Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Funeral ... Part 3: President Barack Obama (VIDEO)

Ted Kennedy was the father who looked after not only his own three children, but John's and Bobby's as well. He took them camping and taught them to sail. He laughed and danced with them at birthdays and weddings; cried and mourned with them through hardship and tragedy; and passed on that same sense of service and selflessness that his parents had instilled in him. Shortly after Ted walked Caroline down the aisle and gave her away at the altar, he received a note from Jackie that read, "On you the carefree youngest brother fell a burden a hero would have begged to be spared. We are all going to make it because you were always there with your love."

The Funeral ... Part 2: Patrick Kennedy (VIDEO)

The Funeral ... Part 1: Edward M. Kennedy Jr. (VIDEO)

The Fireside chat for August 29, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

ThinkProgress: Thumbs up to the...Idaho GOP??

I can't believe it myself, yet:

Despite coming under widespread criticism for his “joke” about hunting President Obama, Idaho Republican gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell wrote a tweet this morning doubling down on his own tasteless humor:

  • Obama hunting tags was just a joke! Everyone knows Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue tags in Washington D.C.

Rammell is facing fire from allies in his own state. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) issued this statement:

  • Rex Rammell’s comments are in very poor taste and should not have been said. … Remarks like these should not even be made jokingly. We are engaged in a critical national debate over many major issues facing our country today. Remarks like these are not only unhelpful in that debate, but they undermine it. He should apologize for those remarks and for the perception they may have created.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) added, “It is absolutely irresponsible to say such inflammatory things, especially for someone who seeks to be a leader in Idaho.” Even the Idaho Republican Party said it “does not condone Rex Rammell’s comments, whether in jest or not.” Nevertheless, Rammell refuses to apologize.

TPM/CNN: Knock...Knock... (VIDEO)


CNN has picked up our story from yesterday on Steven Anderson, the Arizona pastor who prayed for Barack Obama's death the day before one of his parishioners, who attended the sermon, brought an AR-15 rifle to an Obama event.

And they've advanced the story a bit: CNN analyst Mike Brooks reports that the Secret Service has interviewed Anderson, who told TPMmuckraker yesterday: "To be honest with you, I have prayed for Obama to die. I'm not the only one, I'm just the only one with the spine to say it."

Not only did the Bank bailout work...

...but we're making money from it. Worst case scenario...we break even.

It's entirely possible that Barack Obama's political downfall has nothing to do with Health Insurance Reform, Afghanistan, Iraq, or the Bailouts, or the Economy, but our collective inability to understand what he did and how helped fix it.

Yes, we may be too stoopid to understand how the Obama Administration saved the country.

Slate and Newsweek's Daniel Gross:

The initial effort that Paulson began, and that his successors in the Obama administration continued, had the characteristics of an investment fund. Under the Capital Purchase Program, the government would borrow from the public at low rates—1 percent or so per year—and lend the money to banks at 5 percent, through the purchase of preferred shares. As investors in troubled companies do, the government demanded something extra: warrants, which are the right to buy a stock at a set price. It's kind of like lending money to someone to buy a house but getting ownership of the basement as part of the deal.

While there are still perils and pitfalls to come (for example, the strongest Banks are of course returning their money first, while the weaker ones can be expected to hang on a little longer, thus lessening the chance of getting that money back), the worst we can expect, at this point, is to break even:

Given the returns thus far, Herb Allison, the former CEO of TIAA-CREF who was tapped by Timothy Geithner to run the TARP, notes that "it's quite possible we'll have a positive return on the CPP program as a whole." That's possible.

The Bonddad (for waaay more technical reading of this):

There are a few basic points that seem to get lost in the TARP debate. The first is these are actually preferred shares that pay interest.

TPM: Man Arrested For Counter-Protesting A Tea Party Without A Permit (VIDEO)

So Tea Partiers can bring assault weapons to the President's events...but when a guy (a black guy, might I add) protests the Tea Partiers...he gets arrested, and threatened with taser.

They accused him of not having a permit to demonstrate.

I'm sorry, but he can't speak out as an individual and call out these bastards? An individual, without plan or scheme, cannot get into the face of someone and shout them down? It may be ugly, but it's within his rights.

But of course, this is Georgia we're talking about, which is returning to its exhalted status as the racist backwater we've always known it to be. Mississippi, only spelled differently.

All Men equal under Law. Keep telling yourself that tale .

HuffPo: Race-Based Protests Directed At Obama Continue To Rise

From Sam Stein. I keep posting these because the climate is worsening. I appreciate and respect any and all political dissent, even when its directed at the guy I support. But keep it real. Don't make it personal. And sure as hell don't make it racial.

But alas...

Race-based attacks and criticism of President Obama have been on the rise during the dog days of August. And they're not just happening at health care town hall protests.

A reader sent over a picture of a group of protesters camped outside Rep. Susan Davis's (D-Calif.). "Neighborhood Day" event this past week, brandishing signs calling the president a Black Supremacist and suggesting he's a Nazi disciple.

"Black National Socialism Is Not Utopia," reads one poster.

Another has a picture of Obama's former preacher, Jeremiah Wright, juxtaposed with a picture of Adolph Hitler and one of picture of Obama and Wright together. "Obama's Church: Black Supremacist," it reads.

The protesters, the reader writes, were small in number. But their presence outside the event indicates that four weeks into August, the highly personal and often racially tinged vitriol directed at the president shows no sign of abating.

Earlier this week, Idaho Republican gubernatorial hopeful, Rex Rammell, said he'd buy a license to hunt Obama. Meanwhile, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, (R-Kans.) expressed her wish that the Republican Party would find a "great white hope" to take on the president in the next election.

Asked about Jenkins' comment on Thursday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton gave the freshman congresswoman a pass for the eyebrow-raising remark.

"I saw that report," said Burton. "I also saw that her spokesperson backpedaled and said that that was a poor choice of words. We obviously give Congresswoman Jenkins the benefit of the doubt."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

TPM: Who Are the 13 Senate Democrats Holding Out On the Public Option?

TPM's Brian Beutler breaks down who's really holding things up.

HuffPo: Idaho GOP Hopeful was only kidding when he joked about hunting Obama...

Rex? Do yourself a favor. Apologize.

An Idaho Republican gubernatorial hopeful insists he was only joking when he said he'd buy a license to hunt President Barack Obama.

Rex Rammell, a former elk rancher slated to run against incumbent C.L. "Butch" Otter in the May 2010 GOP primary, made the comment at a Republican rally Tuesday in Twin Falls where talk turned to the state's planned wolf hunt, for which hunters must purchase an $11.50 wolf tag.

When an audience member shouted a question about "Obama tags," Rammell responded, "The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those."

Rammell told The Associated Press Thursday he was just being sarcastic and sees no reason to apologize for the comment.

Bipartisanship at last...

Senator Jim Inhofe (D-OK) and Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA) both haven't read the Health Care Bill, and both aren't voting for it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Lion... (VIDEO)

From near the beginning:

...and from near the end.

"He was ready to go..." (VIDEO)

TPM: An update to the "Reverse B" attack in Denver.


Following up on an earlier post. We now have this from TPM.

Late Update: OK, the plot thickens...Gawker asserts that Ariel Attack is actually the same person as Maurice, noting the facts that only one person has been arrested, and that the anarchist posting says Ariel "is listed in the jail records and media under her birth name." It seems like that's probably right.

Assuming that's true, there's a broader implication for the story. It seemed to us in writing this post earlier that the goal of the attack was to discredit conservatives, by getting them blamed for it. That was because the one person who had been reliably reported to have been arrested had a background working for a group supportive of Democrats. But now, given that the person arrested has anarchist ties and is on the record as a vocal left-wing opponent of Obama, it looks like that interpretation was wrong. It now seems more likely that the goal was more straight-forward: to express anger at Obama and the Democrats.

Apologies for the evolving take on this story. We'll keep working to get a handle on it as things progress.

The New Republic: Down With the Senate

I never thought I'd say this, but thank God for the New Republic.

The sense most people have of the health care debate is that it's great drama in which President Obama is the central player. All the big news has centered around hints and whispers about what the White House wants. They're abandoning the public plan! They're standing by the public plan! They're giving up on bipartisanship! The press has covered the story as if Obama is Moses and we're waiting for him to come down from the mountaintop.

This is totally wrong. The Senate is what controls the process. That's the chokepoint for any health care bill. The question isn't how badly Obama wants a public plan, or how much he cares about bipartisanship. It's whether moderate to conservative Democrats in the Senate will filibuster a bill that has a public plan or lacks GOP support. Everything else is details.

This great misapprehension is at the heart of the great liberal health care revolt. The base is furious at President Obama and his willingness to compromise. They're right to be furious. But their anger is completely misdirected. The Huffington Post's Dan Froomkin, for instance, has written that there are two possibilities in the health care debate. Either Obama "will come out with a strong bill," he writes, or else "will come out of it having given away the store." Froomkin thinks this question hinges upon how badly Obama wants health care reform: "Is the real Obama being serially co-opted by his aides in there? Or is the real Obama at heart a conflict-averse facilitator, rather than a leader?"

Glenn Greenwald, meanwhile, complains in The New York Times that "for whatever reasons, [Obama] has failed to take a stand for (if not actively renounced) its central planks." Look: Obama has not renounced the public plan. He wants a public plan. To whatever degree the final health bill falls short of liberal expectations, it will be because moderate Democrats in the Senate, not Obama, wanted it that way. Obama will sign the most left-wing health care bill he can possibly get through the Senate. There is an alternative political world in which Obama would balk at provisions favored by liberal Democrats--say, a world in which Bernie Sanders was the sixtieth vote--but that scenario does not resemble the world in which we reside.

Why are liberals so confused? Well, the news coverage has been pretty poor at explaining the institutional dynamics. Yet some blame also has to rest with the poor design of our political systems. Americans have come to think of presidential elections as the be-all, end-all of political change in America. Not only is the Senate a malapportioned, counter-majoritarian institution with arcane procedures, it's practically designed to prevent accountability. Obama supporters who want the agenda they voted for to be enacted into law need to be exerting pressure on figures like Max Baucus and Kent Conrad. Yet these characters are accountable only to tiny, unrepresentative slices of the population. So they get angry at Obama instead, which only makes him less popular and which makes the Baucuses and Conrads even less likely to support him.

I still think there's a pretty good chance at passing significant health care reform. But if health care reform fails, liberals need to understand who to blame and how to fix it. They need to start knocking off Democrats like Conrad and Joe Lieberman, who seem to be trying to kill health care reform, even if this temporarily costs the Democrats some seats. They need to commit the party to reconstituting the rules of the Senate along majoritarian lines--yes, even if this helps Republicans pass their agenda when they're in charge. If health care reform can't pass now, then a filibuster-proof Democratic majority isn't worth having. At that point you have to consider blowing up the party and waiting a decade or two to rebuild a new one that's able to address the country's actual needs.

More commentary at the Daily Kos, on the same article.

Yes, they were booing the Rabbi...

Rep. James Moran's (D-VA) Town Hall appearance with Governor Howard Dean, and there's even an appearance by Randall Terry...right before he's shown the door.

And yes, that sound you heard during the opening prayer was some in the crowd attempting to shout down the Rabbi leading the prayer. It wasn't overwhelming. It was just there.

I was waiting for them to boo the two Boy Scouts of Troop 1018 who were leading the Pledge, but that didn't happen, just an obnoxious overemphasis on certain words in the Pledge.

And, as always, since this is C-SPAN, there is no embeddedable video.

UPDATE 3:03pm Pacific. A short clip from the chaos, highlighting Randall Terry's removal from the hall, but by no means the whole thing.

TPM: Remember the Reverse "B" attack?

Like I said, there's what you know, and what you think you know...

Do you remember the Pittsburgh Sociopath that carved reverse B into her face, claiming she'd be attacked by Obama Supporters?

Looks like there's a possibility, that just maybe that yesterday's attack on Democratic Party HQ in Denver may be (could be) something similar:

Remember the disturbed young John McCain volunteer, who, in the closing days of last year's presidential campaign, carved a B into her face and pretended she'd been attacked by an African-American Obama supporter? Well it looks like we may have a similar case on our hands -- only in reverse.

To explain:

Two men were arrested yesterday after an attack on the Colorado Democratic Party headquarters in Denver, in which 11 windows, displaying posters supporting health-care reform, were smashed.

It looked like a case of conservative rage boiling over. State party chair Pat Waak thought so, declaring, in comments eagerly picked up by Think Progress: "Clearly there's been an effort on the other side to stir up hate. I think this is the consequence of it."

But wait. Police soon announced that they had arrested 24-year old Maurice Schwenkler, who allegedly wore a shirt over his face and latex gloves during the attack, then fled on a bicycle before quickly being caught. And Schwenkler doesn't exactly fight the profile of a right-winger.

According to campaign finance records looked at by the Denver Post, a person by that name last November was paid $500 by a group called Colorado Citizens Coalition. That group supported numerous Democratic campaigns last cycle, and the woman registered as its treasurer, Julie Wells, has been active with several liberal causes. Wells did not respond to TPMmuckraker's request for comment.

Schwenkler was also reportedly arrested for unlawful assembly at the 2008 GOP convention in Minneapolis.

And according to WestWord, the Denver alternative weekly, Schwenkler's address is the former location of the Derailer Bicycle Collective, a "radical, free bike fix-it shop". The current owner of the house is a well-known progressive activist who was once the U.S. coordinator for "Potters For Peace"

What about the other attacker? Details are sketchy, but an anarchist news site, for what its worth, is reporting that a person named Ariel Attack, a "Denver-based anarchist," has been arrested in connection with the incident. A supporter writes: "At this moment, we do not know Ariel's status within the jail, especially regarding her gender classification."

Posts by a writer using the name Ariel Attack have appeared at a site called Queers Against Obama, whose tagline declares that "Obamamania is nothing more than yet another manufactured nationalist frenzy." One post is titled "Obama's War On Queer and Trans Youth."

So there you have it. Recently, we've gotten a few glimpses into the fetid cesspool of hate and violence that characterizes the far-right fringe. Smashing windows is, of course, a far cry from murder. But are we now being reminded that the right doesn't have a monopoly on political violence?

Still, it's hard to know what's really going on here. If Marcus Schwenkler and Ariel Attack are indeed the perpetrators, was this a deliberate bait-and-switch, similar to the one perpetrated by the McCain volunteer, with the goal being to discredit conservative opponents of health-care reform? Or, was it more straightforward: far-left nihilists using violence to express their contempt for Obama and the Democratic party? Or some twisted combination of both?

Who knows? But we'll keep you posted as the facts get clearer.


It's a good story. Makes all the right people look terrible... (VIDEO)

Of all things, that's a quote from a Daredevil comic book.

One starfish at a time...

What do I mean by that? Just this, from the President's speech on April 21st of this year:

When Ted Kennedy makes this point [about Public Service), he also tells a story as elegantly simple as it is profound. An old man walking along a beach at dawn saw a young man pick up a starfish and throwing them out to sea. “Why are you doing that?” the old man inquired.

The young man explained that the starfish had been stranded on the beach by a receding tide, and would soon die in the daytime sun. “But the beach goes on for miles,” the old man said. “And there are so many. How can your effort make any difference?” The young man looked at the starfish in his hand, and without hesitating, threw it to safety in the sea. He looked up at the old man, smiled, and said: “It will make a difference to that one.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

There's what you know, and what you think you know... (VIDEO)

The thing I'm starting to discover about Government is that there's what something is, and there's what you think it is.

A lot of times, the people are way ahead of their Government. But sometimes they're not.

The screechy (pre-teabag) caller at the beginning of this video has a notion of how to Stimulate the Economy.

...and it would have worked, too...if there Economic System left standing after she was done.

Here's a hint: there wouldn't have been.

That's unpleasant as it all is...the banks had to be bailed out.

Think Progress: More vandalism...

Democratic Party Headquarters in Denver, Colorado, vandalized today. I immediately though about what happened in both Indiana, and Arkansas.

More extensive coverage of the incident can be found at the Denver Post.

A 24-year-old arrested this morning on suspicion of smashing 11 windows at Colorado Democratic Party headquarters tried to conceal his identity while allegedly committing the crime, according to police descriptions.

Maurice Schwenkler wore a shirt over his face, a hooded sweatshirt and latex gloves before he and another man fled the scene on bicycles. Police arrested Schwenkler after a short chase. The other suspect remains at-large.

State Democratic Party Chairwoman Pat Waak blamed the vandalism on animosity surrounding the health care debate, though Denver Police declined to comment on possible motives.

The shattered windows were emblazoned with posters touting President Barack Obama and the Democratic position on Health Care Reform.