Category Archives: Election 2008

The Kitchen sink for the 2008 Presidential election

JTP’s Appalled by McCain?

Can someone please tell Joe the Unlicensed Plumber that his 15 minutes have been over for 6 weeks?  No one really gives a crap what he has to say, yet the right continues to give him airtime.  I vowed that I would no longer post about him but have found that he won’t go away if I ignore him.  And prayer doesn’t work, either. 

Of course, the right seems to still be obsessed with 3 things:  trying to tarnish President-elect Obama through lies, smears and innuendo, continuing this Sarah Palin fantasy and shoving Joe the Plumber down our throats.

He’s got a book coming out.  There are rumors of a Congressional run.  I’m figuring on a movie and a restaurant chain.

Fox News reported that Glenn Beck spoke with Joe the Plumber.  Joe said that “he felt ‘dirty’ after hitting the campaign trail with Republican presidential nominee John McCain and ‘seeing some of the things that take place.’”

Dirtier when he stated that he agreed with the comment that a vote for Barack Obama was a vote to ‘the death to Israel?’ 

Apparently, what bothered ‘the Plumber’ the most was McCain’s conversations regarding the $700 billion bailout.

“When I was on the bus with him, I asked him a lot of questions about the bailout because most Americans did not want that to happen,” Wurzelbacher told Beck. “I asked him some pretty direct questions. Some of the answers you guys are gonna receive they appalled me, absolutely. I was angry. In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him.”

“Some of the answers you guys are gonna receive they appalled me, absolutely.”  What does that mean?  Hopefully, Joe will have an editor for the book he plans to write.

If ‘the plumber’ was so appalled by McCain, why did he stay on the bus? 

According to JTP, “because the thought of Barack Obama as president scares me even more.”

Scared of Obama, sell a few books, break the record for outlasting the 15 minutes . . .

Speaking of outlasting the 15 minutes, what does JTP think of the current champ, Sarah Palin?

Sarah Palin is absolutely the real deal,” said JTP.

Please, I just ate.



Teacher in trouble for wearing Obama shirt to school

It’s time once again for something out of the ‘I swear I’m not making this up’ file.

Dennis Yuzenas

Dennis Yuzenas

Bak Middle School of the Arts is located in West Palm Beach, Florida. Elizabeth Kennedy is the principal of the school and was watching the school news on November 7th (after the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president) and saw that Dennis Yuzenas, an American history teacher, was wearing an Obama T-shirt and ‘said “It’s a good day to be an American,” or words to that effect.’

Someone call the cops. We have a live one here.

Kennedy cited Yuzenas for ‘engaging in unethical political activity’ and wanted to have him sign a memorandum that would be placed in his file. Yuzenas refused to sign this memo.

What I find interesting is that this was AFTER the election.

“Last Friday, November 7, you wore a T-shirt that clearly showed which candidate you supported during the recent Presidential Election and appeared with students on the in-school news broadcast sharing your positive view regarding the outcome of the election,” the memo read.

“As per the Code of Ethics and the above state School Board policy, students may not know your political view,” it continued. “This could be construed as using your position to influence others. It is my expectation, that in the future as you teach students to clarify and express their own political views, you will remain neutral.”

That’s strange because I knew the political view of each of my Social Studies teachers. That didn’t mean I didn’t learn contrasting points of view. It’s just that good teachers bring passion.

Yuzenas was flabbergasted. He said he did his best to remain apolitical during the campaign.

“I am very liberal, I admit that, but I was trying to be ultra, ultra fair,” he said. “My car has a “Republicans for Obama” bumper sticker and peace sign on it, so I parked it in a place where the kids couldn’t see it.”

His remark on the news, he said, was one of patriotism in support of the new president-elect. Another teacher had jokingly referred to the school as the “Barack Middle School of the Arts” on the same broadcast.

As for the T-shirt, Yuzenas said it was part of his lesson plan that day.

“I was talking about the role of art in society,” he said, “and tying in this T-shirt to Picasso’s Guernica.”

The shirt, which showed a red-and-blue image of Obama with the word “Hope” under it, is the work of Shepard Fairey, an obscure Los Angeles street artist. The image, which Fairey made into 300 posters, caught the attention of the Obama campaign, which liked it so much that the image was mass produced, becoming an iconic image of Obama.

“It’s making education relevant to kids,” Yuzenas said. “How much more relevant can you get in an arts school than talking about the role of an artist in an election?”

Kennedy does make a strong argument for keeping a teacher’s political views quiet.

Kennedy, in her third year at Bak, said that the popularity of Yuzenas, one of the founding teachers of the arts magnet school, makes it even more important for him to keep his political views to himself.

“The kids could go home and say, ‘We know who Mr. Y voted for,’ ” she said.

Kennedy said she thought it would be OK for a teacher to wear a T-shirt showing the sitting president, but not the president-elect right after an election where the Florida vote was relatively close.

“We’re not here to offend anyone,” she said. “We’re here to educate. Forty-nine percent of the people voted the other way in the election.”

I suspect that Kennedy was the one offended. But was Mr. Y engaging in ‘unethical political activity’?

Yuzenas said he didn’t sign the principal’s memo because he’s not in violation of the ethics policy.

School Board Policy 2.59 allows teachers to express their own “political, social and religious values” if the “total presentations is essentially balanced and fair.”

Teachers are expressly prohibited from allowing their interaction with students to further their own “political aims or views.”

Yuzenas pointed out if he’s a propagandist, he must be a lousy one, because his students showed the strongest support for John McCain during a school-wide mock election.

“I don’t want students to think like I do,” he said. “I want them to think.”

So one teacher called Bak Middle School of the Arts – Barack Middle School of the Arts. So I bring to you the school formerly known as Ludlum Elementary School in the Hempstead Union Free School District near New York City. The school board voted unanimously to rename the school Barack Obama Elementary School, effective immediately.

This particular article, however, starts with the prepositional phrase – ‘At the behest of its students . . . ‘


The school board voted to change the name of the school because of 5-11 year olds? I was worried letting my kids pick out colors for their rooms.

If you figured this was just the beginning of schools, parks, streets, landmarks being named for Barack Obama, you would be absolutely correct.

Officials for the Long Island district say they think the school is the country’s first to be named after the first black president-elect, although similar efforts to rename schools, parks and streets are under way elsewhere.

The Clear Stream Avenue School in Valley Stream, N.Y., also on Long Island, will consider a renaming resolution in December. Students at the Clark K-8 At Binnsmead school in Portland, Ore., are seeking to rename it after Obama. And the prime minister of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda has said he wants its Boggy Peak renamed Mount Obama.

Most of the 466 Hempstead pupils are black or Hispanic, and Obama’s election was a big source of pride, principal Jean Bligen said Friday.

Some of the children read essays about Obama and the election at the school board meeting on Thursday night. “That really was effective,” Bligen said.

The change will be formalized at a ceremony in December. School officials hope Gov. David Paterson, the state’s first black governor and Hempstead High School graduate, will attend.

Built in the 1920s, the Ludlum Elementary School was named after Dr. Charles Ludlum, a local physician who served on the school board for about 40 years.

He’s not even sworn in yet and the honor of the namings has already begun.

Anybody been to the George W. Bush Sewage Treatment Plant lately?


Obama T-shirt earns middle school teacher a trip to principal’s office

New York elementary school is renamed for Obama

We need Obama Sworn in NOW!

I know I am not alone in wishing that the Bush – Cheney administration would just end already and the Obama – Biden administration can begin.  That is why we are enthralled with the weekly president-elect’s radio addresses released on YouTube.

This past weekend the New York Times published multiple columns in the opinion section that pretty much said the same thing.

Bush needs to go – We need Obama to begin NOW!

Thomas Friedman and Gail Collins each penned op-eds that hit the nail on the head.

First, Friedman wrote ‘We Found the W.M.D.’

So, I have a confession and a suggestion. The confession: I go into restaurants these days, look around at the tables often still crowded with young people, and I have this urge to go from table to table and say: “You don’t know me, but I have to tell you that you shouldn’t be here. You should be saving your money. You should be home eating tuna fish. This financial crisis is so far from over. We are just at the end of the beginning. Please, wrap up that steak in a doggy bag and go home.”

Now you know why I don’t get invited out for dinner much these days. If I had my druthers right now we would convene a special session of Congress, amend the Constitution and move up the inauguration from Jan. 20 to Thanksgiving Day. Forget the inaugural balls; we can’t afford them. Forget the grandstands; we don’t need them. Just get me a Supreme Court justice and a Bible, and let’s swear in Barack Obama right now — by choice — with the same haste we did — by necessity — with L.B.J. in the back of Air Force One.

Unfortunately, it would take too long for a majority of states to ratify such an amendment. What we can do now, though, said the Congressional scholar Norman Ornstein, co-author of “The Broken Branch,” is ask President Bush to appoint Tim Geithner, Barack Obama’s proposed Treasury secretary, immediately.” Make him a Bush appointment and let him take over next week. This is not a knock on Hank Paulson. It’s simply that we can’t afford two months of transition where the markets don’t know who is in charge or where we’re going. At the same time, Congress should remain in permanent session to pass any needed legislation.

I really want to see Obama sitting in the Oval office today. Seeing the person mostly responsible for our predicament still in office – especially when he just doesn’t care – is infuriating. As long as Bush resides in the White House, our economic situation has no chance of recovering. Worse – it most likely will continue this negative trend.

I agree wholeheartedly that Geither should be appointed by Bush – TODAY!

While touching up this post before publishing it, I received another comment stating that Bush needs to leave office and Obama must take over.

To that end, Collins wrote an op-ed entitled ‘Time for Him to Go’ where she stresses the same need.


Thanksgiving is next week, and President Bush could make it a really special holiday by resigning.

Seriously. We have an economy that’s crashing and a vacuum at the top. Bush — who is currently on a trip to Peru to meet with Asian leaders who no longer care what he thinks — hasn’t got the clout, or possibly even the energy, to do anything useful. His most recent contribution to resolving the fiscal crisis was lecturing representatives of the world’s most important economies on the glories of free-market capitalism.

Putting Barack Obama in charge immediately isn’t impossible. Dick Cheney, obviously, would have to quit as well as Bush. In fact, just to be on the safe side, the vice president ought to turn in his resignation first. (We’re desperate, but not crazy.) Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become president until Jan. 20. Obviously, she’d defer to her party’s incoming chief executive, and Barack Obama could begin governing.

Collins makes a great point. Internationally, no one even listens to Bush any longer. I’m sure everyone saw the video of the world leaders snubbing Bush by not shaking his hand. [Sensico has the video here]

Her plan would actually make House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the 44th President of the United States and the first woman to hold that office. Hillary Clinton and (dare I say) Sarah Palin would both still be in the running for first woman ELECTED to the White House.

The problem with this – my civics class for an example here – is that Pelosi would have to resign her House seat. And I’m not quite certain what the rules are off-hand as to filling her seat. Could they leave it empty and let her take it back on January 20th at 12:01 pm? If the power rests with the Republican Governator then this would actually cause more problems for the Democrats – losing a house seat and the Speaker. [Then why wouldn’t the Republicans do this?]

There is a way to accomplish this quickly and easily. Since I am living in Bizarro America – Dick Cheney resigns – since he is feeling guilty about screwing Americans for so long. Bush appoints Obama as vice president. The Senate quickly approves him followed quickly by a Bush resignation. The whole thing could be done in 2 days.

And if Traitor Joe Lieberman votes against the approval of Obama, you take away his gavel once and for all.

Collins is absolutely correct with the next statement:

A great many Americans have been counting the days all year on their 2008 George W. Bush Out of Office Countdown calendars

Friedman closes with:

Conventional wisdom says it’s good for a new president to start at the bottom. The only way to go is up. That’s true – unless that bottom falls out before he starts.

Anyway you look at it; we need to start fixing the problems right now but we still have 8 weeks before Obama is sworn in. So much can happen between now and then. Can it please be January 20th already?

“Can I see a show of hands? How many people want George W. out and Barack in?” – Collins




Who is Robert Gibbs?

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Robert Gibbs as his press secretary.  He has been Obama’s communications director since 2004 and was the press secretary on John Kerry’s  2004 presidential campaign. 

Here is a video that proves that Gibbs is up to the task of handling the White House press corps.  You may have seen where he smacks down Sean Hannity playing Hannity’s game against him but it is a safe bet that you didn’t realize who he was.  Watching Hannity on the defensive was a beautiful thing to see.

Political thoughts for the Day

Why would anyone think that John McCain would have any interest in working with Obama?  Speculation in the media is that he is once again becoming the maverick that lost his way during the general election cycle.  Really?  The man is endorsing Saxby Chambliss.  McCain said the ad run by Chambliss attacking Senator Max Cleland in 2002 – it’s worse than disgraceful – it’s reprehensible.”

The U.S. Senate Democrats have had no ‘stones’ whatsoever for 8 years.  They can verbally chastise Joe Lieberman all they want but the vote that will take place today is a closed ballot vote.  In other words, they can be tough in public and weak at the time of vote just like the last 8 years.  I suspect that Lieberman will receive nothing more than the verbal attacks he has already faced.  He will be permitted to keep his Democratic leadership with one caveat:  stay loyal to the party.  The problem here is that Joe only knows ‘whatever’s best for Joe.’ 

How is it possible that Alaska still has 24,000 uncounted ballots from the election 2 weeks ago?  Seriously, is one person counting the ballots?  I wonder if it is the same guy that examined the hanging chads in Florida in 2000.  I know all eyes are on the Begich – Stevens race, which Begich is building up a nice lead, but I am trying to figure out how Don Young is leading Ethan Berkowitz when Young trailed big on the final day of polls and Young is currently under FBI investigation. 

I thought I recently heard that Sarah Palin could not capitalize financially while holding elected office in Alaska.  I recall hearing that when it was rumored that she could land a talk show after the election.  I have yet to find anything in Alaskan law that stipulated that.  But if it is true, how is it she can sign this huge book deal?  I guess it is with a ‘wink’ and a nod.  Hmmmm. 

Replacing Congress – The Obama Administration

We seem to be unable to get enough of the election of Barack Obama. The media has been analyzing the type of presidency he will have, will he act Lincolnian and reach across the aisle to fill cabinet positions and will he be able to restore the country after 8 disastrous years.

Analysis is on-going over the Democratic swing in Congress (including the 3 Senatorial races yet to be decided in Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota).

What has not been talked about as much is who will step into the Congressional seats for the new administration. Illinois will be losing one Congressional seat as Rahm Emanuel becomes Obama’s Chief of Staff. This is in addition to the seat vacated by Senator Obama over the weekend (full text of Obama’s letter to the people of Illinois to follow).

Add to that the Delaware Senate seat soon to be vacated by Vice President-elect Joe Biden (still love saying this) and any elected officials selected by Obama for his cabinet. We know that New York Senator Hillary Clinton is among the names being considered for Secretary of State.

Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth

So who would replace Obama and Emanuel in Illinois? State law says that the governor will appoint a replacement to the Senate seat that is up for election in 2010. Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich has set up a panel that will vet the candidates.

The list includes – Representatives Jesse Jackson Jr., son of Rev. Jesse Jackson and Jan Schakowsky. If selected, this would vacate another Illinois congressional seat and the process would begin again. Also on the list are Illinois State Comptroller Dan Hynes, retiring state Senate President Emil Jones, state Senator Kwame Raoul, and Dan Seals, a marketing consultant.

My personal favorite is Illinois Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth who is a wounded Iraq War veteran. Duckworth is a decorated officer who lost both of her legs in Iraq. She would bring leadership and a passion for our troops to the Senate. She would be a spectacular choice to replace President-elect Obama.

On November 4th, Joe Biden was re-elected to a 7th term in the U.S. Senate. When Biden resigns his seat, it will be filled either by out-going two-term Governor Ruth Ann Minner or the in-coming Governor-elect Jack A. Markell. Both governors are Democrats and will be able appoint someone to fill the vacancy until a Special Election in 2010.

Beau Biden

Beau Biden

The name that is floating around and my personal choice is Joe Biden’s son, Beau.

Beau Biden (Joe Biden III) is the Attorney General of Delaware and is currently a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard serving in Iraq. The latter role is one of the obstacles in the process. According to military law, someone may not serve in elected office while serving in the military. Beau Biden has also indicated that he would prefer to win elected office rather than be appointed to it. He declined an appointment to Attorney General opting instead to run for the post.

Another option is Lt. Governor John Carney who lost the Democratic Party nomination for governor this year. He has already indicated an interest in the position as well as a desire to continue in the Senate beyond the 2010 special election.

Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel would be vacating his leadership in the House of Representatives to serve as Obama’s chief of staff. Blagojevich will have to set a special election to replace Emanuel. Rumors have circulated that Emanuel wants to serve as Obama’s chief of staff for just 2 years and then return to Congress.

It will be interesting to see who throws their hat into ring for this seat. A few names I have heard are former Emanuel aide, John Borovicka, Bill Dailey Jr. and Illinois state representative Sara Feigenholtz.

Finally, if Hillary Clinton is selected as Secretary of State or any other cabinet position, she will vacate her Senate seat. As a result, New York Governor David Paterson will have to select a replacement for Clinton until a Special Election in 2010 that would fill her seat for the final 2 years of her current term.

While I could sit here and wrack my brain over who the candidates are, I can really only come up with 2 suitable names. Actually, it is 2 people with only 1 suitable name: Kennedy. The leading choice is Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy. She is an attorney and an author who had endorsed Obama early in the campaign. Rumors have circulated that she may be selected for a post in Obama’s cabinet.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The other Kennedy is Robert Jr. Kennedy is an attorney and co-host of the Air America radio program, Ring of Fire. He had endorsed Hillary Clinton during the primaries. The seat Clinton current holds once belonged Kennedy’s father. He has 2 great political passions – the climate / environment and election integrity. Rumors have circulated that he is being looked at for a position on the Obama cabinet as well. Kennedy has said that the only way he would be interested in Clinton’s seat is if she became the president. I do believe that it would be fitting for RFK Jr. to hold the seat once held by his father.

As Obama’s administration takes shape over the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see what seats / positions open up along the way.


Illinois Governor Eyes Obama Replacement –

Sara Feigenholz’s letter of interest in Emanuel’s seat – posted on the Daily Kos


Today, I am ending one journey to begin another. After serving the people of Illinois in the United States Senate — one of the highest honors and privileges of my life — I am stepping down as senator to prepare for the responsibilities I will assume as our nation’s next president. But I will never forget, and will forever be grateful, to the men and women of this great state who made my life in public service possible.

More than two decades ago, I arrived in Illinois as a young man eager to do my part in building a better America. On the South Side of Chicago, I worked with families who had lost jobs and lost hope when the local steel plant closed. It wasn’t easy, but we slowly rebuilt those neighborhoods one block at a time, and in the process I received the best education I ever had. It’s an education that led me to organize a voter registration project in Chicago, stand up for the rights of Illinois families as an attorney and eventually run for the Illinois state Senate.

It was in Springfield, in the heartland of America, where I saw all that is America converge — farmers and teachers, businessmen and laborers, all of them with a story to tell, all of them seeking a seat at the table, all of them clamoring to be heard. It was there that I learned to disagree without being disagreeable; to seek compromise while holding fast to those principles that can never be compromised, and to always assume the best in people instead of the worst. Later, when I made the decision to run for the United States Senate, the core decency and generosity of the American people is exactly what I saw as I traveled across our great state — from Chicago to Cairo; from Decatur to Quincy.

I still remember the young woman in East St. Louis who had the grades, the drive and the will but not the money to go to college. I remember the young men and women I met at VFW halls across the state who serve our nation bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I will never forget the workers in Galesburg who faced the closing of a plant they had given their lives to, who wondered how they would provide health care to their sick children with no job and little savings.

Stories like these are why I came to Illinois all those years ago, and they will stay with me when I go to the White House in January. The challenges we face as a nation are now more numerous and difficult than when I first arrived in Chicago, but I have no doubt that we can meet them. For throughout my years in Illinois, I have heard hope as often as I have heard heartache. Where I have seen struggle, I have seen great strength. And in a state as broad and diverse in background and belief as any in our nation, I have found a spirit of unity and purpose that can steer us through the most troubled waters.

It was long ago that another son of Illinois left for Washington. A greater man who spoke to a nation far more divided, Abraham Lincoln, said of his home, “To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything.” Today, I feel the same, and like Lincoln, I ask for your support, your prayers, and for us to “confidently hope that all will yet be well.”

With your help, along with the service and sacrifice of Americans across the nation who are hungry for change and ready to bring it about, I have faith that all will in fact be well. And it is with that faith, and the high hopes I have for the enduring power of the American idea, that I offer the people of my beloved home a very affectionate thanks.

Obama’s Win – It’s a New Day

Hope. Optimism. Relief.

This is what the Obama win means to me. When it became clear in 2004 that John Kerry lost the race to W, I had to fight hard not to fall into a depression.

As low as I felt then, I feel even higher today. And to know that I am not alone in this euphoria makes the feeling even better.

It’s a new day and I feel great about our future. Can January 20th come any sooner?

This is an awesome song by Will.I.Am – It’s a New Day