Saturday, November 17, 2007


In the CNN Democratic debates of November 15, 2007 the CNN should have stood for "Clinton News Network." Hillary was given a chance to "clarify" her positions on illegal immigrants receiving drivers licences, a supposed gaffe (I love that word.) that conservative media has pounced on.
Wolfe Blitzer began his line of questioning to Governor Richardson. Wolfe, of course, knew what the answer would be and received a rationaled approach as to why Richardson, as Governor of New Mexico, adopted the program. Why? Because immigration is a federal issue. Licences are a state issue. The federal government was not controlling immigration and while working immigrants were driving, and crashing. So in the interest of safety, they were taught how to drive and overall motor vehicle accidents decreased.
Then the question went to Obama. He answered that the premise of the question was wrong. Blitzer asked "in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform" would you allow licences for illegals. Obama said as President, he would push for that reform, so the question Blitzer asked required some thought and some overall policy background. It was not a yes / no question.
But Blitzer pushed, clearly looking for a "got you" (Hillary's words) moment for Obama. Because Obama gave a thorough answer the crowd, a strange majority of Hillary supporters, seemed to laugh confusingly. Blitzer retorted he thought it was a "yes or no" answer.
Then Hillary responded rather W-like, preparing for the general election we presume, "NO." She was able to answer after the minority candidates on an issue about minorities and restate a position in one word that she had changed several times in one week based on her audience. When it played poorly in the national media, she needed to change her stance yet again and Blitzer gave her the chance.
Planned? Its hard not believe it wasn't. Successful? The post debate wrap up which included former Clinton advisers Gergen and Carville told us it was. They were all on the same page. Planned? You decide.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Media Coverage LTE

Note how the Tribune Review dropped the IC off my letter to print that the election, "went Democrat" instead of what I wrote: democratIC. At least they published the LTE.

In response to L. Brent Bozell's piece about the network morning news shows paying more attention to liberal candidates ("Networks bow to 'white-hot' Dems," Sept. 2 and, I would suggest he link the extended coverage to the polls of the country's voters.
The 2006 midterms went Democrat and a majority of voters consistently say they want a change in the White House, specifically with regard to the Iraq policy, which would involve electing a Democrat.
Polls within the Republican Party show "other" or "someone else" winning the primary, and Barack Obama recently finished third in a Republican straw poll.
The media may be lazy -- implying that John Edwards was against the war in Iraq, when he wrote an op-ed before its launch supporting it -- or reporting Hillary Clinton has more experience than Obama, when he has been in elected office longer.
And the media might prefer to cover the wives of the Republican candidates. But this is what, apparently, leads to higher ratings.
To imply that there is a bias toward the candidates is easily disproved when you look at what is covered and the inability of most of the media to offer anything of substance on the issues. They cover the popular personalities. They cover what is "white-hot."
At this stage in the campaign, those distinctions go to the Democrats.

Steve Karas
Forest Hills

Friday, May 18, 2007

PA Gerrymandering

In response to Brad Bumsted's news article about a Senate panel shooting down legislation aimed at limiting lawmakers' terms ("Pa. Senate kills term-limit measure," May 9 and, I would ask that the panel, or any local lawmakers, address the problem of fair redistricting if they are unwilling to impose term limits.
Gerrymandering robs the voters of choices, takes away competition between parties and, in the absence of term limits, creates an unbalanced system.
Pennsylvania should adopt a format similar to the California model, which allows registered voters to assist in establishing fair districts. There is also the model from Iowa, which is consistently noted as having the fairest and most competitive districts in the country.
Each model allows for a bipartisan panel with outside input to create fair and sensible legislative districts. Each state House district in Iowa is usually within a state Senate district and each state Senate district is within a U.S. congressional district.
At a recent hearing in the Pittsburgh area, one freshman lawmaker referred to the gerrymandering practice in Western Pennsylvania as leading to districts "resembling the Florida keys" instead of Iowa's grid.
If the Senate is serious about reform and fairness, it needs to follow Iowa's and California's leads. Otherwise, a major issue will be ignored.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Corporate Media Lazy on Obama

As easy as it was to find what exact magazine the story of the black man and his skin was in, Brit Hume reported the findings the next day on FOX. No background checking needed, just report the error that had already been reported. No one can say they are lying, they are just letting us know what The Chicago Tribune and The Politico reported about the “facts” in Obama’s Dreams book.
Human events picked up the story headlining, “Obama offers Wild Revision if his own History.” A “wild revision” seems a compelling description. Paul Hollorah compares Obama to a “little head bobbing doll” and refers to him as a “Schlikmeister.” He first tells of the later date of the Selma march versus the Obama’s parents marriage. Obama has said he spoke of the civil rights movement as a whole inspiring his parents, not just the march over the bridge. Never mind that the statement had already been released by the Obama coampaign. Speaking in generalities, Obama had stated that his parents heard the call of the Kennedys for Africans to learn in the US. Hollorah states that this too is a wild revision since, “the future senator was not conceived”
Hollrah claims his speech is like Gore claiming to have invented the internet, something Gore never said and has been repeatedly debunked by media watchdog groups, yet continues to be repeated. The author is completing a double play by comparing an exaggeration with a lie. He also links what he sees as Obama’s missteps with those of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Unbelievably, the author then quotes “one of my black friends.” This is classic racism. You tell people about your black friend so that they could not possibly believe you are a racist. This piece is truly unique on its fact bending, media twisting inaccuracies and racial caveats. The author lives in Oaklahoma.
Ricahrd Cohen in the Washington Post goes so far as to suggest, “The tendency to manipulate facts may bear watching in Obama.” He also compares Dreams to Profiles in courage as promising politicians who are packing themselves in a “larger cause.” Cohen retells the Ebony story as his evidence to watch Obama for his honesty. Cohen also warns Obama that “Sheer ambition is no longer tolerated in American public life.” He appears to suggest that since Dreams was published when Obama was only 34 years old, he has been planning this moment since then and thus, carefully packaged himself for presentation to the public. Somewhat of a conspiracy theory within himself. An interesting take. I contacted the author to see if he would print a correction.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Peduto '09?

The exit of Bill Peduto in the mayor's race is unfortunate for the city of Pittsburgh. Mr. Peduto is a personable and well-informed individual who would have made a great mayor.
To his credit, he said he withdrew because "running a victorious political campaign would require dividing a city." Mr. Peduto's integrity, ideas and knowledge place him at the top of the Pittsburgh political class.
His continued presence on City Council and as a leader in innovative ideas for Pittsburgh remains an important ingredient in the city's future.

Additional comments:
Why is it that when a candidate challenges the Democratic status quo he is not covered in the local media? Peduto has given the current Mayor several ideas. Some of Peduto's ideas have been mirrored by the current mayor.
He lost the endorsement vote by 4 to 1. This means many of the long time committee people will support the Mayor. This is before any debate on the issues. Presumably, then, he will loose the election. If he stays in and looses big, he may not be a viable candidate in 2009. The people of Pittsburgh loose without a choice. However, by bowing out or "quitting" as the PG noted on the front page, he may have the opportunity to become the "go to man" to scrutinize the mayor.

Friday, January 12, 2007

LTE to Tribune Review: Published but not posted.

I recently sent the following in response to this letter:, which compared Vietnam to Iraq and asks that we support continuing in Iraq.

I was told my reply was published, but it is not on their website. I have contacted the paper several time to let them know of the error, but they have not made the correction. Maybe it is because I use the "I" word...Here is the reply I wrote:

In response to Linda Dupill's letter not to, "leave before the job is done" and to "be compassionate", I ask that she look at the facts. 80% of Americans oppose the Iraq war. The generals in Iraq have stated that more troops will make the situation worse. When the generals wanted more troops, via the Powell Doctrine, The President refused. We need a leader who knows their history and the Marshall plan. We need a President who listens to his generals, the American people, and The Iraq Study Group. We need to support the Iraqi people by offering Iraq's employment through reconstruction funds, not giving funds to Haliburton and Blackwater. We need to build and staff hospitals, schools, and infrastructure. This President and this administration have not had the intellectual capacity to succeed in these basic tasks. If we have compassion and want to "win" this war, we should face the facts. We can not win with this President. His negligence is criminal. For the sake of the Iraqi people and our brave military we should impeach George W. Bush and relieve him of his incompetent tenure as commander-in-chief. We should compassionately write our congressman and senators and ask them to give us the leadership our President has failed to offer.