Rudy’s Imperious Whore

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This Vanity Fair profile of Judi Giuliani, Rudy’s whore, is so hilarious that I just had to share it.   I hollered, y’all.  

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Michelle’s mystique

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Michelle Obama 

Hat Tip: By Carly Zakin, NBC News 

WASHINGTON – Since he stepped onto the national political stage, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has been compared to a rock star, a superstar, and even an NBA all-star.

“I’m LeBron, baby,” he told Chicago Tribune reporter and biographer David Mendell, referring to LeBron James of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

But if the Cavaliers’ loss in this year’s NBA finals proves anything, it’s that even NBA all-stars aren’t always perfect.

And if Michelle Obama has shown voters one thing this campaign season, it’s that neither is her husband. He has big ears, she has said. A funny name, too. He doesn’t put the butter away. He has trouble making beds. He’s not the “next Messiah who’s going to fix it all. In the end, he’s just a man.”

Michelle Obama — a Princeton graduate, Harvard-educated lawyer and, until recently, vice president of the University of Chicago Medical Center — is the least famous spouse of the Democratic front-runners. Former President Bill Clinton is his wife’s biographer of her qualifications to be president and would be a roaming ambassador in a Hillary Clinton administration. Elizabeth Edwards, meanwhile, essentially serves as a second campaign manager to her husband and has made headlines by delivering punches to rivals and opponents.

But so far in this presidential race, it’s clear that Michelle Obama is playing a different kind of role in her husband’s campaign. She makes no qualms about checking Obama’s ego, appearing politically hesitant, and acting as an enforcer of sorts. But one facet remains a mystery: What kind of first lady would she be?

This question is something rarely asked of the better known and understood Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Edwards.

Despite their checkered marital history, the Clintons have publicly emerged as a true partnership on the campaign trail. At the Iowa State Fairgrounds earlier this month, he kept his arm around his wife’s shoulders, as she wrapped one arm around him.

“Who do you think will be the best president?” he asked the crowd — before answering his own question that even if she weren’t his wife he would still be campaigning for her.

“In 2008, I will celebrate my 40th year as a voter,” he said, “and in those 40 years… she is by a long stretch the best qualified non-incumbent I have ever had a chance to vote for in my entire life.” After his introduction, Hillary embraced her husband, only to then remind voters of their prevailing partnership. “We’ve traveled a lot of miles together over the last 35 years,” she told the crowd.

Elizabeth Edwards also has done the campaign drill before, and this time around has taken on a more active — and more outspoken — role as his fiercest protector and adviser. According a recent New York Times Magazine piece by Matt Bai, it was Elizabeth who told her husband not to listen to his advisers and to choose poverty as his primary focus. She also set off a national media frenzy by calling into MSNBC’s “Hardball” to ask that guest Ann Coulter stop attacking her husband. And most recently, in a not-so subtle shot at Hillary Clinton, she said in an interview that her husband would be a better advocate for women than Clinton would.

While Elizabeth Edwards takes on the role of a mother bear protecting her cub, the source of Barack Obama’s most frequent affronts — when they don’t come from his rivals — is his wife. First lady author and commentator Carl Sferrazza Anthony says that “she has been trying to kind of take [her husband] down a peg or two in public, not to so much emasculate him, but to say, ‘Hey, he’s a regular guy.’ She obviously loves him. Barbara Bush used to do that too.”

But her efforts to make Obama real also have attracted criticism. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wondered back in April why she didn’t like this realness with Michelle and Barack.

“I wince a bit when Michelle Obama chides her husband as a mere mortal — comic routine that rests on the presumption that we see him as a god,” she wrote. “But it may not be smart politics to mock him in a way that turns him from the glam J.F.K. into the mundane Gerald Ford, toasting his own English muffins. If all Senator Obama is peddling is the Camelot mystique, why debunk this mystique?”

Also, unlike Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Edwards, Michelle Obama has made it clear that she’s not a strategist for her husband’s campaign.

“My job is not a senior adviser,” she has said. ”I am here as a wife.”

Her spokeswoman, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, adds that Mrs. Obama serves as her husband’s “surrogate ear. Her expertise is who he is as a person,” and she relays that to voters and brings back their concerns to the senator. 

Michelle Obama has avoided offering details on what she will focus on as first lady. Her spokeswoman said that her first priority would be as a mother, wife, then “really assessing what the country needs” and “rising to the occasion.” For someone who does not hesitate to offer her opinion, Michelle will not interfere with her husband’s policies, McCormick Lelyveld said.

Sferrazza Anthony finds it interesting, however, that seeing as “they both met through the legal profession… there are going to be issues that they discuss. She has sort of said she doesn’t influence his policy. I have found it interesting the press hasn’t looked deeper into what she means by that? Perhaps that means there is legislation they disagree on.”

McCormick Lelyveld maintains that the Obamas keep politics out their home.

But inside her home, Michelle Obama has also become something of an enforcer. As her smoking husband has tried to quit the habit, per his wife’s demand, Michelle’s brother Craig Robinson joked to The New York Times in May that Obama didn’t need a nicotine patch. “Michelle Obama! That’s one hell of a patch right there!”

At a May ice cream social in New Hampshire, Michelle Obama stood on what seemed to be a figurative and literal pedestal to introduce her husband. “I’m the better looking one. I’m smarter, too,” she said.

As the crowd laughed, her husband nodded, offered a half-smile, and looked down, rocking his body as if waiting for his wife’s latest ego-knockdown to end. When she finished, there was an awkward half-hug and kiss embrace, with neither spouse seeming to know how to interact with the other.

Spokeswoman McCormick Lelyveld said that when “she teases him, there is a method to her madness.” She shows that “ he is a real person, he is reachable, he is human and he is just one man.”

In other words, he’s not LeBron James after all.

Clinton/Obama 08: Never gonna happen

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Clinton-Obama '08 Bumper Sticker

At some point, we need to give up on this fantasy ticket idea.  It is as likely as a Paris Hilton presidency. I entertained the delusion of a Clinton/Obama ticket actively-you can go back and check.  It’s dead. And like all dead things, it will never be resurrected.   The latest debate dustup over dictators and such is truly ridiculous posturing at its worst and should be completely disregarded as a serious statement of principle.   

Ain’t no principle been involved for these two for quite some time.  Principles would have meant that neither would have supported any funding for the B.S. in Baghdad.  Principle would have meant that  the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court would have been actively filibustered by both in a show stopping display we would still be talking  about. Principle would have meant that neither would have supported anti-labor free trade agreements like the Oman Free Trade Agreement.   

When you get down to brass tacks, neither Clinton nor Obama is progressive in any meaningful sense of the word.  There are those of us in the black community who support Obama because they think he represents the best we have to offer.  There are those of us that think the Clintons represent the halcyon days of 90’s prosperity and progressivism. The reality is that these are really misconceptions that have no basis in fact.  Draconian welfare reform, willful denial of genocide in Rwanda, and a craven capitulation to pharmaceutical company racism in the denial of anti-retroviral AIDS medications to African countries desperate for help, is the real legacy of the Clintons.  Barack Obama has done absolutely nothing to castigate their record or chart a different course that black folks could respect.  

Hooking up an already deficient brotha to that legacy of white supremacist capitalist patriarchy is really not what the Lord is calling for in these last and evil days.  It makes no sense at all, really. Respecting the principled legacy of the last serious black presidential candidate is one thing, equating Barack Obama with that same legacy is quite another.  They ain’t the same thing, no matter what Jesse says to the contrary.  

 

Senate subpeona’s Karl Rove

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Hat tip: by Klaus Marre, the Hill 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday issued a subpoena for top White House adviser Karl Rove to compel him to testify about the firing of several U.S. attorneys.

“The evidence shows that senior White House political operatives were focused on the political impact of federal prosecutions and whether federal prosecutors were doing enough to bring partisan voter fraud and corruption cases,” Leahy said. “It is obvious that the reasons given for the firings of these prosecutors were contrived as part of a cover-up and that the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort.”

Leahy issued the subpoenas, one to Rove and one to White House aide Scott Jennings, after consulting with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the committee’s ranking member.

“The Bush-Cheney White House continues to place great strains on our constitutional system of checks and balances,” Leahy added. “Not since the darkest days of the Nixon administration have we seen efforts to corrupt federal law enforcement for partisan political gain and such efforts to avoid accountability.”

The move is a further escalation of the constitutional battle between Congress and the White House over whether Bush administration officials must provide testimony and documents to legislative branch investigators.

Leahy said he is not taking this step lightly and only decided to proceed after “[exhausting] every avenue seeking the voluntary cooperation of Karl Rove and J. Scott Jennings.”

The Judiciary Committee chairman concluded that the investigation has “reached a point where the accumulated evidence shows that political considerations factored into the unprecedented firing of at least nine United States attorneys last year.”

In a letter to Rove, Leahy gives the White House official a week to appear before the panel and testify under oath.

“I hope that the White House takes this opportunity to reconsider its blanket claim of executive privilege, especially in light of the testimony that the President was not involved in the dismissals of these U.S. Attorneys,” Leahy said in his letter. “I am left to ask what the White House is so intent on hiding that it cannot even identify the documents, the dates, the authors and recipients that they claim are privileged.”

New Orleans Cop acquitted of police brutality in beating of black senior citizen

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Hat Tip: Associated Press, NPR’s News andViews blog. 

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) — A former police officer accused in the videotaped beating of a man in the French Quarter after Hurricane Katrina was acquitted Tuesday by a judge who heard the case without a jury.

“I didn’t even find this a close call,” said District Judge Frank Marullo.

Robert Evangelist, 37, had been charged with beating Robert Davis, 66, during an arrest videotaped by an Associated Press Television News crew the night of October 8, 2005, about six weeks after Katrina.

Evangelist, who elected to have his case heard by Marullo without a jury, pleaded not guilty to second-degree battery and false imprisonment. Marullo acquitted him of both counts.

Marullo watched videotapes of the beating and its aftermath and he noted that Davis could be seen struggling on the tape for several minutes.

“This event could have ended at any time if the man had put his hands behind his back,” the judge said.

Evangelist and Lance Schilling were fired after being accused of the beating. Schilling killed himself June 10.

A third officer, Stuart Smith, was accused of a misdemeanor charge of simple battery against Associated Press producer Richard Matthews. Marullo threw out that charge because prosecutors improperly used a statement he made to police, said Smith’s attorney, Eric Hessler.

Smith served a 120-day suspension and remains on the force.

The officers said Davis, who had returned to New Orleans to check his property, started a confrontation after they stopped him on suspicion of being drunk. Davis, who was booked with public intoxication but never charged, said he hadn’t been drinking.

Davis testified Tuesday that he was headed to buy cigarettes in the French Quarter when he asked a police officer what time a curfew took effect that night. Before the officer could answer, a different officer cut him off, Davis said.

“Those were ignorant, unprofessional and rude officers,” Davis recalled saying as he walked away from the policemen.

Moments later, an officer grabbed him from behind, threw him against a wall and punched his face, Davis testified. His assailant uttered a racial epithet during the attack, he said.

“I don’t remember very much after that point,” Davis said.

Franz Zibilich, one of Evangelist’s attorneys, said his client “acted appropriately and well within police standards.”

Dr. Frances Smith, who treated Davis at an emergency room, testified that he suffered facial fractures. Davis said he still feels lingering physical effects from the attack.

I suppose Lance Shilling killed himself because he knew that some Klansman on the bench would acquit him.

House Judiciary Committee finds a pair and issues contempt of congress charges against Bolton and Miers

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The House Judiciary Committee found a pair, manned up, and issued contempt of congress charges for the White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers.   Wow.  The Republicans actually called this move unnecessary and unprecedented with straight faces.   Incredible.  

Let me get this straight, y’all can call President Clinton’s secretary to testify in front of Congress about some hat pin he gave Monica Lewinsky but Bush’s White House Chief of Staff and Counsel cannot testify before Congress about the selective firing of U.S. Attorney’s who refused to comply with orders to investigate and indict Democrats on spurious claims of vote fraud to save GOP members of Congress in last year’s election.   Hmmm.

Obama courts black voters

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Associated Press Writer

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is reaching out to fellow blacks in his first advertising effort in South Carolina, a minute-long spot scheduled to begin airing Wednesday on 36 radio stations with predominantly black listenership.

The Illinois senator has been careful not to be defined strictly as a black candidate and risk alienating white voters, but he and rival Hillary Rodham Clinton are in a close fight for the black voters who traditionally make up half of the Democratic primary turnout in South Carolina. The radio ad allows Obama to target his appeal to black audiences.

Presidential hopeful, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., waves at supporters after speaking at the National Council of La Raza conference in Miami Beach, Fla., on Sunday, July 22, 2007. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Clinton enjoys strong support in the black community and is married to former President Clinton, who is wildly popular among black voters. Obama’s advisers say their biggest challenge is introducing him to voters who certainly know who Clinton is, but may not know much about Obama or even that he is black.

The ad makes it clear with excerpts from Obama’s speech to the NAACP. He ticks off problems facing the community — more black men in prison than in college, serious illnesses disproportionately affecting blacks and the argument that it takes a hurricane to show the rest of the country about problems of race and poverty.

“I know what you know,” Obama says. “Despite all the progress that’s been made we have more work to do.”

Soft jazz plays in the background as a deep-voiced announcer describes Obama as a Christian family man, a former civil rights lawyer and state legislator. “It’s time for Barack Obama,” the announcer says repeatedly.

Obama is running two ads on television in Iowa, but the radio spot is his first in South Carolina.

A poll of South Carolina adults by CNN/Opinion Research Corp. conducted last week found Clinton leading with 39 percent, followed by Obama with 25 percent. A poll last month by a different pollster, Mason Dixon, had Obama narrowly ahead.