Jeremiah Haralson, Representative, 1875–1877, Republican from Alabama

February 22, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Posted in Historical, House of Representatives | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , ,
Hon. Jeremiah Haralson of Alabama. Killed by wild beasts near Denver, Colorado about 1916 (photo taken between between 1865 and 1880)

Hon. Jeremiah Haralson of Alabama. Killed by wild beasts near Denver, Colorado about 1916 (photo taken between between 1865 and 1880)

(Black Americans In Congress) Admired by his contemporaries as a natural politician, Jeremiah Haralson made his reputation in Alabama politics as a powerful orator and an adroit debater. Black civil rights advocate Frederick Douglass observed that Haralson spoke “with humor enough in him to supply a half dozen circus clowns.” However, a Democratic majority during his single congressional term tempered his public wit; he made no speeches on the House Floor. Haralson’s unsuccessful re-election campaign in 1876 set off a series of difficult and fruitless attempts to regain his seat in the Jim Crow South, ending a political career marked by mystery and contradiction. Jeremiah Haralson was born a slave near Columbus, Georgia, on April 1, 1846. His early life is not well documented. He was sold twice as a child before John Haralson, a lawyer from Selma, Alabama, purchased him in 1859. After winning his freedom in 1865, Jeremiah Haralson taught himself to read and write. He made his living as a farmer and may also have been a clergyman.

Advertisements

Senator Shelby (R-AL) Is Certifiable.

February 22, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Economy, senate | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,
Lock at Wheeler Dam, Alabama, June 1942.

Lock at Wheeler Dam, Alabama, June 1942.

The people of Alabama should ask themselves whether having a senator as unhinged as Richard Shelby is really in their best interests.

Despite having several weeks to review the stimulus bill, Senator Shelby didn’t read it before he voted or since, as he explained to some of his constituents the other day:

(Culman Times) Shelby said he opposed the bill mainly because it requires the country to borrow billions for what he considers to be wasteful spending. In addition, he said he opposed the bill because nobody really knows yet where all the money will be going.

“Nobody’s read it yet,” Shelby said.

How does he know the bill contains wasteful spending if he has not read it?

The bill has been available to read online all during this process and the final bill is available for anyone to read. Many people have read it but not Senator Shelby who, nevertheless, feels qualified to declare it a very bad bill.

Shelby’s neglect of his duties is a troubling sign but that’s not why I think he’s certifiable. No, what brings me to that conclusion is his willingness to publicly question whether President Obama is a United States citizen:

(Culman Times) Another local resident asked Shelby if there was any truth to a rumor that appeared during the presidential campaign concerning Obama’s U.S. citizenship, or lack thereof.

“Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate,” Shelby said. “You have to be born in America to be president.”

RNC Chair Michael Steele said recently, “You have absolutely no reason, none, to trust our word or our actions at this point.”

Shelby is a living example that what Steele said is true.

Alabama, you can do better.

UPDATE: Ben Smith at Politico got in touch with Shelby’s office ask about Shelby’s statement concerning President Obama’s citizenship. Shelby’s spokesman, Jonathan Graffeo put out this release:

The Cullman Times article contains an incomplete account, and therefore a distortion, of Sen. Shelby’s comments regarding President Obama’s citizenship. At the town hall meeting in Cullman, Sen. Shelby laid out the Constitutional qualifications for the Presidency and said that, while he hasn’t personally seen the President’s birth certificate, he is confident that the matter has been thoroughly examined.

Oh, well, that makes it all right then.

“The Republican leadership did NOT apply extreme pressure!”

February 20, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Posted in House of Representatives, politics straight up | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , ,
Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

Ahn "Joseph" Cao celebrates with his wife, Hieu “Kate” Hoang, and their 4-year-old daughter, Betsy (photo credit: Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

Back on December 9, 2008 I predicted that newly-elected Representative for Louisiana, Anh “Joseph” Cao, who unseated
William “Dollar Bill” Jefferson, would not satisfy the the lunatics who have taken over the GOP asylum.

Rep. Cao may already be regretting his party affiliation.

Cao voted against what he understood were his district’s best interests on January 28, 2008.

(NOLA.com) Cao said that the Republican leadership did not apply extreme pressure.

“The leadership wanted me to vote no, but they gave me freedom to vote for the needs of my district and this bill does not address the needs of the district,” Cao said.

Immediately after the vote, U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., the Republican whip, said he had talked to Cao regularly, including the last 24 hours.

“Mr. Cao is a terrific representative and voice for the people that elected him,” Cantor said. “I think he understands that even in a district as challenged in terms of the economy as his, that was devastated by the hurricanes, by Katrina, even in his district that polls indicate that 55 percent of people are against this bill.”

On February 12 Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-La.) told reporters he was likely to vote for the economic stimulus package despite his vote against it on January 28:

(NOLA.com) “I’m voting along what my conscience dictates and the needs of the 2nd Congressional District dictate, even if I were to be the only member of the GOP to vote for the stimulus package,” he said.

“Even though it is going to be a humongous bill, even though we will be in debt for years, I believe that more likely than not, I will vote for it because the 2nd Congressional District needs a stimulus package.”

According to Mr. Cao, his change of heart occurred because he “decided the benefits of the bill for his district did not outweigh his personal misgivings about the burden of debt the nation would incur.”

You don’t suppose his no vote was influenced by Republican chief deputy whip, California Rep. Kevin O. McCarthy, standing near Cao during the entire vote, do you?

A group of ministers in New Orleans have begun an effort to have him recalled. Its success is said to be unlikely but Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said Cao’s hopes for winning a second term depended on “people in the district identifying him as a thoroughly independent person who is not in the thrall of the Republican leadership. Now anyone running against him can say, ‘He’s a Republican mouthpiece.’ ”

When the AEI thinks you’ve taken adherence to the Republican party line too far, you know you’re in trouble.

Stem Cell Policy: What’s the delay?

February 19, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Posted in Executive Orders, health, House of Representatives, senate | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

Dr. Alexander Fleming, seated in laboratory, holding petri dish, some time between 1941 and 1945.

Dr. Alexander Fleming, seated in laboratory, holding petri dish, some time between 1941 and 1945.


Steve Benen has a post up asking what’s the delay in changing federal stem cell policy. I left this comment in the thread:

i certainly understand there are a lot of people who want federally-funded stem cell research yesterday but i think it very smart of the president to not get involved in a tiding-over executive order.

if he did that, the bill would become a much lower priority. the onus is now on congress to get this done, and the public has been clearly told who to speak to — congress, not the president.

if by 2012 congress had not acted and an executive order was still in place, republicans would use it as a blunt object decrying the president for going over congress’ head and all kinds of other nonsense.

even in the more likely scenario, that congress does pass legislation before 2012, if he were to make an executive order first, the republicans could argue that he forced congress’ hand somehow, or some other idiotic argument.

doing it this way, there can be no accusation of muddying the waters. congress had a bill, bush vetoed it. repass it, obama will sign. end of story. will of the people and all that. no taint of “white house interference.”

The Great Depression & the New Deal

February 17, 2009 at 10:48 am | Posted in Economy, Historical | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,
Migrant agricultural workers family. Seven hungry children. Mother aged thirty-two. Father is a native Californian. Destitute in pea pickers camp, Nipomo, California, because of the failure of the early pea crop. These people had just sold their tent in order to buy food. Of the twenty-five hundred people in this camp most of them were destitute.  February or March 1936.  (Photo: Dorothea Lange)

Migrant agricultural worker's family. Seven hungry children. Mother aged thirty-two. Father is a native Californian. Destitute in pea picker's camp, Nipomo, California, because of the failure of the early pea crop. These people had just sold their tent in order to buy food. Of the twenty-five hundred people in this camp most of them were destitute. February or March 1936. (Photo: Dorothea Lange)

It’s an hour — I know, I know, your time is precious, but so is your knowledge base.

Make some popcorn, get your comfy chair ready, then hop on over to C-Span and listen to Eric Rauchway, professor of history at UC-Davis, valued contributor to The Edge of the American West and author of several books, including “The Great Depression & the New Deal,” talk about what the Roosevelt administration did to save the United States in a time of national economic collapse.

Dental clinic, FSA (Farm Security Administration) camp, Weslaco, Texas, February 1942.  (Photo: Arthur Rothstein)

Dental clinic, FSA (Farm Security Administration) camp, Weslaco, Texas, February 1942. (Photo: Arthur Rothstein)

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

February 14, 2009 at 3:33 am | Posted in House of Representatives, politics straight up, senate | Comments Off on Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!
Tags: , , , , ,

Republicans have accused the President of the United States — their sacred Commander in Chief — of lying.

On February 10th it was widely reported that President Obama would be visiting a Caterpillar plant in East Peoria, Illinois the next day with CEO Jim Owens.

On February 11th It was widely reported that “President Obama said Cat CEO Jim Owens told him if the stimulus plan passes Caterpillar would be able to rehire some of those laid off employees.”

In one instance, the language of the reporting was modified slightly:

(Crookston Times) Owens will pledge to Obama that Caterpillar will begin recalling laid off employees if an acceptable economic stimulus package is approved and enacted quickly.

The bill was “acceptable” to Owen on Tuesday when he spoke to the President or on Wednesday when he traveled with the President to East Peoria. The stimulus bill was not significantly different on Tuesday and Wednesday than when the House and Senate voted on it today.

13 am  President Barack Obama is introduced by Caterpillar Chief Executive Officer Jim Owens as he visits the Caterpillar plant in East Peoria, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

AP - Yesterday, 01:13 am President Barack Obama is introduced by Caterpillar Chief Executive Officer Jim Owens as he visits the Caterpillar plant in East Peoria, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Peoria Journal Star)Owens, who will fly into Peoria on Air Force One with the president this afternoon, will encourage passage of a “significant stimulus package” in the United States and will offer his and Caterpillar’s encouragement for other stimulus packages being considered in other countries around the world, said a source familiar with the plans for Obama’s visit to Peoria.

Owens, the source said, “will emphasize that these economic stimulus packages are a critical step toward global economic recovery.”

If the packages are adopted and enacted quickly, it would give Caterpillar the opportunity to begin recalling those employees who already have been laid off since early December.

Caterpillar spokesman Jim Dugan declined to confirm any of the information. “We are not pre-releasing anything about the visit or the chairman’s remarks.”

The coy hedging of the Caterpillar spokesman went unremarked except possibly by some who wondered at what a self-important ass Caterpillar had for a spokesperson. It’s such a common attribute of the spokesperson that it was ignored. Especially given that only a short time later Owen and the President would be together in East Peoria and the spokesperson’s confirmation would be unnecessary.

In fact, when Obama made the remarks in question, with Owens standing right next him, Owens did nothing to correct or amend those remarks.

Abraham Lincolns supporters are portrayed as radicals and eccentrics of various stripes. The satire is loosely based on an anti-Fremont cartoon from the previous presidential race, The Great Republican Reform Party (no. 1856-22), also issued by Nathaniel Currier. Here Lincoln, sitting astride a wooden rail borne by Horace Greeley, leads his followers toward a lunatic asylum. Greeley instructs him, Hold on to me Abe, and well go in here by the unanimous consent of the people. Lincoln exhorts his followers, Now my friends Im almost in, and the millennium is going to begin, so ask what you will and it shall be granted. At the head of the group is a bearded man, arm-in-arm with a woman and a Mormon. He claims to represent the free love element, and expect to have free license to carry out its principles. The woman looks at Lincoln, saying Oh! what a beautiful man he is, I feel a passionate attraction every time I see his lovely face. The Mormon adds, I want religion abolished and the book of Mormon made the standard of morality. They are followed by a dandified free black, who announces, De white man hab no rights dat cullud pussons am bound to spect I want dat understood. Behind him an aging suffragette says, I want womans rights enforced, and man reduced in subjection to her authority. Next a ragged socialist or Fourierist, holding a liquor bottle, asserts, I want everybody to have a share of everybody elses property. At the end of the group are three hooligans, one demanding a hotel established by government, where people that aint inclined to work, can board free of expense, and be found in rum and tobacco. The second, a thief, wants the right to examine every other citizens pockets without interruption by Policemen. The last, an Irish street tough, says, I want all the stations houses burned up, and the M.P.s killed, so that the bohoys can run with the machine and have a muss when they please.  (Published 1860)

Abraham Lincoln's supporters are portrayed as radicals and eccentrics of various stripes. The satire is loosely based on an anti-Fremont cartoon from the previous presidential race, "The Great Republican Reform Party" (no. 1856-22), also issued by Nathaniel Currier. Here Lincoln, sitting astride a wooden rail borne by Horace Greeley, leads his followers toward a lunatic asylum. Greeley instructs him, "Hold on to me Abe, and we'll go in here by the unanimous consent of the people." Lincoln exhorts his followers, "Now my friends I'm almost in, and the millennium is going to begin, so ask what you will and it shall be granted." At the head of the group is a bearded man, arm-in-arm with a woman and a Mormon. He claims to "represent the free love element, and expect to have free license to carry out its principles." The woman looks at Lincoln, saying "Oh! what a beautiful man he is, I feel a passionate attraction' every time I see his lovely face." The Mormon adds, "I want religion abolished and the book of Mormon made the standard of morality." They are followed by a dandified free black, who announces, "De white man hab no rights dat cullud pussons am bound to spect' I want dat understood." Behind him an aging suffragette says, "I want womans rights enforced, and man reduced in subjection to her authority." Next a ragged socialist or Fourierist, holding a liquor bottle, asserts, "I want everybody to have a share of everybody elses property." At the end of the group are three hooligans, one demanding "a hotel established by government, where people that aint inclined to work, can board free of expense, and be found in rum and tobacco." The second, a thief, wants "the right to examine every other citizen's pockets without interruption by Policemen." The last, an Irish street tough, says, "I want all the stations houses burned up, and the M.P.s killed, so that the bohoys can run with the machine and have a muss when they please." (Published 1860)

After the news was confirmed by their appearance together, during which the President repeated what he had been told by Jim Owens, the CEO of Caterpillar — that passage of the stimulus bill would improve the company’s business — “shares of Caterpillar closed Wednesday [February 11] at $31.13, up 21 cents.”

But it is now being widely reported that President Obama is a liar.

Why?

Because after the President returned to Washington DC from his visit to the East Peoria Caterpillar plant, Owens fell in with some bad company.

(ABC) Obama has said twice in the past two days that Caterpillar CEO James Owens indicated his company would be able to rehire some of the 20,000 recently laid-off employees.

“Yesterday, Jim, the head of Caterpillar, said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off,” Obama said today in Peoria.

But when asked today if the stimulus could do that, Owens said, “I think, realistically, no. The honest reality is we’re probably going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again.”

Here’s the video. To provide proof positive that the President is a liar, ABC takes a clip of Obama speaking at the Caterpillar factory, which is innocently absent any sign or indication that Owens was standing just feet away, and appends to it a second clip, this one of Owens making the statement which is now being paraded around as the “rebuttal” which proves the President a liar.

Owens was not asked if he told the President that passage of the stimulus bill would mean some laid-off workers would be rehired. He was asked whether with passage of this stimulus bill Caterpillar would be able to rehire 22,000 recently laid-off employees.

By removing the modifying “some,” they not only say that the President is a liar but that he exaggerates his lies in order to manipulate the public into supporting the stimulus bill.

So here we are, the day of the final House and Senate votes on the stimulus bill:

(ABC)’Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., who represents the town of Peoria, Ill., where the president touted the stimulus Thursday, said employees from Caterpillar asked him to oppose the bill.

Obama made comments at the Caterpillar plant Thursday that the stimulus plan would mean that the company could rehire the employees it had laid off, a comment that the chairman and chief executive of Caterpillar rebutted.

Well, there you go. Proof positive: the President of the United States is a lying, exaggerating, manipulative politician and nothing he says is to be trusted.

What could explain Owens’ willingness to participate in this kind of chicanery? Is he afraid of House and/or Senate Republicans? Did someone promise him something?

What would compel the CEO of a company to go along with a fraud perpetrated by members of a political party which is so far in the minority that bills can be passed even if every single one of them votes against them?

I suppose, after suffering through eight years of the latest Republican maladministration, it might take some people a bit of time to recover from their Stockholm syndrome. But that explanation is unreasonable to attribute to a person like Owens. After all, he runs a company that earned $48 billion in 2008.

Lies were told but not by the President.

Senate Passes Stimulus Bill

February 13, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Posted in Economy, senate | 1 Comment
Tags: , ,
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the beer bill, March 1933

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the beer bill, March 1933

Vote 60-38.

(AFP) Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown cast the decisive vote in the 60-38 decision after returning from his homestate of Ohio, where he had been attending a memorial service for his late mother.

Taking Census.

February 13, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Posted in Department of Commerce | Leave a comment
Tags: ,
Taking census  (between 1918 and 1920)

"Taking census" (between 1918 and 1920)

The Census Bureau is looking for a few good people for the 2010 census.

The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting temporary part-time census takers for the 2010 Census. The pay is good, the hours are flexible, and the work is close to home.

Census taker jobs are excellent for retirees, college students, persons who want to work part-time, persons who are between jobs, or just about anyone who wants to earn extra money while performing an important service for their community.

FINAL HOUSE VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 70

February 13, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Posted in Economy, House of Representatives | 1 Comment
Tags: , ,
Ceremony in the House of Representatives Chamber, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the death of Lafayette, May 20, 1934.

Ceremony in the House of Representatives Chamber, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the death of Lafayette, May 20, 1934.

The results are in for the House vote on the Stimulus Bill. It passed 246-183.

Republicans did not break ranks and, other than two who did not vote, every last one voted no, along with seven Democrats:

Dan Lipinski (IL – 3) voted “present.” In a call to Lipinski’s office, a member of his office staff told me that Lipinski abstained because he was “not happy with the direction of the bill.” There was some muttering by the young person about transportation but I was so irritated that I did not make further inquiry.

Despite my inclination to assume the worst, it is possible that Lipinski and DeFazio at least had legitimate reasons for in effect casting protest votes.

On January 23rd DeFazio went on the Rachel Maddow Show to talk about the stimulus bill:

(ThinkProgress) Tonight on the Rachel Maddow Show, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said the amount of infrastructure spending in the legislation is “not enough.” He argued that if the Republicans are recycling failed ideas of the past, “we don’t need to buy them off with $300 billion in tax cuts.” DeFazio said Democrats in Congress originally proposed more for infrastructure spending, but the effort was shot down by Obama advisers:

There’s a pretty good consensus among members of the House that it should be more. But the dictate from on high in the negotiations with Obama’s advisers — I don’t think the President is there — I think he’s ill-advised by Larry Summers. Larry Summers hates infrastructure, and some of these other economists — who were very much part of creating the problem. Now they’re gonna solve the problem. And they don’t like infrastructure.

They want to have a consumer-driven recovery. We need an investment- and productivity-driven recovery for this country, a long-term recovery.

Maddow noted Obama speaks “very highly” of infrastructure. “If there’s a distance between him and his advisers,” she said, then that’s a problem. DeFazio responded, “He needs to know it, and that’s why I’m speaking out.”

From what I read about the other five Democrats who voted no, my impression is that their votes were not based on any legitimate issue of principle. Check out the links to see what I mean.

James Clyburn (SC – 6), House Majority Whip, was the only Democrat who did not vote. A member of his office staff told me that he left Washington DC earlier today on a “family emergency.”

Protecting You From Yourself.

February 13, 2009 at 11:43 am | Posted in Historical, public safety | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,
Sheldon Dick)

National guardsman with one-pounder, overlooking Chevrolet number nine and number four during strike at Flint, Michigan, January or February 1937. (Photo: Sheldon Dick)

(Police)The Richland County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Department has acquired an armored personnel carrier complete with a turret-mounted .50-caliber belt-fed machine gun for its Special Response Team.

Sheriff Leon Lott told the Columbia State newspaper that he hoped the vehicle, named “The Peacemaker,” would let the bad guys know that his officers are serious.

“We don’t look at this as a killing machine,” Lott told the paper. “It’s going to keep the peace. We hope the fact that we have this is going to save lives. When something like this rolls up, it’s time to give up.”

“The Peacemaker” uses “a caliber of ammunition that even the U.S. military is reluctant to use against human targets (it’s generally reserved for use against armored vehicles) …

Radley Balko wrote a paper in 2006 titled “Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America” that is available at the Cato Institute’s website.

Will South Carolina’s Governor, or any other, protect citizens from over-zealous police?

The Battle of Bulls Run had another major effect: Michigan Gov. Frank Murphy sent the National Guard to stand between the strikers and the police, allowing strikers to occupy the plants with little threat of forced eviction. Murphy’s courageous decision could have been political suicide, but he eventually became a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.