoted, I can't believe it's just me that had the problem.

CNN itself showed little regard for my time when they contact me for the first debate. Three show producers contacted me separately and in one case I thought I was to get on a flight. Then didn't get a call back. Then was essentially made to wait for a few days, then got a call saying I wasn't being flown out, only to get a call from another show flying me to New York.


What bothered me this time around was not that I was not called, but Steve didn't answer my emails attempting to learn what he and YouTube were going to do. If they'd said "Zennie, we don't need you this time", or "Hey CNN thinks you're an Obama supporter, and they've got a problem with that" then I'd be fine. I just wanted communication. I didn't get it.

As for the debate itself there were a lot of problems in addtion to the ones I discussed above. Not a single video question on Health Care was presented, leaving one to think the Republican Party doens't care about it. Is that CNN's call or the Republican Party? One has to assume they were working together. But in eliminating that series of questions, CNN / YouTube and the Republican Party pissed off a country.

Plus, CNN / YouTube did't tell video submitters they were going to do this, and the video makers -- given the Democratic Debate with YouTube, had full reason to think they would do so. Moreover, CNN / YouTube didn't tell anyone what they were going to do -- I learned it from CNN's David Bohrman being quoted in the New York Times.

That's not good.

In closing, I think CNN / YouTube owes YouTubers an appology and I'm also disappointed with how Steve Grove handled things this time around. I have high standards for him and I expect that -- givent the historic nature of what he's doing with YouTube and CNN that he will reach and maintain them. It's not personal -- I like Steve -- just professional.

I don't know Dave Bohrman, but I expect that he's a fine and upstanding person who will take these crticisms to heart and act on them. I think all of us want to see the CNN / YouTube system reach its potential.

Senator Larry Craig's Public Sexual Insult To His Wife Continues

Yep. That's how I feel about the whole sorry deal. Senator Craig -- if all of these charges are true that he's had sexual encounters with eight men-- has not been kind to his wife. I feel sorry for her almost to to the point of tears.