Monday, August 31, 2009

Obama More Successful Battling Terrorists Than Bush-Cheney

Responding to criticism from former Vice President Cheney that President Obama is making the nation more vulnerable to terrorism, the president’s National Security Adviser, Gen. Jim Jones (Ret.), told ABC News in an exclusive interview that actually the reverse is true: President Obama’s greater success with international relations has meant more terrorists put out of commission.
“This type of radical fundamentalism or terrorism is a threat not only to the United States but to the global community,” Jones said. “The world is coming together on this matter now that President Obama has taken the leadership on it and is approaching it in a slightly different way – actually a radically different way – to discuss things with other rulers to enhance the working relationships with law enforcement agencies – both national and international."
Jake Tapper points out that Jim Jones doesn't provide any numbers. I don't know why Tapper doesn't do that. That would be something to follow up on. I guess he's just lazy:
The former Marine General didn't provide any specific numbers to back up his claim, but he said “there is an increasing trend and I think we seen that in different parts of the world over the last few months for sure.” He added that he was not “making a tally sheet saying we are killing more people, capturing more people than they did -- that is not the issue.”
Jones objects to Cheney's assertion:
“Obviously the former Vice President feels strongly about certain things,” Jones said, “I don’t know if it is a question of legacy.” “I take exception” to assertions “that something that we decided or the president decided will make the country less safe,” Jones said. “I just don’t agree with that. We are about making this country safe. I think that we are fashioning global relationships with other countries around the world.”
“We are doing everything to make this country safe every single day,” Jones asserted. Read it all here.

Michelle Obama Tells the Garden Story

Thomas Jefferson was also a seed man. Who knew.

Obama and Gates Solicit Questions From the Troops

Obama invites military to ask questions at

Many of the questions posted have to do with pay:
Mr. President Sir,

My question deals with pay issues for all the service members. Why is it that we are the one’s who are putting our life in harms way and get paid so little compared to people that are back in the USA such as Professional atheletes, they are just an icon that will eventually fade away. As for us we are barely even recognized just trying to make ends meet. Why are we not getting paid better.
And there are tough ones on health care:
How can you promise the American people healthcare and not even beable to provide proper healthcare to retirees. I know of a retiree that died of pancreatic cancer VA hospital said it woud be 6 weeks to see him he died 3 weeks later.

White House Says Cheney's Wrong

Cheney crawled out of his bunker on Sunday to, once again, criticize Obama. Gibbs says Cheney's got his facts wrong. Cheney's just missing various human parts.

The Ideologues Against the White House and David Brooks

Gabriel Sherman, writer with the New Republic, writes that David Brooks is considered an ally to the White House because he's the only conservative with an open mind. The rest of the conservatives are ideologues, people who only believe what they believe and that's it. Everything has to fit into their world view or else.

That's why, day after day, they say the same predictable things. I don't even have to read their columns because I already know they're world view. Nothing new comes out of Krauthammer's mouth or any of the conservative writers.

Sherman also contends that Brooks is fairer to the White House than even liberal Paul Krugman. That would be because Krugman is an ideologue on the left. He's predictable as well.

One opinionator in this video suggest that Brooks and Obama are matched by "intellectual arrogance." They both have an interest in philosophy. Watch Brooks and E.J. Dionne talk about theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and Niebuhr's influence on Obama on Speaking of Faith here.

Since when does being fair and open minded make someone arrogant? Just the suggestion that an interest in philosophy makes you arrogant is more dumbing down of America. I think we've had enough of that. I like reading Brooks' columns because, even though I disagree with him, he makes his points like an adult.

Obama Extends Vacation

Back in DC, Obama plans some more off time this week:
"The president will continue his vacation through the end of the week,'' the White House press secretary announced this evening -- with a note that the media will be informed "if any public events are added to the schedule.''

The White House already had said toward the end of the Obama family's week of vacation that they would head to Camp David in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland later this week and spend some of the Labor Day weekend there -- Thursday through Sunday at camp. But a spokesman had said some events in Washington were planned Wednesday. Swamp

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Maria Shriver Speaks on Her Uncle Teddy

Ted Kennedy's Gravesite

Obamas Go Snack Shopping on Last Day of Vacation

Kerry: Kennedy Would Fight Hard For Public Option and Then

Sen. John Kerry said on This Week that Kennedy would fight hard for the public option, but if it wasn't going to happen he'd work on what he could make happen.
Watch it here.
Near the end of this video (highlights of the Sunday political shows) Sen. Chris Dodd says Obama needs to step up and frame the debate again. The Obamas are headed back to DC today, so we shall see what's next. We shall see if we can shake the wingnuts.

Wingnuts Succeed in Derailing Healthcare Reform Thus Far

So far the wingnuts have succeeded and that's really sad. Irrationality, violence, hatred and lies shouldn't prevail.
Just two days after sharing his fond memories of longtime friend and Senate colleague Ted Kennedy, Republican Orrin Hatch said Sunday that one of the main provisions of a Democratic plan for health care reform – a public policy initiative that Kennedy had referred to as the “cause of my life” – stood little chance of passing in the Senate.

“Is there any chance – despite the passing of your friend – is there any chance that a bill with a public option is going to pass the United States Senate?,” CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked Hatch Sunday on State of the Union.

“I really don’t think so,” Hatch bluntly replied.

The Utah Republican noted that health care accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy and that the country faces projections of mounting budget deficits in the next decade.

“Our senior citizens are scared to death,” Hatch said. CNN
Seniors are scared to death and who's to blame? Wingnuts and the republican party for supporting the wingnuts. Fear works best of all. People also blame Obama for not laying out precisely what health care reform should be, even though he did lay out a set of guiding principles.

I think Obama was counting on people to behave like adults, coming together through debate and hashing out a plan. Who knew wingnuts would bring guns to health care town halls or compare Obama to Hitler? Who knew they'd come out so strong? Our underbelly is thrashing because the nation is changing. Imagine what it must feel like to be a wingnut. The whole world is changing around them.

Democrats can share some blame too. They don't seem to be very confident in their ability to come up with a great bill, to be able to accomplish a bill that abides by the guiding principles. They don't seem confident in the intention of reform.

Liberals thought they could demand the public option and get it. Some even thought nationalized health care was passable. In a way, everyone is to blame and maybe getting health care done piece by piece is a better idea.

Will the course of the health care change over the next month? Will supporters of health care reform show their faces?

Apparently, there was a "TeddyCare" rally yesterday, but there wasn't much said about it in the media.

Cheney Still Slamming Obama Supports Tea Baggers

Fox News Sunday host asks Cheney that if he's asked to speak to the special prosecutor, will he? Cheney: "It depends."
While all the other Sunday shows are honoring Kennedy, Fox interviews Dick Cheney, who's still calling torture "enhanced interrogation." Cheney is like a dark, dark cloud.
He's still supporting all that the Cheney-Bush administration did. What else would he do? What do people expect? Cheney to have a sudden moment of humanness? Sometimes I wonder if Cheney isn't our first robot-human hybrid, a top secret project. He's so cold and so icky.
"It was good policy" Cheney said, and even in cases where it went beyond legal authorization, Cheney says he's okay with that.
Cheney lies and says Obama said there wouldn't be any investigations into torture.
Obama NEVER said that. What Obama said was that he didn't want any investigations. Obama wanted to look forward. Cheney and his ilk wouldn't know a truth if it danced with bells on before their eyes.
Cheney says Obama is playing politics. Obama? It's the Department of Justice, acting independently, that sees a need to investigate.
I say the special prosecutor needs to dig all the way to the top. Keep digging until they get to Cheney. CIA agents shouldn't be punished. They were just following the law, even though that was screwed up under Cheney-Bush. The only people who should be punished are the people at the top.
On health care, Cheney says what you would expect him to say. On town hall violence and craziness, he approves. He says it proves that the Obama administration is failing.
I tuned out early, because Cheney on a Sunday turns my stomach.

Meanwhile, on This Week's roundtable, Liz Cheney can't seem to shut up when she's supposed to. Liz Cheney says waterboarding isn't torture and she's still defending dad. I think she's a stand-by whenever the show's topic is torture.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Democrats Near Going it Alone on Health Reform?

The math is in, according to a NYT editorial. Republicans don't want reform and democrats may have to use the reconciliation tactic. Not ideal. If the democrats go it alone, I just hope they come up with a marvelously wonderous fantastic bill. I still hold out hope that republicans open up a but so there can be some sort of compromise. But what are the chances, especially when, more than anything, republicans just want Obama to fail:
The talk in Washington is that Senate Democrats are preparing to push through health care reforms using parliamentary procedures that will allow a simple majority to prevail in their chamber, as it does in the House, instead of the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster that Senate Republicans are sure to mount.

With the death of Senator Edward Kennedy, the Democrats do not have the votes just among their 57 members (and the two independents) to break a filibuster, and not all of these can be counted on to vote in lock step. If the Democrats want to enact health care reform this year, they appear to have little choice but to adopt a high-risk, go-it-alone, majority-rules strategy.

We say this with considerable regret because a bipartisan compromise would be the surest way to achieve comprehensive reforms with broad public support. But the ideological split between the parties is too wide — and the animosities too deep — for that to be possible.

In recent weeks, it has become inescapably clear that Republicans are unlikely to vote for substantial reform this year. Many seem bent on scuttling President Obama’s signature domestic issue no matter the cost. As Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, so infamously put it: “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.” NYT

Kennedy Grandchildren Speak at Kennedy's Funeral

I replaced the other video with this one. It's just the grandchildren and it's quite heartbreaking.

The burial:

The longer version:

Capitol Ceremony for Kennedy Aug. 29

People waiting at the Capitol

Lining the Highway to Say Goodbye to Kennedy

The Kennedy motorcade drives by thousands of people lined up along the highway to say goodbye:

RNC: Democrats Want to Pull the Plug on Republicans

How much lower does the republican party get? Have they no shame at all? Nope. They know that fear has been proven to work. Fear mongering has derailed health care since 1915:
The national Republican Party has mailed a fundraising appeal suggesting Democrats might use an overhaul of the health care system to deny medical treatment to Republicans.

A questionnaire accompanying the appeal says the government could check voting registration records, "prompting fears that GOP voters might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system."

It asks, "Does this possibility concern you?" Read more at MSNBC

Mike Enzi delivers republican weekly address, which offers more of the same old same old:

Obama Delivers Kennedy Eulogy

But though it is Ted Kennedy's historic body of achievements we will remember, it is his giving heart that we will miss. It was the friend and colleague who was always the first to pick up the phone and say, "I'm sorry for your loss," or "I hope you feel better," or "What can I do to help?" It was the boss who was so adored by his staff that over five hundred spanning five decades showed up for his 75th birthday party. It was the man who sent birthday wishes and thank you notes and even his own paintings to so many who never imagined that a U.S. Senator would take the time to think about someone like them. I have one of those paintings in my private study — a Cape Cod seascape that was a gift to a freshman legislator who happened to admire it when Ted Kennedy welcomed him into his office the first week he arrived in Washington; by the way, that's my second favorite gift from Teddy and Vicki after our dog, Bo. And it seems like everyone has one of those stories — the ones that often start with: "You wouldn't believe who called me today." Read Obama's eulogy here.

Kennedy's gifts to Obama: A painting (not necessarily this one) and Bo

Ted Kennedy Jr. Remembers His Father

Obama on Katrina Lessons and Improvements

Transcript Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (you remember him) has praised Obama's FEMA team. There is a new disaster response site, Ready.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Deval Patrick's Mother: I love Me Some Kennedy

If you haven't listened to all the Kennedy tributes that I've posted here, you should. They're all such wonderful stories. Deval Patrick said Kennedy convinced him that politics could be a noble calling. He also tells a great story about Kennedy's gesture at the funeral of Yitzhak Rabin, former Prime Minister of Israel.

John Kerry Talks About Kennedy's Paintings

Ted Kennedy's painting of his boat Mya on the cover of Cape Cod Life in May

Here's a doodle Obama did of Harry Reid and Kennedy:

Caroline Kennedy Remembers Great Uncle Teddy

Ted Kennedy turned family reunions into family history trips. Caroline recalls all the trips they went on. He loved to tell the story of the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.

Family Friend Remembers Kennedy's Love of Song by Singing

Joe Biden Speaks at Kennedy's Memorial

Orinn Hatch on the Graciousness of Kennedy

Sen. Orrin Hatch pays tribute to Kennedy and his wife, Vicki. Their marriage saved Kennedy, he said.

If you missed Orrin Hatch's song for Kennedy, you shouldn't. Listen here.

John McCain Speaks at Kennedy's Memorial

To Be Published Kennedy's "True Compass" Memoir

TED Kennedy's memoir, which will be published posthumously in mid-September by Hachette Book Group, already looks like it will be an instant bestseller.

Pre-orders this week pushed "True Compass" to No. 7 on's sales list and No. 3 on Barnes and Noble's Web site.

But don't expect to get any sneak peeks -- the book is being held under strict embargo. The publisher plans to send a staggering 1.5 million copies to bookstores for a one-day lay down on Sept. 14. Read more at NYP

Chris Dodd Tells Funny Kennedy Stories

Fisherman Protest Obama in Vineyard Haven Harbor

A flotilla of New Bedford fishing vessels steamed through Vineyard Haven harbor on Tuesday to draw attention to controversial fisheries management proposals.

One of the vessels had a large banner hanging from the side that said, "Catch shares, corporate shares," a reference to a new regulatory framework known as catch shares. Another dragger carried a banner that said, "Fishing families are working families."

Bob Vanasse, executive director of Saving Seafood, an industry newsletter, said the parade of vessels was not a protest. "We are welcoming the President," he said.

The commercial fishermen are concerned about a proposal that would divide up fishery resources into "catch shares" that could be allocated to commercial interests.

Catch shares work by granting access to a secure share of the total allowed catch to individual fishermen, communities or fishery associations.MVTimes
Read about "Catch Shares," which is an attempt to end overfishing, here and here.

Stephanopoulos: Kennedy Would've Compromised

I believe George is right. Now we're going to have all these fights about what Kennedy would've wanted. He wanted health care for everyone. That's pretty clear. But is it going to get done all at once? Doubtful. People are ignoring the math. There's practically no way health reform that includes a public option is going to pass the Senate without some republican votes, all of the blue dogs and Robert Byrd, who's ailing.
Robert Reich says beware of the naysayers, political insiders, who say public option is dead. Okay. I'll hold out hope.
Frankly, I see too many wingnuts making themselves heard but not enough fight coming from the supporters. The wingnuts are only going to escalate the fight once congress is in session. We think the rhetoric has settled down. No way. Wingnuts think there is a major socialist plot underway. They've convinced one another. It's only going to get wingnuttyer.

Howard Dean disagrees with George and says Kennedy will get it done beyond the grave if he has to. Funny.

Another 'Man of God' Says Obama Should Die

It seems like the same delusion that Glenn Beck and his friends suffer has become widespread. Threats against Obama are up 400% since his inauguration, according to the Secret Service.
You are a wingnut if you think Obama should die. You are a wingnut if you link Obama to Nazis. You are a wingnut if you believe anything that Glenn Beck has to say.
Wingnuts, if you hate the president, you need help, at least with being an adult. Wingnuts, if you believe in a "pastor" who preaches hate, you need help. You are NOT normal. Most of all, if a person preaches hate they know ZERO about God or religion. They are NOT a pastor.

You are a wingnut if this makes sense to you:

Fear Mongering Has Doomed Health Care Since 1915

Steve Inskeep of NPR had an interesting piece this morning on how fear tactics have been used since forever to kill health care reform. In 1915, opponents of reform tied it to the most prevalent threat of the time--a German takeover plot of the U.S. It's obvious that kind of irrationality prevails today as well.
Oberlander says opponents used scare tactics the very first time the idea of national health insurance was broached — around 1915 — by tying would-be reformers to the nation's then-greatest international threat.

"They said that national health insurance was a plot by the German emperor to take over the United States," he says.

The next effort to remake the health system came during the late 1940s. This time the opposition, led by the American Medical Association, exploited the newest fears. "They said if we adopted national health insurance, the Red army would be marching through the streets of the U.S.; they said this was the first step toward communism," Oberlander says.

By the time the Clinton administration took on the health effort, the power of the American Medical Association was fading. But now a new opponent took its place — the health insurance industry. It ran ads using an ordinary looking couple, named Harry and Louise, to raise doubts among middle-class Americans about how the Clinton plan might hurt rather than help them.

Says Oberlander, "The opponents have changed over time; the tactic of relying on fear and scaring Americans has not."
Republicans might be smart to use fear tactics but immoral and lazy also comes mind. Jonathan Oberlander says fear dominates our brain. It's a biological thing:
It turns out that fear is a very primitive response, and "once fear is aroused in your brain, it tends to take over and dominate," LeDoux says. A brain paralyzed by fear is unable to think other things through.

It actually makes sense on a survival level, he says. "If there's a chance that you'll be harmed, then you better attend to it. In other words, you better be afraid of it and be careful about what's going on."
The story didn't mention targeting seniors, but without a doubt, opponents of health care target seniors, in part, because as a person ages, they begin to feel more vulnerable. It's why so many seniors like to live in gated communities. Seniors are often targets of crime. So if you can get to one of the biggest voting blocs-- seniors -- you could probably dash just about anything.
The lesson? If we want to progress as a nation, we need to get real and move through the fear.
In another story this morning on NPR, Dick Armey says that his group, FreedomWorks, encourages good behavior at town halls. He says the health care debate is a contest between congress and "real voters" and that Obama has real voters too: "They've got real voters too."

But Armey insists that the opposition is more intense and that Obama supporters are "half-embarrassed" by health reform and less intense, that the opponents dominate. It's clear that conservatives believe they are the salt of the Earth, the only people who matter.

It's also interesting that on legitimate news programs, Armey and his ilk act somewhat respectable. But get them on Fox or some other loudmouth show, and they go bonkers. I do agree with Armey in that some congress people have talked down to people, which has enraged some people. I'm not talking about the gun toters or the losers who shout at town halls. I'm talking about the ones who show up and truly want answers, only to find a pandering congress person.

Another Republican Rex Rammell Makes a Fool of Himself

An update to this post. The GOP in Idaho have condemned Rammell's comments. We need more of this. The GOP can't just let the wingnuts take over. They need to stand up to this kind of behavior.

These guys just never quit. Rex Rammell is fringe candidate for governor in Idaho:
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.

Talk at the meeting 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." MSNBC
Rammell said it was a joke. But you know, some things are off limits and joking about shooting the president is one of those things. I can't stand the republican party. I know there are some decent republicans out there. I know a few. But as a whole, they're warped and behind the times. The Idaho Statesman doesn't much like Rammell either, who apparently is a lunatic fringe candidate.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Michael Steele in La La Land

Michael Steele is so ineffective and so very strange.

Saying Goodbye to Kennedy

Kennedy touched so many people's lives. Kennedy even helped Liberian immigrants:
For James Hunder, the president of the Liberian Organization of the Piedmont, Kennedy's death is a blow. The organization works to advance educational, cultural and social opportunities for those with Liberian ties.

Kennedy supported immigration reform that would help Liberians stay in America, and he pressured the U.S. government to suspend aid to Liberia during the country's civil war, said Hunder, who has several letters that Kennedy wrote to him about the Liberian cause. Even though Kennedy likely did not write the letters himself, Hunder said, something about him and his character comes through.

"This man -- there's just something special about him," he said. "I believe he's a God-fearing man and a humanitarian. He's very concerned about peace and tranquility in all parts of the world." Winston-Salem Journal
Kennedy's casket is now in Boston. Kennedy's wife Vicki is greeting people:

Obama Family Vacation Kinda Sorta a Vacation

I think we know now why the Obamas chose Martha's Vineyard--to be near the Kennedy family. Everyone must've known he was near death. After all, Kennedy didn't go to his sister Eunice's funeral.

Beck and Friends Are Out of Their Gourds

Beck and friends are so bonkers. I can't even believe this type of programming exists on TV or that anyone takes it seriously. Sarah Palin is telling her people to watch the Glenn Beck Show. What the heck? This kind of TV is the equivalent of Weekly World News, where one of its top stories is "Aliens to retire in Florida." It makes me wonder how serious Beck is. If he's serious, he's got a serious mental problem. I'd diagnose him with severe paranoia. He's creating this sort of mass delusion. Viewers have to know that they're being had.

Jindal Pleased With Obama's FEMA Team

Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., says Obama's team has brought a more practical and flexible approach. Many local officials offer similar reviews. Even Doug O'Dell, former President George W. Bush's recovery coordinator, says the Obama administration's "new vision" appears to be turning things around.

Not too long ago, Jindal said in a telephone interview, Louisiana governors didn't have "very many positive things" to say about the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

But Jindal said he had a lot of respect for the current FEMA chief, Craig Fugate, and his team. "There is a sense of momentum and a desire to get things done," the governor said. Read the whole thing

Health Reform Not Likely Without at Least a Few Republicans

The bottom line is that democrats need every vote they can get and they may have to scale back the public option.
Without republicans (and including the blue dog democrats and Robert Byrd, who's ailing) the only way to get health care reform is through reconciliation and that's an iffy process.

Nationwide March For Health Care Sept. 13

Read all about the march here. Tea Partiers are marching on Sept. 12. The Sept. 13 march for reform would ideally have a stronger turnout.
List of events here.
Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) plans to introduce a resolution in support of a national "March for Healthcare" in Washington on September 13 to mobilize the supporters of real healthcare reform with the public option, Fattah announced today.

The Philadelphia Congressman, a strong advocate for comprehensive healthcare reform, said he is calling on colleagues in Congress to endorse the proposal for a march, which was suggested this week by former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich to coincide with Grandparents Day.

Fattah said his concurrent resolution, to be introduced when the House convenes September 8, would authorize use of the Capitol grounds for the march.

"The confusion, misinformation and scare tactics about a 'public option' trumpeted by the opponents of real healthcare reform have dominated the national debate long enough," Fattah said. "It is way past time for the vast majority favoring healthcare reform with the public option to show up and speak up at the Capitol's doorstep and make their views known to their elected representatives."

Fattah continued, "Robert Reich is to be commended for his leadership on this proposal for a Grandparents Day march. What better time and place to refute these false claims about how President Obama's healthcare reform would threaten older Americans. Read more

It's Mostly Old Folks Against Health Reform

Seniors, who don't want government messing with their government Medicare, are the largest group against reform. They're also the largest user of health care resources. Seem unfair and selfish of them to be crying socialism? A little. Nate Silver at Five Thirty Eight touches on the irony:
American Enterprise Institute scholar Andrew Biggs makes a powerful point when he calculates that "a typical person who was born in 1944, began work at age 21 in 1965, and in 2009 retired at age 65 and enrolled in Medicare," and who then draws the typical benefit until death at age 83, will have paid roughly $64,971 in Medicare payroll taxes during his/her lifetime but received around $173,886, for a net of "$108,915 more in benefits than he paid in taxes over his lifetime." Hey, that sounds like socialist-style redistribution to me! Read the whole post at 538
But do resources for the young have to be sacrificed for the health care of the old? Can everyone give and take a little so that more people can get coverage? Morning Joe addresses those questions:

John McCain throws out an obnoxious woman at his town hall:

Biden: Loss of Kennedy May Serve as Catalyst for Health Care Reform

Obama must have a bunch of things running around his mind. In addition to being on the verge of Middle East peace negotiations, dealing with the escalating the war in Afghanistan and mourning the death of his friend, now he needs to come up with a fitting eulogy for Ted Kennedy's funeral on Saturday, and hopefully, a new strategy to get health reform on the right track.

As Biden says, Kennedy's loss seems to be re-inspiring health care reform efforts, which needs to be ripped out of the clutches of the wingnuts. The people who are against health reform are mostly uninformed as far as I can tell and the media hasn't done a very good job of laying out the facts (watch the media excel at laying out health reform facts in the 1970s). It would be a whole lot better if republicans got on board and people could put politics aside and work together like adults, and it would be nice if Kennedy inspired that. But what are the chances?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rush Claims Buddies With Golf Course Owner on "Marxist Vineyard"

This little gem comes from The Vineyard Gazette. Rush, always the loudest fool, apparently bragged that Obama was golfing at a course, in what he calls "Marxist Vineyard" (would we expect anything else?), owned by one of his pals. Maybe what Rush really wants is a little love and a round of golf with Obama:
That’s Marxist Vineyard, for anyone who did not listen to the big man refer to the Island as such at least six times on air today. He did not identify the friend or the course. But Rush — who did reveal that he, the elite Big Rush himself, has flown to Marxist Vineyard “a number of times” — declared this to the Limbaughers listening:
“Now, there are two golf courses up there but ‘the’ golf course on Marxist Vineyard is owned by a friend of mine and I’m told that arrangements have been made that Obama and his merry band of golfers is going to show up there a couple, three times this week.”
Well, last we checked there are at least four golf courses on the Vineyard: Edgartown Golf Club, Vineyard Golf Club, Farm Neck and Mink Meadows. None is owned by a single person, though there is also a family-owned six-hole scenario on Chappaquiddick. Or maybe Rush meant Island Mini Golf.
Anyway, facts-schmachts. Still, who? The Obamas are renting (at personal expense) the home of William Van Devender, a generous Republican donor who was one of the founding members of Vineyard Golf Club, though none is a sole owner. Read the whole thing.

Obama to Speak at Kennedy's Funeral In Boston Aug. 29

Update Aug. 29: Video of Obama delivering Kennedy Eulogy here
The funeral mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Boston will be 10:30 am to 12:30 pm eastern. All the TV networks will be covering the funeral. Not sure yet when Obama will speak. At 5:30 pm eastern, the funeral service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.

President Barack Obama will deliver a eulogy at US Senator Edward M. Kennedy's funeral Mass on Saturday, a White House official has told the Globe.

Kennedy's funeral will be held at a time yet to be determined Saturday morning at The Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the Mission Hill section of Boston. Commonly known as the Mission Church, the 1,450-seat basilica on Tremont Street was built in the 1870s. Kennedy prayed there in 2003 while his daughter, Kara, was being treated for lung cancer. Read more at BG
John Kerry says a private spiritual vigil took place today:

Orrin Hatch's Touching Song for Kennedy

I have new respect for Orrin Hatch. He not only writes songs but he wrote one for Ted Kennedy:


Through the darkness
We can find a pathway
That will take us half way
To the stars.

Through the rain and fog
We can find a clear day
Shoo the shadows and doubts away
And touch the legacy that is ours.

Yours and mine
And our children's
For all time.

Just honor him
Honor him
And every fear
Will be a thing of the past.

America, America
We're headed home
We're headed home
At last.

Just honor him
Honor him
And on the reefs of despair
We shall not crash.

We're sailing home
Sailing home
We're headed home
Headed home
At last.

Written by: Orrin Hatch and Phil Springer

Middle East on Verge of Restarting Peace Talks

This is rather exciting news:

From the Guardian:
Obama has pencilled in the announcement of his breakthrough for either a meeting of world leaders at the UN general assembly in New York in the week beginning 23 September or the G20 summit in Pittsburgh on 24-25 September.

The president, who plans to make his announcement flanked by Netanyahu and the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas – plus the leaders of as many Arab states as he can muster – hopes that a final peace agreement can be negotiated within two years, a timetable viewed as unrealistic by Middle East analysts.

Obama had hoped to unveil his plans before the start of Ramadan last weekend but failed to complete the deal with the Israelis or the Arab states in time. Read the whole thing

Deval Patrick on Filling Kennedy's Senate Seat

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick wants to be able to appoint someone to fill the Senate seat for the five month interim prior to the special election. A law needs to be changed. What's interesting is that the democrats changed the succession law in the first place:
The succession law was changed in 2004, when Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., became his party's presidential nominee and Republican Mitt Romney was the state's governor. Democratic lawmakers changed the law to block Romney from installing a Republican to serve until the next general election. MSNBC

Wingnuts Invade Howard Dean's Town Hall

Just because wingnuts are louder, selfish, uncivil and more obnoxious than everyone else, doesn't mean we can let them stand in the way, even if we have to politely boot them aside. It's time to forge ahead, forget the town halls and make health care happen. One of the top wingnuts Randall Terry, who likes to drag bloody baby dolls to make a point about abortion, and who insists that reform includes subsidizing abortion (not true), invades Howard Dean's town hall:

The Obamas Picnic Table Lunch at Nancy's

A photo of Nancy's

The Obamas go to lunch at Nancy's on the harbor in Oak Bluffs.

Sanford Hosts Another Wacky Press Conference

Comedic relief on a sad day. Mark Sanford continues to prove that it's all about him. He has refused to resign. Read his letter. Sanford refers to God again. God uses imperfect people, he said. That may be true, but first, imperfect people who let a whole bunch of people down must pay a price, suffer a consequence. Then, they must learn from their mistakes. Sanford hasn't learned a thing. He just doesn't get it.

Obama Issues Kennedy Proclamation

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Senator Edward M. Kennedy was not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy. Over the past half-century, nearly every major piece of legislation that has advanced the civil rights, health, and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts. With his passing, an important chapter in our American story has come to an end.
As a mark of respect for the memory of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on August 30, 2009. I also direct that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of his interment. I further direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same periods at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


Orinn Hatch's touching tribute:
America has lost a giant in politics and public policy. I have lost a close personal friend.

People called us the “odd couple,” which was certainly true. There are few men with whom I had less in common. Ted was born to a famous patrician family of Boston. He attended private schools and Harvard University. He was politically liberal, and liberal in his lifestyle – at least until he married Vicki Reggie, who set him straight. I grew up in a poor, working class family in Pittsburgh. Where Ted was the affable Irishman, I was the teetotaling Mormon missionary.

We did not agree on much, and more often than not, I was trying to derail whatever big government scheme he had just concocted. And, in those years that Republicans held the majority in the Senate, when it came to getting some of our ideas passed into law, he was not just a stone in the road, he was a boulder.

Disagreements over policy, however, were never personal with Ted. I recall a debate over increasing the minimum wage. Ted had launched into one of his patented histrionic speeches, the kind where he flailed his arms and got red in the face, spewing all sorts of red meat liberal rhetoric. When he finished, he stepped over to the minority side of the Senate chamber, put his arm around my shoulder, and said with a laugh and a grin, “How was that, Orrin?” Read the rest.

McCain and Other Senators Pay Tribute to Kennedy

John McCain says health care negotiations are lagging because Kennedy's leadership is missing.

Senators pay tribute:

Chris Dodd says he lost his best friend in the Senate. He said Kennedy died peacefully:

Kennedy Vs. Nixon Fighting for Health Care 1971

Ted Kennedy way ahead of his time, but what stood out for me in this video is the way the media explained varying health care plans, giving people information and letting THEM decide. Impressive. When the lies came out about pulling plugs on grannies, not a single media outlet said: that is a lie, that is wrong. Instead, they said: the White House denies death panels. Is it because our media has limited resources these days, or limited brain power or a different mandate?
In this video, Daniel Schorr, now with NPR, and other broadcasters contrast Nixon and Kennedy's plan. I've never seen our media do anything like this. Now all our media does is point its cameras at wingnuts. How about analyzing and breaking complex subjects into meaningful bits that people can understand. It's the media's job to look at complex issues and figure out in an objective manner: what are the facts. Our political debates, which have so much consequence to the American people, have gone to the wingnuts and the blame goes, in part, to the media. Our media is bent on entertaining. But perhaps that's what Americans have demanded. Who's dumbing down who?

Joe Biden Speaks on Ted Kennedy

There aren't many people left in politics who fight for the poor and most vulnerable. Such a huge loss. Joe Biden says Kennedy was an idealist and never petty. He made everyone bigger. His foes embraced him.

Obama Speaks on Ted Kennedy at Martha's Vineyard

Obama has ordered flags to fly half staff at the White House and federal government buildings.

Obama's first statement on Kennedy before he spoke:

"Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy. For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts. I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've profited as president from his encouragement and wisdom.

"An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States senator of our time. And the Kennedy family has lost their patriarch, a tower of strength and support through good times and bad. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today, to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family."
It dawns on me now that the Obamas probably chose to vacation at Martha's Vineyard to be near the Kennedys. David Axelrod speaks on Kennedy.
Kennedy's 2008 speech at the Democratic Convention:
Read the transcript here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ted Kennedy Will Be Sorely Missed

It doesn't seem possible that Sen. Kennedy could be gone. He is sorely needed and will be sorely missed. Sad. The family's statement.
Someone said on Twitter: "Goodbye Ted, don't worry. We'll finish the job." Yep.
John McCain recently spoke on Kennedy's negotiation skills:

Kennedy endorses Obama:

If You're Wingnut Weary Read this

I've realized, I'm wingnut weary.

I'm tired of them and all their gross exaggerations and their lies and their pushiness and hostility and hate and anger and selfishness. I'm tired of their infatuation with guns. I'm tired of their ignorance.

Democrats need to rally the courage of their convictions. We voted for health reform and now a bunch of misbehaved bad apples are spoiling everything because they happen to be whinier and squeakier than everyone else. Wingnuts are having troubles coming to grips with a changing nation. But that's their problem, even though they act like it's ours.

They had their years and their chances.
Mudflats is weary too:
I remember as a child I was not allowed to watch Hogan’s Heroes. It wasn’t a joke in my house. There was nothing funny about prisoner of war camps. There were no handsome well-fed prisoners with secret tunnels under their bunks, and pirate radio equipment who always managed to play their captors for the fool. There were frightened, emaciated young men whose minds and bodies were broken an ocean away from home, who were shot on fences , and who ate cats, and watched their friends die. There was nothing to laugh about. Those were Nazis.

I am tired of people comparing Obama to Hitler. I am tired of seeing signs with swastikas and nazi symbols at health care rallies. I am tired of people saying that a health care plan designed to uplift millions of Americans to give them dignity, and choice and the ability to care for their families, is like Naziism. I am tired of Rush Limbaugh. Read the whole post. It's a good read
h/t to Twitter for recommend.

McCain Defends Obama Gets Booed at Town Hall

Just like the campaign. Morons like these really tick me off. Where was all the outrage by these people when the Bush administration dug the deficit hole? No one cared what Bush did because they saw Bush as one of them. When talking about Obama, these folks always refer to the Constitution as if to suggest that Obama is somehow not American enough to know the Constitution. They're ignorant wretches. But John McCain handles it well. Watch more from McCain's town hall here.

Jay Z Mixes it Up With Rush Limbaugh

This is too funny.

McCain Booed on Gitmo at a Town Hall

Notice that most of the audience looks to be over the age of 60. It seems to me that it's largely the older people who are scared of terrorists "on our soil." These people don't care who we torture or how we do it or why we do it or even if it works. That just doesn't concern them.

More from a woman who supports Obama's health care reform. McCain tells someone yelling that there is no yelling at his town hall. That's the way to handle it:

McCain is asked about the two-party system. Frankly, I'd like to see the dissolution of the two-party system.

Selfish folk:

Doctors Are Like Car Mechanics

Doctors are like car mechanics in that we give them so much power over us. They control the course of our healthcare, and in the same way that we have to trust the mechanic's diagnosis of our car, we trust doctors because we don't know enough about diseases or staying healthy. That's the subject of NPR's Planet Money's recent podcast. People trust their doctors when they recommend certain tests and procedures, which is why fee for service isn't necessarily the best thing for the patient or our health care system. If doctors are motivated by money, they'll perform unnecessary tests and recommend unnecessary procedures.

But if you're like me, you don't like car mechanics or doctors and you avoid both at all costs. I do regular maintenance on my car and the same for my body, I eat well and exercise, and avoid over the counter or prescription medicines. I realize I'm fortunate that I can avoid doctors because I don't have any existing health problems.
KESTENBAUM: That's right. Your doctor is an auto mechanic because, because of this one big issue that you don't get with the mom or the street salesman - the information problem.

JOFFE-WALT: The information problem. For example, the other day this guy comes into Ari's shop, good guy, he's got a Buick. He tells him, every time I step on the brakes, the entire steering wheel, the whole thing in the car shakes. And Ari says, oh, no problem, really simple. Three hundred and twenty-dollar fix. But then...

Mr. COHEN: And we checked a little bit more into it and we find out that the wheel bearings have some play and the axle's out of balance. They bent or the shaft is not aligned right.

JOFFE-WALT: And how much more is that going to cost?

Mr. COHEN: It varies on the car, but like on a Buick, the wheeling bearings, they a little bit expensive, so it can be like another thousand dollars.

KESTENBAUM: We've all been in this situation. You take the car in, Ari's a good guy, but you don't really know. We as customers, we have an information problem.

It's the same with health care. Patients can't always judge whether we need surgery. We don't know what procedures are necessary and which aren't. And doctors, they don't always know what drugs or what treatment works best.

JOFFE-WALT: And this is why when you hear proposals for how to fix health care, you hear talk about changing how doctors are paid, or that we need more research so you don't have these information problems. So the doctor is in this strange spot and unfortunately that is not the only strange thing in this market. You are strange. Read the rest or listen.

Duncan and Sebelius Announce Swine Flu Guidance for Educators

Up to 90,000 people could die of swine flu --twice the number who die of regular flu every year -- and children are more susceptible. One of the most important things to battle the spread of the flu is to keep sick kids at home. But how many parents will do that? Employers ought to make a concerted effort to inform workers that if they have sick kids, they should stay home. Employers should also pay them while they're caring for their kids, but I suppose that's asking for too much.

Seems to me that if we truly did have an epidemic, our health care system wouldn't be ready to battle it for the simple reason that millions of people don't have health insurance. Read more on swine flu here.

Today, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released recommendations for preventing the spread of the flu for schools. Read those recommendations here.