GOP Considers Delaying Convention

Hurricane Gustav on track to hit the Gulf Coast appears to be the reason for possibly postponing the convention in Minneapolis. I suspect more likely they’re afraid of Hurricane Obama.

Matt Burns, a spokesman for the convention, said that as of last night, it is scheduled to open on time. “We are planning for our convention to open on Monday,” he said. “Like all Americans, we are monitoring the situation closely in the Gulf.”

Staging a convention during a major natural disaster would be a public relations challenge for either political party. But GOP officials say the burden could be especially heavy for their party, whose reputation was tarred by the Bush administration’s bungling of Katrina and its aftermath in 2005.

A hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico could also cast unwelcome attention on the offshore oil rigs that McCain has championed as a solution to rising gasoline prices — they are now being evacuated in the face of the coming storm.

One senior GOP official said he does not anticipate a convention delay at this point, but he said the event would have to be reorganized if a large storm hit a major city on the coast.

“You would have to dramatically change the nature of what you do. Much less partisan. Much less political,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because internal discussions are ongoing. He added that all the speakers would have to retool their addresses to reflect the storm and its impact. “Otherwise, it’s the elephant in the room.”

More from the Washington Post

Obama: “Eight years is enough!”

Raw Story

Barack Obama, poised to take a historic step as the Democratic presidential nominee, promised on Thursday to reverse the economic failures of the last eight years, end the war in Iraq and restore the U.S. reputation abroad.

“We are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight,” Obama, the first black White House nominee of a major U.S. party, said in excerpts of his remarks prepared for delivery to the Democratic convention. “Eight is enough.”

Obama took direct aim at Republican rival John McCain and linked him to President George W. Bush’s policies.

“Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe,” he said.

“The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans — have built, and we are to restore that legacy,” he said.

more about “Obama: Eight years is enough“, posted with vodpod

Text of prepared speech below the fold:
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Al Gore Rocks the House in Denver!

Al Gore spoke at the Democratic National Convention tonight. If you missed it, it was certainly one of his best.

Here is the text.

One of the greatest gifts of our democracy is the opportunity it offers us every four years to change course.

It’s not a guarantee – it’s only an opportunity.

The question facing us is, simply put, will we seize this opportunity for change?

That’s why I came here tonight: to tell you why I feel so strongly that we must seize this opportunity to elect Barack Obama President of the United States.

Eight years ago, some said there was not much difference between the nominees of the two major parties and it didn’t really matter who became President.

Our nation was enjoying peace and prosperity. Some assumed we would continue both no matter the outcome. But here we all are in 2008, and I doubt anyone would argue now that election didn’t matter.

Take it from me, if it had ended differently, we would not be bogged down in Iraq, we would have pursued Bin Laden until we captured him.

We would not be facing a self-inflicted economic crisis, we would be fighting for middle income families.

We would not be showing contempt for the Constitution, we’d be protecting the rights of every American regardless of race, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

And we would not be denying the climate crisis, we’d be solving it.

Today, we face essentially the same choice we faced in 2000, though it may be even more obvious now – because John McCain, a man who has earned our respect on many levels, is now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue them, the same policies all over again?

Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous.

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Cindy McCain’s Half Sister: “I’m Voting for Barack Obama”

From Us Magazine:

Cindy McCain’s half sister is planning on voting for Barack Obama, she tells

“I’m not voting for McCain,” Kathleen Hensley Portalski tells Us. “I have a different political standpoint.

“I’m voting for Obama,” the Phoenix resident says. “I think his proposals to improve the country are more positive and I’m not a big war believer.”

Portalski, 65, and the potential first lady, 54, have the same father: Jim Hensley, the founder of the beer distributor Hensley and Co. that Cindy McCain now chairs.

Portalski’s son Nathan, a 45-year-old aerospace machinist, is also backing Obama.

“I wouldn’t vote for John McCain if he was a Democrat,” he tells Us. “I would not vote at all before I’d vote for him.

“I question whether Cindy is someone I’d want to see in the White House as first lady,” he adds.

No way! No how! No McCain!

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Protesters denied access to attorneys, forced to march in leg shackles

The ACLU issued a stinging rebuke to the Denver Police Department Wednesday, alleging that the department may have violated laws and constitutional rights of protesters arrested outside the Democratic National Convention.

The ACLU revealed that the police refused those arrested access to attorneys. Police did not let detainees use phones unless they posted their own bonds, and even failed to provide shoes, in one case marching a protester into court in bare feet and leg shackles, according the ACLU.

What’s more, police are said to have tricked protesters into pleading guilty, by giving them the impression they had to plead guilty in order to post bond. This meant that no one was allowed to make a phone call unless they plead guilty, thus making it impossible for arrestees to even call a lawyer until admitting guilt.

Most ominously, the ACLU letter claims that protesters were told they would be “facing ‘years’ in jail for a conviction of a single particular charge.”  “In fact, all the charges were municipal court violations that do not carry such penalties,” the ACLU added in a footnote.

Charges for arrestees were issued on pre-printed forms, where police were told to “cross out” charges that they were not facing. In many cases, police failed to cross out inappropriate charges, and so the detainee would be charged with “begging, loitering and throwing stones and missiles,” the ACLU said.

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Happy First Anniversary to TheZoo!!

It was one year ago today that TheZoo was formed.

Here is a toast to all our wonderful Critters, for all their hard work and creativity! A very special thanks to our esteemed Zookeeper and lead Critter Zooey who keeps us all together, smiling, and on our toes. I want to remember other Critters, no longer with us, who were there at the beginning and got us up and running – Egreggious (who worked so VERY hard at setting everything up and helping everyone learn the ropes), and willyloman (who suggesting starting this blog in the first place). Thanks guys.

And to Wayne A. Schneider, for our wonderful theme song [parody] “At TheZoo..

I’d like to thank all of our political cartoonists who have given us permission to post their wonderful work – a special thanks to Paul Jamiol who has created many wonderful cartoons especially for TheZoo! I want to also thank all those wonderful posters from other important blogs who have given us permission to re-post their wonderful articles and opinion pieces.

A very big thanks to all our readers and commenters as well!

Putin accuses U.S. of orchestrating Georgian war


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of orchestrating the conflict in Georgia to benefit one of its presidential election candidates.

In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Matthew Chance in the Black Sea city of Sochi Thursday, Putin said the U.S. had encouraged Georgia to attack the autonomous region of South Ossetia.

Putin told CNN his defense officials had told him it was done to benefit a presidential candidate — Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are competing to succeed George W. Bush — although he presented no evidence to back it up.

“U.S. citizens were indeed in the area in conflict,” Putin said. “They were acting in implementing those orders doing as they were ordered, and the only one who can give such orders is their leader.”

Read this entire article..

Previously posted at TheZoo on this subject:

Why was Cheney’s guy in Georgia before the war?

More perspectives on Russia vs. Georgia

Breaking News – Cindy McCain to Travel to Georgia

They’re baaackkk… Lieberman and Graham return from Georgia to put an op-ed in the WSJ.

From Glenn Greenwald of Salon:

Warnings to Russia from Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham

And from Robert Scheer of Truthdig:

Georgia War a Neocon Election Ploy?

Martin Luther King “I have a Dream”

First posted at TheZoo on January 21, 2008 – Martin Luther King Day.
This speech was delivered 45 years ago today.

“I Have a Dream”

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Delivered August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

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Biden-The Senator He Almost Wasn’t

Good evening, I’m Beau Biden. And Joe Biden is my dad.

Many of you know him as a distinguished and accomplished senator. I know him as an incredible father and a loving grandfather. A man who hustled home to Delaware after the last vote so he wouldn’t miss me and my brother’s games. Who, after returning from some war-torn region of the world, would tiptoe into our room and kiss us goodnight. Who turns down some fancy cocktail party in Washington so he won’t miss my daughter Natalie’s birthday party.

The truth is, he almost wasn’t a senator at all. In 1972, shortly after his improbable victory, but before he took the oath of office, my father went to Washington to look at his new office space. My mom took us to go buy a Christmas tree. On the way home, we were in an automobile accident. My mom, Neilia, and sister, Naomi, were killed. My brother, Hunter, and I were seriously injured and hospitalized for weeks. I was just short of 4 years old. One of my earliest memories was being in that hospital, Dad always at our side. We, not the Senate, were all he cared about.

He decided not to take the oath of office. He said, “Delaware can get another senator, but my boys can’t get another father.” However, great men like Ted Kennedy, Mike Mansfield, Hubert Humphrey—men who had been tested themselves—convinced him to serve. So he was sworn in, in the hospital, at my bedside. As a single parent, he decided to be there to put us to bed, to be there when we woke from a bad dream, to make us breakfast, so he’d travel to and from Washington, four hours a day.

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Shiny New Blog Attracts People — Updated

As you seem to have found out by now, this is a shiny new blog attracting people. I’m a person, and I was attracted to it. Seems this blog could be about politics and stuff. Well, what’s the first thing that pops into your minds when the word “politics” is mentioned? Feel free to use nonsense and profanity.

I would like to also report those folks who post on TP regularly are super cool, intelligent, and know how to have fun. I haven’t partied that hard since my fraternity days in college. The TP group made me eat the worm. I hear some people post in their birthday suits…

UPDATE: In honor of TheZoo’s one year anniversary, over the next couple of days we will be re-posting some of our favorite “oldies.”

This post by ForTruthinessDave was our first public post, and it kind of set the tone for our little blog.

I hope you enjoy our trip down memory lane.  :)


The FBI Unchecked Power To Hide Abuses In the Form of Gag Orders

The American Civil Liberties Union urged a federal appeals court to uphold a decision striking down the national security letter (NSL) provision of the Patriot Act.  This provision gives the FBI the authority to issue letters demanding private information about people within the United States, and to place the recipients of the letters under indefinite gag orders. Recent reports issued by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have revealed the FBI’s widespread, systemic abuse of its NSL power.

The FBI shouldn’t have the unreviewable power to impose gag orders on the recipients of national security letters,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project who argued today in court. “As the district court ruled, the FBI’s power to silence the recipients of these letters has to be subject to judicial oversight. Without that check, the FBI can use its power to hide abuses and silence its critics – and that’s exactly what it’s been doing.”

You may remember earlier this year that, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Internet Archive’s lawyers, fought the NSL, challenging its constitutionality.  The FBI served a controversial National Security Letter in November 2007, on the Internet Archive‘s founder Brewster Kahle, asking for records about one of the library’s registered users, asking for the user’s name, address and activity on the site.  The FBI agreed on April 21 to withdraw the letter and unseal the court case, making some of the documents available to the public.

The ACLU and New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in April 2004 on behalf of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that received an NSL. Because the FBI imposed a gag order on the ISP, the lawsuit was filed under seal, and even today the ACLU is prohibited from disclosing its client’s identity. The FBI continues to maintain the gag order even though the underlying investigation is more than four years old (and may well have ended), and even though the FBI abandoned its demand for records from the ISP over a year ago. 
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