Saturday, February 11, 2012

President Obama's Latest "Cave"

And no, it wasn't a cave.

Whitney Houston Dies at 48

ABC News: Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, has died. She was 48.
Houston's publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

It's a sad thing what addiction can do. Cause of death is not determined yet, but years of drug and alcohol abuse can't be ignored. Tragic.

Misunderstanding and Underestimating President Obama


Many on the left have set their hair on fire over President Obama's solution to the conflict between religious institutions, primarily the Catholic church, providing health care coverage which includes birth control to women and the teachings of the church. One would have to be in the wildest parts of Siberia to have missed this controversy, so I will not recount the drama that has unfolded.

However, once again the ubiquitous word "cave" has appeared in association with this decision. There was a time when this would infuriate me, but now I laugh at the predictability of the critical left. Of course, if you dare disagree with them, then they launch into name calling that would make any junior high student proud. I think one reason for their childish, often surly, reaction is their unstated, unreasonable expectations of President Obama. It's as if some on the left have never listened to his speeches, press conferences, or town halls because if they had, surely they would have some understanding of the man.

For example, Barack Obama is a man who truly understands the art of politics better than any of his critics on the right or left and certainly any of the ideologues. Plenty of evidence exists to support this as he brings home one victory after another for the American people in spite of seemingly insurmountable odds. Certainly many do understand him, calling him the chess master while his opponents are merely sitting in the park playing checkers. But time after time those of us who have defended the President are called idiots, morons, Obamabots, etc. in spite of the fact our defense of President Obama has been well-founded and well-placed. But the critical left still doesn't get him.

As an example of the obtuseness of President Obama's critics on the left, let me take you back to the time when the second budget agreement was finalized. Remember Boehner bragging about how he got what he wanted? Remember Cenk Uygur and others of his ilk screaming that the President got rolled? A couple of days later, Boehner was whining that the Republicans had been rolled, but "’we won't be rolled again.’" Yet they were . . . again and again.

The very same scenario played out during the debt ceiling negotiations and agreement. As we watched this unfold, what became clear to most of us but not to the angry left and the Republicans was that the President had boxed the opposition into a corner with no escape. In their eagerness to out-fox the President and race to the microphones, the Republicans again overlooked the long-term results. Thus, after the Super Committee failed and the Department of Defense cuts were activated, the Republicans were not crowing but eating crow . . . again. And again the the critics on the left either didn’t notice or were too prideful to admit they had misjudged Barack Obama.

And now again in the debate over women's health, the Republicans have been rolled and although we have ample evidence that the President knows more about negotiating and political maneuvering than anyone in D.C., the angry left is still as dense as ever. And for the umpteenth time they and the Republicans look like fools. As a wise man once said, “‘there’s a saying that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.’" Okay, forget the wise part.

When the uproar broke this week over mandating religious institutions offer women's preventative care coverage, we saw a replay of every other drama over important issues about which we liberals care deeply. The debate over this issue was couched as either a violation of religious freedom or women's right to unfettered access to birth control. Most of the proponents of the religious freedom argument were white Catholic male pundits, such as Chris Matthews and Lawrence O'Donnell, who frankly couldn't see past their white privilege to see the true issue here. But I digress.

The Republicans came out with their usual hysterical rhetoric, providing further evidence to the American people just how extreme they are. However, in an unusual display of unity, Democrats held firm and stayed on message. What's that message? Women have a right to preventative care coverage by any employer, regardless of secular or religious foundation. So yesterday, when President Obama announced a way to provide the coverage that the Catholic and religious institutions could accept, he was accused of caving or bending because by some on the left who lost sight of the goal.

Those critics on the left who just don't get Barack Obama do so because they lack vision, subtlety, and nuance. Most importantly, the critical left always loses sight of the goal. The goal was not bringing down the Catholic church but to provide the best possible preventative care for women without the co-pays many women cannot afford.

May I offer this extended metaphor. Again those critics on the left are painting by numbers, showing their lack of creativity, imagination, impatience, and foresight, while President Obama is the great master, bringing all of his creativity, imagination, and patience to the canvas. He has a vision for his painting, but he realizes that he is working with a wet canvas requiring layers of paint. To rush through his creation would only leave a muddy mess, not a grand work for generations to appreciate and enjoy.

So I guess the President did cave to those who wanted to launch a war against religion, but for the women of America, who never lost sight of the real goal, it is a grand victory.

Huzzah President Obama!

Must Reads

Frank Schaeffer: President Obama Will Be Vindicated

E.J. Dionne: Clint, Rick and the limits of pessimism

Sahil Kapur: GOP Ripe For Splits In Assault On Birth Control Rule

NY Times Editorial: A Terrible Transportation Bill

Greg Hanscom: Non-starter: Republican transportation bill is dead on arrival

HuffPo: Cal Thomas Apologizes To Rachel Maddow For Contraception Comment

Rachel Maddow: War on Birth Control

Roger Bybee: Obama/Catholic Contraception Controversy Boils Down to Workers’ Rights

Mark Morford: How to be Outraged in America

Steve Benen: Chronicling Mitt's mendacity

President Obama's Weekly Address - February 11, 2012

Extending the Payroll Tax Cut for the Middle Class

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

GOP Criticizes Eastwood Pro-Detroit Ad

Why do Republicans hate America? How is it possible that right wing ideologues would criticize an ad which touts the comeback of the American auto industry and sees a path toward economic prosperity on the horizon?
"There is no spin in that ad. On this I am certain," [Clint] Eastwood said in a statement to Fox News. "I am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. ... If Obama or any other politician wants to run with the spirit of that ad, go for it."
Exactly right, Clint. This is about an entire industry, and the people who work in it, scratching and clawing its way back from the dead.

Whether you are pro auto "bailout" or not (and I use the word 'bailout' loosely since it was actually a loan which has been mostly paid back despite the whining lies of Karl Rove), how do you criticize the fact, THE FACT, that the American auto industry was saved and is now back on top due to the loans to keep them afloat while they reorganized and restructured? Not to mention a minimum of one million jobs saved because of it.

For all the shouts and fist shaking of the GOP against President Obama and what they deem to be worse off than we were three years ago, despite proof to the contrary, it is amazing to me that anyone would claim to be pro-America, yet rail against a commercial touting the resurgence of the American auto industry and the resurrection of a major American city... all because they're rather scorch the earth than run against their preposterous narrative for the sake of winning back the White House. And these are the chest thumping America lovers?

Let's not forget that had it been left up to Mitt Romney, the US auto industry would no longer exist.

Equality Wins!


The U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit says NOPE to Prop 8! The court finds it unconstitutional to strip rights away from people because they're gay, despite what the majority of stupid voters say.

What a good news day. Anyone know what Obama has Seal Team Six doing today?

She's Outta There!


Karen Handel, the right-winger who was hired by Komen just before all hell broke loose, resigned today. Is it just me, or is her resignation letter a bit much? It's dramatic, written for us and not the recipient, and loaded with seeming contradictions, defensiveness and a denial that by making the decision to defund the "controversial" Planned Parenthood, Komen did something even more controversial.


February 7, 2012
The Honorable Nancy Brinker
CEO, Susan G. Komen for the Cure VIA EMAIL
5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250
Dallas, Texas 75244
Dear Ambassador Brinker:
Susan G. Komen for the Cure has been the recognized leader for more 30 years in the fight against breast cancer here in the US – and increasingly around the world.
As you know, I have always kept Komen’s mission and the women we serve as my highest priority – as they have been for the entire organization, the Komen Affiliates, our many supporters and donors, and the entire community of breast cancer survivors. I have carried out my responsibilities faithfully and in line with the Board’s objectives and the direction provided by you and Liz.
We can all agree that this is a challenging and deeply unsettling situation for all involved in the fight against breast cancer. However, Komen’s decision to change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and its grants was fully vetted by every appropriate level within the organization. At the November Board meeting, the Board received a detailed review of the new model and related criteria. As you will recall, the Board specifically discussed various issues, including the need to protect our mission by ensuring we were not distracted or negatively affected by any other organization’s real or perceived challenges. No objections were made to moving forward.
I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology. Rather, both were based on Komen’s mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy. I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants.
What was a thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision – one that would have indeed enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact – has unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue. This development should sadden us all greatly.
Just as Komen’s best interests and the fight against breast cancer have always been foremost in every aspect of my work, so too are these my priorities in coming to the decision to resign effective immediately. While I appreciate your raising a possible severance package, I respectfully decline. It is my most sincere hope that Komen is allowed to now refocus its attention and energies on its mission.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Clint Made My Day


In all the discussions of the Clint Eastwood Chrysler "Halftime in America" ad, all the pundits keeps leaving out the fact that Clint is a big-time Republican. The fact that he did that ad, supporting Obama's policy on the auto bailout, and mimicking Obama's messaging from the State of the Union on "teamwork", says a lot. It says that some Republicans are ready to bring their party back from the fringes and work with the President for a better future. More of that sanity, please.