Saturday, October 16, 2010

When Politics Meets Personal

Posted by JHW22

I have been volunteering for an organization for over a year. I help them with research for their strategic and marketing plans and grants. I've never met them in person and they are four states away from me but I cared about their cause so much that I couldn't not help.

They run a preschool and childcare center for children in California with an emphasis on children with an ill family member. My friend has been fighting Leukemia for years and he and his wife faced the struggles of trying to find care while he was going through treatment. They learned that the emotional and physical stress takes a toll on the entire family and found it difficult to find good care for their children when he needed to get to appointments or treatments or be in the hospital.

They started their organization wanting to create an all-inclusive home-away-from-home with emergency drop-off services if an ill family member needed to be rushed to the hospital. They wanted to incorporate emotional healing into a child's day of learning the ABC's or that yellow and red make orange. They wanted to provide a place for families to seek financial planning, estate planning, stress management and bonding with other families of young children who are all experiencing the same struggles, fears and needs.

Their organization is one of a kind. They were recognized by the California and United States Senates, personally awarded by Senator Barbara Boxer, as being a crucial resource for children and their families.

They also educate children who aren't from a family experiencing these stresses , because even these children benefit from their curriculum grounded in empathy, communication of fears and frustrations, and from watching children like them struggle. These children all learn to be a community.

The organization also runs a nonprofit foundation to raise funds to help pay for children of all backgrounds to attend. They want to help parents already paying medical bills be able to send their children to a childcare and preschool designed with their needs in mind.

My friends are an inspiration.

Sadly, the California budget has cut funding for the licensing and regulation of new preschool facilities JUST as my friends were ready to get approval for their new building. Aside from the fact that they have committed their time and money into the new location, there are children and families who will suffer. Not just the families my friends serve, but the countless children who have been unable to attend preschool because of California's budget problems, and now more who will lose their childcare and preschool providers because of licensing and regulation shortfalls.

I will be spending the next days and weeks working with my friends to help them create an advocacy plan for getting this problem addressed immediately. We must get childcare and early education for the children who need it most. We can't allow the lack of funding for licensing and regulation prevent businesses from providing a necessary service.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, send them my way. I hope to return with a clearer call to action soon.

Thank you,

My Response to "The Grey-Haired Brigade" Email

I was forwarded an e-mail a few days ago from a friend who knows I "like" these kinds of things. It was forwarded by a barfly we both know. Actually, barfly is too harsh a term. He's a regular. And when talking sports over a beer, he's fine (even if he is a Yankees fan), but we've never spoken politics. And now I know why. Here's the email, copied word for word from this website:

"The Grey-Haired Brigade"
They like to refer to us as senior citizens, old fogies, geezers, and in some cases dinosaurs. Some of us are "baby boomer" getting ready to retire. Others have been retired for some time. We walk a little slower these days and our eyes and hearing are not what they once were. We have worked hard, raised our children, worshiped our God and grown old together. Yes, we are the ones some refer to as being over the hill and that is probably true.
But before writing us off completely, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. In school we studied English, history, math, and science which enabled us to lead America into the technological age. Most of us remember what outhouses were, many of us with firsthand experience. We remember the days of telephone party-lines, 25 cent gasoline, and milk and ice being delivered to our homes. For those of you who don't know what an icebox is, today they are electric and referred to as refrigerators. A few even remember when cars were started with a crank. Yes, we lived those days.
We are probably considered old fashioned and out-dated by many. But there are a few things you need to remember before completely writing us off. We won World War II and fought in Korea and Viet Nam . We can quote the pledge of allegiance, and know where to place our hand while doing so. We wore the uniform of our country with pride and lost many friends on the battlefield. We didn't fight for the Socialist States of America , we fought for the "land of the free and home of the brave." We wore different uniforms but carried the same flag. We know the words to the Star Spangled Banner, America , and America the Beautiful by heart, and you may even see some tears running down our cheeks as we sing. We have lived what many of you have only read about in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize to anyone for America.
Yes, we are old and slow these days but rest assured, we have at least one good fight left in us. We have loved this country, fought for it, and died for it, and now we are going to save it. It is our country and nobody is going to take it away from us. We took oaths to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that is an oath we plan to keep. There are those who want to destroy this land we love but, like our founders, there is no way we are going to remain silent.
It was the young people of this nation who elected Obama and the Democratic congress. You fell for the "Hope and change" which in reality was nothing but "Hype and lies." You have tasted socialism and seen evil face to face, and have found you don't like it after all.
You make a lot of noise but most are all too interested in their careers or "Climbing the social ladder" to be involved in such mundane things as patriotism and voting.
Many of those who fell for the "great lie" in 2008 are now having buyer's remorse. With all the education we gave you, you didn't have sense enough to see through the lies and instead drank the Kool-Aid. Now you're paying the price and complaining about it.
No jobs, lost mortgages, higher taxes, and less freedom. This is what you voted for and this is what you got. We entrusted you with the Torch of Liberty and you traded it for a paycheck and a fancy house.
Well, don't worry youngsters, the Grey Haired Brigade is here, and in one month we are going to take back our nation. We may drive a little slower than you would like but we get where we're going, and in November we're going to the polls by the millions. This land does not belong to the man in the White House or to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. It belongs to "We the People", and "We the People" plan to reclaim our land and our freedom. We hope this time you will do a better job of preserving it and passing it along to our grandchildren.
So the next time you have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, stand up, put your hand over your heart, honor our country, and thank God for the old geezers of the Grey-Haired Brigade."

Here's my response:

I hope the Grey-Haired Brigade will remember this email when they vote for Sharron Angle as she's advocating to privatize your Social Security benefits that you've paid into for decades.  Oh, wait, she doesn't want to privatize them, she wants to "personalize" them. Yeah, tell me what the difference is.

I hope the Grey-Haired Brigade will use the smarts they got from going to school where they "studied English, history, math and science" when they vote for Rand Paul who is a proponent of abolishing the Department of Education and perhaps cutting down on federal student loans if given the chance.

I hope the Grey-Haired Brigade will remember this email and think twice before casting a vote for Christine O'Donnell, who is in favor of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that gives them extra cash for Medicare prescription drugs that the Republicans didn't see fit to provide them when they signed Medicare Part D into law under Bush with no way to pay for it.

We thank the Grey-Haired Brigade for their service to this country in previous wars as they should thank the young folks they're complaining about for defending their country in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. They can't seriously believe that the almost one and a half million active personnel in the US Armed Forces are all Republicans, can they?

We know the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner.

We sing along to America The Beautiful.

We Pledge allegiance to the flag.

But none of that really matters to you even as we young 'uns are the ones who are providing the payroll taxes that are paying for YOUR Social Security, all the while challenging those who would take it away from you, the ones who the Grey-Haired Brigade would prefer to have in office. Remember that the next time you want to complain about the young folk.

Perhaps if the Grey-Haired Brigade thought about the results of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as even some conservative economists have done, instead of blindly accepting accusations of failure as fact from GOP politicians who've done nothing but stand in the way of progress for the benefit of their party and not the benefit of the people, instead of listening to the likes of Rush Limbaugh who wanted Obama to fail even before his first day in office regardless of the consequences of what that would mean for the country, instead of following conspiracy theorists like Glenn Beck who whip people up into a fearful frenzy to the point of scamming them into buying gold and survival food kits from disreputable companies who until recently used Beck as a paid sponsor, we'd be much better off.

Yes, we voted for Obama, but we don't have buyers' remorse. On the contrary, it's like buying a new car and not being able to go more than 60 MPH the first month. We are actually frustrated that he hasn't been as progressive as we'd like but we're just getting started, baby. Health care reform, Wall Street reform, credit card reform, The Lily Ledbetter Act, moving troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan where they should have stayed in the first place, ending the Stop-Loss policy, eliminating outdated weapons systems like the F-22, saving the auto industry and millions of jobs with it, restarting the nuclear nonproliferation talks, and the list goes on. And this is in spite of Republican obstruction.  If you really pay attention, it's more the Party of No that has slowed down Hope & Change for an outside shot at More Of The Same.  How did that work out in the first decade of the 21st Century?

If there's a difference of opinion on policy issues, that's a completely legitimate debate to have, but if Republicans are actually blocking legislation that they themselves authored just to slow things down, maybe the Grey-Haired Brigade can enlighten us as to how that helps their constituents.  I keep hearing all this talk about "taking our country back" and "reclaiming our land and our freedom." But to that I ask, "Take it back from whom?" "What freedoms have you lost that you want to reclaim?"

But go ahead, Grey-Haired Brigade, go to the polls and vote your conscience.  But you'd better be right. Otherwise, we'll see you on the ice floes as the people you'd like to have in power don't really care about you. They care about their corporate masters, the ones who grease their palms so they can screw WE THE PEOPLE. And I don't want to hear any whining about it when they do.


Must Reads

Drummond Pike: Stop Supporting Fox News or You'll Have Blood on Your Hands

Gin And Tacos: NPF: Really, Craiglist?

Doctor Biobrain: Hating the Laws They Love

Maha: Drowning in Propaganda

Eugene Robinson: 2010: The Year of Politicking Insanely

Charles Johnson: Pamela Geller and the Bloggers of Hate

Bob Herbert: The Mississippi Pardons

I just had a bit of a rant about the "Obama" economy in a previous post, so I'd like to add these reads as well to refresh some memories or in case you missed them:
Jackie Calmes: TARP Bailout to Cost Less Than Once Anticipated

Mark Zandi: Stimulus Helped Us Avoid Collapse

President Obama's Weekly Address - October 16, 2010

GOP Rewarding Corporations that Create Jobs Overseas

Friday, October 15, 2010

@nprpolitics Sucks

Posted by JHW22

Slowly, many liberals have noticed that NPR isn't always free of spin to the right. Or spin to the fear. Or spin to the whatever is opposite of what they should be reporting.

Today I dropped @nprpolitics from my Twitter feed because of their choice of Tweet language in regards to the new deficit numbers.

First, notice how Mark Knoller, CBS News White House Radio Correspondent, Tweeted. He posted:

While Obama was speaking, Treasury Dept reported that federal deficit for the 2010 fiscal year just ended was $1.294-trillion.
He followed that with:
That's down from the 2009 deficit record high deficit of $1.416-trillion.

Here's how @nprpolitics reported the same information:
Federal Deficit Hits Near-Record $1.3 Trillion In 2010

The article in link in the @nprpolitics Tweet states [emphasis mine]:

The Obama administration says the federal deficit hit a near-record $1.3 trillion for the just-completed budget year.
That means the government had to borrow 37 cents out of every dollar it spent as tax revenues continued to lag while spending on food stamps and unemployment benefits went up as the economy slowly pulled out of recession.
The eye-popping deficit figures provide Republican critics of President Barack Obama's fiscal stewardship with fresh ammunition less than three weeks ahead of the midterm congressional elections. The deficit was $122 billion less than last year, a modest improvement.
That's right. The deficit is better this year than last. But @nprpolitics is spinning it as if it's the opposite. Massive fail. I no longer follow @nprpolitics on Twitter.

Pentagon Suspends DADT After Court Injunction and Why DOJ Must Appeal

From the Dept. of Defense website:

Pending an appeal, the military services have halted discharges under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, DOD officials said today.
Judge Virginia Phillips of the U.S. Central District of California ordered the halt to discharges and investigations. Phillips found the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell statute unconstitutional in a Sept. 9 ruling. On Oct. 12, she issued an injunction ordering the Defense Department worldwide to halt discharges and investigations.
“Earlier today, the staff judge advocate generals from the military services, in consultation with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Office of General Counsel, sent to their service staff judge advocate counterparts in the field an e-mail informing them of the ruling by Judge Virginia Phillips of the Central District of California, issuing an injunction barring the enforcement or application of 10 United States Code 654, commonly known as the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ statute,” Pentagon spokesman Marine Col. Dave Lapan said in a written statement.
“The e-mail noted that the U.S. government is contemplating whether to appeal and to seek a stay of the injunction,” Lapan said.
“The Department of Defense will of course obey the law, and the e-mail noted that, in the meantime, the department will abide by the terms in the court’s ruling, effective as of the time and date of the ruling,” he said.
It's only a matter of time before Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed.

I don't have a dog in this fight, but so far, every headline I read regarding the pending appeal is the contradictory approach the Obama administration has in wanting the law repealed while defending the law.

I love me some Rachel Maddow, but her snark here is a little much. And she does have a dog in this fight. Thankfully, her guest, former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, makes this convoluted situation very clear.

...the President said that this will end on his watch, and he's actually moved the ball pretty far down -- down the road to making that happen because the President has gotten the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to agree that the policy should end. He, himself, has stated unequivocally that it undermines our national security, and that's going to be a powerful argument in court. I think the government really has no choice but to appeal the case because we don't want a system where a single federal judge can invalidate an act of congress and the president simply say, well, that's it, we're not going to seek to appeal that. 
And here is the crux of the argument.

Imagine, Rachel, three years down the road if someone is challenging the health care, individual mandate or the minimum coverage requirements and there's a Republican president in the White House and they find one federal district judge who holds that it's unconstitutional. I don't think the Supreme Court would agree with that, not close. But suppose one district court held it unconstitutional.

You don't want a situation where they say, we're just not going to appeal... 
 ...But they are going to appeal. And they are going to tell the court that in our view it's unconstitutional because it's harmful to the military.

Watch the whole, enlightening interview here.

Can we now stop all the outrage about the evil Obama administration secretly not wanting DADT to go away? Can we let this play out for the final two or three months? It's been in place for 16 years, and I know it's easy for me to say, "hold your horses and let this play out" because it doesn't affect me, but for god's sake, if this is done correctly, there is no way it's going to come back. And ultimately, isn't that what we want?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Wonder How Hannity Feels About This?

...according to two top GOP insiders, [Christine O'Donnell] said at a strategy meeting with DC types last week: "I've got Sean Hannity in my back pocket, and I can go on his show and raise money by attacking you guys."

Who am I kidding?! Sean knows she's right.

Sarah Palin Redux?

I haven't been able to watch very much of last night Christine O'Donnell/Chris Coons Delaware Senatorial Debate, but from the little I've seen, it's deja vú all over again.

Was Katie Couric moderating? When asked what recent Supreme Court cases Witchy-Poo disagrees with, she couldn't think of one but promised to put it up on her website.

Why Wolf Blitzer would try to bail her out with his Roe v. Wade comment is beyond me, but let's just chalk it up to being part of the most trusted name in news.

Then there's this whole fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 80's and 90's?  Uh, no. We funded the mujahideen through covert CIA operations, but we didn't have any troops in Afghanistan, which is what O'Donnell definitely implied.

At some point, someone she is debating has to call out the stupidity. When Christine "I would've been a Hare Krishna but couldn't give up the meatballs" O'Donnell called Coons a Marxist, why did he rebut with his love of Capitalism? Why didn't he just say something like, "Gee Christine, I'd be offended if I thought you knew what the definition of Marxism was." That's how you fight the stupid. With a little belittling remark. Maybe a follow up asking her to explain what Marxism is.

And I love that some pundits have such low expectations of O'Donnell that, because she didn't go out there and bray like a mule, she is automatically declared formidable and some say, won the debate! Ridiculous. It's Sarah Palin all over again.

Circular Criticism Squad

Posted by JHW22

I have made it pretty clear that I find a lot of the "professional left's" criticisms of Obama to be short-sighted, unproductive and harmful to the party. Frankly, I could give a rat's ass if someone calls me a bot for it. I'd rather speak out for reality than be a bot for talking-point criticisms that sound good to the cynical. I try to avoid the superficial complaints about Obama because, honestly, my blood pressure goes up and I get Hulkified with no outlet for my rage. So, for the sake of my sanity, my marriage and my son's respect for me, I try to stick to reading only that criticism that is legitimate, fair and non-something-up-the-ass random.

So I was reading Andrew Sullivan today. I enjoy Sullivan because he gets it. We may not agree on everything but, for the most part, he provides sound reasoning and stays pretty calm. I like thinking about an issue without having to calm down first. He writes in a manner that lets me think from the first sentence through the last without me trying to "refudiate" each sentence along the way.

His post, "The Best Analysis of Obama's Dilemma" starts out like this:

It comes from Obama himself:
"Given how much stuff was coming at us, we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right... I think anybody who's occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can't be neglecting of marketing and PR and public opinion."
That sounds pretty good. I agree. I hate to agree with the President on this but I do. I'd prefer a policy be right and the American people figure out on their own that it's good, but I realize we're stupid and lazy and need to be massaged into understanding why a good policy is a good policy. I wish he weren't right but he is.

The next paragraph is about a Liberal (keep in mind that Andrew Sullivan is a Conservative):
David Corn complains that this is the kind of self-criticism that does not help before an election, and that in arguing that his biggest error was under-estimating Republican obstructionism, the president cannot also argue that he can work with the GOP, if necessary, in the next two years.
David Corn opened that particular article with THIS paragraph:
With a little over two weeks to go to the critical elections, why would the Obama White House want reporters (and voters) to fixate on what it got wrong in its first two years?
Yeah, why would Obama want reporters to fixate on something they already fixate on just fine without his help? Why would he want to state the very point they have fixated on all along? Doesn't he know that their fixations are so automatic that they will fixate on the very thing they have been fixated on just because now he mentioned it?

Perhaps David Corn is just pissed because now Obama has addressed it and that takes some of the cynicism out of the fixation. Damn. How can people like David Corn possibly criticize the President when he's criticizing himself? That's just not fair, gosh darn it. The only people who should be able to criticize are the very people who make a living criticizing. Each time Obama criticizes himself the "professional left" loses their bearing.

What I don't get is why the "professional left" can criticize Obama daily, without merit most of the time and at times seeming as if they are basing their opinions on someone else's reporting rather than doing the due diligence of thinking for themselves -- oh, but Obama can't criticize himself.

THIS is exactly the kind of crap that the left has been pulling for over a year. And it's exactly the kind of crap that has led me to avoid more and more of the "professional left". I stopped following David Corn on Twitter about two weeks ago because of shit like this. It's called stoking the fire. And as they say, if you can't stand the heat, stop reading the firebaggers. Okay, "they" don't say that but I am going to start saying it. Care to join me and create the "they"?

Say it with me, "If you can't stand the heat, don't read the firebaggers". Save your blood pressure for something that really matters. Use your precious time reading people who offer something legitimate to discuss.

Now, I need to get back to reading the rest of Andrew Sullivan and stop fixating on the firebagging.

edit: I was just reminded why I rarely watch MSNBC anymore. Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd are discussing the fact that Obama criticized himself in such a crucial time. Two people who have repeatedly criticized Obama are now criticizing Obama for criticizing Obama. Do these people hear themselves? Where's the remote?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Eric Cantor Interviewed on The Daily Show

Kudos to Cantor for going on and thinking he could get one over on Jon Stewart. Yes, Stewart let him get away with the occasional GOP talking point here or there, but there was a larger issue that loomed, namely the hyperbolic rhetoric coming from both sides, and was discussed in the extended interview. Of course Cantor thought it was just a book plug, and who does he think is going to buy his book in that audience?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Eric Cantor
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Eric Cantor Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Eric Cantor Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

Dumbass Tweet of the Day

Congratulations to the Texas Rangers for making it to the American League Championship Series vs. the Yankees. Someone should gently remind the good* Governor of Texas that Rudy Giuliani hasn't been Mayor of New York City for NINE FUCKING YEARS!

[* By "good," I mean asshole who would stoke the fires of secession to feed the Tea Party crazies for his own political gain.]

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This Is Disgusting

Look, I completely understand disagreeing with the President on the issues, as long as you are basing your analysis on these pesky, little things called facts.  But this ad is just flat out fucking reprehensible.

Note: The voiceover is actor Robert Davi, the same schmuck that did those freaky "demon sheep" Fiorina ads.

ADDING... At least the video doesn't show Obama kissing or holding hands with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Or sabre dancing for that matter. And why are they showing Obama with the Prince every time the narration makes a mention of "Israel's enemies"? The same fucking guy Bush sat down with! Man, they really think their audience is stupid. ...And they're probably right.

Quote of the Day

"I'm releasing our enemies list. No one is on it. Now can I see the donors to American Crossroads?"

~White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in response to criticism from Karl Rove that the President had a veritable "enemies list" who he targeted from his Executive Office perch.

O'Donnell is Not a Witch

Christine O'Donnell can't get a break, nor does she deserve one.

Teabagger Miller Going the Palin Lamestream Media Strategy

Alaskan Republican/Tea Party Senate candidate is drawing "a line in the sand" or maybe more like sticking his head in the sand and refusing to answer any questions about his background from now on.

Alaska U.S. Senate hopeful Joe Miller said Monday he will no longer answer reporters' questions about his background and personal life, following what he called a leak of his personnel record from when he served as a government attorney.
Miller offered no proof of this during a brief news conference in Anchorage...
..."We've drawn a line in the sand," he said. "You can ask me about background, you can ask me about personal issues, I'm not going to answer them. I'm not. This is about the issues. ... This is about moving this state forward, and that's our commitment."
So what are the consequences of all these Tea Party candidates, Miller, O'Donnell, Angle, not making themselves available to the media? Not answering to some questionable issues in their past is now okay with these pathetic candidates? So... when will they stop asking about President Obama's past? I mean, if it's about the issues and not about the person's background, we should all be good, right?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Talk About Misleading Headlines!

Here's the content:

[Speaking of the stoppage of foreclosures:] "It is a serious problem," said David Axelrod, who contended that the flawed paperwork is hurting the nation's housing market as well as lending institutions. But he added, "I'm not sure about a national moratorium because there are in fact valid foreclosures that probably should go forward" because their documents are accurate.
Axelrod said the administration is pressing lenders to accelerate their reviews of foreclosures to determine which ones have flawed documentation.
"Our hope is this moves rapidly and that this gets unwound very, very quickly," he said.
...President Barack Obama vetoed a bill last week that would have made it easier for banks to approve foreclosure documents, which the White House said could hurt consumers.
So what was the Huffington Post headline linking to that article?

Since when does "I'm not sure" equal "NO NEED"?

Music Break! Mel Tormé

Dat Dere