Monday, September 28, 2009

The Killing of Derrion Albert

This young honor student was beaten to death by a group of lowdown, no good m_______ that should be put UNDER THE JAIL.



I don't wanna hear anything about the what THE WHITE MAN has done.

The WHITE MAN had nothing to do with these lowdown dogs.

They're preying on Black children who are about doing something with themselves.

I believe that we need to help those who want to help themselves. when that kid came and said that he was being threatened by the gangs, THE ADULTS HE TOLD THAT TO SHOULD HAVE STEPPED IN.

As for the animals that killed him - F____ THEM. I don't give a shyt if they don't have a daddy, a mama, or if they were raised in the forest preserve by wild dogs. put their asses in jail - PERIOD.

Free Health Clinic in Houston....sure, we don't need healthcare reform

President Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus Weekend

“This Is Not Normal” – powerful monologue from Brick City documentary

hat tip - JJP


Higher Taxes Are The Right Thing

Unfortunately, few politicians have the cajones to admit it. Instead, politicians and the public continue to delude themselves into believing that we can bail out the banks, reform health care, and fight two wars simultaneously without raising more funds.

Read the rest at The Loop.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Raul Midon and Bobbi Humphrey

Raul Midon doing "Sunshine"


Ms. Bobbi Humphrey doing "Harlem River Drive"

Media Alert-Ken Burns' Series on the National Park System

grandtetons
Picture of the Grand Teton National Park by Ansel Adams


This week, beginning Sunday, filmmaker Ken Burns is doing a series on the National Park System. Check your tv guide to see the times and listings for your local PBS station.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Five Ways President Obama Changed My Life

Baratunde Thurston of Jack and Jill Politics recorded this video:

Michael Moore does it again with Wolf Blitzer

thanks to Icebergslim for the videos



Looking Forward To a Red October






Hopefully they will get through the first round. The Cards have a tendency to choke early.... hopefully not this time.

My number one fantasy matchup would be Cards vs. Yankees in the World Series. Beating up on the Yankees on national TV would be Gold. (Can't stand the Yankees).

I wouldn't mind seeing Detroit getting abused again either.... but NY would be the ultimate prize.

Why I Hate Being A Black Man #950

I'm usually reminded of why at least 3 or 4 times a day.... the latest reminder is courtesy of a guest article from Carmen Van Kerckhove's Racialicious. A Nigerian woman describes her worst daily experiences (surprise surprise) with Black men.

While I don't engage in any of the behaviors that she describes (I've never even approached a woman in my adult life.... i've discussed that before....and these stereotypes may have something to do with why) as a Black guy, I still have to deal with the mess (the collateral social damage) that they leave.

Colbert tears it up

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Blackwashing
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Protests

Public Option Headed For Vote in Senate TODAY-FRIDAY

Public Option Headed For Vote Tomorrow
The public option is headed for a vote in the Senate Finance Committee on Friday.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) lamented on a conference call Thursday evening that the debate Friday would be the first time that the committee, since it began negotiating health care reform months ago, would be debating the public option.

"We're going to have a full blown debate in the Finance Committee," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a backer of the public option. While it may be an "underdog," Schumer said, "don't count it out."


TIME TO CALL.

Call your SENATORS.


Here are the SENATORS PHONE NUMBERS.


and, after calling YOUR TWO SENATORS,

CALL BEN NELSON'S TRAITOROUS ASS....................(202) 224-6551


Ben Nelson Won't Commit To Blocking GOP Health Care Filibuster
First Posted: 09-24-09 02:20 PM | Updated: 09-24-09 03:03 PM

One of the toughest Democrats to corral in the Senate confirmed on Thursday that he is not committed to helping his party block a Republican filibuster on health care legislation.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has long been a skeptic of Democratic-led health care reform, specifically the public option for insurance coverage. But in the wake of Paul Kirk's appointment as a temporary replacement for the late Senator Ted Kennedy -- which gives the party 60 caucusing members -- leadership and allied Democratic groups have renewed their hopes that the Nebraskan would commit to voting for cloture, the 60-vote hurdle that would allow health care to be considered by up-or-down vote.

As of now, however, Nelson is still insisting that such a promise would be premature.

"Senator Nelson has not said he will vote for cloture even if he opposes the health care reform bill," his spokesman, Jake Thompson, wrote in an email to the Huffington Post. "He doesn't even have a bill at this point to consider. Quite the opposite, he has said hasn't made any commitment one way or the other on procedural issues, that his not on autopilot, and his voting record backs that up."

CALL KENT CONRAD TOO...............(202) 224-2043

Kennedy Replacement is Announced

After a week of maneuvering by the Massachusetts legislature, Gov. Deval Patrick has named a temporary replacement for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Attorney and powerbroker Paul Kirk will get the appointment.

Meanwhile the GOP is doing what they do best - obstructing. They are doing all they can to stop the appointment.

But unfortunately the Democrats in the Senate are not truly at 60 votes and have never been, at least not when it comes to the issue of Healthcare Reform. As I have mentioned before, the magic number of 60 has always been sort of an illusion for Dems in the Senate. So I don't think it will have all that much of an impact on the Healthcare question, particularly in terms of the public option. The issue remains.... will enough Blue Dog Conservative Democrats (approx. a dozen that will have to change their minds) be persuaded to support legislation that includes some sort of public option between now and a final vote?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Please Don't Let Him Be Black

Please don't let him be Black, Please don't let him be Black, Oh God I hope he's not Black, God please don't let the bad guy be Black....

Yes... early on my first thoughts were for the victim, hoping that she would be found safe. But my secondary thoughts, especially after knowing her tragic end, were centered around the identity of the suspect. (See Story).

And now the girlfriend has come forward with her creepy stories.

It's amazing how these guys always seem to have girlfriends.

But I find myself going through this sort of routine whenever there is a big crime story...and the suspect isn't known for quite a while.

Of course Blacks do more damage to the image of Black people than any other group, especially for those who happen to be Black and male....and I blame Black culture and Black media for most of that. But these big news stories are worrisome because they often fit stereotypes.... stereotypes that make life torture for me (at times)....only because i'm sometimes more self conscious than I perhaps should be; even though I don't fit the stereotypes.

I felt the same way about the UNC student who was murdered a while back.

But I know i'm not the only Black person or "minority" who has a knot in his/her stomach whenever these stories come up....mainly for the victim and because of the nature of the crimes....but also because of the unknown ID of the suspect...and the stereotypes and racial fallout (and embarrassment) that often comes with it.

Race And This Presidency

Kathleen Parker (who?) and Bill Clinton both agree that criticisms of Obama's health care reforms are not (wholly) founded in racism. Wow, that's a hard position to take. I wonder if they think the sun is hot, too?

Of course, not all the negative reaction to Obama (including) Joe Wilson's infamous outburst are ground in racism.

That still doesn't mean race doesn't matter and isn't related to the current debate.

Obama, learning the mistakes from the Henry Louis Gates saga (remember that?), smartly tried to defuse the latest media-driven flap by stating that he didn't believe Wilson's comments were driven by racial animus. I mean, really, do you expect the president to accuse a sitting member of Congress of racism?

How does race matter, then? A recent Senate GOP mailer directly injects race into the discussion by scaring people into thinking that health care will essentially become a lottery rationed out by race.

Or, take that crusty old fart, Rush Limbaugh. Out of fear of young black students, he's taken to advocating segregating school buses. Real smart, Rush. That's certainly the best way to prepare young Americans to engage in a multicultural society.

I still stand by my earlier comments that there is a fundamental disrespect that some of Obama's opponents have towards him and all of his policies because he is black. Many more people oppose Obama because of principled conservatism or libertarian beliefs. Kudos to them. But, that does not hide the fact that some opposition to Obama is race-based. They'll never accept his legitimacy.

Why Do Black Women Do This?


Van Jones is attacked (by Black women) because of his choice in a partner. There seemed to be no issue with Jones (not with many minorities) until this came to light.

But it doesn't surprise me.... in fact, it would be a surprise if he weren't attacked for this. That's what you can always expect from the so-called "Black Community"... I expect nothing less.

But somehow Black women can't see the forest for the trees... they can't see how unattractive this makes them look. They don't get it.

You would think that the fact that so many are single would lead them to some sort of self reflection.... but nope.... they continue the path down the same rat hole at an even faster pace. Despite their marriage rates being at the bottom, there is no change in their line of thinking whatsoever. They never see the possibility that perhaps they could change how they see the World or that they could change how they do things.... No. It's never about them. The problems are always with someone else. Of course, this thought process leads to a situation where there is seldom any self reflection, improvement/correction, etc...and the cycle never stops.

I try to avoid this particular topic...but this was annoying.

Hubble Back up and Running


See more photos

Sick For Profit

These are the folks who Republicans and even Democrats like Max Baucus want to keep in charge of the Healthcare Industry.



Watch other videos about this issue from Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films website.

I also suggest that you take another look at the movie "Sicko". (btw, most Canadians love their Healthcare..... one of the things that has perplexed me about this non-debate is how the Canadian system has been so vilified by the Right).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Michael Steele - at it again

President Obama on The Letterman Show

New Book on the First Couple

Weekly Roundup Discussion from NPR

Another great On Point discussion from last week.

The U.S. Is In Trouble - Students Don't Know Basic Civics

Students in Oklahoma were given a basic civics survey and only around 3% could pass:

Last month OCPA commissioned a national research firm, Strategic Vision, to determine Oklahoma public high-school students' level of basic civic knowledge. The firm's surveys have been used by Time, Newsweek, and USA Today, and National Journal's "Hotline" has cited them as some of the most accurate in the country. The margin of error for this particular survey is plus/minus three percent.

Ten questions, chosen at random, were drawn from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) item bank, which consists of 100 questions given to candidates for United States citizenship. The longstanding practice has been for candidates for citizenship to take a test on 10 of these items. A minimum of six correct answers is required to pass. Recently, the USCIS had 6,000 citizenship applicants pilot a newer version of this test. The agency reported a 92.4 percent passing rate among citizenship applicants on the first try.

Of course, immigrants have had an opportunity to study for the test-a distinct advantage-so we might not necessarily expect a 92 percent passing rate from Oklahoma's public high-school students.
On the other hand, most high-school students have the advantage of having lived in the United States their entire lives. Moreover, they have benefited from tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars being spent for their educations. Many immigrants seeking citizenship, meanwhile, often arrive penniless and must educate themselves on America's history and government.

After seeing the questions for yourself, you the reader can judge whether a 92 percent passing rate is a reasonable expectation for Oklahoma's high-school students. Unfortunately, Oklahoma high-school students scored alarmingly low on the test, passing at a rate of only 2.8 percent. That is not a misprint.

Think this is isolated to Oklahoma?

Quote:
Sadly, that result does not come as complete surprise. When the same survey was done recently in Arizona, only 3.5 percent of Arizona's high-school students passed the test.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The New Independent Majority

From an ABC News/Washington Post poll and a hat tip to the Poli-Tea blog where I first got this info:

"In making their case, both parties face a fundamental challenge: Democratic allegiance has slipped to a two-year low in this poll and Republican affiliation is back near its lowest ever; instead 43 percent of Americans now identify themselves as independents, the most since ABC/Post polls began 28 years ago. "


The actual post at ABC News was about health reform and the numbers above were just snuck in almost as an afterthought. I couldn't help but be amazed at what the statistics mean -- 43 percent of Americans now self-identify as Independent. 43 percent now have rejected labeling themselves along the lines of the two major parties. This is huge news. I can't understand why this fact only merited one paragraph when an entire article is begging to be written in the mainstream media on this phenomenon.

The article I'd like to see wouldn't be how these 43 percent of the electorate relate to the major parties' positions or ideologies. What I'd like to see is a serious treatment of Independent perspectives ON THEIR TERMS, not along the terms or in relation to the two major parties.

For example, how about a series of in-depth interviews with actual, living, breathing independents and trying to get to the root of what makes them choose to be Independent despite the overwhelming emphasis and monopoly of the two major parties on the institutions of American politics.

Are the two major parties THAT BAD? What makes them stink so much that 43 percent of the electorate are willing to reject their label? What types of choices would Independent voters like to see in the US political system? Would these include an expansion of the political arena to include third and minor parties and independent candidates? Would this include electoral reforms such as Instant runoff voting and other alternative voting methods? Would these include the inclusion of third parties and independents in televised debates and having representatives of these organizations be included in institutions that decide who gets to debate, funding for campaigns, voting technology to use in elections, etc.

Any MSM reporters out there reading this and willing to conduct a serious interview with an actual Independent? My hand is officially raised.

President Obama's Weekly Youtube Address

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Tea Party Movement: A Populist Potential?

It is very easy to dismiss the Tea Party protesters as a bunch of racist, xenophobic, gun nuts with paranoid mindsets who have a deep, irrational hatred of liberals and President Barack Obama because he is African-American. Judging from the hateful signs, open display of guns in healthcare town halls, and blatant use of racist and offensive imagery and symbols, calling them a bunch of yahoos and dismissing their perspectives as irrelevant is very easy.

That’s not what I am going to do here. I am actually going to try and take their perspectives seriously for a moment and think about what they potentially mean for American politics and how it is currently practiced as a contest between the two major political parties.

If you wade through all the racist and offensive garbage that is being spewed, you will find that much of the Tea Party anger has a familiar, populist ring to it. They are mad about the state of the economy, about the deteriorating state of American institutions and the country’s diminishing standing on the world stage. They are anxious about bread and butter issues, and they see the Washington DC establishment as corrupt, overrun by special interests and as a place where the interests of ordinary, working Americans are ignored. They see American democracy as broken, therefore, and in need of serious fixing. These perspectives are not that different from what I — an immigrant, minority, and a self-professed Progressive liberal — have been blogging about for some time now.

Thus, these Tea Party folks marched in Washington on September 12 — many of them people who have never participated in a political march before — to show that they are mad as hell, won’t take it anymore, and are ready to do what it takes to take America back. It is very easy to see and hear the shrillest and most militant among them, who hold the most extreme views, and see the kooks as representative of what the Tea Party movement is all about.

Let me know if you think I am totally off-base. But I actually think the Tea Party movement, because it is successfully tapping into a vein of populist discontent and anxiety about the state of American society, has the potential to develop into a legitimate, populist political entity that can present a real challenge to the dominance of the two major parties.

The societal anger and anxiety the Tea Party movement is tapping into is real
. Many people are feeling very insecure about the state of America in 2009 and are feeling powerless to do anything about it and are finding in the Tea Party movement the vehicle for expressing this populist discontent.

I have written a lot about third parties and political movements outside of the two major parties. I see the Tea Party movement as an entity with the potential — I stress that point, the POTENTIAL — to mount a legitimate, populist challenge to the dominance of the two major parties. They aren’t there yet and much of the blatant bigotry and hate-mongering turns me off but something about their populist anger rings true and familiar to me.

As a Progressive, do I see myself working with or being sympathetic to Tea Party folks if they do develop into a legitimate political organization? What about the hatefulness, bigotry and blatant anti-social messages? What about the displayed contempt they have for liberals, Progressives, minorities and immigrants like me?

My answer to those questions:

1. If Tea Party folks forego racism, gun fetish and virulent hatefulness so they can work with their fellow political outsiders on serious and real reform (for example, the types of reforms I talk about in this post) I would work with them.

2. Political outsiders who disagree on specific policy issues have one big thing in common. They are political outsiders. Therefore, it benefits them to lay aside their differences in favor of working together on issues that have the potential to open up the political playing field for ALL political outsiders.

3. Greens, Libertarians, Socialists and independents have all experienced the same types of structural obstacles in the American political system. Yet these different groups have banded together on occasion to pool their resources and fight together in court for more equal treatment for minority political parties. Just because you disagree politically doesn’t mean you can’t find common cause with other political outsiders on issues that impact all who are outside the duopoly.

4. Third parties like the Greens, Libertarians, Socialists, etc., have been in the front lines of electoral and court battles for opening up the political system for years. The Tea Party folks, if they ever develop into a legitimate political entity, cannot afford to ignore the collective experience of these groups.

The Republican Party is already trying to hijack the momentum of the Tea Party anger for its own gains. I am making a bet that there are enough politically astute folks in the Tea Party movement whose anti-establishment anger are real and will see co-optation by the Republican Party of their efforts as a betrayal. There is, after all, nothing anti-establishment about supporting either of the two establishment political parties.

I am also making the bet that the anti-establishment populist anger driving the Tea Party movement — if you separate out the hate and bigotry and gun fetish — is the same anti-establishment populist anger that drives people like me to reject the two major parties and make the conscious choice to be independents or join a third party. And I am making the bet that sooner or later, many Tea Party folks will be making a similar connection in their minds. What happens after that? Well, that is something I would very much like to see.

My hope: that it lead to the formation of a true populist challenge to the two major parties. My fear: that hate and racism become its driving force and it evolve into a militant, virulent, blatantly racist, xenophobic organization — but one with resources and with a big megaphone in the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs of the world. As a populist I would rather the see a Tea Party movement that develops into the former rather than the latter.

New DNC Healthcare Ad has NO MENTION of the Public Option

uh huh.

NPR Discussion on Healthcare & Race

Hear NPR's On Point discussion from last week... (from the weekly roundup).

Great commentary about the influence of race in our current politics, and how Obama should have been more aggressive on Healthcare (I didn't think it was a good idea to try reform right now....but if he's going to do it, he should have called all hands on deck and been a lot more aggressive and should have taken on opponents earlier). The panel echoes what I have been saying for months.

And on race...I loved how President Carter told the truth. He knew he would be criticized...but he told the truth anyway. Although he was pointing out the obvious.... the media and people of authority in American society have been late (or entirely unwilling) when it comes to telling the truth about how race is influencing the tone of the political debate in the Country.

It's been interesting to see how the GOP immediately dispatched their #1 & #2 firemen on racism (Michael Steele and Ron Christie). As if their Black skin is able to wipe away history and sugar coat the current state of race in America. I was amused to see how they immediately dismissed Carters comments.... same with FAUX news.... as if they have better collective and cumulative insight than this 85 year old white man from the South....not to mention a former President.

Of course the Obama Administration distanced itself from Carter... (Carter is probably not surprised). The Obama Administration HAS to do this.... we know that! I completely understand why Obama has to publicly come out against folks stating the obvious on this issue. Politically he can't afford to make race a big deal... at least he knows it can't come from The White House or anyone from his camp. But Carter and the rest of us can say what Obama can't say.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Something Positive About Student Loans- about time they cut out the middleman

Baucus Plan='Triangle of Death'

Mr. President, are you REALLY going to defend the Baucus SCAM?

Just asking.

There are 5 different healthcare bills from Congressional Committees.

FOUR OF THEM CONTAIN THE PUBLIC OPTION.


Max Baucus wasted MONTHS of time, to come up with this piece of bullshyt.

I haven't hidden my skepticism of some folks, who have SOLD OUT THE PUBLIC OPTION, wanting to hide behind the bi-partisan bullshyt cloak.

Well, Baucus' sellout ass standing there ALONE, presenting this piece of garbage, was indeed telling.

IF YOU WANT TO SELLOUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, you'll have to do it front and center, with no cloak to hide behind.

WHY ask Jay Rockefeller and Wyden to the White House...could it be that the rumblings are true and that the Baucus abomination is in danger of NOT EVEN GETTING OUT OF COMMITTEE......and, where would we be, if the ONLY bills coming of out of committee are...

THE FOUR WITH THE PUBLIC OPTION in them. Where's the cover for the PUBLIC OPTION SELLOUT, if EVERY bill out there - aside from the Baucus SCAM - has a PUBLIC OPTION IN IT?

Why Did It Take Obama So Long to Break Ties with Corrupt Acorn?


Obama has once again provided his opponents with a gift that they can use against him over and over again.
(See Part 2 of the Acorn scandal video). Corruption and shady unethical behavior on the part of Acorn isn't new....this has been going on for a few years now. Yet Obama failed to sufficiently distance himself from the group. It wasn't until this week that Dems in Congress decided to cut funding to the organization (funding that probably should have been cut a long time ago).

Once again, Obama's advisers have failed him, just like they failed him on Healthcare Reform....by being too scared to stand up and tell him "No"...when he is pushing something that is not a good idea. More specifically on healthcare reform....someone should have had enough sense to tell him that this was not the right time to try to get healthcare legislation approved....not in the middle of an economic crisis, not so soon after TARP and the Recovery legislation where we spent $2 trillion. Instead, he should have kept his eye on the ball and pushed for job creation, particularly in a new Green Economy (which he hasn't really done at all)....and fixed the economy. THEN we could have looked at healthcare....possibly in 2010, 2011 or after re-election in 2012. He could have used that lag time to really talk to voters and educate them...on his terms. Plus....by then, people would have been more willing to open the purse strings (with a recovering economy)....and more willing to accept another spending initiative.

I'm coming to the conclusion that his advisers are a group of mostly idiots who have no clue about what is happening in the real world...and are detached from the American people. This is the same group that saw flying a plane over Manhattan...or holding anti-terror exercises in Washington DC on the Anniversary of 9/11 while ceremonies were taking place as being good ideas.

Up until last year, they have had Obama giving speeches for this group. CBC members like Maxine Waters are steal dealing with Acorn. This is the kind of thing that causes me to dislike the CBC so much...and prevents me from really embracing Obama and his agenda. Years after the stories of corruption and the police investigations.... you still mingle with this crowd? That just doesn't work for me.

See another video of the above scandal (horrendous)

Can we finally get rid of this criminal organization?

Monday, September 14, 2009

In Louisiana, It's Better To Be Assocatied With A Prostitute Than Obama

In Louisiana, where only 14% of the white vote went to President Obama, embattled Republican Senator David Vitter seems likely to survive his inclusion on a DC madam's call sheet. But, antipathy to Obama's health care reforms, cap-and-trade, and economic stimulus efforts are used by Vitter and other Republicans to attack Democratic incumbents and challengers alike.

Analysis
I don't know if this is more an indictment of Louisiana morals, their true disdain for liberal politics, or the absolute banality of a population that truly suffers due to the lack of health insurance coverage. Just look at this; Louisiana is 50th of 50, yet they resist efforts to reform.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Academic Freedom At The University of Mississippi

Ha! It's not an oxymoron. We really do believe in providing University faculty the freedom to tread on difficult, touchy subjects. After all, if we can't discuss contentious subjects on a college campus, where can we?

Well, some Ole Miss students, and one in particular, are upset that the University allows the use of R-rated films in a Modern Language (Spanish) class. The student finds it offensive that a professor would seek to use film as a tool in teaching about culture and the underbelly of society.

Naturally, the commenters are having a field day with this, both pro and con.

Analysis
If anything the offended student should thank the prof for being so forthright in the syllabus and the first day of class in telling the students what was in store for them throughout the semester. Second, this student, I believe, has not quite grasped what a liberal arts education is all about. If all you want is a recitation from church, go to a private, religious college. Third, one of the great purposes of higher education is to challenge students and their conventional way of thinking. I fear that we have too many students that cannot tolerate the "different." That, my friends, does not bode well for our future.

9/11 Remembrance

world_trade_center


Just wanted to give respect for this horrible day in American history. The country still hasn't recovered what was lost because of 9/11.

Did Barack Obama Have a Joe Montana Moment?







Watching Obama's healthcare speech was like watching Joe Montana on the Football field. Montana, the greatest QB of all-time and probably my favorite sports figure, was known as "Mr. Cool" & "Mr. Comeback". He was not just one of the greatest QB's ever....but he was one of those transformational figures....who changed his profession - in his case pro football. Some believe that Obama represents that kind of profound transformational power in politics. The jury is still out on that....and will be for quite some time. But Obama was certainly Joe Montana-esque Wednesday night. Sorry for the sports analogy, but that's how I describe the speech. Few people have that kind of gift....meaning other examples just aren't adequate.

The Obama who decided to show up Wednesday night....is the man who motivated me (one of the most cynical, skeptical and doubtful men on earth) to register to vote for the first time last Fall. This was the Barack Obama that I voted for. I hope this wasn't just a Cameo appearance by this more assertive version of Obama.

And his speech was Montana-esque as I mentioned....but had some Adam Clayton Powell and MLK sprinkled in there too. The man has a gift. After an aggressive start....he entered a sort of zone towards the middle... that's when it started to feel like Church to me... (and to some of the members of Congress.... you could hear the Black Church call and response thing happening for a moment...and that happens spontaneously...that's when you know it's good, lol). Then when he got to Kennedy....you could hear a pin drop through the Television if one fell. An impressive performance indeed.

Montana is a good example for me because when I was a die-hard 49er fan back in the 80's.... on more than one occasion I turned off the TV or Radio in the second half or at half-time...when the Niners were down by 14, 17, 21 points, just to be surprised the next morning when I heard the final score. Let's just say that Montana made me look bad quite a few times....and left me in awe....wondering how he did it. I should have learned my lesson by now.... but skepticism is in my DNA. It's a healthy skepticism though (I hope).

And BTW....yes... This is an excuse to post some cool Montana videos. lol. Guilty.

But Obama hasn't won anything yet. My earlier views haven't changed. Giving a good speech is not enough in the sick political climate we are currently living in.... where 15 second soundbites and ignorance rule the day. It still remains to be seen whether the speech translates into enough votes in the U.S. Senate. Or if some sort of Public option will survive the legislative process. Game changer? I don't know. It's too early to determine that. But I wouldn't want to be a Conservative Democratic Senator right now. Obama put tremendous pressure on the so-called "Blue Dogs". He gave the Republicans an eloquent smackdown and snatched the microphone from their hands. Then he presented a challenge to the Blue Dogs. They must now make a tough choice...but Obama may have made it easier by giving them a little political cover. With more positive poll numbers on this issue, Obama can craft this as something that the people want....giving Conservative Democratic Senators something to work with. These Senators will have to decide if they want to go down in history as the group of Senators who blocked Healthcare reform that most Americans wanted...and helped to stifle...and even bring down their own Party.... and if they will try to gamble and use the issue to run for their Senate seats....seats that may not matter in the long run anyway if they cripple their Party. OR...will they be part of the solution and come out on the right side of history.... even if a few risk losing an election. It really shouldn't be that complicated... but I guess power really does corrupt and in terrible & interesting ways. If these Senators really care more about their Senate seats than the best interests of Millions of fellow citizens...then we have more serious problems deep down to worry about than just Healthcare Reform.

Meanwhile they are facing this charismatic politician from Chicago....in fact a whole crew from Chicago...who are crafty (not crafty enough yet for the Republican machine...but crafty nonetheless) and who could theoretically do things that could make life more difficult for them in the Senate (diverting campaign funds elsewhere, pushing for other Primary challengers, not funding local projects, etc).

I believe Obama may have convinced a few of these Blue Dogs to come along.... but probably not all of them; probably not enough to get the 60 votes needed to do the procedural things necessary to get final passage of a robust Healthcare Reform Bill in the Senate. And BTW folks... the 60 vote claim by Dems has always been shaky. They have never really had 60. For one thing, Lieberman and Specter aren't reliable Democratic votes...although I believe both support Obama's basic proposals on Healthcare Reform (the direction Specter will go in the end remains to be seen). There is at least one Independent (who tends to support Democrats). Sen. Byrd is ill and has been for quite some time. Byrd may have difficulty being around for all the procedural wrangling that will need to take place. He's good for the main vote...when he may have to be wheeled into the Senate Chamber....and wheeled right out. Hopefully he will be well enough to participate in the process. But then there is the loss of Kennedy. That alone leaves you with fewer than 60. To get anywhere close to 60, you would have to assume that every "Blue Dog" Democrat decides to support the legislation.... and I don't believe that's realistic. But let's assume that's the case....that all Blue Dogs suddenly change their tune. That would only give Obama 59 votes.

Sen. Olympia Snowe.... (the legendary politician who John McCain passed up in favor of Caribou Barbie when he wanted a female running mate)...she may be a King Maker in this situation.

I always thought that something would be passed....some sort of Healthcare legislation would likely pass the House and Senate. Obama is not about to end up with nothing to sign after dedicating so much time to this issue. The question for me was always....what will be in the final Bill?

Another problem Obama has is the same one he had in June, July and August. The Republican media machine isn't going anywhere. There will be several weeks before there is any final agreement on a Healthcare Bill... plenty of time for the Republican Right Wing media to brainwash more gullible Americans, tell more lies, distort and misinform, and spin the facts. As good as Obama's speech was.... Americans have a very short memory, which works in favor of Right Wing spinsters. They will chip away some of the support for any sort of public option....and they will continue to try to manipulate & scare Democratic Senators from Conservative States.

_________________________________________

P.S.

See other great Montana videos

Montana Magic Part 1


Montana Magic Part 2

Montana Magic Part 3


Montana Highlights

Is The City of Shreveport Putting Citizens At Risk?

Remember this video?



Angela Garbarino, the woman seen in the video, received a monstrous beating while being detained in the Shreveport Police station in connection with a DWI arrest in November of 2007. The video came to light in early 2008. It was certainly one of the worst cases of misconduct and brutality by law enforcement that I have seen.


See More Photos of Garbarino(click on "Show Thumbnails")

The officer involved in the case, Wiley Willis, was eventually fired after an internal investigation, but was not criminally charged. The case made national and even international news last year when the above video came to light. Being fired was an afterthought. Why there were no criminal charges is a mystery. Officials claimed that because the officer turned the camera off....that they didn't really know what happened. Oh Please!!! In other words...they are saying that they are complicit with an officer who tampered with evidence to avoid prosecution. They are accommodating him. It's as if they have never seen this before (an official tampering with evidence). For good investigators, and good prosecutors...and especially the FBI... cases like these, where there is obvious evidence tampering, are quite common...and are seen as just part of the job. Techniques, laws, and methods have been developed in law enforcement over the years to deal with cases exactly like this one. Good Prosecutors aren't stopped or discouraged by this.... it only gives them more resolve....and they charge the bastard(s) with tampering with evidence. That's the usual approach. It's not something that should stop or hinder prosecution...so I can't buy the argument by those who say there was not enough evidence because the tape was turned off.... that line comes from the enablers of rogue cops. The evidence is/was actually substantial.

But here is the kicker.... The officer has been reinstated. Yep. He was reinstated just last month by the Shreveport Civil Service Board and will receive back pay and benefits. According to the Board, officer Willis' rights were violated in this case. HIS rights were violated. He was reinstated because of a technicality exploited by his attorneys. Apparently the polygraph examiner made the convenient mistake of not recording his examination of Willis, which is required under Civil Service rules.

Even the Chief of Police is upset with the decision. And the ramifications could be serious.... life or death serious. This appears to me to be a situation where an American city has knowingly put citizens at risk. It's one thing to turn a blind eye towards rogue officers who may keep a few bucks from a drug arrest instead of storing all the money in evidence as required. We've all probably heard of those stories. There are also those cases where officers may make up phony probable cause to harass particular individuals.... happens all the time. But it's a much more serious and frightening situation when officials turn a blind eye to an "alleged" rogue cop who is brutally violent....and where the evidence of such tendencies is more than just circumstantial. Blatantly putting the public at risk in this way should be unacceptable. This is the kind of case that makes me question what kind of Country we are living in.

This is not the only case of misconduct that officer Willis has been accused of. He has been formally accused of misconduct in at least 2 other cases.(and those are the situations that we know about). There could be other violations that were never reported....or were swept under the rug by his enablers (bosses) in the City of Shreveport. In one case, he was accused of holding a gun to a man's head and threatening to kill him, even though he was not being threatened by the victim.

In the Angela Garbarino case, Police claimed that she fell down....(wow) and she somehow gave herself the black eyes, the broken nose, a gashed forehead, busted lip, and broken teeth. Obviously you can't get those kinds of injuries from simply falling down.... you get them from fists.... which is why Shreveport settled the Civil case out of court by giving Garbarino a whopping $400,000, and dropping the original criminal charges against her.

This case is disturbing because of the graphic nature of the beating....just monstrous.... and the fact that you have what could very well be not just a rogue officer.....but a rogue City government putting citizens at risk.... and they are doing it not under the table....or in a backroom....but out in the open. This should be one of the reasons why we have and need a Federal Government system....and an FBI and Justice Department...to do the job of protecting our physical well being and our Civil Rights when local and State governments fail. That's what I thought anyway. But so far.... the Feds have done little in this case.

There was an FBI investigation....but I don't know what the disposition was. But if history is any indication.... the case was probably swept under the rug. The Feds don't act on the vast majority of these cases. The FBI typically clears local police....unless the case is particularly egregious. But I think this happened to be one of those cases.

Interesting how the original story made national news....but the story about the reinstatement has basically flown under the radar.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On Obama's Health Care Speech

Besides the fact that Congressman Joe Wilson is now known as quite the fool. See articles denouncing his tomfoolery in his hometown newspaper The State, CNN, and the Times Online. The progressive group ActBlue is using the reckless outburst as a fundraising opportunity for Wilson's Democratic opponent.

Why did Wilson catcall the president? Obama claimed subsidies would not go to illegal immigrants and Wilson, obviously, strongly disputed this. Here is CNN's fact-check on the claims. The result: no subsidies to illegals although they could be required to buy insurance. So, really, the taxpayer isn't out if illegals contribute to the pool.

------------

Relevant stakeholders provide their assessments of the president's health care speech. Some are convinced, some remain confused, and naturally, some won't believe anything Obama says.

The naysaysers might spend too much listening to this Arizona preacher who prays for Obama's death...


Analysis
Yes, but what do I think? Good question. The purpose of Obama's health care address was twofold. First, he wanted to exhort a recalcitrant Congress to get its ass in gear. Second, the president wanted to remind the American public why health care reform is an imperative. Simply put, the status quo is unsustainable. In so doing, he confronted the waves of misinformation circulating in the press. Read this as a primer in misinformation. Further, he chastised Republicans for their unwillingness to put down their ideological swords in favor of a seat at the compromise table (naturally, Republicans found Obama's language "overly combative").

Having accomplished his two purposes in the speech, the question remains, can Obama achieve his substantive policy goal, which would be meaningful health care reform that includes a public option. My guess is that he will, but at what political price?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Sellout of the Public Option








I've told you...I don't give a shyt about the President having a ' signing ceremony' for a bill that doesn't mean squat, and is a handout to the insurance industry, and the continued insult that anything without the PUBLIC OPTION is anything BUT a giveaway to the insurance industry......

Michael Steele is a Slave Catching Coon

Plain and simple.

They should have beat his ass on GP at Howard for having the nerve to utter such bullshyt.



From The HuffingtonPost:
Dave Zirin
Posted: September 2, 2009 12:01 AM
Michael Steele: Meet Amanda Duzak


Tuesday night at Howard University, RNC chair Michael Steele did an impression of the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz: he was absolutely heartless. Not everyday do we see the head of a major political party insult a 23 year old whose mother just died of cancer.

The ' Great White Hope' ignorant Congresswoman strikes again....she really IS a piece of work

From PAM'S HOUSE BLEND:



KS: Rep. Lynn Jenkins laughs at uninsured mom and child at forum
by: Pam Spaulding
Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 13:00:00 PM EDT

Wow. The woman who made headlines for claiming her use of "great white hope" wasn't racial has decided to open her piehole and do something equally offensive in the debate on health care reform. Topeka's U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) apparently has no empathy for someone without health insurance, even when they are standing before her in a public forum. She can't even FAKE it, even when the cameras are trained on her. What does this say about the GOP's opposition tactics? Buh bye, compassionate conservatism. It's kick-your-lazy-ass-blame-the-victim wingnuttery.

So many people are working and either can't afford insurance or qualify for programs designed to fill in some of the blanks. Such is the case for Elizabeth Smith, a 27-year-old Ottawa, KS waitress who has a 2 1/2-year-old son who has not been able to see a doctor in nearly 2 years. The only access has been through the ER, which as we know, is the most expensive way to deliver care. Look at this exchange:

Tom Scott and Laura Nyro

The Late Great Laura Nyro on her classic "It's Gonna Take A Miracle" (1971), backed by Labelle.


Still On Sabbatical - Thoughts on Obama, and Healthcare Reform

I managed to purchase a PC (with money I didn't really have)....but to continue school and my job search, I needed to get one.

I had to take a break for a few weeks..... and i'll be taking a few weeks more. My classes are kicking my ***. One of my Professors is out of his mind crazy....has to be. Most academics really don't understand the real world...and what life is like for working people. And a job search is like a full-time job in itself. So with job searching, being a grad student with a workload that is more than I can handle, and the BS job that I keep for my survival.... I really don't have time to blog. I don't even have time to eat and sleep for that matter. But i'll probably post once per week when I finally start posting again. I have become a lurker on my own blog.... Lib Arts, Rikyrah, and the other contributors have posted good information.

I don't really care for these new PC's. I guess I got too attached to my old one....even though it was a broken mess for the last two years (I blogged with a computer that was only about 50% functional). It will take a while for me to get used to the new screen...new operating system, etc. The sound on my old HP was definitely better.

Before Sabbatical... there were a couple of links I wanted to post.... one was about Congressman David Scott and how one of his Town Hall events (which had nothing to do with Healthcare) got caught in the Healthcare non-debate and was hijacked. In an interview on NPR he gave his side of the story, courtesy of Michel Martin of "Tell Me More". The other link I wanted to post had to do with how Claire McCaskill didn't stand up for the woman who was kicked out of her Town Hall here is Missouri a few weeks ago....after she was attacked by a bigot. (unable to find the link or recall the Woman's name off the top of my head). But she was harassed for having a poster at the event showing a non-offensive, non-threatening historical figure (Rosa Parks). Perhaps her argument was that folks should fight for Healthcare....or that Healthcare should be seen more as a civil/human right...who knows. But others at the meeting had posters that read "Ni**er Obama" and had all kinds of other nasty comments that I won't mention.... but they were left alone. I was disappointed with McCaskill after that incident and a due to a list of other things lately. Unfortunately much of Missouri is like the rural South. And not much has changed in the last 40 years. The sickness of racism is generational. It will still have a grip on the State (and the Country) 40 years from today.

And on Healthcare and the other goings on in the political world.... what I have seen over the last 5 or 6 weeks has been pathetic. Predictable....but pathetic. The moves by Obama and the Dems have been sad to watch. They have really created what has become a fiasco. It's been a fiasco for weeks. Now President Obama wants to talk to the nation....about Healthcare? Are you kidding me? Will someone please be merciful and tell this man that checkmate took place back in June. Please.... someone help him. I have been saying since last year that he had no business trying to tackle Healthcare right now.... not with Bush's Depression (which Repubs have successfully branded as Obama's Recession....while team Obama was distracted). I heard one survey that mentioned that more Americans were concerned about the economy than Healthcare (although one could argue that the two issues go hand in hand...but it's a stretch of an argument IMO). But the point is.... Obama, as I have stated repeatedly, should have concentrated on fixing the economy...and should have tackled Healthcare much later on. Just in terms of preparation....he would have needed a year just to campaign for Reform and preempt Right Wing propaganda against it. Obama and his advisers misread the public and failed to get a good read on the opposition. This should have been a slow, methodical, well thought out strategy....instead...they rushed in. They didn't do their basic homework. For one...they failed to even get a sense of what kind of support they had in the House and Senate....especially in the Senate. They never really had the votes. Discussions with so-called "Blue Dog Democrats" should have taken place over a year ago....while the campaign was still ongoing. Planning should have started then...if this is what Obama wanted.....even though it was the wrong time to tackle the issue.

Such sweeping reform is necessary...but to try it in the middle of an economic crisis was a suicide mission from the start. What is the one universal thing that people always do in a crisis....especially in an economic crisis? They pull back on spending....hoard their money, and become paranoid about spending money or even talking about spending....and they are even more reluctant to do any national spending and they freak out even more about any sort of taxes, even if there is a greater good involved. They tend to become much more cost conscious or overly cost sensitive on just about everything. So trying to sell Healthcare Reform in that climate was just nonsensical.
If Obama would have waited...and showed the public that he turned the economy around.... he would have gained trust and credibility. It may have taken 2-3 years....but the wait would have put him in a much better position to sell Healthcare Reform. Waiting could have also bought time for Progressives to establish a campaign and grow a media infrastructure for the message war (which they don't really have right now).

But now he wants to talk to the American people in a joint session of Congress? Now he wants to get control of the message? I have two words for that.... "Too Late". Far too late to be exact. As I mentioned... checkmate was about two months ago. He has already lost the message/information war as I suspected he would. Obama and Co. made so many mistakes on the Healthcare issue that I really can't go through all of them... i'm just mentioning those that stand out to me. Keith Olbermann had one of his usual guests on tonight (his name escapes me) and he really made some good points as well regarding some of the mistakes. The Obama Administration's failures on this issue have been epic. And the fallout has been even worse than I expected.

Watching the Dems flail pointlessly in defeat is hard to watch. Not because I care about the Democratic Party.... (I don't)....but because the issue of Healthcare was/is important...and I knew it was a fragile issue....and that if mishandled it could lead to indescribable failure. At no point in this process did Obama ever control the message and control information (Dems just lack the infrastructure to deal with Right wing propaganda). He never got out in front of the propaganda machine. He should have set up a campaign (as if he were running for President) with an infrastructure that could have challenged lies immediately. He should have held a series of nationally televised Town Halls months ago...with crowds of genuine participants (not political plants or special interests) in a controlled environment....so he could have dispelled myths and lies before they were allowed to take root. In that situation...there could have been a real debate. Instead...he decided to allow the Republican media to take control of the microphone early....and never responded adequately to what was essentially a disinformation campaign. I can't believe that Obama didn't learn anything from 2000 and 2004 with what happened to John Kerry. Unfortunately.... the lies and misinformation have set in with a large segment of the population.....Reversing that situation will be almost impossible.

Obama is now a boxer swinging wildly and desperately right after he has been knocked out. Everything from here on out is simply for entertainment value ladies and gentlemen. Ed Schultz reports that Obama will be highly active campaigning for Healthcare in September. I LOL when I heard that. This is like a Football team showing up to a Sunday game on the following Tuesday, wondering why all the people have gone home.... not understanding that they are 2 days late and they have already lost (forfeited) the game.

If Obama somehow morphs into Joe Montana or Michael Jordan and somehow gets Healthcare reform passed with a public option included, he will immediately go down as one of the most talented politicians....and one of the most talented Presidents of all-time. But right now I wouldn't feel comfortable beting a dime on that outcome.

Meaningful Healthcare reform is essentially dead.... it was dead weeks ago. I have been amused by the news coverage of the past couple of weeks. and it's partially a consequence of a President taking his eye off the ball (fixing the economy) and allowing his agenda to be hijacked and taken off course with all sorts of other distractions and issues.


Related
Hear an in-depth discussion on Healthcare Reform (discussion includes Howard Dean).