Posts Tagged ‘whyy’

We’ve Moved!

August 27, 2008

After months of living in the parking lot, WHYY has adopted us and welcomed us into the fold at their website, whyy.org.

The Y-Decide 2008 blog is now officially part of the WHYY family of blogs.

Click here for the new home of Y-Decide 2008.

That url is:

http://whyy.org/blogs/ydecide/

All of the archived content from this site is there and we will continue to give our own take on this election and beyond.  All of our guest bloggers are coming along for the ride so check it out!

WHYY Audio: Day 2 at the Convention with Lily Gold

August 27, 2008

In her latest update from Denver, Lily brings Dave Heller up to speed on her attempts to get credentials for the Convention floor, her interactions with fellow high school students and her plans for Thursday night – Barack Obama’s acceptance speech.

Listen to the mp3 from yesterday’s chat between Dave and Lily.

Third Day’s a Charm

August 27, 2008

And the end approaches to another hectic day at JSA and the DNC.  I awoke this morning after approximately 3 hours of sleep only to realize that I had overslept and had to rush to get to the bus before it left without me.  Instead of the delegates breakfast we went straight to the Cable Center of Denver for a speakers program.  Included on the list of speakers were Bob Graham, the former Governor of Florida and veteran of various Vice Presidential and Presidential races, as well as George McGovern, the Democratic Presidential Nominee in the 1972 election won by Richard Nixon.

Graham was pretty funny and very likable at one point telling us a story about filming an “MTV” (his word for music video) with Jimmy Buffett.  He was pretty candid about questions asked of him, but also seemed to be very intent on informing us about civics academic programs and their potential benefits to the future of America.  All around though he was fun, entertaining and informative while also being very interesting to listen to.

McGovern, the other very notable speaker on the list seemed rushed, as he confessed that his schedule had filled up more quickly than he had expected.  He talked mostly about his life and how he started out in South Dakota as one of the only elected Democrats in a mostly Republican state.  From there he went on to talk about his Presidential bid and some of the ways it has affected future elections, such as the extensive length of modern presidential elections.  He started his campaign much earlier than was generally accepted at the time and others have followed suit.

It should be noted that all of the speakers were not reading speeches so much as giving short unscripted talks and then answering our questions about their lives and experiences.

After the Speaker’s Program we went into downtown Denver and walked around for a while.  While there, we went to the set of Chris Matthew’s Hardball, which was really cool to watch.

What really struck me about Denver is the sheer amount of protesters, as well as the extensive police presence.  It seemed like every block there was a group of heavily body-armored police officers with dogs and automatic rifles scanning the crowd for any sign of a civil disturbance.  To match the police presence, there are literally hundreds of thousands of protesters demonstrating on issues ranging from outlandish – our government’s involvement in the planning of 9/11 – to the serious – pro-Life protesters arguing with pro-Choice protesters – to the downright funny, with one group of people marching to bring back Crystal Pepsi.

While in Denver, I continued my quest to secure credentials to the Convention, which are exceptionally hard to come by.  By the end of the day, I had become so desperate that I began cold-calling the Democratic headquarters of different states to see if they had any extras.  Finally however, through a family connection, I got credentials for Thursday night at Invesco Field and possibly to see Bill Clinton and Joe Biden tomorrow, which is awesome.

Anyway this post is getting to be a little long, but I still want to talk about what actually went on at the convention so I think I am going to open it up to you guys.  What did you think of the keynote speech?  I think Warner brought up some issues that hadn’t been raised previously in this election, but he didn’t elicit the excitement I was hoping for.

What did you guys think of the Governor of Montana – Brian Schweizter?  I loved his energy and the ease with which he spoke, he seemed like a nice, regular, normal guy who just happened to be speaking in front of a few million people on live television.

What did you think of Hillary?  Did you think she made enough of an effort to through her support to Obama?  Did she talk too much about her campaign?  Did it seemed forced, did you think her heart was really in it?

And finally, the clincher, were Bill Clintons tears real, or were they just a ploy for sympathy?
I am looking forward to your responses!

Sleepless Deprived in Denver… Already

August 25, 2008

I am officially in the Mile High City, though I must say, this city seems to many miles high with bubbling Obama spirit. Or at least, that is probably what the information people walking around the Denver airport in cowboy hats would have told me. And, if any of the readers out there are avid skiers like I am, you know that these Western American, type-casted, human information stations are not usually floating around. But between these urban cowboys and the bellowing voice of Denver’s Mayor Hickenlooper welcoming delegates and travelers alike over the loudspeakers on the train, I can already come to one obvious conclusion: Denver is pulling out every known and unknown stop for this Democratic party.

My travel day went as well as should be expected. Though I did not have the fortune of sitting next to a delegate or a celebrity on the way over here (someone had Spike Lee on their flight), I did sit next to a nice lady who was on her way to the convention via Xerox and was going with marching orders to make copies of anything convention related. So for all of you interns out there: there is hope! You can use the “skill” of copying pro!

But before I even got on the flight, I staked my claim in terminal D9 scouting out potential JSAers. One girl complimented me on my shoes and, as it happened, I was sitting in the same row as another girl. Little did I know at the time that these two potentials would end up being my roommates. Who knew?

The official name of what I am doing here is the 2008 Democratic National Convention Symposium and, seeing as we are not a group of delegates, the 2008 DNC Symposium was welcomed to the Millennium hotel in Boulder CO with open arms. Don’t take that as a scoff for Boulder, though: I quickly located the closest Starbucks and Einstein Bagel. Sadly, I doubt I am going to see much more of Boulder because between our packed days in Denver and slee… oh wait… I was going to say sleeping, but seeing as it is my first night and I have to be up in about 4 hours suggests that I will not be doing much of that.

Let’s just hope that the coffee kicks in soon.

By far the highlight of the day was receiving my complete and extremely detailed schedule for the week. Now, I would share this information and give a little preview as to what I am going to be doing, but that ruins the element of suprise. But for those skeptics and believers out there who want something to chew on, we are hearing from a plethora of people including someone old, someone new, someone borrowed from Obama’s campaign and someone who is blue after losing a presidential election back during another unpopular war.

To help us navigate through the hustle and bustle of downtown Denver, JSA has taken the time to organize us into “pods.” A “Pod” is the group of kids that we walk around with and it is organized by state. Now, when I say organized by state, I mean that they are organized according to the closeness of the hotels that are delegations are staying at. Sadly, the Pennsylvania delegation does not seem to carry much pull with the hotel heirs and/or the Democratic National Convention Committee, because my pod is a bit, shall we say, assorted: Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. So my pod is quite the bag of mixed nuts, but never fear- I met some of the Minnesotans and they are ready to rumble.

I know I said that I wasn’t going to divulge any of the headliners in our playbill, but I will say that the reason I need to wake up in what is now 3 and a half hours is because tomorrow, we have the equivalent of breakfast with the Disney Princesses in Cinderella’s Castle; we are having breakfast with delegates from our states.

But, this is not merely a photo-up with some syrup. Tomorrow, I will attempt the same feat attempted by Charlie Bucket in countless movies and books: I am going to go on a quest for a golden ticket. But this golden ticket goes around your neck, and instead of getting me into a chocolate factory to see Willy Wonka, it gets me into the Pepsi Center to see some of the greatest thinkers and orators of our time give the historical speeches which most people will have to dutifully watch on CNN.

Yes, I am talking about credentials. The delegates have them and I want them, so I will work all the charms my mother gave me to get them (in a completely platonic way of course).

But don’t fret. If at first you don’t succeed, try to smooze with them again. We have another ulterior-motive- driven breakfast on Tuesday where I will continue to work my charms, credentials or not. And if I don’t get on the floor tomorrow night, I will watch the speeches on C-SPAN just like you guys, except I will be at a watch party at the hustle-y bustle-y convention center. Now, as my eyes begin to close and my head begins to subtly turn off, I want to end by sending a little welcoming shoutout over to “Shipped to the DNC with Dan.” Since he is from Jersey, he is in a legit Pod with Hawaii and Guam, so hopefully he will be able to interject with breakfast food for thought from the Jersey delegation. But, I must say our brief meeting was quite cordial, so I would not hold my breath for a blogger summer smackdown.

So as it is almost time for me to wake up, I have resolved to try and cherish the few hours of sleep I can. But stay tuned for the next episode where we find out what features and creatures I see tomorrow and if I succeed in my quest for DNC gold.

Let’s join the VP frenzy, shall we?

August 22, 2008

I must admit.   I caved.  I went to Barack Obama’s website, which I won’t link to here because I think Google will give it to you at the top link for any search that’s remotely close to Obama.

I signed up to get a text message and/or an email of the announcement of his vice-presidential running mate.

Yes, I’m officially part of the frenzy.

So today on Y-Decide 2008, we’ll be suspending issues talk unless the issue has something to do with the choice of V.P.

Will it be Joe Biden?  If so, we can talk foreign policy – Russia, Georgia, Iraq, China, Africa, and so on.

Will it be Evan Bayh?  Let’s talk agricultural issues, economic issues affecting the Midwest and “Rust Belt” states, ethanol, and anything else you think that a Senator from Indiana would have some expertise in.

Will it by Tim Kaine?  He’s socially conservative, in touch with his faith, from a large, increasingly “purple state” that would just about seal victory for Obama if he were to win it.  Would the choice of Kaine bring in the faith-based electorate who might be turned off if McCain chooses Tom Ridge?  Would that choice force McCain’s hand away from Ridge, giving up a potential chip in Pennsylvania?  Kaine is popular in a “red state” despite his opposition to the death penalty, support for some gun control measures (VA is the site of the Virginia Tech shooting), and willingness to raise revenue for transportation and infrastructure.  At the same time, he’s opposed to abortion which makes him a little weak for progressives.  It is refreshing, however, to find an abortion opponent who also opposes the death penalty.

Will it be Kathleen Sebelius?  CNN must not think so since they don’t seem to have her house in their 4-way split screen in which they’re stalking Tim Kaine, Evan Bayh and Joe Biden.  But if so, she’s pretty strong on a number of populist issues in a decidedly socially conservative state (star of What’s the Matter With Kansas after all.)  She’s also popular in the environmental community for standing up to those who wanted to build more coal-fired power plants in her state.  Oh yeah, and she’s a woman not named Cleen-TON.

We should all know soon.

WHYY’s Delaware Tonight crew is in a special position with its longtime coverage of all things Biden.  I’m waiting to hear back about whether we have a reporter on the scene at Biden’s house.  When I find out, I’ll let you know.  So this blog might be your source for on-the-scene reporting from casa Biden.  If it’s any of the others, we’ll be your choice for on-the-scene reporting from my television tuned to CNN.

Check back throughout the day for updates!  I’m going to prepare a post so that when that golden ticket magic text message comes through, I’ll publish the result right away.

Obama, McCain tax plans get the Terry Gross treatment

July 24, 2008

And Terry is known for asking tough questions.

Earlier today on Fresh Air, Terry talked to top economic advisers from both campaigns and, for good measure, brought in an independent expert to evaluate the tax and budget plans of both candidates.

If you’re pressed for time, just skip to Len Burman, the independent expert.  He broke it down pretty well, pointing the strengths, weaknesses and omissions from both candidates.  The link for the Burman interview is here.

On the Button: Talking nuclear policy with GOP candidate McCain

June 2, 2008

First, my apologies to all of the loyal readers out there who have missed their substantive discussion on the issues of the 2008 race for the presidency.  Yours truly has been swamped with work from his various other functions here at your friendly neighborhood public service broadcasting company and with campaigns slowing down a little, I haven’t been updating this blog as often as I’d like.

My hope is to get back into it with the ferocity, snark, tenaciousness and links, links and more links, that you’ve come to know and love.

So welcome back to my dozen or so readers.  Buckle up and get ready for the ride.  And remember – Pennsylvania is shaping up to be quite a battleground for November so WHYY – its reporters and its entire community – will be well positioned to bring you some decent firsthand accounts of the candidates and their many, many visits.

Introducing a new feature here at Y-Decide 2008: One The Button – Your guide to the foreign and national defense policies of the candidates for president.

In our first episode we bring you a bit from last week about John McCain’s foreign policy from the New York Times’ political blog, The Caucus:

At a speech in Denver he shared the broad outlines of his nuclear security policy, including his intention to rewrite an arms control agreement with Russia to “reduce our nuclear forces to the lowest level we judge necessary.” The Times’s Elisabeth Bumiller notes that Mr. McCain’s speech served a dual purpose: to distance himself from the Bush administration on its approach to Russia and nuclear weapons and to establish himself as a more experienced candidate on national security issues compared to Democratic Senator Barack Obama.

One point on which Senators McCain and Obama as well as Hillary Rodham Clinton all agree is the need to bring “peace and security” to the troubled Darfur region of Sudan. The three candidates signed a joint statement to be released today by the Save Darfur Coalition.

It appears that McCain is seeking to tone down the cowboy rhetoric that he found it necessary to use while he was campaigning for the Republican nomination (ie Bomb Iran, etc.).

From the left, we get plenty of responses as to whether McCain’s policies actually fit with his stated goal of seeing nuclear weapons “banished from the face of the earth.”

William Hartung at the TPMCafe separates the rhetoric from the policy:

For starters, it is clear that McCain’s “dream” of a nuclear free world is a distant one. Before embracing Reagan’s vision, he spoke in much more limited terms, of “a world in which there are far fewer such weapons than there are today.”

McCain stuck with his tough talk about North Korea and Iran — including the suggestion that “the use of force may be necessary,” if only as a last resort — in ending Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

McCain endorsed a new arms treaty with Russia, but failed to explain how his plans to exclude Moscow from attending meetings of the G-8 group of industrialized nations and to deploy missile defense components in Poland and the Czech Republic would set the groundwork for such discussions, rather than just antagonizing Russia to the point that its leadership won’t want to negotiate any major deals with Washington.

McCain seemed to soften his opposition to a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, a measure he voted against in the Senate in 1999; but he clung to the opponent’s rhetoric about its “shortcomings.”

McCain also endorsed the U.S.-India nuclear deal, a civilian technology sharing arrangement that could free up energy and resources for India to expand its nuclear weapons program, even as it undermines the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and gives countries like Iran the ability to talk about Washington’s double standards when it comes to nuclear development.

Positive elements of the McCain plan include seeking a cutoff on the production of new fissile materials (plutonium or enriched uranium that can be used to make nuclear weapons), and for some sort of verification regime to monitor U.S. and Russian nuclear forces akin to that established under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which runs out in 2009.

So, McCain’s nuclear posture is a decidely mixed bag.

If Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that any nuclear disarmament policy that doesn’t include putting all of the world’s nuclear missiles into a giant net and hammer tossing that bundle into the sun is just a lot of talk.