Saturday, January 30, 2010

Republicans, For Lunch

Republicans retreat, from President Obama.

...the President did something unusual in American politics – initiated an open dialogue with members of the opposite party. Visiting the House Republican retreat, he took questions on anything they wanted to talk about. He heard them out, acknowledged where they were right, and gave a genuine explanation where he felt they were wrong.

Remarks by the President at GOP House Issues Conference

Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel
Baltimore, Maryland — January 29, 2010

Excerpts from speech:
Part of the reason I accepted your invitation to come here was because I wanted to speak with all of you, and not just to all of you. So I’m looking forward to taking your questions and having a real conversation in a few moments. And I hope that the conversation we begin here doesn’t end here; that we can continue our dialogue in the days ahead. It’s important to me that we do so. It’s important to you, I think, that we do so. But most importantly, it’s important to the American people that we do so.

- - - - -

But I don’t believe that the American people want us to focus on our job security. They want us to focus on their job security. I don’t think they want more gridlock. I don’t think they want more partisanship. I don’t think they want more obstruction. They didn’t send us to Washington to fight each other in some sort of political steel-cage match to see who comes out alive. That’s not what they want. They sent us to Washington to work together, to get things done, and to solve the problems that they’re grappling with every single day.

- - - - -

Now, here’s the point. These are serious times, and what’s required by all of us — Democrats and Republicans — is to do what’s right for our country, even if it’s not always what’s best for our politics. I know it may be heresy to say this, but there are things more important than good poll numbers. And on this no one can accuse me of not living by my principles. A middle class that’s back on its feet, an economy that lifts everybody up, an America that’s ascendant in the world — that’s more important than winning an election. Our future shouldn’t be shaped by what’s best for our politics; our politics should be shaped by what’s best for our future.

- - - - -

Bipartisanship — not for its own sake but to solve problems — that’s what our constituents, the American people, need from us right now. All of us then have a choice to make. We have to choose whether we’re going to be politicians first or partners for progress; whether we’re going to put success at the polls ahead of the lasting success we can achieve together for America. Just think about it for a while. We don’t have to put it up for a vote today.


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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Senate Confirms Bernanke

This afternoon, the Senate confirmed Ben Bernanke to a second four year term as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in a 70-30 vote.

Bernanke Confirmed for Second Term at Fed

Despite Bipartisan Criticism, Senate Votes to Give Ben Bernanke Second Term as Chairman of Federal Reserve
Bernanke's confirmation comes as Congress is writing an overhaul of financial regulations aimed at avoiding another financial crisis. The chairman has had to defend the Fed against efforts to diminish its authority.

A House bill would remove its power to oversee consumer protections and would subject it to a sweeping congressional audit. A Senate bill seeks to create a separate consumer entity as well, and would create a single banking regulator that would also strip the Fed of its supervision of bank holding companies.

Bernanke has admitted making mistakes - including underestimating the threat of a booming housing market that eventually went bust and the resulting fallout to the economy. But he insist he has the tools, the know-how and the political backbone to safely steer the recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s. The biggest challenge facing Bernanke this year: deciding when and how to reverse course and boost interest rates to sop up the unprecedented money pumped out during the crisis. That's important to prevent an outbreak of inflation.

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Let's get it done.

American jobs, deficit economy, financial reform, education, smart energy, health care... all that and more need sound solutions.

Let's get it done.
From some on the right, I expect we'll hear a different argument, that if we just make fewer investments in our people, extend tax cuts, including those for the wealthier Americans, eliminate more regulations, maintain the status quo on health care, our deficits will go away.

The problem is, that's what we did for eight years.

That's what helped us into this crisis. It's what helped lead to these deficits. We can't do it again. Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it's time to try something new. Let's invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let's meet our responsibility to the citizens who sent us here. Let's try common sense, a novel concept.

~President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address

Transcript at White

Video [ 71:53 ] at MSNBC


Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Rabbie Burns

Scotland's favorite son

Robert Burns

25 January 1759 - 21 July 1796

O, my luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I,
And I will luve thee still, my Dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my Dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun!
O, I will luve thee still, my Dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Get busy.

President Obama: We Lost Touch with American People Last Year

The president said he made a mistake in assuming that if he focused on policy decisions, the American people would understand the reasoning behind them.

"That I do think is a mistake of mine," Obama said. "I think the assumption was if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on this provision or that law or if we're making a good rational decision here, then people will get it."

Instead, the president said the American people ended up with a "feeling of remoteness and detachment" from the policymakers in Washington who are making big decisions. [...]

No kidding. So, get busy and start paying attention to the people.

And, how about grabbing your own dang mop while you're at it?

The Massachusetts Lesson: Go Populist Now
The Obama White House needs to show, quickly and forcefully, with concrete, bold and visible action, that it stands with the working people of America. Here's a symbolic but smart start: jettison those on the White House economic team whose slow, timid response to the crisis of unemployment and to Wall Street's obscene excesses helped create the conditions for the Tea Party's inchoate right-wing populism.

Leadership on pro-democracy reforms are also desperately needed to end the corruption of our politics and to stanch the corporate money flooding and deforming of our democracy. Connect the dots for people: explain how needed reforms are gutted when both parties succumb to the pervasive corruption of our money politics. If the GOP's obstructionism has a silver lining, it is in exposing how an anti-democratic, super-majority filibuster has essentially made our system dysfunctional. There is fertile ground on which to rally people in a transpartisan political reform movement.

Massachusetts offers another lesson: Obama's decision to demobilize his base in 2009 in favor of an insider approach to governing was a big mistake. I'm not a political strategist, but I don't know how you win elections by failing to rouse people who've worked hardest at the grassroots to get you elected? It is time to re-mobilize the base.

And here's a no-brainer: Isn't it time to give up on that faith in genteel post-partisanship when the GOP knifes you at every turn? Nice isn't going create more jobs or get health care reform. [...]

Get tough, get bold, kiss "post-partisanship" goodbye and fight hard for jobs and a just economy of shared prosperity. And put yourself squarely back on the side of working people.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Texting Haiti Donations

Donating via text message

  • Text HAITI to 90999 -- American Red Cross
    Donates $10

  • Text HAITI to 25383 -- International Rescue Committee
    Donates $5

  • Text HAITI to 52000 -- Salvation Army
    Donates $10

  • Text YELE to 501501 -- Yéle [Wyclef Jean's grassroots org]
    Donates $5

  • Text HAITI to 864833 -- The United Way
    Donates $5

  • Text CERF to 90999 -- The United Nations Foundation
    Donates $5

  • Text DISASTER to 90999 -- Compassion International

  • Text HAITI to 20222 -- The Clinton Foundation
    Donates $10
Beware of bogus online ‘help’ for Haiti

If you want to donate money, consider known and reliable charities

The Ed Schultz Show:
We have the power to make it right

Jan. 16, 2010 - ( :48 )


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help Needed After Haiti Earthquake

Please send them a little help.

The Haitian capital was largely destroyed in the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in more than 200 years.

The quake had a magnitude of 7.0 and was centered about 10 miles west of Port-au-Prince according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed by numerous aftershocks, one with magnitude 5.9, the USGS reported. [...]

How you can help:
A list of charitable organizations active in Haiti
The United States State Department Operations Center on Tuesday opened a number for Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti. Due to heavy volume, some callers may receive a recording. "Our embassy is still in the early stages of contacting American citizens through our Warden Network," the U.S. State Department said in a statement. "Communications are very difficult within Haiti at this time."

The number for Americans who are looking for information about family members in Haiti is 1-888-407-4747.

For those interesting in helping immediately, simply text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.


Beware of scams seeking to take exploit this disaster.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Matalin, Perino and Giuliani: Damn Lies

Where is the media responsibility and accountability?

It's bad enough that Dana Perino and Mary Matalin spewed their BS lies about history without getting called to task at the time, but it was way over the top when "Mr. Noun, verb, 9-11" misspoke on Good Morning America:

Mr. 9/11 Gets Amnesia: 'We Had No Domestic Attacks Under Bush; We've Had One Under Obama'

TPM video clip

No domestic attacks under Bush...


Laurence O'Donnell, sitting in for Keith Olbermann on Countdown, has a problem with all that:
GOP spreads terror lies

Jan. 8: One day after President Barack Obama calls for unity in the fight against al-Qaida, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani exhibits a greater willingness to parrot talking points from the Republican Party. The Nation’s Chris Hayes discusses.

Video - 9:17

As does Rachel Maddow, who joins in with her take:
Giuliani: a noun, a verb and no clue

Jan. 8: Rachel Maddow, despite going out of her way to give Rudy Giuliani the benefit of the doubt, is unable to find a way to interpret his answer in an ABC News interview that doesn't make him a cynical liar.

Video - 7:36

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A Failure To Communicate

President Obama spoke today about the intelligence failures after meeting with different agency heads.

"The Urgency of Getting This Right"

Jesse Lee, The White House Blog:

This afternoon the President met with relevant agency heads to discuss the ongoing reviews of the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day and move forward on rectifying the problems that were exhibited that day. Afterwards he spoke to the press and the American people about what he and his Administration is doing to keep America safe:
The bottom line is this: The U.S. government had sufficient information to have uncovered this plot and potentially disrupt the Christmas Day attack. But our intelligence community failed to connect those dots, which would have placed the suspect on the "no fly" list.

In other words, this was not a failure to collect intelligence; it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had. The information was there. Agencies and analysts who needed it had access to it. And our professionals were trained to look for it and to bring it all together.

Now, I will accept that intelligence, by its nature, is imperfect, but it is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully analyzed or fully leveraged. That's not acceptable, and I will not tolerate it. Time and again, we've learned that quickly piecing together information and taking swift action is critical to staying one step ahead of a nimble adversary.

So we have to do better -- and we will do better. And we have to do it quickly. American lives are on the line. So I made it clear today to my team: I want our initial reviews completed this week. I want specific recommendations for corrective actions to fix what went wrong. I want those reforms implemented immediately, so that this doesn't happen again and so we can prevent future attacks. And I know that every member of my team that I met with today understands the urgency of getting this right. And I appreciate that each of them took responsibility for the shortfalls within their own agencies.

For the full transcript and video, go to the White House blog link.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Playing Pity Party Politcs

Former Blue Dog Democrat, hypocrite, self-serving opportunist and party switcher Rep. Parker Griffith, who once described himself as a "life-long Democrat" who believes in "health care for all of the citizens," and voted against the House’s health care bill in November, the stimulus package and major energy legislation, now has staffing problems.

Nearly every staff member of Representative Parker Griffith’s office tendered their resignation this morning in response to his recent decision to change party membership.
Joining Wheeler in departing from Griffith’s staff were: Megan Swearingen (Legislative Director), Brian Greer (Senior Legislative Assistant), Will Crain (Legislative Assistant), Sean Magers (Press Secretary), Arinze Ifekauche (Legislative Correspondent), Chase Chesser (Legislative Correspondent), Mary Lou Hughston (Staff Assistant), Dr. Anjali Shah Kastorf (Congressional Fellow), Leslee Oden (Congressional Fellow), and Andrew Menefee (Intern). The staff members waited until they could return to Washington to resign. Last month, Griffith’s campaign consulting team announced they had terminated their relationship with Griffith.

All but one of the Washington staffers for Rep. Parker Griffith resigned on Monday in protest of the Alabama congressman's decision to switch from the Democratic to the Republican Party.
In a sharply worded statement, Griffith's former chief of staff, Sharon Wheeler, called the freshman congressman's switch a "mistake" that goes against the interests of his district, which relies heavily on federal funding for defense and aerospace jobs.

"We cannot in good conscience continue working for him," Wheeler said.

The reaction of Rep. Griffith?
"It is an unfortunate fact that any time a change like this occurs partisanship becomes an issue as it has in this case," Griffith said.


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