37 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Don’t buy the MEDIA HYPE!

    Facts lost in ‘hair on fire’ budget compromise headlines

    APRIL 12, 2011 • POSTED IN NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS, OPINION, POLITICS, PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

    Now usually I don’t do this, because I like Think Progress. I like the Center for American Progress, from which it comes. But what ThinkProgress posted this morning about the $38.5 billion budget compromise, complete with this really scary title:
    Budget Deal Slashes Nutrition Assistance For Poor Women and Children, Boosts Defense Spending By $5 Billion
    … screamed out by the Huffington Post (linking to the selfsame Think Progress post)

    http://blog.reidreport.com/2011/04/facts-on-budget-compromise/

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  2. Tim Pawlenty: ‘I’m Running For President’ (VIDEO)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/12/tim-pawlenty-running-for-president_n_848395.html#comments

    Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty told CNN that he is running for President.

    Pawlenty made the straight-forward proclamation during an appearance on CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ set to air Tuesday. Morgan asked Pawlenty if he would ever consider being Donald Trump’s running-mate on a hypothetical ticket. The former governor responded, “I’m running for president.” He then continued, “I’m not putting my hat in the ring rhetorically or ultimately for vice president. So I’m focused on running for president.”

    Bye Pawlenty

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  3. Baby, when I think about you
    I think about love
    Darlin’, couldn’t live without you
    And your love…

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  4. Obama’s sister: Facts are clear; he was born in Hawaii

    http://bl149w.blu149.mail.live.com/default.aspx?wa=wsignin1.0

    President Obama’s half sister Maya Soetoro-Ng sat down with The Today Show’s Al Roker to clear up rumors about Obama’s birth place and discuss a new children’s book dedicated to their mother.

    Soetoro-Ng, who still lives in Hawaii, said that the facts are absolutely clear as to where Obama was born.

    “Not only do we have newspaper releases showing his birth, the birth certificate has been authenticated by a number sources, including our republican former governor,” Soetoro-Ng said. “So I really think there is no more to it than that.That’s a fact.”

    The interview itself focused primarily about the book, Ladder to the Moon, but transitioned to Obama as the pair discussed values in his leadership style and messages of hope that Soetoro-Ng say came from their mother.

    Soetoro-Ng says her new book was inspired by her daughter, and says her current inspiration is a compilation of her work as an educator, and the legacy of her mother.

    “The thing that is remarkable about our mother, I think, is she wasn’t content to work with just what she was given or handed. She really built her own story, her own life, and used imagination. I love that idea of using imagination in as many ways as possible.”

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  5. Obamas Sitting Down With Oprah April 27

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/12/obamas-oprah-april-27_n_848255.html#comments

    Barack and Michelle Obama will appear on Oprah Winfrey’s show on April 27, it was announced Tuesday. Obama will be in Chicago for a series of fundraisers and will sit down for a taped interview. The interview will air on May 2, and will presumably be the final interview Oprah has with the pair on her talk show, which is ending on May 25.

    Oprah, of course, is a longtime backer of the Obamas, and has interviewed the two numerous times before. Most recently, she interviewed Michelle Obama in January, where the two discussed military families.

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  6. Ametia says:

    Shut this MOFO DOWN

    Analysis: Clergymen to Trump – You’re Racist

    Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2011, 5:59 am
    By: Michael H. Cottman, BlackAmericaWeb.com

    A coalition of African-American ministers has wasted no time setting the tone for rapid-response in the infancy of 2012′s presidential campaign by publicly calling billionaire Donald Trump a racist.

    “In his fledgling bid as a presidential nominee, Trump has re-ignited false allegations of President Obama’s citizenship – stirring up old rumors about the validity of Obama’s Hawaii birth records,” Rev. Anthony Evans, president National Black Church Initiative, said in a recent statement. “These remarks are extraordinarily misinformed and speak to a deeper and more insidious problem – racism.”

    Trump, who claims to be interested in running for president as a Republican, has been unavoidable for comment about Obama’s citizenship. Trump insists that Obama was born in Kenya – not the United States – and is trying to force Obama to produce his birth certificate. Again.

    Does anyone actually take Trump seriously? And does Trump really believe that Obama will present him with a birth certificate?

    “As a national African-American organization, we are appalled that in Trump’s effort to garner publicity and separate himself from the pack, he feels it is appropriate to dredge up false, divisive and ugly rumors about our elected president,” said Evans, who represents a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African-Americans.

    “While we may disagree with Obama on policy decisions, we wholeheartedly stand behind our president and, in accordance with widely accepted facts, acknowledge his lawful citizenship,” he said. “Those who remain skeptical are unsuccessfully hiding their racism under a veil of conspiracy theories and gossip.”
    For Trump, who makes a lucrative living promoting All Things Donald, the attacks on Obama may be nothing more than political theatre – and bad political theatre at that.

    It’s more smoke and mirrors from the man who wrote the book on smoke and mirrors. Trump probably has no intention of running for president because if he does, he would have to be held accountable for his actions, his every movement, decision – and tax return – would be scrutinized. That would pose a real problem for Trump, a self-obsessed man who relishes being perhaps the nation’s best-known rebel billionaire businessman.

    Dr. Chiyome Fukino, the former director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, reaffirmed that Obama’s birth certificate is “real” and denounced “conspiracy theorists” in the so-called birther movement.

    But last month, a Kenyan lawmaker told the nation’s parliament that Obama was born in Africa and is therefore “not even a native American.”

    During debate over the draft of a new Kenyan constitution, James Orengo, the country’s minister of lands and a member of Parliament for the Ugenya constituency, cited America’s election as an example of what can be accomplished when diverse peoples unite.

    “If America was living in a situation where they feared ethnicity and did not see itself as a multiparty state or nation,” Orengo said, “how could a young man born here in Kenya, who is not even a native American, become the president of America?”

    Orengo’s statement, albeit inaccurate, has bolstered Trump’s assertions that Obama is not a U.S. citizen. But Obama’s supporters are now speaking out forcefully.

    “He needs to stop saying that racist bulls**t birther s**t. Quote me, please,” musician John Legend told reporters about Trump. “He should be ashamed of himself. It’s awful, really.”

    And while appearing on NBC’s “Today” last week, comedian and activist Bill Cosby was openly angered at the suggestion that Trump may challenge Obama in next year’s election.

    “Oh, please with Donald Trump. Take him home with you,” Cosby said. “He’s full of it.”

    He continued: “You kept saying [in an interview with Trump], ‘Are you going to run [for office]?’… He jumped. You run or shut up. …..

    http://www.blackamericaweb.com/?q=articles/news/moving_america_news/27495

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  7. Ametia says:

    OH OH! PBO LOVES BLACK PEOPLE!

    Since his first day in office, President Obama has been working to secure the future prosperity of the African American Community through efforts such as increasing access to health care, creating jobs, revitalizing schools, and the development of targeted job creating investments in underserved communities. While much more needs to be done, we are making progress. This site is a tool for you to learn about how the President’s Agenda is helping to win the future among African-American Communities.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/africanamericans

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  8. Ametia says:

    Maya Soetoro, Obama’s Half Sister: Time For People To Put Birther Debate To Bed
    by Colby Hall | 9:57 am, April 12th, 2011

    In an interview set to air tonight on CNN, Maya Soetoro-Ng, the president’s sister, says it’s “a shame” the way Donald Trump is fanning the flames of birtherism with constant questions about the president’s place of birth. “He was born in Hawaii” she tells CNN’s Piers Morgan.

    Soetoro says with far more pressing issues facing the country, it’s “time for people to put (birtherism) to bed, put it to rest completely.”

    The complete interview airs tonight at 9 p.m. Watch it here, from CNN:

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/obamas-half-sister-maya-soetoro-on-birther-debate-time-for-people-to-put-that-to-bed/

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  9. Ametia says:

    April 12, 2011
    Steve Benen

    COME FOR THE RADICALISM, STAY FOR THE FUZZY MATH…. When it comes to describing Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget plan, my first instinct is to emphasize its breathtaking radicalism. There’s just no modern precedent for an effort like this.

    But to stop there would be a mistake.

    To be sure, the GOP plan is as extreme as anything that a major-party caucus has proposed in generations. If passed it would fundamentally change how Americans interact with their government; place new burdens on seniors, the disabled, low-income children, and working families, while directing even more resources to the wealthy and powerful; and make regressive changes to the nation’s social contract.

    But Paul Krugman raises a related-but-different concern, which is just as important.

    People like me don’t say that the Ryan plan is too radical; we say that it’s a fraud. The spending cuts are largely fake, either because they’re just magic asterisks or because they wouldn’t survive politically; the revenue estimates are fake, because they combine huge tax cuts with vague assurances that extra revenue will be found by closing loopholes. There’s no there there — except for big tax cuts for the rich and pain for the poor.

    All I can think here is that reporters are so deep into the Beltway conventional wisdom that this is a Bold, Serious Plan that they just tune out the people saying that no, it’s not.

    After noting a great John Cole item, Krugman added, “[N]o, I don’t think the plan goes too far. I think it’s disingenuous and fraudulent. And the reason I think that is that I have actually done the math.”

    Sure, I agree with this, too. But isn’t there room for everyone on this train? Folks arguing that Ryan’s plan represents brutal, right-wing extremism, with needless cruelty and twisted values, can easily back up their concerns. Folks arguing that Ryan’s plan is arithmetically-challenged, with numbers that don’t add up, to be taken seriously only by those lacking access to calculators, are also entirely correct.

    The good news is, we don’t really have to pick one or the other. Ryan’s plan is composed of bad ideas and ideas that don’t add up.

    We can all get along.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/

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  10. Ametia says:

    How magnets affect the human brain
    Maggie Koerth-Baker at 8:20 AM Monday, Apr 11, 2011

    Put a powerful magnet against the side of your head and it can interfere with the neurons working underneath. The technique is being used to treat severe depression, but it can also produce some nifty party tricks. In this video, a magnet held to left side of New Scientist editor Roger Highfield’s skull interrupts his ability to speak a nursery rhyme. But when Highfield sings the same rhyme, there’s no effect. That’s because the neurons that control speech and the neurons that control singing are in separate parts of the brain. The magnet disabled Highfield’s speech centers, but left his ability to sing untouched.

    Science

    http://www.boingboing.net/2011/04/11/how-magnets-affect-t.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+boingboing%2FiBag+%28Boing+Boing%29

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  11. Ametia says:

    Monday, April 11, 2011-
    THE COLBERT REPORT

    Pap Smears at Walgreens
    Obama celebrates at the Lincoln Memorial, Jon Kyl rounds up abortion statistics to the nearest 90, and “Fox & Friends” explains why there’s no need for Planned Parenthood. (05:36)

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/381282/april-11-2011/pap-smears-at-walgreens

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  12. Ametia says:

    Apr 12, 2011
    Budget deal funds health care law, NPR

    Details are emerging of the contentious agreement to fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal year 2011, including money that will be spent on programs that House Speaker John Boehner and his GOP majority tried to eliminate.

    Boehner, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed to the $1.049 trillion deal late Friday night and averted a government shutdown. It includes $28 billion in new spending cuts for the remaining six months of the year, on top of about $12 billion in reductions that have already been approved by Congress.

    Some highlights, as outlined by the House Appropriations Committee:

    The nation’s health care law continues to be funded, despite objections from Republicans who wanted to repeal Obama’s initiative and voted in February to strip all funding for its implementation. Funding was eliminated for health care co-ops and “free choice vouchers,” provisions in the law that were pushed by Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Ron Wyden, respectively.

    The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which grants money to NPR and public television stations, will receive $1.1 billion — about the level at which it was funded in fiscal 2010. The GOP-led House voted to strip all funding for NPR, amid a controversy over a secretly taped video in which an NPR fundraiser was caught denigrating Republicans and the Tea Party.

    Funding for four top White House aides — known as “czars” — has been eliminated. The provision, pushed by Tea Party freshman Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., does not not pay for Obama’s top advisers for health care, climate change, the auto industry and urban affairs.

    The Pentagon will receive $513 billion in federal funding, up about $5 billion from 2010. The budget also fully funds 21,370 Border Patrol agents.

    An alternative engine for the F-35 fighter jet — built near Boehner’s district — will not be funded. Eliminating funding for the engine had long been sought by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Obama, and was backed by a strong bipartisan vote in February sought by Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla.

    Funding for high-speed rail, a top priority of Obama and Vice President Biden, has been eliminated.

    Boehner won funding for vouchers for low-income students in the District of Columbia, one of his pet initiatives. The vouchers will allow students to pay for tuition at the school of their choice.

    Mayor Vincent Gray of Washington, D.C. and other Democrats opposed the measure, saying it would take away resources from the city’s troubled public schools. Gray was arrested Monday as he and other D.C. council members protested the budget deal, which they contend does not give them the freedom to spend D.C. tax dollars as they see fit.

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2011/04/congress-budget-government-shutdown-npr-health-care/1?dlvrit=108927

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  13. Ametia says:

    Gray, council members arrested at protest of D.C. riders in spending bill

    By Ben Pershing, Tuesday, April 12, 1:34 AM
    D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and several members of the D.C. Council were arrested Monday at a protest on Capitol Hill, as city officials turned up the volume on their complaints about a federal spending deal that imposes controversial riders on the District.

    The spending measure — agreed to Friday night by President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) — reimposes a Republican-backed ban on the District spending its own money to provide abortions to low-income women. It also revives and expands a private school voucher program that has divided D.C. officials.

    More than 200 protesters lined Constitution Avenue NE Monday evening in a rally next to the Dirksen Senate Office Building staged by the activist group DC Vote. Gray helped lead the event, along with D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D-At Large) and council members Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Michael A. Brown (I-At Large), Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) and Sekou Biddle (D-At Large).

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/politics/gray-council-members-arrested-at-protest-of-dc-riders-in-spending-bill/2011/04/11/AFRWPBND_story.html

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  14. Ametia says:

    In budget wars, the GOP demands the impossible
    By Eugene Robinson, Monday, April 11, 5:27 PM

    Far-right Republicans are winning the budget wars because they understand something that nobody else in Washington seems to grasp: The old truism about politics being the art of the possible is no longer true.
    There’s no question who won last week’s showdown. The outcome — nearly $40 billion in painful cuts — goes well beyond the GOP’s initial demands. That Democrats were able to save a few pet programs is something but not much. You really don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.

    And as anyone who’s paying attention can plainly see, The Great Shutdown Standoff was just a skirmish in a much bigger conflict. At issue is a fundamental question — what is the nature and purpose of government — that was first answered more than two centuries ago, when Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson duked it out as warring members of George Washington’s first Cabinet. Hamilton’s centralized government was victorious. There are those who have never forgiven him.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-budget-wars-the-gop-demands-the-impossible/2011/04/11/AF31kPMD_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions

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  15. Ametia says:

    Obama prevents budget cuts to favorite programs
    By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Andrew Taylor, Associated Press – Mon Apr 11, 5:59 pm ET
    WASHINGTON – A close look at the government shutdown-dodging agreement to cut federal spending by $38 billion reveals that lawmakers significantly eased the fiscal pain by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway.

    Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs — Pell grants for poor college students, health research and “Race to the Top” aid for public schools, among others — from Republican knives.

    The full details of Friday’s agreement weren’t being released until late Monday when it was officially submitted to the House. But the picture already emerging is of legislation financed with a lot of one-time savings and cuts that officially “score” as savings to pay for spending elsewhere, but that often have little to no actual impact on the deficit.

    As a result of the legerdemain, Obama was able to reverse many of the cuts passed by House Republicans in February when the chamber passed a bill slashing this year’s budget by more than $60 billion. In doing so, the White House protected favorites like the Head Start early learning program, while maintaining the maximum Pell grant of $5,550 and funding for Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiative that provides grants to better-performing schools.

    Obama also repelled Republican moves to cut $1 billion in grants for community health centers and $500 million from biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health, while blocking them from “zeroing out” the AmeriCorps national service program and subsidies for public broadcasting.

    Instead, the cuts that actually will make it into law are far tamer, including cuts to earmarks, unspent census money, leftover federal construction funding, and $2.5 billion from the most recent renewal of highway programs that can’t be spent because of restrictions set by other legislation. Another $3.5 billion comes from unused spending authority from a program providing health care to children of lower-income families.

    About $10 billion of the cuts already have been enacted as the price for keeping the government open as negotiations progressed; lawmakers tipped their hand regarding another $10 billion or so when the House passed a spending bill last week that ran aground in the Senate.

    For instance, the spending measure reaps $350 million by cutting a one-year program enacted in 2009 for dairy farmers then suffering from low milk prices. Another $650 million comes by not repeating a one-time infusion into highway programs passed that same year. And just last Friday, Congress approved Obama’s $1 billion request for high-speed rail grants — crediting themselves with $1.5 billion in savings relative to last year.

    The underlying issue is long overdue legislation to finance the day-to-day budget of every Cabinet department, including the Pentagon, for the already half-completed 2011 fiscal year. The measure caps 2011 funding for such operating budgets at about $1.2 trillion.

    About $10 billion of the cuts comes from targeting appropriations accounts previously used by lawmakers for so-called earmarks, those pet projects like highways, water projects, community development grants and new equipment for police and fire departments. Republicans had already engineered a ban on earmarks when taking back the House this year.

    Republicans also claimed $5 billion in savings by capping payments from a fund awarding compensation to crime victims. Under an arcane bookkeeping rule — used for years by appropriators — placing a cap on spending from the Justice Department crime victims fund allows lawmakers to claim the entire contents of the fund as budget savings. The savings are awarded year after year.

    Even before details of the bill came out, some conservative Republicans were assailing it. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said he probably won’t vote for the measure, and tea party favorite Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is a “nay” as well.

    The $38 billion in cuts, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., wrote on his Facebook page, “barely make a dent” in the country’s budget woes.

    Huelskamp and other conservatives are also upset that most conservative policy “riders” added by Republicans were dropped from the legislation in the course of the talks.

    The White House rejected GOP attempts to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to issue global warming rules and other reversals of environmental regulations. Obama also forced Republicans to drop an effort to cut off Planned Parenthood from federal funding, as well as GOP moves to stop implementation of Obama’s overhauls of health care and Wall Street regulation.

    The administration also thwarted a GOP attempt to block new rules governing the Internet, as well as a National Rifle Association-backed attempt to neuter a little-noticed initiative aimed at catching people running guns to Mexican drug lords by having regulators gather information on batch purchases of rifles and shotguns.

    Anti-abortion lawmakers did, however, succeed in winning a provision to block taxpayer-funded abortions in the District of Columbia. And House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, won funding for a personal initiative to provide federally funded vouchers for District of Columbia students to attend private schools.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110411/ap_on_bi_ge/us_spending_showdown_details

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  16. rikyrah says:

    Our Structural Disadvantage

    by BooMan
    Mon Apr 11th, 2011 at 10:20:16 PM EST
    The intertubes are clogged with the choral wailing of frustrated liberals. Digby provides a good example, but the same is available pretty much anywhere else you’d think to look.

    The fact is that there is no liberal establishment willing to validate liberalism. Indeed, for reasons only they can tell us, they almost always go out of their way to exclude anyone who can readily be identified as a person of the left and rush before the cameras and into print to reassure America that they have no support. I have my theories about why that might be, but suffice to say it’s a fairly easily documented phenomenon. There is simply no space in the establishment political dialog for explicitly left policy or rhetoric.

    This is exactly right. But what’s strange is that it almost seems to come as a surprise to people. Why was Dennis Kucinich the only presidential candidate who was willing to argue for single-payer health care? Because he was the only one who knew with certainty that he’d never get elected and have to try to keep his promise. No one is going to get single-payer through Congress in this country. Not now, and not in a hundred years. Were Edwards, Clinton, Obama, Dodd, Richardson, and Biden just too timid? Shouldn’t they have tried to get a mandate for change?

    The truth is that our government is set up to frustrate change. Our election laws and our media landscape create a lopsided political playing-field where those who already have huge amounts of money can pretty much guarantee that they continue to get more of it and everyone else gets less. We can make arguments. We can try to move the Overton Window, but what is actually achievable in Washington DC is extremely limited. There really isn’t much sense in making a lot of promises that we can’t keep. The only times the Democrats have been able to make breakthroughs have been brief interludes when we had enormous majorities. Right now, we have a small majority in the Senate and we don’t control the House. Basically, in this situation, almost nothing can be accomplished, and even less can be accomplished on our terms. This is the context within which the president must perform.

    And when the president makes budget cuts at a time when increased federal spending is one of the only ways to reduce unemployment, of course it is frustrating. But I think it shows a degree of political immaturity to not understand that the president is going to take credit for brokering a deal that both lowers the deficit and keeps the government open. The alternative wouldn’t have helped unemployment either. The alternative wouldn’t have prevented a lot of people from being hurt or inconvenienced.

    Part of what is annoying me is that everything is being put through this prism where government spending goes in and a rainbow of awesome stuff comes out. Yes, in the particular situation we finds ourselves in, more government spending makes sense. But, as a general matter, our government spends way too much fucking money, which is why we are trillions of dollars in debt with no end in sight to the bleeding. When I hear people moaning that the president is legitimizing budget cuts, it just rubs me the wrong way.

    Now, our spending addiction is obviously exacerbated dramatically when we refuse to raise any revenue. That’s why it’s crucially important that the president somehow succeed in rescinding the Bush tax cuts. And our priorities are all screwed up, which is why it is vital that the president succeed in cutting defense spending in any deficit-reduction package. He probably won’t succeed in those efforts though, because Washington is rigged against doing anything that makes rich people uncomfortable. You have to know this. Nothing could be easier to see.

    I stopped being very idealistic when I finally got around to making myself understand our system of government. I don’t get disappointed by a whole lot because my expectations are so low. I see a real threat out there. I see a threat to our way of life and to all humanity, and it stares me in the face every single day. That threat isn’t coming from Barack Obama or the Democratic Party. It’s coming from the other side of the aisle. And insofar as the Democrats are failing to meet the challenge (and they are failing) the real culprit is deep and structural and ingrained in our system and in our laws.

    You may have noticed that the right is engaged in this fight on a structural level. They go after the people who register voters. They pass laws making it harder to vote. They attack the unions. They attack MoveOn.org. They go after anyone in the media, be it Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, Phil Donahue, or Dan Rather who expresses any skepticism about the right. They built their own cable news station and took over the radio spectrum. They make it so corporations can give unlimited money anonymously. They are coming after us with real aggression, trying to make it impossible for even middle-of-the-road Bill Clinton-style Democrats to get elected in this country. If we want to defend ourselves and ever see real progressive change in this country, we have to fight on this structural stuff. In the meantime, we’re playing defense. And we can’t do much more than that.

    So, I’m obviously troubled and concerned about our country and the future, but I am pretty clear-sighted about what our limitations are and why we have to settle for so little. Our problems are not one man’s fault. One man cannot fix them. But we also need to remember that we have one man standing between where we are now and an immeasurably worse situation. I think about that every day, too.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/4/11/222016/469

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  17. rikyrah says:

    Democrats Wish Mitt Romney’s Health Care Law A Happy Birthday

    Tuesday is a day that Mitt Romney, former Republican governor of Massachusetts should relish. It’s the fifth anniversary of the day that Romney signed a near-universal health care coverage bill into law after successfully navigating the partisan waters of a blue state and coming out with legislation supported by Democrats.

    But it’s a day that Mitt Romney, undeclared presidential candidate, seems less than eager to call attention to. Democrats, on the other hand, are more than happy to do it for him.

    On Tuesday, Democrats in New Hampshire and Massachusetts will gather to fete the anniversary by publicly thanking Romney for putting his signature on the Bay State law. Both states will serve health care law “birthday cakes” baked in Romney’s honor.

    Here’s why, from an email New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley sent out Monday morning:

    Five years ago, Mitt Romney laid the foundation for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Without Romney, it’s hard to see how President Obama would have been able to provide quality, affordable health care for every American.

    The plan here is not difficult to detect. The Republicans had a field day hitting President Obama and the Democrats on the one-year anniversary of the national health care reform law Obama signed in 2010 and has said was partially based on the plan Romney championed in 2006. The health care thing — or maybe the socialist health care thing if you’re a tea party Republican voter — is seen as a giant Romney liability in the 2012 presidential nomination fight. So Democrats decided to give Romney what the Republicans tried to give Obama last month: an uncomfortable reminder of a giant legislative victory now seen as potential political problem.

    Not surprisingly, Team Romney is less than interested in engaging on the anniversary.

    “Somehow I’m not surprised that Democrats are sitting around eating cake while 14 million unemployed Americans are struggling to put food on their table,” Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN.

    Romney’s been telling his supporters his health care reform legacy won’t be a problem. Why? Because he says it was never intended for the whole nation, and he definitely never would have tried to do what Obama did. In fact, he says, one of his first acts as president would be to let states opt out of the law right away (they’d still be required to come up with their own national health care law-level of coverage system until such time as Congress repealed the health care reform law).

    Still, Romney knows he has a problem, not the least of which is this 2009 CNN interview where he in fact did say that parts of the Massachusetts health care law could be a “national model.”

    Here’s a version of how Romney’s brushing off the worry about health care from a Wall Street Journal report on a recent high-dollar fundraising meeting in New York:

    A Romney fund-raiser said the former governor also would argue that the Massachusetts law was necessary to stave off the imminent bankruptcy of the state’s Medicaid program. The law’s requirement that most in the state buy insurance coverage had been hatched by the conservative Heritage Foundation and was used by Mr. Romney to thwart state Democrats from winning a government-run insurance option, he will argue.

    Democrats — and Romney’s Republican opponents in the presidential fight — are not going to let this one go, despite Romney’s protestations. And the chance to eat a birthday cake in honor of Romney’s biggest political headache is just too delicious for Democrats to ignore. So expect another Massachusetts health care law anniversary celebration next yet when the law turns 6, assuming Romney’s then an official candidate in the presidential race.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/04/democrats-celebrate-mitt-romneys-health-care-anniversary-even-if-he-wont.php

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  18. rikyrah says:

    GOod Morning, Everyone :)

    Like

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