Monday, November 30, 2009

Okay, I'm just gonna have to go all Doctor on you now

No, it doesn't mean that I'm going to charge you for reading this. :-)

I've talked about healthcare reform over and over again (I don't see how Joan does it every day without going insane). I've talked about healthcare from an emotional standpoint and from an American legislative standpoint. I've talked about all the benefits of healthcare reform. Well, I'd like to take a different tactic. I would like to review the medical literature. I've picked several studies which I will describe over the next several days. The one thing that all of these studies have in common is that they point out that health insurance is a predictor of outcome. On Wednesday or Thursday, I'm going to review an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association which clearly states that having a unified health program has survival benefits (we don't have a coordinated, organized healthcare system in the United States).
As a trauma surgeon, I don't like to talk "shop" with people who are not in the medical profession. As soon as you start mentioning cytokines and mitochondria DNA, most people's eyes glaze over. But, with watered-down legislation creeping through the Senate at a glacial pace, I thought it was important for me to go over some of this literature. The literature makes approximately the same point that Keith Olbermann made approximate monthly go when he talked about having health insurance being life-and-death.

In trauma, we, trauma folks, would like to think that we treat patients all the same. Many states have trauma systems, in which an injured patient, is shunted away from small hospitals that probably cannot help that patient and toward trauma centers who have the expertise and the manpower to help. This move has been shown to save lives. Most, if not all trauma centers have protocols which are then individualized for a particular patient. We have found through numerous studies that these protocols help save lives. Therefore, you would figure that the outcome of a patient who was seriously injured in a car crash would be directly related to his or her injuries which is true for the most part. A recent study has thrown a wrench in this.

A study, which was published in The Archives of Surgery in 2008, investigated over 400,000 patients which had been entered into the National Trauma Databank. One thing that we have known for years is that socioeconomic status does influence your outcome. As expected, mortality rates for Black and Hispanic patients were higher than those of White patients. Patients with insurance had a mortality rate of approximate half of those without insurance. Now, for the shocker -- both Blacks and Hispanics with insurance who were injured had a mortality rate less than Whites without insurance.
This was a very surprising result. Numerous studies in trauma patients over the years have shown differences in outcomes amongst the races. As more and more studies have been done, it is clear that race is a surrogate for multiple other factors including eating habits, living conditions, and other things that can affect outcome. It is also clear that insurance acts as a surrogate for those same kind of factors. People with insurance have jobs. People with jobs drink less than people without jobs. People with jobs tend to live in better conditions than people without jobs. What was surprising is how strong insurance is as an indicator of lifestyle.

So, if every American has health care coverage will they all have better outcomes from trauma? Well, this question is somewhat hard to answer. On one hand, just having insurance does not get you to live in a better house, in a better neighborhood with better indoor plumbing and a refrigerator that works all the time. On the other hand, one of the huge problems that we have in the trauma community is that we have to send many people home from the hospital, after their hospital stay is over, when they should go to a rehabilitation center for more therapy but they can't qualify because they don't have insurance. These patients will instantly do better. Getting adequate health care coverage to all Americans is a step towards better equality.

I would like all members of Congress to read this article. This is important. This is what we're fighting for. We're fighting for a more equitable society. I'm not trying to take away any healthcare from anybody but instead, I want to add healthcare to those who don't have it.

Tomorrow, I'm going to review an article called health insurance and mortality in United States adults. This article expands on the concept that insurance is a marker for outcome.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The First Lady Receives the White House Christmas Tree

The 'Gate Crashers' at the State Dinner....symptom of something more serious?

Remember this?

Now, I was never a fan of Dubya, but fact is...he was President of the United States. And, I never could get the explanation as to why this man wasn't riddled full of bullets. The first shoe was bad enough, but that he was allowed to get off the second one without a bullet in him made no sense. There could have been any kind of chemical or biological weapon on the shoe. I know, I sound like an episode of 24, but you know these types of weapons exist.

Maybe it was because Bush's popularity was so low by that point that the seriousness of the situation didn't get the attention it deserved. Maybe I missed it, but I don't remember reading about any inquiries where the Secret Service is concerned. Maybe there was, and someone lost their job on the Presidential Detail - I hope so.

Which brings me to the ' Gate Crashers' at the State Dinner.

In case you don't know the story, two folks wound up 'CRASHING' the State Dinner. Whether they are reality show contestants or not, they were able to crash the State Dinner. This story has never been funny or amusing to me. It's dangerous.

What a Left-Wing Presidency Looks Like

Hat tip to the Open Left blog for first alerting me to this item.

The American right wing’s accusations of President Barack Obama and his policies as Socialist has always baffled me. Because Obama has demonstrated through his Cabinet appointments, attempts at bipartisanship with obstructionist Republicans, and actual policies that he is no Socialist – nor even a leftist. He is very much a traditional American Democrat with strong free-marketer, corporate leanings.

For a portrait of what a strong, Left-leaning presidency of a large country and major economy might look like it would be much better to set one’s sights overseas towards someone like President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva of Brazil.

From Spiegel Online:

Brazil's President Lula: 'Father of the Poor' Has Triggered Economic Miracle

His supporters liken him to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who dammed the Tennessee River in the 1930s to provide electricity to the region and who launched the New Deal, a massive investment program to overcome the Great Depression. But critics see the undertaking as a massive money pit…

Now he is both the darling of bankers and the idol of the poor. With the so-called worker-president at its helm, Brazil is attracting investors from around the world. Jim O'Neill, the chief economist at Goldman Sachs, invented the acronym BRIC, for the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, and predicted a bright future for the South American giant. But his colleagues derided him. China and India certainly had prospects, but Brazil? For decades, the country was seen as a shackled giant, plagued by never-ending crises and inflation…

The country has repaid its foreign debt, and it has even become a lender to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The government has accumulated more than $200 billion in reserves, and the Real is considered one of the world's strongest currencies. International experts foresee a decade of prosperity and growth for the country. Lula predicts that Brazil will be one of the five biggest economies on Earth by 2016, the year Rio de Janeiro hosts the Olympic Games. It will host the soccer World Cup in 2014…

All of Brazil is basking in the fame of its president who, less than seven years after coming into office, now enjoys an approval rating above 80 percent. The opposition has all but disappeared and the national congress has become submissive. Lula runs the country like a patriarch, so much so that his predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, is already accusing him of "authoritarianism" and warning that Brazil is on the road to state capitalism.

There is a kernel of truth to Cardoso's claims. Lula has never had any confidence in the market's ability to heal itself, and he sees the state as the framer of a new social order. He loves impressive projects and nationalistic gestures. He is a pragmatist, but he despises speculators. "White people with blue eyes" brought the world to the brink of financial ruin, he said recently. He meant bankers.

The financial crisis has only confirmed Lula's skepticism toward capitalism. Lula believes that Brazil coped with the crisis more effectively than other countries because the government took corrective action early on. According to Lula, fighting poverty and the equitable distribution of income cannot be left up to the market.

Full article at Spiegel Online.

This is my response to American free-market worshipping conservatives whenever they invoke “Socialism” in their accusations of the Obama administration. If they want to see what a leftist does once he has attained power they shouldn’t look to Obama. They should, instead, look at Lula and see what he has done for Brazil. And to see that perhaps a little bit of Socialism -- and I mean Socialism for real instead of pretend boogeyman Socialism that the American right likes to invoke -- would do the USA a lot of good.

Lula’s Brazilian success story is what real reform looks like and a portrait what real reformers do. It is what pushing through and delivering on a populist agenda looks like without compromising on one’s beliefs and commitment to ordinary people as one’s primary constituency. Lula is an example of how an unabashed leftist skeptical of capitalism and its potential to spread wealth evenly among the population rules as President. His success is a shining example of the power of government and the economy harnessed for the interests of ordinary people primarily rather than speculators and bankers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Official Pardoning of the Turkey

From all the bloggers here at MOA, we would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

This holiday, more than any other, is about family and friends- spending time with them, appreciating the blessings that you have.

Hope you eat good food, and have good times.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sarah Palin Supporters At Book Signing

Another video with the Teabaggers. Thanks to Oliver Willis.

This is why I tweeted a few days ago that The United States was finito (long-term) and that I might consider Canada.

Is the public school system to blame for this? There is more to it than a lack of education...has to be more to it than that. I think it also has to do with cultural isolation (esp. in White rural U.S. in Rustbelt and the South), geographical or national isolation (not having a basic understanding of the World outside of the lower 48 State box or even outside of your region within that box), a certain level of prejudice, and being in a Conservative echo chamber all your life. It takes a perfect storm of a lot of things to create this IMO. Pretty scary stuff... knowing that these are the folks who are going to the ballot box with the power to make decisions that impact the lives of the rest of us.

This only backs up my long held belief that voters in this Country respond more to the superficial, such as who they would like to have a beer with or have dinner with, who they identify with racially and culturally, who they identify with in terms of religious and moral views, as opposed to basing their voting decisions on actual policies and facts. They are not the most engaged and informed voters...yet they are some of the most emotionally driven and most loyal. This is especially true for Conservatives/Republicans. And the Right Wing media (Limbaugh & Co.) has taken full advantage of these people for their own gain IMO. (whipping them up into a frenzy with that they not only slam and literally threaten the President...but buy their books as well). The manipulation of these folks is epic.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The State Dinner for the Prime Minister of India -Manmohan Singh

The President's Toast Tonight at the State Dinner

State Visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 24: (AFP OUT) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L), joined by U.S. President Barack Obama (R), walk down the Crosshall to the East Room of the White House November 24, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted Prime Minister Singh in the administration?s first state visit with an Oval Office meeting, a joint news conference and a state dinner. ------Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 24: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House November 24, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted Prime Minister Singh in the administration's first state visit with an Oval Office meeting, a joint news conference and a state dinner.
------Alex Wong/Getty Images

A young guest takes a picture as other guests hold the flags of the United States and India while U.S. President Barack Obama welcomes Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at an official arrival ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington November 24, 2009.
------REUTERS/Jim Young

Guests hold the flags of the United States and India as U.S. President Barack Obama welcomes Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at an official arrival ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington November 24, 2009.
--------REUTERS/Jim Young

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 24: U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama waves to members of the Indian delegation while standing with Mrs. Gursharan Kaur during a state arrival ceremony for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House November 24, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted Prime Minister Singh in the administration?s first state visit with an Oval Office meeting, a joint news conference and a state dinner.
----- Alex Wong/Getty Images

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 24: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) bows to members of the Indian delegation while waiting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) and his wife Jill before a state arrival ceremony for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House November 24, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted Prime Minister Singh in the administration?s first state visit with an Oval Office meeting, a joint news conference and a state dinner.
---------Alex Wong/Getty Images

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 24: Omar Carrington (R) waves Indian and American flags while waiting for the start of a state arrival ceremony for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama, in the East Room of the White House November 24, 2009 in Washington, DC. President Obama will host Prime Minister Singh in the administration's first state visit with an Oval Office meeting, a joint news conference and a state dinner. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

US India Obama Singh
Students from Walker-Jones Elementary School stand with members of the Indian community as they wait for President Barack Obama to welcome India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a State Arrival in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009.
-----AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

US India Obama Singh
---AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

US India Obama Singh
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Mrs. Gursharan Kaur in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009 in Washington.
-----AP Photo/Press Trust of India, Subhash Chander Malhotra

Thankful for health care access, not for reform opponents

America is a bountiful country, and I am so thankful to live here. We have the best of so much and much to be proud of. We have a fantastic fighting force of volunteers who put their lives on the line to defend us from enemies.

I am so thankful for the fantastic collection of colleges and universities that are without a doubt the best in the entire world. I am lucky enough to have attended a few and taught at a few more, and I know firsthand the value of an affordable public education.

Read the rest at The Loop.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Selling t-shirt and coffee mugs calling for the ASSASSINATION OF THE PRESIDENT

From The NYTimes
November 19, 2009, 10:30 am
Psalm 109:8 ‘Let His Days Be Few’

An anti-Obama bumper-sticker slogan which seems to urge people to pray for an end to the President’s days (in office?).

“There’s a hilarious new meme in the wingnut sectors of the internet,” Gawker announced:

Posters to various message boards tell stories of seeing bumper stickers with the message “Pray for Obama – Psalm 109:8” on the highway, only to look up the verse and find, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” …

Anyway, now it’s a real thing: CafePress is selling T-shirts and bumper stickers, the Christian Science Monitor is wondering whether it’s “funny or sinister” to pray for Obama’s death, and Rachel Maddow referenced it last night on her show.

However, as a number of commentators have noted, the wording that follows this bumper-sticker appeal is somewhat more disturbing:

Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.

Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labor.
Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children.
Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.
Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

These people 'claim' to be Christians. They claim to be American citizens. Yet, someone created this stuff to SELL, and people are BUYING IT, and they see absolutely nothing wrong with it. They are NOT Christians. They are NOT REAL AMERICANS. They are phony treasonous traitors and should be dealt with as such. Their racist asses have become unhinged at the election of a Black Man as President of the United States.

FYI,CafePress has STOPPED selling the items in question, once they were called out about it.

They NEVER are out...the Black President is gonna.....

Yes, the Black President is gonna RAPE you.

As old as Birth of a Nation, these mofos don't quit.

And, what should be done to rapists?

Yes, you get the point.

This is not about free speech. These folks are dangerous, and attempting to incite violence, and should be dealt with as such.

President Obama's Weekly Address

Two for One - John Gary Williams and The Intruders

Intruders doing Gil Scott-Heron's "Save The Children". Gamble and Huff's trademark production & Philly sound was probably the best of the 70's era.

Murder Charges Filed In Shaniya Davis Case

More charges have been filed in the case.

What a horror show.

Mario McNeill has been charged with murder. Both McNeill and Antoinette Davis (the egg donor) should face the death penalty...although Davis will likely get off easy.

What's almost just as shocking as the case itself is the fact that both suspects are getting support from....guess who? Women of course. Black women. I know... I know, I shouldn't be surprised. They support child raping R&B performers too (not all of course). I was thumbing through the radio stations while driving to work last week...and heard a concert ticket promotion on one of the degenerate "Chocolate City" radio stations in St. Louis and the woman who called in and won tickets to see R. Kelly (NAACP award recipient and admired beacon of "the Black Community") was so excited that she damn near started to cry on the air. Insanity!!

One of the ex-girlfriends of the thug McNeill thought he was a wonderful man, and doubted the charges against him (why are these women so f------ crazy and such bad judges of character..and of men in particular? I am always hearing this about these murderous, thug, deadbeat boyfriends). And then there was a Davis family member who claims that the egg donor was innocent and was a wonderful mother.

I don't understand these women. I don't understand their culture.

Always seeing them at work drives me mad too.... everyday I see several of them. Saw one in particular...appeared to be a halfway decent Black chick... presentable at least. On her right arm was a chump with his pants down below his ass....showing his underwear in public. If this is acceptable to them (and yes, it's not only accepted now...but it has become a cultural norm)...then I guess it's not really a big leap for these women to support this kind of culture (The modern Black culture), lifestyle, and the crimes that their boyfriends commit. It's all tied together.

I only believe in limited use of the death penalty.... that it should be reserved for special circumstances. This case would be an example.
I would love to be on a State sanctioned firing squad for this f----- "Lil Wayne" clone (and Hell... you could throw in the actual rapper/thug ......well, no, I won't go there. But let's just say... I wouldn't mind).

Meanwhile, the father of this child has time to contribute to Oprah (baby hasn't even had a funeral yet).

Shaniya had a circus around her....few responsible adults it appears.

There is a Progressive Infrastructure (We Just Don’t Know About It)

Most people are not aware that the powerful infrastructure of conservative media, think tanks and advocacy organizations, which dominate the American political and policy-making landscape in 2009, did not always exist. In the 1960s, for example, it was the Left in its varying shades in the political spectrum that had the upper hand in capturing the imagination of the public at large. Enter the Powell Memo in 1971.
In 1971, Lewis F. Powell, then a corporate lawyer and member of the boards of 11 corporations, wrote a memo to his friend Eugene Sydnor, Jr., the Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The memorandum was dated August 23, 1971, two months prior to Powell's nomination by President Nixon to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Powell Memo did not become available to the public until long after his confirmation to the Court. It was leaked to Jack Anderson, a liberal syndicated columnist, who stirred interest in the document when he cited it as reason to doubt Powell's legal objectivity. Anderson cautioned that Powell "might use his position on the Supreme Court to put his ideas into behalf of business interests."

Though Powell's memo was not the sole influence, the Chamber and corporate activists took his advice to heart and began building a powerful array of institutions designed to shift public attitudes and beliefs over the course of years and decades. The memo influenced or inspired the creation of the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academe, and other powerful organizations. Their long-term focus began paying off handsomely in the 1980s, in coordination with the Reagan Administration's "hands-off business" philosophy.

Most notable about these institutions was their focus on education, shifting values, and movement-building.

Most people who are aware of the Powell Memo, however, may not know that there is a Progressive counterpart – Democratic operative Rob Stein’s Powerpoint Presentation (from the New York Times) (from Alternet) called the “Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix” which lays out the inter-connections between this network of right wing institutions and calls for the creation of a Progressive counterpart.

All good right? One thing that baffles me about Rob Stein’s Powerpoint is that I’ve never seen it. It exists and has an almost mythical quality about it in Democratic circles. But the last time I heard Stein was only showing it around the country in 2004 to a select circle of liberal venture philanthropists like George Soros. Apparently this effort has led to the creation of the Democracy Alliance and New Progressive Coalition organizations which fund various Progressive organizations such as Progressive Majority, Center for American Progress, the Air America Radio Network among others.

But the Democracy Alliance tries to keep a low profile and its wealthy donors prefer anonymity. According to published reports, organizations funded by Democracy Alliance are asked not to reveal the funding (this is from SourceWatch). So as much as I’d like to comment on the creation of a Progressive Infrastructure, the only existing attempt to make it happen seems to be a secretive one where you have to be a member of a select inner circle of people to view the Powerpoint.

I’m a Progressive and I am all for the creation of something on our end that will serve as an effective counterpoint to the massive and highly effective conservative infrastructure. But all this secrecy isn’t really helping to rally people like me to the cause. I mean, how on earth am I going to support something that I’ve never even seen?

C’mon Rob Stein, make the infamous Powerpoint available in the Internet and let us—the Progressive rank and file—see it and chew on it. Perhaps, even get our feedback on making it better and adapting it to our day-to-day work as activists, bloggers and engaged citizens. We’re supposed to be a network of people who share common political goals, right?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oprah Announces End of Talk Show

New Racist Obama Billboard References Ft. Hood

This billboard just went up in Wheatridge Colorado.

See brief backstory

More Teabagger Videos

Attention LAD in particular.... to support my point.

See additional video posted via Oliver Willis

If you use the search feature above, you can find other videos of Teabaggers at rallies being quizzed, but not knowing much about what the Hell is going on in terms of facts and policy...and not really understanding why they were really there.

(I can repost those later... I don't have time to search the archives... but if you search "Glenn Beck", "Right Wing Media", etc.. the videos should come up in a search).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why the Angry Right Can’t Be Dismissed So Easily

Check out this insightful blog post by Jeff Blodgett from the Wellstone Action website which details the rise of the conservative, populist Right. He makes several points which I will quote here:
The resurgence of organized conservative activity was written about in a recent New York Times piece about Dick Armey and his influential movement organization, FreedomWorks. There are three points that strike me about about the conservative movement now:

ECONOMIC CONSERVATIVES ARE IN ASCENDANCE -- growing in influence and setting strategy for the right. The social religious wing, dominant in the Bush administration, has become less effective and relevant. Their message is angry, populist, and economic: FreedomWorks' slogan is: Lower Taxes, Less Government, More Freedom. Government takeover is their bogeyman. In 2010, they will focus on exploiting the economic pain in the country, railing against spending and taxes, and blaming all government and certain incumbents.

CONSERVATIVES ARE BORROWING FROM THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT -- The NYT article quotes FreedomWorks staff saying that they are making close study of Saul Alinsky and other community organizers. Like progressives, the other side is increasing conservative candidate development (NY-23 and in GOP primaries all over the country), and improving their grassroots advocacy skills (like the impression made at August town halls).

THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT CONTINUES TO BE BETTER FUNDED -- FreedomWorks, just one of many groups, easily raised $7 million from donors in 2008, including single gifts of $1 million and $750,000. The Leadership Institute, the premier training center for the right, sustains an $8 million dollar annual budget--at least twice the budget of any of comparable groups (like Wellstone Action) on the progressive side. Americans for Prosperity, another key conservative economic group has 73 staff people nationally and in 20 states.

These People Are Not Joking

One thing in which conservatives have been successful -- and which I am still in a bit of a disbelief —- is to take on the mantle of economic populism and use that as a rallying cry against the Democratic administration. Who would have thought a few short years ago that the economic populists who would have the most political impact in hard economic times in the U.S. would be conservatives railing against Democrats?

I have always thought that in tough economic times, old-school Marxists, Socialists and Progressive populists would find a ready audience for their message and we’d have a working and middle class radicalized and mobilized en masse to fight for working peoples’ interests like in the 1930s. I have always thought that the Progressive Left had superior arguments in advocating for working peoples’ interests against free-market conservatives and that Progressive Populism will explode in popularity in times of economic crisis. After all, didn’t the economic policies which have caused this mess we are in based on radical, free-market ideology as espoused by economists like Milton Friedman and implemented as policy by his followers in government? And in finding someone to blame, that most people would naturally gravitate to its opposing viewpoint?

Boy was I wrong! Instead of resulting in an army of modern-day Eugene Debses, exploding into popular culture are the current heroes of conservative populism like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck who have massive followings among ordinary, working people. Sarah Palin’s book just came out today and is a huge bestseller drawing crowds of hundreds of people at her book signings.

Something is going on in American culture in this time of economic crisis and for some reason, the Right is tapping into the psyche of ordinary working Americans in a big way that I have never seen Progressives do in recent memory. Those who oppose these conservative populists and who laugh at, ridicule and dismiss them as irrelevant do so at their own peril. It is very easy to dismiss Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin and laugh them off as bad jokes. But these people and the movement they represent is no joke. They are organized, well-funded and, whether we like it or not, wildly popular and with a large constituency.

A New Approach for Progressives?

I have yet to see from Progressives wide discussion of innovative approaches in engaging this conservative populist movement. Jeff Blodgett frames the fight to be had along the lines of the 2010 Congressional Elections and that engagement would be defined as stopping the election of Republicans into Congressional seats—with the implication being electing Democrats into these seats or preventing Republican takeover of these Democratic seats will be the definition of victory.

For me that is not good enough. We’ve all seen this year how getting both a Democratic majority in Congress and a Democratic President in the White House doesn’t necessarily translate into getting Progressive agenda enacted into public policy. Helping make Congress a solidly Democratic turf in 2010, therefore, doesn’t necessarily translate into a victory for Progressives.

The discussion among Progressives should be centered on how to harness this society-wide anger and frustration with the tough economic times and channel them towards ends that are unmistakably Progressive—but without resorting to electing Democrats as the default position. Can it be done? I don’t know. But I can’t see any other way.

Oprah Winfrey To End Talk Show

hat tip: W.E.E. See You



Oprah to pull the plug on syndicated show in 2011
Posted: Nov 19, 2009 5:25 PM CST
Updated: Nov 19, 2009 5:25 PM CST

CHICAGO, IL (WMBF) - The president of Harpo, Inc., has announced Oprah Winfrey will be calling it quits on her syndicated show in 2011.

Tim Bennett made Oprah's decision public in a press release to television partners on Thursday evening. Bennett says Oprah will make the announcement live on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Friday.

"If you think the last quarter century has been something, then don't touch that dial, as together ,we plan to make history in the next 20 months," Bennett said.

Oprah's show will close as its 25th season comes to an end on Sept. 9, 2011.

Never really thought I'd see the day.

WWII in HD Documentary Series

I have been catching bits and pieces of the new documentary series WWII in HD from the History Channel. So far I have seen 4 of the 10 episodes.

This is one of the best quality documentaries that I have seen. It's balanced to include the contributions of a cross-section of American cultures...not perfect...but they made a pretty good effort here (something not always seen in this genre of documentaries and movies). Just good stuff...and the video quality itself is amazing. I wish I could afford to buy the whole DVD series.

If you like documentaries as much as I do, especially programs on war history, then this is something to look out for.

(I guess i'm a little bit of a nerd..unfortunately)

Fox 'Apologizes' Again for getting busted about false stories

This apology is for putting up footage of a Sarah Palin 2008 Political Rally and pretending that this was a book tour crowd.

The First Lady Honors Women in the Military

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Harry Reid Presents the Senate Healthcare Bill

Harry Reid explains the Senate bill.

From TPM
Reid: 'We're Proud Of These Figures'
Rachel Slajda | November 18, 2009, 6:50PM

After meeting with the Democratic caucus to unveil the details of his merged Senate health care reform bill, Senate Majority Harry Reid held a press conference to announce the bill.

The bill "saves lives, saves money and protects Medicare, makes Medicare stronger," Reid said, flanked by several Democratic senators, including Chris Dodd, Debbie Stabenow, Al Franken and Chuck Schumer.

"Ninety-eight percent of the American people, those that have Medicare will be included in that number, will have health insurance," he said,

Earlier today, Reid's office briefed reporters on the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the bill, which will require $849 billion over 10 years in new spending and will reduce the deficit by $127 billion. The CBO had a slightly different percentage of Americans who will be insured, saying the number would come in at 94 percent.

"We're proud of these figures," Reid said.

Now, we have 3 pivotal votes before it actually gets out of the Senate. Keep the eyes on Lincoln, Landrieu, and Nelson. See if they truly are big and bad enough to stand up on the floor and vote against bringing this to the floor for a vote. And, forced to do it, they should. Don't let them hide in the shadows.

The Shaniya Davis Horror Case - A National Failure

Man's Inhumanity... Where is the Limit?

The story of Shaniya Davis is on my mind this morning. Can't shake it. It makes me want to go Rambo. Probably because her childhood reminds me of my early childhood. I too had a sick mother (the biological one) who should have never had custody of children.

This case is another example of "the system" failing children (ie. Social Services, Police, extended family or whatever safety net you can think of...but especially State services). I'll take that's an example of a nation failing its children. The U.S. is a strange Country when it comes to the welfare of children...and the welfare of its people in a more general sense. I was just reading a report via Reuters that highlighted how far behind this Country is in terms of basic labor rights and privileges (what is now considered to be the standard around the world). The U.S. lags behind other nations when it comes to the number of workers who are allowed paid sick leave, and other time off that ends up being good for families. This is just a microcosm that reflects the wider lack of priority that this Country puts on children and families. This is on top of the fact that there is a general disdain in the U.S. for social safety net/social welfare programs like those that Europeans hold dear.

Why didn't the extended family take action when they noticed problems? Why didn't State officials take action? Why weren't parental rights revoked from the mother when the home (an alleged drug house) was raided a few months ago? I can't help but wonder how State cutbacks may have contributed to Shaniya falling through the cracks.... or not even being on the States radar in the first place. Social services, even protective services, are always the first to go in any kind of major economic slump. But there should be Federal laws which should mandate that child protective services receive the same status as Police, Ambulance and Fire service - deemed essential and the last thing to be cut (rather than the first as it is today in many States). Not only that, but the Feds should also mandate a certain number of protective service agents based on State/County population and caseload.... so that more tragedies are prevented. The current situation is ridiculous. Social services are often cut before garbage collection during a recession. That speaks volumes about American priorities.

It just drives me crazy the way this Country would spend money building a bomb before building a school or investing in the protection and care of its children. Where are we headed with this kind of social order? There is something fundamentally wrong with the United States in this regard. There is something wrong with a nation with priorities that are so out of wack; and there is something wrong with a culture (The American culture) that allows it. Show me a nation that fails or refuses to invest in its own people, particularly its children, and I will show you a nation that can't least not in the long run.

Beyond the social policy problems... and the sick American culture that helped to allow this to happen, this case makes me question a whole list of other things. It makes me wonder just how evil people can be. It makes me doubt the spirit of human beings. In fact, it reinforces the skepticism and cynicism that I already have for humans.

This also makes me question God...even the existence of God. I'm already fairly secular...but these stories only reinforce my secularism. I mean... if God exists, and if he's omnipresent, how was this atrocity allowed to take place? When everyone and everything failed Shaniya, where was God? I'm not in Bill Maher territory yet, but I have to admit that i'm at least facing in that direction.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Please Make Her the Republican Nominee for 2012

Well, Not Exactly...

I am secretly hoping that Sarah Palin becomes the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012. And as dense and gullible as Republican voters are (not all...but many) they just might make it happen. But then i'm reminded of how boneheaded Americans are as a whole, and how they may be crazy enough to actually put her in the White House in the General election, especially with the potential backlash of having a Black incumbent. The American voter is capable of doing a lot of crazy things, many of which have little to do with reality or common sense. They elected George W. Bush twice for goodness sake (really once...but you get the point). So i'm not so sure that it's actually safe for this Palin fantasy to come true.... because it might go too far. The idea of Palin getting anywhere near the White House is horrifying.

But if this CBS poll is correct.... we probably won't have to worry about this kind of worst case scenario.

I'm a little perplexed as to why the media is giving her so much play. I'm amused by their incessant interest in knowing whether she will run for President (legitimizing her as if she is anywhere close to being qualified). It's as if the media folks have been in a bubble over the past 2 years. It's as if they forgot what happened during the campaign. Hello!!! It was pretty much established that she wasn't qualified to be VP... so why in the Hell would she be qualified to run for President? Did something change since last years campaign that I don't know about?

Republican Spokesman Wesley Pruden Suggests That Obama's Blood Is Not Authentically American

In other words, he is saying that Obama is not a real American and doesn't have "real American" values. If you have read my Republican media page, I explain that "real American" and related code language simply means "White American"....and in the case of Wesley Pruden, it likely means White Southerner.

Pruden made his incendiary comments in a new Washington Times column, which has been highlighted by Media Matters. In the column, Pruden also takes a swipe at Obama's mother for being with a Black man. Based on the reactions expressed in the comments on the Media Matters page, I see I was not the only one left numb by this story. My jaw hit the floor. I guess Stormfront commentary has gone mainstream. Republicans/Conservatives are becoming less and less inhibited when it comes to expressing their racism.

Pruden - bigot extraordinaire - is the former editor of the Washington Times, and has an interesting history.

Learn more about Pruden here, and here. Also see a related article at the Southern Poverty Law Center website.

Beyond Black and White

Hear part 2 of the NPR series on race, entitled "Beyond Black and White". The focus of this segment is race in Hawaii and the treatment of natives.

Listen to part 1. (Part 1 dealt with people who identified as mixed).

Monday, November 16, 2009

First Lady Michelle Obama Discusses Mentoring

Change to Washington is slow, but it's not Obama's fault

Directly related to the high expectations many Americans have for President Obama is the high level of disappointment many have in the slow pace of change in Washington. Relentlessly campaigning on the Change We Can Believe In them, Obama promised to change "business as usual" in Washington. Has he done so?

Read the rest at The Loop

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Actual Hero in the Fort Hood Shootings

It's quite odd that the story around this shooting keeps on changing, but Sgt. Todd is the hero here.

A Reporter's Meeting With President Obama at Arlington

I Believe Rachel Missed the Point

While I appreciated the passion in this commentary, and I felt the anger, I believe Maddow missed the TRUE point of objection by the business community.

I don't believe the objection was about child labor, though they could make the argument for it. No, the TRUE objection to this, would be the elimination of PRISON LABOR.

You can't make the use of FOREIGN PRISON LABOR illegal, and allow it DOMESTICALLY -the corporations know that. How could you deny the corporations the DOMESTIC PRISON SLAVE LABOR that they currently enjoy. I think that's the crux of their objections.

Two for One - Patti Drew and The Valentine Brothers

Very appropriate track....

Black Identity

Or Just Identity...

Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. They approach me in a half-hesitant sort of way, eye me curiously or compassionately, and then, instead of saying directly, How does it feel to be a problem? they say, I know an excellent colored man in my town; or, I fought at Mechanicsville; or, Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil? At these I smile, or am interested, or reduce the boiling to a simmer, as the occasion may require. To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word.

And yet, being a problem is a strange experience,—peculiar even for one who has never been anything else, save perhaps in babyhood and in Europe. It is in the early days of rollicking boyhood that the revelation first bursts upon one, all in a day, as it were. I remember well when the shadow swept across me. I was a little thing, away up in the hills of New England, where the dark Housatonic winds between Hoosac and Taghkanic to the sea. In a wee wooden schoolhouse, something put it into the boys’ and girls’ heads to buy gorgeous visiting-cards—ten cents a package—and exchange. The exchange was merry, till one girl, a tall newcomer, refused my card,—refused it peremptorily, with a glance. Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows. That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads. Alas, with the years all this fine contempt began to fade; for the worlds I longed for, and all their dazzling opportunities, were theirs, not mine. But they should not keep these prizes, I said; some, all, I would wrest from them. Just how I would do it I could never decide: by reading law, by healing the sick, by telling the wonderful tales that swam in my head,—some way. With other black boys the strife was not so fiercely sunny: their youth shrunk into tasteless sycophancy, or into silent hatred of the pale world about them and mocking distrust of everything white; or wasted itself in a bitter cry, Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house? The shades of the prison-house closed round about us all: walls strait and stubborn to the whitest, but relentlessly narrow, tall, and unscalable to sons of night who must plod darkly on in resignation, or beat unavailing palms against the stone, or steadily, half hopelessly, watch the streak of blue above.

After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,—a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,—this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face.

--W.E.B. Dubois from "The Souls of Black Folk"

I think I will be struggling with this until they put me in the ground.
Sometimes I feel that my brown skin = a prison cell.

Anyway, Dubois was light years ahead of his time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Darius Rucker Wins 'New Artist of the Year' at the CMA's. Yes, the COUNTRY MUSIC ASSOCIATION



Darius Rucker’s win is historic for CMAs
updated 1 hour, 23 minutes ago

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Darius Rucker became the first black singer to win new artist of the year at the Country Music Association Awards, joining Charley Pride as the only African-American to win a major individual award, while Taylor Swift won two awards, including album of the year.

Rucker, whose first country album, “Learn to Live,” sold more than 1 million copies, took the stage Wednesday night to wild cheers from the crowd and shouted, “What a year!”

“First of all, to the fans, thank y’all for accepting me,” the jubilant Rucker said. “And I think most importantly, to country radio, you took a chance on a pop singer from Charleston, S.C. Thank you so much for that!”

History is made everyday.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Discusses his Leukemia

Lou Dobbs OUT AT CNN

from the NYTimes

November 11, 2009, 6:21 pm
Update: Lou Dobbs to Quit CNN

Lou Dobbs, the longtime CNN anchor whose anti-immigration views have made him a TV lightning rod, said Wednesday that he is leaving the cable news channel effective immediately.

Sitting before an image of an American flag on his television set, he said “some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem solving as well as to contribute positively to the great understanding of the issues of our day.”

“I’m considering a number of options and directions,” Mr. Dobbs added. A transcript of his remarks is available here.

Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN/U.S. said in a statement that “Lou has now decided to carry the banner of advocacy journalism elsewhere.”

“All of us will miss his appetite for big ideas, the megawatt smile and larger than life presence he brought to our newsroom,” Mr. Klein said.

Wednesday’s program will be Mr. Dobbs’ last on CNN. His contract was not set to expire until the end of 2011. He told viewers that CNN had agreed to release him from his contract early.

CNN indicated that it would name a replacement for Mr. Dobbs on Thursday morning.

The Fraud That Is GOP ' Supporting the Troops'

This continues to anger me. The GOP wraps itself in the flag and gets away with making votes that HURT THE AVERAGE SOLDIER AND VETERAN. Over and Over.

Now, you have Senator Coburn, the same Senator Coburn who told a woman asking about how to take care of her invalid husband that she should ' depend on neighbors' - THAT Coburn, is holding up legislation that would help the caregivers of Veterans. The Veterans that fall through the cracks. I was a caregiver to my mother, but she had a terminal illness, and I knew, sadly, that my time as a caregiver would end. These people are caregivers to the injured, the maimed, the casulties of war that don't wind up in a cemetary, but do wind up with medical problems for the rest of their lives....and this man has the NERVE to be blocking this.

But, he's such a 'good' American.

President Obama on Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Veteran's Day!!!

African-Americans have fought with pride, courage and dignity in every conflict this country has had, beginning with Revolutionary War.

Crispus Attucks - first person killed in the Revolutionary War.

Buffalo Soldiers

54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

Immortalized in the movie Glory


1st Louisana Native Guard, 1861


Troops in the Spanish-American War, 1898


9th Calvary in the Phillippine-American War, circa 1900

1900  Black Troop E 9th Cav before shipping out to the philippines

1900 black Troop C 9th cav at camp lawton WA -Phillippines

World War One Troops




World War Two




The Tuskegee Airmen





Korean War

korean war-2

the first time Black soldiers were in an integrated Army

korean war-1



Gulf Wars

gulf war

Black Women in the Armed Forces

Article about Black women in the Military

Cathy Williams-female Buffalo Soldier





POW Shoshana Johnson

Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. - the first Black General in the Army.


Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. -the first Black General in the Air Force and the commander of the Tuskegee Airmen.


Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. - the first Black Admiral in the Navy.


Frank E. Petersen -He was the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps General.


Colin Powell - first Black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


ACES Museum Honoring Black and Minority Veterans of WWII and Their Families

The History Place: African-Americans in WWII