May 4, 2008

Will Rev. Wright Hurt Obama?

A majority of American voters say that the furor over the relationship between Senator Barack Obama and his former pastor, Reverend Wright, has not affected their opinion of Mr. Obama, but a substantial number say that it could influence voters this fall should he be the Democratic presidential nominee, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, reported the New York Times today.

In an interview with Mike Murray of NBC news, Obama commented on the coorelation between himself and the reverend.
"Well, obviously it's distracted us. I mean, we ended up spending a lot of time talking about Reverend Wright instead of talking about gas prices and food prices and the situation in Iraq," Obama said in the interview. "And so it, it's, it wasn't welcome. But, you know, I think that the American people understand that when I joined Trinity United Church of Christ, I was committing not to Pastor Wright, I was committing to a church and I was committing to Christ."

For the New York Times summary of Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright and the contoversy that suurounds him, click here.

To see a transcript of a interview with the reverend from March 2, 2007 click here.

April 18, 2008

Pope Meets With Clergy Sex Abuse Victims

Both the New York Times and the AP reported posted at reported Pope benedict XVI came face to face with victims of clergy sex abuse in a Washington chapel Thursday, and prayed with them. An extraordinary gesture from a pontiff who has made atoning for the great shame of the U.S. church the cornerstone of his first papal trip to America, wrote the AP reporter.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi, a papal spokesman, said that Benedict and Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, who the New York Times reported had given the pope a notebook listing about 1,000 victims, met with a group of five or six clergy sex abuse victims for about 25 minutes, offering them encouragement and hope.

“It was a moving experience,? Cardinal O’Malley told reporters afterward reported the New York Times. “It was very positive and very prayerful.?

"They prayed together. Also, each of them had their own individual time with the Holy Father," Lombardi told the AP. "Some were in tears."

The New York Times reported the reactions of the victims and ther advocates varied, some did not think it was enough while others praised the meeting.

Lombardi said it was believed to be the first-ever such session between a pope and abuse victims, according to the AP report.

The pope has called the clergy sex crisis a cause of "deep shame," and has pledged to keep pedophiles out of the priesthood, decrying the "enormous pain" that communities have suffered from the "gravely imoral behavior" by some priests, reported the AP.

The New York Times article features perspective of victims, who saw the pope and attempted to. To see their stories in the New York Times article click here.

April 13, 2008

Obama acknowledges comments about working class ill-chosen

Barack Obama is on the defensive after he conceded yesterday the comments he made about bitter working-class voters who "cling to guns or religion" were ill-chosen reported bothe the Boston Globe and The New York Times.

Obama Saturday was forced to fight back accusations from his rivals that he had displayed a profound misunderstanding of small-town values, in a flare-up that left him on the defensive before a series of primaries that could test his ability to win over white voters in economically distressed communities, reported the New York Times.

"I didn't say it as well as I should have," both papers quoted Obama as saying at Ball State University. The Boston Globe went on to explain he said he meant that voters in places that had been losing jobs for years expressed their anxiety at the polls by focusing on cultural and social issues like gun laws and immigration.

Both papers touched on Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rivals reaction to his comments. Clinton hit Obama with her most pinted criticism to date said the Boston Globe.

"Senator Obama's remarks were elitist and out of touch," she said, campaigning about an hour away in Indianapolis, reported the Boston Globe. "They are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans." The New York Times also focused on Clintons statement Obama's views did not reflect the value and beliefs of citizens.

Both newspaper's focused on Clinton's reaction. However, The New York Times's article took an angle focusing on Clinton's reaction, while the The Boston Globe put more focus on Obama's campaigns damage control.

There has been a small "political flare-up because I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois, who are bitter," Obama said yesterday morning at a town hall-style meeting at the university reported Th Boston Globe. "They are angry. They feel like they have been left behind. They feel like nobody is paying attention to what they're going through."

The boston Globe when on to report Obama said,"So I said, well you know, when you're bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community. And they get mad about illegal immigrants who are coming over to this country."

April 6, 2008

Charleton Heston dead at 84

Charelton Heston, an epic film star and voice of the National Rifle Association died Saturday night at home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 84. (The New York Times in their original article said he was 83).

The man who was known for his "monumental, jut-jawed" potrayals of Moses, ben-Hur and Michelangelo was diagnosed with nuerological sysmtoms consistent with Alzheimer's disease in 2002, but itis unconfirmed what caused Heston's death.

Heston was a fighter all the way up to his death. "I'm neither giving up or giving in," the New York Times reported he said.

Heston's acting career took off in 1956 when he stared as a Moses to remeber in three and half hours long movie, "The Ten Commandments."

Throughout his life Heston became known as a great actor and starred in many other classics and hits, Including "Touch of Evil," in which he played a Mexican narcotics officer, "Planet of the Apes," in which he played an astornaut marooned on a desolute planet, "the Agony and the Ecstacy," in which he plays Michelangelo, and "Ben-Hur, in which he played the prince of ancient Judea who rebels against the rule of Rome. "Ben-Hur" went on to win the record number of Academy Awards at that time- 11, including best actor for Heston.

Heston was also known as a staunch opponent of guncontrol and effective spokesman for the National Rifle Association, which he was elected president of in 1998. In Mr. Heston, the N.R.A. found its embodiment of pioneer values — pride, independence and valor, the New York Times said.

To see Heston's obituary in the New York Times click here.

March 30, 2008

Tight Democratic Race Could Be Harmful

The Associated Press reported Saturday that the tight Democratic nominee race could have negative results for the party when the nominee is decided and put against John McCain for president.

The article reports the chief worry is Hillary Rodham Clinton may continue to capitalize on her winning streak, leaving her with an unquestioned momentum but fewer pledged delegates than Barack Obabma. This would create a conflict for the Democratic party leaders because they would be forced to make a choice between the canidates and either decision could damage the chosen nominees chances of winning the 2008 election.

The party leaders two choices the AP reported: Steer the nomination to a fading Obama, even as signs suggested Clinton could be the stronger candidate in November; or go with the surging Clinton and risk infuriating Obama's supporters, especially blacks, the Democratic Party's most loyal base.

The article suggested some party leaders question Clinton's motives to continue in the race when Obama's nomination seems all but inevitable and the her continuation could undermine her party.

However, Pat Waak, chairwoman of the Democratic Party, thinks the worriers should relax.

"I actually think it's good for the party to get through this process," she told the AP. "It gives everybody a chance to be part of it," she said, noting that Democratic voter registration is soaring in many states.

To see the whole AP report on click here.

March 16, 2008

Tornado hits Atlanta

A tornado hit directly at the commercial center of Downtown Atlanta Frisay night, causing major damage on the city and many of it's land marks, including the CNN Center, the Georgia Dome and the convention center, reported the New York Times.

The paper reported the tornado blew out dozen's of high-rise buildings, and tossed trees and cars, severely damaging buildings, but no fatalities have been reported as of saturday morning.

However, crews are reported to have been combing through a loft complex in a difficult and dangerous search and rescue effort in the southeastern part of the city and another wave of tornados and thunderstorms struck Saturday afternoon killing 2 people in nothwestern Georgia, state officials said.

The severity of the Atlanta storm surprised forecasters, the paper reported.

The twister brought what was supposed to be a busy Saturday to a near-standstill. The convention was canceled, as was the St. Patrick’s Day parade and the Atlanta Home Show. The Southeastern Conference basketball playoffs were moved from the Georgia Dome to a smaller stadium at Georgia Tech open only to players and their families reported the paper.

March 9, 2008

Girl featured in Clinton ad is not a fan

"It's really sort of ironic that my image would be used to advocate for Hillary when I myself do not," -Casey Knowles, the young girl featured sleeping in a Clinton campaign

Oregon's newstation King5 reported Saturday, the young girl sleeping in Hillary Clinton's "red-phone ad, " which asked voters who they would want to see answering a late night emergency phone call to the white house, is a "fierce supporter" of Clinton's rival.

The ad which helped turn the tide for Clinton leading up to her big win in Ohio features stock footage of Casey Knowles, who will be 18-years-old in April, long before the elections, and hopes to be casting her vote for Barack Obama.

"It's really sort of ironic that my image would be used to advocate for Hillary when I myself do not," said Casey to the news station.

The Knowles' family was watching the John Stewart Show Thursday, in their hometown Booney Lake, Wash. when they first saw the ad and realized it featuring the unwilling star. Although they find the footage amusing and acknowledge they have no control over the images uses they said they were midly annoyed.

Although Casey, is currently under-age it hasn't stopped her from supporting her favorite canidate, attending his rallies and serving as a pecinct captain at the cacauses a few months ago said the station.

"I think it would be really wonderful if me and Barack Obama could get together and make a nice counter ad," she said to the station.

Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe accepted the endorsemnt Saturday afternoon.

"We think that the young actress in that stock footage who's now supporting us has got sound judgment as to who the strongest commander in chief would be," Plouffe said.

The KIng5 website has an and interview with Casey. To see it click here.

March 2, 2008

Clinton Gives Cameo on SNL

Hillary Rodham Clinton gave a cameo peformance over the weekend on "Saturday Night Live," satirically protesting the treatment she has recieved from the news media The New York Times reported.

James Downey, a writer on the show was a bit suprised to see Clinton on the show, the NY Times reported. In Clinton's cameo she agreed with the prior skits Downey had written in which debate moderators gave her a tough grilling whil fawning over other Democratic president hopeful, Barack Obama, they reported.

Previous to her performance, Clinton had cited one of the sketches during a debate in which she complained that she had been recieving harder questions than Obama.

"If anybody saw 'Saturday Night Live,' Clinton said at the the Tuesday debate, "you know, maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow."

The political acknowledgement of the skits and several congratualatory phone calls forced Downey to admit his skits have struck a chord with the issue and have lasting value, despite his and most comedy writers loath to admit that their work does, the NY Times reported.

Although Downey appreciated the 'shout-out' he said the parodies were not intended as a lifeline to Clinton's campaign and he prefers Obama to Clinton, the NY Times reported. However, it was reported he does believe Clinton has faced harsher criticism in the press.

To see the entire article, including more information on Downey's history of political sketches, click here.

February 24, 2008

"Shame on you, Barack Obama"

Hillary Rodham Clinton accused Barack Obama Saturday of sending mass mailings to voters which deliberately misrepresented her position on NAFTA and health care and while campaigning in Ohio said, "Shame on you, Barack Obama.?

The mailings, which were sent out over the last several days, claimed Clinton's plan for universal coverage would force everyone to purchase insurance even if they can't afford it and cited a 2006 Newsday article which suggest Clinton believed the NAFTA had been a 'boon' to the economy.

However, the use of 'boon' was unfairly used by Obama since Newsday was responsible for the word 'boon', not Clinton, according to the paper. "It's an example of the kind of slim reeds campaigns use to try to win an office," Newsday said.

According to the Associated Press, Obama defended the mailings by citing them as accurate. He said it was not a political ploy and despite her current criticism, Clinton supported NAFTA when it passed during her husband's administration.

It was reported Clinton expressed anger over her Democratic rival's campaign behavior, stating she would like to meet him in Ohio to discuss his tactics. The two presidential candidates are scheduled to debate in Cleveland on Tuesday.

In Clinton's criticism of Obama, she said, "Since when do Democrats attack one another on universal health care?"

"Well, when she started to say I was against universal health care... which she does every single day," Obama said in response to Clinton.

Clinton is reported to have consistently attacked Obama's health care plan in the past year by claiming it would leave 15 million Americans uninsured.

February 15, 2008

Gunman kills 5 on College Campus

A former student opened fire inside a Northern Illinois University classroom Thursday afternoon killing five students and himself.

Florida authorities identified the gunman as former graduate student Steven Kazmierczack, 27. Illinois authorities have not yet confirmed the suspects identity.

The skinny gunman dressed in all black stepped out from behind a curtain minutes before a introductory geology class ended. Kazmierczack loaded with two handguns and a shotgun shot about 20 times before turning the gun on himself autorities and witnesses told The Boston Globe.

CBS reported that John G. Peters, the univeristy's president said in a press conference 22 people were shot. Four of the six died at the scene and two others died later at an area hospitals. All of the gunmans victims were students reported CBS Chicago.

Two of the victims were identified by the Dekalb County Coroner's office as Ryanne Mace, 19, of Carpentersville, Jullian Gehant, 32, of downstate Meridian. Joseph Peterson, the graduate student instructing the class was shot but CBS reported he is not in serious condition.

The course was a introductory in which 162 students, mostly freshman and sophmores were enrolled in, said Jonathon Berg, chairman of the department of geology. Katie Wagner, a student in the classroom, told CBS about 70 students were in attendance Thursday.

Northern Illinois University is located in a rural university 65 miles due west of Chicago and enrolls about 25,000 students. 91 percent of the students are from Illinois.

Moments after the shooting the university put into action the detailed security plan according to The Boston Globe, which was created after the Virginia Tech shooting last spring, the worst school shooting in US history.

Shots ran outside the university's Cole Hall shortly after 3 p.m. and by 3:07 the campus was put into lockdown. By 3:20 an alert was posted on the university website, email notifications were sent and, an alrm was sen via another campus system.

The rest of the evenings class were cancelled, as well as all classes Friday reported The Boston Globe. Counselors are being offered to students.

Police Chief Dan Grady told CBS the gunman acted alone, but no motive has been established. Kazmierczack had no previous criminal record.

Thursday night, technology was playing an important role in the recovery process, as students were logging onto social networking websites like Facebook to share their thoughts about the tragedy.

The university is devestated by the shooting, said witnesses.

"You don't think it's going to happen at your university and you certainly don't think it's going to happen in your department to people you know," Berg said to The Boston Globe. "You don't know how to react."

The NIU Department of Public Safety is asking that any individuals who witnessed the Feb. 14 shooting, or who believe they have any information related to the shooting, call the University Tip Line at (815) 753-TIPS. Police will return calls as soon as possible reported CBS.

The FBI is processing the crime scene and the investigation is being aided by the Illinois State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, the State Crisis Management Team, the City of DeKalb Police, City of Sycamore Police, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, the Ben Gordon Center and the DeKalb, Sycamore and Cortland Fire Departments, as well as FEMA reported CBS.

February 7, 2008

Romney Out; It's McCain

Mitt Romney, who positioned himself as the true conservative voice for the Republican party, announced Thursday afernoon he would be ending his campaign.

Romney announced his withdrawl at the Conservative Political Acion Conference in Washington, in a speech which touched on the message of his campaign. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times Romney came to his decison to unify the Republican party and to keep the Democratic canidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton out of office.

"In this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror. This is not an easy decision. I hate to lose," the former Massachusett governor said.

""If this were only about me, I'd go on. But it's never been only about me. I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America, in this time of war I feel I have to now stand aside for our party and for our country"
(as reported by CNN).

Romney told conservatives that although he does not agree with John McCain, the Republican front-runner, on all the issues they agree on the Iraq war.

Although Romney criticized McCain for holding liberal views he supports McCains position that the United States needs to continue to pursue the war in Iraq.

The New York Times reported Romney argued that the war is a critical part of the country’s battle against terrorism. He said, the Democratic candidates would retreat, declare defeat and there would devastating consequences.

If he were to stay in the race until the Republican Convention in St. Paul , Minn., Romney said he would forestall the launch of a national campaign, making it easier for the Democratic canidates to win the election.

The announcement came after the Mormon canidates dissapointing showing on Super Tuesday. Romney, who only won 7 states primaries (mostly consisting of small caucus states) found the gap between him and McCain widening instead of shrinking.

After Tuesdays caucusing McCain led with 707 delegates to Romney's 294. Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, has 195 delegates.

Republican canidates need 1,191 delegates to the win nomination at the convention this summer.

Romney launched his campaign almost a year ago on Feb. 12 2007 at the Henry Ford Museum of Innovation in his native Michigan. His campaign was strong on family values and emphasized an opposition to gay marriage and abortion. He supported tax cuts and health insurance that would benefit middle-class families.

With Romney stepping aside, McCain is now in a secure position to win the Republican nomination.

February 1, 2008

Romney Relates McCain's Campaign Tactics to the Nixon-Era

'McCain "took a sharp detour off the 'Straight Talk Express'" -Mitt Romney, Republican presidential canidate
Several news souces including USA TODAY, The New York Times, and Forbes published and an article released by The Associated Press.

Mitt Romney, Republican presidential canidate, accused John McCain, Republican front-runner, Thursday of using tactics reminisent of the Nixon-era in the days just before the Florida Primary.

Nixon, the former GOP president Romney was refering to, resigned from office after the disgrace of the Watergate scandal.

The Massachusetts governor accused McClain of using underhanded tactics, when McCain claimed Romney favored timetables for withdrawing troops from Iraq, leaving Romney little time to rebuttle before the Florida primary. Romney lost the primary on Tuesday. The win for McCain gave him the lead in the delgate count and momentum for his campaign. After seven contest, McCain is ahead 83-59.

Romney denied the claims and said "I don't think I want to see our party go back to that kind of campaigning." Romney went on to say he thought McCain was a man of character who "took a sharp detour off the 'Straight Talk Express'" - the name of McCain's campaign bus.

McCain's adviser, Steve Schmidt said Romney "is lashing out because he's unable to defend his comments about a timeline, abeit a secret one... John McCain has simply pointed out a fundamental difference between them at the time when John McCain was adopting a strategy for victory."

Media analyses concluded Romney does not have a view on timetables similiar to that of Democratic canidates.

Both presidential canidates will prepare for Super Tuesday, when 21 states hold primaries, by placing millions of dollars into advertisment campaigns and by continuing their tours.

Romney, who would be the first Mormon president, will be campaigning and attending the funeral of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' president, Gordon B. Hinckley, on Saturday in Utah. He plans to campaign in Colorado Friday and will then make stops in Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, and tentatively Tennessee and Georgia. Romney will most likely bypass New York and New Jersey since Rudy Guiliani, New York's mayor and former Republican presidential canidate, has chosen to endorsed McCain.

McCain is planning on holding rallies in California, where he has the support of Govt. Arnold Schwarzenegger and in multiple winner-takes-all states. He is scheduled to make appearances in Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.