Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

The Reverend Al Sharpton on the killing of two Brooklyn New York policemen

I am outraged at the killing of 2 police officers in Brooklyn. That is why we stress non violence as the only way to fight for justice. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. We all at NAN express our prayers and condolences to the families of the 2 NYC officers.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PHYSICIANS EMBRACE MR. OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE REFORM

Interesting article from the May 30 NYTimes about a change in physicians' political support--they favor the Democrats' health care reform.


"Doctors were once overwhelmingly male and usually owned their own practices. They generally favored lower taxes and regularly fought lawyers to restrict patient lawsuits. Ronald Reagan came to national political prominence in part by railing against “socialized medicine” on doctors’ behalf.



But doctors are changing. They are abandoning their own practices and taking salaried jobs in hospitals, particularly in the North, but increasingly in the South as well. Half of all younger doctors are women, and that share is likely to grow.

There are no national surveys that track doctors’ political leanings, but as more doctors move from business owner to shift worker, their historic alliance with the Republican Party is weakening from Maine as well as South Dakota, Arizona and Oregon, according to doctors’ advocates in those and other states.

That change could have a profound effect on the nation’s health care debate. Indeed, after opposing almost every major health overhaul proposal for nearly a century, the American Medical Association supported President Obama’s legislation last year because the new law would provide health insurance to the vast majority of the nation’s uninsured, improve competition and choice in insurance, and promote prevention and wellness, the group said.

Because so many doctors are no longer in business for themselves, many of the issues that were once priorities for doctors’ groups, like insurance reimbursement, have been displaced by public health and safety concerns, including mandatory seat belt use and chemicals in baby products.

Even the issue of liability, while still important to the A.M.A. and many of its state affiliates, is losing some of its unifying power because malpractice insurance is generally provided when doctors join hospital staffs.


“It was a comfortable fit 30 years ago representing physicians and being an active Republican,” said Gordon H. Smith, executive vice president of the Maine Medical Association. “The fit is considerably less comfortable today.”

Mr. Smith, 59, should know. The child of a prominent Republican family, he canvassed for Barry Goldwater in 1964, led the state’s Youth for Nixon and College Republicans chapters, served on the Republican National Committee and proudly called himself a Reagan Republican — one reason he got the job in 1979 representing the state’s doctors’ group.

But doctors in Maine have abandoned the ownership of practices en masse, and their politics and points of view have shifted dramatically. The Maine doctors’ group once opposed health insurance mandates because they increase costs to employers, but it now supports them, despite Republican opposition, because they help patients.


[SKIP]
 
change could have a profound effect on the nation’s health care debate. Indeed, after opposing almost every major health overhaul proposal for nearly a century, the American Medical Association supported President Obama’s legislation last year because the new law would provide health insurance to the vast majority of the nation’s uninsured, improve competition and choice in insurance, and promote prevention and wellness, the group said.


Because so many doctors are no longer in business for themselves, many of the issues that were once priorities for doctors’ groups, like insurance reimbursement, have been displaced by public health and safety concerns, including mandatory seat belt use and chemicals in baby products.

Even the issue of liability, while still important to the A.M.A. and many of its state affiliates, is losing some of its unifying power because malpractice insurance is generally provided when doctors join hospital staffs.


[SKIP]
 
Dr. Lee Thibodeau, 59, a neurosurgeon from Portland, still calls himself a conservative but says he has changed, too. He used to pay nearly $85,000 a year for malpractice insurance and was among the most politically active doctors in the state on the issue of liability. Then, in 2006, he sold his practice, took a job with a local health care system, stopped paying the insurance premiums and ended his advocacy on the issue.


“It’s not my priority anymore,” Dr. Thibodeau said. “I think Gordon and I are now fighting for all of the same things, and that’s to optimize the patient experience.”

Many of Mr. Smith’s counterparts in other states told similar stories of change.

“When I came here, it was an old boys’ club of conservative Republicans,” said Joanne K. Bryson, the executive director of the Oregon Medical Association since 2004.

Now her group lobbies for public health issues that it long ignored, like insurance coverage for people with disabilities.

Even in Texas, where three-quarters of doctors said last year that they opposed the new health law, doctors who did not have their own practices were twice as likely as those who owned a practice to support the overhaul, as were female doctors."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS IMPROVED THE LIVES of LGBT AMERICANS MORE THAN ANY PRESIDENT IN HISTORY

This report on the outstanding endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign of President Obama's policy on LGBT rights is from "The People's Voice.net," written and posted by "Deaniac83." 

It's a tremendous testament to the profound changes that Mr. Obama has effected over the past two plus years in office, and proof again that this president can deliver on his promises.

"Yesterday, that homophobic black president (or maybe not black enough, ask Cornel West) who passed a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, declared the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, mandated that any hospital accepting Medicare must respect same sex partner visitation rights, expanded federal hate crimes statutes to include protections for LGBT Americans, and did more to advance gay rights than any president ever received the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest and most successful advocates for LGBT equality.


HRC President Joe Solmonese had this to say about the endorsement:

President Obama has improved the lives of LGBT Americans more than any President in history. In 2008 we were promised change and profound change is what we got. More remains to be done and ensuring that President Obama is able to continue the forward momentum toward equality for another term is an absolute priority of the Human Rights Campaign.




HRC didn't just leave it at "profound change is what we got." They spelled out the sea change that took place under President Obama's leadership on LGBT civil rights, including the ones I mentioned above plus ending the HIV entry ban, extending all possible legal benefits to partners of federal workers, applied the Family Medical Leave Act to same sex parents, appointing more openly gay and transgender people than ever and so much more. Our very own TiMT wrote a fantastic piece in March outlining these and many other achievements on the equality front in detail.


Solmonese also penned an op-ed in The Advocate.



"As you might notice in the comments for that op-ed, though, for some, clinging to "Obama-is-teh-evil" is more important than actually looking [at] what the President was able to do over, as Solmonese points out, relentless and unified opposition from Republicans. The Republican alternative for gay Americans? They would keep DADT in place, refuse to recognize anti-gay and anti-transgender violence in the nation's hate crimes laws, and yes, would send gay Americans to jail if they could. They would push to write discrimination into the Constitution, as they have in many state constitutions.



I do not say this simply to point out that President Obama is comparatively better on LGBT issues than Republicans. That's a gimme. I say this because those who insist that the President is no different from Republicans run the risk convincing their peers - or even themselves - of that false argument, which does not (as it did not in 2010) help give the President more legislative support in Congress for the additional equality initiatives he has supported and his administration has actively lobbied Congress on. These include the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), a legislative repeal of DOMA, and universalizing federal spousal rights and responsibilities for same sex couples. Each of these efforts, supported by the President, is stuck in Congress. Oddly, the solution for the ideologues on the Left for this legislative logjam seemed to be to discourage the Democratic base so as to increase the number of Republicans in Congress. We can't let that happen again.



President Obama has been a transformational leader on so many fronts. He has been nothing short of an unwavering ally for our community. He has delivered on our issues, and he would like to do more, if we send some more help in Congress."



During the 2008 elections, I didn't get to volunteer for the Obama campaign much, as I was completely consumed with the campaign to defeat Proposition 8 in California, which we failed to do. A lot of Californian activists went to Nevada for the Obama campaign to ensure President Obama's victory there. When they came back and saw the results of Prop 8, some expressed regret, saying that maybe they should have stayed in California and tried to defeat Prop 8 instead, given Obama's landslide victory. I told them two things: first, they could not have known this would happen with Prop 8, and second, President Obama's election was the most important thing to happen to LGBT rights since Harvey Milk. The people who helped turn the swing states blue won an important victory for us, even in the midst of the the depressing news about Prop 8. We could now look forward to an end to DADT, a national hate crimes law, and a federal government that respects, rather than politicizes the lives, struggles and dignity of LGBT Americans. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.






There is more to do. The struggle for equality is long, hard, and worth every second of every day. The struggle for equality is not a quick fix where you simply get to throw mud at our best ally just because he hasn't wielded a magic wand. The path to equality will not end until full equality is achieved in every respect. As a gay man, I can tell you that we cannot walk this path alone. We need our straight friends and family to march with us. We need people of every color, gender, economic status and religion to walk with us. We need our fellow Americans to amplify our voices. And we need President Obama.
 






Thursday, May 26, 2011

PALIN'S HOMAGE TO HERSELF: "THE UNDEFEATED" IS...

MISTITLED!  

Since Palin, the celebritician,* was SOUNDLY DEFEATED  in 2008.

But aside from that obvious fact, the planned release of this documentary about her fabulousness will appeal only to her shrinking base.  Will it help her gain the GOP nomination for the presidency?  We can only hope.

Chris Cilizza writing in the WaPo's "The Fix" explains that no matter what Palin and her entourage do to prop up her sagging image, it won't improve that image since both Democrats and Independents can't stand her; plus she's even losing points within the mainstream GOP.  You can't win a presidential election with votes only from a bunch of groupies.

So let her have her self-love fest and pretend that she isn't a LOSER--Palin never dealt in reality anyway, why would she change her habit now? 





From Andrew Sullivan's blog The Daily Dish:



"I happen to think no Republican would have won in 2008 and that her impact on the race was mixed; but it’s still odd to proclaim yourself undefeated after a major loss. Second, it’s also the name of a pretty good John Wayne-Rock Hudson picture from 1969. The plot involved a Confederate colonel who takes his band of soldiers down to Mexico after Lee’s surrender to fight with Emperor Maximillian. Presumably, the title was ironic, in that they lost twice.


Irony is not Palin's strongest suit, one suspects."






"The planned release of a feature-length film that amounts to a biopic of the life and times of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is being cited as the latest evidence that the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee is weighing a 2012 presidential bid more seriously than many political observers previously believed.


The signs are all there. The movie will be released first in Iowa, site of the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses. Palin cooperated with the film — although she is not interviewed in it — and an early screening suggests it is a decidedly positive re-telling of her rise to prominence.

“This film is a call to action for a campaign like 1976: Reagan vs. the establishment,” filmmaker Steven K. Bannon told RealClearPolitics.

And yet, analyzing anything that Palin does through a “politics only” lens has proven to be decidedly problematic over the past three-plus years.

*The reality is that Palin is as much celebrity as she is politician — call her a “celebritician” — and only by evaluating everything she does in that light is there a possibility of properly understanding the motivations and goals of her actions.

Viewed that way, the Palin movie is not a radical departure but rather entirely consistent with her transformation from small-state politician to worldwide celebrity.


[skip]
 
The movie then will almost certainly be targeted at people who are already Palin loyalists — the same audience as her television show, books and the speeches that she gives around the country.

Add to that the fact that the movie apparently spends a significant amount of time dramatizing Palin’s alleged shabby treatment by the media and the idea of the movie as some sort of presidential launching pad gets more clouded.

What Palin has consistently done since leaving office in 2009 is play to her small — and, if polling is to be trusted — shrinking base within the Republican party. The movie then could well be more of the same rather than some sort of attempt to broaden her appeal in the electorate.

Reading too much political calculation into anything Palin does is a fool’s errand. The movie could be setting up a presidential bid. Or not.

The only way we will ever know what Palin is truly plotting politically for 2012 is when she decides to make that decision public. And, she’s set no deadline to do that as of today.

So, we wait — and read the tea leaves. Even though we know it’s futile."

Why not retitle the documentary from "The Undefeated" to "The Apotheosis of Sarah Palin," since that's her ultimate goal.



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DEMOCRAT KATHY HOCHUL WINS SPECIAL ELECTION IN VERY, VERY RED DISTRICT IN UPSTATE NEW YORK

This is would be like Barney Frank losing in his very, very blue district in very, very blue Massachusetts. 

All eyes are on this historic upset because of Hochul's GOP opponent's (Jane Corwin) support of Paul Ryan's drastic Medicare killing bill.  In the end, Corwin tried to distance herself from the plan, but to no avail.


GOPers are looking at a tremendous upset and will have to rethink their support for what was initially hailed as a courageous proposal by Ryan that has now turned into a disaster for those who support it.



From the ChiTrib:

"Democrat Kathy Hochul has won a special congressional election in a conservative pocket of western New York, a race dominated by the national debate over House Republicans’ proposal to overhaul Medicare, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.


Hochul, the Erie County Clerk, beat Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin and Jack Davis, a wealthy businessman who ran on the “Tea Party” ticket. Early returns showed Hochul with a solid lead over Corwin, with Davis trailing far behind.

The AP called the race shortly after 10 pm ET"


From the NYTimes:

"The results set off elation among Democrats and soul-searching among Republicans, who questioned whether the party should rethink its commitment to the Medicare plan, which appears to have become a liability as 2012 elections loom.


Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser in the race against Jane Corwin. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.

Voters, who turned out in strikingly large numbers for a special election, said they trusted Ms. Hochul, the county clerk of Erie County, to protect Medicare.

“I have almost always voted the party line,” said Gloria Bolender, a Republican from Clarence who is caring for her 80-year-old mother. “This is the second time in my life I’ve voted against my party.”

Pat Gillick, a Republican from East Amherst, who also cast a ballot for Ms. Hochul, said, “The privatization of Medicare scares me.”

The district, which stretches from Buffalo to Rochester, has been in Republican hands for four decades, producing influential Republican figures like Representative Jack Kemp. The campaign drew intense interest, with both major parties in Washington and their allies flooding the district with radio and television advertising. Total spending exceeded $6 million."

.

NETANYAHU'S BOGUS COMPARISON OF US ANNEXATION OF TEXAS AND THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

This is what passes as "rational discussion" on the president's recent speech on Israeli/Palestinian borders:






"Speaking to reporters accompanying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his long flight to the United States tonight, Netanyahu spoke of the injustice and hardship Mexicans have endured since American forces annexed Texas in 1845. “Tens of thousands of ordinary Mexicans were driven out of their homes – the only homes they had known for centuries – and forced to live in poverty and squalor south of the border imposed by American aggression,” Netanyahu said. “The Israeli and Mexican people agree on this: This festering wound will never heal until America takes bold steps to return to the internationally accepted lines of 1845. Clearly the settlement activity that’s taken place in occupied Mexico since then is illegal. When I meet the President tomorrow I will tell him to halt all building activity in Texas immediately. Two lands for two peoples, yes, but not on land taken by force from Mexico,” the Prime Minister said."




STUPID! And complete nonsense as well as a specious argument. 
 
Here's Juan Cole, an expert on the Middle East, to explain why this statement by Netanyahu does nothing to encourage a rational discussion on a very serious subject:
 
JUAN COLE:


"The reason Israel has to go back to 1967 borders is that the annexation of territory from a neighbor through warfare is illegal according to the United Nations Charter, which is a treaty to which Israel and the United States are both signatories. ‘Greater Israel’ apologists attempt to get out of this difficulty by saying that countries used to conquer land away from their neighbors all the time. This is a bogus argument, since countries used to do a lot of things, including sponsor the slave trade; Britain even insisted on China allowing the sale of opium in the early 19th century. The world changed when World War II ended and the countries of the world established the United Nations to forestall any recrudescence of Axis techniques of conquest and rule. If Israel does not believe in the UN Charter, it should renounce its UN membership."



[snip]
"It is not just the UN Charter. The Hague Agreement of 1907 and the Geneva Convention of 1949 forbid a power occupying enemy territory in war time from annexing it or in any way changing the life ways of its people."

The bogus statement put forth by Netanyahu is not serious, and he's made a fool of himself for uttering such rot. What happened when the US annexed Texas happened in the 1800s, before there was a UN, and before Israel signed a treaty (and as stated above to which the US is also a signatory) that states NO TERRITORY CAN BE ANNEXED THROUGH WARFARE. IT IS ILLEGAL.
 
What is Netanyahu talking about?  Is he deliberately trying to look like a fool?  If so.  He has succeeded. 
 
And he continues to make Mr. Obama look like the consummate statesman that he is.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

JEWISH GROUPS APPLAUD PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ISRAELI/PALISTINIAN SPEECH

The hard liners on the right (both Israel's and the US's) have been burning up the blogsphere with over-the-top rhetoric (i.e., "Obama is a back-stabbing, Israel hating Muslim").  All of this foaming at the mouth hatred is foolish, since what Mr. Obama proposed last week was what the last four US presidentS have more or less been advocating over the years, and is essentially nothing new.

That doesn't stop the hacks on the right from spewing stupid, incendiary hate speech.  It is telling that this hysterical reaction was absent when President Bush proposed nearly the same thing in 2004.  These knuckleheads don't deal in facts or information but rather use outrage and lies to further their continuing effort to undermine our president.

Here is one of the more glaringly stupid blogs that claims Mr. Obama has "overturned" decades of US/Israeli policy.  The blogger is either devastatingly ignorant or a damn liar.  My guess is that he's both:

"Obama has overturned decades of US foreign policy today by suggesting that Israel return to her pre-1967 borders. Even with his history of bad judgement, this President leaves me speechless. Obama should have followed my lead and also remained speechless yesterday."

There's no sense reading the bloggers who have lost their heads over President Obama's speech, since they don't know what the hell they're talking about.  Ignore their trash.

Below are links to statements from major Jewish groups praising President Obama for his speech.  Following the links is a piece from The Christian Science Monitor, putting the speech in perspective.  And finally from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Cynthia Tucker points out the hypocrisy the right is engaging in.  Again. 

FROM "OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY":

"...several major American Jewish organizations have released statements praising the speech. The people claiming that the President has abandoned Israel are either (1) misunderstanding what he said, or (2) lying. I will let the reader decide which."

Jewish groups respond to Obama’s Mideast speech


By Daniel Treiman · May 19, 2011

"The Anti-Defamation League applauds:


We welcome President Obama's compelling speech on the priorities for American policy in the Middle East. We applaud his strong outlining of the principles which motivate that policy, including supporting the universal rights of free speech, equality and religious freedom, opposing the use of force and political repression, and promoting political and economic reforms. These are a reflection of American values and promote American interests.

We further commend his strong affirmation of the importance of the deep and unshakeable U.S.-Israel relationship, and his clear articulation of the moral and strategic connections between America and Israel. We support the President’s vision of a negotiated Israeli-Palestinian settlement with strong security provisions for Israel, and a non-militarized Palestinian state. We appreciate his direct rejection of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and his understanding that the Hamas-Fatah agreement poses major problems for Israel."




"Tzipi Livni, leader of Israel’s opposition Kadima party, also backed Mr Obama’s two-state solution and accused Mr Netanyahu of putting Israel at risk in order to save his right-wing coalition.

'The prime minister has violated relations between Israel and the United States,' she said, speaking after Mr Obama’s speech but before the Oval Office meeting. 'He has endangered the security of Israel and its power of deterrence.' ”





THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR:


"The hard-line Israeli prime minister and his aides are furious. "There can be only one meaning to this demand: It is an attempt to determine Israel's borders and the ultimate status of the areas in question in advance of negotiations," the Israeli prime minister says. "We shall never agree to such a step." An aide to the prime minister is even more dramatic, calling the old armistice line the "borders of Auschwitz."


Sound like the back and forth today, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashing out at Obama, and Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney saying the president had "thrown Israel under the bus"?

Yes, it's almost identical. But this was 1992, with George H. W. Bush's administration and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Mr. Netanyahu, an aide to Mr. Shamir at the time, made the "Auschwitz" comment.

This is all less than 20 years ago and far from ancient history. Which is why it's strange that so many quarters reacted to Obama's statement Thursday as if he'd broken new ground or done something to threaten Israel.

What did he say? "The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps." What does that mean? Well, in practice it means the Israelis and the Palestinians would negotiate bits of a future Palestinian state that would not follow the 1967 borders, with some Israeli settlement blocs presumably being swapped for other bits of Israeli land. 1967 is just a starting point.

That's been the general working idea for the last four US presidencies, including two Republican administrations. Yet not only was Romney striking out at Obama as having undermined Israel's "ability to negotiate peace" but others were reacting with outrage. Mike Huckabee complained of Obama's "betrayal" of Israel.

Huckabee also fell into a camp that apparently misunderstood what Obama said. He complained that Obama "made a grievous mistake by suggesting borders of Israel go back to pre-1967 borders." As did Tim Pawlenty, a fellow Republican presidential aspirant ("Obama's insistence on a return to the 1967 borders is a ... very dangerous demand.") As explained earlier, that's not what Obama said.


[skip]
 
Netanyahu, who sometimes users bluster as a negotiating tool, practically ordered Obama to change course yesterday. In a statement ahead of his US trip that began today, Netanyahu said a Palestinian state would not be founded "at Israel's expense" and that he "expects to hear from President Obama a reconfirmation of commitments to Israel from 2004." The Jerusalem Post characterized Netanyahu's response as "quick and bitter."



But what is the commitment from 2004? It's a letter written by President George W. Bush that ... suggests more or less the same thing that Obama said yesterday.

"In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion," President Bush wrote to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in April of 2004. "It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities."



Now, the language of Bush's comment may be flipped a little, in the sense that he emphasizes that the borders will be different from the 1949-67 borders rather than emphasizing that those should be the starting point, but the overall sense is the same. The real contours of the borders will be determined between the Israelis and Palestinians with "mutually agreed changes" (in Bush's formulation) or "mutually agreed land swaps" (in Obama's). "

 
Bush, Clinton endorsed pre-1967 borders for Palestinian state

11:15 am May 20, 2011, by ctucker

"The new Republican doctrine demands erasing the old Republican doctrine, even if the old doctrine was acceptable a few years ago. GOP hacks are as busy as apparatchiks in the old Soviet Union who erased out-of-favor Communist VIPs from official photographs.


Anything that President Obama proposes is automatically subjected to bristling condemnation, even if the GOP supported it three years ago. Given that, it’s no great surprise that Mitt Romney is claiming Obama “threw Israel under the bus” in his Mid-East speech yesterday, in which the president called for a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders.


But just for the sake of adherence to facts, it’s worthwhile to check out recent history. As Atlantic Monthly’s Jeffrey Goldberg points out:



I’m amazed at the amount of insta-commentary out there suggesting that the President has proposed something radical and new by declaring that Israel’s 1967 borders should define — with land-swaps — the borders of a Palestinian state. I’m feeling a certain Groundhog Day effect here. This has been the basic idea for at least 12 years. This is what Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat were talking about at Camp David, and later, at Taba. This is what George W. Bush was talking about with Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert. (Emphasis added.) So what’s the huge deal here? Is there any non-delusional Israeli who doesn’t think that the 1967 border won’t serve as the rough outline of the new Palestinian state?"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

SCOTT BROWN (R-MA) WILL VOTE FOR PAUL RYAN'S PLAN TO TRANSFORM MEDICARE -- OR MAYBE NOT

Scott Brown will have to defend his Senate seat come 2012, and his recent pledge to vote for Paul Ryan's extremist plan to radically change Medicare will not sit well with the voters in Massachusetts.

“Clearly Senator Brown is taking a position against the senior community here in Massachusetts,’’ asserted Carolyn Villers, executive director of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council, “not only the current seniors who struggle on fixed incomes, but the ability of future seniors and the growing senior community to be able to survive in their retirement.’’

"The GOP plan would alter the federal government’s role as the overseer of the Medicare program by creating a voucher system that shifts responsibilities to the beneficiaries. The plan, written by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, would also transform Medicaid into a block-grant system that hands much of the oversight of the medical program for the poor and disabled to the states.




After the House passed the budget, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, vowed that his chamber will hold a vote on it, forcing Brown and other potentially vulnerable Republicans in the 2012 elections to take a stance on the cuts. A vote is expected before Memorial Day." --Boston Globe

This is what Senator Brown said on May 16:

“The leaders will bring forward (Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s) budget, and I will vote for it, and it will fail."
That was then; this is now, and this is what his spokesman said today, May 18:


"A spokesman for Scott Brown called the senator’s comments an observation of political gamesmanship, not a commitment to vote for the House-passed plan."
Excuse me?  When did "I WILL VOTE FOR IT" come to mean "I'M JUST KIDDING?"

Senator Scott  seems not ready to be a leader, and he certainly has shown his word cannot be trusted.

 “I mean what I say” is not the same as “I say what I mean." --Alice in Wonderland

We the people of Massachusetts will follow Senator Brown's vote very carefully to see if he really meant what he said.



 
Meanwhile, I'm very much interested in the candidacy of Setti Warren, the mayor of Newton, Mass., who announced that he will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.
 
As I learn more about Mayor Warren and find that he is the sort of candidate that is qualified to be a US Senator, I WILL VOTE FOR HIM. 
 
And I mean what I say.

Gustav Mahler, 7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Gustav Mahler, one of the greatest composers of all time.  I had the supreme pleasure last fall of hearing his Symphony No. 2, The Resurrection, in Boston Symphony Hall, conducted by James Levine, one of the world's leading Mahler interpreters. 

If you've never listened to Mahler's music, you're cheating yourself out of one of life's greatest experiences. 

Mahler wrote 10 symphonies (the last one unfinished) as well as songs and piano and string quartets, and operas.  His œuvre  was relatively small, since he had to earn a living mostly by conducting.

"...Mahler expressed the belief that "The symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything." True to this belief, Mahler drew material from many sources into his songs and symphonic works: bird calls and cow-bells to evoke nature and the countryside, bugle fanfares, street melodies and country dances to summon the lost world of his childhood. Life's struggles are represented in contrasting moods: the yearning for fulfilment by soaring melodies and chromatic harmony, suffering and despair by discord, distortion and grotesquerie. Amid all this is Mahler's particular hallmark—the constant intrusion of banality and absurdity into moments of deep seriousness, typified in the second movement of the Fifth Symphony when a trivial popular tune suddenly cuts into a solemn funeral march. The trite melody soon changes its character, and in due course re-emerges as one of the majestic Brucknerian chorales which Mahler uses to signify hope and the resolution of conflict.  " --Wikipedia

Peter Davis of the NYTimes writes about the period Mahler spent conducting at the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic near the end of his tragically short life.

My two favorite symphonies are his 2nd and 9th, but there is much to love in all of his music.

Here are 4 performers talking about the 2nd and why it is so beloved by musicians.




And here is the last movement of Mahler's Symphony #2:





"A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything."   --Gustav Mahler

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I "HEART" MASSACHUSETTS...

but not for the weather, that's for sure.  We've had a miserably chilly, cloudy, rainy spring.  Ugh!

But there are worse things than having intemperate weather.  I lived in Florida for 10 years; I know what I'm talking about. I wouldn't trade my little Cape Cod town or Boston's North End for all the sunshine and orange juice in Florida--or for its execrable governor, Rick Scott, either.

Massachusetts is called a true blue state, but in fact, it has elected more Republicans than Democrats as its governor (the last Democratic governor before Deval Patrick was in 1991--Michael Dukakis), and we have a Democrat and Republican senatorThe state legislature, however, is true blue, through and through.

But read this inspiring report from PoliticuUSA on what the individual cities and towns in parts of Massachusetts have done to counter the SCOTUS' egregious ruling in Citizens United:



Massachusetts’ Towns Are Taking Citizens United Down


May 14, 2011
By Ray Medeiros

"Now after [the Citizens United] ruling, small towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are fighting back. A total of 8 towns have adopted resolutions calling for a Constitutional amendment to negate this heinous ruling. A town on Cape Cod, near the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s home, Provincetown led the charge on April 4th, 2011 to take our elections back. This action was followed by Truro and Wellfleet on April 26th, 2011. All three towns called for the same thing,



“A constitutional amendment to restore the First Amendment and fair elections to the people.”

Copies of these resolutions will be heading to the State Capitol in Boston for Governor Deval Patrick, state representatives, and state senators representing these towns as well as U.S. Representatives, and Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown. A copy of the resolutions will also be sent to President Barack Obama.

Other towns that voted and passed similar resolutions were Great Barrington (May 2), Brewster and Dennis (May 3), Chatham and Orleans (May 9), and Williamstown will vote on May 17th.

Free Speech For People has helped to spur these town meeting resolutions. Free Speech For People is a national non-partisan campaign, launched on the day of the Citizens United ruling, which is pressing for a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to restore democracy to the people and to ensure that people, not corporations, govern in America.

A poll released by Free Speech For People, by Hart Research Associates found that 82% of American voters believe Congress should take action to limit corporate spending in elections, and 79% of voters would support an amendment denying corporations equal rights to natural persons under the Constitution. Furthermore the survey revealed that support for an amendment transcends party lines, with large majorities of Democrats (87%), Independents (82%), and Republicans (68%) supporting its passage.

You can also implement this resolution in your town! You can implement this resolution also! You can use Free Speech For People’s model HERE, you need to be part of your democracy and fight back."

This is great news.  Massachusetts may not be as big a state as Florida, nor does it have the beautiful weather nor as many beaches (Mass. does have Cape Cod National Seashore, thanks to JFK,--miles of undeveloped, wild beaches where one sees nothing but sky, sea, and sand.) And we do have citizens willing to take on serious political issues instead of passing laws that prohibit people from having sex with goats.
 
Yes.  There are some things worse than bad weather.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

NEWT GINGRICH IN HIS OWN [horrendous] WORDS

"1978 In an address to College Republicans before he was elected to the House, Gingrich says: "I think one of the great problems we have in the Republican party is that we don't encourage you to be nasty. We encourage you to be neat, obedient, and loyal and faithful and all those Boy Scout words." He added, "Richard Nixon…Gerald Ford…They have done a terrible job, a pathetic job. In my lifetime, in my lifetime—I was born in 1943—we have not had a competent national Republican leader. Not ever."

1985 Gingrich calls Reagan's upcoming meeting with Mikhail  Gorbachev ''the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Chamberlain in 1938 at Munich.''

1985 He's got the world in the palm of his hand: "I have an enormous personal ambition. I want to shift the entire planet…I just had breakfast with [administration officials Richard] Darman and [David] Stockman because I'm unavoidable. I represent real power."v ''the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Chamberlain in 1938 at Munich.''

1989 He explains to the Washington Post why he fights with his second wife, Marianne: "It's not even that it matters to me. It's just the habit of dominance, the habit of being the center of my staff and the center of the news media." Newt gives the marriage a "53–47" shot of surviving.

1989 After taking down Speaker Jim Wright (D-Texas) by filing a string of ethics charges, Gingrich basks in his role as giant-killer. "If you're not in the Washington Post every day," he says, "you might as well not exist."

1990 Gingrich's political action committee, GOPAC, sends out a memo titled "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control" to several thousand Republican candidates running for state and local offices. It includes a list of words they should use to describe Democrats:



decay, failure (fail) collapse(ing) deeper, crisis, urgent(cy), destructive, destroy, sick, pathetic, lie, liberal, they/them, unionized bureaucracy, "compassion" is not enough, betray, consequences, limit(s), shallow, traitors, sensationalists, endanger, coercion, hypocricy, radical, threaten, devour, waste, corruption, incompetent, permissive attitude, destructive, impose, self-serving, greed, ideological, insecure, anti-(issue): flag, family, child, jobs; pessimistic, excuses, intolerant, stagnation, welfare, corrupt, selfish, insensitive, status quo, mandate(s) taxes, spend (ing) shame, disgrace, punish (poor...) bizarre, cynicism, cheat, steal, abuse of power, machine, bosses, obsolete, criminal rights, red tape, patronage.


1995 Following the House GOP's triumphant 1994 election victory, Gingrich sends all the Republican freshman House members copies of the GOPAC memo suggesting they refer to their opponents as "traitors."
 
1998 Gingrich steps down as Speaker, amid ethics complaints and rumors of an extramarital affair. He frames his decision in pragmatic terms: "I'm willing to lead, but I'm not willing to preside over people who are cannibals."


1998 Gingrich divorces Marianne. A later Esquire profile offers a glimpse of the last days, from Marianne's point of view:

Gingrich just kept saying she was a Jaguar and all he wanted was a Chevrolet. "'I can't handle a Jaguar right now.' He said that many times. 'All I want is a Chevrolet.'"

2007 "We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto." Two years later, Gingrich unveils a new Spanish-language website, The Americano.

2008 Gingrich tells Bill O'Reilly that "there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us." The gay and secular fascist movement, Gingrich charges, is "prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it."

2010 A year after writing a book about noted anti-colonialist George Washington, Gingrich suggests that the current president holds a radical, anti-British worldview of his own. "What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?" Gingrich asks. "That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior."

2011 Gingrich tells the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody that he was driven to his cheat on his previous two wives because of his one true love: America. "There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate."

2011 Secular-socialists give way to atheist-Islamists: "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time [his grandchildren are] my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."
 
There is more at the Mother Jones link.
 
This flip-flopping, out-of-control, thrice married extremist wants to be the next president of the United States of America?
 
(Also, I wonder if wifey #3 enjoys being his Chevrolet?)

BTW:  Newt Gingrich will NEVER be president.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

CONSERVATIVE BLOGGER ADVOCATES GENOCIDE: "...it is time to wipe Pakistan off the map..."

We liberal bloggers surf the 'net and actually read what the conservatives are saying on their blogs to try to understand their POV or, at the least, learn what new lies they're spreading.  But sometimes we read a post so utterly insane and jaw-droppingly stupid that it must be shared so that we liberals can get a better insight into how some conservative minds work. 

Green Eagle deserves heaps of praise for doing this sort of work on a regular basis.  I don't know how he manages to wade into the swamp of falsehoods, distortions, and racism that is found on many of these blogs, without incurring permanent harm to his psyche and stomach, but he does it.  I admire his courage and stamina.

The blogger whose post is copied and pasted below is not on Green Eagle's usual list of crazies, because GE covers blogs that have a large following, like Gateway Pundit, Atlas Shrugs, and World Net Daily.  But even though the conservative blogger I speak of doesn't pull in the number of readers that the above-mentioned rightwing blogs do, the subject of his post, advocating genocide for the Pakistani people, needs to be exposed.

The blogger has vehemently denied he called for the annihilation of 190+ million men, women, and children, because Pakistan harbored bin Laden, claiming he was using a metaphor in his post, and not actually calling for the eradication of an entire country and all of its inhabitants.

Here are his posts on his fantasy of being the president of the US and committing genocide:

 "Tuesday, May 3, 2011



WE FINALLY GOT HIM!

Osama Ben Ladin is DEAD!

That is a good thing.
Osama Ben Ladin is DEAD!


That is a good thing.

This was one of history's most vicious, dangerous and vile human beings.

I'm glad he's gone.

President BO deserves a lot of credit for this one...even though there are some "loose-end" questions yet to be answered (from the world of timeing, methodology and propriety).

He would not have been able to accomplish this most necessary task had the ground-work not been laid by George W. Bush.

Both men should be revered for their part in this historic event.

Now, in my humble, but correct opinion, it is time to wipe Pakistan off the map and smear her remains on someone's wall like so much nasal mucus.

With Ben Ladin in a million dollar compound, 35 miles from the capital, in a squalid neighborhood, near a military installation, there is no way they did not know his whereabouts.

They knew.

But they weren't telling.

They harbored a world-class criminal and should now pay the price.

So now we will watch to see whether this administration has the stick-to-it-iveness to stay focused on protecting this country from world-wide terrorism or not.

I'm watching...are you?"

 
THIS IS THE SECOND POST:

Monday, May 9, 2011



PC...The Pakistan Connection



In a previous post I wrote: "Now, in my humble, but correct opinion, it is time to wipe Pakistan off the map and smear her remains on someone's wall like so much nasal mucus."



I wrote that because our government has insisted that Pakistan has been an important ally over recent years.

Poppycock!


I watched ABC's World News Tonight tonight (not my favorite source of news, but hey!) on which a top level Pakistani official revealed that it is assuredly true that Pakistan knew the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden for a number of years.



America's Public Enemy Number One, and he is sheltered under the noses of an "ally."



Some ally!


You liberal/progressives who think I don't know what I'm talking about have ridiculed me for saying we should annihilate Pakistan.



Well, this is America...you have the right to be wrong...and you are.



If I were president (an unlikely scenario, since I have adopted the Pat Paulsonesque stand that if nominated I will not run. If elected I will not serve), I would advise America's sympathizers in Pakistan to both leave the country. Then I would destroy what is left.



"But...but...they have nukes!"


So what?



If we destroy them, I promise you they will not use them.



These people harbored the Mastermind of 9/11.



Look...when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, we did not sit back and try to placate them with rhetoric. We took them on and subsequently showed them that we had the capacity to blow them to smithereens.



OBL attacked and killed 3,000 people in the World Trade Center twin towers.



So far, those involved have paid a scant price.


It is time to up the ante and demonstrate once again that if attacked, the United States of America has the resolve and the political will to make you wish you hadn't done it.



I hate war.


I don't want war.



I am not a war monger.



But we didn't start this war.



They attacked us.



It is time to get them, and get them good.


Posted by Joe at 12:05 AM 9 comments


Here's Joe's denial that he advocates genocide on the Pakistani people for allowing bin Laden in the country. (His answer is directed at me and another commenter who wondered what Jesus would have thought of his wish to kill 190+ million human beings.):
 
Joe said...
"XO and SK: What you have just proven beyond any shadow of a doubt is that you do not know what you are talking about and that you cannot read beyond the abilitites of a government school preschooler.


Each of you has an aunt whom I know disapproves of the political stands you take and who does not like the raw vulgarity each of you posts. They do not like the hatred you spew toward conservatives and they just think you are very much insane.

What? You don't believe I know your aunts?

Well, what on earth makes you think you know Jesus.

There is absolutely nothing in your attitudes or behavior that indicates that you know Him, yet you are comfortable attacking me because He would not approve of my words.

I suggest a remedial course in reading for you both that includes the use of metaphor, simile and other literary techniques, and how they apply to making points and stating truths.

In terms of reading and descernment,[sic] you are both sophomores."

Blogger Joe advocates the killing of 190+ million men, women, and children, then turns on those who call him on that insanity and accuses us of being nuts?

Up is down, black is white, war is peace.  In their world, which is driven by fear, feelings of inadequacy, and hatred for Mr. Obama, plainly stating that a country should be wiped off the map is a "metaphor."  Y'know, like this guy's metaphor about wiping Israel off the map. 

 
Link to blog that advocated genocide.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"HE GOT THE JOB DONE WHEN YOUR HERO, BUSH, COULD NOT OR WOULD NOT"

The following letter, posted online from "The Commercial Appeal," Memphis, Tennessee,, sums up beautifully what we on the Left know, but have not expressed so succinctly and beautifully:


"Quite a few Republicans this week have tried to claim that the death of Osama bin Laden is due to the efforts of George W. Bush, not Barack Obama. The same Bush who spent eight years chasing wild geese from one end of Iraq to another? Bush chased bin Laden with angry words and empty threats; Obama chased him with Navy SEALs.


These same Republicans will say that the recession is Obama's fault, even though the economy began its fall in early 2007, two years before Obama became president. Now they would have us believe Bush is somehow responsible for bin Laden, even though that took place two years after Bush left office. The only way this illogic makes sense is if they believe America had two presidents at the same time for the past four years, Obama in charge of domestic policy and Bush in charge of foreign policy. That way Obama can be blamed for all the failures of the last four years and Bush can receive credit for all the successes.

Barack Obama, the guy Republicans claim is an illegal Kenyan, a secret Muslim, an unelected president, a conspirator to bring a Shariah dictatorship to America, the guy who wants to take away all our rights and guns and make big government control our lives -- he's the guy who took down America's greatest enemy. He got the job done when your hero Bush could not or would not.



Richard Wilkinson
Amory, Miss."

A simple truth written in clear simple words.  Thanks Mr. Wilkinson.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

"AND SPEAKING OF LUNCH, [GOPers], I THINK OBAMA JUST ATE YOURS"

Bill Maher tell us how:




David Rothkopf


“…His finest hour. Decisive. Cool. Able to both strike hard and do so with the kind of American values and restraint that elevated the mission and stands in stark contrast to the bombast and recklessness of some of his predecessors”.


*****************************************************************************

Paul Krugman:

"For the most part I’m staying away from the whole Osama thing, in part just because the field is so crowded, but just to say the obvious: isn’t the GOP showing a stunning lack of grace in this whole affair?

It’s particularly striking if you remember the atmosphere from 2001 through until 2004 or so. Back then, any hint of criticism of Bush’s War on Terror, or even a failure to show sufficient enthusiasm for his leadership, led to accusations that you were unpatriotic and somehow warped by your partisanship.


Now Obama actually gets his man — and does it in what seems to have been a truly gutsy fashion — and all we get is carping.

I can’t actually say I’m surprised, but it’s still kind of amazing."


h/t The Only Adult in the Room

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mission REALLY Accomplished by an Accomplished President

FOUND ON THE INTERNET:




"Michael Hirsch writes today in the National Journal, President Obama was sucessful in catching Bin Laden precisely because he broke with Bush’s terror policies. The conservative “assessment couldn’t be further from the truth,” Hirsch writes. “Behind Obama’s takedown of the Qaida leader this week lies a profound discontinuity between administrations — a major strategic shift in how to deal with terrorists,” from Bush’s bombastic and overly expansive “war on terror,” to Obama’s “covert, laserlike focus on al-Qaida and its spawn.”




"By removing Osama bin Laden, President Obama has accomplished what Bush couldn't do in two terms, no matter what he promised. So why is it still so difficult for the right to give him respect and credit?


The president should not have to prove anything to anyone. Yet, he has handled every unmerited insult with nothing but grace and class. He has risen above every act of insolence, and proved them all wrong. There is, as CBS' 'Face the Nation' host Bob Schieffer described, 'an ugly strain of racism that's running through this whole thing.' "
Meanwhile, the Repubs are pooping green bricks over Mr. Obama's success in getting bin Laden.  They can't deal with it!  LOL!  Go read some of their pathetic blogs where they're twisting themselves into Bushian pretzels trying to discredit or lie about what President Obama and his team pulled off. 

History is on Mr. Obama's side, not theirs.