Blogs

Obama/McCain Voting Blocks Already Established?

| Thu Jun. 12, 2008 11:23 AM EDT

I know it's foolhardy to read too much into any single poll, but I thought the demographic groupings on display here are interesting. I wonder if the allegiances of these subgroups will hold through November. MSNBC:

Obama has opened up a six-point advantage over McCain (47%-41%) in the latest NBC/WSJ poll... Obama leads McCain among African Americans (83-7), Hispanics (62-28), women (52-33), Catholics (47-40), independents (41-36) and even blue-collar workers (47-42). Obama is also ahead among those who said they voted for Clinton in the Democratic primaries (61-19). Meanwhile, McCain is up among evangelicals (69-21), white men (55-35), men (49-41), whites (47-41), and white suburban women (44-38).

White women are viewed as a crucial swing vote — Republicans almost always win white men, but whichever party takes white women usually takes the White House. Currently, Obama beats McCain among white women 46-39.

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McCain != Bush Becomes Harder With Discovery of New Quotes

| Thu Jun. 12, 2008 10:50 AM EDT

Liberal bloggers spend a fair amount of time pointing out that John McCain is a lot like George W. Bush. But now two quotes have emerged in which John McCain himself argues he's a lot like George W. Bush, making his task of distancing himself from the President that much harder.

Quote 1, June 2005, Meet the Press:

RUSSERT: The fact is you are different than George Bush.
SEN. McCAIN: No. No. I–the fact is that I'm different but the fact is that I have agreed with President Bush far more than I have disagreed. And on the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I've been totally in agreement and support of President Bush.

Quote 2, May 2003, Your World with Neil Cavuto:

"The president and I agree on most issues. There was a recent study that showed that I voted with the president over 90 percent of the time, higher than a lot of my even Republican colleagues."

I mean, c'mon. This isn't hard. McCain once said of Bush, ""[H]e has more than earned our support. He has earned our admiration and our love." Bush reportedly supported McCain in the Republican primary because McCain was "best to carry forth his agenda."

McCain's attempts to distance himself from Bush aren't just an uphill climb. They're an uphill climb with a monkey on his back and one of these tied to his leg.

SCOTUS Rules Gitmo Detainees Can Challenge Detention in US Civilian Courts

| Thu Jun. 12, 2008 10:33 AM EDT

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Guantanamo detainees yet again. According to the AP, SCOTUS ruled today that "foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts."

In its third rebuke of the Bush administration's treatment of prisoners, the court ruled 5-4 that the government is violating the rights of prisoners being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The court's liberal justices were in the majority.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, "The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."
It was not immediately clear whether this ruling, unlike the first two, would lead to prompt hearings for the detainees, some of whom have been held more than 6 years. Roughly 270 men remain at the island prison, classified as enemy combatants and held on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

We may finally see some progress on this issue. Twice before, the Supreme Court has ruled prisoners at Guantanamo held without charges can go to American civilian courts to ask that the federal government justify their detention. Both times, Congress has changed the law to keep them from doing so. But in both instances, Congress was controlled by Republicans and the White House was occupied by George Bush. With Democrats in control of Congress and two presidential candidates who favor the shuttering of Gitmo, we may finally begin down the path to justice sometime in 2009.

Background on the case is available here. For the recent Mother Jones cover package on detainees and torture, see here. For an inside look at Guantanao, check this out.

Video: Cusack's McCain Baiting

| Wed Jun. 11, 2008 8:12 PM EDT

First, John Cusack made War, Inc., a film satirizing post-9/11 America, about which he bantered with our lovely co-editor here.

Now, Cusack's officially become pundit bait with a MoveOn.org ad in which he equates John McCain with President Bush:

I think it's safe to tally that as another celebrity endorsement for Obama.—Steve Aquino

Music: Is Flying Lotus the New J Dilla?

| Wed Jun. 11, 2008 4:51 PM EDT

mojo-photo-flyinglotusla.jpgOkay, for those of you not attuned to underground instrumental hip-hop, perhaps that headline didn't make much sense. Quick background: J Dilla was a groundbreaking producer, real name James Dewitt Yancey, who worked with artists from Common and the Pharcyde to Kanye West and Busta Rhymes. He suffered from lupus, dying in February, 2006, at the heartbreakingly young age of 32. I've already blathered endlessly about his genius and the brilliance of his final album, Donuts, a mostly-instrumental work of re-imagined soul and melancholy notes. Dilla's wonky, spacey style has definitely been influential, but yet it always felt like there were few (if any) hip-hop producers in his realm, creating a sound that's definitely experimental, but still warm, organic, and full, with an off-kilter, syrupy feel to the rhythm.

Flying Lotus' origins in Winnetka, California, couldn't be more removed from J Dilla's Detroit upbringing, but the 24-year-old producer (aka Steve Ellison) may have established himself as the heir to Yancey with his new album, Los Angeles. Sure, there are the basic similarities: this is crunchy, organic-sounding instrumental hip-hop, with an unashamed love of drums: tracks like "Melt" focus almost entirely on exotic-sounding percussion, similarly to the brief tom-tom-driven "People" from Dilla's Donuts. But Flying Lotus is no copycat. On last year's Reset EP, he struck out on a slightly darker, more electronic direction, with mechanical, buzzing tones accompanying quirky samples, and that trend is in evidence on Los Angeles as well: "Riot" features a vibrato electronic bass line, and interludes like the 45-second "Orbit 405" are a cacophony of electronic static and bleeps, like a compilation of all cell phones dialing on the eponymous freeway.

After the jump: Who's your famous auntie?

McCain Snubbed by Chuck Berry But Still Loves ABBA

| Wed Jun. 11, 2008 3:58 PM EDT

mojo-photo-mccainabbaberry.jpg

You almost start to feel kind of sorry for GOP candidates out there on the stump. As we've reported here on the Riff before, Republicans tend to have a tough time finding tunes to play at their public events, since the artists, once they find out, tend to make very public rejections and denouncements of said candidates using their songs. Presidential candidate John McCain has himself acknowledged the problem, joking that the campaign has been using Chuck Berry's 1958 classic "Johnny B Goode" only "because it's the only one they haven't complained about us using." Well, scratch another one off your playlist, Johnny, since Mr. Berry has just announced his support for Barack Obama. Duh:

"America has finally come to this point where you can pick a man of colour and that not be a drawback," Berry said. "It's no question, myself being a man of colour. I mean, you have to feel good about it." The anointment of Mr Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate was, he added, "definitely a proud and successful moment for all the people of this country – not just black people, but Americans in general." Berry, known as the "father of rock 'n' roll", recounted: "In the Fifties there were certain places we couldn't ride on the bus, and now there is a possibility of a black man being in White House."

Oh well.

After the jump: If you change your mind, I'm, uh, the first in line?

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Citizens of Lesbos Finally Taking Action Against Name-Stealing Gay Women

| Wed Jun. 11, 2008 3:54 PM EDT

Oh dear.

A group of plaintiffs from the Greek island of Lesbos begins their quest in court today to stop gay women from calling themselves lesbians.

Presumably they will have to sue in every nation in the world (except Iran, of course). More:

"We are very upset that, worldwide, women who like women have appropriated the name of our island," said Dimitris Lambrou, a magazine publisher who is one of those bringing the complaint with other islanders. "Until 1924, according to the Oxford English dictionary, a Lesbian was a native of our isle," he said. "Now, because of its new connotations, our womenfolk are unable to call themselves such and that is wrong."
...Lambrou insists he has "nothing against lesbians" who flock to Eressos — a resort on the island that is famed as the birthplace of the 5th century BC poet Sappho — and whose contribution to the local economy has been considerable.

Via the very excellent AMERICAblog.

New Report Findings on Middle Class Health Insurance

| Wed Jun. 11, 2008 3:06 PM EDT

Universal health care might be something even the staunchest Republicans start to consider after this news:

According to a report released this week by The Commonwealth Fund, 25 million Americans were underinsured in 2007—a 60 percent jump since 2003.

And it's the middle class who's feeling the pain, again.

What does being underinsured get you?

What If the Stimulus Bankrupts the Government?

| Wed Jun. 11, 2008 2:52 PM EDT

Dear IRS,

I am writing to ask whether I may return my 2007 stimulus payment of $89.43. I read today that this payment has contributed to a record-breaking federal budget deficit for the month of May—a whopping $166 billion—and feel that it is my patriotic duty to return my windfall to keep the bankers in Dubai from foreclosing on major American landmarks. I can survive without it, and certainly wouldn't feel good about spending the extra money knowing that my kids will still be paying interest on it well into their old age. Besides, eighty bucks won't do much for this rotten economy so you might as well keep it where it could do some good. Maybe you can use it to catch some tax cheats.

Thanks.

McCain on Whether Cheney Could Serve in His Administration: "Hell, Yeah"

| Wed Jun. 11, 2008 11:41 AM EDT

john-mccain-dick-cheney-250x200.jpg John McCain has been on both sides of a lot of issues. He hated social conservatives leaders; then he embraced them. He opposed the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy; now he supports them. He said Roe v. Wade shouldn't be overturned; now he says it should.

So it's not surprising that McCain has had a diversity of views about Dick Cheney. In early 2007, when he was gearing up his presidential run, McCain was critical of Cheney, saying, "The president listened too much to the Vice President... Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the Vice President and, most of all, the Secretary of Defense."

But in 2004, when McCain was campaigning for the Bush-Cheney ticket, McCain said Cheney is "one of the most capable, experienced, intelligent and steady vice presidents this country has ever had."

And most disturbingly, McCain told a Cheney biographer in 2006 that he would want Cheney serving in his administration, should he be elected president:

"I will strongly assert to you that he has been of enormous help to this president of the United States... I don't know if I would want him as vice president. He and I have the same strengths. But to serve in other capacities? Hell, yeah."

If the Democrats are smart, this will be in every advertisement from now until November. (H/T TP)