Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
TreeHouse Foods, Inc. announced minutes ago that Michelle Obama, wife of presidential hopeful Barack Obama, has resigned as a director of the company where she served on the board since 2005.
Mrs. Obama cited "increased demands on her time" as the reason for her departure.
Sure, she is busy hitting the campaign trail on behalf of her husband, including an appearance on Good Morning America today.
Sure, maybe she resigned from the position because last month she was re-elected to three more years on the board, a term that would overlap with her husband's time in the White House if he becomes president.
If that's the case, though, why resign now?
For the answer, look no further than your neighborhood Wal-Mart.
According to TreeHouse's financial filings, Wal-Mart accounted for 16.1 percent of its sales last year, a 37 percent increase from 2005, making the Bentonville, Arkansas retailer TreeHouse's biggest customer by a long shot.
Meanwhile, Senator Obama openly criticizes Wal-Mart for its anti-union labor practices, including at a recent event in Trenton, New Jersey where he answered an audience member's question about Wal-Mart by responding: "I won't shop there."
Understandably, this conflict of interest has drawn criticism. So let's be realistic about this: Mrs. Obama needs to sever ties with TreeHouse before this becomes a bigger issue.
Wal-Mart ties have already been a thorn in the side of Senator Hillary Clinton, under fire as she continues to distance herself from her years on the Wal-Mart board of directors, when she failed to push forth any meaningful reforms of Wal-Mart's labor practices. As Wal-Mart continues to become a contentious issue for Clinton, Mrs. Obama is wise to avoid any potentially harmful confrontations with the bright yellow smiley face.
Yet if Mrs. Obama is going to take an increased role in this campaign, and if this campaign is truly committed to not playing politics as usual, then Mrs. Obama should offer up a better explanation for leaving TreeHouse than "increased demands on her time."
At a time when the nation is just getting to know the fantastic woman standing beside Barack, a more forthright explaination would make a lot of voters proud to support both Obamas.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Financial disclosure forms filed by presidential candidates Wednesday show Barack Obama as the least wealthy of the top-tier presidential candidates, despite the fact that his family reported $991,000 in income last year.
It was an unusually high-flying year for the Obama family, however. $572,000 of the reported income was from Senator Obama's book sales, which surged as he gained national recognition for his leadership on issues like Iraq, alternative energy, health care, and the genocide in Darur.
The Chicago Tribue reported that Senator Obama's financial portfolio is divested of all companies that do business in Sudan.
While Obama obviously won't have to cut coupons to put food on the table, the Obama family fortune is downright meager when compared to the other candidates. Let's take a look, shall we?
- John Edwards. $479,000 last year in salary. More than $7.5 million from investments with Fortress Investment Group, a New York hedge fund. Net worth is estimated between $22 and $62 million dollars. He said he worked only a few days a month at the hedge fund, so maybe he just didn't know that Fortress owned offshore funds that served as tax havens for investors. Maybe he didn't know that the firm's portfolio included subprime lenders, which provide high-risk loans that often target minorities. Maybe he just didn't know.
- Lovely Hillary Clinton. Well, she requested a 45-day extension to file her papers. She just needed to get everything in order. I'm going to guess she's doing all right, though. As for Bubba, Former President Bill Clinton earned about $10 million in speaking fees last year.
- Speaking fees! Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) raked in $11 million by speaking at events around the globe, reminding everyone how qualified he is on issues of national security. His empire, sadly built on the ashes of the World Trade Center, is worth somewhere between $20 million and $70 million. Hate to be harsh on Rudy, but let's face it--just a few years ago his net worth topped out at about $1.8 million
- Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney became the richest candidate by buying and selling more than 180 companies through private equity funds. His net worth is somewhere between $190 million to $250 million. A healthy chunk of that money goes to the Mormon church, though. It's a rule.
- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is married to the millionaire daughter of an Arizona beer tycoon. Pretty cool.
So many choices. Hedge fund warrior. Former first lady. Former mayor cashing in on a national tragedy. Uber-wealthy private equity Mormon. Husband of a beer princess. Best selling author.
Hmm...I do love beer. And princesses. But I can't really jive with McCain's stance on Iraq.
I'm going to have to go with the best selling author. I'm sure Senator Obama wouldn't mind if you checked his book out from the library or borrowed it from a friend.
[Full disclosure: The author, a high school teacher, earned $42,448 in 2006. He has filed for an extension to report his net worth, which he will begin to calculate once he pays off his student loans.]
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
When Senator Barack Obama mistakenly overstated the number of deaths from last weekend's awful tornadoes in Kansas, the usual suspects wasted no time pouncing on him for the error.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Posted by Christopher Arnold at 7:33 PM
Monday, May 7, 2007
1. Fuel Economy Standards: Obama's plan would establish a target of four percent increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards each year. If the target is met for ten years, Obama 's plan will save 1.3 million barrels of oil per day and 20 billion gallons of gasoline per year.
2. Help for Consumers: Under current law, tax credits are available for consumers who buy hybrids—but only if they buy one of the first 60,000 ultra-efficient vehicles produced by a given manufacturer. Barack Obama would lift the 60,000-per-manufacturer cap on buyer tax credits to allow more Americans to buy ultra-efficient vehicles.
3. Help for Manufacturers: U.S. automakers face retiree health costs that add $1,500 to the cost of every GM car. They are struggling to afford investments in hybrid technology. Obama would encourage automakers to make fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles by helping the companies shoulder the health care costs of their retirees. Domestic automakers will get health care assistance in exchange for investing 50 percent of the savings into technology to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. In addition, Obama would provide automakers with generous tax incentives for retooling assembly plants.
Senator Obama also called for increased use of biofuels.
"The potential for biofuels in this country is vast," he said, "it's time we made them as commonly available as gasoline is now."
"For the sake of our security, our economy, our jobs and our planet, the age of oil must end in our time."
Posted by Christopher Arnold at 1:20 PM
Saturday, May 5, 2007
- From the Guardian Unlimited: Obama calls for debate footage to be publicly available "for free and without restriction."
- From the Chicago Tribune: Pill-popping loud mouth Rush Limbaugh continues to bombard his audience with his patently racist "Barack the Magic Negro" song.
- From the Washington Post: Columnist Sally Quinn on why Barack Obama needs to introduce America to his staff.
- From the Associated Press: How presidential candidates pay for the private jets and charters they use to dart around the country.
Friday, May 4, 2007
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Posted by Christopher Arnold at 3:57 PM