WBEZ | joe biden http://www.wbez.org/tags/joe-biden Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en In other countries, it wouldn't be "too late" for Biden to run http://www.wbez.org/news/other-countries-it-wouldnt-be-too-late-biden-run-113441 <p><div id="res450562522" previewtitle="Only in the U.S. is nearly 400 days out considered potentially too late to run."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Only in the U.S. is nearly 400 days out considered potentially too late to run." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/21/gettyimages-493424470-9448930dab3d5c381b8caadccfc03374a65b322b-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="Only in the U.S. is nearly 400 days out considered potentially too late to run. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>If Vice President Joe Biden had announced his presidential candidacy today, he would have entered the race with 384 days until Election Day. But he said it was too late for him be competitive.</p></div></div></div><p>Here&#39;s the thing: Three hundred eighty-four days is an absurdly long time.</p><p>At least, it is when you compare American campaigns to those in other countries. The U.S. doesn&#39;t have an official campaign season, but the first candidate to jump into the presidential race, Ted Cruz, announced his candidacy on March 23 &mdash; 596 days before Election Day.</p><div id="res450536983" previewtitle="Whether you measure from the first candidate's entry or the first caucus, the U.S. campaign season is way longer than many other countries'."><div><div><p>Meanwhile, Canada just wrapped up its latest campaign season. That one was longer than usual &mdash; at around 11 weeks. To the south, Mexican general election campaigns start 90 days before election day (and have to stop three days prior to the election), with an additional 60-day &quot;pre-campaign&quot; season, in which candidates vie for the nomination.</p></div></div></div><p><strong>Different Laws And Different Systems</strong></p><p><img alt="Whether you measure from the first candidate's entry or the first caucus, the U.S. campaign season is way longer than many other countries'." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/21/national-election-campaign-length-days-_chartbuilder-3-_custom-a47a294c0f2b0a439cba13991b121ce600d5efb1-s300-c85.png" style="height: 256px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Whether you measure from the first candidate's entry or the first caucus, the U.S. campaign season is way longer than many other countries'. (Danielle Kurtzleben)" /></p><p>How do so many other countries keep their campaigns so short while the U.S. drags on so long? The simple answer is that many countries simply have laws dictating how long a campaign period is, while the U.S. doesn&#39;t.</p><p>In Mexico, a&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2007/sep/15/world/fg-mexreform15">2007 law</a>&nbsp;limited the length of campaigns. In Argentina, advertisements can only begin&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ec-undp-electoralassistance.org/index.php?option=com_docman&amp;task=doc_download&amp;gid=556&amp;Itemid=&amp;lang=en">60 days before the election</a>, and the official campaign itself can only start 25 days after that. In France, the presidential campaign is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.loc.gov/law/help/campaign-finance/comparative-summary.php">generally only two weeks</a>&nbsp;long.</p><p>The system of government can also dictate the campaign season length. In many parliamentary systems, the campaign season is tied to the date when the prime minister dissolves parliament. In August, Prime Minister Stephen Harper dissolved Canada&#39;s parliament &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/ElectionsAndRidings/LengthCampaigns.aspx?SortColumn=DaysDissolutionElectionDate&amp;SortDirection=DESC">11 weeks</a>&nbsp;before a scheduled election, making for the longest modern campaign season yet in that country, according to the CBC. (The minimum length of an election campaign in Canada is 36 days.)</p><p>And though the country has no legal limit on how long a campaign can be, it is constrained by that first date of dissolving parliament.</p><div id="res450351364"><aside aria-label="pullquote" role="complementary"><div><p>Voters in [Canada] would not have the tolerance or would not accept a system where that kind of money is spent on campaigns. There would be a huge uproar.</p></div><p>Don Abelson, professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario</p></aside></div><p>&quot;That&#39;s only feasible with a short campaign period. We obviously couldn&#39;t dissolve the Congress 18 to 24 months in advance,&quot; says Michael Traugott, professor of political science at the University of Michigan.</p><p><strong>Big Money In Politics</strong></p><p>Laws may keep some countries&#39; elections short, but other factors allow America&#39;s to go long &mdash; large amounts of money being chief among them. A candidate can&#39;t keep advertising for a year and a half, for example, without millions of dollars at his or her disposal. The U.S. system essentially requires candidates to raise millions of dollars to even mount a serious run.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/quote.JPG" style="height: 307px; width: 250px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="" />Indeed, Canadians balked even at the country&#39;s recent 11-week campaign.</p><p>And in many countries, there&#39;s not room for a massive advertising arms race like the U.S. has, anyway.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21611070-political-airtime-tv-follows-strict-schedule-will-it-matter-tightly-scripted-telenovela">Brazil</a>, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/03/10/391936801/no-big-money-or-tv-ads-whats-with-the-u-k-s-low-key-election">U.K.</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/12/19/in-japan-fair-elections-breed-apathy-and-destroy-competition/">Japan</a>, among many others, simply don&#39;t allow candidates to purchase TV ads (but that doesn&#39;t mean zero ads &mdash; in some countries, like Japan, candidates each get equal, free, ad space).</p><p><strong>Primary Creep</strong></p><p>But the U.S. campaign hasn&#39;t always been an ultramarathon, and the presidential campaign didn&#39;t always drag on for a year and a half. Prior to the 1976 cycle, most presidential campaigns started within the election year, as Larry Sabato&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970203476804576615300476081190">wrote in theWall Street Journal</a>&nbsp;(just imagine if all today&#39;s candidates were still three months from declaring).</p><p>But then Jimmy Carter decided to jump-start his Iowa campaign in 1975. That helped lead other candidates into the early race as well. Add in states&#39; constant jostling to have the first primaries or caucuses, Sabato added, and it helped create the permanent campaign we all know today.</p><p><strong>So What&#39;s The &#39;Right&#39; System?</strong></p><p>It&#39;s easy to think that the grass is greener across the border (or ocean). But it&#39;s not as if shorter systems are inherently better. Mexico, for example, is still dealing with the unintended consequences of its recent reforms, says one expert.</p><p>&quot;The truth is that it&#39;s really impossible, or incredibly complicated, to create a system where the big problems can be removed without creating another set of problems,&quot; said Eric Magar, professor at the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology.</p><p>He points to the country&#39;s Green Party as an example. The government recently&nbsp;<a href="https://news.vice.com/article/in-mexican-politics-the-greens-are-corruption-turned-into-a-party">fined&nbsp;</a>the party for running ads&nbsp;<a href="http://thenews.mx/2015/03/ine-penalizes-green-party/">outside the campaign window</a>.</p><p>True, the laws are being enforced, but the party&#39;s actions point to two problems in the nation&#39;s newly reformed system: One is that parties can simply run ads before it&#39;s legal, because they think it&#39;s worth the fine.</p><p>The other: They can use taxpayer money to pay those fines.</p><p>&quot;Most of the money is public, so what ends up happening is they&#39;re using a bunch of taxpayer money to pay the fines,&quot; Magar says. &quot;So it&#39;s a system that has lots of holes in its operations.&quot;</p><p>Other election systems can reinforce a party&#39;s power. The prime minister often chooses to disband parliament when his party is popular, Abelson explains, so his party can be assured of winning the next election. This can give the party in power an extra boost &mdash; not necessarily a bad outcome, depending on whom you support, but it&#39;s a system that plays a big part in determining who leads.</p><p>(As an example, Abelson points to a hypothetical Prime Minister George H.W. Bush. Had he called an election in 1991, when he was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/116677/presidential-approval-ratings-gallup-historical-statistics-trends.aspx">enormously popular</a>, he could have far more easily held onto his spot than one year later, when his favorability ratings had plummeted.)</p><p>And some have made the case that&nbsp;<a href="https://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/12/19/in-japan-fair-elections-breed-apathy-and-destroy-competition/">Japan&#39;s uber-strict election laws</a>&nbsp;go too far, keeping new ideas out of the public discourse.</p><p>Still, a shorter U.S. election season could have plenty of advantages &mdash; it wouldn&#39;t exhaust voters, and it might not require a candidate to amass tens of millions of dollars to even run, for example.</p><p>Not that change seems likely anytime soon. For U.S. voters sick of the perpetual electioneering, there&#39;s not much to do but gaze wistfully at other countries &mdash; or make that perennial &quot;moving-to-Canada&quot; threat.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/21/450238156/canadas-11-week-campaign-reminds-us-that-american-elections-are-much-longer?ft=nprml&amp;f=450238156" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 21 Oct 2015 11:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/other-countries-it-wouldnt-be-too-late-biden-run-113441 Biden: Illinois election sends message on guns http://www.wbez.org/news/biden-illinois-election-sends-message-guns-105784 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS7067_AP295119131125-scr(1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WASHINGTON &mdash; Vice President Joe Biden argued Wednesday that the primary election victory of a gun control advocate to represent Illinois in Congress sends a message that voters won&#39;t stand for inaction in response to shooting violence after the Connecticut school shooting.</p><p>Robin Kelly was elected Tuesday as the Democratic nominee in a Chicago-area district to replace former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., forced out in an ethics scandal, after running on gun control. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg&#39;s political fund poured $2 million into television ads against an opponent who had been highly rated by the National Rifle Association.</p><p>&quot;For the first time since Newtown, voters sent a clear unequivocal signal,&quot; Biden told state attorneys general gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington.</p><p>&quot;The voters sent a message last night, not just to the NRA but to the politicians all around the country by electing Robin Kelly, who stood up, who stood strong for gun safety totally consistent with our Second Amendment rights,&quot; Biden said. &quot;The message is there will be a moral price as well as a political price to be paid for inaction. This is not 1994. People know too much.&quot;</p><p>In 1994, Congress passed an assault weapons ban and some lawmakers who supported it paid an electoral price by being voted out of office. But Biden argued the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 students and six workers has changed the gun debate in a way he&#39;s never seen.</p><p>&quot;This senseless act not only shocked the conscience of the American people, but I believe it has changed and galvanized the attitude of the American people demanding concrete action. I&#39;ve been doing this for a long time. The public mood has changed,&quot; Biden said, his voice rising to a yell. &quot;The excuse that it&#39;s too politically risky to act is no longer acceptable. We cannot remain silent. We have to become the voices of those 20 beautiful children.&quot;</p><p>Biden has been the White House&#39;s leader on pushing for gun control legislation, including a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and a push for universal background checks. The vice president planned to meet later in the day with Bloomberg at the White House.</p></p> Wed, 27 Feb 2013 11:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/biden-illinois-election-sends-message-guns-105784 New role for ex-'sexiest man alive' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-01/new-role-ex-sexiest-man-alive-105012 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/FITZGERALD.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong><a href="https://soundcloud.com/meyerson/from-may-2012-u-s-attorney" target="_blank"><img alt="Former U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3f/Patrick_Fitzgerald.jpg/200px-Patrick_Fitzgerald.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 208px; float: right;" /></a>WE LOVE NO OTHER, SO LET OUR MOTTO BE VICTORY.</strong> A former (2005) &quot;<strong><a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/entertainment&amp;id=3645297">sexiest man alive</a></strong>&quot; is headed for a new job: A seat on <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-quinn-to-name-former-prosecutor-fitzgerald-to-ui-board-20130117,0,4597873.story">the University of Illinois board of trustees</a>.<br />* Would you like to be on an Illinois board or commission? You can <a href="http://appointments.illinois.gov/bcForm.cfm">nominate yourself online</a>. Good luck.</p><p><strong>HOTEL WRIGLEY.&nbsp;</strong>The Cubs&#39; owners say they are close to a deal to put <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0118-wrigley-redevelop--20130118,0,1547549.story">a hotel across the street from Wrigley Field</a> -- now site of a McDonald&#39;s (which would also be be part of a new development). But there&#39;s a big &quot;if&quot;: The plan hinges on public money to help upgrade Wrigley Field.</p><p><strong>&#39;SIMPERING CRAP SHOULD BE ELIMINATED FROM THE SPORTS PAGES.&#39; </strong><em>Deadspin</em>&#39;s editor-in-chief tells <a href="http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/201012/deadspins-editor-in-chief-explains-editing-reporting-behind-manti-teo-story/">the story behind the story of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te&#39;o&#39;s nonexistent dead girlfriend</a> (or is it &quot;dead nonexistent girlfriend&quot;?) and offers his take on the state of sports journalism.<br />* Media critic Jack Shafer&#39;s prescription for becoming a better journalist: &quot;Doubt what you read, doubt what you hear -- and when you feel your heart beating, tear it out and <a href="http://blogs.reuters.com/jackshafer/2013/01/17/manti-teo-and-the-press-get-blitzed/">stomp on it until it stops</a>.&quot;<br />* <em>Chicago Tribune</em> standards editor: After &quot;embarrassing&quot; chapter, &quot;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/tribnation/chi-manti-teo-girlfriend-mystery-notre-dame-and-corrections-20130117,0,5889226.story">we will do what we do after every error</a>: Admit our mistake, learn from it, do some soul-searching and move forward.&quot;<br />* <em>Washington Post</em> <a href="http://www.thewrap.com/media/column-post/washington-post-reporter-admits-plagiarism-apologizes-73561">suspends bureau chief for plagiarism</a>.</p><p><strong>LANCE ARMSTRONG TELLS ...</strong> Oh, who really cares now that we have Te&#39;o? Here&#39;s a roundup of <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/lance-armstrong-oprah-night-jokes-183707465.html">late-night show Armstrong jokes</a>. Here&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/lance-armstrong-admits-to-using-performanceenhanci,30912/"><em>The Onion&#39;s take</em></a>. And here&#39;s <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/01/oprah-inteview-gifs/61133/">an animated GIF history of confessions to Oprah Winfrey</a>.</p><p><strong><a href="http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/biden-getting-an-autobiography-from-the-onion-whether-he-wants-it-or-not/" target="_blank"><img alt="Onion's Biden book" src="http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/01/17/arts/bidencover/bidencover-articleInline.jpg" style="width: 150px; height: 231px; float: right;" /></a>JOE BIDEN&#39;S AUTOBIOGRAPHY. NOT.</strong> <em>The Onion</em>&#39;s <a href="http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/biden-getting-an-autobiography-from-the-onion-whether-he-wants-it-or-not/">written one for him</a>. Compare and contrast to <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Promises-Keep-Politics-Joe-Biden/dp/0812976215">the real thing</a>.</p><p><strong>YOUR NEWS QUIZ IS READY. </strong>Study up first by reviewing <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson">this blog&#39;s postings over the last week</a>. The guy who created the thing got only 90 percent. (What is Te&#39;o&#39;s nonexistent dead girlfriend&#39;s name again?) Then, <strong>it&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://cpm.polldaddy.com/s/wbez-meyerson-news-quiz-no-2">your turn</a></strong>. P.S. It&#39;s an open-book (or is that open-browser?) quiz.</p><script type="text/javascript" src="http://i0.poll.fm/survey.js" charset="UTF-8"></script><noscript><a href="http://cpm.polldaddy.com/s/wbez-meyerson-news-quiz-no-2">Take WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz No. 2 right now!</a></noscript><script type="text/javascript"> polldaddy.add( { type: 'button', title: 'Take WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz No. 2 right now.', style: 'inline', text_color: '000000', domain: 'cpm.polldaddy.com/s/', id: 'D4AE27F3118C62BA' } ); </script><hr /><p><em>No blog entry Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Back here Tuesday morning. Take the extra time to&nbsp;<a href="mailto:Meyerson@gmail.com?subject=Hey%2C%20Meyerson!">email your thoughts</a> on how the WBEZ Meyerson blog customer satisfaction team can better meet your needs.</em></p></p> Fri, 18 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-01/new-role-ex-sexiest-man-alive-105012 Biden's burden http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/bidens-burden-103070 <p><p>Vice president Joe Biden&rsquo;s job tonight is not, actually, to make mince meat out of GOP VP nominee Paul Ryan.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Biden%20AP.jpg" style="float: right; height: 374px; width: 300px; " title="Contesting the veep sweepstakes: Joe Biden. (AP)" />Biden may do that, and it would sure be nice, but the goal tonight is actually different. As Nate Silver points out in his<em> </em><a href="http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/10/bidens-debate-mission-whip-up-democrats-to-blunt-romneys-gains/?utm_source=twitterfeed&amp;utm_medium=twitter"><em>Five Thirty Eight</em> blog</a>, what Biden must do is raise the temperature for Dems &mdash; cheerlead, if you will. Inspire, rally, get the blood going.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s not that the Democrats don&rsquo;t need to push back on a bunch of lies Mitt Romney threw out at the last debate. They do, because a heck of a lot of those stuck. And it&rsquo;s not like it wouldn&rsquo;t be great to show Ryan up as the <a href="http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/magazine/107242/how-paul-ryan-convinced-washington-his-genius#">intellectual poseur</a> that he is, because that would be icing.<br /><br />But the albatross hanging around Biden&rsquo;s neck is the top of his own ticket: President Barack Obama and his disastrous performance at last week&rsquo;s event.<br /><br />Since that dismal appearance, the polls have risen in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/debate-damage-romney-ties-or-leads-new-polls-102991">Romney&rsquo;s favor</a>, with Silver&rsquo;s own probability stats showing Obama down a full 18 percent. Silver&rsquo;s Electoral College forecast has Obama down more than 25 percent since Oct. 3, below 300 for the first time all year, and Romney up and within striking distance of the magical 270, also for the first time.<br /><br />I could, as so many of my Obama voting pals have done, argue that the race was always going to be tight, that all the debate did was level the Dem convention bounce, and that the president actually inched up in favorability after the debate. And that might all be true.<br /><br />But the damage Obama did &mdash; and which Biden can only hope to mend in part&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;is expressed in polls as an enthusiasm deficit, and in real life human beings as a terrible feeling in the pit of your stomach.<br /><br />What the polls really say post-debate is that Republicans got excited because Romney came through, while Democrats were angry and disappointed in Obama for not fighting back.<br /><br />That is what I&rsquo;m talking about: Obama had managed, pre-debate, to erase or push back on the disappointment many of us have felt during his first term, especially that nagging sense that he can&rsquo;t or won&rsquo;t fight when the going gets tough.<br /><br />Remember TARP? The debt ceiling crisis? The outlines of the Affordable Care Act (dragged out for such a long time that it lost its most progressive features)? How about the fact that Obama had to &ldquo;evolve&rdquo; to publicly support same sex marriage over a torturous three years in office? Or the total absence of leadership on the housing crisis? Immigration?<br /><br />It seems I spent last year writing about this pattern of Obama&rsquo;s to underperform, to be have to deal &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-08-01/obama-bends-again-89908">with the hand we were were dealt</a>,&quot; as David Axelrod famously said.<br /><br />The president always has a good excuse: Denver&rsquo;s altitude, protocol, somebody else&rsquo;s lack of leadership, and, the great and true bogeymen, racism and Republican obstructionism. Unfortunately, Obama&rsquo;s people have used those last two so often and so flippantly that they&rsquo;ve become tired and have lost much of their impact, no matter their truth.<br /><br />Joe Biden, bless him, can&rsquo;t and won&rsquo;t repair that tear. But he will do what the president seems incapable of doing: he will fight with his whole heart.<br /><br />And, maybe, just maybe, that will blur the disappointment for enough of those who were left slumped last week to get them up and out to campaign and, most crucially, to vote.</p></p> Thu, 11 Oct 2012 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/bidens-burden-103070 The Obama administration’s gay marriage theater http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-05/obama-administration%E2%80%99s-gay-marriage-theater-98942 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP110912168207.jpg" style="height: 371px; width: 620px;" title="Supporters of a state constitutional amendment recognizing marriage between a man and a woman as the only domestic legal union hold signs at a rally in Raleigh, N.C. in September of 2011. (AP/Ted Richardson)"></div><p>Remember when just about everybody in the Obama administration had evolved to support same-sex marriage?<br><br>It was a golden time: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had transformed from a civil unions supporter in her own presidential run to a full-blown <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/57843.html">fan of same sex marriage in New York</a>, even giving legal protection to same sex partners in the foreign service. Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/07/arne-duncan-gay-marriage_n_1495224.html">stepped up in favor</a> following Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan’s declaration that he was “<a href="http://www.metroweekly.com/news/?ak=6772">absolutely” for it</a> last fall.<br><br>And Vice President Joe Biden -- oh yes! For a hot minute, he evolved right past President Obama saying he was not just “absolutely” for it like Donovan, but “<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/vice-president-bidens-gay-marriage-gaffe-is-mess-for-white-house/2012/05/07/gIQAOzFw8T_story.html?wprss=">absolutely comfortable”</a> about it.</p><p>It turns out President Obama and his campaign are comfortable with Hillary and Arne and Shaun being all pro-queer marriage. But Biden’s a little too close to home. So they walked it back. It turns out that Biden was just absolutely comfortable evolving, but not really absolutely comfortable with it ... just <em>yet</em>.<br><br>If this is all seems maddening and ridiculous, so painfully clear that no one can believe the Obama folks aren’t already on board for same-sex marriage, consider that this is a campaign of blatant, shameless denial of the obvious. Just yesterday, Mitt Romney, who penned a 2008 <em>New York Times</em> op-ed against the auto industry bailout supported by George W. Bush and Obama titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” came out with a sense of entitlement to the auto industry’s comeback: “I'll take <a href="http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/05/auto-bailout-romney-republicans-bankruptcy.php">a lot of credit</a> for the fact that this industry's come back." (Some fellow GOPers were a little taken aback by this.)<br><br>So if you’re asking yourself why the Obama administration is even bothering with this very bad mirage about same sex marriage, look at the voting today in North Carolina on the state’s new <a href="http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/08/11584860-gay-marriage-advocates-fear-setback-in-north-carolina?lite">same sex marriage ban</a>. Called Amendment One, it’s going to go down with a significant margin, probably not breaking 40 percent in support.<br><br>And here’s the key: There is <a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/05/06/152122167/black-christians-struggle-over-n-c-gay-marriage-ban">significant support from black churches in North Carolina for the ban</a>. To give you an idea how important this is, consider that the African-American population of North Carolina is more than 21 percent.<br><br>And, sure, not every black person in North Carolina goes to church, and not every African-American who goes to a pro-ban church is going to vote in line with the pastor and, more significantly, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/04/16/is-support-for-gay-rights-still-controversial/black-churches-gay-marriage-and-a-new-nuance">not every black church opposes same-sex marriage</a>. But in a race this close, can Obama afford to alienate the black church?<br><br>Because what’s important about the church is not just its ability to influence an issue, but its capacity to organize and drive the vote.<br><br>And when you look at the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/us/politics/9-swing-states-key-to-election-are-mixed-lot.html?_r=1&amp;ref=politics">nine swing states</a> the <em>New York Times </em>recently identified as crucial -- not the least concerning because they were all Obama states in 2008 -- at least four (Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio) have significant African-American populations that are best exploited in an election through grassroots organizing.<br><br>If Obama comes out for same-sex marriage, he not only gives some African-American pastors an excuse to bail, he will literally force others to sit out the election, no matter how many other more important issues are at play for the black community in this presidential race.<br><br>Sure, it’s absurd. Everybody in their right mind knows Obama’s giving the gay community a wink on this. The black churches know it, too. But they need his denial through November in order to help him to a second term.</p><p>The LGBTQ community can and should protest this bit of theater. But what Obama and the Democrats know is that if we all don't go along with the script, we will all suffer the consequences of an Obama loss in the fall.</p></p> Tue, 08 May 2012 14:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-05/obama-administration%E2%80%99s-gay-marriage-theater-98942 Maggie Daley remembered at funeral mass: tireless advocate, devoted mom, big singer http://www.wbez.org/story/maggie-daley-remembered-funeral-mass-tireless-advocate-devoted-mom-big-singer-94405 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-28/AP111128029217.jpg.crop_display.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago's former first lady, Maggie Daley, was honored Monday in a funeral mass at Old Saint Patrick's Church just west of the city's downtown. Daley died on Thanksgiving at the age of 68.</p><p>So many people showed up, that more than a few Chicago aldermen were relegated to the church basement to watch the scene on TVs. Others without seats stood outside the church, listening to just the piped-out sound.</p><p>Delivering the homily, Father Jack Wall spoke of Maggie Daley's nearly decade-long fight with breast cancer.</p><p>"Some people when the going gets tough, they just see themselves as victims," Wall said. "But this woman kept on saying, Nothing is going to take life from me. Nothing. I'm too busy giving it away."</p><p>Wall talked of Daley's work to establish a parish school at Old St. Pat's, and her committment to after school programs for Chicago's kids. And he described the former first lady's personal "blue law."</p><p>"There was not going to be one mayoral event on a Sunday," he recalled. "There had to be a family day, a day where people celebrate and nurture this gift of family."</p><p>Speaking for the Daley children, son Patrick provided a personal remembrance.</p><p>"Enjoying life, laughter, and the occasional piece of dark chocolate," he said to laughter. "She was the first one out and the last one off the dance floor. She was a singer, encouraging everyone - sometimes very strongly - to join her."</p><p>"As a mother, she was the embodiment of unconditional, yet tough, love," Patrick Daley said. "And as a grandmother, we saw her move from tough love and discipline to tenderness and indulgence."</p><p>Former Mayor Richard Daley embraced his children when they returned to their seats. He did not speak at the mass.</p><p>Others in attendance: Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Sens. Duck Durbin and Mark Kirk, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.</p><p>Bagpipes played outside the church. As the casket was carried out to the hearse, the former mayor followed right behind.</p><p>By order of the current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, city flags are supposed to remain at half-mast for the rest of the week in honor of Maggie Daley.</p></p> Mon, 28 Nov 2011 21:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/maggie-daley-remembered-funeral-mass-tireless-advocate-devoted-mom-big-singer-94405 Biden Is In Afghanistan http://www.wbez.org/story/afghanistan/biden-afghanistan <p><p>"Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Afghanistan on Monday for talks with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai," the Associated Press writes. "The trip had been unannounced for security reasons."</p><p>According to a statement from the White House:</p><p>"The primary purpose of the trip is to assess progress toward the transition to Afghan-led security beginning this year, and to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, the vice president will meet with President Hamid Karzai, visit with U.S. service members and civilian personnel, and tour an Afghan National Army Training Center."</p><p>It is Biden's first trip to Afghanistan as vice president. He last visited there in January 2009, as vice president-elect. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1294674732?&gn=Biden+Is+In+Afghanistan&ev=event2&ch=103943429&h1=Afghanistan,Joe+Biden,National+News,Politics,Foreign+News,The+Two-Way,World,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=132804074&c7=1001&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1001&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110110&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 10 Jan 2011 09:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/afghanistan/biden-afghanistan Mark Kirk sworn-in to Senate http://www.wbez.org/story/duck-durbin/mark-kirk-sworn-senate <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//KIRK6.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois has a new U.S. senator. Republican Mark Kirk was sworn in Monday evening by Vice President Joe Biden. After administering the oath of office, Biden embraced Kirk and said, &quot;Congratulations, senator. Welcome.&quot;</p><p>With that, Kirk - a five-term member of the U.S. House from north suburban Highland Park - ascended to the upper chamber. Kirk was joined on the Senate floor by Illinois' senior senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, along with former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, who was the last Republican to have represented the state in the Senate.</p><p>On November 2nd, Kirk won a full six-year term, and also a special election to replace Sen. Roland Burris for the final weeks of the 111th Congress.</p><p>A spokesman for Kirk said, by the end of the week, the new senator expects to take over the office space held by Burris.</p><p>Kirk's presence in the Senate may be felt almost immediately. Burris was in favor of repealing the &quot;Don't Ask, Don't Tell&quot; policy for gay service members, and supportive of immigration legislation known as the DREAM Act. Kirk has said he opposes those efforts at this time. Both issues are expected to come up for votes during the lame duck session.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 29 Nov 2010 23:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/duck-durbin/mark-kirk-sworn-senate