Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Can Sleep Again

Derek Jeter remains a Yankee. I don't know what I would have done had he signed with another team.


President Obama's Weekly Address - December 4, 2010

... brought to you by Vice President Joe Biden.

Tax Cuts & Unemployment Insurance

More Like This, Please

I know the birther thing is played out already, but there are people still bringing frivolous lawsuits to court to challenge President Obama's citizenship and legal right to the Presidency.

Anderson Cooper does a great job on this one.

Now let's see some more investigative journalism refuting the daily right wing talking points about tax cuts, deficit reduction and claiming to do the people's work, and we'll finally have something going to rebut the GOP supporting corporate media empire.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Boehner: Listening To The American People?

All we heard from Speaker of the House-Elect Foster Brooks after the election was how they were going to "listen to the American people" and "do the people's work."

Well, listen up, Boehner:

According to a new CBS News poll... 53 percent of Americans want the Bush-era tax cuts extended only for households earning less than $250,000 per year. That roughly matches the proposal put forth by the White House, which wants to extend the cuts only for incomes less than $250,000 for families and $200,000 for individuals... Another 14 percent of Americans say the cuts should expire for all Americans.
That's a total of 67% who'd rather have the tax cuts expire for the top 2% of income earners. What do you say, Boehner? How about you, Mitch "Mr. Limpet" McConnell? Are you going to listen to the American people as you've repeated ad nauseam and extend the Bush tax cuts only for those under the $250,000 threshold?

A few years too late, y'all


I HATE being lumped in with fellow Texans as if all Texans are bad. So please refrain from any comments about "Texas should secede" or crap that would imply I am part of the problem. Thank you. And with that, I give you the latest bills proposed by the Texas State Legislature followed by a multiple choice question:

And here's my question: Why do YOU think they waited until now* to do this?

A. You can't challenge the leaders in D.C. when a fellow Texan is in the White House.
B. There is scuttlebutt that the current governor may run for President.
C. As a distraction from the fact that the state's budget isn't balanced.
D. All of the above.
E. Other -- please explain.

*It is possible that someone in the past proposed this but I seriously doubt it and am not about to waste time Googling some phantom Loch Ness Monster of Proposed Texas Legislation. Y'all feel free.

DADT Quote of the Century


Ben Nelson articulated (around the 1:20 mark if CSPAN's video will relax on the damn buffering) the root of problem faced by members of the United States Military who are muzzled by Don't Ask, Don't Tell:

"I want to tell the truth but you won't let me."



I heard someone, maybe Chris Hayes, ask someone, maybe Kent Conrad, something like "Why is $250,000 the limit on the Bush tax cut extensions?" Jeez, why haven't we asked that question before? Why have Democrats drawn the line in the sand (ugh, I hate when talking points seep into my writing but sometimes it's the best phrase) at $250,000?

Isn't the tax cut extension to those who make less than $250,000 going to add to the deficit? Yes.

Why is it OK to add to the deficit for those making less than $250,000? Because someone, somewhere decided that $250,000 tops the middle class. Why?

Let's look at this regionally:

Teachers in Texas make about $40,000. Teachers in New Jersey make about $60,000. Houses in Texas are about $200,000 yet houses in New Jersey are about $400,000. An income of $250,000 means something different in Texas than it means in New Jersey.

So why $250,000?

The median family income in 2007 was $50,000. So why don't we say middle class stops at $100,000?

The question is, why are so many saying Obama is caving when they don't even know why he's supposed to be committed to a magic dollar amount? If someone can show me why that number is the magic number and show me why I should commit my heart and soul to fighting for that number, then I will. But if I am just supposed to stomp my foot because someone told me that number is worship-worthy, then fuck that shit.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brain Dump


OK, so I've been away for a while and that last post felt good. But I need to get a few things out that aren't really post-worthy. More reflection and curiosity than anything deep and thoughtful:

I fear I am inadvertently raising a Republican. My child hates change. He likes the Christmas tree but is mad that I moved a bookshelf to put the tree up. He hates when I change throw pillows. He hates the new toothpaste. He falls apart over transitions. He falls into ritualistic OCD. SEE! He's a Republican. What am I doing wrong? ;)

Why did Bristol Palin drive to LA for DWTS? Her mom flies all over the country on private jets and she can't bother to send her kid to LA on a plane? Is it so she could have a "truck" in LA? Or was it just for a story? And really, a truck? Who is she? Scott Brown?

Did people call Laura Bush a fascist for encouraging parents to read to their children? No. So why can't Michelle Obama encourage healthy eating and *gasp* exercise without being labeled a Nazi? I have a friend in a small red-state town who seriously fell into the trap of blaming Michelle Obama for the cafeteria menu changing to things her kid hates. The whole town is in an uproar over Michelle Obama personally changing every elementary school menu in the country. Yet, I don't hear them yelling at Rachel Ray for doing the same thing. Shame on that hyperactive speed-cooker for trying to discourage crappy eating habits. Personal freedom means being able to raise an obese child if a parent chooses. Don't tread on them and don't make them use a treadmill, damn it.

Wikileaks: Someone needs to plug that leak. Transparency is one thing. Theft is another. And really, it pisses me off that it's not even an American who has single-handedly decided what to do with our documents.

I cheer each time a judge determines that the health care law isn't unconstitutional.

The DADT study is exactly what I thought it was going to be: a review of what the effects of repeal will be and how to move forward. I wish people like Rachel Maddow and Bill Press, etc, etc, would have realized that sooner rather than acting as if it were a survey about whether to repeal. They really ranted about a lot of nonsense. Much Ado About Nada.

I like Secretary Gates.

I think I'll be writing another Palin post soon. Trying to figure out how to write something thorough and organized. I tend to lose my mind when thinking about her and I want to be clear and linear and make relevant connections. Trying to manage that when discussing the walking chaos factory is hard.

Answer to an excellent question


In the comments of the previous post, one of our loyal readers, Vic, asked a question of Broadway Carl and me. How do we feel about the federal pay freeze? Rather than answering in a comment, I figured I'd make it a post. I'm feeling rather long-winded today and it's a point that deserves more discussion than I could provide in a comment. And I am over-due for a post anyway.

I am very supportive of Pres O, but I admit that there are moments when the doubting arguments start to make a dent - like today. What do you and Jennifer make of his salary freeze announcement? The perception that he always caves before he needs to is starting to get to me.

Vic used a key word, "perception". It is exactly THAT -- a perception. One of my consistent beefs is with the distortion of, selection of and analysis of the administration by our media. THEY decide what we know. THEY decide what details we receive. THEY decide what tone to set. THEY decide OUR moods. But honestly, none of us know how Obama got to the salary freeze decision. Because it was a surprise to us does not mean that it wasn't without a fight.

I understand the frustration people feel but I disagree with the premise that he caves before he tries. We have no clue what or with whom or for how long or how he discusses any issue. Just as he says he needs to get out of the fishbowl that is Washington, we need to realize that we are not looking into a fish bowl and seeing all there is to see. However, we are told to believe he just jumps without thinking or fighting. Why? Why do we continually go where we are led by the very people we criticize repeatedly for being, as Palin correctly states, "lame"? What about Obama in his speeches, in his politicking, suggests that the perception is the reality? Why don't WE do a better job demanding that the two match? Instead we allow the perception to become the accepted stance and then we fight against it. In many ways, we create our own enemies out of thin air. We waste energy and resources punching shadows instead of stopping and thinking and trying to grasp why decisions are made.

We aren't in the room, on the phone or at the other end of the Presidential Blackberry. WE don't know when he goes to the wall or when he realizes that flexibility is key to progress.

Secondly, Obama wasn't really a fighter in the campaign. I don't know how many times Dems would say, "I wish he'd....". We've done it to him since day one. Often I hear "We want the campaigner" back as if that Obama were a different person. He hasn't changed. His job has changed. I've always said that a campaign is a wedding but being President is the marriage. Weddings are about the drama and excitement, the memories and good vibes. But everyone who is married, or in a long-term relationship, hell, even a friendship, knows that the wedding ends when the bride and groom drive off with cans strung to their bumper.

When my husband and I were first married, we fought all the time and the fights may have appeared to be about stupid things but they were always about one thing at the root of it all: communication. And it's with persistence and bending and listening and changing that a marriage progresses into a relationship that makes both people feel involved and active and stable.

The problem is that we can't communicate with Obama in any direct way. A speech is one-sided. A press conference doesn't necessarily address our specific questions. We can't get in deep to understand and share with the very person we want to hold accountable for every decision made. It's truly not fair. We demand so much of a President but have no way of communicating with him. Instead, we rely on the media to do it for us and we get frustrated at him when the messenger tells us to.

Now the Republicans are threatening to block all legislation unless the Democrats add to the deficit by extending the tax cuts for the wealthy. It's hypocrisy in so many damn ways. We all know that. But what is the best way of dealing with them? Is being equally stubborn the answer?

The Democrats didn't care about the deficit much more than being able to call hypocrisy on the Republicans before. We don't care if we add to it if it creates stimulus. But by goddess we won't add to it if it benefits the wealthy!

Well, here's the deal. We need to be grown-ups. Do I want us to add to the deficit? NO. I have been one of the Democrats who wants to pay it down so we can free ourselves from debt to places like, oh, China. But do I think there is no solution other than black and white? No. I am realistic. There are options. We are as bad as the Republicans when we say "we won't compromise". Hell, that's what the Republicans said in their letter. We know that Murkowski said she would vote to repeal DADT because it's the right thing to do. But now she'd block it because she wants to play a game of extortion?

Do I like extortion? No. That's why I also don't like blanket statements like "Tell Obama not to compromise" especially when followed by some vague threat of primarying him with someone "more liberal".

WE MUST COMPROMISE. But compromise is a bad word these days. So from now on I'll just call it what it is: being a grown up. Progress is working toward a goal. It isn't being a stubborn ass (pun intended) refusing to climb a mountain. Progress is being the bigger person and seeing that giving an inch gains a mile. Who gives a fuck about the inch when we have a mile?!

Priorities and perspective. We need them. We also need to step back from our knee-jerk emotional responses and see that big picture our President is always seeing and trying to show us. It's on us to stop demanding specifics and start thinking about what is more important: the result or how we get it. I want results and we are getting them from President Obama. How we get them is water under the bridge.

Back to the initial point about the salary freezes, the best I can articulate it is this: we have been creating private sector jobs. We have been losing public sector jobs. I would rather we freeze salaries than lay people off. And yes, some workers will be frozen at a pay that is too low already. But that is better than being without a job or having to get a similar paying job with zero health benefits.

I am constantly remind myself of four things:

1) Am I being a hypocrite? If so, reconcile it with integrity and honesty.

2) Do I believe the source or the spin? If not, decide what I think.

3) Read, watch or learn two positive things for every negative thing I read.

4) Obama IS the person I voted for. He IS doing the exact job I expected him to do. The frustrations are valid but irrelevant to the bigger picture of a nation consisting of opposing views and opinions and interpretations of fact. Follow Obama's lead on this because he's a grown up and I need to try to act like a grown up myself.
Oh, and I should probably add that we all define "fighting" differently. My idea of the President fighting may not be his idea or your idea or a Republican's idea. People need to stop clinging to semantics on this issue.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If It Walks Like A Racist, If It Talks Like A Racist....

Damn, Steve King.  Just when I think I can't be any more disgusted with your existence on this earth...

On Monday night, he suggested that President Obama, as a senator, may have been prejudiced to help the black farmers.
"Figure this out, Madame Speaker: We have a very, very urban Senator, Barack Obama, who has decided he's going to run for president, and what does he do?" King said. "He introduces legislation to create a whole new Pigford claim."
He then said the claims -- which stem from discrimination against black farmers in the 1980s and 1990s -- are "slavery reparations."
"We've got to stand up at some point and say, 'We are not gonna pay slavery reparations in the United States Congress,'" he said.
A very, VERY urban Senator? Why don't you just can him a nigger and get it over with? And your slavery reparations bullshit is just soooo wrong:
King's argument is that the bulk of the Pigford II claims are fraudulent because there are fewer black farmers than claimants — a flimsy argument when you consider that many African-Americans lost their farms over the past few decades due, in part, to USDA discrimination that denied them loans — which is the point of the settlement program.
Man, if there's a hell...

Joe Scarborough Attacks Palin

Scarborough: "Republicans have a problem. The most-talked-about figure in the GOP is a reality show star who cannot be elected. And yet the same leaders who fret that Sarah Palin could devastate their party in 2012 are too scared to say in public what they all complain about in private.
Enough. It’s time for the GOP to man up."
Prepare for incoherent Palin tweets in 5... 4... 3...

Cartoon of the Day

Monday, November 29, 2010

S#*! Sarah Palin Says (Wikileaks Edition)

Whether or not you think the Wikileaks fiasco is important, a sham, agree or disagree with it, here Palin is, as usual, injecting herself into the middle of something she doesn't totally understand, and making it all about her.

How petty is Sarah Palin? She doesn't see this as a larger question of more secure intelligence sharing or inquiring about the process of declassification of government documents, or even trying to make networks for sensitive information tighter. No, in her incurious mind, she thinks well, hell, if a little ol' real 'merican hockey mom like her can stop her book from leaking out just by going to court, why can't the government (meaning gutless, America hating Obama) do the same? It's just so easy!

Leslie Nielsen Dies at 84

NY Times: Leslie Nielsen, the Canadian-born actor who in middle age tossed aside three decades of credibility in dramatic and romantic roles to make a new, far more successful career as a comic actor in films like “Airplane!” and the “Naked Gun” series, died on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 84.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quote of the Day

"You keep asking these presentist questions, Bob. As the immortal Marisa Tomei said in My Cousin Vinny, ‘that’s a bullshit question!’ because you cannot pluck people out of the past and expect them to comment on what’s happening today."

~ Presidential historian Edmund Morris, when asked by Face The Nation's Bob Scheiffer what Teddy Roosevelt would think of today's politics.
Watch the video to hear further commentary on how Americans have become complacent, obese, lazy and have no grasp of foreign policy.