iNPLACENEWS Blog Has MOVED

September 14, 2008

Hey everyone!  From all the staff to all the readers of our blog and the watchers of our live news programming broadcasted live over the internet directly to your desktop, we want to thank you for all your support and participatiion.  We have relocated our blog to iNPLACENEWS.COM.  There you will find all our blogs, including the old posts, your comments you made, the place to download our free desktop player and all of the current news from around the world.  Stay up-to-date on all the current events by watching our broadcasts, reading our blogs, and watching videos-on-demand.  Again, go to iNPLACENEWS.COM for all the newest blogs and the older posts you love to go back to read.  Thank you again for your time, support, and participation.

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Clinton Followers Still Pose a Problem to Obama

August 14, 2008

Still sore from an epic primary battle, some of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s supporters aren’t buying the unity theme planned for the Democratic National Convention.

They weren’t mollified when nominee-in-waiting Barack Obama gave prime-time speaking slots to Clinton and her husband, the former president. Instead, they’re itching for a fight and plan to wage one in Denver.

One group intends to paper the city with fliers, promote a video detailing what they contend were irregularities in the nominating process and unleash bloggers to give their take on the proceedings. Another group has purchased newspaper advertisements demanding that Clinton be included in a roll-call vote for the nomination. Obama and Clinton announced Thursday that there will be such a vote.

“I am a very realistic woman,” said Diane Mantouvalos, co-founder of the Just Say No Deal Coalition. “I don’t think that anything is going to change, but I do think it is important to be heard, and this is our way of doing it.”

Some of the disaffected Clinton supporters are open to supporting Obama; many are not.

Obama needs Clinton’s supporters to beat Republican John McCain. Polls show that he has won over most of them. But some simply don’t like Obama or still feel Clinton was treated unfairly during the primaries.

These groups are not affiliated with Clinton, who has endorsed Obama and campaigned for him. Representatives from the Clinton and Obama campaigns said they are working to unify the party because Obama will champion issues important to Clinton supporters, such as reforming health care, improving the economy and ending the war in Iraq.

“Senator Clinton understands and appreciates that there are supporters who remain passionate, but she has repeatedly urged her supporters to vote for Senator Obama,” Clinton spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a swipe at the Clinton diehards Wednesday.

“I think Hillary Clinton has been very gracious,” the San Francisco Democrat told Bay Area talk show host Ronn Owens. “I think some of her supporters have been less than gracious.”

Nevertheless, many Clinton activists plan to voice their discontent in Denver.

Mantouvalos, a Miami public relations consultant, said her network is renting a 5,000-square-foot loft in Denver for its bloggers. Another outfit called The Denver Group is planning a reception the evening Hillary Clinton speaks at the convention. The group has been pushing for Clinton’s name to be placed in nomination.

In announcing that her name will be placed in nomination, Clinton said she hopes the vote will unite the party and lead to an Obama victory in November.

Heidi Li Feldman, co-founder of The Denver Group, said the roll call vote is necessary for Obama to get her support. But, she said, it’s insufficient.

“The only way a Democratic Party will have the credibility to elect a Democrat in November is if the party uses a legitimate process to choose its nominee,” said Heidi Li Feldman, co-founder of The Denver Group. “We are not per se a Clinton support group, we are a Democratic Party get-your-act-together support group.”

The movement has grown on the Internet, where bloggers and readers complain that Clinton was cheated out of the party’s nomination. The Web site for Just Say No Deal links to dozens of other sites criticizing Obama or supporting Clinton.

Some accuse Obama of manipulating party caucuses for extra delegates while others complain that Clinton was the victim of sexist party leaders or was mistreated by the media. Many vent over the way the party divvied up delegates from the Florida and Michigan primaries, two states that were punished for violating national rules and holding their contests early.

With the agreement of all Democratic candidates, the states were initially stripped of all their delegates for violating party rules by holding early primaries. None of the candidates campaigned in the two states, but Clinton won the two primaries and thereafter tried to get all the delegates seated.

The national party reinstated the delegates in May, but gave each a half vote. And it awarded Obama some Michigan delegates, although he had taken his name off that ballot because of the party’s initial decision.

With the nomination clinched, Obama said this month that he would seek to give both delegations full voting rights.

At the very least, the activists want Clinton’s name put in nomination, with a full roll-call vote. Some won’t be satisfied unless Clinton is declared the nominee – an unlikely prospect. Others would be happy if Clinton were asked to run for vice president – also unlikely.

Feldman, a Georgetown University law professor, said she is a loyal Democrat who won’t vote for McCain, but Obama hasn’t won her support. Will Bower, co-founder of the Just Say No Deal Coalition, said he would only support the Democratic candidate if her name is Clinton.

“I have been voting Democratic for 18 years. I only voted for Democrats, from dog catcher to president and everything in between,” said Bower, who lives in Washington. “I will be voting for someone other than Barack Obama come November.”

Article by Stephen Ohlemacher

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Obama Assassination Plan Mastermind Arrested

August 7, 2008

A man who authorities said was keeping weapons and military-style gear in his hotel room and car appeared in court Thursday on charges he threatened to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Raymond Hunter Geisel, 22, was arrested by the Secret Service on Saturday in Miami and was ordered held at Miami’s downtown detention center without bail Thursday by a federal magistrate.

A Secret Service affidavit charges that Geisel made the threat during a training class for bail bondsmen in Miami in late July. According to someone else in the 48-member class, Geisel allegedly referred to Obama with a racial epithet and continued, “If he gets elected, I’ll assassinate him myself.”

Obama was most recently in Florida on Aug. 1-2 but did not visit the South Florida area.

Another person in the class quoted Geisel as saying that “he hated George W. Bush and that he wanted to put a bullet in the president’s head,” according to the Secret Service.

Geisel denied in a written statement to a Secret Service agent that he ever made those threats, and the documents don’t indicate that he ever took steps to carry out any assassination. He was charged only with threatening Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, but not for any threat against President Bush.

Geisel’s court-appointed attorney declined comment. The charge of threatening a major candidate for president or vice president carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

The Obama campaign declined comment Thursday on the alleged threat.

In the interview with a Secret Service agent, Geisel said “if he wanted to kill Senator Obama he simply would shoot him with a sniper rifle, but then he claimed that he was just joking,” according to court documents.

A search of Geisel’s 1998 Ford Explorer and hotel room in Miami uncovered a loaded 9mm handgun, knives, dozens of rounds of ammunition including armor-piercing types, body armor, military-style fatigues and a machete. The SUV, which has Maine license plates, was wired with flashing red and yellow emergency lights.

Geisel told the Secret Service he was originally from Bangor, Maine, and had been living recently in a houseboat in the Florida Keys town of Marathon, according to court documents. He said he used the handgun for training for the bail bondsman class, had the knives for protection and used the machete to cut brush in Maine.

In the affidavit, the Secret Service said Geisel told agents that he suffered from psychiatric problems including post-traumatic stress disorder, but he couldn’t provide the names of any facilities where he sought treatment.

Article by Curt Anderson

Andre Jetmir iNPLACENEWS

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McCain Opposes Very Popular Farm Bill

August 6, 2008

Republican presidential candidate John McCain opposes the $300 billion farm bill and subsidies for ethanol, positions that both supporters and opponents say might cost him votes he needs in the upper Midwest this November.

His Democratic rival, Barack Obama, is making a more traditional regional pitch: He favors the farm bill approved by Congress this year and subsidies for the Midwest-based ethanol industry. McCain instead has promised to open new markets abroad for farmers to export their commodities.

In his position papers, McCain opposes farm subsidies only for those with incomes of more than $250,000 and a net worth above $2 million. But he’s gone further on the stump.

“I don’t support agricultural subsidies no matter where they are,” McCain said at a recent appearance in Wisconsin. “The farm bill, $300 billion, is something America simply can’t afford.”

McCain later described the measure, which is very popular throughout the Midwest, as “a $300 billion, bloated, pork-barrel-laden bill” because of subsidies for industries like ethanol.

It’s not a stand that pleases Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa.

“I would not advise him to take that position,” Grassley said. “For sure, he can’t lose Missouri and that’s in the upper Midwest. Could he lose Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin and still be elected president? Yes, but I wouldn’t advise him to have that strategy.”

Grassley, a conservative Republican, and his Senate colleague from Iowa, liberal Democrat Tom Harkin, have achieved enduring success in this state largely by mastering the politics of farm issues. Harkin chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, which wrote the new farm legislation.

“I don’t see any scenario in which McCain can get to the White House without carrying some upper Midwestern states,” said Harkin, an Obama backer. “I’ve never really understood in all my years why Sen. McCain has gone out of his way to speak against and vote against policies that are important to the upper Midwest.”

There’s a history of close elections in the region. President Bush carried Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota in 2004, earning 35 electoral votes. But his Democratic opponent, John Kerry, prevailed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, giving him 41 electoral votes.

Veteran GOP strategist Gentry Collins said McCain can defend his record on farm issues, including opposing “corporate welfare” for big operations, but he said there’s more at work.

“The upper Midwest is crucial in this election, and Midwestern voters value authenticity. They value experience,” Collins said. “I don’t think agricultural issues are the only issues Midwestern voters care about. There are some bigger-picture issues, broader issues where he’s strong.”

But on another important issue to Midwesterners, McCain opposed a tax break for developing wind power. Obama supported the tax break.

“We’re employing close to 2,000 people right now in Iowa in the wind energy industry,” Harkin said.

McCain has been most outspoken on ethanol subsidies, and that has Republicans worried in Iowa, the nation’s biggest producer of the fuel. Other top ethanol producers include Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri.

“It does challenge him in states like Iowa, the No. 1 ethanol state,” said Bill Northey, Iowa’s Republican agriculture secretary. “It does make it tougher to make the case.”

Drake University political science professor Dennis Goldford said McCain’s problem on farm issues reflects a deeper issue he faces as he’s courted conservative GOP activists, many of whom are deeply suspicious of him.

“He’s essentially reverting to standard Republican supply-side economics,” said Goldford. “That’s where he’s got a problem. He’s got to find his own voice and so far he hasn’t had a voice.”

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat who has campaigned for Obama, said he’s puzzled by McCain’s position. He points to other Republicans who have a different view.

“President Bush and I just had a good conversation about how critically important ethanol is, and how Iowa is positioned so well to lead the nation,” said Culver. “I have no idea why John McCain doesn’t support it. It hurts him in Indiana, and Missouri and Ohio, and it’s not the message right now that any of us want to hear.”

Obama has a modest lead in national polls, but electoral votes will decide the election. Obama is poised to do well on both coasts, while McCain is favored in the South and some parts of the West. That leaves the upper Midwest as a swing battleground.

“The Midwest is crucial in this campaign,” said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat and an early backer of Obama. “Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and perhaps Indiana are very important states. McCain is behind, and he’s in danger of falling further behind.”

Article by Mike Glover

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Obama Speaks Out Against Slavery Reparations

August 2, 2008

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama opposes offering reparations to the descendants of slaves, putting him at odds with some black groups and leaders.

The man with a serious chance to become the nation’s first black president argues that government should instead combat the legacy of slavery by improving schools, health care and the economy for all.

“I have said in the past – and I’ll repeat again – that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed,” the Illinois Democrat said recently.

Some two dozen members of Congress are co-sponsors of legislation to create a commission that would study reparations – that is, payments and programs to make up for the damage done by slavery.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People supports the legislation, too. Cities around the country, including Obama’s home of Chicago, have endorsed the idea, and so has a major union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Obama has worked to be seen as someone who will bring people together, not divide them into various interest groups with checklists of demands. Supporting reparations could undermine that image and make him appear to be pandering to black voters.

“Let’s not be naive. Sen. Obama is running for president of the United States, and so he is in a constant battle to save his political life,” said Kibibi Tyehimba, co-chair of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. “In light of the demographics of this country, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect him to do anything other than what he’s done.”

But this is not a position Obama adopted just for the presidential campaign. He voiced the same concerns about reparations during his successful run for the Senate in 2004.

There’s enough flexibility in the term “reparations” that Obama can oppose them and still have plenty of common ground with supporters.

The NAACP says reparations could take the form of government programs to help struggling people of all races. Efforts to improve schools in the inner city could also aid students in the mountains of West Virginia, said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau.

“The solution could be broad and sweeping,” Shelton said.

The National Urban League – a group Obama is to address Saturday – avoids the word “reparations” as too vague and highly charged. But the group advocates government action to close the gaps between white America and black America.

Urban League President Marc Morial said he expects his members to press Obama on how he intends to close those gaps and what action he would take in the first 100 days of his presidency.

“What steps should we take as a nation to alleviate the effects of racial exclusion and racial discrimination?” Morial asked.

The House voted this week to apologize for slavery. The resolution, which was approved on a voice vote, does not mention reparations, but past opponents have argued that an apology would increase pressure for concrete action.

Obama says an apology would be appropriate but not particularly helpful in improving the lives of black Americans. Reparations could also be a distraction, he said.

In a 2004 questionnaire, he told the NAACP, “I fear that reparations would be an excuse for some to say, ‘We’ve paid our debt,’ and to avoid the much harder work.”

Taking questions Sunday at a conference of minority journalists, Obama said he would be willing to talk to American Indian leaders about an apology for the nation’s treatment of their people.

Pressed for his position on apologizing to blacks or offering reparations, Obama said he was more interested in taking action to help people struggling to get by. Because many of them are minorities, he said, that would help the same people who would stand to benefit from reparations.

“If we have a program, for example, of universal health care, that will disproportionately affect people of color, because they’re disproportionately uninsured,” Obama said. “If we’ve got an agenda that says every child in America should get – should be able to go to college, regardless of income, that will disproportionately affect people of color, because it’s oftentimes our children who can’t afford to go to college.”

One reparations advocate, Vernellia Randall, a law professor at the University of Dayton, bluntly responded: “I think he’s dead wrong.”

She said aid to the poor in general won’t close the gaps – poor blacks would still trail poor whites, and middle-class blacks would still lag behind middle-class whites. Instead, assistance must be aimed directly at the people facing the after-effects of slavery and Jim Crow laws, she said.

“People say he can’t run and get elected if he says those kinds of things,” Randall said. “I’m like, well does that mean we’re really not ready for a black president?”

Article by Christopher Wills

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Obama Rejects Ludacris Lyrics

August 1, 2008

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign says a new rhyme by supporter and rapper Ludacris is “outrageously offensive” to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Republican Sen. John McCain and President Bush.
The song brags about an Obama presidency being destiny. It uses an expletive to describe Clinton, calls Bush “mentally handicapped” and says McCain doesn’t belong in “any chair unless he’s paralyzed.”

The lyrics don’t spare the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who recently apologized for making crude comments about Obama. “If you said it then you meant it,” intones the rapper.

Obama’s campaign blasted “Politics as Usual,” which is on the “Gangsta Grillz: The Preview” mixtape with Atlanta spinner DJ Drama.

“As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn’t want his daughters or any children exposed to,” campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in an e-mail statement Wednesday. “This song is not only outrageously offensive to Sen. Clinton, Rev. Jackson, Sen. McCain and President Bush, it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics.”

Ludacris’ publicist and manager did not immediately return calls Wednesday for comment.

Article from Associated Press Staff

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Obama’s Acceptance Speech Moved to Mile High Stadium

July 7, 2008


Barack Obama will accept the Democratic presidential nomination at Invesco Field at Mile High, a 76,000-seat stadium home to the Denver Broncos, the Democratic National Committee announced Monday.

The party’s convention will be held Aug. 25-28 at Denver’s Pepsi Center, which holds up to 21,000 people. Construction for the convention was beginning at the Pepsi Center Monday amid concerns about lagging fundraising and cost overruns.

Last month, the convention’s host committee reported it was nearly $12 million short of the $40.6 million it had pledged to raise for the effort. Host committee members spoke openly of needing the Obama campaign’s help to close the gap.

The decision to move Obama’s acceptance speech to the giant football stadium was expected to boost fundraising, convention organizer Jenny Backus said.

With a heavy influx of younger voters and Hispanics in recent years, Colorado, once heavily Republican, is one of a handful of states in the mountain West that have been trending more Democratic. Both campaigns view it as a general-election swing state; Republican John McCain was kicking off a five-day economy-focused campaign swing in Denver Monday.

The Obama campaign made its own announcement about the new speech venue in a fundraising e-mail to supporters Monday.

The campaign will choose 10 people who contribute at least $5 to the campaign between now and July 31 to fly to the convention and meet Obama backstage before the speech, Plouffe added.

Obama is known for drawing huge crowds to many of his speeches. In May, a record 75,000 jammed into a riverside park in Portland, Ore., to hear him speak shortly before that state’s primary.

Obama is scheduled to deliver his acceptance speech on Thursday, Aug. 28, the fourth and final night of the convention. It coincides with the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

The Illinois senator is running to be the first black president.

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