Saturday, May 1, 2010

President Obama's Commencement Address at...that University (VIDEO)

...that University being...Michigan.

Can you tell I'm an Ohio State Fan? (What, the President couldn't have gone to Columbus first? Michigan isn't in play. Ohio might be.)

Maybe I'm being too hard on Michigan after all. When your Football Program sucks, and your Basketball program sucks, you need something to justify your existence. Just don't go bringing down the Boss's Presidency, Big Blue!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Oh, and this may be my 1000th post. Enjoy!

The Fireside chat for May 1, 2010 (VIDEO)

As the President beats back lobbyists seeking to weaken Wall Street Reform, he talks about an even broader threat that would vastly expand the influence of massive industries and their lobbyists in Washington. A recent Supreme Court decision opened the floodgates for corporations, including foreign corporations, to spend endless money on political ads that would give them even more power at the expense of American families – the President pledges to fight for reforms to stem that influence.

Friday, April 30, 2010

What scares me about Arizona... apparently what scares Ta-Neishi Coates of the Atlantic Monthly as well.

Carrying an illegal gun in New York is a crime, and it was a crime before New York City began searching people, stopped for another infraction, for illegal guns. Likewise, being an illegal alien was also, necessarily, a crime before Arizona's law. Both laws also place a burden of search on people who may well be innocent.

But whereas New York proving your innocence in New York means simply not having an illegal gun on your person, proving your innocence in Arizona means carrying around identification that you aren't an illegal alien. The right comparison isn't New York requiring you to submit to a search for illegal guns--it's New York requiring you to carry proof that you don't own an illegal gun.

Put differently, it was always a crime to carry an illegal gun in New York, but it was not always a (state) crime in Arizona for legal immigrants to leave their proof of residency at home. Now it is. Moreover, from what I can tell, this actually understates the law. Essentially, Arizona has made it a crime for anyone in the state to not have proof of citizenship on them at all times. Defenders of the law will say that police still have to stop you for something, and they still have to "suspect" that you did something.

Forgive, but I don't find that comforting. Amadou Diallo is dead because the police "suspected" he was drawing a gun. Oscar Grant is dead because the police "suspected" he needed to be tased. My old friend, Prince Jones, Howard University student and father of a baby girl, was murdered by the police in front of his daughter's home because police "suspected" he was a drug-dealer. (The cop was not kicked off the force.) Only a year ago, I was stopped in Chelsea, coming from an interview with NPR, because police "suspected" I was the Latino male who'd recently robbed someone.

This comes down to police power, and how comfortable you are with its extension. George Will, in a bit of populist demagoguery, implies that the critics of the Arizona law are people who only know illegal immigrants as cheap labor. But I suspect Will mostly has the exact same relationship with illegal immigrants. Moreover, I suspect that he only knows the police as the kind of Officer Friendlies who only arrest "the bad people."

I don't want to be cheap here, but it needs to said that when you actually know decent people who are dead because of our insane drug war, your perspective on police power changes. This is a multi-million dollar lawsuit waiting to happen. Someone is going to get killed. And the fact that "the vast majority of police are awesome" will not bring them back.

"I measure progress by a different pulse" (VIDEO)

3.2 GDP Growth is undeniably good news, but...

After the single biggest economic crisis in our lifetimes, we’re heading in the right direction. We’re moving forward. Our economy is stronger; that economic heartbeat is growing stronger.

But I measure progress by a different pulse -– the progress the American people feel in their own lives day in, day out. And this week, I spent a few days visiting with folks in small towns in the Midwest -– places where the damage done by the worst recession in our lifetimes is profound. They’re still trying to recover from a shockwave of lost homes, lost businesses, and more than eight million lost jobs. It’s a tragedy that has families and communities across America too often feeling like they’re on life support.

So while today’s GDP report is an important milepost on our road to recovery, it doesn’t mean much to an American who has lost his or her job and can’t find another. For millions of Americans -– our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens ready and willing to get back to work -– “you’re hired” is the only economic news they’re waiting to hear. And they are why the work of moving this economy forward remains our focus every single day.

Now, government can’t replace every job that has been lost. That’s not government’s role. It is America’s business all across the country -- the private sector, businesses -- that have always been and will always be the engines of our job creation. Our task, then, is to create the conditions necessary for those businesses to open their doors, expand their operations, and ultimately hire more workers.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

President Obama's eulogy for Dr. Dorothy Height (VIDEO)

The President talks Wall Street Reform back home in Quincy, IL (VIDEO)

The Washington Post's Proud Tradition of Racism Continues... (a follow up)

The Washington Post (wanting to feed the controversy fire, while at the same time wanting to avoid getting burned) put up a response to the column I mentioned earlier. Kevin Huffman is also the parent of bi-racial (non-black) children, but unlike Mrs. Chang seems to have a clue.

Let me start by suggesting this may slightly over-value the deep personal meaning of the Census form. I viewed the form as a seven-minute exercise in ensuring that the District of Columbia gets to count my whole family as residents. Maybe we can even get enough funding to fix the Metro escalators. I hadn’t realized the need to express solidarity with my relatives and ancestors, living and dead.

Anyway, like Chang, my kids are half Asian and half white, which led me to identify them on the Census as… Asian. My brother is half black and half white. He went with biracial. Somehow neither of these decisions has resulted in meaningfully different personal connections for my family.

The question of race as biological or sociological construct is complex. While Chang may wish Obama took a more literalist perspective and identified as biracial, I’m quite sure she doesn’t have the right to judge.

Exactly. Well said, Mr. Huffman.

I'm sorry that President Obama didn't fulfill Mrs. Chang's personal ambitions by making a personal choice on his own personal census form.

I'm equally sorry that the default position of too many Americans is that our fellow citizens of biracial ancestry should automatically want to set aside their African Heritage. Thus, I still think Mrs. Chang is a racist.

The Washington Post's Proud Tradition of Racism Continues...

The Washington Post, a proud tradition of serving a predominately African-American City, with writers who are either racially clueless or racially hostile.

Despite being raised by a white mother and white grandparents, despite have spent most of his childhood in the rainbow state of Hawaii, despite clearly being comfortable in almost any type of crowd (though I suppose Tea Partyers might give him pause), the president apparently considers himself only black. "I self-identify as an African American. That's how I am treated and that's how I am viewed. And I'm proud of it," he has said. But he also argued in his famous speech about race that he could no more disown the Reverend Jeremiah Wright "than I can my white grandmother." With his census choice, he has done precisely that.

No, Elizabeth. (And please learn to spell Tea-Partiers correctly).

Granted, your racial worldview is limited. And I say this because despite all the other racial problems this country has had, it has primarily divided itself on the black-white axis. You have no experience in this world, by your own admission, yet you continue to flap your gums.

For years, my people have been regarded as second-class citizens or deserving of the back of the bus. We are citizens looked down by our fellow citizens. And now that the first African-American President has chosen to assert his own (dare I say) blackness, this is somehow inappropriate.

I would like to say that Elizabeth isn't a racist, but I can't say that. Somehow for a lot of Americans (not all), identifying as Black when you are biracial is just wrong. It is the desire of the dominant majority for people like the President to push aside his African-American heritage in favor of the other. Any other choice is wrong. Tiger Woods ceded to your wishes, Mrs. Chang...and you see how well it's worked out.

"I self-identify as an African American. That's how I am treated and that's how I am viewed. And I'm proud of it."

So am I.

Go to hell, Mrs. Chang.

Kenneth Blackwell: Intellectual Fraud...

I don't have the heart to put up the interview with Jon Stewart eviscerating the former Secretary of State for Ohio, Kenneth "Deibold" Blackwell. But TPM did. Watch it there.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"How's that hopey-changey thing workin' out for ya?"

Quite well. Thank you for asking Half-term Governor Sarah Palin.

Let's see, Republicans being whittled down under a furious Democratic assault against their filibuster of Financial Regulatory Reform?

Seems like change to me.

Oh, and another thing, Half-Governor? You're still a racist.

Bigoted Woman? (VIDEO)

A first for Fort McHenry. Covering Politics not of these shores.

I got this from Andrew Sullivan's site, who's been covering this non-stop.

Long and short of it is this: this...isn't going to go well for (let's just say it) former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

I asked the question (via Email) of Andrew Sullivan: "Is this woman bigoted"? Because it all sounds innocuous, lovely and British over the YouTube. So you may not think so.

But shift the background from Rochester, UK to say...I don't know, Tempe, Arizona, and replace the words Eastern European with Mexican. Now how does she sound?!?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

As the GOP prepares to cave...


Bipartisan Wall Street reform negotiations appeared on the brink of collapse Tuesday night after Republican and Democratic principals found themselves at an impasse over the issue of consumer financial protection. But though Republicans have been promising all week to sustain a filibuster, blocking debate on the Democrats' legislation, they now seem prepared to cede the current fight, explicitly saying that, if talks don't bear fruit soon, they'll allow the bill to move to the floor.

"I don't feel like there's a real possibility in the near future of getting a bipartisan bill... I just don't feel that's a possibility," said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) in response to a question from TPMDC.

Corker hasn't decided if he himself will ultimately decide to break a GOP filibuster of financial reform legislation--but he's fairly certain that a global agreement between Democrats and Republicans is likely impossible. "I don't feel under any pressure [but] I'm just far less optimistic than I've ever been."

Unlike Corker, Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), long thought to be a financial reform swing vote, said he'll give negotiations between Sens. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) a bit more time--he said he's likely to vote to sustain the filibuster again tomorrow. But if there's no breakthrough soon, he's going to vote with the Democrats to debate the issue on the floor.

And what did Jonathan Chait say...oh, yesterday?!??

Republicans think they can limit the political damage of a filibuster if they reach a bipartisan deal. But what incentive do the democrats have to reach a deal? If they can force the Republicans to maintain a filibuster, why not keep the issue going until November? The strategy here seems to be, take a political hit by opposing popular legislation, and then hope that somehow this will strengthen the party's hand in the negotiations to follow. How will this work? It's like trying to bluff your opponent in poker when both you and he know he has the stronger hand.

What's more, Republicans are no longer even pretending to be able to hold the line after today's vote.

Now that the Democrats know the Republicans are planning to defect after the first vote, why on Earth would they compromise? Moreover, what is the point of taking the hit by filibustering reform in the first place? It could work, in theory, if you could bluff the Democrats into thinking the GOP might hold the line indefinitely. But I'm pretty sure the Democratic party has access to articles published in Politico, which means the jig is up. So now the Republicans are trying to bluff in poker when they and their opponent know they have the weaker hand, and their opponent has heard them admit that their strategy is to bet for a couple rounds and fold before the end. Why not just cut their losses now? This makes zero sense.

Monday, April 26, 2010

As Always...

Richard Cohen, as ever...with his head stuck up his @#$...

The President and Vice-President's Eulogies at Beckley, West Virginia (VIDEO)

First off, Biden gave a barnburner of a eulogy. He may have been (for the first time) a little better than the President. But the President was the man they all came to see, and they gave him a warm, incredible reception.

The President appears at 7:35 into the video for his own speech.

I love the President n' all...

...but I don't do Yankee Videos. Ever. Find it your dang self.

Also apparently, a controversy's already building about somethin' Obama said. Thus, I link you to Keith Olbermann's baseball Blog.

"By the time I get to Arizona..." Part 2

Can't claim credit for this, because a caller to the Randi Rhodes show pointed it out first.

Legal question:

It seems to me that the U.S. 14th Amendment to the Constitution pretty much eliminates the new Arizona statue. Did the State of Arizona even have the right to enact such a law?

The Fourteenth Amendment - Citizenship Rights. Ratified July 9, 1868.

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.