Saturday, August 30, 2008

Barack Obama's Speech (Video and Text)

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest - a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia - I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story - of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart - that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That's why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women - students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments - a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land - enough! This moment - this election - is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives - on health care and education and the economy - Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors - the man who wrote his economic plan - was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.

Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President - when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job - an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great - a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes - cut taxes - for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy - wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American - if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime - by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less - because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility - that's the essence of America's promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice - but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans - have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose - our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what - it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it - because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit - that American promise - that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours - a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead - people of every creed and color, from every walk of life - is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise - that American promise - and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Click here to donate to Barack Obama

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barry Scott Turns Nightmare into Crusade

Here is a press release from Mr. Scott:

I am creating the Fund Against Police Brutality...starting with t-shirts and then a series of concert events. The object is to help people injured by the police who become criminals themselves, like many of the cops in Provincetown, Massachusetts--who lied on official reports and repeatedly in a court of law.

Many have watched the trial or seen the web page set up by friends and supporters:

The page has received over 50,000 visits since the trial! That's a lot of views and a lot of eyes opened to this injustice. I have spoken to many people about the case, including ABC's 20/20.

We are still waiting to hear from Brian Merrick (I have a difficult time putting 'judge' near his name after his disgusting behavior during the trial) about our second request to poll the jurors after two e-mails sent to me talked about the trial, how juror #7 felt I wasn't guilty and had spoken to the alternate juror before the trial, which is illegal.

Merrick should do the right thing and allow us to talk with the jurors involved. It's the law... but, it appears the fix was in before this trial started, by all accounts from D.A. Michael O'Keefe, so I don't believe he will. He'll do what the Provincetown Police, EMT's that came forward three days before trial and Ed Foley did: Continue the corruption and lies. I will hold my head up high that I tried to do the right thing for those that will follow and be beaten after Bryan and me...and there certainly will be more in Provincetown and across the state as they got away with it, so far, once again.

I am planning a series of fundraisers with various recording artists to raise money for future victims of police brutality who need to hold them accountable for their 'blue shield' lies. It is a positive way for me to get some energy from this injustice out.

I also have new t-shirts with the simple words: "The Police Lied."--which will be worn proudly and are now for sale to benefit the new organization at the link:

The brutality of Bryan and me last July 14th will not go unpunished. My conviction and $690 in charges will not go unnoticed after over $45,000 and 14 months in the judicial process. I fought with all my heart to hold the community responsible.

Anyone who would like to contribute and hold police accountable for their criminal actions can buy a t-shirt today or donate via the web site!

It's the Fund Against Police Brutality:

Disclaimer: Note: The F.A.P.B. does not believe that all police officers engage in lies, brutality and criminal behavior. Many risk their lives and honor their badge each and every day. Others, such as The Provincetown, Massachusetts Police Department, have injured people in their custody, lied on official police reports and under oath in a court of law. This makes them no better than a thief, rapist or drug dealer. They are criminals themselves. This fund will protect people from police officers who dishonor their badge!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Patrick-Murray Administration Statement on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Report

Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007

BOSTON – Tuesday, August 26, 2008 – The following is a statement from Joe Landolfi, spokesman for Governor Deval Patrick, on a report issued today by the U.S. Census Bureau showing significant progress in health reform in Massachusetts:

“Today’s report is another indication of the tremendous success of health care reform. Survey after survey continues to demonstrate that more Massachusetts residents are enrolling in health insurance plans, giving them access to primary and preventative care and avoiding more costly treatment down the road. While each survey has its own unique methods and challenges, we are particularly encouraged to see that the U.S. Census Bureau has found that Massachusetts now has the lowest rate of uninsured residents in the nation. Working together with our partners in health reform, we will continue towards our goal of ensuring that all Massachusetts residents have quality, affordable health insurance.”

To read the full report, go to

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Michelle Obama's Speech (Video and Text)

As you might imagine, for Barack, running for President is nothing compared to that first game of basketball with my brother Craig.

I can't tell you how much it means to have Craig and my mom here tonight. Like Craig, I can feel my dad looking down on us, just as I've felt his presence in every grace-filled moment of my life.

At six-foot-six, I've often felt like Craig was looking down on me too literally. But the truth is, both when we were kids and today, he wasn't looking down on me — he was watching over me.

And he's been there for me every step of the way since that clear February day 19 months ago, when — with little more than our faith in each other and a hunger for change — we joined my husband, Barack Obama, on the improbable journey that's brought us to this moment.

But each of us also comes here tonight by way of our own improbable journey.

I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend.

I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.

I come here as a Mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world — they're the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night. Their future — and all our children's future — is my stake in this election.

And I come here as a daughter — raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue collar city worker, and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother's love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.

My Dad was our rock. Although he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in his early thirties, he was our provider, our champion, our hero. As he got sicker, it got harder for him to walk, it took him longer to get dressed in the morning. But if he was in pain, he never let on. He never stopped smiling and laughing — even while struggling to button his shirt, even while using two canes to get himself across the room to give my Mom a kiss. He just woke up a little earlier, and worked a little harder.

He and my mom poured everything they had into me and Craig. It was the greatest gift a child can receive: never doubting for a single minute that you're loved, and cherished, and have a place in this world. And thanks to their faith and hard work, we both were able to go on to college. So I know firsthand from their lives — and mine — that the American Dream endures.

And you know, what struck me when I first met Barack was that even though he had this funny name, even though he'd grown up all the way across the continent in Hawaii, his family was so much like mine. He was raised by grandparents who were working class folks just like my parents, and by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills just like we did. Like my family, they scrimped and saved so that he could have opportunities they never had themselves. And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

And as our friendship grew, and I learned more about Barack, he introduced me to the work he'd done when he first moved to Chicago after college. Instead of heading to Wall Street, Barack had gone to work in neighborhoods devastated when steel plants shut down, and jobs dried up. And he'd been invited back to speak to people from those neighborhoods about how to rebuild their community.

The people gathered together that day were ordinary folks doing the best they could to build a good life. They were parents living paycheck to paycheck; grandparents trying to get by on a fixed income; men frustrated that they couldn't support their families after their jobs disappeared. Those folks weren't asking for a handout or a shortcut. They were ready to work — they wanted to contribute. They believed — like you and I believe — that America should be a place where you can make it if you try.

Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about "The world as it is" and "The world as it should be." And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is — even when it doesn't reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves — to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn't that the great American story?

It's the story of men and women gathered in churches and union halls, in town squares and high school gyms — people who stood up and marched and risked everything they had — refusing to settle, determined to mold our future into the shape of our ideals.

It is because of their will and determination that this week, we celebrate two anniversaries: the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, and the 45th anniversary of that hot summer day when Dr. King lifted our sights and our hearts with his dream for our nation.

I stand here today at the crosscurrents of that history — knowing that my piece of the American Dream is a blessing hard won by those who came before me. All of them driven by the same conviction that drove my dad to get up an hour early each day to painstakingly dress himself for work. The same conviction that drives the men and women I've met all across this country:

People who work the day shift, kiss their kids goodnight, and head out for the night shift — without disappointment, without regret — that goodnight kiss a reminder of everything they're working for.

The military families who say grace each night with an empty seat at the table. The servicemen and women who love this country so much, they leave those they love most to defend it.

The young people across America serving our communities — teaching children, cleaning up neighborhoods, caring for the least among us each and every day.

People like Hillary Clinton, who put those 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, so that our daughters — and sons — can dream a little bigger and aim a little higher.

People like Joe Biden, who's never forgotten where he came from, and never stopped fighting for folks who work long hours and face long odds and need someone on their side again.

All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do — that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.

That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack's journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope.

That is why I love this country.

And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us — no matter what our age or background or walk of life — each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation.

It's a belief Barack shares — a belief at the heart of his life's work.

It's what he did all those years ago, on the streets of Chicago, setting up job training to get people back to work and afterschool programs to keep kids safe — working block by block to help people lift up their families.

It's what he did in the Illinois Senate, moving people from welfare to jobs, passing tax cuts for hard working families, and making sure women get equal pay for equal work.

It's what he's done in the United States Senate, fighting to ensure the men and women who serve this country are welcomed home not just with medals and parades, but with good jobs and benefits and health care — including mental health care.

That's why he's running — to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American, and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That's what Barack Obama will do as President of the United States of America.

He'll achieve these goals the same way he always has — by bringing us together and reminding us how much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn't care where you're from, or what your background is, or what party — if any — you belong to. That's not how he sees the world. He knows that thread that connects us — our belief in America's promise, our commitment to our children's future — is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree.

It was strong enough to bring hope to those neighborhoods in Chicago.

It was strong enough to bring hope to the mother he met worried about her child in Iraq; hope to the man who's unemployed, but can't afford gas to find a job; hope to the student working nights to pay for her sister's health care, sleeping just a few hours a day.

And it was strong enough to bring hope to people who came out on a cold Iowa night and became the first voices in this chorus for change that's been echoed by millions of Americans from every corner of this nation.

Millions of Americans who know that Barack understands their dreams; that Barack will fight for people like them; and that Barack will finally bring the change we need.

And in the end, after all that's happened these past 19 months, the Barack Obama I know today is the same man I fell in love with 19 years ago. He's the same man who drove me and our new baby daughter home from the hospital ten years ago this summer, inching along at a snail's pace, peering anxiously at us in the rearview mirror, feeling the whole weight of her future in his hands, determined to give her everything he'd struggled so hard for himself, determined to give her what he never had: the affirming embrace of a father's love.

And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they'll have families of their own. And one day, they — and your sons and daughters — will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They'll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country — where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House — we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.

So tonight, in honor of my father's memory and my daughters' future — out of gratitude to those whose triumphs we mark this week, and those whose everyday sacrifices have brought us to this moment — let us devote ourselves to finishing their work; let us work together to fulfill their hopes; and let us stand together to elect Barack Obama President of the United States of America.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Exxon" John McCain

Yesterday, John McCain staged a photo-op on an oil rig partially owned by ExxonMobil to promote his Big-Oil-First energy plan.

This rig was a perfect metaphor for his plan, since it took 10 years to produce a single drop of oil.

That's the same 10-year lag that non-partisan energy experts and scientists say it may take before McCain's "Drill here! Now!" energy plan produces any new oil.

So why does McCain want an energy plan that puts Exxon first?

How about two million bucks in campaign contributions from Big Oil?

Check out the "Exxon John" video our team made to expose John McCain for being in the pocket of Big Oil:

For nearly 30 years, Exxon John has stood with Big Oil and voted against alternative energy.

Just months ago, John McCain was the only Senator who skipped a vote on an energy bill to channel $13 billion in tax breaks for Big Oil into alternative energy development. The bill came out one vote short -- but Exxon John's friends in Big Oil came out one vote ahead.

John McCain is still playing energy politics the way they've been played for decades in Washington. Well-connected lobbyists and special interests get everything they could want while hardworking families get left behind.

Let's make sure the public knows John McCain really puts Big Oil first. Pass the Exxon John video on to your family and friends today:

Was Jesus Gay? Video Monologue

Joe Biden's Video Message to Voters

See what the Vice-Presidential hopeful has to say:

Is Paul God?

Much debate has raged over whether Christ had given us direction against being homosexual. When supporters of GLBT rights and their allies try to point out that Christ was not quoted anywhere in the Gospel to have said anything negative about homosexuality it almost always comes up that Paul was divinely inspired when he wrote 1 Corinthians:

I Corinthians 6:9:
The passage: In his first epistle to the church at Corinth, Paul lists many activities that will prevent people from inheriting the Kingdom of God (heaven). Robertson's Word Studies refers to this passage as: "a solemn roll call of the damned even if some of their names are on the church roll in Corinth whether officers or ordinary members." 1

The King James Version of the Bible translates verse 9 and 10 as:

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

This verse has been translated in many ways among the 25 English versions of the Bible that we have analyzed. The two activities of interest here have been variously translated as:

effeminate. In the English language, this covers a wide range of male behavior such as being unmanly, lacking virility. One might think of the characters "John," the receptionist on NYPD Blue, or "Jack" on Will and Grace.
homosexuals, variously described as: "men who practice homosexuality," (ESV);
"those who participate in homosexuality," (Amplified);
"abusers of themselves with men," (KJV);
"practicing homosexuals," (NAB);
"homosexuals," (NASB, CSB, NKJ, The Great Book: The New Testament in Plain English);
"homosexual perversion," (NEB);
"homosexual offenders," (NIV);
"liers with mankind," (Rhiems); and
"homosexual perverts." (TEV)

Although "homosexual" is a very common translation, it is almost certain to be inaccurate: If Paul wanted to refer to homosexual behavior, he would have used the word "paiderasste." That was the standard Greek term at the time for sexual behavior between males.
The second term is "arsenokoitai" in Greek. The exact meaning of this word is lost. It seems to have been a term created by Paul for this verse. "Arsen" means "man" in Greek. So there is no way that "arsenokoitai" could refer to both male and female homosexuals. It seems that the translators gave in to the temptation to widen Paul's condemnation to include lesbians as well as gay males.

Unfortunately, the term "homosexual" is commonly defined in two different ways: as a behavior (engaging in same-sex activity) or as a sexual orientation (being sexually attracted only to members of the same sex). Most of the biblical translations appear to refer to behavior rather than orientation.

male prostitutes, also described as "men kept for unnatural purposes." It is not clear whether the term "male prostitutes" (NIV, NRSV, CSB) is restricted to homosexuals or may also include men who are heterosexual prostitutes.
catamites, also described as "boy prostitute." This is a young male who is kept as a sexual partner of an adult male. (Jerusalem Bible, NAB, James Moffatt)
pederasts: male adults who sexually abuse boys; an abusive pedophile (an adult who molests young children) or abusive hebephile (an adult who molests post-pubertal teenagers).
perverts: a person engaged in some undefined activity that is one of the dozens of sexual perversions. (Phillips, The Great Book: The New Testament in Plain English)
sodomites: a name derived from the city of Sodom which is described in Genesis 19. (NRSV, NKJ). The men of the city are described as wanting to rape male visitors; many Christians interpret this as a blanket condemnation of all homosexual behavior.


"to explain it more clearly, we'll quote a friend who is studying to be a minister:

1) Paul is not God.

2) When Paul is citing this list of sins he is doing it to make the point that the Church in Corinth is free of these sins, which were listed in the Torah, because of their faith in Jesus. Paul's letter to the Romans spells out in excruciating detail how the law no longer applies to Christians because they have died to sin and been risen in Jesus. In other words, these categories were good enough for our Hebrew forebears as they went, but as Jesus says to the tricky scribes, Moses gave those laws (specifically speaking of divorce) because the people's hearts were hard. Jesus clearly demands a higher mode of ethical conduct; in repeated instruction and parables he contrasts what people were taught with what he says. Therefore, Paul's personal feelings about what kind of people will inherit the kingdom of God, taken as a blanket condemnation of certain behaviors, is not only contrary to Paul's own teachings on the matter of justification, but deeply opposed to the spirit and teaching of Christ.

3) What Paul is giving a list of, in both verses that you cite, are examples of depraved conduct, as he sees it. His point is that when people turn their backs on God, they are prone to act in all kinds of sick ways; his point is not to list things that Christians should mark in their notebooks as being the "newly revised Levitical code". Paul is saying, "You guys used to do all kinds of crazy shit, but now that you have Jesus, you've got your act together." I would say that there is a big difference between lustful, furtive couplings and a committed, healthy relationship. The notion of a committed, healthy homosexual relationship was utterly foreign to early Jews and Christians, as was the notion of abolition, racial intermarriage, antiseptics, and all sorts of other things that we take for granted today.

4) Jesus never mentions homosexuality in the Gospels, not once. If it was so important that we had to clamp down on it anywhere and everywhere it rears its terrible head, don't you think he would have at least, you know, brought it up? There is on the other hand, a specific condemnation of divorce in the Gospels, spoken by Jesus, and yet I don't hear Focus on the Family saying anything about divorce."

Let's put Christianity into more simple terms, which is the root of the religion anyway:

What is the Greatest Commandment?
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37,38)

What is the second Greatest Commandment?
"Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:39)

What is the Golden Rule?
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matthew 7:12)

If you are unsure of the appropriateness of the way you act towards someone remember that God dwells within our hearts, and ask yourself if you would like being treated the same way. Our moral compass is within us to help guide us when we lose focus of these simple yet important words of guidance. Concentrate on enjoying the gift of life and passing that joy onto those around you. Be as you would have others be to you. You should only ask from your neighbor what you are willing to give in return.

How much do you know about religion? Care to take a test?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama Picks Joe Biden

At 4:52AM the word was out to all the world; Senator Barack Obama has chosen Senator Joe Biden as his running mate. Let's take a moment to review who this is and what strengths Biden brings to the campaign.

"I've been to Afghanistan, I've been to Iraq seven times, I've been in the Balkans, I've been in these foxholes with these kids, literally in bunkers with them. Let me tell you something, nobody asked anybody else whether they're gay in those foxholes. Our allies -- the British, the French, all our major allies -- gays openly serve. I don't know the last time an American soldier said to a backup from a Brit, 'Hey, by the way, let me check. Are you gay? Are you straight?' This is ridiculous."
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Q: In November 2003, you were asked, "Do you believe gay marriage is inevitable?" And you responded, "I'm not sure. I think probably it is."
A: Well, I think it probably is because social mores change. But I don't think the government can dictate the definition of marriage to religious institutions. But government does have an obligation to guarantee that every individual is free of discrimination. And there's a distinction. I think government should not be able to dictate to religions the definition of marriage, but on a civil side, government has the obligation to strip away every vestige of discrimination as to what individuals are able to do in terms of their personal conduct.

So New Hampshire coming out in favor of civil unions is OK by you?

A: Yes. Yes, it is.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 "Meet the Candidates" series Apr 29, 2007

Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.

Voted YES on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes.

Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation.

Biden scores 78% by the HRC on gay rights
(Barack Obama scores 89%) interprets the 2005-2006 HRC scores as follows:

0% - 20%: opposes gay rights (approx. 207 members)
20% - 70%: mixed record on gay rights (approx. 84 members)
70%-100%: supports gay rights (approx. 177 members)

Here are the details on Senator Biden from

Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph R. Biden, Sr. and Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Finnegan.[2][3] He was the first of four siblings[3] and is of Irish Catholic heritage. He has two brothers, James Brian Biden and Francis W. Biden, and a sister, Valerie (Biden) Owens.[4] The Biden family moved to Claymont, Delaware when Biden was 10 years old,[3] and he grew up in suburban New Castle County, Delaware, where his father was a car salesman. In 1961, Biden graduated from Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware[3] and, in 1965, from the University of Delaware in Newark,[5] where he double majored in history and political science.[3] He then attended Syracuse University College of Law, graduated in 1968, and was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1969.[5][6]

In 1966, while in law school, Biden married Neilia Hunter. They had three children, Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, Robert Hunter, and Naomi. His wife and infant daughter died in a car accident shortly after he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972. His two young sons, Beau and Hunter, were seriously injured in the accident, but both eventually made full recoveries. Biden was sworn into office from their bedside. Persuaded not to resign in order to care for them, Biden began the practice of commuting an hour and a half each day on the train from his home in the Wilmington suburbs to Washington, DC, which he continues to do.

In 1977, Biden married Jill Tracy Jacobs. They have one daughter, Ashley, and are members of the Roman Catholic Church. In February 1988, Biden was hospitalized for two brain aneurysms which kept him from the Senate for seven months.

Biden's elder son, Beau, was a partner in the Wilmington law firm of Bifferato, Gentilotti, Biden & Balick, LLC and was elected Attorney General of Delaware in 2006. He is a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard, where he serves in the Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps. He is set to be deployed to Iraq in October, 2008.[7] Biden's younger son, Hunter, works as a lawyer in Washington, DC, serves on the board of directors of Amtrak, and previously worked in the Commerce Department.

Since 1991, Biden has also served as an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law, where he teaches a seminar on constitutional law.

United States Senator
In 1969, Biden began practicing law in Wilmington, Delaware, and was soon elected to the New Castle County, County Council, where he served from 1970 to 1972.[5]

The 1972 U.S. Senate election presented Biden with a unique opportunity. Popular Republican incumbent Senator J. Caleb Boggs was considering retirement, which would likely have left U.S. Representative Pete du Pont and Wilmington Mayor Harry G. Haskell, Jr. in a divisive primary fight. To avoid that, U.S. President Richard M. Nixon was invited to a meeting to convince Boggs to run again with full Republican support. Boggs ran, but Biden eventually won.[8]

Biden took office on January 3, 1973, at age 30, becoming the fifth-youngest U.S. Senator in United States history. At age 30, Biden was at the minimum age to become a U.S. Senator. He has since won additional terms easily, defeating James H. Baxter, Jr. in 1978, John M. Burris in 1984, M. Jane Brady in 1990, and Raymond J. Clatworthy in 1996 and 2002, usually with about 60% of the vote. He is now the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Delaware history. He was running for re-election as senator in 2008.

In 1974 freshman Senator Biden was named one of the 200 Faces for the Future by TIME magazine.[9]

110th Congress
Biden serves on the following committees in the 110th U.S. Congress[10]

Committee on Foreign Relations (Chairman)
As Chairman of the full committee Biden is an ex officio member of each subcommittee.
Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on Antitrust Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, (Chairman)
Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law
Subcommittee on Immigration Border Security and Citizenship
Subcommittee on Technology Terrorism and Homeland Security
Caucus on International Narcotics Control (Co-Chairman)
For a comprehensive accounting of Biden's voting record see Project Vote Smart[11] and other material noted in the Reference section.

Judiciary Committee

Biden on Meet the PressBiden is a long-time member of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, which he chaired from 1987 until 1995 and served as ranking minority member from 1981 until 1987 and again from 1995 until 1997. In this capacity, he dealt with issues related to drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties. While chairman, Biden presided over two of the most contentious U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings: Robert Bork in 1987 and Clarence Thomas in 1991.[12]

Biden has been involved in crafting many federal crime laws over the last decade, including the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the Biden Crime Law. He also authored the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), which contains a broad array of measures to combat domestic violence and provides billions of dollars in federal funds to address gender-based crimes. In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the section of VAWA allowing a federal civil remedy for victims of gender-motivated violence exceeded Congress' authority and therefore was unconstitutional.[13] Congress reauthorized VAWA in 2000 and 2005.[14][15] In March 2004, Biden enlisted major American technology companies in diagnosing the problems of the Austin, Texas-based National Domestic Violence Hotline, and to donate equipment and expertise to it.[16][12]

As chairman of the International Narcotics Control Caucus, Biden wrote the laws that created the nation's "Drug Czar," who oversees and coordinates national drug control policy. In April 2003 he introduced the controversial Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act, also known as the RAVE Act. He continues to work to stop the spread of "date rape drugs" such as Rohypnol, and drugs such as Ecstasy and Ketamine. In 2004 he worked to pass a bill outlawing steroids like androstenedione, the drug used by many baseball players.[12]

Biden's legislation to promote college aid and loan programs allows families to deduct on their annual income tax returns up to $10,000 per year in higher education expenses. His "Kids 2000" legislation established a public/private partnership to provide computer centers, teachers, Internet access, and technical training to young people, particularly to low-income and at-risk youth.[17]

Foreign Relations Committee

Biden gives his opening statement and questions to U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and General David H. Petraeus at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Iraq; September 11, 2007Biden is also a long-time member and current chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. In 1997, he became the ranking minority member and chaired the committee from June 2001 through 2003. When Democrats re-took control of the Senate following the 2006 elections, Biden again assumed the top spot on the committee in 2007. His efforts to combat hostilities in the Balkans in the 1990s brought national attention and influenced presidential policy: traveling repeatedly to the region, he made one meeting famous by calling Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic a "war criminal." He consistently argued for lifting the arms embargo, training Bosnian Muslims, investigating war crimes and administering NATO air strikes. Biden's subsequent "lift and strike" resolution was instrumental in convincing President Bill Clinton to use military force in the face of systematic human rights violations.[18] Biden has also called on Libya to release political prisoner Fathi Eljahmi.[19]

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Biden was supportive of the Bush administration's efforts, calling for additional ground troops in Afghanistan and agreeing that Saddam Hussein was a threat that needed to be dealt with. The Bush administration rejected an effort Biden undertook with Senator Richard Lugar to pass a resolution authorizing military action only after the exhaustion of diplomatic efforts. In October 2002, Biden voted for the final resolution to support the war in Iraq. He has long supported the appropriations to pay for the occupation, but has argued repeatedly that more soldiers are needed, the war should be internationalized, and the Bush administration should "level with the American people" about the cost and length of the conflict.[20]

In November 2006, Biden and Leslie Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, released a comprehensive strategy to end sectarian violence in Iraq. Rather than continuing the present approach or withdrawing, the plan calls for "a third way": federalizing Iraq and giving Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis "breathing room" in their own regions.[21]

Presidential campaigns
Biden has twice run for the Democratic nomination for President, first in 1988, and again in 2008. Both times he was unsuccessful.

In 2003, Biden considered joining the Democratic field of candidates for the 2004 presidential race but decided otherwise, saying he did not have enough time to cultivate a sufficient fundraising base. Some thought Biden a possible running mate for presidential candidate John Kerry, but Biden urged Kerry to select Republican Senator John McCain instead.[22] Biden also had been widely discussed as a possible U.S. Secretary of State in a Democratic administration.[23]

Main article: Joe Biden presidential campaign, 1988
In 1987, Joe Biden ran as a Democratic presidential candidate, formally declaring his candidacy at the Wilmington train station on June 9, 1987. In his speech, he challenged Americans to step beyond the materialism of the Reagan years. When the campaign began, Biden was considered a potentially strong candidate because of his moderate image, his supposed appeal to Baby Boomers, his fundraising appeal[24] (Biden's $1.7 million raised in the first quarter of 1987 was more than any other candidate, including the then front-runner, Gary Hart), his high profile position as chair of the Senate Judiciary committee during the Robert Bork confirmation hearings, and, perhaps above all, his soaring oratory. Biden often seemed to try to inspire the same hope and idealism associated with 1960s liberals such as Robert Kennedy, especially as related to civil rights. He received considerable attention in the summer of 1986 when he excoriated Secretary of State George Shultz at a Senate Hearing because of the Reagan administration's support of South Africa, which continued to support a system of Apartheid. By August 1987, however, Biden's campaign had already begun to lag behind those of Michael Dukakis and Richard Gephardt.[24]

Then in September 1987, the campaign ran into serious trouble when he was accused of plagiarizing a speech by Neil Kinnock, then-leader of the British Labour Party.[25] Though Biden had correctly credited the original author in all speeches but one, the one where he failed to make mention of the originator was caught on video.[26] Within days, it was also discovered that, while a first year law student at Syracuse Law School, Biden had plagiarized a law review article in a class paper he wrote. Though the then-dean of the law school, as well as Biden's former professor, played down the incident of plagiarism, they did find that Biden drew "chunks of heavy legal prose directly from" the article in question. Biden said the act was inadvertent due to his not knowing the proper rules of citation, and Biden was permitted to retake the course after receiving a grade of F, which was subsequently dropped from his record.[27] Biden also released his undergraduate grades, which were unexceptional.[27] Further, when questioned by a New Hampshire resident about his grades in law school Biden had claimed falsely to have graduated in the "top half" of his class, (when he actually graduated 76th in a class of 85) that he had attended on a full scholarship, and had received three degrees.[28] In fact he had received two majors, History and Political Science, and a single B.A., as well as a half scholarship based on financial need.[28]

Faced with these revelations, Biden withdrew from the nomination race on September 23, 1987, saying his candidacy had been overrun by "the exaggerated shadow" of his mistakes.[29] After Biden withdrew from the race it was learned that the Dukakis campaign had secretly made a video showcasing the Biden/Kinnock comparison and distributed it to news outlets. Dukakis fired John Sasso, his campaign manager and long-time Chief of Staff.[30][31]

Joe Biden presidential campaign, 2008

Biden declared his candidacy for president on January 31, 2007, although he had discussed running for months prior.[32] In January 2006, Delaware newspaper columnist Harry F. Themal wrote that Biden "occupies the sensible center of the Democratic Party."[33] Themal concludes that this is the position Biden desires, and that in a campaign "he plans to stress the dangers to the security of the average American, not just from the terrorist threat, but from the lack of health assistance, crime, and energy dependence on unstable parts of the world."[33] He goes on to quote Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen as saying that Biden's candidacy might be endangered by his "manic-obsessive running of the mouth."[33] This foreshadowed Biden's January 31 remark on fellow Democratic candidate and Senator Barack Obama, frequently transcribed as, "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that's a storybook, man."[34] However, several linguists and political analysts stated that the correct transcription includes a comma after the word "African-American", which "would significantly change the meaning (and the degree of offensiveness) of Biden's comment".[35] Still, his comments took second place on Time magazine's list of Top 10 Campaign Gaffes for 2007.[36]

It had been speculated that Biden would accept the position of Secretary of State because of his foreign policy experience and credentials.[37] However, Biden has rejected the notion outright, saying "Under no administration will I accept the job of Secretary of State" and claimed to be focused only on the presidency. At a 2007 campaign event, Biden said, "I know a lot of my opponents out there say I'd be a great Secretary of State. Seriously, every one of them. Do you watch any of the debates? 'Joe's right, Joe's right, Joe's right.'"[38] Other candidates commenting that "Joe is right" in the Democratic debates was converted into a Biden campaign theme and ad.[39]

Biden was noted for his one-liners on the campaign trail, saying of then-Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani at the October 30, 2007, debate in Philadelphia, "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, and a verb and 9/11."[40]

On January 3, 2008, during the Iowa caucuses, Biden announced that he would be dropping out of the presidential race when over half of the precincts were tallied in which he only captured 1% of Iowa's delegates behind Barack Obama, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Richardson. He was running instead for a seventh Senate term when, in late August, he was picked by Obama to be his running mate.

Biden's Georgia visit raises speculation about VP nodIn a June 22, 2008, interview on NBC's Meet the Press, Biden confirmed that he would accept the vice presidential nomination if offered.[41] The Associated Press reported on August 22, 2008 that Biden had been chosen by Barack Obama to be his running mate, citing anonymous Democratic Party sources. The choice was confirmed via text message and Obama's official campaign website.[42] The New York Times reported that the strategy behind the choice reflected a desire to fill out the ticket with someone who has foreign policy and national security experience—and not to help the ticket win a swing state or to emphasize Obama's change message.[43] Polling in the days leading up to the announcement indicated Biden's presence on the ticket was unlikely to affect whether voters would support Obama.[44] Biden is up for re-election to the Senate this year and would presumably run in both races. If he won both, he could resign from the Senate and Delaware's Democratic governor, Ruth Ann Minner, would appoint someone else to serve the first two years of his term, possibly his son, Beau Biden.[45]

Political positions
Biden is considered moderate liberal, with a 77.5 percent liberal voting record in 2006 and lifetime score of 76.8 percent, according to a Washington Post analysis.[46]

Public Offices
Office Type Location Elected Term began Term ends notes
County Council Legislature Wilmington 1970 January 4, 1971 January 3, 1973 4th District
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 1972 January 3, 1973 January 3, 1979
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 1978 January 3, 1979 January 3, 1985
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 1984 January 3, 1985 January 3, 1991
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 1990 January 3, 1991 January 3, 1997
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 1996 January 3, 1997 January 3, 2003
U.S. Senator Legislature Washington 2002 January 3, 2003 January 3, 2009

United States Congressional Service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1973–1975 93rd U.S. Senator Democratic Richard M. Nixon
Gerald R. Ford Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1975–1977 94th U.S. Senator Democratic Gerald R. Ford Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1977–1979 95th U.S. Senator Democratic James E. Carter, Jr. Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1979–1981 96th U.S. Senator Democratic James E. Carter, Jr. Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1981–1983 97th U.S. Senator Republican Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1983–1985 98th U.S. Senator Republican Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1985–1987 99th U.S. Senator Republican Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1987–1989 100th U.S. Senator Democratic Ronald W. Reagan Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1989–1991 101st U.S. Senator Democratic George H. W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1991–1993 102nd U.S. Senator Democratic George H. W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1993–1995 103rd U.S. Senator Democratic William J. Clinton Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1995–1997 104th U.S. Senator Republican William J. Clinton Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1997–1999 105th U.S. Senator Republican William J. Clinton Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
1999–2001 106th U.S. Senator Republican William J. Clinton Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2001–2003 107th U.S. Senator Republican
Democratic George W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2003–2005 108th U.S. Senator Republican George W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2005–2007 109th U.S. Senator Republican George W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2
2007–2009 110th U.S. Senator Democratic George W. Bush Judiciary, Foreign Relations class 2

Electoral history
Main article: Electoral history of Joe Biden
Election results
Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1970 County Councilman General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 10,573 55% Lawrence T. Messick Republican 8,192 43%
1972 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 116,006 50% J. Caleb Boggs Republican 112,844 49%
1978 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 93,930 58% James H. Baxter, Jr. Republican 66,479 41%
1984 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 147,831 60% John M. Burris Republican 98,101 40%
1990 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 112,918 63% M. Jane Brady Republican 64,554 36%
1996 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 165,465 60% Raymond J. Clatworthy Republican 105,088 38%
2002 U.S. Senator General Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Democratic 135,253 58% Raymond J. Clatworthy Republican 94,793 41%

Administration’s Missile Defense Program and the ABM Treaty: Hearing Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, December 2004) ISBN 0-7567-1959-3
Examining The Theft Of American Intellectual Property At Home And Abroad: Hearing before the Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, May 2004) ISBN 0-7567-4177-7
Hearings to Examine Threats, Responses, and Regional Considerations Surrounding Iraq: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, November 2003) ISBN 0-7567-2823-1
Strategies for Homeland Defense: A Compilation by the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, September 2003) ISBN 0-7567-2623-9
Putin Administration's Policies toward Non-Russian Regions of the Russian Federation: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, September 2003) ISBN 0-7567-2624-7
Threat of Bioterrorism and the Spread of Infectious Diseases: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, September 2003) ISBN 0-7567-2625-5
How Do We Promote Democratization, Poverty Alleviation, and Human Rights to Build a More Secure Future: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, June 2003) ISBN 0-7567-2478-3
Political Future of Afghanistan: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, January 2003) ISBN 0-7567-3039-2
International Campaign Against Terrorism: Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, January 2003) ISBN 0-7567-3041-4
Halting the Spread of HIV/AIDS: Future Efforts in the U.S. Bilateral & Multilateral Response: Hearings before the Comm. on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate edited by Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, 2002) ISBN 0-7567-3454-1
Hague Convention On International Child Abduction: Applicable Law And Institutional Framework Within Certain Convention Countries Report To The Senate by Jesse Helms, Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Diane Publishing, April 2000) ISBN 0-7567-2250-0
Homeland security law and policy edited by William C. Nicholson with a foreword by Joseph Biden (C. C Thomas, c2005)

1. (2008). Barack Obama campaign site announcing his selection. Retrieved 23 August, 2008.
2. "Ancestry of Joe Biden".
3. a b c d e "Joe Biden Timeline". United States Senate. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
4. "Joe Biden biography". Retrieved on 2008-08-19.
5. a b c "Biden, Joseph Robinette, Jr.". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved on 2008-08-19.
6. Delaware’s Senators [1] See also: Barone, Michael & Richard E. Cohen. The Almanac of American Politics, p. 376.
7. Cooper, Christopher (August 20, 2008). "Biden's Foreign Policy Background Carries Growing Cachet", Wall Street Journal, p. A4. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
8. Cohen, Celia (2002). Only in Delaware, Politics and Politicians in the First State. Newark, DE: Grapevine Publishing, 199.
9. "200 Faces for the Future". TIME (Monday, Jul. 15, 1974). Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
10. "Senator Joe Biden — Senator for Delaware: Committees".
11. "Project Vote Smart - Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. - Voting Record".
12. a b c Barone, Michael & Richard E. Cohen. The Almanac of American Politics, p. 377.
13. United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000). Full text, courtesy of Cornell University.
14. Bash, Dana. Senate votes to allow compensation for terror victims, re-authorizes Violence Against Women Act. CNN. October 11, 2000.
15. Deal Reached on Violence Against Women Act. Fox News. December 16, 2005.
16. "History of the Violence Against Women Act". End Abuse. Retrieved on 2008-08-23. See also: "Making connections to end Domestic Violence". Microsoft. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
17. "Kids 2000 Program". Archived from the original on 2007-12-23. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
18. "Democratic Presidential Candidates". The Iowa Caucus. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
19. "Biden Renews Call for Release of Libyan Political Prisoner". Archived from the original on 2007-12-23.
20. Barone, Michael & Richard E. Cohen. The Almanac of American Politics, p. 378.
21. "Biden: Iraqi Progress on Oil is Important Step, But More Needs to be Done". Biden's senate website. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
22. McCain urged to join Kerry ticket, Reuters MSNBC (May 16, 2004) [2].
23. Times Online [3]
24. a b Toner, Robin (August 31, 1987). "Biden, Once the Field's Hot Democrat, Is Being Overtaken by Cooler Rivals", The New York Times.
25. Dowd, Maureen (September 12, 1987). "Biden's Debate Finale: An Echo From Abroad", The New York Times.
26. In the video Biden is filmed repeating a stump speech by Kinnock, with only minor modifications. “Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go a university? Why is it that my wife ... is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? ... Is it because they didn't work hard? My ancestors who worked in the coal mines of northeast Pennsylvania and would come after 12 hours and play football for four hours? It's because they didn't have a platform on which to stand.”
27. a b Dionne Jr., E. J. (September 18, 1987). "Biden Admits Plagiarism in School But Says It Was Not 'Malevolent'", The New York Times.
28. a b Dionne Jr., E. J. (September 22, 1987). "Biden Admits Errors and Criticizes Latest Report", The New York Times.
29. Dionne Jr., E. J. (September 24, 1987). "Biden Withdraws Bid for President in Wake of Furor", The New York Times.
30. "Offers Briton His Talks `Without Attribution' Biden Meets Kinnock, but He's Not Speechless", Los Angeles Times January 12, 1988.
31. "Joseph Biden's Plagiarism; Michael Dukakis's 'Attack Video' – 1988", The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2008-08-19.
32. "Biden Stumbles at the Starting Gate". Washington Post. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
33. a b c Harry F. Themal (January 23, 2006). "unknown", The News Journal.
34. "Biden Unbound: Lays Into Clinton, Obama, Edwards -".
35. "Language Log: Biden's Comma".
36. Christine Lim and M.J. Stephey. "Top 10 Campaign Gaffes". Time. Retrieved on 2008-08-20.
37. "A Candidate For Secretary Of State". The New York Observer (June 12, 2007). Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
38. "Biden Won't Serve As Secretary of State". FOX News (Thursday, November 29, 2007). Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
39. "Joe is Right". YouTube. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
40. Joelle Farrell. "Concord Monitor - 'A noun, a verb and 9/11'". Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
41. "Biden: I’d say yes to being VP". CNN. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
42. Associated Press (August 23, 2008). "Obama's veep message to supporters", Washington Post. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
43. Nagourney, Adam; Jeff Zeleny (August 23, 2008). "Obama Chooses Biden as Running Mate", New York Times. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
44. Cohen, Jon (August 23, 2008). "New Data: Impact of Biden", Washington Post. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
45. Murray, Shailagh (August 20, 2008). "Biden's Son Off to Iraq", Washington Post. Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
46. Chris Cillizza (March 1, 2007). "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall - Who's the Most Liberal of Them All?". Retrieved on 2007-08-23.

Barone, Michael; Richard E. Cohen (2005). Almanac of American Politics. Washington: National Journal Group. ISBN 0892341122.
Boyer, William W. (2000). Governing Delaware. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0-87413-721-7.
Cohen, Celia (2002). Only in Delaware, Politics and Politicians in the First State. Newark, DE: Grapevine Publishing. ISBN B0006S3PP8.
Peirce, Neil R.; Michael Barone (1977). Mid-Atlantic States of America. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 0393055418.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How Many Houses Does John McCain Own?

John McCain has a lot of houses. How many?

He can't keep track.

Yesterday, when asked by reporters how many homes he owns, McCain responded, "I think -- I'll have my staff get to you."

This is the latest in a string of striking and revealing comments by McCain. Recently he said that from his perspective "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" right now, then he said that millionaires are not rich as long as they're making less than $5 million a year.

Today, the Obama campaign launched a television ad exposing just how out-of-touch McCain is with the realities American families face.

In an economy where millions of Americans are sinking under high mortgages and rising gas prices, we can't afford another president who doesn't get it.

In John McCain's world, the limits on campaign contributions should rise with inflation, but the minimum wage should not. In fact, he believes there shouldn't be any increase at all in the minimum wage.

How can he help the middle class when he doesn't know who they are? And how can he fix the economy if he doesn't know it's broken?

McCain's money may have bought him a lot of houses, but there's one house we can't afford to let McCain add to his list: the White House. Not on our watch.

Please watch the Obama campaign's ad and write a letter to your local papers about how out-of-touch John McCain is with economic realities:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Save the Greyhounds, Vote YES on Question 3

I rise to join the voices of my fellow citizens who are concerned over the ethical treatment of these fine loyal loving animals. You do not have to look far to find examples of how poorly they are treated, spending as much as 23 hours a day confined in a tiny kennel as seen here. Some friends who have blogs also show there concern at Blue Mass Group, Granby01033, LeftinLowell and Ryan's Take. Please take the time to follow the links and read what this is all about.

I'm sure all people want to be informed voters, so I have brought the full text of Question 3 here for your convenience. Any opinions on this matter are welcome, you may add comments to this article below. Feel free to encourage others with your own voice, yet if you do nothing more than vote you will have still made a difference.

Be it enacted by the people and their authority:
Declaration of purpose. The citizens of Massachusetts find that commercial dog racing is cruel and inhumane, and as recommended by the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, GREY2K USA, and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, declare that it should be prohibited in the commonwealth.
Chapter 128A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after Section 14D the following section: -
Section 14E. Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter or any general or special law to the contrary, no dog racing or racing meeting where any form of betting or wagering on the speed or ability of dogs occurs shall be conducted or permitted in this commonwealth and the commission is hereby prohibited from accepting or approving any application or request for racing dates for dog racing.
Any person violating any provision of this section relative to dog racing shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than twenty thousand dollars which shall be payable to the commission and used for administrative purposes of the commission subject to appropriation.
All other provisions of this Chapter shall be construed as if they contain no references to dogs, dog racing or dog races.
Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the effective date of this section shall be January 1, 2010.
The several provisions of this Act are independent and severable and the invalidity, if any, of any part or feature thereof shall not affect or render the remainder of the Act invalid or inoperative.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Brandon McInerney: How the Hate Happened

As most people who follow the news know Brandon McInerney allegedly fatally shot fellow student Lawrence King on February 12, 2008 after finding out King had a Valentine for him.
Weeks before the shooting, the teasing intensified when Larry came to school wearing high-heeled boots, makeup and earrings along with his school uniform of pants and a shirt. Larry told friends he was being teased by fellow students because he was gay. Still, he insisted on being himself.

"He said, I'm proud. I don't care if other people tease me,'"

McInerney's history of family turmoil may have contributed to this violence, however, some individuals suggest that McInerney was stalked or harassed by King. This is a point of opinion that needs to be clarified with facts before anyone should take any value in it. The closest thing I can come up with to support this is a quote from the Ventura County Star:

"But some at the Oxnard junior high school had seen Larry, 15, teased by students in the weeks before the shooting for being gay and wearing high-heeled boots and makeup. Some witnessed confrontations between Larry and Brandon, with Larry teasing Brandon and saying he liked him."

This as well:

"Larry didn't just take it. If kids didn't want to have contact with a gay person, Larry would chase after them."

I have seen these types of confrontations before. GLBT people aren't likely to be the aggressor when they have already been bullied, and the evidence that King was bullied is heavily documented. Remember this saying?:

You can only beat a dog so much, then it will turn and bite you.

In my opinion Larry King did the same thing many of us in the GLBT world did at one point or another in our lives, he stood up for himself. It sounds like he gave a little back to someone who had abused him in the form of public embarrassment by embarrassing McInerney back. Those who wish to nay say over this, bring your proof.

The facts in McInerney's childhood are verifiable and paint a much clearer and more probable cause for the shooting.
"Brandon spent most of his childhood and where his parents had some of their most violent fights, according to divorce and other court records. Brandon was 6 when his parents separated, but problems between Kendra and William McInerney started before Brandon was born. Kendra McInerney, Brandon's mother, claimed a night of partying in 1993 ended in a fight and William shooting her in the elbow, breaking it in several places, according to court records. Still, they married later that year, and Brandon was born in January 1994. In 2000, William pleaded no contest to a domestic battery charge against Kendra. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail and ordered to attend domestic violence classes. Kendra claimed that in September 2000, William choked her "until she was almost unconscious" and dragged her by her hair during a fight about prescription drugs, according to court records. The medicine belonged to one of Brandon's half-brothers. Each parent claimed the other was taking the boy's pills. During the fight, Kendra said, she called out for her older sons to call police and leave the house. She later told officers there had been numerous other incidents between her and William, but she had not reported them, according to court records."-Ventura County Star

As if this was not bad enough it actually gets worse:

"In December 2001, Brandon moved into his father's house full time, after William filed for a restraining order to protect himself and Brandon, saying Kendra had 'back-handed' Brandon more than once and scratched him on the chest, according to court records. An argument also once escalated into a car chase when William went to pick up Brandon after school at the Silver Strand house. He found people 'crashed' in the front room of what he described as a 'drug house.' William claimed in court records that Kendra chased after him and Brandon, veering toward him and nearly forcing him into oncoming traffic. It was about six weeks before Brandon's eighth birthday."-Ventura County Star

Brandon joined the Young Marines — the Marine Corps' equivalent of a JROTC program — several years ago and became a leader in the group, which disbanded last summer.

Otte said he never witnessed Brandon showing a short temper and that he would have been kicked out of the group if he had bullied other kids.

But others said Brandon would use his physical prowess to intimidate others.

Conni Lawrence said her son has known Brandon since the second grade, and over the years she saw him alternately be charming and a bully. "Brandon picked on what was different," she said.

"A lot of people picked on him," said Madison Norton, 12. "Some people would walk up to him, and he'd say something back. It would be random, like at lunch — What's with the makeup' — weird stuff like that."

Hailey Day, 13, said she regularly heard Brandon calling Larry derogatory names the week before the shooting. She would tell him to stop, and Brandon would walk away.

Even more disturbing was Brandon's fascination with guns and Nazis:

Brandon knew all about the Nuremberg trials and all the names of Hitler's deputies. When other kids asked him how he knew so much, he replied casually, "Don't you watch the History Channel?"

Much to the surprise of many in spite of this being a hate crime the GLBT community and other progressive groups have come to the aid of this obviously confused child in an attempt to see him tried as a juvenile rather than an adult.

"That coalition includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Equality California, Gay Straight Alliance Network, Lambda Legal, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Transgender Law Center."

Here is what I think was the catalyst for the violence:

"Brandon's friend Lauren said the rumors about Larry 'hitting on' Brandon were heating up. Kids were joking that Brandon must be gay if Larry was acting that way toward him."

Going forward we should try to extract as much understanding of what went wrong as we can and apply it to the future. We should remember that some people, especially children, are impressionable. Brandon McInerney was not the only one who acted violently, and he was hardly the only peer who was hateful:

In the sixth grade, a girl started a "Burn Book"—an allusion to a book in the movie "Mean Girls," where bullies scribble nasty rumors about the people they hate—about Larry. The Larry book talked about how he was gay and falsely asserted that he dressed in Goth and drag. And it ended with a threat: "I hate Larry King. I wish he was dead," according to one parent's memory of the book. "The principal called my wife on the phone and she was crying," Greg says. "She found the book, and said we needed to do something to help protect Larry." His parents transferred him to another elementary school, hoping he could get a fresh start before he started junior high. -Newsweek

Larry King has left an indelible "impression on the world as a kid who insisted on being himself, even if it meant being ridiculed." As someone who champions people's rights to be themselves I have a deep respect for such bravery, but I also have compassion in my heart for those out there like Brandon McInerney who live troubled lives that lead to violence and self destruction. In this instance there are two victims, not one, and the courts should remember the litigating circumstances around this incident.

The thing I find the school liable for is not intervening in this situation earlier and giving the troubled kids the diversity counseling they needed. Schools should be a "no place for hate" and have zero tolerance for bullying of any kind. Perhaps if children were taught in that type on environment we as a society would come a little closer to the "promised land" Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of.

Let us Live as our heart tells us, Love our neighbors without conditions as they are, and Learn what we can from each other, making the life experience all the richer.