Video-Philes: August 2006: Archives
August 31, 2006
August 25, 2006
August 24, 2006
August 23, 2006
The Ryan White Act has been a mainstay in providing HIV/AIDS funding for a number of years having been originated in 1990. In this year’s effort to reauthorize the funding, a conflict has emerged that is generating some interesting political spin. As I understand the issue, the current reauthorization proposes to change the way in which funding is apportioned to the individual states such that some of the larger states that initially suffered the greatest incidence of HIV/AIDS would potentially lose some funding.
Basically, the prior definitional guidelines provided funding based upon the incidence of AIDS...a definitional term that indicates an individual's disease progression as opposed to merely looking at the occurrence of HIV infections. Under the new guidelines, funding would be weighted towards the number of infections within a state as opposed to the number of individuals identified to have AIDS.
Senator Clinton has become the focal point of the political spin surrounding the funding changes. She has indicated a willingness to block the passage of the bill if the guidelines are in fact altered. The bottom line is her concern that New York may lose funding if the appropriation method is altered. California, Florida, and Illinois would also stand to lose funding. Clinton detractors have asserted that the Senator is merely looking at the 2008 political implications in her opposition to the funding changes...they assert that the new funding would shift money to southern states...a region the Senator isn't likely to win should she run for President in 2008. Read the full article here.
From The Washington Post:
This year's fight has pitted the states in which the AIDS epidemic began -- those with large cities that now have large populations of people with AIDS -- against smaller states in which the incidence of HIV infections, but not full-blown AIDS, has soared. The current law's formula is based on the number of patients with AIDS; the new funding formula would, in effect, distribute funding based on the number of patients with HIV or AIDS.
Some of the largest AIDS organization side with Clinton. Gay Men's Health Crisis, for example, "fully supports Senator Clinton's position on the current bill," a spokeswoman said.
On the other hand, Christopher M. Hamlin, chaplain for an outpatient clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, favors the new formula. "The money needs to follow the virus," he said. "More funds need to be directed to the part of the community that has seen the numbers increase so much, especially rural communities."
Some critics see electoral motives behind Clinton's position. "If you look at the states she has to carry to become president -- California, New York, Illinois, Florida -- those would be the hardest hit if the formula were changed," said Charles Grant, founder of AbsoluteCare Medical Center Inc., the largest private HIV/AIDS medical center in Georgia.
Asked why Clinton might countenance lower funding for Southern and rural states, Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the nation's largest community-based HIV/AIDS medical provider, said, "I don't think she expects to carry the South."
I personally think it is unfortunate that it is being suggested that the Senator is making a political calculation. In fact, Senator Schumer of New York is also opposed to the new funding guidelines. Clearly, whatever the Senator does is now believed to be motivated by her political aspirations despite the fact that she may simply be working in the best interest of her New York constituents. It seems like a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't. Unfortunately it points out how much partisan attention the Senator seems to attract regardless of her actions. With regards to the Ryan White Act, I simply don't buy the political spin.
Given the topic, I thought I would include the following AIDS awareness video. Thought Theater has previously posted AIDS awareness videos from France here and here. While it is unfair to make direct comparisons of the following video to the French videos, it should be obvious to the viewer that the French perspective would be met with criticism here in the U.S. despite being focused on individual empowerment and a clearly more positive awareness message.
August 18, 2006
August 16, 2006
The offensive remarks made by Senator George Allen have all the makings of a Dick Wadhams campaign. Wadhams cut his political teeth in Colorado and has been seen as the person behind the rise of Senator Wayne Allard, a Colorado veterinarian. Wadhams went on to orchestrate the campaign against Tom Daschle in South Dakota and is now leading Allen's reelection effort.
The 49-year-old operative comes across as an aging country boy, but he is renowned for running nasty and effective campaigns. In South Dakota he honed his slash-and-burn reputation, relentlessly attacking Daschle about his Washington, D.C., home, luxury car, and lobbyist wife. At one point, Wadhams accused the former minority leader of having "emboldened Saddam Hussein." Thune won, by a slim margin, and gratefully dubbed his campaign manager "the best pit bull out there."
Rove may have figured that recommending Wadhams for the South Dakota race would be the next best thing to taking Daschle down himself. The two operatives, who have known each other since their days in College Republicans, run similar campaigns.
When Wadhams worked for Allard in 1996 and 2002, his two-time opponent Democrat Tom Strickland was widely regarded as the smarter candidate. But Wadhams successfully cast Strickland as an untrustworthy "lawyer-lobbyist" and Allard as a likable, low-key country vet. When it turned out Strickland had made a tidy profit from the IPO of Global Crossing—a company that figured prominently in the corporate scandals of 2002—Wadhams was well-positioned to pounce. Strickland was "up to his mustache in corporate scandal," he proclaimed, and "probably the dirtiest candidate in America."
Another way to control a campaign is to shape its news coverage, and Wadhams found a new way to do that for the Thune campaign. South Dakota Republicans had long accused the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the state's most influential paper, of being pro-Daschle. When two bloggers, Jason Van Beek and Jon Lauck, began cataloguing alleged acts of bias like lack of criticism of Linda Daschle's lobbying practice, Wadhams hired them as campaign researchers. Wadhams insists he wasn't underwriting the bloggers' online enterprises. But Van Beek and Lauck didn't disclose that the Thune campaign was cutting them checks.
Dick Wadhams is a man many have called Karl Rove's protégé. During Wadhams work in Colorado for Senator Wayne Allard's 2002 reelection, he gave one of the most acerbic victory speeches I have ever witnessed. While gloating at the defeat of Ted Strickland, his comments were vile and hateful. The man is Karl Rove absent a scintilla of decorum and decency...if you can imagine that! It appears that George Allen believes that two bullies are better than one.
From The Daily Show:
August 15, 2006
The DSCC and the Democratic Party realize that the GOP has used security issues successfully in the last two election cycles and they are determined to allow 2006 to be more of the same. The DSCC has rolled out a new video called Secure as the first salvo in their efforts to convince the voting public that Democrats are tough on terror and security and to expose the GOP fostered misconceptions about America's security as well as the failures of the Bush administration. The full article can be found here and the video is at the end of this posting.
“They are not Swift boating us on security," said Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader in the House.
Seeking to counter White House efforts to turn the reported terrorist plot in Britain to Republican advantage, Democrats are using the arrests of the suspects to try to show Americans how the war in Iraq has fueled Islamic radicalism and distracted Mr. Bush and the Republican Congress from shoring up security at home.
But they are not waiting. A video Monday on the Web site of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee showed footage of Osama bin Laden, referred to an increase in terror attacks, highlighted illegal immigration and pointed out the nuclear aspirations of Iran and North Korea.
“Feel safer?" it concludes. “Vote for change."
Democrats say polls show that Republicans and Mr. Bush have lost stature on the subject on terrorism as Americans have become disillusioned with the war in Iraq. They also believe that more voters are able to separate the war from efforts to protect the nation against terror attacks.
The GOP has been successful in connecting the invasion of Iraq with the war on terror and recent polling still indicates that half of Americans still think that Sadaam Hussein was connected to 9/11. Read the details of that poll here. The Democrats must be able to break that connection if they are going to shift voter thinking before the 2006 midterm election such that they can use the failed effort in Iraq to defeat GOP candidates without being characterized as weak on security and terror. While the Connecticut defeat of Joe Lieberman demonstrates that many Democratic voters have made that distinction, the close race seems to also suggest the complexity of resolving the Iraq war as well as the overall ramifications it may have on Middle East security and thus our long term security.
Republicans said they believed that the Democratic efforts would fizzle and that voters would ultimately choose to trust Republicans on the issue of security. And Mr. Bush, in remarks at the State Department on Monday, disputed the notion that his policies had contributed to a more dangerous world.
“Some say that America caused the current instability in the Middle East by pursuing a forward strategy of freedom, yet history shows otherwise," Mr. Bush said, ticking off terror attacks that occurred in the United States, Africa and elsewhere long before he took office.
While Republicans are still seen as doing a better job than Democrats in handling terrorism, the difference in the latest CBS poll is now about 8 points, about the same as a month ago, compared to the 25-point advantage Republicans held on the question four years ago.
The latest CBS poll showed no change in Mr. Bush’s job approval rating, which is at 36 percent, the same as in a New York Times/CBS News poll last month. His approval rating on handling terrorism, long a central element of his political strength, also remained unchanged at 51 percent.
While the numbers show the Democrats have made significant progress with the issue, the fact that Bush continues to garner majority support for his handling of terrorism while at the same time having a job approval rating of only 36% indicates the degree to which Americans are hesitant to abandon the GOP on security matters. It will be critical for Democrats to persuade a majority of moderate and independent voters that they can provide the needed security and leadership to successfully prosecute the ongoing war on terror.
August 12, 2006
As a kid I used to watch the Mike Douglas Show after school. He always had good talent on his show and in tribute to his passing, I thought It would be nice to post some video of big name acts appearing on his show.
John Lennon - Imagine
Judy Garland - Over The Rainbow
Shirley Bassey - Goin' Out Of My Head