Pensito Review

Obama Moves DNC to Chicago

A recent move shows how breathtakingly different a Pres. Obama would be from the Current Occupant, or even the Current Occupant Wannabe. Obama is reorganizing the DNC. Hello, Chicago!

This is partly about ensuring that the Illinois Senator avoids the fate of John Kerry, whose 2004 presidential campaign was hampered by behind-the-scenes battles with the DNC

In a major shakeup at the Democratic National Committee — and a departure from tradition — large parts of the committee’s operations are relocating to Chicago to be fully integrated with the Obama campaign.

The DNC’s political department, housed in Washington, D.C., will be dramatically rebuilt, with staffers offered a choice of moving to Chicago, joining state operations, or staying in Washington, DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney said…

The move reflects Obama’s desire to maintain an unusually streamlined campaign, as well as his swift and complete takeover of a Democratic Party that isn’t always known for its unity. The move may also save the campaign money, as the Obama campaign can use DNC salaries and staff to pay for elements of its organizing campaign and avoid some of the duplication that has often dogged presidential efforts.
It could also help avoid the John Kerry-tastrophe of 2004.

Minnesota Teens Banned From Graduation After Flying Confederate Flag

Three Minnesota teens learned a big life lesson on graduation day. They weren’t allowed to march with their classmates after sticking a huge Confederate flag in everyone’s face in the school parking lot.

Seniors Dan Fredlin and Justin Thompson, both 18, and Joey Snyder, 17, were suspended and restricted from the diploma ceremony after arriving at John F. Kennedy High School in Bloomington, Minn., Tuesday with the flags affixed to their cars. One of the teens had a flag hoisted on a 20-foot flagpole attached to his truck…

The school’s principal, Ron Simmons, who is black, made the decision to suspend the trio and ban them from the commencement, a decision school district officials affirmed.

“What is not acceptable is driving through the parking lot and waving the Confederate flag for the purpose of inciting a response,” Rick Kaufman, a spokesman for the Bloomington Public School district, told ABC News.

Kaufman cited a pair of state laws to justify the discipline decision, including the students’ willful disruption of the rights of others to an education and their endangerment of students and school property.
At the same time, as Jon reported, plans were unveiled for a huge Confederate flag to be flown by the Sons of Confederate Veterans along the I-4 corridor near Tampa.

The modern-day symbolism of the Confederate flag is a hard concept to express. Jon ended his post, “Time to find a new logo for pride in the South” but the Minnesota teens were hardly demonstrating that. They say that see something non-regional — and much sexier.

Obama Floats Florida Compromise

Now that Barack Obama is officially the pre-presumptive Democratic nominee, he’s going to have to decide what to do about “punishing” Florida and Michigan for moving their primaries too close to the sacred lead spots held by Iowa and New Hampshire.

In Florida yesterday, he floated this idea:

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McCain Hosts Potential Veeps at His Ranch

John McCain has invited three possible running mates to his ranch in Page Springs, near the resort town of Sedona, Arizona, for a weekend visit. The three prospective veeps are Florida’s perpetually tanned, bachelor governor, Charlie Crist; former presisdential candidate, Mitt Romney; and Louisiana’s new governor, Bobby Jindal.

Crist is popular enough in Florida to make a difference in a tight race this fall, but at least one GOP operative has insisted that Charlie must get married, but quick, lest yahoos in the GOP base think he is gay.

Romney proved himself to be so inauthentic during his self-financed run against McCain last winter that it is hard to imagine why McCain would seriously consider him. Perhaps he’s on the list because, if McCain was chosen because he was the least-bad candidate, Romney was second least-worst.

Jindal is a wild card. He was a congressman before running for governor, and is well-known in Louisiana but not elsewhere, which means introducing him to the country would eat up campaign time and resources. Compounding this is his ethnicity. McCain can’t run on the success of the Iraq occupation or the Bush economy, and he’s even been botching his purported strong suit, foreign relations and security, lately. That means the best — maybe only — thing the McCain campaign has going for it is the fact that his opponent, Barack Obama is African-American, a factor that will energize the GOP racist base. Jindal’s family immigrated from India, and he is brown-skinned. Putting him on the ticket might confuse those core voters, who tend to view anyone with dark skin with suspicion. (Another possible ding against Crist.)

In any case, McCain adviser Charlie Black denies that the meetings at the ranch are anything but a fun sleepover for grown-ups. He insists the weekend will be “purely social” and has “nothing whatsoever to do with the vice presidential selection process … Wouldn’t it be difficult to interview people for vice president with the other competitors there?”

McCain’s wife Cindy is worth $100 million, we’re told, and, not surprisingly, the McCains’ vacation home sounds pretty nice:

10% of Americans Still Say Obama Is Muslim

There was a movie that came out a couple years ago called “Idiocracy.” The premise was that because stoopid people procreate at an alarmingly faster rate than the smart people, the United States was turned into a nation of drooling idiots over several generations. The movie was a comedy, but sometimes I think it’s already really happened, which ain’t so funny.

According to a Pew Center poll released today, one in 10 Americans still persists in thinking that presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama is a Muslim. This, despite his frequent references to his Christian beliefs and the recent highly publicized flap over perceived anti-American comments made by the pastor of his CHRISTIAN church.
While a majority -- 53 percent -- identify Obama as a Christian, 16 percent of conservative Republicans, 16 percent of white evangelical Protestants and 19 percent of rural Americans believe the Illinois senator is Muslim.
About a third of Americans said they don’t know what Obama’s religious beliefs are, and 9 percent of that group said it’s because they’ve heard different information about his faith.

Perhaps it’s due to a kind of stunned disbelief on the part of the less progressive among us that we’ve actually reached a point where there’s a real possibility that a black man or a white woman could become the next president of the United States.

Dean Under Fire for 48-State Strategy

Dr. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, as Jon has come to call Howard Dean around me and Buck, since just a mention of his name to Florida folks Gets Us Started, is taking well-deserved criticism. Time’s Tim Padgett asks all the good questions: Does Dean really plan to pursue a 48-State Strategy for victory, and if so, where is his leadership? More importantly, will Dean cost the Democratic candidate the votes of Florida and Michigan? We’ve been wondering the same things.
Florida’s famously feckless electoral system usually deserves the ridicule it gets. But not this time. Instead of the typical jokes about Flori-duh, the Sunshine State debacle currently gripping the Democratic Party has evoked reminders of the Dean Scream -- the notorious petulance of Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean. He, along with the other sage bosses of the DNC, has left Democratic voters in what is arguably the nation’s most crucial swing state feeling dissed, disenfranchised and, it now seems, disinclined to back whomever the Democratic candidate is in November. And that could harm the party’s White House bid as severely as any butterfly ballot or hanging chad ever did.
According to a poll conducted this week for various Florida media, almost a quarter of Florida Democrats say they’ll be “less likely to support” the party’s nominee if their state’s delegates aren’t seated at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August -- and by seated they mean counted in the final tally to choose the presidential nominee.

I don’t agree with those who would withhold their votes from the Democratic candidate over this. But I do understand where they’re coming from. Dean claimed it was of vital importance that states like Iowa and New Hampshire, with tiny homogeneous populations, get to go one-on-one with the candidates because this intimate voter contact is what makes democracy work. He then forbade any candidate to be heard or seen by Florida voters.

Spitzer Kept His Black Socks on During Sex

O.K., I have to admit I really don’t get strippers and prostitutes and lap dances and all that stuff, but I’m female so there you go. I mean, how do you pay for it and keep up the illusion in your mind that there’s anything but contemptuous nose-holding disdain going on in the mind of the payee? You know that this woman would not look at you twice if you weren’t giving her cash, so how much fun is that?

That said, wouldn’t you think that if you were in fact paying thousands and thousands of dollars to someone to have sex with you that you would at least be able to take off all your clothes -- socks included? Not if you’re Eliot Spitzer.
Almost four months before New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned in a sex scandal, a lawyer for Republican political operative Roger Stone sent a letter to the FBI alleging that Spitzer “used the services of high-priced call girls” while in Florida.
The letter, dated Nov. 19, said Miami Beach resident Stone learned the information from “a social contact in an adult-themed club.” It offered one potentially identifying detail: The man in question hadn’t taken off his calf-length black socks “during the sex act.”
“…The governor has paid literally tens of thousands of dollars for these services. It is Mr. Stone’s understanding that the governor paid not with credit cards or cash but through some pre-arranged transfer,” the letter said.

Bush Appointed Judge Resigns After Cross Dressing DUI Arrest

That I find this story so hilarious probably says more about me than the cross-dressing federal judge in question, but as they say these days, it is what it is. The punch line is probably the best part.

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Anti-War Right Boosts Ron Paul to Top GOP Q4 Fundraiser

The campaigns have all released their fundraising reports from the fourth quarter of 2007, and the results show that three candidates who oppose the endless occupation of Iraq raised the most money.

Democrat Hillary Clinton led the field in both parties with $26.5 million, followed by Barack Obama with $22.8 million. (The Obama campaign says it has already raised $32 million in January alone.)

But the headline that ought to be in 40-point type is the fact the only Republican supporter of withdrawal from Iraq, Ron Paul, trounced his GOP rivals in the fourth quarter by raising nearly $20 million. As a Los Angeles Times blogger put it, it is a "news shocker":

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Would a President Obama Nominate John Edwards for Attorney General?

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This could just be Robert Novak making mischief:
Illinois Democrats close to Sen. Barack Obama are quietly passing the word that John Edwards would be named attorney general in an Obama administration.
Installation at the Justice Department of multimillionaire trial lawyer Edwards would please not only the union leaders supporting him for president, but organized labor in general. The unions relish the prospect of an unequivocal labor partisan as the nation's top legal officer.
It's considered bad luck, or maybe hubristic, for primary candidates to start naming cabinet officials so the Obama campaign has been mum about Novak's story.

Funny thing about this is, my friend and fellow political junkie, M. Tuttle, an Obama supporter, mentioned this possibility to me over lunch more than a month ago.

Would Rudy Manage the Federal Budget as Badly as His Campaign Finances?

Since the outset of the presidential campaign, Rudy Giuliani's strategy has famously been to hold fire during the GOP preliminaries, wait for a winner to emerge out of in Iowa and New Hampshire and then turn all of his guns on his opponent in the big states, starting with Florida on January 26.

But now, just two weeks away from the voting in Florida, and a little over thee weeks until the "Super Tuesday" primaries on Feb. 5 -- including votes in California, where his brand of liberal-Republicanism might work, and New York, his home state -- he is out of money:

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Bush Forgets His Grandpa Profited from Nazi Slave Labor

George Bush toured the Holocaust memorial in Israel yesterday, and through tears, came up with a telling formulation about what his predecessor, Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, should have done to stop the horror at the German concentration camps:

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Santa Died for Your MasterCard

We at Pensito Review applaud the wit and toast the resourcefulness of Art Conrad, Bremerton, Wash. His Xmas display makes him a defacto commander in the War on Xmas.

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