Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Barack Obama Gets 2,118 Delegates To Officially Seal The Nomination!

Barack Obama sealed the deal. He's officially done it! He's the Democratic Nominee!

Barack Obama Clinches Democratic Nomination

What began as a farfetched and idealistic quest 16 months ago against an established and legendary candidate, has now transformed into reality. Yes, Barack Obama, a young and visionary community organizer from the south side of Chicago has prevailed against the entrenched Hillary Clinton in one of the most unlikely and improbable political contests in United States history.

While on the subject of history and momentous events, it's essential to recognize that 43 years after the ratification of the voting rights act and 54 years after the desegregation of schools in Brown V. Board of Education, an African-American is the presumptive nominee of a political party.

The milestone achieved by Obama extends not only for new founded opportunities to blacks, but for all Americans, and most notably young Americans. Tonight, a significant generational shift has been established in which the thunderous voices of millions of young people have been heard . Mobilized and energized, young people across the nation are on board with the astounding movement created by Senator Obama.

For a 45-year old man, whether white, black, Hispanic or Asian to have eclipsed a plethora of insurmountable barriers in a quest to stake their claim as a potential commander in chief is astronomical and noteworthy.

For all Democrats ready to rise up against John McCain, it's time to get up, speak up, let our voices be heard and make that change. The first change being to elect Barack Obama to the White House.

Eyes On November

With the AP news (see below) that Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic nomination for President, all Democrats must now turn their eyes toward the November election. This has been a contentious race for the nomination. Racism and sexism have dominated the landscape in a party normally known for inclusion and tolerance.

But with some Democrats claiming that they would rather vote for John McCain than Barack Obama, how do we, as a party, forge a path of unity in just the next five months? What rallying cry will get Democrats to remove their blinders and see the urgency of retaking the White House, candidate partisanship be damned?

Do you have ideas? Let's hear them. Leave your comments below.

U.S. Auto Industry Crumbling Under The Weight Of High Gas Prices

This is a developing but depressing story of an American industry that's made a heavy bet on large vehicles and lost as gas approaches $5 per gallon. Stay tuned.


After over a year of working and fund-raising, the Associated Press has reported that Senator Barack Obama has reached the targeted number of delegates -- 2,118 -- needed to clinch the Democratic Nomination.

It's over. We -- the new America of a diverse collection of people who really love this country and want to bring everyone together -- won! Obama for America!

Congratulations to everyone on the Obama staff both nationally and locally in the San Francisco Bay Area, and other states and cities.

No, I Did Not Contribute $17,000 To The Obama Campaign

The current -- as of today -- Oakland Tribune article reads that I contributed $17,000 to the Obama for America campaign. I did not. What I told Barbara Grady, who's a great person, is that I raised that much, mostly from an event held at the Mark Hopkins last year on St. Patrick's Day 2007 and which I co-chaired (there were about 25 co-chairs) and created an online sign-up and website for. I managed to get 15 people to sign up online there at $1,000 each, so that's $15,000 alone.

But I wish I had $17,000 just laying around.

An Obama / Clinton Ticket Is What The Democratic Party Needs

Ok, I've written it, and I'll stand by it. I think a Democratic ticket with Senator Obama and Senator Clinton on it as VP will not only heel Democratic Party wounds, but bring the country together and confound Senator Clinton's more reason-challenged supporters.

Obama / Clinton has a nice ring to it for a host of reasons. First, it's a change ticket because for the first time we would have an African American man and a European American woman running together. Morover, it would fuse two campaigns that have done an extraordinary job of raising money. Senator Obama's campaign alone has taken in over one-third of a billion dollar, a level never before seen in American politics. Senator Clinton has a large list of well-known donors, and while may of them would come over Senator Obama anyway, having her on the ticket makes this process a certainty.

Finally, it's a good marriage of the Clintons, who are the ultimate insiders and Senator Obama, who's the best outside-insider. Senator Obama's the best example of a corporate heretic America Politics has ever seen. He's arugably better than Bill Clinton, which brings me to my next point.

Obama will have Bill at the ready in a unique role that seems taylor made for him. Look, I could care less about the Vanity Fair article for many reasons, but foremost amoung them is that it's tone was really personal and read like an attack on Clinton as a man, not as a politician. I'll get to that later, but in my view, it's time for us -- including me -- to lay down our arms and bring the Democratic Party together. The war's over; let's not take it to the convention.

Another Sad Example Of Clinton Backer Racism

I just saw and read this story on a listserv I'm a member of and it presents the "major problem we as Obama supporters must attack". To save you the gory details, it's about a call the person, who worked for the Democratic Party, took from a Clinton supporter.

The caller can be identified as 1) expressing stereotyped views, 2) getting them from television (generally CNN, FOX, and MSNBC), and then expressing racist views (and racism as we know is a mental illness), where the person would say, referring to Barack Obama, "A person from that kind of a culture that is not advanced on the evolutionary scale cannot serve as the President of the United States."


This is a statement not far from that made by Harriet Christian, the DNC Rules Committee visitor from New York, who was thrown out ofthe meeting for launching into a racist rant, and who's the new image of modern racism, and seems to have Clinton supporters on message boards like HillaryClintonForum.com, who support her really, well, paranoid views (paranoia is a foundation of racism, and also is found to be a psychotic behavior.)

The problem is bigger than just one for Obama supporters, but its for the Democratic Party. We're allowing a mix of television producers and execs who are used to manipulating our fears for ratings, racists, and the totally under-educated to hijack the Democratic Party.

We've got to take it back.

This is the full post from "irish09,"

This is what we need to address
by irish09, Mon Jun 02, 2008 at 11:32:48 AM EST

I am an intern for the Democratic Party in a swing state. Part of my duties today (besides making coffee of course!) was to answer incoming phone calls. Some people in this area decide to call the local Democratic Party to vent their anger and frustration regarding the primaries and their results. Many of them are angry Clinton supporters, though there are some Obama people who are very upset that she hasn't stepped out yet. I want to tell this community of a conversation that I had this morning with a Catholic woman who identified herself as a lifetime Democratic voter.

This caller is a Clinton supporter and she started the conversation by asking, "Why did our party make this mistake of nominating an inexperienced candidate with so much baggage from Chicago?" I of course provided the company line that the Democratic Party has not endorsed a candidate and that ultimately we are going to support whichever candidate is nominated.

She pressed further, "but even him?!" This is when I started to engage with her and try to push her towards the candidate that does appear to be our persumptive nominee. In regards to the lack of political experience, I told her that Barack Obama has been in elected office for more years before the presidency than George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and many former presidents, including Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Franklin Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson. What matters in this election is judgement, which can be achieved through the sheer number of years in government or the ability to appropriately see a problem and find its solution. In regards to Obama, we know that he wants to push for an end to the war in Iraq, economic reform, and greater health insurance benefits. For McCain, we know that he wants 100 years in Iraq, no substantial change to our nation's "markets," and reductions in a number of items that affect our nation's safety net. Who has the better judgement there to solve our problems?

From here, this caller discussed how women feel so shunned in this process because the Democratic Party itself decided to throw women to the side. I calmly told her that the party doesn't get to decide the nominee, that voters decide through the primary and caucus process. And I told her that women made up the majority of voters in all contests for the Democratic nomination, except for in Puerto Rico. She said that McCain and the Republicans "are moving towards the center and his policies really can appeal to me and many other women." I tried to point out certain policy proposals that I feel would really upset women, including cutting SCHIP, but this didn't seem to go over well with her.

Finally, she went on about Obama's "baggage" which consists of "Chicago machine politics, Farakhan, Ayers, Wright, and that church of his which is so against what I as a Catholic believe in." This was a doozie. I started by asking for where she heard this information - and she said TV. Of course, I told her that she shouldn't accept everything she sees on TV wholesale, which she said that she didn't. I talked about how almost every politician will have a connection to a political machine - it's part of the game. The bigger issue is how a candidate attempts to run a campaign that is as clean as possible, which made me bring up that Obama doesn't accept a dime from lobbyists. I informed her politely that there isn't a connection at all between Farakhan and Obama and that the media, regardless of party, will always blow non-stories into front page news. I also mentioned that all candidates have baggage, include the Clintons.

Then, she asked, "well what about the church? They all hoot and holler." I, like the caller, am a Catholic. I also major in Theology at the University of Notre Dame, which has allowed me to experience all kinds of faith experiences. I told her that I have attended African-American churches that are much like Senator Obama's now former church. It is a completely different style of worship that is interactive and focuses on creating the fire of the Holy Spirit in the church members. It is a wonderful way to express faith and to form a religious community.

Her response, "but what about saying 'God damn' during church services?" I kindly pointed to the former rite of the Catholic Church that included many uses of the word "damn" or "damned." The word "damn" in a religious context has no value as a modern curse word.

Now this set her off, though. She went on, "A person from that kind of a culture that is not advanced on the evolutionary scale cannot serve as the President of the United States. Thank you for listening to me, good bye." Quite the horrible, race-based ending to our conversation.

This phone call shows what exactly we need to address during this campaign. Obama's lack of experience and "baggage" need to be artfully addressed. I obviously failed today because the woman was receptive to none of it. We need to be prepared for this sort of thing, especially as we unify this party. It is also clear that the media narrative about maverick McCain is too quickly accepted by even core Democratic groups. It's obvious that the minute that Obama hits the magic number, he needs to run a biographical ad, and then he, along with 527s and whatever the DNC can muster, need to put together a constant negative ad campaign out against McCain that highlights his many failures in judgement.

Finally, we need to remember that there is a race element to this campaign. That is the world that we live in. We need to find a way to not allow the media's narrative to become one of Obama being a "scary black man." Frankly, talking to this woman, and others over the past few weeks, I am afraid that we are unable to reach many voters who are in our base camp because of certain prejudices. What can we do to look up this base? We need to decide that as soon as possible or else John McCain will run away with this thing and be George Bush's third term.

*I'm not saying that Clinton supporters are all inherently racist. I am merely saying that race is probably a problem for at least some of her voters, which is a reasonable statement.

Update: Thanks for placing me on the rec list, my first time! These are important issues and to move forward as a party searching to create change not only in this election but in our culture, we need to discuss them.



We will have recaps late Tuesday and into Wednesday morning. And also a brief on who and what to vote for in local SF and Oakland races.

...That is all.

Senator John McCain Has Not Overcome Keating Scandal

We hear a lot about the great Senator and Presidential Candidate John McCain and how he's beyond the point where he can be "bhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifought" by lobbyists and hasn't taken an earmark. We also get very little information on Senator McCain and the Keating Five Scandal, I think in part because four of the five people involved were Democrats of otherwise great stature. But still, it's a part of history, and of the Keating Five, only John McCain is still in office.

What was the Keating Scandal?

The Keating Scandel is named for Charles Keating, who, during the 1980s was the Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association of Irvine, Calif., and a big political donor. So much so that five Senators -- Alan Cranston (D-CA), Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ), John Glenn (D-OH), John McCain (R-AZ), Donald W. Riegle (D-MI) -- received $300,000 in contributions from him and McCain himself received $112,000 by 1987 from Keating.

This power enabled Charles Keating to buy their influnce such that when the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB) -- which regulated savings and loan association activities -- worked to curb the 80s trend toward risky investments, which caused the collapse of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which Keating ran. When the FHLBB and its head, Chairman Ed Gray, moved to investigate the Lincoln matter, McCain and the other four Senators asked Gray to step back from any meaningful study of Lincoln.

When that news was revealed by Grey it set off a round of connect-the-dots inquiries, all of which found that:

In October 1989 The Arizona Republic reported that in addition to campaign contributions, McCain's wife and her father had invested $359,100 in a Keating shopping center in April 1986, a year before McCain met with the regulators. The paper also reported that the McCains, sometimes accompanied by their daughter and baby-sitter, had made at least nine trips at Keating's expense, sometimes aboard the American Continental Corporation (parent of Lincoln) jet. Three of the trips were made during vacations to Keating's opulent Bahamas retreat at Cat Cay. McCain also did not pay Keating for some of the trips until years after they were taken, after he learned that Keating was in trouble over Lincoln. [3] Lincoln Savings and Loan's collapse is said to have cost taxpayers $3.4 billion

The final outcome was that investigator deemed McCain's involvement to me "minimal." But as we've recently learned The Keating Five matter has not really altered John McCains' close association with people who are major contributors to his campaign, partcularly Federal lobbyists.

This video shows that McCain has had as many as 59 lobbyists raising money for his Presidential campaign including Vicki Iseman, with whom it was rumored he had a "relationship" and the now famous Charlie Black:

What does all of this mean? It means that McCain is still to this day in a great position to be directed to shape government policy by corporate interests in much the same way as he was in the events that lead up to the Keating Five scandal.

Zennie's Zeitgeist Covered By The Oakland Tribune

The Oakland Tribune's Barbara Grady penned this story below about this blogger and blog's being credentialed for the upcoming Democratic National Convention. But to be fair, the blog is more than me, its the other writers on it, like Tom Hayes and Dave Kaye and Ashley Long, all of whom are credentialed to go to the convention. It's readers like you and of course the overall SBS website system.

Also, it must be reported that the YouTube channel zennie62 is "attached" to this blog and also I said to Barbara that the overall SBS website gets 65,000 unique visitors a month, with Zennie's Zeitgeist a part of that, about between 30 percent and 50 percent of that per month. But yes, this blog did command 44,000 page views and 24,000 visitors on the day after the New Hampshire Primary. That was due to one post on reported election machine voter fraud problems in that state.

Also, I did not contribute $17,000 to the campaign, I raised it over time via the Internet and mostly from a fundraiser at the Mark Hopkins I co-sponsored. But I do not have that kind of money and could not do that anyway as the limit is $2,500. It was an error on her part.

Whatever the details, it was great to have our people recognized. Here's the article:

Oakland blogger to cover Democratic National Convention

By Barbara Grady
Oakland Tribune
Article Created: 06/02/2008 09:05:32 PM PDT

OAKLAND — As the Democratic National Convention gets under way in August, Oakland blogger Zennie Abraham will be on the convention floor with a microphone poised to pick up discussions of race, predatory lending, infrastructure improvement and other issues of concern to Oakland.

Abraham and his Zennie's Zeitgeist blog at zennie2005.blogspot.com have won a coveted credential from the Democratic National Committee to cover the convention as a blogger journalist. He was selected late last week as one of 124 bloggers to receive credentials from an applicant pool of more than 400.

Zennie's Zeitgeist is usually about Abraham's take on political issues of the day — often the Democratic presidential contest — with a smattering of posts about pop culture and sports.

The Democratic National Committee said its criteria in choosing which bloggers to let into what no doubt will be a crowded and history-making Denver convention are that they cover state and local politics and have a high daily audience based on statistics from Technorati, a Web site that tracks blogs. Among applicants whose sites met those criteria, the committee looked for blogs that "stand out as an effective online organizing tool and/or agent of change."

Abraham has not been shy to take on controversial issues. He has written about predatory lending, accusing check cashing centers of exploiting the poor, and crime
and criminals.

He already has specific plans for what topics he'll focus on at the convention.
"I'm concerned about (Hillary) Clinton and (Barack) Obama, and the race issue. I really want to see if Democrats are going to rally around Obama unanimously," Abraham said Monday. "I want to know specifically if people who are Clinton supporters, if they are really going to rally behind Obama. If not, I want to know if it is because of race."

And he will report on any discussions of race, whether polite or not.
He also plans to report in detail on the development of a Democratic platform, "with respect to what degree the platform represents domestic issues like predatory lending in credit card rates, our enormous infrastructure problems and what I call keeping jobs at home."

Abraham has been an outspoken supporter of Obama and contributed about $17,000 to his campaign. That partisanship did not seem to phase the DNC, even though many of the other blogs selected are less committed to one candidate.

Many of the blogs represent Democrats from particular states, such as the Blue Jersey, Blue Indiana and Blue Hampshire blogs.

Abraham, 45, is an entrepreneurial businessman, having founded Sports Business Simulations of Oakland five years ago, but he put in his time in politics. He worked for former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown as an economic adviser and then as the Oakland Alameda Sports Commissioner.

Abraham started his blogging career in 2006 writing about sports. But then he couldn't resist talking about politics.

Over time, he separated his own political and cultural ramblings into Zennie's Zeitgeist, distinct from his larger SBS Voices sports blog, and wrote increasingly about politics, following the Democratic campaign as it progressed tooth and nail.
The day after the New Hampshire primary, his blog posting received 44,000 hits. Since then, his audience has steadily grown. He was invited by CNN to post a video blog as a sample for its YouTube CNN Democratic Debate last year. Afterward, links to his blog started showing up elsewhere on other political sites. Now Zennie's Zeitgeist receives about 60,000 unique visitors a month on average.

Universal Studios Fire- Back To the Future Sets Destroyed - Video

This is a video of the fire that was reportedly started by a Workers' blow torch and spread to destroy the sets used for the movie "Back to the Future" and a library of 40,000 video tapes, and the "King Kong" attraction.

Universal Studios Fire Video Back To the Future Sets Destroyed

This is a video of the fire that was reportedly started by a Workers' blow torch and spread to destroy the sets used for the movie "Back to the Future" and a library of 40,000 video tapes, and the "King Kong" attraction.