The Hard and Narrow Third Path Won the Day

September 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Foreign Affairs, Historical, International Affairs, Obama!, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Tobruk, Libya. One hour after Tobruk fell, such scenes as this were common. Roofless buildings stand among scattered masonry and wreckage of motor vehicles in a corner of the bomb-torn town which had been one of the main supply ports for Rommel’s army in North Africa. c.1942? (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

I am glad that I won’t have to explain to my own children why the world stood aside, its decision allayed by an American President whom I supported, and allowed a mass genocidal massacre for the second time in almost as many decades.

thereisnospoon@Digby’s Hullabaloo

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Deep Breath, In, Out, In, Out

September 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Posted in elections, Obama! | Leave a comment
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Well done, Mr. President!

September 7, 2012 at 12:44 am | Posted in elections, Obama! | Leave a comment
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Here’s a slide show of the President and his lovely family (well, you have to scroll down below Sarah Palin’s whining).

Hey, Mr. President, you were wondering why there’s an “enthusiasm gap”?

June 16, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Posted in civil rights, Foreign Affairs, Obama!, politics straight up, Reality Bites, terrorism | Leave a comment
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This is not what I voted for.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A medical degree does not necessarily mean you are terribly bright

April 6, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Posted in Obama!, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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The maroons over at WND are very excited about this “top-ranking, highly decorated officer in the U.S. Army” challenging President Obama’s eligibility to be president. There is outrage and horror that Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, an active-duty flight surgeon facing a second deployment to Afghanistan, is being threatened with dismissal for his refusal to obey orders until the president produces his “original” birth certificate.

Anyone this unhinged from reality really does warrant discharge.  He’s not someone I would consider safe around loaded weaponry.

Why do Republicans hate America?

March 10, 2010 at 2:57 am | Posted in civil rights, law, Obama!, politics straight up, Reality Bites, senate | 1 Comment
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"Dynamite defendants leave Federal Bldg. Indianapolis" 1912 October 9

For over 25 years I have been employed preparing transcripts in criminal cases in Massachusetts. A large percentage of the work I do is for the Committee for Public Counselpublic defenders for indigent defendants. In my opinion, these men and women are unsung heroes who work long hours for very little pay in order to represent people who most of us would not care to meet at a backyard barbecue. The United States Constitution guarantees every defendant the right to an attorney. Unfortunately, not all of us have the wherewithal to afford to hire one.

Los Angeles was the first community to provide public defenders for indigent defendants, in 1913. In 1971, pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C.§ 3006A, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit approved the creation of The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Texas.

In 1974 Congress created the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) whose mission is “to promote equal access to justice in our Nation and to provide high quality civil legal assistance to low-income persons.”

In keeping with the desire of members of the Republican party to destroy all meaningful protections of the Constitution, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell recommended nomination for a position on the board of directors of LSC a person who has worked diligently to cut off public funding of attorneys for poor people. Her name is Sharon Browne.

But Ms. Browne is not awaiting confirmation simply by the good graces of Senator McConnell. She also has President Obama to thank. He was absolutely free to decline to include her name. It’s hard to imagine that no one inside the White House was aware of Sharon Browne’s agenda. And it’s disheartening to once again see this Democratic administration miss another opportunity to show that it had any more respect for the rule of law than Republican administrations.

Republican senators have demonstrated over and over and over and over and over and over again, ad nauseum, the ease with which confirmation of qualified nominees can be held up for no reason at all.

Has a single Democrat stepped up to put a hold on Ms. Browne’s nomination? No.

In fact, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), as chair of the senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, has penciled her in on today’s schedule for a vote of approval prior to a allow her nomination to proceed to a full vote by the senate.

Do not allow sit idly by while the Republicans insert another corrosive element into the federal government. Their only intent is to so weaken the effectiveness of our government and our ability to enjoy the protections guaranteed each one of us under the Constitution. Call your Democratic senators. Ask that they grow a set and place a hold on this disgraceful nominee, or that at the very least they vote no on confirmation.

Where is DNC Chair Tim Kaine?

March 8, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Obama!, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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In 1924, the Progressives, a collection of farm and labor leaders, and reformers of various kinds, banded together to nominate Senator Robert M. La Follette as their candidate for president. In the election in November, however, La Follette carried only his home state of Wisconsin.

President Obama and his political team are apparently utterly clueless that in order to win the message war you need to actually participate.

(NYT) Mr. Axelrod said he accepts some blame for what he called “communication failures,” though he acknowledges bafflement that the administration’s efforts to stimulate the economy in a crisis, overhaul health care and prosecute two wars have been so routinely framed by opponents as the handiwork of a big-government, soft-on-terrorism, politics-of-the-past ideologue.

Former (as of January 16, 2010) governor of Virginia Tim Kaine has been chairperson of the DNC for over a year yet has managed to get himself booked on a Sunday political chat show this year exactly once. Newt Gingrich, who abruptly left office in mid term twelve years ago, has been on Meet The Press five times since January 2009. Failed Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been on at least one Sunday show an average of once every three weeks since he lost the November 2008 election.

So where’s Tim Kaine?

Whose deficit?

January 15, 2010 at 11:29 am | Posted in Economy, Historical, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Blowing away the surplus

Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 31, no. 1576. 1887 March 5. (Library of Congress)

A recent Fox poll asked the question, “Who do you think is more responsible for the current state of the economy — President Obama, former President Bush or Congress?”

Six percent held President Obama responsible, 36 percent blamed Bush, 30 percent blamed Congress, 20 percent said it was some combination of the three, and 8 percent didn’t know.

Some people would say it’s not fair to blame Congress, but I do think those individuals who were members during the Bush administration rightfully deserve a share of responsibility. They were the ones, after all, who put Bush’s policies into action. It is nice to see though that despite the media saturated with fingers pointed at the current president, a very small number were buying.

David Axelrod has an op-ed in the WSJ where he lays out in simple, concise language the current state of affairs and how we got here.

The day the Bush administration took over from President Bill Clinton in 2001, America enjoyed a $236 billion budget surplus — with a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion. When the Bush administration left office, it handed President Obama a $1.3 trillion deficit — and projected shortfalls of $8 trillion for the next decade. During eight years in office, the Bush administration passed two major tax cuts skewed to the wealthiest Americans, enacted a costly Medicare prescription-drug benefit and waged two wars, without paying for any of it.

How anyone can keep a straight face while pushing for a recommencing of the failed Republican policies that got us here is beyond me.

Thanks, Steve Benen!

Politics of Personal Self-Destruction

January 10, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Posted in politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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Rielle Hunter dancing on John Edwards' dream

Color lithograph, c1895 (Library of Congress)

Wow. After reading the 10-page excerpt from John Heilemann’s and Mark Halperin’s new book, Game Changer, I certainly understand why John Edwards was perfect pickings for a carpetbagger like Rielle Hunter.

Moreover, I am grateful that she did manage to get into his pants, because he would have made a lousy president — unable and unwilling to listen to his advisers.

It’s a shame though because I had liked many of his policy proposals.

Obama’s Mandate

January 9, 2010 at 11:35 am | Posted in politics straight up, senate | 2 Comments
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I was reading this morning about another instance of Republican obstruction in the Senate and it occurred to me how interesting it is that we never hear the word “mandate” any more.

The landslide election of 1964 gave Johnson the mandate to realize his vision of a Great Society. The Democrats held two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress.

Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, Senate majority leader, 1955 Sept. (Library of Congress)

Throughout Bush’s second term, the public, but especially Democrats, were constantly reminded that Bush and his party had a mandate to govern and legislate as they saw saw fit.

In September 2007 Steve Benen pointed out:

For years, Republicans, with a 55-seat majority, cried like young children if Dems even considered a procedural hurdle. They said voters would punish obstructionists. They said it was borderline unconstitutional. They said to stand in the way of majority rule was to undermine a basic principle of our democratic system.

So let me ask Republicans today: Where is your respect for the clear mandate extended to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in the November 2008 elections?

UPDATE (1/20/10): You would think I would have been less naive when I wrote this post, but Perrspective’s post on this issue makes it clear that the problem is not with disrespect by Republicans but by the President and Democratic Party leaders of their own party platform and agenda.

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