Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

BREAKING NEWS

Nigeria has been declared officially free of Ebola after six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.



According to the BBC, the Spanish nurse who was the first person to contract Ebola outside of West Africa has tested negative for the virus (a second test is required before she’ll be officially free of the disease). And the United States has reached an important milestone: the 21-day monitoring period for the 48 people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola in Dallas, ended on Sunday and Monday. Aside from the two nurses who cared for him, there have been no new infections.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

PRESIDENT OBAMA IN THE LION'S DEN

(Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty @ A. Sullivan's blog)

I watched a remarkable event yesterday.  President Obama traveled Friday to a House Republican retreat in Baltimore, MD, to engage in a lively, robust question and answer session with House GOP members.  Mr. Obama stood his ground for an hour, answered each question thoughtfully, factually, and took responsibility by conceding the failure to televise the health negotiations.  "It's a legitimate criticism," President Obama said.  "So on that one, I take responsibility."

And for the trolls stuck on the one note childish "Teleprompter!" meme, there was no teleprompter, no cue cards.  The president used his powers of intellect and thorough understanding of policy to debate and answer the questions put to him by the GOP House members. For over an hour.

FOX News--apparently aware of how informed, relaxed, and reasonable the president looked in this venue--cut away from the Q&A in the middle of an answer that Mr. Obama was giving.  Mustn't promote anything that might make this man look good, even if it means making your propagandist station look spiteful and jealous.  But we know FOX is not a news channel, so why expect them to act like one.

At 1:11 p.m. ET — when there was still 20 minutes left to go — Fox News decided to cut away and begin its commentary. Anchor Trace Gallagher’s immediate reaction was that Obama was being too “combative” and “lecturing” — like he was at his State of the Union address. Correspondent Bret Baier agreed, saying there was “a little bit of that,” but conceded that there was a “decent…give-and-take on the specifics.”

h/t ThinkProgress

No matter.  The reviews are flooding in and they all praise the effort both sides made at talking with and listening to what each side had to say. And the reviews give a lot of the credit to President Obama.

“Accepting the invitation to speak at the House GOP retreat may turn out to be the smartest decision the White House has made in months,” writes the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder. “Debating a law professor is kind of foolish — the Republican House Caucus has managed to turn Obama’s weakness — his penchant for nuance — into a strength. Plenty of Republicans asked good and probing questions, but Mike Pence, among others, found their arguments simply demolished by the president.”


Ezra Klein sarcastically writes, “Apparently, transparency sounds better in press releases than it does in practice.”
h/t ThinkProgress

On a side note, Luke Russert, an MSNBC reporter, revealed that a GOP insider told him that they should never have allowed this exchange to be televised (apparently it made the Mr. Obama look, well, very presidential and not at all like a guy who's trying to destroy this country, as many conservative trolls who visit this blog hysterically claim).

RUSSERT: Tom Cole — former head of the NRCC, congressman from Oklahoma — said, “He scored many points. He did really well.” Barack Obama, for an hour and a half, was able to refute every single Republican talking point used against him on the major issues of the day. In essence, it was almost like a debate where he was front and center for the majority of it. … One Republican said to me, off the record, behind closed doors: “It was a mistake that we allowed the cameras to roll like that. We should not have done that.


Here's Andrew Sullivan's take on it:

I've just watched the president address the Republican retreat in Baltimore. Address is not quite the right word, because it was a genuine - and remarkable - conversation between Obama and his political opponents - transparently on CSPAN. I don't remember similar public events of this length and this informality and candor in the past, but I may be forgetting some. But the theme was very straightforward: the president does not expect total GOP support on everything he is trying to do; but he does believe that the tactical oppositionism and electioneering that infects our current politics is making it impossible for the republic to grapple with the real and pressing problems we face.



He was especially good on entitlements, the need to reform them - and the impossibility of doing so if every time someone tries to they are hazed for "raising taxes/killing jobs" or "cutting medicine/killing seniors". This applies to both parties, of course. But it has been pretty brutal from the GOP this past year.


But here's the key thing: Obama is best at this. He is best at defusing conflict; he is superb at engaging civilly with his opponents. It's part of his legacy - I remember how many conservatives respected him at the Harvard Law Review. But he needs to do more of this, even though he may get nothing in return. Why? Because unless the tone changes, unless the pure obstructionism and left-right ding-dong cycle stops, we are on a fast track to catastrophe.


That was the core message of Obama in the election. It was one of my core reasons for backing him over Clinton - because he has the capacity to reach out this way. I remain depressed at the prospects for a breakthrough, but this was good politics and good policy. More, please. Do this every month. Maybe over the long haul, the poison of the past has to be worked through with Obama as therapist in chief.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

.Playing the Blame Game in the SOTU Address: Who did it?

" To understand the State of the Union, we must look not only at where we are and where we’re going but where we’ve been. The situation at this time last year was truly ominous. [...

First, we must understand what’s happening at the moment to the economy. Our current problems are not the product of the recovery program that’s only just now getting under way, as some would have you believe; they are the inheritance of decades of tax and tax, and spend and spend. [...]

"When I visited this Chamber last year as a newcomer to Washington, critical of past policies which I believed had failed..."



"The only alternative being offered to this economic program is a return to the policies that gave us a trillion-dollar debt, runaway inflation, runaway interest rates and unemployment."



No, those quotes were not taken from Obama's speech last night, they was taken from Ronald Reagan's SOTU back in 1982.  So Obama taking to account the past POTUS, George W. Bush, is not unprecedented as many GOPers, and trolls who come to my blog would like us to believe.  The uninformed bleaters who spam other people's blogs slamming the president and having their heads explode because President Obama rightly placed the blame for our desperate economic situation on the previous 8 years of neglect, tax cuts for the rich, spend and borrowing, need to do some research about other presidents doing exactly what the president said in his speech before they make fools of themselves condemning him. 

h/t JohnC., commenter here and at other blogs.

David Biespiel


Poet and writer, Attic Writers Workshop :

"On a side note related to last night's State of the Union. Republicans continue to complain that President Obama won't stop blaming the Bush Administration and the Republicans in Congress for where America finds itself. And yet Republicans will not defend the Bush Administration, either. A nice rhetorical and unpleasant dodge.

But let's be clear: A president laying blame on what he perceives to be the past failures in a State of the Union address is as American as apple pie--and Republicans need to get over that. "...Ronald Reagan continued to blame Jimmy Carter for four years."



"To understand the State of the Union, we must look not only at where we are and where we’re going but where we’ve been. The situation at this time last year was truly ominous. [...] First, we must understand what’s happening at the moment to the economy. Our current problems are not the product of the recovery program that’s only just now getting under way, as some would have you believe; they are the inheritance of decades of tax and tax, and spend and spend. [...] The only alternative being offered to this economic program is a return to the policies that gave us a trillion-dollar debt, runaway inflation, runaway interest rates and unemployment," Ronald Reagan, in his first SOTU address.


"Government's response to these recessions was to pump up the money supply and increase spending. In the last 6 months of 1980, as an example, the money supply increased at the fastest rate in postwar history—13 percent. Inflation remained in double digits, and government spending increased at an annual rate of 17 percent. Interest rates reached a staggering 21.5 percent. There were 8 million unemployed...." Ronald Reagan, 1982 State of the Union

"As we begin our third year, we have put in place a defense program that redeems the neglect of the past decade..." Ronald Reagan, 1983 State of the Union

"As we came to the decade of the eighties, we faced the worst crisis in our postwar history. In the seventies were years of rising problems and falling confidence..." Ronald Reagan, 1984 State of the Union

GOP Refuses to Applaud President Obama as He Talks About Tax Cuts




The Party of NO! (GOPONO!) is so caught up in their partisan intransigence and Obama Derangement Syndrom that they refused to applaud TAX CUTS and even when the president proposed taxing the banks.  As reported below, the image of all the Republicans sitting on their hands as the president talks about TAX CUTS and taxing the banks will be in every political ad video in the elections coming next November.

"The Republican lawmakers in attendance sat on their hands while the president discussed policy provisions that, ostensibly, are very much in their philosophical wheelhouse. When Republicans didn't even applaud on behalf of his tax cuts, Obama pointed to the GOP side of the chamber and expressed surprise: "I thought I'd get some applause on that one," he said.


So, apparently, did others. A Democratic strategist quite pleased with the chilly Republican reception emailed the Huffington Post the following: "Footage of every Republican sitting when Obama talked about bank tax is going straight into every 2010 ad."

Here is that part of Presidenty Obama's speech:

"Our most urgent task upon taking office was to shore up the same banks that helped cause this crisis. It was not easy to do. And if there's one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans, it's that we all hated the bank bailout. I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal.



But when I ran for President, I promised I wouldn't just do what was popular -- I would do what was necessary. And if we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today. More businesses would certainly have closed. More homes would have surely been lost.

So I supported the last administration's efforts to create the financial rescue program. And when we took the program over, we made it more transparent and accountable. As a result, the markets are now stabilized, and we have recovered most of the money we spent on the banks.

To recover the rest, I have proposed a fee on the biggest banks. I know Wall Street isn't keen on this idea, but if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.  (Apparently the GOP is against this, since no GOPer applauded it.)

As we stabilized the financial system, we also took steps to get our economy growing again, save as many jobs as possible, and help Americans who had become unemployed.


That's why we extended or increased unemployment benefits for more than 18 million Americans; made health insurance 65% cheaper for families who get their coverage through COBRA; and passed 25 different tax cuts."

Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95% of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food, and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven't raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime."


h/t HuffPost

Reviews of President Obama's SOTU speech:

Chris Cilizza, Washington Post:

"From the start of the speech to its ends, the common thread was an appeal to the country's shared values of what it means to be an American. Obama began by placing this moment in a historical context, an attempt to show that we've faced tough times before and always managed to persevere. Time and again he appealed to both the members of Congress in the House chamber and the American people to dig deep to find the values that unite rather than divide. "We don't quit," he said at one point in a direct appeal to the can-do nature of Americans. "I don't quit." At another he implored: "These aren't Republican values or Democratic values, business values or labor values, they're American values."


New York Times editorial:
 
"It was a relief to see him challenge the Senate’s Republicans for their obstruction and his party for tending to “run for the hills” rather than wield the power of its majority.


Watching Mr. Obama, we were also reminded of the world’s relief that he is very much not George W. Bush. He is managing the necessary exit from Iraq. His decision to send more troops to Afghanistan was courageous and sound. On Wednesday, he rejected “the false choice” between security and the rule of law.
[skip]


We respect Mr. Obama’s deliberative nature. But too often in the last year he lingered on the sidelines, allowing his opponents to define and distort the issues and, sometimes, him — as happened last year in the health care debate


His speech Wednesday was a reminder that he is a gifted orator, able to inspire with grand vision and the simple truth frankly spoken. It was a long time coming."

The Wall Street Journal:

"So much for all of that Washington talk about a midcourse change of political direction. If President Obama took any lesson from his party's recent drubbing in Massachusetts, and its decline in the polls, it seems to be that he should keep doing what he's been doing, only with a little more humility, and a touch more bipartisanship.

That's our reading of last night's lengthy State of the Union address, which mostly repackaged the President's first-year agenda in more modest political wrapping. "Our administration has had some political setbacks this year, and some of them were deserved," he said, in his most notable grace note."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

HOWARD ZINN, August 24, 1922--January 27, 2010





I loved this man, and I had the pleasure to meet him years ago on Cape Cod, where he spent some of his summers.  He was a fierce advocate for truth, peace, and social justice.  There are very few people who we would want to have near us forever and ever.  For me, Dr. Zinn was one of them.  What will we do without him.

Damn.  Damn.  Damn.

By Mark Feeney, Globe Staff

Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and a leading faculty critic of BU president John Silber, died of a heart attack today in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling, his family said. He was 87.

“His writings have changed the consciousness of a generation, and helped open new paths to understanding and its crucial meaning for our lives,” Noam Chomsky, the left-wing activist and MIT professor, once wrote of Dr. Zinn. “When action has been called for, one could always be confident that he would be on the front lines, an example and trustworthy guide.”

Dr. Zinn’s best-known book, “A People’s History of the United States” (1980), had for its heroes not the Founding Fathers — many of them slaveholders and deeply attached to the status quo, as Dr. Zinn was quick to point out — but rather the farmers of Shays’ Rebellion and the union organizers of the 1930s.

As he wrote in his autobiography, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train” (1994), “From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than ‘objectivity’; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble.”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

REMEMBER JAMES O'KEEFE, THE GUY WHO DID THE ACORN STING?

Well he's been arrested for breaking into US Senator Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) office to commit a felony: to wiretap her phones.  Breaking the law!  And this is the guy who tried to bring down ACORN for BREAKING THE LAW?  

UPDATE BELOW:

Imagine the outrage--how apoplectic the jerks on FAUX NEWS would be had Michael Moore done this to a Republican senator? 

Fox News has been one of the biggest supporters of James O’Keefe, who is infamous for dressing up as a pimp and videotaping ACORN staffers offering to help the supposed pimp and his prostitutes secure funding for a brothel. The network constantly replayed coverage from his operation. In September, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace named O’Keefe his “Power Player of the Week,” calling him an “undercover reporter” and a “fascinating character.”




Yesterday, the FBI arrested O’Keefe and three others — “charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony” — saying that they were plotting to wiretap Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office (D-LA). One of the other men, Robert Flanagan, is the son of William Flanagan, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. Two of the men “dressed as telephone company employees” and showed up to Landrieu’s New Orleans office, saying they had to “fix phone problems.” O’Keefe was already there and was “positioning his cell phone in his hand to videotape the operation”:


.After being asked, the staffer gave Basel access to the main phone at the reception desk. The staffer told investigators that Basel manipulated the handset. He also tried to call the main office phone using his cell phone, and said the main line wasn’t working. Flanagan did the same.
They then told the staffer they needed to perform repair work on the main phone system and asked where the telephone closet was located. The staffer showed the men to the main General Services Administration office on the 10th floor, and both went in. There, a GSA employee asked for the men’s credentials, after which they stated they left them in their vehicle. The U.S. Marshal’s Service apprehended all four men shortly thereafter.


Fox News aired a report about the arrests shortly after the news broke. However, reporter Tim Vaughn tried to downplay the news:
..
VAUGHN: [It's a] very weird story that probably needs a lot of context and a lot of looking into, which is what we’re going to do here. I just wanted to get it on the record with it right now.


.SHEP SMITH: So, they’re saying basically, they’re in there — It sounds as if what they’re saying is, they’re looking for some ACORN hanky panky and they try to tap into Mary Landrieu’s telephone to get it.


VAUGHN: That could be one way of looking at it, yes.


Ironically, at the end of the Power Player segment in September, Wallace said, “O’Keefe says he wants to do more undercover films, and he has some targets in mind. He says his friends always tell him the next sting will never work.” “I disagree with them,” replied O’Keefe. “I think that I’ll come up with a new strategy and I’ll get them to say yes.” Looks like O’Keefe’s friends were right.


Update Andrew Breitbart's site Big Government, which helped make O'Keefe a star and pays him to be a contributor, claims that it had no knowledge of what the four individuals were up to. Michelle Malkin writes, "They are, of course, presumed innocent until proven guilty. But for now, let it be a lesson to aspiring young conservatives interested in investigative journalism: 'Know your limits. Know the law. Don’t get carried away. And don’t become what you are targeting.'" Hot Air blogger Ed Morrissey said, "Journalists don't tap phones, and if that's what he tried, he's an idiot."


Update The AP reports that a magistrate "set bond at $10,000 each after they made their initial court appearances wearing red prison jumpsuits. None of the defendants commented on the allegations in court. 'It was poor judgment,' Robert Flanagan's lawyer, Garrison Jordan, said in a brief interview outside the courthouse. 'I don't think there was any intent or motive to commit a crime."


Oh no, no.  Of course not. 

They haven't been tried yet, but it looks like the guys who tried to smear and bring down ACORN aren't above engaging in criminal activities.  These clowns apparently believe that giving advice on breaking the law is worse than actually breaking the law.

h/t ThinkProgress

"Conservative politicians and right-wing media have long glorified O’Keefe, who bragged on his Twitter account that his accomplishment for the year of 2009 was getting ACORN defunded by Congress. Last month, a federal judge ruled that Congress’s singling out of ACORN for defunding was unconstitutional, successfully ending any ban on funding to the organization."

Monday, January 25, 2010

NO H8!

Pamela D. Hart over at The Oracular Opinion has a post up in support of equal rights for all citizens as it applies to marriage.  As I have noted in my posts on this subject, I strongly believe this is a civil rights issue.  It is unConstitutional and unAmerican to have two separate sets of laws for our citizens based on race, religion, or sexual orientation.  It. Is. Wrong.

No one whom I have ever spoken to who supports civil rights for people who wish to marry the person of their choice--no one has suggested that a religious organization should be forced to marry people of the same sex.  So that false alarm people set out as proof of the gays or the liberals forcing their agenda on everyone is just that--false.  There are plenty of religious organizations that already recognize civil rights in relation to marriage, so there is absolutely nothing to that unfounded fear. There will be no forcing of any church to do what they do not wish to do.

At one point, in the arguments against allowing gay marriage coming before California's Supreme Court one of the opponents was asked by one of the justices what harm, exactly, would befall heterosexual marriages should gays receive their civil rights.  The person arguing against civil rights for gays stumbled and then said--I can't remember the exact words, but they were something like--"actually, I can't think of anything."

He couldn't think of any reason a gay marriage would impact a hetero marriage because there isn't one. The only thing I can think of that has a negative impact on marriage is divorce.  Those whose focus is on denying gay people civil rights in marriage should change their focus and work on keeping marriages together. 

The Mormon and Catholic churches spent millions and millions of dollars on Proposition 8 in 2008 to reverse the California legislature's approval of gay marriage.  What a waste of money.  Those millions would have been better spent on counseling the millions of couples contemplating divorce, splitting up families, and affecting  the millions of children who are caught up in the rancor between their parents.  Instead those two organizations spent millions of dollars to deny American citizens their Constitutional rights. 

Both the Catholic Church and the Mormons are on the wrong side of justice and history. 

"The arc of history is long, but its bends toward justice."  MLK

Brava! for Cindy McCain for coming out and supporting equal rights for all American citizens!

And Brava! for my lovely niece, Sophia, for doing the same!








Thursday, January 21, 2010

Scott Brown, a Conservative Liberals can love?

Now that the dust has settled from the earth-shattering victory of Republican Scott Brown, who will now be Massachusetts' junior senator, let's examine his postions on the issues, and see if the Republicans' enthusiams over his win will last very long.

Scott Brown on health care reform:

"I believe that all Americans deserve health care coverage... In Massachusetts, I support the 2006 health care law that was successful in expanding coverage..."


The law he's referring to is a government health care program that forces people to buy insurance, exactly like Obamacare. The idea is to achieve universal coverage, exactly like Obamacare. Those who can't afford it get subsidized by taxpayers, exactly like Obamacare. And four years after it was passed, 98 percent of Massachusetts has signed up.

And even if we hear that this type of health care is state run, IT IS STILL GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE, and Scott Brown supports it.  So it's actually okay to force people to buy socialist health care now? Big government is okay as long as it's Big State Government?

Brown also supports big banks which was one of the basic things the Tea Party was upset by. When Brown's Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley, asked if he supported Obama's proposed tax on the Big Bonuses, Brown said he was so opposed to raising taxes ever, on anybody. The tax on those bonuses would have returned some of the taxpayers' money.  Why wouldn't he support that?
.
Brown also supports the voluntary bussing of inner city minority school kids to suburan, mostly white schools. 

"I am a strong advocate for the METCO program, which provides lower-income students with broader educational opportunities," he says. He's referring to a Massachusetts program for busing minority kids into white school districts. It's run by the State Department of Education and funded by $20 million in tax money. And when the governor tried to scale it back during the budget crisis, Brown criticized him for "disproportionately cutting a program benefiting inner-city minorities."

The tea parties overlook this, saying Brown supports charter schools.  Well, so does President Obama. Brown and Obama agree on this as well.

Brown also supports one of the biggest mandatory federal government programs of all, Medicare — although, to be fair, this appeared on his Web site in the form of concern that Obamacare might end up lowering the quality of care "for elders on Medicare."
.
Here is a list of more LIBERAL issues Scott Brown SUPPORTS:


1. He supports legal abortion: "This decision should ultimately be made by the woman in consultation with her doctor," he says.

2. He's against a national law prohibiting gay marriage: "States should be free to make their own laws in this area," he says.


3. He supports government investment in green programs: "I support reasonable and appropriate development of alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal and improved hydroelectric facilities."


4. He's politically correct on Israel: "I support a two-state solution that reaffirms Israel's right to exist and provides the Palestinians with a place of their own where both sides can live in peace and security."


5. And he doesn't even want to bomb Iran! He's backing Obama's cautious incrementalism! "I support the bipartisan Iran sanctions bill..."

Can it really be true? Is the movement founded in scorn for politicians who abandon their principles for power already abandoning its principles for power?

The answer is a resounding YES!  Scott Brown appears to be a conservative any LIBERAL could love.

He may have an "R" after his name, but his positions are most definitely LIBERAL.

Maybe Tuesday's election wasn't a defeat for Liberal ideals afterall. 


h/t Esquire

.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

AND THE LIGHTS ALL WENT OUT IN MASSACHUSETTS


.

UPDATE BELOW!





TO THIS?:








FROM THE "HOLY SHYTE!" DEPARTMENT:

Lost in the angst over Scott Brown's victory, is this small bit of comfort ... unless of course you're black, brown, a woman, or just not that good looking ... from the brain trust that gathered yesterday on MSNBC's Morning Joe:



Donny Deutsch got the ball rolling, suggesting that voters may be "going back to basics" after electing an African-American president and seeing "the female candidates and whatnot." Scott Brown, Deutsch added, "looks like the traditional view of a candidate," which may bring a "visceral comfort" to voters


Mike Barnicle found value in the observation, saying that "there's something to it."


The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan added that Brown is "a regular guy" who "looks like an American."



WTF?  Are all of these melonheads implying that America wants only good-looking white guys who pose nude to be their candidates?  And that Mr. Obama doesn't "look like an American?"  These muttonjaws get paid to claim idiocies like this on cable teevee? 
 
dailykos

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SCOTT BROWN WINS IN MASSACHUSETTS


UPDATE BELOW


Like David bringing down Goliath, Brown has done the unimaginable. I hope the Democrats--and I'm talking to you specifically, Martha Coakley--understand what you have done. Coakley ran a lousy, uninspired campaign, appearing entitled and aloof, above going out and earning votes. Mike Capuano would have been the better candidate by far.


I'm sorry, Senator Kennedy, for what they have done to your memory. Shame. Shame. Shame


We'll have to listen to the gleeful crowing of the pundits and trolls for a few weeks, then it'll all settle down.


Barack Obama will still be the president, and the Democrats will still be the majority party in the US Congress.



And maybe they will have learned something.


Congratulations, Massachusetts, for voting in our first porn Senator!*


 

*(Sarah Palin used the term "porn" to describe the photos that the father of her grandchild posed for in Playgirl Magazine, so it seemed appropriate to use her description here.)

UPDATE:

From the "OMG! Did He Really Say That?" Department:

In his acceptance speech last night, Scott Brown embarrasses his daughters and himself:

"In case anyone's wondering out there, yes, they're both available," Brown said to gasps from the crowd and his family. "Only kidding. Only kidding. Arianna is definitely not. But Ayla is."


Nothing says class like trying to auction off your daughters to a mob of drunk teabaggers. If you want to take them out, he'll even let you borrow his truck.
.
Brown also pledged to honor Ted Kennedy's memory--did that mean that he will fight for health care reform and all of the liberal ideals Kennedy stood for?   We'll be watching Brown to see if he honors his pledge. And what better way to respect the late senator's memory and be his "worthy successor" than to carry on the fight for health care.  Here are Brown's words from last night:

"This special election came about because we lost someone very dear to Massachusetts, and to America. Senator Ted Kennedy was a tireless and big-hearted public servant, and for most of my lifetime was a force like no other in this state. His name will always command the affection and respect by the people of Massachusetts, and the same goes for his wife Vicki. There's no replacing a man like that, but tonight I honor his memory, and I pledge my very best to be a worthy successor."

NO MATTER WHO WINS TODAY IN MASSACHUSETTS...

(and it will be Brown), Jon Stewart, once again, understands and tells us all about it.  Democrats, you blew it! (I was for Rep. Mike Capuano, who would have made a much better candidate than Coakley has been.)

But all is NOT lost.  The Democrats are still in control of the House and Senate.  Watch Stewart remind us of this fact:


Josh Marshall over at TPM agrees with me:

I don't mean to get ahead of things. But I cannot help noting one blazingly obvious fact. If Michael Capuano had been the Democratic nominee, there's simply no way we'd have gotten to this point (I used to live in his district). No way. Absolutely, no way. That is not simply to say that Coakley has run a bad campaign. That seems obvious; but I'm always a bit dubious of evaluations of a campaign (obvious as it may seem in the moment) because it's very hard to view as a struggling campaign as a well run one. And I'm not saying Capuano is the second coming. But Coakley is just culturally and temperamentally not suited to the politics of 2009/2010.


She did win a primary. So it's not like party bosses forced the choice, at least not in the narrow sense. But there's got to be some reckoning and thought as to why the Dems ended up with this nominee. I don't think the answer will be a pleasing one.

Monday, January 18, 2010

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., AMERICAN HERO




Today we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King.  We owe much to him and his courage in fighting for civil rights for all American citizens.  He gave his life in service to that cause.  We all continue to hope that his dream for universal civil rights will be accorded to our gay and lesbian citizens. And we hope that the unalienable right to universal health care will become settled law, for without access to health care, our citizens cannot pursue Life, Liberty and Happiness.  Until that day comes, Dr. King's dream is unfulfilled.

"[D]espite uncertainty and in the midst of profound changes in the two fields, health and human rights are increasingly understood and felt to be—actually—two entirely complementary ways of speaking about—and working to ameliorate—human suffering in all its forms and whenever it occurs. We share a confidence in the future—and in our ability to contribute—each in our own ways and yet together to the healing of the world. Martin Luther King, perhaps the greatest American of [the 20th] century, said "the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. ..." This is our modesty, also our boldness, also our aspiration—and together we form a multitude." --Jonathan Mann, MD, MPH


Dr. King's Letter from a Birmingham jail:

"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

[skip]
 
In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.


I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.

I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

RUSH LIMBAUGH IS A RACIST



Even former President George W. Bush did not agree with radio demogogue, R. Limbaugh, who said that President Obama was ingratiating himself with the African-American voters when he responded to the Haitian disaster.

Ingratiating himself?  Mr. Obama  had 98% of the African-American vote in the last election!  Why would he need to "burnish" his credibility with a voting bloc already on his side? 

Limbaugh is a filthy racist.  He brought race into the Haitian catastrophe and into America's response to the suffering and death of the Haitian people.  No one else used the race card, but Limbaugh did.  His defenders keep repeating that he is not a racist.  They're wrong.  Once again, Limbaugh brought race into a discussion where it did not belong.  He introduced race into a discussion on rescuing the Haitian people from disaster.  And he actually urged people NOT to contribute to efforts for relief.  He is a pig.  Wait.  I'm wrong to besmirch all the pigs of the earth with that comparison.  Mea culpa.

Former President George W. Bush pushed back Sunday against criticism -- levied most prominently by talk radio host Rush Limbaugh -- that his successor, President Barack Obama, was somehow politicizing the disastrous earthquake in Haiti.


"I don't know if -- what they're talking about," Bush declared during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I've been briefed by the President about the response. And as I said in my opening comment, I appreciate the president's quick response to this disaster.


This past week, Limbaugh insisted that the Obama White House would use the catastrophe in Haiti to "burnish" the president's standing and credibility "with the black community, in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community, in this country."


"It's made-to-order for 'em," Limbaugh said. "That's why he couldn't wait to get out there. Could not wait to get out there."

h/t huffpost

Is Scott Brown an extremist?

From Talking Points Memo:

Birther Before His Time?


Part of the arcana of the 'birther' movement is the claim that Barack Obama's parents were never actually married, and that Obama was born out of wedlock. In a TV chat show appearance back in 2008, Scott Brown suggested that he also didn't think Obama's parents ever got married and that Obama was an out-of-wedlock child.

Massachusetts may elect a BIRTHER to fill Ted Kennedy's senate seat:
 

 
That fits my definition of a loon and an extremist.

From the link (O)CT(O)PUS referred to in a comment below:

Revenge is the plat du jour, and it's being savored, hot or cold, everywhere. Even those viewers who gave Conan O'Brien dismal ratings when he replaced Jay Leno are now flocking to watch him as he berates the NBC bosses who tried to solve the problem.

In Massachusetts, for the "Kennedy seat" of more than half a century, polls are so alarming that the President, although overwhelmed by the crisis in Haiti, is taking time this weekend to campaign for the Democrat, whose vote will be vital to pass a health care reform bill

We are well past the by-the-numbers outrage drummed up the Tea Party promoters and into some twilight zone of national discontent that seems to be feeding on itself, no matter what the merits of the issue.


"With populist anger running strong," a New York Times analysis observes, "anything that smacks of establishment entitlement is politically dangerous." Or as columnist Gail Collins puts it more succinctly, "the voters are sending a message that they are in a bad mood.


The only problem with all this is the history lesson that, when the tide runs high to "throw the rascals out," (.i.e, LBJ and Nixon), voters end up by throwing even worse rascals in.

Friday, January 15, 2010

ANDREW SULLIVAN ON SCOTT BROWN'S CONTRADICTIONS

Scott Brown's Mindless Op-Ed

His Globe piece is presumably a good way to assess his platform. And it highlights all the bankruptcy of the current conservative establishment. Take a couple of issues. He starts by listing national problems:


Public debt has reached $12 trillion and counting, and Washington politicians want to borrow trillions more.


His solution?

My plan for the economy is simple: an across-the-board tax cut - in the tradition of John F. Kennedy - for families and businesses that will increase investment and lead to immediate new job growth. More tax increases will hurt our recovery. That’s why I have taken a no-new-tax pledge. My opponent will raise taxes.

Does anyone see the contradiction here? Without any tax increases, indeed with more tax cuts, the spending reductions required to reduce the debt will be fantastic: massive cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and defense. Where does he outline these spending measures? Nowhere. Fiscally, he's as fraudulent as Bush.


More absurdity here:

It’s time to admit that while the $787 billion stimulus had the best of intentions, it failed to create one new job.

Even if you believe that stimuli are wasteful or inefficient, I know of no sane economist who believes that $800 billion did not create one new job.




Then he's in favor of the Massachusetts universal health insurance reform, on which Obama's is based, but for some reason against the one for the country. Why?

But the healthcare bill under discussion in Washington is not good. It will raise taxes and increase spending. If you are a senior on Medicare, it will lead to a half trillion dollars in cuts to your care.

So Brown supports health care exchanges, a mandate, and universal care ... but opposes healthcare exhcanges, a mandate and universal care. He is worried about the debt but actually opposes the proposed cuts in Medicare that can make universal insurance affordable - let alone the cuts necessary to bring us back from the fiscal abyss.


He is, in other words, a parody of the brainless Bush Republican, mixed with Romney-like cynicism.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

WHO IS SCOTT BROWN?

He's the Republican candidate running against Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat, in the special election on January 19 to fill the late Senator Ted Kennedy's seat, and he is closing in on Coakley in the polls.


Lots of people call Massachusetts the bluest of the blue states.  But is it?  It is true that in local elections and presidential elections, we consistently vote for the Democrat, but since the 1850s, Massachusetts has had 33 Republican governors and 17 governors from the Democratic PartyWe have also had 15 Republican senators and 9 Democratic senators.  I think Massachusetts is more of a violet than a blue state.  The Mass. state legislature is decidedly blue--local elections--but other than that, we've sent more Republican governors to the State House and the US Senate than we have Democrats.  In 1984 Massachusetts, along with the rest of the country, except Minnesota, helped Ronald W. Reagan win a landslide victory.


Scott Brown may very well become the junior senator from Massachusetts next Tuesday.  No one knows for sure what will happen.


Here is a review of Brown's positions on the relevant political issues set out by Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe:

He is allegedly for health care reform, except he doesn’t support the historic health care reform legislation that is on the brink of passage in Washington and was Kennedy’s life quest.

He supports Roe v. Wade, except that a prominent anti-abortion advocacy group backs him as a “pro-life vote in the Senate.’’ 


He dispatched his 21-year old daughter to attack Coakley for stating the truth: In 2005, Brown sponsored a legislative amendment that would have allowed medical personnel to deny emergency contraception to rape victims if it “conflicts with a sincerely held religious belief.’’ The amendment didn’t pass, but Brown owned it. It was attached to a bill that he ultimately voted for, which required emergency rooms to provide contraceptives to rape victims. 


Recently, Brown told the Boston Herald that gay marriage “is settled law. People have moved on.’’ Not long ago, though, he wanted to put it up for a referendum. 


Brown bristles at Coakley’s persistent efforts to tie him to the Bush-Cheney years. But, he supports Bush-Cheney policies, from taxes to torture. 


Brown is a lawyer and also a judge advocate general, sworn to uphold the Geneva Conventions, who insists water-boarding is not torture. With that strange argument, he clashes with John McCain, the GOP presidential nominee who endorsed him.

One other thing.  If Brown is elected, he will be the first senator from Massachusetts who posed naked in a national magazine.  Imagine the howls of disapproval had a young Martha Coakley done the same!





Wednesday, January 13, 2010

THE NINCOMPOOPERY OF TELEVANGELIST, PAT ROBERTSON


UPDATE BELOW

He's at it again.  Just like his asinine remarks after 9/11 where he agreed with the charlatan "minister" Jerry Falwell when he said 9/11 was caused by feminists and gays, Robertson has pronounced on his scam "700 Club" show that the Haitian earthquake is the result of the Haitians having made a "pact with the devil" two centuries ago.

Here is the report:

Pat Robertson said Wednesday that earthquake-ravaged Haiti has been "cursed" by a "pact to the devil."


"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it," he said on Christian Broadcasting Network's "The 700 Club." "They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal."

Robertson said that "ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other"

This miserable Gantryite piles on the poor Haitian people by suggesting that God is punishing them for something that happened centuries ago? 

While all people of compassion and good will, real Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, are trying to help the injured, the sick, and the dying, this jackass used his position as a "Christian" spokesman to blame the afflicted for this catastrophe. 

Pat Robertson is a fool and beyond contempt and is no more a "Christian" than is the devil he stupidly believes in.

Cross posted a The Swash Zone.

UPDATE:

Michael Rowe, independent journalist and essayist, writing for the Huffington Post has this to say about the obscenity that is Pat Robertson:

"Perhaps in the aftermath of yet another grotesque pronouncement from this man who claims to speak for God, while blaming victims of a natural horror for their own misery, it might be time for America to take a long, hard look at the multi-billion dollar religion industry (which is largely tax-exempt) and ask itself if it still wants to invest people like Pat Robertson and his evangelical corporation with anything but jaundice.



It's too much to expect Robertson's millions and millions of followers to share the outrage we feel over his comments about Haiti. It's too much to expect them to immediately cease funding his enterprise and send their money instead to an aid organization. Imagine the many millions of dollars for Haitian aid that would generate.


It's too much to expect them to recall what their own Bible says about false prophets, or to see Robertson in the context of Isaiah 29:13: The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by me


But of those of us who are outraged by Robertson's foulness chose to give an extra ten dollars to Oxfam or the Red Cross as an expression of that outrage, perhaps some small good can come out of it.


And then, when we've really done all we can, perhaps we can finally have that honest discussion about religion, and the role of people like Pat Robertson in American popular culture. And perhaps then we can discover who's really made a pact, and with which devil. Lets hope it isn't us."

THEODORE OLSON AND DAVID BOIES ON RACHEL MADDOW'S SHOW

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

THE CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR GAY MARRIAGE

Theodore Olson, US Solicitor General for the Bush administration and who represented Bush in Bush v. Gore 2000, and David Boies, who was the lawyer for Gore in Bush vs. Gore in 2000, have teamed up to challenge the California Supreme Court's upholding of  Proposition 8, a voter initiative that passed in the November 2008 elections and which struck down the gay marriage rights passed by Sacramento legislators.

Recently, in a discussion on TRUTH 101's blog, a commenter wrote this when I gave my opinion on California's Prop 8 and other states that prohibit gay marriage:

SHAW KENAWE: "This piece of bigotry will not stand."   


COMMENTER TO SHAW KENAWE:  "Yawn. Typical left-wing McCarthyism."


SHAW KENAWE'S REBUTTAL:  It is a fact that this country, bless it, always moves in the direction of extending civil rights to minorities. The resistance to gay marriage is predicated solely on religious sensibilites. This country does not recognize religion as a basis of it civil laws. This piece of bigotry will not stand. You’ll see this in your lifetime. Believe me.

Theodore Olson, writing in a recent Newsweek magazine issue, thoroughly demolishes all arguments against granting civil rights to our gay and lesbian citizens, and in doing so, enforces my answer to the commenter who believes standing up for equality and calling any movement to deny equality "bigotry" is "left-wing McCarthyism."

But I'll let Attorney Olson explain his supremely logical and pro-American, pro-equality reasons for supporting gay marriage. 

"My involvement in this case has generated a certain degree of consternation among conservatives. How could a politically active, lifelong Republican, a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, challenge the "traditional" definition of marriage and press for an "activist" interpretation of the Constitution to create another "new" constitutional right?

My answer to this seeming conundrum rests on a lifetime of exposure to persons of different backgrounds, histories, viewpoints, and intrinsic characteristics, and on my rejection of what I see as superficially appealing but ultimately false perceptions about our Constitution and its protection of equality and fundamental rights.

Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation.

[skip]

The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that marriage is one of the most fundamental rights that we have as Americans under our Constitution. It is an expression of our desire to create a social partnership, to live and share life's joys and burdens with the person we love, and to form a lasting bond and a social identity. The Supreme Court has said that marriage is a part of the Constitution's protections of liberty, privacy, freedom of association, and spiritual identification. In short, the right to marry helps us to define ourselves and our place in a community. Without it, there can be no true equality under the law.


It is true that marriage in this nation traditionally has been regarded as a relationship exclusively between a man and a woman, and many of our nation's multiple religions define marriage in precisely those terms. But while the Supreme Court has always previously considered marriage in that context, the underlying rights and liberties that marriage embodies are not in any way confined to heterosexuals.

[skip]

The simple fact is that there is no good reason why we should deny marriage to same-sex partners. On the other hand, there are many reasons why we should formally recognize these relationships and embrace the rights of gays and lesbians to marry and become full and equal members of our society


No matter what you think of homosexuality, it is a fact that gays and lesbians are members of our families, clubs, and workplaces. They are our doctors, our teachers, our soldiers (whether we admit it or not), and our friends. They yearn for acceptance, stable relationships, and success in their lives, just like the rest of us.

[skip]

California's Proposition 8 is particularly vulnerable to constitutional challenge, because that state has now enacted a crazy-quilt of marriage regulation that makes no sense to anyone. California recognizes marriage between men and women, including persons on death row, child abusers, and wife beaters. At the same time, California prohibits marriage by loving, caring, stable partners of the same sex, but tries to make up for it by giving them the alternative of "domestic partnerships" with virtually all of the rights of married persons except the official, state-approved status of marriage. Finally, California recognizes 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place in the months between the state Supreme Court's ruling that upheld gay-marriage rights and the decision of California's citizens to withdraw those rights by enacting Proposition 8


So there are now three classes of Californians: heterosexual couples who can get married, divorced, and remarried, if they wish; same-sex couples who cannot get married but can live together in domestic partnerships; and same-sex couples who are now married but who, if they divorce, cannot remarry. This is an irrational system, it is discriminatory, and it cannot stand.

Americans who believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence, in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, in the 14th Amendment, and in the Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and equal dignity before the law cannot sit by while this wrong continues. This is not a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American one, and it is time that we, as Americans, embraced it."

I urge everyone to read the entire article here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

BARACK and the WONDERFUL, PROGRESSIVE, IMPRESSIVE, VERY GOOD FIRST YEAR



That heading will. annoy the hell out of President Obama’s critics, I know. But as John Adams once said “Facts are stubborn things.” The following list of what Mr. Obama has factually and actually accomplished in the tumultuous first year of his presidency will reveal that, quietly and steadfastly, Mr. Obama has indeed had an impressive, very good first year.

1.Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending

2. Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify and cut wasteful spending and practices

3. Instituted enforcements for equal pay for women

4. Beginning the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq

5. Families of fallen soldiers have expenses covered to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover A.F.B.

6. Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information

7. Ended media blackout on covering the return of fallen soldiers to Dover A.F.B.; the media is now permitted to do so pending adherence to respectful rules and approval of fallen soldier's family

8. The White House and federal government are respecting the Freedom of Information Act

9. Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible

10. Limits on lobbyist's access to the White House

11. Limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration

12. Ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date

13. Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems, which weren't even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan

14. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research

15. Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research

16. New federal funding for science and research labs

17. States are permitted to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards

18. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants) after years of neglect

19. Funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools

20. New funds for school construction

21. The prison at Guantanamo Bay is being phased out

22. US Auto industry rescue plan

23. Housing rescue plan

24. $789 billion economic stimulus plan

25. The public can meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (the new plan can be completed in one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying

26. US financial and banking rescue plan

27. The secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed

28. Ended the previous policy; the US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with the Geneva Convention standards

29. Better body armor is now being provided to our troops

30.The missile defense program is being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010

31. Restarted the nuclear non-proliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols

32. Re-engaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic

33. Re-engaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions

34. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office

35. Successful release of US captain held by Somali pirates; authorized the SEALS to do their job

36. US Navy increasing patrols off Somali coast

37. Attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles

38. Cash for clunkers program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars; stimulated auto sales

39. Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government

40. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children

41. Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program

42. Instituted a new policy on Cuba , allowing Cuban families to return home to visit loved ones

43. Ended the previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions

44. Expanding vaccination programs

45. Immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters

46. Closed offshore tax safe havens

47. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals

48. Ended the previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back

49. Ended the previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from credit card industry's predatory practices

50. Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources

51. Lower drug costs for seniors

52. Ended the previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government is now realizing hundreds of millions in savings

53. Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel

54. Improved housing for military personnel

55. Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses

56. Improved conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other military hospitals

57. Increasing student loans

58. Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program

59. Sent envoys to Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; re-engaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy

60. Established a new cyber security office

61. Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military 20 years after the Cold War to a more modern fighting force; this includes new procurement policies, increasing size of military, new technology and cyber units and operations, etc.

62. Ended previous policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts

63. Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness

64. Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient

65. Students struggling to make college loan payments can have their loans refinanced

66. Improving benefits for veterans

67. Many more press conferences and town halls and much more media access than previous administration

68. Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud

69. The FDA is now regulating tobacco

70. Ended previous policy of cutting the FDA and circumventing FDA rules

71. Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports

72. Authorized discussions with North Korea and private mission by Pres. Bill Clinton to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons

73. Authorized discussions with Myanmar and mission by Sen. Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive

74. Making more loans available to small businesses

75. Established independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare

76. Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court

77. Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans

78. Limited salaries of senior White House aides; cut to $100,000

79. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel

80. Changed the failing/status quo military command in Afghanistan

81. Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan

82. New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans

83. Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production

84. Returned money authorized for refurbishment of White House offices and private living quarters

85. Paid for redecoration of White House living quarters out of his own pocket

86. Held first Seder in White House

87. Attempting to reform the nation's healthcare system which is the most expensive in the world yet leaves almost 50 million without health insurance and millions more under insured

88. Has put the ball in play for comprehensive immigration reform

89. Has announced his intention to push for energy reform

90. Has announced his intention to push for education reform



This list was compiled by Professor Robert Watson of Lynn University who was once a writer for the New York Times.

Awards/HonorsFor his work, Robert Watson has won numerous awards, including the “International Abraham Lincoln Award” for contributions to the study of the presidency, the “Children’s Hero Award” for the many civic programs he offers schools, and various teaching honors by the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society, Golden Key International Honor Society, and others, as well as such campus awards as “Distinguished Professor of the Year” and the “Faculty Service Award” at other universities prior to joining Lynn’s faculty. He was also named the South Florida Business Journal’s “Heavy Hitter in Education,” has received meritorious honors from the University of Florida, Brandeis University, the American Association of State and Local History, the Western Social Science Association, and others, and has been inducted into two sports halls of fame.

Watson has been selected as a visiting fellow or scholar-in-residence with universities, historic sites, presidential libraries, and synagogues around the country and several of his books are in international translation and/or have been nominated for awards with such organizations as the American Historical Association, American Political Science Association, and the Social Science History Association.

Link.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

RUDY GIULIANI = A NOUN, A VERB, AND A LIE

In a recent post, using documented evidence, I exposed the lies--that Mr. Obama does not believe this country is at war and that Mr. Obama doesn’t talk about terrorism-- former vice president Dick Cheney chose to spread all over cable teevee and the internet. Now comes the former mayor of New York City, Giuliani, doing the same thing. Counting on people to accept his falsehoods as fact, Giuliani has been shameless in repeating bald faced lies about the number of terrorist attacks during the Bush and Obama administrations.


All of what Mr. A Verb, A Noun, and Nine Eleven claimed has been refuted and shown to be part of what seems to be an effort by out-of-office political hacks to undermine Mr. Obama’s presidency and do this country serious harm. We have enemies plotting to do this country immense damage. Do we really need political has-beens causing additional injury to our country by lying and provoking irrational fear in the population? Do liars like Cheney and Giuliani really believe that no one will check the documented record to see if what they claim is true? Apparently not. While appearing in an interview with George Stephanopolous, Giuliani actually asserted that there were no domestic terrorist attacks during George W. Bush’s presidency. Stephanopolous let that whopper slide by without a follow-up question to discover how Giuliani came to that idiotic conclusion. Stephanopolous has since admitted he was wrong in letting Giuliani get away with such an insane statement.


Most thinking people understand that this country will continue to be under attack abroad and here at home so long as reactionary Muslims perceive us as their mortal enemy. This has been ongoing for decades, and no administration, past or present, has been or is immune to the threat and actual implementation of these attacks. We will have failures in intelligence because human beings are fallible and as a result, people will be hurt, killed because of these heartbreakingly dangerous realities. It may be just politics as usual for contemptible hacks like Cheney and Giuliani to repeat the perverse lie that Mr. Obama does not care about the safety of the American people, but in doing so they undermine every effort the administration is taking to do the best it can to keep us safe.


For the record, here are the facts to demolish the sneering lies of Rudy Giuliani:


Post-9/11 Domestic Terror Attacks During Bush Administration:


Sept-Oct 2001: Anthrax attacks on Congress, NY govt offices, media.


Dec 12, 2001: Foiled plot by Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel to blow up mosque in Culver City, CA, and office of Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA).


Dec 22, 2001: Shoe Bomber Richard Reid fails to blow up AA Flt 63.


July 4, 2002: Hesham Mohamed Hadayet kills 2 at the El Al ticket counter at LAX.


Oct 2002: Beltway Snipers John Allen Muhammed and Boyd Lee Malvo kill 10; Malvo later testifies attacks motivated by "jihad."
April 2003: White supremacists William Krar, Edith Bruey foiled in the Tyler Poison Gas Plot with huge stockpile of cyanide, 100 conventional bombs, and 500,000 rounds of ammunition.


June 5, 2003: John Noster arrested in LA w/cache of pipe bombs, jet fuel, weapons, and assorted books alleging a worldwide socialist conspiracy.


March 3, 2005: Mohammed Reza Taheri-azana drives an SUV onto a crowded part of campus at UNC at Chapel Hill, injuring 9.


April 3, 2006: Allen Weatherford arrested in MN with cache of weapons, detonation devices, fuel oil, and fertilizer intended to blow up a local courthouse.


July 28, 2006: Naveed Haq kills 1 and hospitalizes 5 in a shooting at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.


Aug 30, 2006: Omeed Aziz Popal kills 1 and injures 17 in SUV rampage that began in Fremont, CA, and ended at the Jewish Community Center of SF.


Dec 22, 2006: Derrick Shareef’s "violent jihad" attack on an Illinois shopping mall disrupted by feds.


Feb 12, 2007: Sulejman Talović opens fire at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, killing 5, injuring 4, while shouting "Allahu Akbar!"

Not to mention the March 23, 2003 grenade attack by Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar on his fellow members of the 101st Airborne, which killed 2 and wounded 14. That particular attack is not technically "terrorism" because it involved combatants rather than civilians, but then again so did the Right's previous-favorite Obama administration attack, that of Nidal Hassan at Ft. Hood earlier this year. Funny nobody ever mentions Hasan Akbar when they're trying to claim that the Ft. Hood incident proves Obama is soft on terrorism.

h/t Democratic Underground

Watch Larry O’Donnell tear the lies of Rudy Giuliani apart: