A few weeks ago I noted the importance of workers in our day-to-day lives:

As much as we owe our freedom to the many men and women of the United States Armed Forces, we also owe the very fact that we have food to eat, cars to drive, roads to drive them on, homes to live in, buildings to work and study in, and beds to sleep in to the people who comprise the American workforce.

Yesterday, the UAW's GM workers went on strike demanding quality pay and benefits not only for themselves, but also for retirees.

With the conservative assault on labor accelerating under the Bush presidency, it is even more important than ever that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with workers and labor unions whose work makes our country great.


Thoughts on leadership... and my pick for the White House

Many Democrats picked their favorite Presidential candidate many a moon ago; others did so more recently. Many are undecided, with a few planning to withhold support until after our nominee is decided. Due to many factors - the state of our nation and its politics, the wide-openness of this election (with 18 major-party candidates), and the enormous burden that comes with the office - I have approached this decision carefully.

It is the duty of each citizen of our country to not only vote, but to give serious consideration as to who is best fit for each office before they vote. After all, to vote for someone is to place in them a certain amount of trust. Is there any greater political trust than supporting someone's goal to take the reins of the White House?

Not everyone is ready to lead even a small group or club. Far fewer are capable of bearing the immense burden that comes with leading this nation of 300,000,000+ people. The circumstances that will face America's next President make it all the more critical that none but a very capable leader take on this role. This person must have the leadership skills needed to help return dignity to the Oval Office, raise the bar for our politics, and restore in each of us a sense of pride as to what it truly means to be an American.

So, I mentioned the word 'leadership.' 'Leadership' is a word that is tossed around so loosely nowadays that I think many have forgotten its true meaning. Here's what that word means to me.

A good leader has certain qualities. They must be courageous and honest, saying and doing not what people want said or done, but what needs to be said and done. Leaders must have unquestionable integrity and good character. They must understand that they are a role model - that people emulate what their leaders do. They must hold themselves and others accountable, and demonstrate sound judgment. They must learn from the past, understand the present, and have a clear vision for the future - yet at the same time be open to new ideas. Above all, however, they must be worthy of the trust people place in them by choosing them to fulfill a leadership role.

Unfortunately, few political leaders nowadays have shown that they possess these characteristics. Yet these characteristics are critical when it comes to leading this nation. Consider this: The President of this great country is called upon to make numerous important decisions the effects of which will last for generations: when our Armed Forces should be deployed, who should serve on the Supreme Court, what to make of each day's intelligence briefings, how to go about pushing a piece of legislation, what the upcoming fiscal year's budget will look like, when and where to go on diplomatic trips, what nonpolitical causes to support, etc.

To me, when it comes to having the characteristics, vision, and judgment we ought to expect in the leader of this great country we call America, one person stands out above the rest. Drumroll please...

That candidate is Barack Obama.

It is clear to me that, more than anyone else running for President, Obama is the type of leader these times demand.


On so many issues, Obama offers new angles to solving problems that I have not heard from many other campaigns. For example, his Iraq plan goes beyond the standard "bring-our-troops-home" answer. On his website, Obama discusses how our 'covenant with seniors' extends beyond protecting Social Security and fixing healthcare. His plan to fight poverty is very detailed and shows the importance of improving jobs, education, and healthcare when it comes to ending poverty.

Though he was only a state senator at the time, Obama opposed the war from the beginning - something Edwards, Clinton, Biden, and Dodd can't say. His opposition to the war from the start hows sound judgment on Obama's part.

I could go on about his many plans for this nation, but one thing is clear to me: Obama's vision is the most detailed, the most comprehensive, and the clearest of any of the candidates'.


Regarding experience, let me make two points. First, political experience is not the only qualification. Each President is influenced more by his/her nonpolitical experiences than their political ones. JFK, Ford, and others brought their World War II experience to the White House. Carter and many others were influenced by their work on the farm. If elected, Obama will bring to the Oval Office his experience as a community organizer, professor, and attorney in Chicago, as well as lessons learned in both the Illinois Senate and in Washington.

Second, years in elective office do not necessarily make someone more qualified for the job. If it did matter, then why don't we consider George H.W. Bush to have been a darn good President, with Eisenhower and Lincoln each thought of as epitomes of lousiness? More on that here.


The key question on many Democrats' minds is, who is the most electable come next November? With quite a few more Americans calling themselves Democrats than Republicans, one would expect that our party has a distinct advantage when it comes to winning the Presidency next fall. While I agree that we do have the advantage, let's remember that Michigan was favored to defeat Appalachian State - and weirder things happen in politics than in sports.

Countless people I have met have said they are impressed with Obama. The Central Michigan University chapter of Students for Barack Obama is headed by someone who I didn't even think cared much about politics. This just shows that Obama's inspirational message of hope for change does have appeal that transcends not only partisan lines, but extends to people who, for whatever reason, don't care much about politics. This will be crucial come next November 4.

The question must then be asked: Can a black person like Obama become President? We cannot deny the continued existence of racist and sexist attitudes in Ameica. There will surely be those who won't vote for Obama simply because he's black, or for Hillary because she is a woman. However, let me ask you: How many people do you think will vote Republican if a black person heads our ticket, but would consider voting for any other Democrat (i.e. Edwards)? Probably very few.

Final thoughts
Each of the Democratic Presidential candidates has displayed qualities we should expect in our President. Edwards is a fierce champion of ordinary Americans and has an excellent vision for where this country should go. Richardson is a seasoned diplomat. Biden is an expert when it comes to foreign policy. Dodd has impeccable character. Few in Congress are as courageous as Kucinich. Hillary has long championed civil rights.

Yet, to me, only Senator Obama has shown all of these characteristics. More than anyone else, Obama has proven that he is the one who most deserves our trust - and that, his 'inexperience' aside, he is the one most capable of bearing the burden of the Presidency and restoring common sense to the highest office in the land.

So I ask you, why settle for less than the best? Sure, you may or may not agree with Obama on every policy issue; and sure, you may have doubts as to whether he has enough 'experience' (however you define that word). But during times like these, the United States of America needs nothing but the best leadership we can have, and no one has demonstrated these important leadership capabilities as has Barack Obama.

For these reasons, I am proud to declare my support for Senator Barack Obama's campaign to become the 44th President of the United States.


Bits of Tid: September 21, 2007

I'm More Popular than Brownback Edition

  • Yours truly is one of Michigan Liberal's newest front-pagers!
  • 7.4% unemployment sure sucks. Good news? One of Granholm's community-based economic-development initiatives has won an award.
  • Many believe a state government shutdown would be worse news for Mike Bishop and the Republicans than for Granholm, Dillon, and Democrats.
  • The AFL-CIO now has a black woman as its Executive VP. Also, be sure to check out their political-mobilization plans.
  • Staying with the AFL-CIO: Gary Peters is the first Congressional candidate ever to earn their endorsement so early in an election cycle.
  • I'm not done with the AFL-CIO yet. Professor Jennifer Lawless shares her thoughts on why we don't have more women in public office.
  • Kathy at Stone Soup Musings, on Republicans:
  • They argue that no amount of money is too much to spend in Iraq, but when it comes to meeting the needs of people here at home - the ones who send their tax dollars to Washington to pay for their war - they snap their wallets shut and expect the rest of us to follow along. ...

    So you see, it's okay for us to send money to Washington so they can continue their war indefinitely - a war that enriches Republican profiteers and CEO's of defense contractors - but we get nothing in return, not even some change to spend on our schools, infrastructure, health care, etc.
  • Rep. Peter King (R-NY): "We have too many mosques in this country." Uh, Congressman, what if someone said we have too many churches? You wouldn't like that, would you? Me neither. So put a cork in it.
  • It appears Iceland and Grand Rapids have a similar goal: go fossil-fuel-free.
  • My item on GR's efforts to go 100% green got a nod in this week's Eco-Diary Rescue on Daily Kos.
  • A couple quick items from CMU: Central might have a new Executive VP/Provost and a new VP for Finance and Administrative Services soon. I say 'might' because the last attempt to get a new Provost didn't work out so well. A search for the College of Business Administration dean went on for a couple years. lso, Cesar Chavez's granddaughter is coming to speak at CMU next month.
  • Finally, with a hat tip to the MDP, I conclude with a picture of Sam Brownback delivering a campaign speech See if you notice anything in particular.


Jack Cafferty read my email on CNN tonight - I'm famous

Each hour on CNN's Situation Room, Jack Cafferty asks viewers to respond to a question about recent news items. After numerous submissions of responses to past questions, Jack finally read one of mine!

This particular question dealt with whether or not the teachers should be offered bonuses for choosing to work in inner-city schools. Sorry for the less-than-stellar quality.

Here's the text:

If they had the option, how many teachers would live in a less-affluent community? Probably not many. anything we can do to entice top-notch teachers to work in these areas needs to be tried. Studies show that many students in less-well-off areas do worse on tests than do their counterparts elsewhere, and anything we can do to change that ought to be considered.

Let me stress that offering incentives to teachers who work in less-well-off areas is NOT BY ANY MEANS a silver bullet when it comes to fixing the education-affluence gap; other policies need to be implemented as well.

I guess I have 14 minutes and 40 seconds of fame left!


Bits of Tid: September 16, 2007

Constitution Day Eve/Sucks-to-be-a-Republican Edition

  • Tomorrow is Constitution Day - the 220th anniversary of the signing of the US Consititution! How fitting, since it's Alberto Gonzales's last day as AG!
  • Speaking of the Constitution: I was thinking recently, Jennifer Granholm ought to jump in the Presidential race. I mean, sure she wasn't born in the US, so technically she's not supposed to run. But if Bush won't follow the Constitution, why should Jenny? Oh that's right, she has morals.
  • Oh, and there's this little thing called the "state budget crisis." But she's already done more about it than state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop has! Again, MichLib and BFM have all the latest. And don't forget to check out this piece from Christine.
  • Speaking of MichLib, I am now doing Sunday Coffee Talk instead of Saturday.
  • Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island - who won a hotly-contested primary last year before losing his bid for re-election to a Democrat - has left the Republican Party. This comes as no surprise to me; Chafee said that rather than voting for Bush in 2004, he wrote in the elder Bush's name.
  • Chafee is not alone. Late last week, Greenspan gave the GOP a shellacking. Today, Kerry did the same to McCain.
  • After threats from the DNC, Florida is backing down with regards to its presidential primary. Will the MDP follow suit?
  • This weekend in sports: The Whitecaps won their fifth Midwest League championship! Also, the Tigers are now within 4 1/2 games of Cleveland, U-M dominated Notre Shame Dame 38-0, and the Lions continue to share the best record in the NFL: 2-0.

Clark and Stabenow endorse Hillary; my thoughts

Senator Debbie Stabenow endorsed Hillary Clinton's campaign for President yesterday:

"I said, this is somebody I want to get to know because it was somebody whose values I share," Stabenow said Saturday after officially endorsing her good friend's 2008 presidential bid.


Because Michigan and New York share many similar concerns, like manufacturing, agriculture and Great Lakes issues, Stabenow said Clinton understands the state's needs.

"She has the ability, experience, knowledge and understanding that, from day one, we need to make changes in Michigan," Stabenow said during a telephone conference call. "We in Michigan understand what it's like to be invisible to this president.

"She will make sure the people of Michigan are on her radar screen, visible. I know that she gets it for us."
I admire Sen. Stabenow. Sure, I have disagreed - even quite angrily - with her on some issues, but she has her heart in the right place. That said, count this as another area on which she and I disagree.

To be honest, Stabenow could have said most of the same things about other contenders, such as Obama or Edwards. Honestly, I do not see how Clinton has any better grasp - or even as good a grasp - on the issues Michigan faces as do Edwards, Obama, or Kucinich.

Stabenow wasn't the only person I admire who endorsed Hillary yesterday. Here's what Wesley Clark has to say:
Senator Hillary Clinton has earned the support of millions of Americans in her campaign for president -- and today I am pleased to count myself among them. The world has reached a critical point, and we need a leader in the White House with the courage, intelligence and humility to navigate through many troubling challenges to our security at home and abroad. I believe Senator Clinton is that leader, and I whole-heartedly endorse her for President of the United States. Senator Clinton and I share a worldview in which diplomacy is the best first-strike tool in our arsenal; in today's complicated global system, the United States should be making more friends than enemies."

Never before have so many Americans had our well-being so closely tied to world events. Our economic and national security has become more complicated than ever before, and we deserve a leader who draws on wisdom, compassion, intelligence and moral courage -- in short, we need Hillary Clinton. She is tough but fair, a rock-solid leader equal to the many weighty challenges ahead of us."
I was so happy to see Gen. Clark at CMU last spring. He was briefly my favorite for the 2008 Democratic nomination, but after months passed without an announcement from him, I gradually leaned toward supporting other candidates.

I must say, however, that I disagree even more with what Clark had to say than I do with what Stabenow said.

If Clinton had as much moral courage as the other candidates, why did she support the original authorization to go to war in Iraq? Furthermore, I do agree with Clark that "diplomacy is the best first-strike tool in our arsenal" - which is why I'm even more puzzled that he endorsed the candidate who said it was naïve for a President to talk with America's adversaries (a notion with which many experts, among them Zbigniew Brzezinski, disagree).

Whether these endorsements give a major boost to Clinton's campaign is unclear. I will say, however, that I strongly disagree with both Clark and Stabenow - yet at the same time I still hold both of them in high regard.

Check back soon, hopefully later this week, to find out who I will support for President.

Grand Rapids aims for 100% green power

According to the most recent data, slightly more than 13% of the world's energy comes from renewable energy sources. In the US, that number is only 7%.

Because so much of America’s energy comes from nonrenewable sources - which will not only run out at some point but also cause pollution - it is critical that the US become more reliant on renewable sources of energy, rather than fossil fuels.

Yet, attempts to set our nation as a whole on a path toward energy independence have thus far failed. This means it is up to state and local governments to lead the way. And leading the way is exactly what Mayor George Heartwell of Grand Rapids, Michigan, wants his city of nearly 200,000 residents to do.

Mayor Heartwell has set the bar high when it comes to making his city run on renewable sources of energy.

In his 2005 State of the City Address, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell pledged to reduce by 20 percent the city's dependence on pollution-producing non-renewable energy sources. At that time, the city consumed 125 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.

By the end of November, Grand Rapids will achieve that aggressive goal one year ahead of schedule.

This is great news, no doubt. Anything GR can do to lead the way toward curbing our nation’s dependence on foreign, nonrenewable fuels is a step in the right direction. But why stop now? As the mayor asks:

"Why shouldn't the [green energy] goal for the second largest city in Michigan be 100 percent?"

A study is being commissioned to determine the cost of making GR run solely on renewables. Yet despite the likely costs of switching from fossil fuels to alternative fuels, data shows that such a switch would carry with it numerous economic benefits, among them hundreds of thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenues. This would no doubt offer a boost to Grand Rapids and other communities across Michigan and the nation which could use some help right now.

"If we could begin to attract [clean energy] industry or grow our own industries, that means jobs for our people and wealth for our entrepreneurs," Mayor Heartwell says. "We're running to catch up with half of the United States who have already set renewable energy portfolios."

What impact would be seen if Grand Rapids achieves this goal? On paper, very little, However, Grand Rapids's leadership on this issue will hopefully inspire other communities to take action where the feds thus far have not.

The use of alternative energy technologies would mean a healthier economy, healthier air, and less dependence on fuel sources that won't last forever. Why the federal government has been slow to act is unclear. What is clear is that, for the sake of our society and our planet, we must wean our country off nonrenewable energy sources ASAP.

Kudos to Mayor Heartwell and others who are doing their part and leading the way at the local and state levels.


Bits of Tid: September 14, 2007

First One In Quite Some Time Edition

  • I really don't like quitting things, but I have decided that doing the WeekEnder each Friday is a little too much for me, and that if I were to continue, I would not likely be able to put much effort into it. Still look for me to post photos, videos, quotes, jokes, etc., but not in the WeekEnder format.
  • As the state's new fiscal year approaches (17 days from now), it is crunch time in Lansing, with state lawmakers under pressure to come up with a state budget ASAP. Both Michigan Liberal and Blogging for Michigan have all the latest.
  • CMU's College Democrats are calling out Republican lawmakers for their inaction on the state budget.
  • Let's welcome Fred Thompson into the 2008 race! Thompson this week said that catching bin Laden would be "more symbolism than anything else." Fred is also backed by a plurality of those who think global warming is a hoax.
  • House Republican Leader John Boehner said that the deaths of 4,000 Americans is a "small price" to pay in this ridiculous war. Neither DNC Chair Howard Dean nor DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen are having any of that.
  • Things are not all that rosy for Republicans in their attempt to take control of Congress. After Sen. John Warner's (R-VA) recent retirement announcement, Mark Warner (no relation) has jumped into the race. It also looks like former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen will run in the Granite State. Even Bob Novak expects the GOP to lose several seats in the Senate.
  • The ex-chair of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans is set to spend five years in prison for sexual assault. He could even be disbarred. NOW will Republicans support fellons' right to vote?
  • On a related note, the DNC has issued this list of 50+ Republican scandals.
  • More and more military personnel are financially supporting Democrats.


Senate GOP leader removes students from hearing

The newly launched Michigan Messenger has the latest:

Three Michigan College students, 2 from Central Michigan University and one from Michigan State University, were expelled from a Michigan Senate Appropriations hearing this afternoon for bringing in signs.

The three students were Andy Leavitt, 21, from CMU; Matthew Sous, 20, from CMU; and Andrew Gerlach, 19, of MSU. All three are members of the Facebook group "I'm Pissed Mike Bishop Is Raising My Tuition."
At the hearing, Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop laid out a budget proposal that would eliminate $139 million in funding for higher education. Of this Republican proposal, Andy says:
"It's a tax on students," said Leavitt. "His cuts land $138 million less on higher education-- the mostly likely victims of this cut will be us, the students."
This is not the first time Sen. Bishop has cracked down on people's right to freedom of speech. Last month he prevented Senate offices from viewing the progressive website Blogging for Michigan.

So why - on September 11, of all days - did Sen. Bishop kick Matt and Andy out? As Matt notes:
"He knows if we put a face on his cuts," Sous said, "he's going to lose."
More on the Republican budget proposal later this week. In the meantime, here's a video from Senate Democrats regarding the proposal:


Study shows how liberals, conservatives think

This explains quite a bit: (emphasis added)

Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work.


Participants were college students whose politics ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative." Scientists instructed them to tap a keyboard when an M appeared on a computer monitor and to refrain from tapping when they saw a W.


Each participant was wired to an electroencephalograph that recorded activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that detects conflicts between a habitual tendency (pressing a key) and a more appropriate response (not pressing the key). Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W, researchers said. Liberals and conservatives were equally accurate in recognizing M.


Analyzing the data, Sulloway said liberals were 4.9 times as likely as conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts, and 2.2 times as likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy.

So the net time you hear people bashing liberals...



I love going to CMU football games - especially now that the team is pretty good.

CMU beat Toledo 52-31 yesterday, making them 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the MAC. MAC title repeat anyone?

As for that team from Ann Arbor...


CMU students sound off on GOP lawmakers' budget inaction

Following Wednesday's College Democrats meeting, four members recorded their thoughts on Republican lawmakers' stalling of the state budget.



Andy (MichLib's Skim Tubick):

Scott (yours truly):

Special thanks to John VanDeventer for stopping by and offering both his thoughts and his laptop with built-in camcorder!


Some Labor Day musings

Today, we celebrate many things.

We celebrate one final weekend of summer. We celebrate the fact that we do not have classes today, and that most of us do not have to work.

But have you ever thought about why today is a holiday? Why do we take today off? What does 'Labor Day' mean? Sure, Labor Day is about labor - working people - but what more is there to it than that?

As labor leader Samuel Gompers said:

"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day...is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."
Put simply, Labor Day is about ordinary workers - my grandfather, an UAW member who worked at the Ford factory in Dearborn; John Edwards's father, who worked in the mills; and the people who lost their lives in the mine tragedy in Utah last month.

When you think about it, this country has traditionally been about ordinary people. What was so extraordinary about Thomas Jefferson or any of the Founding Fathers? Not much, until they decided to band together and reject the tyranny of the British monarchy. Same with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony before the Women's Suffrage Movement. Or Harriet Tubman, or Cesar Chavez, or Martin Luther King and the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.

In addition to showing us that ordinary people like you and me can lead extraordinary lives, they also remind us that our country is built on the blood, sweat, and tears of ordinary people. As much as we owe our freedom to the many men and women of the United States Armed Forces, we also owe the very fact that we have food to eat, cars to drive, roads to drive them on, homes to live in, buildings to work and study in, and beds to sleep in to the people who comprise the American workforce.

Imagine a country with no janitors, no carpenters, no farmers, no factory workers.

America would be a pretty dull place without them, wouldn't they?

So as you celebrate the unofficial end of summer - which you should! - remember the people who have built this country into the economic powerhouse that it is. Not the politicians, not the celebrities, not the sports stars or the reality-TV personalities. It is, rather, the average Joe/Jane who works a 9-5 job just so (s)he can put a roof over her family's head and food on their table.

They are the ones who built this nation. Happy Labor Day!

I encourage you to read this Labor Day statement by Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean. Also, for some interesting facts on labor unions' impact on workers, see this page from the AFL-CIO.


Late-night humor round-up

Let's start from a YouTube of Hillary Clinton doing David Letterman's Top Ten list last week:

I'm not a Hillary supporter, but that one cracked me up.

Now onto some other laughs from the world of late-night comedy, courtesy of About.com:

Larry Craig:

"Several prominent Republicans are calling on Sen. Larry Craig to resign. And a couple are asking for his phone number." --David Letterman

"What is it with all these gay Republican sex scandals? ... Remember the old days when a politician would just put his hand in your pockets to get your money." --Jay Leno

"This whole thing has to be very frustrating for the Republican Party. All these gay sex scandals and they still can't get any support from Hollywood." --Jay Leno

"The arresting officer said their eyes met through the crack in the bathroom stall door, which is ironic because that's how I met my wife." --Jay Leno

"Sen. Craig gave a press conference today where he said, I'm not gay, I've never been way. Then he apologized to his wife, Liza Minnelli." --Jay Leno

"Sen. Craig said he made a mistake by pleading guilty. And I was thinking, maybe that was your second mistake." --David Letterman

"The way I look at it, anyone who spends more than two minutes in an airport men's room is guilty of something." --David Letterman

"Needless to say, Senator Craig is also anti-gay marriage and gays in the military, which I think, shows he doesn't let his personal needs interfere with his work." --Jimmy Kimmel
Hurricane Katrina:
"Today President Bush was in New Orleans for the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. When he arrived in New Orleans he told the mayor 'I got here as quick as I could'" --Jay Leno

"A couple of big anniversaries this week. It's been two years since Hurricane Katrina, and one year since FEMA found out about it." --Jay Leno

Gonzo's resignation:
"Earlier today, after months of scandals and political pressure, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced he's going to resign. Gonzales said, 'There comes a time when a man should resign, and that time for me was last January.'" --Conan O'Brien

"Alberto Gonzales is stepping down, but he can't recall why." --David Letterman
"Ted Nugent was giving a concert and he held up a machine gun and made veiled threats about Hillary and Barack Obama. I find this shocking. Ted Nugent still has concerts?" --Bill Maher

"The Iowa straw poll, a quadrennial ritual for Republican candidates, was held Saturday in Ames, Iowa. And the big winner of this unofficial, preseason survey of the Iowa electorate? Former Massachusetts Governor/part-time J.C. Penny catalogue underwear model Mitt Romney with over 30% of the vote." --Jon Stewart

"For those of you who still care, what exactly is the Iowa straw poll? [on screen: a political science prof. explaining that GOP candidates tend to pay the $35 ticket fee for voters in hopes they will come out and support them]. So, it's an election with no Democrats, in one of the whitest states in the union, where rich candidates pay $35 for your vote. Or, as the Republicans call it, 'Our vision for the future.'" --Jon Stewart

"Rudy has used the words 'Islamic terrorism' so many times, the phrase 'September 11th' is starting to get jealous." --Stephen Colbert

"Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked to explain why none of his five sons are in the military and he said that his sons demonstrate their patriotism by going on the road and campaigning for him. Now there's a tough choice: Iraq, or Iowa?? "Fallujah or Cedar Rapids? Honey, what do you think?" --Jay Leno

"The big story in Washington D.C. . . . not the war in Iraq, not Alberto Gonzales lying to Congress, not healthcare . . . the big story everyone is talking about, Hillary Clinton showing a little cleavage. It's amazing isn't it? The United States is 231 years old, but apparently the media is only 13." --Jay Leno

"Earlier today, Fred Thompson who is a former star of Law & Order, confirmed with his supporters that he is running for president. Afterwards, Thompson promised to solve the crisis in Iraq by the end of the episode." --Conan O'Brien
"President Bush made a big speech about Iraq this week. He said the surge is working, a free Iraq is within our reach, and if we don't beat them there, they'll follow us home. That's the great thing about George Bush. I can take three months off and when I come back, he's still making the same stupid speech." --Bill Maher

"This guy is so hard up for good news, he called a press conference this morning to announce that Britney's hair is growing back." --Bill Maher

"[T]here are so many abandoned houses in Baghdad, it looks like America's real estate market." --Bill Maher

"Russian leader Vladimir Putin -- have you seen this guy? He gets his picture taken a lot with his shirt off. We used to have a pantless president, they've got a shirtless president. He was named 'Sexiest Commie Alive' ... nearly edging out Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-Il. ... But people are stunned the Russian president appearing in public without a shirt. And I was thinking, 'Well heck, our president often appears in public without a brain'" --David Letterman

"Here's a remarkable story of recovery. ... Seems a brain-injured man who had been in a coma for the last six years is now awake -- eating and speaking with his family. In fact, you know what you call a man who has been in a coma for the last six years? Mr. President." --Jay Leno

"Let's begin tonight with news from the Bush family retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine. Or, as the president calls it, Pillow Fort One. ... Where, over the weekend, newly-minted French President Nicolas Sarkozy was invited to join the president and first lady. ... Fortunately, the two leaders seemed to hit it off quite well. All the president had to do was try not to live down to the worst stereotypes of Americans [on screen: Bush saying, 'We're going to give him a hamburger and hot dog, his choice']. Actually, it could have been worse. The president actually wanted lunchables" --Jon Stewart

"It was this week in 1974 that Richard Nixon resigned the presidency after getting caught lying and violating the Constitution. Remember when that kind of thing used to get you kicked out of office?" --Jay Leno
Jenna Bush's engagement:
"The good news is that President Bush's daughter, Jenna Bush, is engaged. The bad news is she is marrying Rudolph Giuliani. ... Dick Cheney is hoping for a shotgun wedding. ... Jenna announced her engagement two weeks ago, although President Bush knew about it over a month ago from some wiretaps. ... If you'd like to get the young couple something for the wedding, they are registered at Mobil, Exxon and Shell." -Jay Leno

"One of the president's daughters, the lovely Jenna Bush, is getting married. Now they're thinking, if they can just marry off Condoleezza Rice. Yea, it looks pretty good that Jenna's getting married, but first the guy has to be confirmed by Congress. ... It's going to be an expensive wedding. I guess it's no surprise, the $3 billion contract went to Halliburton." --David Letterman
Karl Rove stepping aside:
"What will the Republican presidential campaign look like without Karl Rove? Probably the same as it would have with him. Warnings about Mexicans, warnings about Arabs, and warnings about gays. They're trying ot come over the border, they're trying to come over the oceans, they're trying to come over your back." --Bill Maher

"Presidential advisor Karl Rove has resigned. Were you aware about that -- he's resigned. He says he wants to spend more time leaking information about his family." --David Letterman
And finally...
"A serious disaster was threatening the country. I'm talking, of course, about the YearlyKos blogger convention in Chicago. For those of you who don't know what a blogger is, it is someone who has a laptop, an axe to grind and their virginity." --Stephen Colbert