Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Fireside chat for March 27, 2010 (VIDEO)

The President looks back on a week that saw the passage of two major sets of reforms: one putting Americans in control of their own health care, and one ensuring student loans work for students and families, not as subsidies for bankers and middlemen.

Friday, March 26, 2010

President Obama annouces the new Start Treaty (VIDEO)

Half the time, I'm posting video of speeches and/or Town Halls I don't think are going to get coverage...even on supposedly Democratic-friendly MSNBC.

This speech is one of them. (As I type this, this story is fourth on the Washington Post's headlines, behind the Iraqi Elections, Abstinence Funding, and Bart Stupak's Editorial justifying his vote for Health Care Reform).

Oops, now it's number five, changing the ways of the Senate jumped ahead of it.

The President's Speech in Iowa City on Health Care Reform (VIDEO)

Full circle. He last came to Iowa City to outline his Health Care Reform Proposals, now...

Fort McHenry's first Star Wars reference... (VIDEO)

I don't believe I've managed that precious intersection of Politics and Star Wars. But, as Kevin Garnett once said, "anything is possible..."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another Black Right-wing Terrorist... (VIDEO)

One of the Teabagger Activists who posted Rep. Perriello's address (and subsequently screwed it up) is black.

This, unfortunately, is not a new phenomena.

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I said it once, I'll say it again.

Just because this Terrorist (let's call him what he is) is black doesn't mean that it this isn't about race. It still is. He may think he's giving this Domestic Terrorist organization racial cover, but these guys didn't feel the need to bring out their gats when the last few white guys were in charge at the Oval Office.

This is about a few Terrorist Douchebags responding to the worst stereotypes of African-American men, and resorting to threats of violence when they don't get their political way.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Map So Far (MAP)

The first map I've linked to, courtesy of the fine folks at TPM. This map shows the locations of all the threats and/or violence associated with Democratic House Members because of Health Care Reform.

Click on the dots to get descriptions of the incidents involved.

Unfortunately, I am convinced the number of blue dots on this map will only grow.

View Vandalism Surrounding Passage of Health Reform in a larger map

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ken Cuccinelli? Our founding Father would like a word...

I did not know that in the Second Militia Act of 1792, George Washington required citizens (by law) to buy a long list of Military Equipment??

Neither did Ken Cuccinelli.

Some myths about the current healthcare bill explained...

From a guy named Alter S. Reiss. First heard about it from Brad DeLong...

Myth 1:

With the passage of HCR, bears will be allowed to roam hospitals, devouring those patients too sick to hide or flee.

Status: FALSE

The ursine provisions of the health care bill remain controversial with the AMA and other organizations, but, basically, all they do is recognize that in some rural areas, particularly in the Dakotas and Alaska, bears have been acting as health care professionals for decades, and puts them into the category of other alternative health professionals, such as acupuncturists, osteopaths, and killer bees. Bear attacks may be available under some health plans, but those treatments are entirely at the discretion of the insurers.

Myth 2:

MRIs are once again to be termed "Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Images", and once again, a small percentage of those undergoing this procedure will gain super-powers that will allow them to perform great feats, at a cost to their humanity.

Status: FALSE

While this provision was included in earlier versions of the bill, it was dropped in the face of a strong opposition by Senator Keene and others.

Myth 3:


Status: That's not a myth, that's a bunch of words, some of which are misspelled.

Myth 4:

A provision of the HCR bill calls to the Lord Above, to send down a dove, with beak as sharp as razors, to cut the throats of them there blokes, what sells bad beer to sailors.

Status: Partially true.

While this language does exist in the current version of the bill, it is unlikely to stand judicial scrutiny, as it will probably be seen as a violation of the separation of church and state. However, this is merely echoing faith-based programs enacted by individual states. The dove attacks on campus area bars selling Rolling Rock to University of West Florida Argonauts, for instance, can only be applauded, as Rolling Rock is swill.

Myth 5:

In order to pay for the mandates of this bill, President Obama has traded the treasury of the United States for a handful of magic beans.

Status: FALSE

Only one government-owned cow was traded for these beans, which have already more than earned back the initial investment. Also, since the treasury of the US currently contains less than negative fourteen trillion dollars, wouldn't you want to trade it, for just about anything?

Myth 6:

The HCR bill will allow communists control of our vital bodily fluids.

Status: TRUE

Yeah, this one is totally real. But, to be fair, there aren't that many communists left, and those that there are don't actually want that many bags full of lymph and phlegm.

The President's speech at the Interior Department after signing HCR into Law (VIDEO)

This is probably going to be a speech of little note, but there was a good quip picked up by Josh over at Talking Points Memo:

"I heard one of the Republican leaders say this was 'going to be Armageddon,'" the President said, referring to comments earlier this week by House Minority Leader John Boehner and RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

"Well, two months from now, six months from now, we can check it out, look around, and we'll see," Obama continued, drawing laughter from the audience.

Countdown on Racism (VIDEO)

Keith returned Monday night, with a special focus dedicated toward the racism that was boiling up at the protests outside the Capitol in the run-up to the final health care vote.

No matter how you feel about Keith, this was the second most important story out there, coupled with the actual violence visited upon Congresspeople's Offices across the country.

This is starting to get serious. Someone, some lone nut out their is going to claim it as his right to murder someone because he or she doesn't like health care. What's worse is that the Republican party, the Republican party that has frankly egged this shit on, is going to walk away from it so fast it'll make your head spin.

Eisenhower Republicans, Goldwater Republicans, where the hell are you??! Take your party back. Please!

First Keith's segment with Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC)

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...and Keith's Special Comment.

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"Dad, the unfinished business is done..."

The President signed in on behalf of his Mother.

Patrick Kennedy left a note on his Father: "Dad, the unfinished business is done."

Now comes the hard part, making it better.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Joseph Cao is going to lose his seat...

I congratulated Joseph Cao for his brave vote on Health Care Reform last year.

But now, he's going to lose his seat.

Why? Not because he voted against Health Care Reform last night (which he did).

Because of the rhetoric he used in defending his vote.

New Orleans Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, who was the only Republican in either house of Congress to vote for the overhaul in November, joined the rest of his party in opposition, citing concerns that it would lead to federal funding of abortion.

"Right now I'm pretty much a tormented soul," said Cao, who noted that the legislation would benefit his district with its many poor and uninsured. He said he understood from his family's own experience -- a brother and father with kidney disease and a sister with lupus -- the crushing burden of health costs and the difficulties of securing adequate insurance.

Cao said his younger brother, who had a kidney transplant, called him a few days ago to plead with him to vote for the bill. "That was one of the toughest conversations I've ever had in my life," he said.

But Cao said he could not vote for legislation that included the Senate language that he, like the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Right to Life Committee, say would lead to public dollars subsidizing abortions, a view disputed by Congressional leaders, the White House and some Catholic groups including the Catholic Health Association and leaders of many orders of Catholics nuns.

"Modern society has become desensitized to the issue," Cao said. "When you speak of abortion many people push it aside without really thinking about it."

But, he said, many Americans also once turned a blind eye to the crime of slavery.

"For me abortion is such a moral evil, at a par with slavery, that I cannot in good conscience support a bill that seeks to expand it," Cao said.

Joseph Cao represents a majority black (and Democratic) district in Louisiana. He is in Office because, frankly, he wasn't William Jefferson.

His constituents understand something that apparently he doesn't.

Slavery is not on a par with Abortion.

Slavery is on a par...with slavery.

Come September, his challenger (what do you want to bet a Black Man) is going run ads, over and over and over again, reminding (black) people of his final vote on Health Care, and the appalling lack of racial sensitivity he showed in defending it.

Good luck on with your new job Former Congressman Cao!

Rahm Emanuel: 60 Minutes Interview (VIDEO)

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and for some extras...


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Neatness (or lack thereof):

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The missing finger:

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Tea-bagger racism? Proof that racism doesn't exist anymore...

Courtesy Think Progress, from the mind of Bill Bennett:

Final Score: 219-212.

...and let the church say amen.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Unimpressed...Part 3

First Gays, then Blacks, now Latinos:

[Rep. Ciro] Rodriguez's (D-TX, believe it or not) spokesperson, Rebeca Chapa, gets in touch to say that he was slammed as a “wetback” by an anti-reform protestor at a town meeting this week.

And another opponent called Rodriguez’ home and told the family member who answered to “go back to Mexico.”

Institutional Memory (VIDEO)

Rep. Dingell (D-MI) showing off the gavel he used to pass Medicare.

Speaker Pelosi and virtually the entire House Democratic Caucus walking to the Capitol.

Is it just me, or does this have the look and feel of Little Rock, 1957...with the usual suspects playing the usual parts?

Whose Waterloo again?

Wow, I am so not about quoting Republicans and/or Conservatives on this blog (Andrew Sullivan excluded), but the sentiments expressed on this post by David Frum (former Bushie) are something to behold. (For the record, the boldface is mine, not Mr. Frum's).

He's depressed, and for me...the Liberal, it's a sight to see:

Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:

(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.

(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.

So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:

A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

At the beginning of this process we made a strategic decision: unlike, say, Democrats in 2001 when President Bush proposed his first tax cut, we would make no deal with the administration. No negotiations, no compromise, nothing. We were going for all the marbles. This would be Obama’s Waterloo – just as healthcare was Clinton’s in 1994.

Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Could a deal have been reached? Who knows? But we do know that the gap between this plan and traditional Republican ideas is not very big. The Obama plan has a broad family resemblance to Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan. It builds on ideas developed at the Heritage Foundation in the early 1990s that formed the basis for Republican counter-proposals to Clintoncare in 1993-1994.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination. When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.

Yeah, I think that shot about the defeat for the free-market is bullshit. An unregulated free-market is what led us into this Financial Crisis, its what's forced us to do this watered down version of Health Care Reform. So, if Mr. Frum is wrong about anything, it's that the failure was back then, not now.

Unimpressed...Part 2

Now this is more like the modern Republican Party I know. Two GOP Reps reacting to yesterday's slur-fest:

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

"I just don't think it's anything. ... There are a lot of places in this country that I couldn't walk through. I wouldn't live to get to the other end of it."

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)

"When you use totalitarian tactics, people begin to act crazy. And I think, y'know there's people that have every right to say what they want. If they want to smear someone they can do it. It's not appropriate. and I think I would stop short of characterizing the 20,000 people who were protesting that all of them were doing that."

And in case there's doubt, here's the video:


I said I'd post it if they did it, so...

Following reports yesterday that black and openly gay Democratic lawmakers were subjected to spitting and epithets from anti-health care reform protesters outside the Capitol, Republican leaders said Sunday that such incidents were "isolated" and "reprehensible."

On CNN's "State of the Union," Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) denounced the use of such slurs "in the strongest terms possible."

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the "isolated incidents" were "reprehensible."

Later on the same program, Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee's first black chairman, agreed that the incidents were "reprehensible," and added, "we do not support that."

"What you had out there yesterday were a handful of people who just got stupid and said some ignorant things," Steele said.

Took 'em long enough.

That being said, this will happen again.

Why? Because no one wants it to stop.

If the GOP were serious about stopping this, they would threaten to cut off the Tea Party if this continues. But they can't afford to do that, because right now the Tea-Party IS the Republican mainstream, so it's the "a few bad apples" strategy.

Meanwhile, the Democrats love the optics on this because it makes the Tea-Party look reactionary and racist, which, let's be honest, they are.

I want this to stop because the next level of anger past the slurs is going to be violence.

As an African-American I know all too well where this leads. First they demand you do something, because you always have to do what "they" say. When you refuse, they assert their superiority by calling you a name, to remind you (and them) how much better they really are. When that fails, they will force you do what they want, because they feel it is their right. And that's where the violence comes.

You can tell from their signs (scroll to the bottom of this article if you want to see what I mean).

I want the Tea-Party stopped before someone gets hurt, or worse.