Posted: 12 Jul 2008 10:45 AM CDT
The New York Times reports that a coalition of military groups are planning a nationally televised event, which CBS has agreed to broadcast, for both presidential candidates. John McCain accepted but the planners cannot get Barack Obama to commit.
The event would be a townhall style at the Expo Center in Belton, Texas, which is near Fort Hood, Texas, which is the largest active-duty military base in the country.
The organizers for this event are American Veterans, Disabled American Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans for Common Sense and Military Spouse Corporate Career Network. Recently the FRA joined with the the 2008 Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall Consortium.
CBS has agreed to broadcast the meeting live from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, Aug. 11. The candidates would face questions directly from an audience of 6,000 people, made up of veterans, service members and military families from the base.
The Obama campaign cited scheduling conflicts are their reason for not agreeing to attend.
Phillip Carter who is the director of Obama's veterans effort and an Iraq war veteran, said, "Senator Obama strongly supports America's veterans and military families and has worked hard on their behalf in the Senate. While we unfortunately had a previously scheduled commitment on the date proposed, Senator Obama looks forward to continuing the dialogue he's been having throughout the country with veterans on how we can better serve our men and women in uniform as they serve us."
The organizers then made it clear they would adjust their scheduling to accommodate Obamas, and even with that offer, the Obama campaign is refusing to commit.
According to the managing director of the Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall Consortium, Carissa Picard, who is a military wife herself with a husband that is deployed in Iraq, she has had several conversations with the Obama campaign with no success and she goes on to state, "I'm having extreme difficulty getting the Obama campaign to commit to this event, and we do not understand why. We made it very clear to them that if they would commit to the event, we would work with them on dates."
Fort Hood houses approximately 218,000 people which include active-duty military members, retired military members and families of military members.
Picard tells the new York Times that the decision to go public with these plans and the difficulties they have been having getting Obama to commit, was not easy but that they could see no other way to pressure him into attending, going on to say, "We were at a point where we had no other option. We got the impression that they could talk us to November."
The article point out that while many might assume that a military audience would be overly friendly to McCain and not to Obama, many of those at Fort Hood have been hit hard by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with an estimated 800 members of the service that have died in Iraq, having at one point gone through the Fort Hood base, and that many agree with Obama's position that the war must end.
Picard goes on to say, "McCain and Obama are asking to be the next commander in chief. What's a more compelling audience than this, the people that you have asked to maintain our security? It would be tremendous for the morale of this community."
According to organizers of this planned event, the military and their families consist of about 44 million people.
That is a very large voting bloc.
Posted: 12 Jul 2008 10:06 AM CDT
Former Bush administration White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow, succumbs to his battle with cancer and died on Saturday at 2 am in the Georgetown University Hospital in Washington.
Robert Anthony Snow was born June 1, 1955, in Berea, Ky., the son of a teacher and nurse. He graduated from Davidson College in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in philosophy, and he taught briefly in Kenya before embarking on his journalism career.
Tony Snow had been a longtime Fox News television host and radio personality, starting in 1996 as the original anchor for Fox News Sunday and hosting Weekend Live as well as having The Tony Snow Show before leaving the job in 2006 to become the White House Press Secretary.
17 months into his job, Snow received the bad news that his cancer had returned, despite having his colon removed in 2005 and going through six months of chemotherapy. In 2007, he was informed the cancer had spread to his liver and he had a cancerous growth removed from his stomach area.
In September 2007, Snow resigned from his job of Press Secretary, citing financial reasons, although many speculated that it was for health reasons and he hand the reigns of his job over to Dana Perino.
Earlier this year, after recuperating from having the growth removed, he joined CNN as a political commentator .
President Bush issued a statement regarding Snow's passing which said, "Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of our dear friend Tony Snow. The Snow family has lost a beloved husband and father. And America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character."
Sympathies to his family and friends and RIP Tony.
Posted: 11 Jul 2008 07:51 PM CDT
There is much speculation as to why in the Newsweek June 20, 2008 poll Barack Obama held a 51 to 36 percent lead over John McCain and in a poll released today, Obama's lead is down to a 3 percentage point lead with 44 percent to 41 percent.
In a matter of almost 3 weeks, from June 20, 2008 to July 11, 2008, Barack Obama has gone from a 15 percentage point lead over John McCain to a 3 percentage point lead, which is within the margin of error.
Obama dropped 7 percentage points and McCain gained 5 percentage points.
One reason not mentioned in the Newsweek article discussing this, could be that in the June 20, 2008 poll, the demographic samples showed that 324 Democrats were polled with only 231 Republicans being polled, which would account for the wide span of the lead shown for Obama.
In this latest poll, the number of Democrats polled stayed the same at 324, but the number of Republicans polled rose to 315.
Even out the sampling and the numbers even out?
Instead of mentioning the oversampling of one party from the other to account for the lead three weeks ago, Newsweek suggested at the time that it could be due to the "bounce" from Clinton suspending her campaign.
Likewise, today's article, Newsweek speculates that Barack Obama's sudden drop could be due to his changing position on the FISA legislation, or his changing position regarding public financing where he rejected it or his support of faith-based initiatives, without mentioning the possibility that the sampling could have accounted for the changes.
The sampling figures can explain the span of the lead changing to fall within the margin of error, but it cannot explain the changes from Independent voters polled.
In the new poll, McCain leads Obama among independents 41 percent to 34 percent, with 25 percent favoring neither candidate. In June's NEWSWEEK Poll, Obama bested McCain among independent voters, 48 percent to 36 percent.
Both candidates show equal favorability with Obama holding a favorable rating of 56 percent and John McCain at 55 percent and both having a 32 percent unfavorable rating.
Newsweek titles their article with "Glow Fading?" and time will tell if it is or it is not, but for now it seems as if Obama's momentum has reversed, faster than he himself has managed to reverse positions on the key topics mentioned in the article discussing todays surprising results.
Posted: 11 Jul 2008 04:12 PM CDT
Barack Obama's Iraq plan is stated clearly on his site under the "Bring The Troops Home" category states:
Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.
ABC's Martha Raddatz just returned from Iraq where she spoke to the troops on the ground and military commanders and while they would not speak to political issues, when presented with the direct withdrawal timeframe that Barack Obama has presented on his site, many say that logistically, there is "no way", it could work.
Via Hot Air, there is a video of an interview with Raddatz, she shows what those on the ground and in the know about the logistics of such a plan would entail, something that any leader would take into consideration and many would do so before ever daring to suggest a plan like Obamas.
The video above is 4 minutes long, but well worth the time to watch it to see the details that would be involved in trying to implement a plan like Obamas, to which logistically the commanders on the ground say, "no way" it could work.
We spent a day with Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond in Sadr City. He is the commander of the 4th Infantry Division, which is responsible for Baghdad. Hammond will likely be one of the commanders who briefs Barack Obama when he visits Iraq.
Finishing the job.
Capt. Jeremy Ussery, a West Point graduate on his third deployment, pointed to his heavy body armor as we walked in the 120-degree heat, saying, "The same people keep coming back because we want to see Iraq succeed, that's what we want. I don't want my kids, that hopefully will join the military, my notional children, to have to come back to Iraq 30 years from now and wear this."
Then they deal with the actual logistics, something that Barack Obama obviously doesn't have a clue about, showing how unprepared he is to be making these types of decisions.
Logistics and Equipment.
And 90 percent of the equipment would have to be moved by ground through the Iraqi war zone, to the port in Kuwait, where it must all be cleaned and inspected and prepared for shipment. This is a place with frequent dust storms, limited port facilities and limited numbers of wash racks.
Conditions on the ground dictate what is logistically possible and what is not and it seems that Barack Obama in stating recently that his Iraq plans were still being "refined", the later, after having his far left base rip into him for that comment, made another statement saying he still plans to abide by the plans listed on his website, is showing that pandering to his base is more important than learning what is and what isn't logistically possible.
By making such a statement as the one on his website, he has shown exactly how inexperienced and unprepared he truly is to head the military forces of the US.
As Ed Morrisey clearly points out, Obama is in way over his head:
Obviously, Obama didn't have any awareness of logistics when he made this proposal — and that's the point. His lack of experience, combined with a hubris that he has consistently shown on the campaign trail, makes clear that he is in way over his head at this point of his career. He has no sense of military policy at all, and got the biggest call of the war — the surge — completely wrong. Yet he insists that he's ready to lead this nation's military during a time of war as Commander in Chief?
Promising the impossible is as bad as lying to your supporters face, which is what Obama has been doing....the other option, which is that he is truly that naive and that unprepared, is even worse.
Barack Obama is due to go visit Iraq this summer, something he hasn't bothered to do since the amazing success of the surge, and when he does, he will be briefed on the logistics and the impossibility of his plan.
Then he will truly be in between a rock and a hard place, because if he comes back and still makes promises he will then definitely be aware are impossible, he is a liar....if he comes back and makes the appropriate changes to his plan regarding troop withdrawals, then he will undoubtedly anger his base supporters to backed him because of his illogical plan.
That ladies and gentlemen is what is called a lose/lose situation.
One Obama placed himself in.
Posted: 11 Jul 2008 03:19 PM CDT
In what TechCrunch is calling an "online forum for citizens to engage with policy makers before they make policy", the GOP has created a site that will allow people to engage with lawmakers and will allow voters to provide input on a variety of issues important to the American people.
In what the GOP calls their "24-hour, seven-day-a-week Internet town hall", they have launched the gopplatform2008.com website which will allow people from across the country to engage in the political process.
Account holders will have the ability to use the text and video submission tools, participate in in-site polling, and monitor individual entries on a personalized index page.
Those submissions will then be cataloged and reviewed and brought before the official Platform Committee meetings, ensuring that every participants "voice" is heard.
The main page of the new website states:
The Republican Party is seeking your input as we develop the policies and principles upon which we should stand for the next four years. On this website, you can share your thoughts, participate in polls, and communicate directly with the policymakers who will be shaping the party's agenda. All comments and feedback will be reviewed and taken into full consideration as we prepare for our convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
There are welcome messages, via video, from RNC Chairman, Mike Duncan, Platform Chairman and Congressman Kevin McCarthy and Platform Co-Chairman, Senator Richard Burr.
From the email press release mailed out from PR NewsWire for Journalists, McCarthy speaks about this new innovative interactive website by saying, "We are seeking the most input through this historic opportunity to use a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week Internet town hall. We know Washington is not a place for solutions, so we are reaching out across the nation to create a forward-looking platform rooted in our core values with solutions that create prosperity today and for the next generation."
Duncan's also issues a statement saying "For more than 150 years, Republicans have met every four years to adopt a platform that outlines the principles and policies upon which the Party stands. We are proud that the development of the 2008 Republican Party Platform will be more interactive, inclusive, and open than any other in political history."
Burr's statement expresses enthusiasm for the new project when he states, "We are excited that this process will facilitate greater transparency and participation in the development of the 2008 Republican Party Platform than ever before. The Platform Committee will form the foundation for our future and this innovative tool will allow people with all points of view to participate in this critical discussion."
TechCrunch is asking why Democrats are not doing this as well, saying that although they may have something similar, the only thing that turned up when searching was the "Listening to America" town hall tour of 50 states, to which they say that "If you want to listen to America, you can listen to a lot more people online than in 50 town halls."
TechCrunch suggests that the Democrats create an interactive site like the gopplatform2008.com saying it should only take a couple of weeks.
Posted: 11 Jul 2008 02:15 PM CDT
In a vote of 95 to 2, The U.S. Senate confirmed the promotion of General David Petraeus as the new chief of U.S. Central Command.
General Petraeus has been the guiding force and the man in charge of the 15-month surge that has brought about the amazing progress seen in Iraq to which one commander, Major-General Mark Hertling, believes has hit the "irreversible point".
General Petraeus will still in charge of overseeing Iraq, he will also be responsible for addressing an increasingly violent insurgency in Afghanistan and other important national security interests throughout the CentCom region," said Levin, D-Michigan.
Among those other issues is Iran, which the United States accuses of meddling in the five-year-old Iraq war and of pursuing nuclear weapons. Iran conducted a series of missile tests on Wednesday, and Israel conducted an air force exercise over the eastern Mediterranean Sea in June that U.S. officials suggest was meant as a show of strength toward the Islamic republic.
General Petraeus' second-in-command, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, was also promoted and confirmed by the Senate, with a 96 to 1 vote, to a Four Star General and will be replacing General Petraeus in Baghdad.
Posted: 11 Jul 2008 02:02 PM CDT
According to the Town of Edgartown, Massachusetts, official website there is a warning about a shark sighting at South Beach and an unconfirmed shark sighting at State Beach, to which they announce and underline, "Swim at your own risk".
In the body of water most known for the its use in the filming of the movie "Jaws", there has been confirmed and unconfirmed shark sightings with speculation that the shrak is a Great White.
Lifeguards spotted the shark in the waters off of Martha's Vineyard yesterday, claiming the dorsal fin of the shark stuck approximately 2 1/2 feet out of the water, fueling speculation that this shark was a Great White, which is the largest largest predatory fish known in the world.
Great Whites can grow to 22 feet and weight up to two tons.
Besides the sightings from the life guards 75 yards in at South Beach in Edgartown, authorities received other reports, unconfirmed as of yet about shark sightings along State Beach, which was the site used in the first scenes of the movie "Jaws".
A great white shark sighting is rare, but not unheard of in Massachusetts waters, said Greg Skomal, a shark specialist with the Division of Marine Fisheries. He said the species has a range spreading from the Gulf of Mexico into Canadian waters.
According to another report, Great Whites are not unheard of in this part of the country.
Last August, one or more great white sharks made meals of seals off Cape Cod beaches near Chatham. In 2004, a 1,750-pound (794 kilogram) great white swam into an inlet off Naushon Island, near Martha's Vineyard, and stayed there for more than two weeks, resisting biologists' efforts to evict it.
In the interest of public safety, Massachusetts state closed the beaches at the South Beach State Park, yesterday.
According to Arthur Smadbeck who is the chairman of the Board of Selectmen, they do not believe this will damage their tourism, saying, "People will be so darn curious we'll probably be inundated with people wanting to see it."
One of the unconfirmed sightings has been declared a hoax by a 60-year-old Boston man, Michael Lopenzo, allegedly concocted a story about a shark sighting, after the beaches had been closed from the prior sighting by the lifeguards.
Police officials are debating whether to charge Lopenzo for disturbing the peace.
State officials insist that the beaches are safe, but there is always the stipulation that "Sharks Sighted, Swim at your own risk!"
More on Great White sharks can be found at Marine Bio.
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