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Articles of Interest 7-17-2008

Drill and Save, Adventures in Biking, New Toolbar Funraising, Dick Morris

110 Days Until Election Day

July 17, 2008

MORNING UPDATE:

RIDE YOUR BIKE TO WORK DAY…took place yesterday, so I rode in on my Road King, but what really upset me was when I stopped for gas to top off my tank and it cost me over $16 to fill my Harley!?!  Please sign our petition below.

Now for the really fun part of my day, my battery died and Mark Brewer, the Chair of the MI Democrat Party gave me a jump.  Talk about bi-partisanship
 
DRILL AND SAVE…we have a Michigan specific petition we have put together to send to our members of Congress.  If you haven’t already signed on the petition, please do so.  Newt Gingrich’s effort has collected over 1.3 MILLION petition signatures nationwide.  Let’s help do our part here. http://drillandsave.com/

FREE…HELP THE GOP…I am excited to announce a revolutionary new tool allowing you to stay connected to the Michigan GOP and raise valuable contributions, without spending a dime! We are facing one of the toughest elections in history and we need your help to make a victory possible. You can make a difference by
downloading and using the new Michigan GOP Toolbar. The Michigan GOP Toolbar will help you raise money for the Michigan Republican Party through regularonline activities such as searching and shopping! You will also receive all the breaking news, updates, and messages from the Michigan GOP! Show your support by joining thousands of other Michigan party members in raising valuable contributions for our party for free! Track your personal contributions in real time and learn that together we can make a difference!

http://www.migop.org/toolbar/

THE BOTTOM LINE… Every time you perform simple searches on the web using your toolbar (powered by Yahoo), you’ll be raising funds for the Michigan Republican Party. The best part is, once you register, you can track these donations right from your toolbar so you can see exactly how much you’ve contributed.  It’s easy and it costs you NOTHING….it’s FREE.

NEW SERVICE FOR ALL REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES…get your own website with integrated contribution and voter contact info for only $79 per campaign.  We have mocked up a sample using Holly Hughes campaign for State Representative.

http://hollyhughes.voterspace.com

A more advanced version with more features and greater flexibility is available for $295 per campaign.  Here’s what Jack Hoogendyk’s page would look like:

http://jackformichigan.voterspace.com

County Commission candidates, State Rep Candidates and Republican non-partisan officer holders/seekers are all eligible for this great fundraising and contact service.
 
For more information contact: lward@migop.org or rmacomber@migop.org

 

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FOR THE LATEST NEWS, COMMENTARY & INFORMATION:

Check…out…our…online Articles of Interest………News…you…can…use………

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THE REST OF THE STORY:

HOTLINE REPORTS… Dick Morris writes in The Hill about why the race is still tied. "In the space of a month and a half," Obama "reversed or sharply modified his positions on at least eight key issues." And unlike McCain’s, "Obama’s shifts have nothing to do with altered circumstances, just a change in the political calendar." Obama "has set the bar pretty high" by running as "a different kind" of pol, "and, with his flipping and flopping, he is falling short." If "moderate liberals are disgusted by Obama’s obvious attempts at chicanery and repositioning, they might just cross the aisle," especially given McCain’s position on oil drilling (7/15).

MICHIGAN GOP TOOL BAR…IT MAKES US MONEY…I am excited to announce a revolutionary new tool allowing you to stay connected to the Michigan GOP and raise valuable contributions, withoutspending a dime! We are facing one of the toughest elections in history and we need your help to make a victory possible. You can make a difference by downloading and using the new Michigan GOP Toolbar. The Michigan GOP Toolbar will help you raise money for the Michigan Republican Party through regular online activities such as searching and shopping! You will also receive all the breaking news, updates, and messages from the Michigan GOP! Show your support by joining thousands of other Michigan party members in raising valuable contributions for our party for free! Track your personal contributions in real time and learn that together we can make a difference!

http://www.migop.org/toolbar/

TODAY’S TOP STORIES

The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.

 
Why the race is tied

By Dick Morris

After almost six weeks of a constant Obama lead, generally in the five- to seven-point range, Scott Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll records two consecutive days of a tie race (July 12-13) and a one-point Obama lead on July 14. What happened to the Democrat’s lead?

Part of the slippage is Obama’s fault and part is McCain’s gain.

Obama has carried flip-flopping to new heights. In the space of a month and a half, this candidate — who we don’t really yet know very well — reversed or sharply modified his positions on at least eight key issues: 

The Iron Timetable

BARACK OBAMA yesterday accused President Bush and Sen. John McCain of rigidity on Iraq: "They said we couldn’t leave when violence was up, they say we can’t leave when violence is down." Mr. Obama then confirmed his own foolish consistency. Early last year, when the war was at its peak, the Democratic candidate proposed a timetable for withdrawing all U.S. combat forces in slightly more than a year. Yesterday, with bloodshed at its lowest level since the war began, Mr. Obama endorsed the same plan. After hinting earlier this month that he might "refine" his Iraq strategy after visiting the country and listening to commanders, Mr. Obama appears to have decided that sticking to his arbitrary, 16-month timetable is more important than adjusting to the dramatic changes in Iraq.

Mr. Obama’s charge against the Republicans was not entirely fair, since Mr. Bush has overseen the withdrawal of five American brigades from Iraq this year, and Mr. McCain has suggested that he would bring most of the rest of the troops home by early 2013. Mr. Obama’s timeline would end in the summer of 2010, a year or two before the earliest dates proposed recently by members of the Iraqi government. The real difference between the various plans is not the dates but the conditions: Both the Iraqis and Mr. McCain say the withdrawal would be linked to the ability of Iraqi forces to take over from U.S. troops, as they have begun to do. Mr. Obama’s strategy allows no such linkage — his logic is that a timetable unilaterally dictated from Washington is necessary to force Iraqis to take responsibility for the country.

Obama Steers Clear of Michigan Muslims He May Need to Win State

By Heidi Przybyla

The cover of this week’s New Yorker magazine may explain why Barack Obama isn’t reaching out to Michigan’s Muslims.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is shown in the Oval Office, wearing a turban and bumping fists with his wife, Michelle, who is in combat boots with a rifle slung over her shoulder. The cartoon, intended as satire, is a reminder of the dangers of any association with Muslims for Obama, who has fought false rumors that his middle name, Hussein, indicates he was born into the Islamic faith.

Muslim- and Arab-Americans represent 4 percent of the vote in Michigan, a battleground in this year’s election. Yet Obama, who has held 13 events in the state during the presidential campaign, hasn’t visited a mosque or met with Muslim leaders. 

Mike Baker: Obama’s Plan to Change the World

By Mike Baker

I just finished watching what was billed as a “major foreign policy speech” by Senator Obama. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t intended to watch the speech, preferring instead to read the transcripts anytime either candidate, but particularly Obama, delivers a speech. Reading the text of the speech seems to be more satisfying and enlightening than watching the actual delivery. It’s also part of my survival strategy.

I worry about falling under Obama’s spell if I spend too much time actually gazing at him while he talks. It’s an irrational fear I suppose, but I’m afraid that if I watch too many of his speeches, one day I’ll wake up and be one of those Obamatrons that I currently spend all my daylight hours trying to avoid.

Once that happens I’ll be doomed to walk the Earth muttering about change and new political landscapes. I’ll spend hours each day attending reeducation camp where I’ll realize the evils of free markets and personal responsibility and extol the glories of big government. My evenings will be spent writing a liberal blog with a hip name like crunchypolitiking.org and editing my Facebook page, adding other Obamatrons as friends til’ my social network exceeds the population of China.

In Iraq, Affection for Obama … but His Proposal?

By SABRINA TAVERNISE and RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.

BAGHDAD — A tough Iraqi general, a former special operations officer with a baritone voice and a barrel chest, melted into smiles when asked about Senator Barack Obama.

“Everyone in Iraq likes him,” said the general, Nassir al-Hiti. “I like him. He’s young. Very active. We would be very happy if he was elected president.”

But mention Mr. Obama’s plan for withdrawing American soldiers, and the general stiffens.

“Very difficult,” he said, shaking his head. “Any army would love to work without any help, but let me be honest: for now, we don’t have that ability.”

Thus in a few brisk sentences, the general summed up the conflicting emotions about Mr. Obama in Iraq, the place outside America with perhaps the most riding on its relationship with him.

Democrats sputtering on energy

Gary Andres

If congressional obstruction were gasoline, Americans would be awash in energy. The House Democratic leadership’s gambit to protect their environmental special-interest group friends is both bold and risky. And as their constituents feel the pain at the pump, rank-and-file Democrats may face gushers of opposition at the polls this November. The gas shock of 2008 has not generated any new energy, but it has produced gallons of missed opportunity.

The current energy crisis has three implications on Capitol Hill that deserve mention. First, rank-and-file Democrats are increasingly nervous that their leadership is exposing them to extreme political risk. Second, Republicans are more unified and enthusiastic about this issue than any other since losing the majority in 2006. Third, the ongoing congressional bickering over energy deepens voter cynicism and disapproval of Congress – creating both missed opportunities for the Democratic majority and new chances for the Republican Party in an otherwise barren and hostile political environment.

The House majority leadership has pulled out all the stops to block votes on measures aimed at increasing domestic supply. The entire appropriations process has virtually ground to a halt because of Democratic leadership concerns that Republicans might offer amendments aimed at expanding energy resources. The majority has canceled markups in committee and restricted the types of bills the House considers, using its considerable procedural power to exclude amendments and other legislative ideas from consideration.

‘How many times?’ GM employees wary of further restructuring

By RANDAL YAKEY – The Oakland Press

A stumbling U.S. economy, shifting market conditions and record-high gas prices have forced General Motors to make sweeping changes in its corporate operations.
GM said it will move to raise $15 billion to help cover losses and turn around its North American operations, including $10 billion from internal cost cutting and $5 billion from selling some assets and borrowing against others.

GM is also expected to lay off salaried workers, suspend its dividend payments and borrow $2 billion to $3 billion to weather a severe downturn in the U.S. market.

WH to send envoy to Iran meeting

Nicholas Kralev

The Bush administration plans to send an envoy to talks with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator in Geneva this weekend in what would be the highest-level U.S.-Iranian meeting in nearly three decades, officials said late Tuesday.

William J. Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs and the administration’s point man on Iran, will accompany European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana with Saeed Jalili in discussions aimed at persuading Tehran to stop enriching uranium.

U.S. officials insisted that Mr. Burns will not negotiate with Mr. Jalili but only listen to what the Iranian has to say. He will "reiterate that our terms for negotiations remain the same: Iran must suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities," one official was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. 

 
 
Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News
 
Michigan’s unemployment rate in June stubbornly held at 8.5 percent for the second month in a row, according to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth.
 
Despite the return of some 15,000 auto workers who had been out on strike, the overall job market remained tepid in construction, retail and summer hiring in general, the data showed. The total number of people working in the state fell for the fifth consecutive month.
 
Since June 2007, 29,000 jobs in manufacturing — the state’s economic engine — have vanished and the number of unemployed people has increased by 66,000 or 18.5 percent. National unemployment increased in the same period by 21.5 percent.
 
 
BY JIM SCHAEFER, JOE SWICKARD AND M.L. ELRICK • FREE PRESS STAFF
 
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s legal defense fund will return a total of $4,500 to two contributors following a Free Press report on the donors, one of whom was tied to an 8 Mile strip club.
 
The refund announcement came Wednesday as fund officials declined to provide more details about how Kilpatrick’s mounting legal expenses are being paid in light of records showing the near depletion of the $185,000 reported in donations from April through June, nearly all of it donated in the first month. Already, $165,000 from the fund has been paid out to lawyers, records say.

One lawyer estimated the legal cost of defending Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff Christine Beatty in their criminal cases alone will surpass $1 million, and that’s just to get through a preliminary hearing scheduled for September. An even costlier trial, if it comes to that, may not begin until sometime next year.

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