Saturday, February 27, 2010

Republican Senator Holds Unemployment Benefits Extension Bill Hostage

hat tip: W.E.E. See You

From The AP:

Unemployment Extension Fails in Senate
GOP Sen. Jim Bunning Blocks Action over Concerns About Swelling Deficit

(AP) The Senate failed late Thursday to extend programs for laid-off workers, jeopardizing unemployment benefits scheduled to expire over the weekend.

The benefits are part of a larger package of government programs, from highway funding to loans for small businesses, set to expire Sunday because senators couldn’t agree on how to pay for an extension.

The House passed a bill Thursday extending the programs for a month while lawmakers consider how to address the issues long-term. Senate Democrats repeatedly tried to follow suit Thursday night but they couldn’t overcome the objections of a single lawmaker, Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky, that the $10 billion bill would add to the budget deficit.

The Democrats are to blame for not forcing this clown to stand up on the floor, and any of his co-conspirators to STAND ON THE SENATE FLOOR - FOR ALL TO SEE - as they hurt at least 1.2 million American citizens. If they're so big and bad - FORCE THEM TO FILIBUSTER. This mamby-pamby bullshyt of letting them get away with it - without shouting it from the rooftops everytime a Democrat gets on tv - is pathetic.


From Bob Cesca:


* No reimbursements to States for previously-committed Federal highway funds. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will not be able to approve any expenditures from the Highway Trust Fund beginning on Monday, March 1. This will prohibit FHWA from reimbursing States for any previously-committed Federal highway funds.
* No ability to commit additional Federal highway funds. Due to both a statutory prohibition and the furlough of its employees (described below), beginning on Monday, March 1, FHWA will be unable to approve States’ commitment of any Federal highway funds.
* No ability to commit additional Federal transit funds. FTA will be unable to approve any new transit grants from all transit programs that are funded out of the Highway Trust Fund. This will prohibit States, transit agencies and MPOs from receiving funds from any of the following programs: Bus and Bus Facilities, Urban and Rural Formula, Metropolitan and Statewide Planning, Fixed Guideway Modernization, Formula Grants for Elderly and Disabled, Job Access and Reverse Commute, New Freedom and Transit in the Parks.


* Shutdown of Agencies and furloughs of over 4,000 Federal employees. The entire FHWA, the entire Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA), some portions of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and some portions of the Research and Innovation Transportation Administration (RITA), will cease operations and furlough their employees (totaling over 4,000 employees) beginning on Tuesday, March 2.


* ARRA “Recovery Act” Impact: Due to the furlough of FHWA employees, any remaining obligation of funds by States may not be processed. This could cause States to lose some unspent ARRA funds.

Highway Safety

* No new MCSAP or new entrant grants. The shutdown of the FMCSA will prevent the agency from entering into new obligations for its 11 grant programs and funding vouchers for work performed during the duration of the lapsed authority. In particular, two highly visible programs, the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) grants and the New Entrant grants, would be greatly affected. The MCSAP program provides funding to States to reduce the number and severity of crashes and hazardous materials incidents involving commercial motor vehicles. The New Entrant program provides funds to States to prevent unsafe motor carrier companies from entering the industry.

* All of NHTSA’s State highway safety grant programs would shut down. In addition to the furlough of its personnel, NHTSA would have to shut down operations of Highway Safety Research and Development; National Driver Register (NDR); and Highway Safety Grants, and would have to stop paying all bills for the programs under these accounts.

and what was Bunning's response when asked about all the unemployed people who would stop getting their benefits?


I kid you not.

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President Obama Signs Executive Order to Strengthen HBCU's

President Obama signs an executive order to strengthen the capacity of and increase access to Federal funding for the Nations Historically Black Colleges and Universities. February 26, 2010.

President Obama's Weekly Youtube Address

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Coffee Party: The Anti-Tea Party

The genesis of the idea for the Coffee Party Movement and its purpose is best explained by the video above. It all started with documentary filmmaker Annabel Park venting her frustrations on her Facebook page about media coverage that made it seem that the Tea Parties were representative of the “real America.” She vehemently disagreed and her comments on Facebook got a lot of feedback from people who similarly felt pent-up and frustrated.

Their name the “Coffee Party” directly references the Tea Party movement and presents itself as an alternative. Park argues elected officials who represent us should work towards positive solutions to the problems the country faces instead of adopting obstructionist political tactics that play on peoples’ fears and which are driven by deliberate misinformation.

The Coffee Party is currently organizing nationwide. It is stressing the message that its members are voters who intend to hold elected officials accountable to holding up progress. Its members will participate and be engaged in the political process.

In addition, the Coffee Party values diversity, is, itself, diverse and completely comfortable with the changing ethnic demographics of the US. Park argues that politicians are exploiting the anxieties people feel regarding these changing demographics for political gain and that it is wrong.

Cooperation is needed to solve problems and that no practical solutions can be reached when there is no cooperation in Congress. Dialogue is impossible when one side—a reference to the Republicans and the Tea Party movement in the healthcare town hall meetings over the summer of 2009—is engaged in tactics designed to shut down discussion.

Park says the Congress works for us – the American people – not corporations and not just a sliver of the total demographic. Congress should stop the endless fighting and get down to work on problem-solving and representing our interests as their constituents. The Coffee Party Movement is an open invitation to participate to anyone who believes that government should be part of problem-solving and representing our interests.

The Movement is Growing

I was able to speak with an organizer of the Coffee Party. He argued that many Americans are tired of the Tea Partiers portrayal in the media as the representation of the "Real America." Many Americans oppose the Tea Party and their tactics and rhetoric and need a vehicle to represent their side on the debates and issues of a country in crisis.

In addition, the Coffee Partiers want to give voice to real economic populism that is designed to address the concerns of middle and working class Americans. The Coffee Party organizers don't want the Right to have a monopoly of the populist side of the debate on economics and economic issues.

Their main struggle at this point is to come to a consensus on core principles and areas of focus. Their Facebook note on developing a platform for the movement reflects a desire to demonstrate, through practice and example, their commitment to (a) inclusivity and respect for a diversity of opinion and (b) a commitment to small "d" democracy and consensus-building.
We will try to show by example what a participatory democracy can and ought to look like. We need to show that we can come together as a community, despite our differences, and engage in a constructive dialogue that leads to solutions.

The movement is currently centered around social media networks. They have a website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.

Since they started the social media sites in early February, there are now over 40 chapters nationwide and growing everyday. Their Facebook group had over 20,000 fans as of the time I am writing this (late February) and growing rapidly.

Potential and Challenge for the Future

The Coffee Party Movement has the potential to really take off and spread like wildfire much the same way the Tea Parties started through social media and grassroots networks. I am very pleased that a citizen-centered, grassroots uprising other than a right-wing one is in the works which seeks to address the gridlock and polarization in Congress and the dysfunctional politics in general in Washington DC.

The very fact that within a month of launching that they have established nearly 40 chapters nationwide and have passed the 20,000 member mark in the Facebook page bodes well for their future.

The real test for the Coffee Party will come when they have reached critical mass, have established an organizational structure and then are in a position to DO something. Either support or oppose some political measure, or apply pressure on a politician by giving or withholding support. Once the Coffee Party Movement has passed the stage of conversations and meetings and are in a position to execute their ideas into practice will determine what type of organization and movement they will be.

Another big test would be how they are portrayed in the mass media and if the media portrayals create momentum that will allow the Coffee Party to control the narrative in the public consciousness regarding the issues it wishes to address. The American mass media is notorious for leaning towards sensationalism and soundbites instead of substantive, in-depth treatment of serious issues. And let us not forget the influence of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck in allowing the Right to set the stage, climate and control the debate and to derail the momentum of any fledgling movement that they oppose.

Their organizers told me that they are non-partisan and fully intend to reach out and appeal to Republicans and conservatives as well as independents. Reading their Facebook wall comments and general thrust of their communications, they appear to have a primarily left-leaning membership and leadership (so far) with a focus on supporting the aims of the more progressive policies of the Obama administration.

The question in my mind is this a grassroots movement that independents can participate in?

The Coffee Party would do well to heed the findings and statistics in this study:

People who self-identify as independents now outnumber those who self-identify as either Republican or Democrat. They have found both major parties inadequate, and are cynical about the two major national parties for solutions or leadership. Independents like me are independent precisely because we reject that the frame and scope of political debate and discourse in the U.S. should be limited to the Republicans and Democrats. Like the Coffee Party, we want solutions and problem-solving, not gridlock and endless partisan bickering.

If the Coffee Party Movement will succeed in truly transcending narrow partisanship it would have to watch out about becoming subsumed into or being perceived by the public as an appendage of the Democratic Party. Being a primarily liberal or Democratic organization and one which seeks to apply pressure to politicians to adopt more progressive positions is fine. The danger for the Coffee Party in appealing to non-Democrats lies in being seen as just another vehicle to elect Democratic politicians into office.

I gather that the Coffee Party Movement intends to be independent of the major parties. It bodes well for them to keep that vision in mind as they grow and develop their organization.

Some Great Exchanges from the Healthcare Summit

In case you couldn't watch it yesterday, here are some of the good exchanges at the Healthcare Summit

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rep. Anthony Weiner - the GOP is a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry

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What if He Can’t Give You The Platinum Wedding?

What if he can’t give you the platinum fairytale wedding? Do you pass him up and wait for a man who can? Has it all come down to the wedding? I think that it has to a certain degree. Women (many of them) seem to be falling in love with the idea of the wedding day itself, as much as with the men that they claim to want to spend the rest of their lives with. This is at least part of the reason why half of all marriages in this Country fail. They often aren’t based on anything real to begin with.

I guess I’m a little old fashioned. I though marriages and weddings were supposed to be based on real love. I guess that went out of style at some point. It must have. Because weddings have now turned into huge gluttonous events, where the bride gets to show off for her friends. That’s basically what weddings (and now even marriages) have become. You get the sense that they all have a competition going where one is trying to outdo the other.

A recent blog posting by the Field Negro (Philly Attorney), entitled The Power of the Bling, led me to write on this topic. The subject of his post was very similar - the venality & superficiality of women, particularly when it comes to the ring. Of course my response was a little hardcore, but it was painfully true. We are living in a society that is growing more and more shallow by the day. Money and material things are increasing in importance for many women. Most women are Gold Diggers or have the tendencies of same to some degree (and this varies). Sorry ladies. Love ya! But I can’t abandon the truth. To me, this includes women who won’t date a man unless he has a certain type of job, earns a certain arbitrary amount of money, or unless he’s a certain race (especially the race most synonymous with money & “success”); all the way up to the women who stalk entertainers, pro athletes, rich attorneys & CEO’s…and the Donald Trumps and will generally only pursue millionaires. These are often women who aren’t ashamed to admit that they want to marry for money. Anything less than the figure on their theoretical price tags is considered “settling” or marrying down. Notice I didn’t mention character at any point…. Because character apparently isn’t one of their top factors for finding a suitable partner (that’s a clue as to why they so often choose bad men… the dogs, playboys, the a--holes, the inconsiderate guys, or those who never seem to work out for them for one reason or another).

There is an entire wedding industry in this country that plays right into this f**knuttery. The numbers back up the fact that these are grand gluttonous events. The wedding industry does roughly $70 Billion worth of business annually, with the average wedding costing approximately $30,000 (Pre-economic collapse of 2008-2009). (also see here). And when you are talking about middle class professionals & the upper middle class, you are looking at weddings easily costing more than $50,000.00. In some parts of the country $50,000 is actually the average. So before you even get to what many would consider a platinum wedding (well over $100,000.00) you are paying tens of thousands….just as an average. I hover between lower middle class and working class. (although I have a graduate degree & a half at this point). For me the lower average of $30,000 is platinum territory. I would definitely see $50,000 as “platinum”. Who needs to spend that kind of money for a wedding? It’s insane. The cost of a wedding has increased several fold just over the past 3 decades or so. It wasn’t always like this. Back in the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s…even the 1980’s, folks didn’t go into massive debt for “the big day”. There have always been platinum weddings, but they were typically limited to those at the very top- those who we refer to today as being the top 1 or 2 percent. These extravagant parties were not the burden of the average American. Most people really didn’t care much about the lavishness of the wedding ceremony or the reception in those days. Folks would spend a couple thousand bucks, use the house or a friends home as a venue and would have a great time. Why? Because it was about love, companionship and family, or at least that's the message that was sent. Coretta Scott married MLK in her parents house. MLK didn’t have much money at the time - he was a fledgling minister. I keep using that example because it says quite a bit about how society has changed in terms of values. And we don’t necessarily have to go back that far to find that kind of an example. I can recall my fathers wedding to my step-mother back in 1986. I was 12 years old and was the ring bearer. No lavish wedding… they had the wedding in the living room of our house in Kansas. Could they have had a bigger wedding? Absolutely. My parents could have thrown a military gala on post, could have invited dozens of their military and Shriner buddies….Or could have had a big private affair in town. But why spend all that money…or go into debt unnecessarily? They ended up having a small event with about 30 or so friends and a few family members from St. Louis who drove up for the weekend. The money was better spent on the house, their two kids, and a third child that was to come into the world about 18 months later (BTW..That child - the one who wasn’t even thought of in 1986 - is now serving in the Navy…the military tradition continues. They just love to say we aren‘t patriotic don‘t they?). Smart decision in my opinion. That wedding taught me a lesson about what was important.

The wedding industry racket that pushes lavish weddings is a rather recent phenomenon. Today it’s not just the top 1 or 2 percent that have the big expensive weddings…. The average couple is now expected to throw tens of thousands into a wedding. Most women not only want it, but there is an expectation that they’ll get it.

It should be no surprise that when weddings were about love and relationships, marriages tended to last longer. As weddings have gotten more superficial, so have the marriages. Cause & effect? No. But it says a lot about the values of a society when “things” are valued more than people & relationships. It also speaks to the issue of class and the widening gaps between groups. The U.S. is becoming more of a class based society...almost like India's Caste system in some ways (for is becoming more difficult to move up in the U.S. if you are at or near the bottom). The class stratification is getting worse. Yes it is true that weddings, relationships and marriage are about money to a large degree...and traditionally they have always been about money. But in past generations they were also about love, family, companionship and certain values. (I don't agree with the preceding NYTimes article that claims "marriage for love" to be a recent phenomenon). There were definitely reasons other than just money for marriage/family in the nations history. Money didn't mean didn't dominate in past generations the way that it does today. Family was much more important when the U.S. was more of an agrarian society. Having plenty of hands was important for survival. With the rise of modern commercial farming, with 50% or more of the population now living in urban areas....and with the independence of women since the 1970's and 80's, the practicality of large families and the need to marry have waned.

I occasionally watch programs like “Platinum Weddings”, “Rich Bride/Poor Bride”, “My Fair Wedding”, “Who’s Wedding Is It Anyway”, etc…. just to see how ridiculous the people are. They demonstrate how thoroughly screwed up our society really is. It’s like watching a sociological train wreck. It is clear to me that women are marrying money (not all …but certainly a significant portion of them). They are marrying material thing. Men in many cases (not all…but many) are simply conduits for women to live a certain status based lifestyle…to simply have access to the “things” they want. They are marrying “things” and not men.

I was watching Platinum Weddings a few days ago & it was the episode with Tony Gwynn’s daughter as the bride. Several hundred thousand was spent on that wedding. I caught another episode with an Asian bride & a white groom (cough cough) where something on the order of $100,000 was spent just on flowers. This kind of craziness has now crept into the mainstream. But is it right? More importantly, could it hurt the marriage itself? (not that marriage is a grand institution anymore… I happen to believe that weddings and the wedding culture are a joke, and the state of marriage is in the toilet). But the point is, could this just add to the reasons why men shouldn’t get married? Could it discourage marriage? I think it could. The more I learn about weddings and the state of marriage today- that both are largely about money and little else - the less receptive I become to the idea of marriage. In fact, it is making me run in the other direction, as far away from the idea as I can get. What incentives does a man have for getting married? In just about every measure… it’s a losing proposition for a man. There is no incentive. In fact, I would say that there is probably more of an incentive today for a man to stay single. Marriages are nothing more than business contracts today…and no good business man would want to sign a lopsided contract. In the business world it doesn't happen that way. Why would a business man sign a lopsided contract that benefit’s the other side 80%-20%? It's unheard of. So why should a man enter into an equivalent deal in the world of marriage? Men typically lose the most from beginning to end.... from the first time he meets his future wife (he spends tons and has to demonstrate financial prowess to impress), to the time that the divorce is final and she takes almost everything he has worked for....and in some cases...he loses financially for the rest of her life...if he has to pay alimony...not to mention any child support required.

I came to the realization about 6 years ago that marriage was not in the cards for me - that it was not likely to happen. And for the first time, I’m starting to get comfortable with that reality. I was 30 then. Now I’m approaching 37. The further I have gotten away from 30, the more I feel that I don’t want to get married at all. I see marriage, weddings, and the rest as something that I actually can’t afford. I see women and weddings as being for men who can afford them. (Yes, I see women & relationships and all the stuff they bring as being expense items at this point). A woman who fits the typical mold (which generally isn’t my type anyway) literally just isn’t affordable. I have already begun to come to terms with the idea of living the rest of my life as a single guy. I have been chasing an American Dream for the past 18 years that is becoming more elusive. And I never reached a point during all that time where I actually enjoyed life. It seems as though a long stretch of my life has been wasted. So I have been trying to figure out how I will contribute to the World solo. There is one bright side to this situation… being single for so long (basically all my life) means that I won’t really miss anything by remaining single. But I do hold the door open 5 years down the road when maybe I’m doing a little better on the employment and financial front for a sexy nerd who doesn’t care about Platinum weddings, or how much money I earn.

In the meantime, I will remain disgusted by our society.

Related Link

The future of America - Tyra Show segment on women teaching daughters to marry for money. (I don't really like Tyra Banks...never have. But I found this link on youtube and thought that the segment was actually useful...and that's rare for the Tyra Banks Show, lol).

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on Father

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on Struggle with Father and Healthcare.

Congressman Steve King Refuses to Condemn Terror Attack on IRS

He almost gave it a wink and a nod.

Interview with Stephen Stafford

Hear an interview with 13 year old Morehouse College student Stephen Stafford...from NPR.

We posted about Stephen Stafford back in January. I'm even more impressed after the interview. Unfortunately he isn't representative of Black students in the wider culture. He has parents who successfully shielded him from the wider culture and the wider education system.

I wish we could get to a point where Stafford isn't such an exception... such a stark contrast from what we typically see, but just a brilliant student within a culture that embraces and cultivates this type of excellence as the norm.

House Votes to Repeal Antitrust Exemption for Insurers

The House of Representatives voted 406-19 yesterday to repeal the antitrust exemption for the insurance industry, putting more pressure on insurers to be more competitive. Unfortunately, it will be much harder for this to pass in the Senate.

Although comprehensive Healthcare Reform is dead.. and has been dead for months, the Democrats may be able to get smaller pieces of good legislation passed. This is a strategy that I have mentioned before, and the Dems should have used it months ago. Next, they should put a bill on the floor for Pre-existing Conditions.

Once you simplify these bills, it plays in favor of the Democrats. Republicans have taken advantage of the complex nature of the larger bills to basically confuse Americans. Making these bills much smaller..simplifies them and makes it much harder for the Republicans to distort facts and put out misinformation.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

To Be Young, Gifted and Black is STILL Disrespected

Myron Rolle's piece on ESPN:

saw this over at W.E.E. See You

From Myron Rolle's off-field success could hurt in the draft
The whole segment is worth watching, and the companion piece by Wright Thompson at is worth reading, but the Outside the Lines segment ended on an odd note, citing ESPN's draft experts as saying Rolle's off-field pursuits would actually hurt his stock among NFL teams.

The thinking, according to ESPN, is that NFL teams want to draft guys who need to play football and want to study nothing more than a playbook -- not guys like Rolle, who wants to become a doctor and enjoys studying the latest developments in stem cell research. The report said Rolle has dealt with this mentality before when his defensive coordinator at Florida State, Mickey Andrews, told Rolle that he was spending too much time on school and not enough time on football.

It's kind of a sad commentary: After a great piece about what a fine young man Rolle is, ESPN felt the need to point out that being a fine young man could, in Rolle's case, actually count against him on NFL teams' draft boards.

But it's surely true that Rolle could decide at any time to walk away from football and find greater success in another field. As far as NFL teams are concerned, that's not a good quality in a draft prospect.

When I first saw this over at W.E.E. See You, I wanted it to be one of those pieces from The Onion. After all, who in their right mind, would be offended by a promising athlete taking time out of his career to go study at one of the finest institutions in the WORLD? I mean, this studying didn't include him playing dangerous sports that would damage his body, thus making him unable to play in the NFL. He hasn't been partaking in dangerous after hours activities, like riding motorcyles, cigarette speedboating, extreme sports, etc. or anything like that.

No, this article actually says that his prospects are being dimmed because he WENT TO STUDY AT OXFORD.

Wrap your mind around that.

What an insult.

A complete insult.

You wouldn't want a player who has their act together, ALL TOGETHER?

I guess not. I guess they want players that they can use, abuse, then throw away like Dexter Manley.

Dexter Manley is the anti-Myron Rolle.

No Rhodes Scholar was Manley.

In fact, Manley went through an entire professional career as an ILLITERATE.


Signing contracts that he couldn't even READ.
Dexter Keith Manley, nicknamed the "Secretary of Defense" (born February 2, 1959 in Houston, Texas) is a former American football defensive end in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins, Phoenix Cardinals, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an eleven-year career from 1981 to 1991. He also played in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Rough Riders. Manley played college football at Oklahoma State University.

Professional career

Manley was drafted in the fifth round (119th overall) of the 1981 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, where he would play for nine seasons. During his career with the Redskins, Manley won two Super Bowl titles and was a Pro Bowler in 1986 when he recorded 18.5 sacks. He then played for the Phoenix Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 1989, Manley failed his third drug test and was banned from the NFL for life, with an opportunity to apply for reinstatement after one year. However, after he failed his fourth drug test, he was permanently banned from the National Football League for life on December 12, 1991.

Officially, Manley had 97.5 quarterback sacks in his career. His total rises to 103.5 when the six sacks he had his rookie year of 1981, when sacks were not yet an official statistic, are included. After his career in the United States ended, he revealed that he was functionally illiterate, despite having studied at Oklahoma State University for four years.

ELEVEN YEAR CAREER....and illiterate.

But, THAT is the kind of athlete that the NFL seems to want.

Barely scribbling his name to the contracts he can't read; happy for anything the NFL threw at him.


As Town wrote:
If this were some white football player taking a year off to go to Oxford he'd be the toast of the town, but a black guy? Forget about it.

Hell no do I believe if this were a White player he wouldn't be lauded up and down ESPN as the EPITOME of what an athlete should be. A White player would be lavished with numerous endorsement deals before he even played his first down in the NFL.

NOT ' his off-field pursuits would actually hurt his stock among NFL teams.'

Mr. Rolle, I believe you have your head on straight and can see the forest for the trees. So, for those who would be insulted by your intelligence...


For those who would be threatened by your intelligence...


For those who would want you to lapse into some Black Male Athlete Stereotype of the ' YOUNG BLACK BUCK'...


Continue to shine and excel.

I honestly believe that when it's all said and done, when your obituary is written, your NFL career will be almost a footnote in what you will accomplish.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Importance Of Media Diversity

Creating good public policy is about more than just coming up with good ideas. That helps, but in America's hyperpolarized society, good ideas alone are never enough because message gurus specialize in destroying strong ideas. You can create good policy if you have powerful allies in positions of authority. Yet, again, that is not enough because power in America is fractured between politicians, corporations, and wealthy elites.

However, the media is one institution that can both add clarity and muddy the waters, that can both kill bad ideas and trumpet good ones

Read the rest at The Loop.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Excellent Week In Review Discussion from NPR

Hear On Point's week in review discussion from this weekend. Panel included Trudy Rubin, Clarence Page, and Jack Beatty.

They covered just about everything... including Obama's falling support, the death of Healthcare Reform, the gridlocked and completely dysfunctional Congress, and the public's misplaced anger. They didn't go far enough though...they seemed scared to say that the Country is screwed. With voters set to return Republicans to power, America's decline will continue.

Many Could Face Years of Unemployment

A New York Times article calls them "The New Poor".

See Related Post

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Boz Scaggs Live

Loan Me A Dime

Part II

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Media Alert-First Lady Michelle Obama to appear on FOX

-----AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

hat tip-Angelar


Political Hotsheet
February 17, 2010 6:30 PM
Michelle Obama to Appear on Mike Huckabee's Fox News Show

First Lady Michelle Obama will appear on Mike Huckabee's Fox News program this weekend, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Huckabee, the past and possibly future Republican presidential candidate, is having the first lady on to discuss her efforts to fight childhood obesity. Huckabee has struggled with weight problems and wrote a book entitled "Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork: A 12-Step Program to End Bad Habits and Begin a Healthy Lifestyle" after losing more than 100 pounds.

The former Arkansas governor had kind words for Michelle Obama for taking on childhood obesity. Speaking to U.S. News, he said it "is not a left/right, liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican issue. This is an issue that falls beyond what I call the 'horizontal' issues of left and right and rises to the 'vertical' level of up or down."

HUCKABEE will be shown Saturday, 2/20 at 8pm EST with repeats on Sunday, 2/21 at 8 pm and 11 pm EST

I think Huck would show her more respect than any of the rest of the clowns on that network.

Shani Davis wins gold in men's 1,000 speedskating

hat tip - W.E.E. See You

Gold medallist Shani Davis of the U.S. holds his bouquet during the flower ceremony after the men's 1000 metres speed skating race at the Richmond Olympic Oval during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics February 17, 2010.
------REUTERS/Jerry Lampen

Shani Davis wins gold in men's 1,000 speedskating
02/18/2010 12:11 AM ET By PAUL NEWBERRY (AP)
RICHMOND, British Columbia -The color of the medal mattered, not the color of his skin.

All Shani Davis was thinking about was gold.

With a furious kick on the final lap Wednesday, Davis stuck his skate across the line and won his second straight Olympic title in 1,000-meter speedskating, the first skater to win this event twice at the Winter Games.

"That race depleted me 100 percent," he said. "I never want to leave anything on the track."

No worries there.

The Americans broke their medal drought at the Richmond Olympic Oval with a flourish, claiming two spots on the podium. Chad Hedrick, who won three medals at the 2006 games, took a surprising bronze after struggling to regain his motivation in the wake of Italy.

"I had to dig down deep and find my passion for speedskating again," the Texan said.

Davis dug deep on his final lap, knowing he needed a little more speed to catch South Korea's Mo Tae-bum. The American world-record holder swung both arms twice before leaning into the final turn, giving him just enough of a boost for a time of 1 minute, 8.94 seconds.

Mo, who won gold in the 500 two days ago, settled for silver this time, 18-hundreths behind Davis. Hedrick was next in 1:09.32.

"Those last 200, 300 meters were very difficult," said Davis, who usually leaves his left arm on his back until the last straightaway. "I was just trying to carry my speed. I could feel it leaving me. It doesn't matter what it looks like, just as long as you get across the line as quick as you could."

When he won this race four years ago, Davis became the first African-American athlete to win an individual gold at the Winter Games. This time, he simply wanted to be known for his skating.

"When you're a world champion or an Olympic champion, you get this little thing on your back called a target," Davis said. "To go out there and win the 1,000 meters twice is truly amazing."

Davis pumped his fist in the air and slapped hands with the U.S. coaches on the backstretch. Then, as he coasted around near the finish line, Hedrick skated over to shake his hand firmly and pat him on the back several times.

Their accomplishments in 2006 — Davis won a gold and silver; Hedrick a medal of each color — were overshadowed by a nasty feud stemming from the team pursuit. Davis wanted to stick with his individual events, a decision that peeved Hedrick, who believed it cost the Americans a shot at a medal.

Their animosity boiled over at a news conference after the 1,500, in which Davis finished second and Hedrick third. Hedrick brought up the team pursuit, and Davis stormed out of the room complaining that Hedrick didn't congratulate him on his gold, only the silver.

No hard feelings this time.

"All that stuff that was done before, man, that is old news," Hedrick said. "I just hope people will look at us in a different light and think, man, those guys are good athletes, rather than wondering who wants to fight with who."

The two stood together on the victory stand, each holding one end of an American flag.

"Him and I getting together and carrying the American flag, I think that shows that, you know what, people misread us," Hedrick said. "We just want to win."

For Davis, these games have been so much more enjoyable than his last two Olympics. In 2002, he was accused of benefiting from a fixed race to get on the short track team as an alternate and in Turin, the dispute with Hedrick certainly rubbed him the wrong way.

"It is my moment. It is my party," Davis said. "I can celebrate. I can dance. I can do whatever I want. I earned it."

Great Recession is Actually a Depression for Many When It Comes To Unemployment

Hear an informative discussion from NPR on the impact of the latest recession. Economists Andrew Sum & Barry Bluestone have broken down the unemployment numbers group by group and have been able to show huge disparities in terms of who is being impacted the most. The mainstream corporate media has been almost AWOL on this. Listen Here. See the findings of a new study from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.

I have been writing all along about the weakness of the stimulus efforts since last year when the legislation was passed. I thought that employment would be lacking because there was not enough focus on the creation of lasting, sustainable jobs, particularly in new industries. There was an opportunity to do something big & impressive by creating a public works program and/or grant programs for start-ups in new technologies. There was also a need for aggressive loan programs for small & medium sized businesses.

Even if you have employment, survival is becoming more precarious.


Also hear a discussion about the gridlock and paralysis in the U.S. Congress.

PBS Documentary: Digital Nation

Watch the PBS Frontline Documentary "Digital Nation". Frontline always makes great documentaries. Watch Here.

Also check out "The Warning" about the financial crisis. See a behind the scenes view of government corruption at its worst. And it doesn't seem as if Obama gets it. Those (like myself) who were against insiders like Geithner, Summers and others getting cushy jobs in the Obama Administration might get a headache from watching this one. Video shows lapses by both Republicans and Democrats... or the Republicrats as I like to call them on occasion. One thing that they have shown they can do in a bipartisan way is screw the Country. Watch here.

Dr West Speech from Chicago

Dr. West gave his annual (February) speech over the weekend from Chicago's St. Sabina Catholic Church. Of course I didn't agree with everything he had to say. But I generally agreed with his comments about Obama's economic team and their policies so far. Nothing really new here.... but he gave a decent speech as usual...although this was not as good as his three previous speeches. I did like his comments about the plight of Black communities being tied to the wider plight of the U.S. and his comments about the culture becoming even more shallow. He also called a few people out... which caught me a little off guard.

You can watch here, or listen.

BTW.... should there be a "Black Agenda"? And if so.... what exactly should that agenda be? If you watch the speech you will know what I am referring to.

I don't think there should necessarily be a "Black Agenda" per se. There is not much in terms of policy (nothing significant at least) that the government would be able to do just for Blacks or just in minority communities. The policy would have to be applied to classes of Americans (regardless of race) and would have to work for people across the board within those class groups...including for Blacks. That's the only realistic way to get things done from a policy perspective. I think we have to start moving away from race or raced based politics and move towards class based politics.

Blacks should turn to their local officials and members of Congress and ask why their communities are failing and to seek State/Federal relief. But as I have been saying for years, the CBC doesn't work in the best interests of its constituents. The CBC should be disbanded IMO.

Too many Blacks are (wrongly) holding on to this outdated myopic 1960's, 1970's, 1980's view of the relationship between race and politics.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olbermann's Special Comment on Teabaggers and Race

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Sometimes White Privilege Just Comes Along and SMACKS You Upside the Head

this is one of those times.

Make no mistake, this is an emotionally disturbed individual who should have been IN JAIL long ago.

the video does work, just click on the PLAY icon

I am talking about Amy Bishop, a woman, following being denied tenure at the University of Alabama -Hunstville, killed THREE PEOPLE:

Killed in Friday's shooting were Gopi K. Podila, the chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, and professors Adriel Johnson and Maria Ragland Davis. The Chair was Indian, the other two dead are BLACK.

and left another 3 wounded.

Two of them - Joseph Leahy and staffer Stephanie Monticciolo - were in critical condition early Sunday. The third, Luis Cruz-Vera, had been released from the hospital.

Now, I don't know about Leahy and Monticciolo, but my money that Luis Cruz-Vera is Hispanic.

6 victims, and 4 of them non-White.

Do you know the small percentage of Black folks that go into the sciences, and how hard it is to find one, let alone TWO to KILL?

But, peel away the onion, and you get a darker story: this isn't the first time this woman has KILLED.

She 'accidentally' killed her ACCOMPLISHED MUSICIAN BROTHER in 1986. Charges were never filed, and now, folks going back to look at the case - the paperwork disappeared.

In 1986, Bishop shot and killed her 18-year-old brother with a shotgun at their Braintree, Mass., home. She told police at the time that she had been trying to learn how to use the gun, which her father had bought for protection, when it accidentally discharged. In all, three shots were fired: Braintree police Chief Paul Frazier said she shot once into a wall, then shot her brother, then fired a third time into the ceiling.


On The End Of The State Of The Black Union

At about this time each year, I plan for a full day of watching Tavis Smiley's State of the Black Union (SOBU) on CSPAN. I enjoy the panel discussion, the back-and-forth exchanging of critical ideas. I appreciated that people from all walks of life were invited: academics, activists, politicians, and religions leaders. Therefore, I was saddened to hear there would be no more SOBU. To hear why Smiley stopped the SOBU, you should hear it in his own words.

To be honest, many critics took Smiley to task and we should not gloss over those criticisms. Some complained of the strong corporate presence at the SOBU. True, there were corporate entities that only see Black America as dollar bills, but that is what corporate America does. Besides, their support allowed the SOBU to be free to the public.

A criticism I always had was the strong class bias of the SOBU. There were lots of panelists talking about poor people, but rarely did low-income people ever get a chance to air their side of the story.

Read the rest at The Loop.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oh Harold, Where Are Those Tax Returns?

Those NY STATE Tax Returns.

Gawker broke this yesterday:

Harold Ford's Tennessee Tax Dodge

When it comes to his shadow run for Senate, Harold Ford is a New Yorker through and through. When it comes to paying taxes, though, he's still a Tennessean — he's never filed a New York return.

Ford claims to have moved to New York three years ago, and says paying "New York taxes" makes him a New Yorker. But his spokeswoman confirms to Gawker that he's never filed a New York tax return — meaning that he's never paid New York's income tax, despite keeping an office and a residence in New York City as a vice chairman of Merrill Lynch since 2007: "He pays New York taxes and will file a New York tax return in April for the first time," Ford's spokeswoman Tammy Sun told Gawker. "He will file all necessary personal disclosure and tax forms that candidates are required to file if he chooses to run." (According to Sun, Ford admitted to the tax dodge yesterday at a press availability in Albany, but we can't find any news accounts mentioning the remarks.)

Ford presumably decided that his real home was Tennessee, which conveniently has no income tax. Which means that, despite the fact that New York law requires part-time and nonresidents to pay income tax on money they earn in the state, Ford has shielded his entire Merrill Lynch salary from New York's tax collectors for the past three years. In fact, it seems like Tennessee's lack of an income tax may be the best explanation for Ford's rather complicated two-state life since 2007 — he clearly wanted to live in New York, and married a woman in 2008 who did live in New York. But he made sure to keep a foot in a state whose tax code is friendly to rich guys like himself.

But, guess what?

They can't keep their story straight.

Gawker last night.

Harold Ford's Flack Desperately Backpedals

President Obama's Weekly Youtube Address

Movie Review: What's the Matter with Kansas

Background and Context

I am a big fan of Thomas Frank’s book, What’s the Matter with Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America which I reviewed in 2007. The book was an exploration of why many working class Americans seem to vote against their economic interests and consistently and reliably vote Republican. Frank’s answer, in a nutshell, is that the Democratic Party since the 1990s has abandoned its populist roots to become the other party of corporate interests and Big Business. With both major parties in collusion with Wall Street and big business and no significant difference between Democrats and Republicans on economic issues, working-class voters really have no choice or platform to vote for or against in a two-party system except so-called “values” issues such as gay marriage, abortion, gun ownership, prayer in schools, etc. And in this arena, Republicans have the Democrats beat as they have honed their appeal to social conservatives.

Frank’s book became very influential the past decade and was hotly debated in political circles on the liberal end of the political spectrum. It became a lightning rod for discussion on the policy thrust and direction of the Democratic Party and where it is going to go in terms of its appeal to working class voters in the future.

In late 2009 I heard that a documentary came out based on Thomas Frank’s book. I was highly excited about the film, being a huge fan of the book and having followed the discussions which centered on the question of the Democratic Party appealing to and actually representing the interests of working class and middle class voters. I was curious how the arguments that Frank made will translate to the film medium and what type of angle the film will take. I was especially curious how the film would hold up illuminating issues in the post-Obama era of American right-wing politics: the rise of conservative populism of the Tea Parties; the popularity of right-wing talk TV and radio personalities Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh; the rise of Sarah Palin and her impact among working and middle class voters, etc. I wanted to see if the film shed new insights to Thomas Frank’s basic question of why the right wing and the Republican Party are so popular among people who are being steamrolled and whose interests are being gutted by the policies of politicians who subscribe to conservative ideology and who belong to that political party. What angle does the film take, if any, in regards to this question?

The Film

The filmmakers of What’s the Matter With Kansas created a documentary that presents the characters and ordinary people who inhabit the political universe of Kansas in 2006 and 2007 largely as they are without making any judgments on their characters or their political affiliations. The filmmakers do not explicitly indicate if they intend for the economically depressed Kansas in the mid- 2000s and the Republican conservatives that have made a political stronghold in that state to serve as a microcosm of American society in general. That point is largely inferred based on the book that the film was based on. The film largely lets the characters tell their stories in their own words, without providing narration, voiceovers, and with background factual information largely absent. The viewer is largely left to see the characters as they are and to come to their own conclusions.

What’s the Matter With Kansas, thus, functions and is best understood on the level of metaphor rather than as a straight-up, political documentary in the style of Michael Moore. In fact, the movie seems to be the antithesis of the brash, in-your-face style of Moore who takes a position on an issue and runs with it, each scene designed to support his argument and rebut his critics. What’s the Matter with Kansas flows organically from vignette to vignette and character to character each narrating their view of the world, politics, Kansas, economic issues in their community, religion, abortion, homosexuality, politics, activism, etc.

Without giving too much away of the documentary, the film culminates in some conservative followers of a politically-active, evangelical pastor losing hundreds of thousands of dollars they have invested and/or donated to a local amusement park (which has been serving as the headquarters for the church after the pastor was expelled from the main church for his Republican political activism) when the owner of the park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The well-meaning investors, all friends of the owner and devout followers of the pastor, are devastated and even raise the question of amusement park owner as a crook and a swindler.

I saw these events as a metaphor for the Republican Party (or the Democratic Party, for that matter) who, the film shows, supported and passed economic policies like NAFTA which has resulted in economic devastation in the American heartland. Could the two major parties be likened to crooks who have swindled ordinary Americans into supporting and believing in policies that, in the end, have been to their detriment?

The film also devotes a good amount of time to the history of Kansas as a hotbed of radical political activity in the 19th century. Female suffragists, Socialists, Populists and political radicals gravitated to Kansas and at one point in history, Kansas had Populist senators, governors and members in Congress. It was publishing a Socialist newspaper that rivaled the New York Times in circulation.

The book’s author, Thomas Frank makes a cameo and visits the radical cemetery where many of the figures from Kansas’ radical past are buried and a museum devoted to preserving artifacts from this era. He asks “what happened to Kansas?” to the archivist who says that in recent years, these facts and history have been largely forgotten.

What’s the Matter with Kansas Part II?

Since filming was done in 2006 and 2007, it is missing significant upheavals in American political and popular culture in recent years after Barack Obama’s election as President. The film largely focuses on the ideological battles between pro- and anti-abortion activists and the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage.

Fast forward to 2010 where conservative activism is explicitly angrier, economically populist and increasingly organized as in the rise of the Tea Party movement. I go back to my original question: does the film shed new insights to Thomas Frank’s basic question of why the right wing and the Republican Party are so popular among people who are being steamrolled and whose interests are being gutted by the policies of politicians who subscribe to conservative ideology and who belong to that political party?

I think a What’s the Matter with Kansas Part II is crying to be made in light of the events I described above. Yes, the film is relevant to presenting the values voter and the sway Republican Party and conservative ideology continues to have for a significant numbers of working and middle class Americans. In the post-Obama era in the wake of the economic collapse of Wall Street in 2007, bailouts and widespread populist anger, conservatism and the Republican Party, rather than be weakened and get marginalized to irrelevance, has experienced a resurgence with a vengeance.

These developments are counter-intuitive to me who sees conservative economic polices and the political party that largely advocated those policies as having been completely discredited by the economic collapse. Yet here we are in 2010 with Sarah Palin becoming a major player in national politics, the grassroots, anti-establishment energy of the Tea Party movement has become mainstream and co-opted by the Republican Party, right wing TV and radio as popular as ever. 2010 is about economic policy and how conservatism and the Republican Party continues to hold sway over a significant part of the population. What does this mean in terms of the American voter, the political choices that we have and the prospects of a radical uprising in the manner of the 19th century Kansas radicalism? If there ever were a time for 19th-century style Populist resurgence, it would be now. Yet the Right, inexplicably, seems to have the advantage on that end. Why?

The Liberal Arts Dude gives What’s the Matter with Kansas four out of five stars. Go see the movie when it comes to your area.

Friday, February 12, 2010

O'Donnell bitchslaps Thiessen

hat tips- whiterosebuddy and Miranda.

Background for this from whiterosebuddy:
Did anyone else see that smackdown brawl on MorningJoe between O'Donnell and that asshole Thiessen?
He's the one with the new book claiming that Obama has dismantled some program and that he should not be killing the terrorists cause then we don't get intel? I posted a blurb about that nonsense on thurs thread.

OMG! You should have seen O'Donnell rip into this guy...Joe had to go for a break and even said, when we come back I will interview Thiessen alone.

After he was silenced, Joe gave O'Donnell one last query...and O'Donnell set it up by saying, what kind of experience do you have as a guy who grew up in the wealthiest zip code on EastSide and went to the only boarding school In CT with a golf course and having never served in the military, what experience do you have to say...... I was like DAyUUUM just put this obsequious phucker on blast O'Donnell!!

It was SWEEET!!

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

20th Anniversary of the Release of Nelson Mandela from Prison

Don't Just Celebrate Black History

As Susan Anderson wrote earlier at The, Black History Month is "for Americans to learn what had been left out of their history textbooks and newspapers concerning African Americans." That should still be the goal, but we should reach even beyond that.

In order for it to tangibly benefit the Black community, I propose that every Black History Month activity compel participants to engage in dialogue designed to improve the Black community. Education and civic engagement must be the vital core of Black History Month.

Read the rest at The Loop.

It's Her Party: The Brilliance of Sarah Palin

No that's not my title... that came from Joe Klein.

New article from Time shows how Palin has found her niche. But I think it says more about the idiocy of the American electorate than Palin's brilliance or her ability to take on a Reagan-like persona.


from a new poll done by WaPo:

most interesting part for me:

Although Palin is a tea party favorite, her potential as a presidential hopeful takes a severe hit in the survey. Fifty-five percent of Americans have unfavorable views of her, while the percentage holding favorable views has dipped to 37, a new low in Post-ABC polling.

There is a growing sense that the former Alaska governor is not qualified to serve as president, with more than seven in 10 Americans now saying she is unqualified, up from 60 percent in a November survey. Even among Republicans, a majority now say Palin lacks the qualifications necessary for the White House.

Palin has lost ground among conservative Republicans, who would be crucial to her hopes if she seeks the party's presidential nomination in 2012. Forty-five percent of conservatives now consider her as qualified for the presidency, down sharply from 66 percent who said so last fall.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why even trying to work with the GOP is a 'fool's folly'. STOP letting them have it BOTH WAYS.

This is a great piece from Rachel Maddow. The Democrats need to stop letting these GOP hypocrites get away with having it both ways: IF you vote against the earmarks, and IF you go out and talk smack about earmarks..



Strip them right out of the bill and give that money to a member of Congress willing to put their vote where their mouth is.

Thank you Rachel for calling them out.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Tweety actually being honest about Palin

Sometimes, the truth just has to come out. Watch this clip of Chris Matthews on Sarah Palin. I didn't know that Matthews was capable of this type of honesty.

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Nothing is more scary than an empty vessel in power.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Promise Of Prosperity

There are three essential building blocks of the Black community: faith, education and jobs. Two of three building blocks come together in the burgeoning growth of prosperity churches. Latest estimates suggest that 50 of the nation’s 260 largest congregations are prosperity churches, or churches who preach that God will reward you with material wealth.

The concern is that some of these pastors preach to their congregants to take financial leaps when perhaps they lack the proper capital or know-how to fully understand the risks. I won’t go as far as Hannah Rosin and suggest that Christianity caused the crash but I do agree that prosperity churches could have done a better job assisting parishioners make better financial decisions.

Read the rest at The Loop.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Update from Illinois

From The Political Wire:

Cohen Quits Race in Illinois
Scott Lee Cohen (D), the Democratic nominee for Illinois lieutenant governor, "removed himself from the campaign Sunday, freeing Gov. Pat Quinn from the baggage Cohen brought to the ticket, but also leaving him without a running mate," NBC Chicago reports.

Said Cohen: "I'm someone who made mistakes in my life. And look where I am. If I let you down I"m sorry".

It's never boring.

She wrote a cheat sheet - ON HER HAND?

Yes, she wrote the cheat sheet on her HAND.

The video:

She had the questions BEFOREHAND, and STILL had to cheat.

I keep on asking the question:

what if a Black PROFESSIONAL politician had done something like this?

Uh huh.

thank you aleth

for Sarah Palin:

Notes on your hand
Notes on your hand
Lookin' like a fool
With the notes on your hand

You got your big speaking fee
Call yourself smart
But you can't answer the man
Without the notes on your hand!

Winkin', smirkin',
Mocking Obama
But your answers are canned
You got the notes on your hand!

Wash your hands!
Get some Purell!
Because you're lookin' like a fool
With the notes on your hand!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Don't ever say Illinois Politics is Boring.

By the time the votes were counted on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, a surprise candidate outta nowhere had won the Democratic Nomination for Lt. Governor in the State of Illinois. His name is Scott Lee Cohen, and in a six person field, he won 26% of the vote.

The next day is when the fun began.

It was 'revealed' that Cohen had been involved in 'domestic dispute' with a girlfriend. Not your run of the mill girlfriend either.


Cohen has come under fire for allegations of domestic violence, involving a 2005 arrest for allegedly holding a knife to a then-girlfriend's throat.

From the Capitol Fax:

Friday, Feb 5, 2010

* Illinois political reporters are just so much more versatile than our counterparts in most other states. We cover it all, man.

Today is no exception, the Chicago Tribune has found Scott Lee Cohen’s ex-girlfriend, who was once convicted of prostitution and had Cohen arrested for domestic abuse. Apparently, Amanda Eneman is still with the same massage outfit, which has relocated to Villa Park, and she didn’t want to be found…

Obama won because Jim Crow-era law not on books - Tancredo

hat tip- morphus

From the Tea Party Convention today:

Tea Party convention's racial brouhaha: Obama won because Jim Crow-era law not on books - Tancredo
BY Brian Kates

The opening speaker at the first National Tea Party Convention called President Obama a "committed Socialist ideologue" who was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote."

"You have launched the counter-revolution," the speaker, former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), told 600 or so delegates of the grassroots movement assembled at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville Wednesday night. "It is our nation.

Tancredo also insisted on using Obama's middle name, Hussein, and said he was thankful Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona lost the 2008 presidential election because Obama has mobilized an uprising.

"People who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House," he said.

To make it simple, he wants THE LITERACY TEST BACK AT THE POLLS.

This ' test' was done to totally DISENFRANCHISE Black folks, because BLACK FOLK were the ONLY ONES given the Literacy Test during Jim Crow.

You can put this under the THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE news.

Nobody has come out from the GOP to condemn Tancredo...

Michael Steele, are you a mute on his comments?

Richard Shelby is Perfect Example of How Obstructionism and Entrenched Corruption Persists

Here is a perfect example of how political corruption and obstruction will prevent the U.S. government from tackling the major problems that the Country faces. Senator Shelby is willing to hold the Federal government hostage in order to get a special Pork project for his State (I thought the Republicans were so concerned about spending?). This story reflects the entrenched corruption in Washington D.C. It is an example of the selfishness of Senators. And it comes just days after President Obama gave two major speeches, pleading for an end to nonsensical obstructionism. I guess this is the Republican response. This is probably what Obama should look forward to for the rest of his term as President. And I predicted as much... so it's no surprise at all.

Republican Budget Pushes Privatization of Social Security

The Republican budget proposal will apparently include plans for privatizing social security. Why aren't the Democrats highlighting this difference with the GOP? It could only help them. This is an example of how Obama's strategy falls short, although he has finally gotten more aggressive & creative in the last few weeks.

I find it ironic that after months of Republican lies about how health care reform would kill Medicare (scaring the Hell out of Seniors), we now have the Republicans actually wanting to fundamentally change Social Security. And the Democrats aren't doing anything to highlight that difference and take the opportunity to finally get into the drivers seat and control the narrative on a major policy issue.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

President Obama speaks at National Prayer Breakfast

hat tip-Icebergslim

Sicko - Watch Full Documentary

This documentary is always worth a second or third look. I've watched it at least twice...and being the documentary junkie that I am... I will watch it again.
It's particularly important now, because Americans should see the situation that they have decided to stay in; a choice that the corporations and corrupt, spineless politicians have basically made for them. This is why I mentioned Canada and Denmark in recent postings. Americans are so idiotic.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

President Obama Addresses & Answers Questions from Senate Democrats

Republican Obstructionism Measured & Confirmed

Republican obstructionism has finally been quantified, at least to some degree. Former White House insider Ira Shapiro discussed via NPR this week, how the filibuster is used much differently by the Senate minority today than it was decades ago. For those who say... "Oh, there has been partisanship in the's healthy. The Senate has only had a handful of super majorities (60+ seats by one Party) in over 220 years, and they were still able to get things done. The sky isn't falling"- I believe they are misreading current events. This is basically what Congressman Alan Grayson stated recently - that nothing has really changed. Grayson seems to believe that with the American public falling for Right wing propaganda and turning against Democrats - handing the Dems 3 big ominous political losses in a row in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts - legislation is going to move forward as normal. But I have to respectfully disagree with Grayson. It is true that In the past the Senate was able to get things done. If we were in a normal political period, more would certainly get done. But we aren't in normal times politically. As I have been saying for over a year, there has clearly been a change in the level of obstructionist behavior over the last few years, especially after the election of President Barack Obama. There is a clear & deliberate effort to make Obama's Presidency a failure- to weaken his ability to govern and even to delegitimize his Presidency.

Soure: The conservative American Enterprise Institute (even their own numbers show it)

This is part of why the U.S. won't be able to manage and keep up with all of the challenges that it faces in the months and years to come. The U.S. will continue to fall behind the rest of the industrialized world. We have a broken government that will not allow the necessary changes to be made. The structure of the U.S. political system is so bureaucratic & inefficient that it won't be possible to keep up with the nations challenges - challenges that are now compounding because so many old problems have been left unattended. Now those problems (from 20, 30, & 40 years ago) are now creating new problems. And the cycle will continue. Add corruption to the mix and you have a government that is incapable of functioning. Even if the Senate were functioning normally, it wouldn't be able to deal with all of the problems the Country faces. The fundamental structure of the Congress makes it almost impossible to get things done efficiently and effectively.

As long as corporations and other special interests continue to control legislation, and drown out the needs and concerns of everyday citizens, this problem will get worse. Meanwhile, other nations are leaving the U.S. in the dust... from green industry, to manufacturing, to civil engineering & transportation, to education, to infrastructure, to health care, to the economy, and most quality of life.