Friday, December 25, 2009

Meet Ron Christie, Political Commentator


There are some folks that never cease to amaze me and Ron Christie is on of those mind boggling people. Christie, the Black Republican apologist and strategist is forever trying to convince us that White right-wing reactionary Republicans like Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney and Russ Limbaugh always mean just the opposite or something other than what they've stated or written or that they are badly misquoted, misunderstood, or misinterpreted. He sees history quite differently than I remember it, especially the Bush II White House years.

As I listen to Ron Christie on various talk shows and news programs, I had to take a minute and find out more about him. Maybe I could learn why he thinks the way he does or at least the way he says he thinks.

A native of Palo Alto, California, he received his B.A. from Haverford College and his J.D. from the George Washington University National Law Center. Christie serves as an Adjunct Professor of Strategic Advocacy at the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. He also teaches a course on strategic advocacy at his alma mater, Haverford College, where he has been appointed a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science.

Mr. Christie, a veteran senior advisor of both the White House and the Congress, brings years of government relations experience. Most recently, Christie served as Vice President of Navigators LLC, a full service strategic consulting and communications firm. He also has served as Executive Vice President and Director of Global Government Affairs at Ruder Finn and Of Counsel at the DC law firm of Patton Boggs, LLP. From 2002 to 2004, he was Acting Director of USA Freedom Corps and special assistant to President George W. Bush. He began service at the White House in 2001 as deputy assistant to Vice President Cheney for domestic policy, advising the Vice President on policy initiatives in health care, budget, tax and other policy areas.

Prior to joining the Vice President's staff, he briefly served as counsel to U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA). He also served as senior advisor to former House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich (R-OH).

Active in international affairs, he was elected to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2001, a distinguished group devoted to promoting improved understanding of international affairs through the free exchange of ideas. While serving in the White House, Christie was asked by President Bush to lead an American delegation to an international conference on volunteerism and civic engagement hosted by then Prime Minister Tony Blair in London, England. Subsequent to the volunteerism summit, Christie worked with then Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown to devise an expanded call for civic engagement in Great Britain.

As a frequent commentator on current political events, he has appeared as a political/legal analyst on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Lou Dobbs Tonight, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Fox News Sunday, Hannity & Colmes, The O'Reilly Factor, and The Tavis Smiley Show. Christie also serves as a weekly Contributor and Panelist on National Public Radio's "News and Notes" program. A noted political strategist and skilled orator, Christie is a contributing columnist for The Hill, a leading Capitol Hill newspaper, and is one of their featured writers on The Pundit's Blog.

All this information lets me know that Christie is well educated, well connected and has worked closely with GOP persons and issues. None of it makes me understand how Christie can defend Dick Cheney or George Bush and their administration or policies, but I guess you don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Ron Christie is Founder and CEO of Christie Strategies, a full-service communications and issues management firm in Washington, D.C. He is also the author of the book Black in the White House published by Nelson Current in January 2006. His next work, Acting White: The Birth and Death of a Racial Slur will be published by St. Martin's Press/Thomas Dunne Books in 2010.

"Rather than focusing on so-called "Black issues," Republicans will continue to gain traction with Black folks by discussing their vision of economic reform, technological advances to compete in the 21st Century, and insisting that teachers and schools be held accountable for results in educating our children." Ron Christie

This Christmas Day the song goes "Do you hear what I hear" and "Do you see what I see?" Well Ron, my answer is no.

SOURCE: Speakers Bureau



Pennsylvania Rep. Chris Carney (D) announced tonight that he would not switch to the Republican party despite a personal phone call today from Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) urging him to do so. The most recent member of Congress to switch parties is Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), who announced his decision in April.

Carney won the northeastern Pennsylvania 10th district in 2006 thanks, in large part to the scandal surrounding then Rep. Don Sherwood (R). Carney won re-election in 2008despite the fact that McCain won the seat 54 percent to 45 percent. According to the Washington Post vote database, Carney has voted with the Democratic majority 90.8 percent of the time in the 111th Congress. Republicans have been aggressively courting candidates to challenge Carney in 2010.

McCain's call to Carney signals a coordinated Republican effort to capitalize on the party switch on Tuesday of Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith, the first Democrat to switch to the GOP since Rep. Rodney Alexander in 2004.

Democratic Rep. Parker Griffith announced Tuesday that he's switching parties – saying he can no longer align himself “with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy and drives us further and further into debt.”

Griffith, who captured his seat in a close 2008 open seat contest, will become the first Republican to hold the historically Democratic, Huntsville-based district. A radiation oncologist who founded a cancer treatment center, Griffith cited the Democratic health care bill as a major reason for his switch.

Griffith’s party switch will not come as a surprise to those familiar with his voting record, which is one of the most conservative among Democrats. "He has bucked the Democratic leadership on nearly all of its major domestic initiatives, including the stimulus package, health care legislation, the cap-and trade energy bill and financial regulatory reform. "He was one of only 11 House Democrats to vote against the stimulus.

Republicans insist there are others like Griffith out there and that the legislative course the House majority has steered is acting as a impetus to push Democrats out of the party.

Again, a single seat like Griffith's doesn't make a huge difference in the grand scheme of the battle for the House where Democrats hold a 40-seat majority. But, the symbolic import of a Democrat abandoning the party when it hold all the levers of power in Washington should not be underestimated.

Sources: The Fix Blog, Washington Post, Huffington Post

Senate Passes Healthcare Bill

After months of wrangling, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed President Barack Obama's health care plan by a 60-39 vote this morning. The votes were casts strictly along party lines.

It was a year long process to get to this fork in the road with lots of negotiation, compromise, and agony. It was a learning experience for me since this is the first time I followed a bill so closely and the first time I rose and fell with each media item and with every news report. What a roller coaster ride. It makes me wonder how we ever get anything done.

There are somethings I'll remember like the party of no, the hold outs, the issues of abortion and immigration, but most of all I'll remember the 30 million American who will now be insured under this legislation. It may not be everything I wished for, but it's certainly more than we had. We've taken more than sixty year to get this far, so thank God for some progress.

I wonder how the large amounts of money spent to derail healthcare could have been better spent to help the sick and needy. I question the public figures who were more interested in their personal fifteen minutes of fame than the fate of numerous Americans. I guess if I understood the game better, I'd know this is business as usual. I'll just chalk it up as another lesson learned.

CIA Cuts Blackwater Ties

The C.I.A. has terminated its contract with Blackwater Worldwide (now called Xe Services) that employed the security company to load bombs on drones used by the agency in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The New York Times had revealed the existence of the deal, which paid Blackwater employees to assemble and load Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs on secret bases, in August, writing about disputes between the contractor and some C.I.A. employees, who accused the Blackwater operatives of shoddy work and poor weapon assembly (one story held that a bomb dropped off a Predator drone before the drone had launched its payload). "At this time, Blackwater is not involved in any C.I.A. operations other than in a security or support role," said agency spokesman George Little. C.I.A. employees are taking over the jobs performed by Blackwater's workers at the drone bases.

In April 2002, the CIA paid Blackwater more than $5 million to deploy a small team of men inside Afghanistan during the early stages of US operations in the country. A month later, Erik Prince, the company's owner and a former Navy SEAL, flew to Afghanistan as part of the original twenty-man Blackwater contingent. Blackwater worked for the CIA at its station in Kabul as well as in Shkin, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where they operated out of a mud fortress known as the Alamo. It was the beginning of a long relationship between Blackwater, Prince and the CIA.

The CIA's decision to hire contractors from Blackwater USA for a covert assassination program in 2004 was part of an expanding relationship in which the agency has relied on the widely criticized firm for tasks including guarding CIA lockups and loading missiles on Predator aircraft, according to current and former U.S. government officials.

The 2004 contract cemented what was then a burgeoning relationship with Blackwater, setting the stage for a series of departures by senior CIA officials who took high-level positions with the North Carolina security company.

U.S. officials familiar with the targeted-killing program said that Blackwater's involvement was limited in scope and duration, and that the arrangement ended several years before CIA Director Leon E. Panetta killed the program two months ago.

The program was kept secret from Congress for nearly eight years before Panetta told lawmakers about it in June. CIA officials have emphasized that the program was never operational and that it did not lead to the capture or killing of a single terrorism suspect.

It appears the mercenary firm has a long and dark history with the CIA. Were they Bush and Cheney's private hit men?

I wonder what we could discover if as much media attention was spent on Blackwater and its activities as is currently being spent on Tiger Wood's infidelities. Makes you wonder.

Eagles Vote Award to Michael Vick

Team mates recognize Michael Vick and the sports world is up in arms about it.

Vick won the Ed Block Courage Award, voted on by his teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles, after the once-disgraced star quarterback returned to the league after spending 18 months in a federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.

"It means a great deal to me," Vick said Wednesday. "I was voted unanimously by my teammates. They know what I've been through. I've been through a lot. It's been great to come back and have an opportunity to play and be with a great group of guys. I'm just ecstatic about that and I enjoy every day."

The Ed Block Award honors players who exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. Each of the 32 NFL teams selects a recipient.

"I've overcome a lot, more than probably one single individual can handle or bear," Vick said. "You ask certain people to walk through my shoes, they probably couldn't do. Probably 95 percent of the people in this world because nobody had to endure what I've been through, situations I've been put in, situations I put myself in and decisions I have made, whether they have been good or bad.

The animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, issued a statement reprimanding the Eagles for giving Vick the award.

"The Philadelphia Eagles fumbled when they gave Michael Vick the Ed Block Courage Award, which was named after a man who advocated in behalf of abused children," the PETA statement read. "Michael Vick should not be the person anyone points to as a model of sportsmanship, even though he has now exchanged dogs for touchdowns after serving time for extreme cruelty to animals. We wish him well in educating others, but this is not appropriate and does not mark a joyous moment in NFL history."

Funny, once again folks rally against an African American public figure being recognized with a notable award. Once again, the award is "not timely". Once again, there's hope that the person will do something in the future to deserve the award. Once again, there are those that are "more deserving". Once again, granting this award to this person is a "slap in the face to past receipients".

Once again, I don't agree with the obvious stance against the award in this case, as with the controversy surrounding the recent Nobel Peace prize awarded Barack Obama. A person makes mistakes, pays for their poor judgement, and tries to rehabilitate. Then, they move on with their lives. One mistake should not be a life sentence.

Source: Sports Illustrated and ESPN

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FLOTUS 68% Favorable Rating

Michelle Obama scored an overall 68 percent favorable rating in a Marist Poll released on Tuesday, but only 37 percent of those registered voters say she has changed the role of first lady for the better.

Other findings:

*The 68 percent "favorable impression" shows a partisan divide: 85 percent of Democrats, 53 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Independents viewed her favorably.

*On her performance as first lady, 57 percent of registered voters told Marist she was "doing well" in her position, up from 50 percent when Marist asked the same question in March.

*The same number, 57 percent, said Mrs. Obama has lived up to their expectations.

*On the fashion front, 41 percent say Mrs. Obama has changed fashion for the better; 39 percent said she has had no impact at all.

*On whether she has "revolutionized" the role of first lady, 37 percent say she has changed it for the better, which is down from 43 percent in April.

The survey of 1,034 U.S. residents -- age 18 and up -- was taken Dec. 2, 3 and 7, and included 858 registered voters. The margin of error is 3 percent.

Source: Lynn Sweet, The Daily FLOTUS Blog, Politics Daily

"The Black Frame of Mind"

I actually thought I'd never find anything comical in something Rush Limbaugh said on his show. Well, once again I was wrong.

On a recent show Rush said the following:

“ I got two more stories in the stack today about how black unemployment is through the roof. Black unemployment is terrible. The black frame of mind is terrible, they’re depressed, they’re down — Obama’s not doing anything for ‘em. How is that hoax and change workin’ for ya? They’re all livid. I mean, they thought there were gonna be an exact 180-degree economic reversal and it’s done nothing but get bad for everybody, but they’re especially upset about it because they look at him as one of them, and now they feel abandoned. And I’m sure Tiger Woods’ choice of females not helping ‘em out with their attitudes there either.”

What would Rush Limbaugh know about "the black frame of mind"? When did this man ever talk with or listen to a black person? And, what does Tiger Woods choice of female have to do with anything?

What a joke...Rush Limbaugh's comments on "the black frame of mind". Spare me, please!

More Birthier Drivel

On the North Dakota Republican Party website homepage they have a joke of the day, and today the joke was on the president. The picture shows the party crashing Salahis shaking hands with the president and he asks can he see their invitation, and they reply can I see your birth certificate. Funny stuff? No its more birther nonsense that the Republicans keep spewing. When the political director of the North Dakota Republican party was questioned about it he said “it’s a joke.” It’s simply nothing funny about this birther drivel and things like this just emboldened the movement.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mark Sanford Avoids Impeachment

SC Drops Sanford Impeachment

Per an article in the Daily Beast, Mark Sanford lives another day: A seven-member South Carolina House subcommittee voted on Wednesday to drop efforts to impeach Governor Sanford. Five members have announced how they will vote: four will vote against impeachment; one will vote for it. Public Policy Polling points out that Sanford, with a 36-percent approval rating, is still more popular than several of the country’s governors, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Paterson, and Ed Rendell.

Ain't politics just grand?

FLOTUS on Point!

Say what you will about the "Gate Crashers" at President Obama's First White House State Dinner, but don't overlook our First Lady, Michelle Obama. She was a study in style and grace in her classy ensemble. I felt well represented!

The Infamous Tee Shirt

Please don't buy this t-shirt: I would not wish or pray this on any Leader.

Psalm 109: 8-13

Let his years be few; let someone else take his position
May his children become fatherless, and his wife a widow
May his children wander as beggars and be driven from their ruined homes
May creditors seize his entire estate, and strangers take all he has earned.
Let no one be kind to him; let no one pity his fatherless children.
May all his offspring die. May his family name be blotted out in a single generation.

Let's not let the enemy get over on us!!
Although this story is in the Bible, it is in the old testament about people who were oppressed. The old testament tells us what happened. The New testament, Jesus teaches us what to do and to pray for our enemies!!
Like these who came up with this shirt!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gate-Crashers at White House Dinner

A couple of aspiring reality-TV stars from Northern Virginia appear to have crashed the White House's state dinner Tuesday night, penetrating layers of security with no invitation to mingle with the likes of Vice President Biden and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Tareq and Michaele Salahi -- polo-playing socialites known for a bitter family feud over a Fauquier County winery and their possible roles in the forthcoming "The Real Housewives of Washington" -- were seen arriving at the White House and later posted on Facebook photos of themselves with VIPs at the elite gathering.

While some may find this to be just a harmless, but embarrassing prank, think of the possibilities. I shudder to think about the dangers President Obama faces every day and this incident gave me more cause for alarm. Wonder what price these gate-crashers will pay?

Source: Reliable Sources, Washington Post

Communications Changes at the RNC


Trevor Francis, the communications director at the Republican National Committee, is leaving his post and his departure suggests some level of turmoil within the GOP's chief campaign committee.

Steele's tendency to freelance makes him difficult to manage from a press perspective and, according to sources familiar with Francis's departure, that tension was part of the reason he decided to step aside

One Steele ally says there were frustrations from the chairman and his inner circle about the botched rollout of the RNC's new website — and the blog therein briefly named "What Up?" — as well as concerns that some media inquiries were being ignored, including from African-American outlets.

The collective sense expressed by GOP operatives in the anti-Steele camp is that he is as consumed with winning personal accolades as he is with rebuilding the party and defeating Democrats.

Alex Castellanos, a Republican media consultant, will take over as a senior communications adviser to RNC Chairman Michael Steele, according to a source familiar with the move. Castellanos, in an email to the Huffington Post, said reports of his RNC gig were overstated. He is "not replacing anyone" at the committee, "just helping out... as a senior advisor."

"Few things in life are permanent but I'm permanently a Republican," Castellanos said, when asked if the RNC post was long-term. "And [I'm] happy to serve as a senior advisor to the chairman whenever he asks."

Castellanos will continue to serve as an on-air personality for CNN despite taking on the consulting role. While the RNC gig may simply consist of a consulting gig, it could have major ramifications when placed in the context of the frantic debate over the future of the Republican Party. Castellanos just recently slammed two major GOP officials: Florida governor and U.S. senatorial candidate Charlie Crist and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Moreover, he has established a firm reputation for favoring highly personal political attacks -- a trait he seems likely to bring to an RNC desperate to produce major electoral gains in the 2010 elections.

Sources: The Fix Blog, Washington Post; Huffington Post

Tales from the Darkside-Meet Amy Holmes

As I watch the shows that explore day to day politics, I see a number of Republican Strategists and commentators, the talking heads if you will. Some present themselves as independents. While all seem to regurgitate the GOP party line without deviation, there are a few that amaze me every time they appear. I took some time to investigate their backgrounds, just to put their remarks in some perspective.

Amy Holmes
Amy Holmes is a CNN political contributor and conservative commentator. She appears regularly on The Situation Room and across all networks, including the network's prime-time line-up in programs such as Larry King Live and Anderson Cooper 360º.

Prior to joining CNN, Holmes served as senior speechwriter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) from May 2003 to July 2006, writing on topics ranging from economic and energy policy to judicial nominations and the Iraq war. Before that she worked for the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, and helped build the non-profit Independent Women's Forum (IWF) as economic project director and campus project director. While at IWF, Holmes oversaw and edited the organization's labor statistics guide, "Women's Figures: An Illustrated Guide to the Economics of Women in America."

Holmes, a registered independent, is beconing a familiar face on television news and talk programs. She has guest-hosted ABC's The View and appears regularly on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. In 2002, she hosted Lead Story on Black Entertainment Television, where she interviewed administration officials, journalists and top newsmakers.

Holmes began her career on television as a Fox News Channel contributor and was later a commentator for MSNBC. She has appeared on PBS's To the Contrary, The Montel Williams Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS Early Morning Show and co-hosted PBS's Millennium 2000 broadcast.

From 1999 to October of 2001, Holmes wrote a monthly guest column for USA Today. She has also been published in The Washington Post and National Review. Her political commentary has been cited in numerous national publications, including Newsweek, Glamour, Mademoiselle, Honey and Harper’s Bazaar. In May 2000, she was named one of PEOPLE magazine's "50 Most Beautiful."

Holmes holds a degree in economics from Princeton University.

In a series of YouTube videos she explaines a little of her background. Amy was born in Africa in the country of Zambia to a Caucasian mother and an African father. Her mother divorced her father when she was 3 years old. After that, she and her mom moved back to Seattle where her mother grew up. Amy was then brought up on Rob Lowe movies, idolized Brooke Shields and now prefers to date only middle aged Jewish men.

Whenever I see Amy on television, I always wonder how could her mind be so mixed up. Frankly, most of the time I don't understand her logic and the arguements she presents. She's a registered independent, so I can't call her a Republican pundit, but her comments closely mirror the GOP party line. Her comments are not far from those of Rush Linbaugh and Glen Beck. She was a former classmate at Princeton with Rupert Murdoch’s son Lachlan. Interesting to note her first job was at Fox News, a Murdoch property. Maybe that's why she defended the infamous racist cartoon in Murdoch's New York Post.

You can't count on the opinion Amy spouts today being the same as the one she presents tomorrow. Don't count on the accurracy of her statements either. You can count on her selling anything that's anti-Barack Obama. She defended Sarah Palin’s intellect in her candidacy for VP but on the other hand questioned Barack Obama’s capacity for the office of the Presidency. Amy supported Sarah’s rally cry of “Barack pals around with terrorists" while saying Barack has a “Moses Complex”, wrongly quoting one of his speeches. She criticized Barack’s speech on race as being boring and chastised him for “outing” his grandmother for her racial biases.

When I see her I shake my head and remind myself that some folks will do anything for a buck. Amy’s attractiveness is clearly a factor in her popularity and she knows what to say to make herself marketable. I just have to remember that I'm listening to Tales from the Darkside.

Follow the Cost of the Health Care Debate

Here's an interesting article on the monies being spent on the Healthcare debate. It's mind-boggling!

The most important number in politics today
148.5 That's the number of dollars -- in millions! -- that has been spent this year on ads by the outside interest groups advocating for and against President Barack Obama's health care plan, according to a comprehensive document detailing the air wars over the legislation.

As of this week, groups favoring the bill have spent $73.5 million on ads while those opposing the plan have dropped $75 million -- a stunningly large total that shows the massive political stakes tied to the legislation.

For much of the fall, the groups opposed to Obama's plan -- led by the Chamber of Commerce and the 60 Plus Association -- drastically outspent those supportive of the legislation.

In the first week of November, the opposition spent $12 million to just $2.5 million for the those who support the package. That margin narrowed to a $600,000 edge for the opposition in the second week and widened again to a $4.5 million advantage in the third week.

But, then, the Senate voted last weekend to bring the bill to the floor and the tables turned. For this week, the pro-Obama bill side is spending roughly $1 million more than those who oppose reform thanks to significant increases in spending by the AARP and Americans for Stable Quality Care.

Allies of the White House paint the shift in spending as a sign of momentum for the bill as Senate Majority Harry Reid (Nev.) prepares to introduce it in the coming week.

The increased spending by those backing the President's plan comes in the nick of time for those hoping to pressure lawmakers to back the plan. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey earlier this month showed that, for the first time since the health care debate began in earnest, people had seen more ads opposed to the legislation (37 percent) than in favor of it (29 percent).

By Chris Cillizza | November 24, 2009; 2:53 PM ET
The Washington Post-"The Fix" Blog

Monday, November 23, 2009

C Street and the Family

As the Republican Party implodes, the public is becoming aware of a secretive Christian society known as the Family or the Fellowship. The group was founded in 1935 in opposition to FDR's New Deal and its adherents subscribe to a far right Christian fundamentalist and free market ideology. A minister named Abraham Vereide founded the Family after having a vision in which God visited him in the person of the head of the United States Steel Corporation (no, I'm not making this up). The Family has a connection to house on C Street in Washington, D.C., known simply as C Street.

Officially registered as a church, the building serves as a meeting place and residence for conservative politicians. S. C. Gov.Mark Sandford and
Senator John Ensign R-NV are two familiar names in recent news coverage who resided at C Street and received "coaching" about their extra marital affairs from other prominent residents.

C Street's stately red brick, $1.1 million building is subsidized by secretive religious organizations and is located a mere stone's throw away from the Capitol. Lawmakers who live there include Reps. Zach Wamp (R-TN); Bart Stupak (D-MI); Jim DeMint (R-SC); Mike Doyle (D-PA); and Sens. John Ensign (R-NV), Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Sam Brownback (R-KS). The lawmakers, all Christians, live in private rooms upstairs and pay an incredibly low rent -- a paltry $600 -- to live at C Street.

Tenants dine together once a week to talk about religion in their daily lives. Richard Carver, a member of the Fellowship's board of directors who served as assistant secretary of the Air Force during the Reagan administration, says "Our goal is singular -- and that is to hope that we can assist them in better understandings of the teachings of Christ, and applying it to their jobs." Senator DeMint, a Presbyterian who moved into C Street less than a year ago, says that members are wont to share a verse or a thought in Bible Study "but mostly it's more of an accountability group to talk about things that are going on in our lives, and how we're dealing with them."

The Family's current leader Doug Coe is secretive but enjoys considerable political influence as a spiritual adviser. When South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, himself a visitor and a kind of honorary alumni at C Street, compared his political difficulties involving his affair with an Argentine woman to those of biblical King David, the South Carolina politician was falling back on a central figure in Family theology. You could "almost hear Doug Coe's voice" coming out of Sanford, one resident remarks.

When they're not philandering and violating their own professed Christian morality, C Street members push for the projection of U.S. power abroad. As Obama went to Port of Spain, Trinidad for the Summit of the Americas in April, Ensign who criticized the president for shaking Hugo Chávez's hand. "I think it was irresponsible for the president to be seen kind of laughing and joking with Hugo Chávez," he said. Ensign, a big booster of corporate-style free trade, voted for the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) in 2005. He also supports the coup government in Honduras and signed a letter to Secretary of State Clinton calling on the Obama Administration to revoke its support for deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

C Street's real free trade messiah is South Carolina native son Jim DeMint, who just chastised the White House for supporting Zelaya, thereby carrying out what he called "a slap in the face to the people" of Honduras. Hondurans "have struggled too long to have their hard-won democracy stolen from them by a Chávez-style dictator," he remarked. The South Carolinian, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, went even further and attacked the Organization of American States for "trampling" over the hopes and dreams of a "free and democratic people." It's hardly surprising that DeMint would come out for the military takeover in Honduras given that he's been a long time booster of Central American free trade. In this sense, he shares the ideological views of newly installed Honduran President Roberto Micheletti, a former businessman and conservative politician who has supported CAFTA. DeMint has long been on the other side of the fence from the likes of Zelaya and Chávez. First elected to the House in 1998, he has been an eager promoter of far right-wing economic orthodoxy such as privatizing Social Security and abolishing the federal minimum wage.

In their own personal lives, C Street members have made a mockery of the group's Christian teachings. Yet when it comes to the far more important and consequential issue of foreign policy, these Republicans have stuck to their guns. From Chávez to Zelaya to free trade in Central America, they have been consistent in seeking to overturn progressive reform and in working to maintain U.S. imperial hegemony.

S.C. Gov. Sandford Faces 37 Ethics Charges

The details of 37 ethics charges against South Carolina Republican Gov. Mark Sandford were released Monday. Sanford has been under scrutiny since he vanished for five days over the summer before reappearing from a trip to see his Argetinian lover and admitting to an extramarital affair. He is accused of breaking ethics laws by using taxpayer money for airline seats, taking state planes for personal and political trips and occasionally using his campaign chest to reimburse himself for travel.

The civil charges, which carry a maximum $74,000 in fines, stem from a three-month investigation by the State Ethics Commission and could be pivotal in a push by some lawmakers to remove him from office. The state attorney general is deciding whether the governor would face any criminal charges.

Each of the counts claims Sanford used his office for personal financial gain and carries a maximum $2,000 fine if he is found guilty.

Sanford's attorney expressed confidence that the charges even with a finding of guilty do not "rise anywhere near to the traditional standard of impeachment".

Before his recent troubles, Sanford had been mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012.

The Wasilla Wonder-Sarah Palin

For the second time since Sarah Palin stepped into the national political spotlight, a photo of the former Republican vice-presidential candidate featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine is sparking controversy. Palin herself blasted the "out-of-context" cover as "sexist" on her Facebook page.

Palin took issue with Newsweek using a photo from an article about health and fitness to promote an analysis piece contemplating her relevance as a political figure:
"The choice of photo for the cover of this week's Newsweek is unfortunate. When it comes to Sarah Palin, this "news" magazine has relished focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant.
“The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now.”

The reaction to the Newsweek cover has predictably sparked outrage from conservative supporters of Palin and kudos from liberals who oppose her.

The current cover flap isn't the first time Newsweek has generated controversy with a photograph of Palin. The October 13, 2008, issue featured an extreme close-up of Palin that seemed to be devoid of the high-tech retouching often employed by magazines. Conservatives claimed this highlighted some of Palin's supposed "flaws," like wrinkles around her eyes.

Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham told Yahoo! News that the photo choice was simply the "most interesting image available":
"We chose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover, which is what we always try to do. We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard."

Personally, I thought the cover was a cheap shot. In my opinion, Newsweek lowered itself by using this particular photo on its cover and clouded the issue by allowing cries of sexism from the Palin camp. Why make Palin appear to be a victim of the media as she so often claims. There is enough substance for Palin detractors to latch on to without using a photo that allows her wiggle room to side step issues. But, that's just my take on the subject.

Source: Brett Michael Dykes,Yahoo! News Blog

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sisters in Power

It was only 32 years ago that President Jimmy Carter appointed Patricia Roberts Harris to serve as secretary of housing and urban development, making her the first black woman in the presidential line of succession. Carter later named Eleanor Holmes Norton head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and she recalls being "marketed" as the first woman to hold the position.

A cadre of black women were introduced to national politics during the Rev. Jesse Jackson's unsuccessful bids for the presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988. They included pollitical strategist Donna Brazile, the first African American to direct a major political campaign, and Minyon Moore, who was an assistant to Clinton and served as director of White House political affairs and the Office of Public Liaison. In their days in the Clinton administration, Moore would lean on Alexis Herman, the first African American woman to serve as labor secretary, and Hazel O'Leary, the first to serve as energy secretary.

"We kind of burst onto the scene," Moore said. "It became more normal to see an African American woman in a position of power."

President Bill Clinton appointed two black women to his Cabinet and several served in senior White House positions. President George W. Bush named Condoleezza Rice his national security adviser and later secretary of state, making her the highest-ranking black woman in the country's history.

Of late, black women have done better in Cabinet-level appointments and senior White House positions. Black women have been preparing themselves for this day. They are more than ready.

Here are some of the women of color who hold key positions in the Obama Administration.

Valerie B. Jarrett
Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

Lisa P. Jackson
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator

Susan Rice
United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Mona Sutphen
Deputy Chief of Staff to the President Barack Obama

Cheryl Mills
Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Melody Barnes
Director, Domestic Policy Council

Dr. Margaret Hamburg (lead photo above)
Administrator, Food and Drugs Administration

Regina Benjamin
Surgeon General of the United States

"We are fortunate that we are in a time where it isn't new that African American women would have important roles in Washington. It is not becoming old hat, but it is something people are more comfortable with," Cassandra Butts, Obama's former White House Counsel said. "It is both absolutely as it should be, and it is also a bit surreal."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Good-bye, Lou Dobbs

CNN's Lou Dobbs, a lightning rod for criticism following his transition from a business journalist to an opinionated anchor on such issues as illegal immigration, told viewers on Wednesday that he was quitting his nightly show to pursue new opportunities.

"This will be my last broadcast," Dobbs said after giving the day's headlines. Dobbs, who hosts a daily radio show unrelated to CNN, said the network had allowed him to be released early from his contract.

Dobbs was a CNN original, signing on when the cable network started in 1980. For much of that time, he hosted a nightly business broadcast that became one of the most influential shows in the corporate world, and CNN's most profitable show for advertising revenue.

But Dobbs said his world view changed after the 2001 terrorist attacks and corporate corruption scandals, and he began to more freely express his opinions. He was particularly persistent in bringing the immigration issue to the fore, winning him both higher ratings and enemies. Latino groups had an active petition drive seeking his removal. His resignation was hailed by activists who were seeking his ouster.

His presence became awkward for CNN, particularly as it began emphasizing reporting and non-opinion shows. He angered management this summer by pressing questions about President Barack Obama's birth site after CNN reporters determined there was no issue.

CNN has announced that it will replace the freshly departed Lou Dobbs with veteran White House correspondent and State of the Union host John King. The new political show will begin airing next year in the 7 p.m. ET timeslot. King has been with CNN since 1997 and played a large role in the network's Peabody Award-winning coverage of the 2008 election. CNN promises a "definitive political hour that goes well beyond the surface of the day's top stories to provide in-depth analysis and context to key political movements in Washington and across the nation."

CNN's ratings have been sliding; Dobbs' swan song pulled in 879,000 viewers, up from last week's 810,000, but was outpaced by Fox News' Shepard Smith, who pulled in 2.7 million in the same timeslot. However, Dobbs was beating broadcasts from MSNBC's Chris Matthews and CNN's own Campbell Brown.

"For decades, Lou fearlessly and tirelessly pursued some of the most important and complex stories of our time," CNN U.S. President Jon Klein said in a statement. "Lou has now decided to carry the banner of advocacy journalism elsewhere. We respect his decision."

I'm sure we havn't heard the last of Lou Dobbs. The key phrase is "advocacy journalism". Take is from the likes of Sarah Palin, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh, there's gold in them there hills.

Anita Dunn Leaves White House Post

Anita Dunn, the White House communications director who has tangled very publicly with Fox News, is leaving the White House at the end of the month. The switch had been expected; Ms. Dunn took the communications director job earlier this year on an interim basis and had expected to leave at the end of the summer, but President Obama persuaded her to stay on for a few more months. She will return to Squier Knapp Dunn, the media consulting firm where she is a partner, but will stay on as a strategic consultant to the White House.

Ms. Dunn, a longtime Democratic strategist who worked for Mr. Obama during his presidential campaign, kept a relatively low profile at the White House until recently, when she sparked a war of words with Fox News by calling it “the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.’’

Glenn Beck, the Fox commentator, struck back, broadcasting a video of Ms. Dunn delivering a speech in which she called Mao Tse-Tung, the Chinese communist leader, one of her favorite political philosophers – a comment he called “insanity.’’ She said the reference was facetious.

Dunn's deputy will replace her. Dan Pfeiffer, 33, is a longtime Democratic strategist with experience working for some of the biggest names in the Democratic Party. He served as communications director for Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign, the communications director for Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000 and was an aide to Tom Daschle, the former South Dakota senator who was majority leader. He is married to Sarah Feinberg, a top aide to Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff.

Source: Washington Post

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

President Obama placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Wednesday as he paid tribute to America’s veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.

As light raindrops fell on a cool morning, the president bowed for a moment of reflection after laying a green wreath with red, white and blue flowers on the tomb. He placed his hand over his heart as a lone bugler played “Taps.”

The occasion of Veteran’s Day carried an extra weight of poignancy as Mr. Obama moves closer to announcing a decision for how many troops to send to Afghanistan. In a speech at the Memorial Amphitheater, speaking to an audience representing members from all branches of the military, the president paid tribute to the sacrifices of this generation and all those who came before.

“We don’t mark this day each year as a celebration of victory,” Mr. Obama said. “We mark this day as a celebration of those who made victory possible.”

Three hours after his appearance at Arlington National Cemetery, Mr. Obama was set to convene his war council in the Situation Room at the White House for one of his final meetings before revealing his military strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As we remember our throops, let us also pray for President Obama, that he is given the wisdom to make wise decisions in the difficult challenges and choices he faces.

Petraeus Treated for Cancer

General David Petraeus, the top U. S. Commander for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was diagnosed with prostrate cancer in February and has since undergone two months of radiation treatment.

Petraeus' diagnosis was not disclosed at the time because Petraeus and his family regarded it "a personal matter" that didn't interfere weith the performance of his duties, "said his spokesman, Col. Erik Gunhus.

The Pentagon termed his treatment "successful".

Some news reports have speculated that Petraeus may have interest in running for the presidency. Despite these accounts, Petraeus has categorically asserted that he has no political ambitions.

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal Occtober 7, 2009

Blackwater in "Hot Water" Again

The company formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide is in hot water again, this time for $1 million in secret payments to keep Iraqi officials quiet. Four former executives of the firm are speaking anonymously about remittances that were intended to silence criticism from and buy support of Iraqi officials following an incident in 2007 where Blackwater security guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians. Blackwater's contracts in the country were worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Gary Jackson, the company's president at the time, allegedly approved the bribes, and chairman and founder Erik Prince didn't rebut the accusations when confronted by the company's vice chairman.

Blackwater is now known as Xe Services.

Source: The Daily Beast

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Official Obama Family Portrait

Just in case you missed it:
The White House's official Obama family portrait, shot by Annie Leibovitz on September 1, 2009.

Missing in Action: Civility and Common Sense

Here's another "Stop The Madness Moment".

Can you believe that this illustration was given to an eighth grade math class as part of an assignment? The picture, featuring a black man wearing a straw hat, shirt, and suspenders, with a toothless wide mouth grin, has the caption “Solving Equations Using Multiplication and Division. Under the black face photo are the words "no wai".

Matthew Curan, the teacher apologized, saying he “had no idea that I might offend anyone” with the picture. He said he got the illustration off the Internet and chose to use it because the term no wai “is a comment my students make when I require them to show each calculation.”

The mother of the only Black student in the eight-grade pre-algebra class at Lenape Middle School and NAACP leaders met with the principal to discuss the incident. The student was teased by the other students and was asked by other students "is that your father?" The Bucks County, PA NAACP is calling for disciplinary action for the teacher and sensitivity training throughout the Central Bucks School District.

How could this teacher not have thought this image was offensive? Well, we know that's bull, but in today's climate, civility and common sense are missing in action. Think about the negative slurs from the McCain-Palin political campaign. What about the images from the "Tea Party" gatherings? Yes, in today's climate, some politicans are even talking withdrawing from the Union. Remember the Obama bucks and other disrespectful racist gadgets? Listen to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. There are the "Birthers" and the "Death Camps" and talk of pulling the plug on Grandma. You can even interrupt the president's remarks to a joint session of Congress, shouting out "You Lie".

When there's no consequences for bad behavior, chaos rules. We need to "Stop the Madness".

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rush Limbaugh's Fake-Out

Rush Limbaugh, who as you know seizes on every opportunity to blast President Barack Obama, ended up with egg on his face when he read an Internet satire piece that claimed Obama dissed the Constitution in his college thesis at Columbia University.

Limbaugh sounded off Friday on Obama's college thesis, titled "Aristocracy Reborn," in which he commented on the nation's Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and the distribution of wealth.

The only problem - the report was pure fiction.

When Limbaugh learned the report was a hoax, he corrected the record, alerting listeners that the quotes from the thesis had been fabricated. But he insisted the fabricated thesis was still in line with what the president thinks.

"I don't care if these quotes are made up," Limbaugh said. "I know Obama thinks it."

I guess Rush reads minds and can tell us what a person thinks.

It takes a man to admit when he's wrong or when he's wronged someone. I've seen the president offer his apologies on several occassions. Far be it from Rush to apologize for spreading falsehoods to his flock. He spread lies and fabrications on s regular basis. Need I say more?

"Dithering" Not Cheney's Style

This week former Vice President Cheney accused President Obama of “dithering” on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan. Cheney made these remarks while accepting an award from a conservative national security group, the Center for Security Policy. The conservative group gave Cheney its “Keeper of the Flame Award” for his stance on security and a strong military and a platform to criticize the Obama administration and its Afghanistan strategy.

History tells me that Cheney would rather make a quick move than think it out. That's how we got into the war in Iraq. Had the administration "dithered" instead of rolling full steam ahead into the greatest mistake in our country ever made, we would not be buried in debt for a war we should never have entered and our fine soldiers and military personnel would not have lost their lives pursuing Bush and Cheney's folly.

Conservative columnist George Will said the Bush administration could have used some “dithering” before they invaded Iraq. Will went on to say “A bit of dithering might have been in order before we went into Iraq in pursuit of non-existent weapons of mass destruction.” Will said “for a representative of the Bush administration to accuse someone of taking too much time is missing the point. We have much more to fear in this town from hasty than from slow government action.”

Why are we listening to Dick Cheney anyway? By the way, did anyone protest the award that Cheney was receiving? Keeper of the Flame? Yeah, right.

White House Boys Club? Bunk!

I heard yet another controversy sbout the president on the news. A reporter asked if his all male athletic outings weren't anti-women, leaving them out of networking opportunities. NBC White House correspondent Savannah Guthrie questioned him about this a few days ago, and his reply was "this is “bunk”. I watched the women on the View discuss the issue, some for and some against. I listened to the pundits bat the issue from one to another.

Now the issue is whether or not he should have invited a woman to join him on a golfing outing. (Melody Barnes was photographed carrying her clubs en route to the outing.) Is it a necessary clean-up gesture or not?

Enough I say- Stop the Madness!

Millions of men have their special time with the fellas, at football games, at local bars, at the gym, and numerous places in between. Yes, they aren't the president of the United States, but give the guy a break. He's no more guilty of hanging out with the fellas than most of the men in the real world.

If our national interest can stand a time out for a little game of basketball or golf, then let the president relax with the guys and refresh himself before returning to the fray. He certainly needs some "me" time, just like everyone else.

A FOX in the (White) House News

What would you do with a person who lies, cheats, distorts the truth and obviously works against you at every opportunity? I’m betting you’d call the person out on his/her behavior and have as little to do with them as possible. That the situation with President Obama and Fox “News”.

All year, FOX has worked 24/7 to block President Obama's agenda—repeating lies about "death panels," promoting Tea Party protests, and whipping up fake political scandals.

Now, President Obama is fighting back. The White House communications director said FOX is a "wing of the Republican Party...let's not pretend they're a news network." To draw attention to its biased coverage, President Obama will not appear on FOX for the rest of this year.

Democrats often appear on FOX in hopes of reaching out to conservative viewers. But FOX cuts off their mic, distorts what they say, or runs biased headlines at the bottom of the screen. In the end, Democrats always lose on FOX.

FOX insists there's a difference between its news shows and its right-wing opinion shows with Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and others.

But in August, FOX's so-called news shows "aired 22 clips of town hall meeting attendees opposed" to Obama's health care plans and zero in support. CNN and MSNBC were more fair and balanced.

In another "news" story, FOX passed off a GOP press release as its own research—typo and all.

FOX executives now describe the channel as "the voice of opposition" to Obama's agenda. FOX president Roger Ailes—a former adviser to Nixon, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush—said, "I see this as the Alamo."

Whether the media and the public agrees with the President’s stand against Fox “News” or not, I applaud his willingness to bring this issue out into the open and highlight his position that Fox “News” as just an “arm of the Republican Party”.
Meanwhile, Fox ratings continue to soar. Go figure!

Sources: New York Times, New York Daily News, Media Matters for America,

Friday, October 23, 2009

All Eyes on the FLOTUS

The First Lady, Michelle Obama, is expecting another busy week. How's that possible for a person with "no official duties"?

This week the White House released the much-anticipated official Obama family photo. The portrait was taken in the Green Room of the White House on September 1 by famed Vanity Fair photographer Annie Leibovitz. The seated and beaming first family looks happy and relaxed, with Sasha and Malia Obama each draping an arm over mom and dad. Michelle Obama style-watchers may want to note she’s not in a sleeveless dress: The bare arms in her solo official portrait caused a minor stir when it was released last February.

The portrait adds to a flurry of Michelle Obama publicity this week. On Wednesday she hosted a "healthy kids fair" for approximately 100 Washington D.C.-area schoolchildren on the South Lawn of the White House. During the event, part of her ongoing effort to educate children about the importance of proper diet and exercise, the first lady wowed onlookers by swiveling a Hula-Hoop 142 times before it finally hit the ground. Not quite done there, Mrs. Obama also took off her shoes to run an obstacle course with hurdles.

Also this week, a new USA Today/Gallup poll shows that the American people view Michelle much more favorably than they do her husband or Vice President Joe Biden, a change from the numbers just after the first family took up residence in the White House. Approval numbers for the president, meanwhile, have been sliding; the USAToday/Gallup poll notes that Obama is viewed favorably by 55 percent of respondents, down from 68 perecent just after the election.

What's next for Michelle? How about an appearance on late night television on Leno's new show. Mrs. Obama's appearance with Leno is notable but certainly not unusual, as former first lady Laura Bush appeared as a guest on “The Tonight Show” when it was hosted by Leno during her husband's presidency.

All these things might seem like fun, but some of the First lady's time is spent debunking false or misleading information. In a recent blitz of coverage, a minor uproar over the first lady's staff size ensued. One critic at accused the president's wife of employing an "unprecedented number of staffers" for someone who "doesn’t perform any official duties," while a widely circulated chain email reported that "there has never been anyone in the White House at any time that has created such an army of staffers whose sole duties are the facilitation of the First Lady’s social life." Many other critics of the Obama administration expressed similar sentiments.

Michelle Obama's press secretary, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, confirmed that 24 was an accurate count of staffers working for the current first lady. So just what does a staff of 24 do for Michelle Obama? Well, for starters there are the 32,000 pieces of mail that have flooded the East Wing since Michelle Obama took occupancy in January, but the main official duty of the first lady is to tend to the care and maintenance of the White House and its seemingly endless social functions. Of course some first ladies, like Michelle Obama, maintain a higher profile than others, and with that comes the need for people to help write speeches, arrange travel and security details, handle media inquiries, etc.

As far as Michelle Obama's staff size being "unprecedented" in modern times, this appears to be factually inaccurate. According to the Washington Post, the Bush White House also had 16 people on staff whose official titles included the term "first lady" working for Laura Bush, and a recent AP story placed her total number of staffers at between 24 and 26. The same AP report also noted that Hillary Clinton had up to 19 staffers, while Lady Bird Johnson and Jacqueline Kennedy had 30 and 40, respectively. To that end,, another Web site dedicated to checking the facts on issues prominent in the public discourse, described the claims of Michelle Obama's “unprecedented” staff as "grossly inaccurate" and "on par with her predecessor's."

Just another quiet week in the White House, but I believe Michelle Obama is well suited to handle her "job" as First Lady of the United States.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Secret Service: Protecting the President

Questions abound about the Secret Service’s ability to protect President Obama. An internal congressional report on the subject was leaked to the Boston Globe. The report says that deep budget cuts, coupled with a drastic increase in threats to the president gives rise to questions about the Secret Service adequately performing its assigned duties. Their mission is to provided protection for the president and other high-profile leaders, protecting the country’s financial machinery, and investigating financial crimes.

Presently, the Secret Service reports to the Department of Homeland Security. The agency was established in 1865 to combat the rise in counterfeiting. After President William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, the Secret Service assumed the duties of protecting national leaders. After Congress passed a law in 1917 making any threat against the president a federal crime, the agency became responsible for investigating such threats.

Reports indicate that threats against president Obama are up 400 percent from the number of threats against former President George W. Bush. The agency’s staff has only increased by 5.3 percent. Hate groups increased 35 percent in recent years and the discontent tired over the election of an African-American president is fueling the rise in threats. The growth of modern technology seems to be enhancing the reach of extremist groups, enabling them to spread their message of hate. The social acceptability of hate today, as demonstrated in the Republican Tea Parties. In addition, the anonymity of the Internet allows an easy exchange of the expressions of hate.

In response to the Boston Globe’s report, the Secret Service issued statements denying any decreased capacity to carry out its missions. It called the report inaccurate and lacking in vital information.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Free Enterprise aka Money Talks-Limbaugh Follow Up

Rush Limbaugh's bid to become a partial owner of the St. Louis Rams failed Thursday, after the NFL-- and many others --expressed concern that the radio host's incendiary commentary about race wouldn't be good for the league. Columnists on the left joke that his rejection is a perfection demonstration of the free market at work, while the right replies with accusations of a political witch hunt. (I thought conservatives were supposed to worship the free market and individual rights).

Some claim the right is being marginalized. The editors of The Wall Street Journal say it's not racism, but Limbaugh's "outspoken political conservatism" that liberals want to censor. "Rush Limbaugh lets his listeners blow off steam and then get on with the rest of their day. But if the people who claim to worry about such things want to see a truly angry right develop in this country, they should continue to remain silent while the left tries to drive Rush Limbaugh and others out of American political life."

At The Root, David Swerdlick says the markets have spoken, and suggests that conservatives swallow the "bitter pill" of their own medicine. "Just like Limbaugh's business depends on white male angst, football is a business that aggressively markets--and guards--a product dependent on black male talent. Limbaugh's ouster wasn't censorship. It was a cartel sensing they'd hitched their wagon to the wrong ass."

At The American Prospect, Adam Serwer tries to cut through the noise. "The players and NFL officials who spoke up didn't complain that Limbaugh was a Republican, they didn't even complain about his 'views.' They complained about actual things he said about black people that made him an inappropriate candidate to own a team in an organization with such a large contingent of African Americans." Serwer says conservatives are too often "incapable of identifying actual racist behavior." And he's unimpressed with the debate so far. "While the right was focused on debunking racist things Limbaugh didn't say, they pretty much ignored Limbaugh's record of racist commentary, which includes not only a habit of comparing black athletes to gang members but a general hostility toward black people."

The editors of the National Review calls the attack against Limbaugh "hateful," and says it's part of Democrats' "McCarthyism" against conservatives. "Baseless accusations of racism are modern Democrats' McCarthyism. And one cannot help but notice that other critics of the Obama administration, such as those who rallied against its health-care power grab over the summer, are being denounced by the same slavish media as racists." Limbaugh isn't racist, they write, but was "punished" for talking about race in ways that were "unexceptional and obvious."

Sources: Liberals Thank the Free Market for Shooting Down Limbaugh's Rams Bid, Mara Gay, The Atlantic Wire

Why the NFL Sacked Limbaugh 27Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post

Limbaugh and the Political Left The Editors, The Wall Street Journal

Rush Rammed The Editors, The National Review

Confusion in Dittoland Adam Serwer, The American Prospect

Photo: Huffington Post

Another Cheney in the News

Recently Liz Cheney Perry, daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, has been very visible and audible, beating the conservative drum like a wind-up monkey, on a Bash Obama media campaign. Now her sister Mary hits the news as it’s announced that she is pregnant with her second child. The staunch Republican, 40, and her partner Heather Poe expect the baby in mid-to-late November, according to a source close to the Cheney family. Mary and Heather, a former UPS employee, have been together 17 years.

Cheney and Poe’s first child, Samuel David Cheney, was born in May of 2007. They declared the pregnancy and birth a private matter and declined to answer questions about it.

Mary Cheney has played a prominent role in her father's political life, from campaigning as a child through managing his re-election effort in 2004. She also made a controversial name for herself in marketing Coors beer to the gay community, and most currently worked as a marketing executive for America Online. It was also reported that Mary Cheney will be leaving the communications firm where she has worked to take maternity leave and to begin a new consulting firm with her father and also sister, Liz.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Watching Ensign As The Shoe Drops

Last week the other shoe finally dropped for embattled Sen. John Ensign. The New York Times ran a lengthy piece detailing how the senator secured a lobbying position for the husband of his mistress, Cynthia Hampton. Doug Hampton was co-chief of staff for Ensign’s federal office, as well as the senator’s best friend, and Cynthia was a campaign staffer before both Hampton’s left Team Ensign in the wake of the affair. The real news here is that Ensign may have knowingly helped Doug Hampton violate a 1-year ban on lobbying by former senate staffers.

News that the senator would face a Senate Ethics Committee investigation, and possibly Justice Department and IRS investigations as well, rocked the Nevada GOP last week. While Sue Lowden shockingly stood by her man, many other Republicans rushed to eat their own, calling on Ensign to resign. The calls were echoed by Nevada media. Meanwhile, Ensign’s approval numbers have plummeted, with 44 percent of respondents saying they would definitely vote to replace the scandal-plagued senator.

And since Ensign remains mum on the affair and says he plans to stay in office, we’ll just have to wait for the investigation (investigations?) into the affair to reveal just how many shoes this guy has to drop.

Source: Reprint from Elephant Watch (on the Real Republican Party) date October 14, 2009

The Justice Department is expected to decide within weeks whether to pursue a criminal probe into the relationship between Ensign (R-Nev.) and the staffer’s husband, and two prominent Washington defense attorneys say prosecutors are likely to find Ensign’s case irresistible.

Read more:


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who in their right mind would consider it appropriate to shoot at a target representing a sitting U.S. congresswoman who happens to be a mother of three and a breast cancer survivor? I guess South Fla. Republican Robert Lowry finally saw the err in his ways and apologized for “the Mistake”.

The incident took place at a meeting of the Southeast Broward Republican Club. The members met at a gun club to demonstrate their right to bear arms and took target practice at "cut-outs of a Muslim holding a rocket-propelled grenade launcher." The targets wore a traditional Arab head scarf called a "kaffeyed".

Then some guy named Robert Lowry, who is running against Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the next election, shot a human-shaped target that had the letters "DWS" written next to the head. Lowry said he didn't know who wrote Wasserman Schultz's initials on his target, but said he knew they were there before he started shooting. He initially described it as a "joke," but after answering several questions, he said it "was a mistake" to use a target labeled "DWS."

Congresswoman Schultz said she would not dignify the incident with a response.

All I can say is "Stop the Madness"!

Congratulations, Mr. President

James 3:16
"for where envy and self-seeking exist,
confusion and every evil things are there."

What's with all the controversy over President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize?

Three members of the five-member Nobel panel that award President Obama the 2009 Peace prize defended their choice to the Associated Press, saying they expected the surprise and criticism. "We simply disagree that he has done nothing," committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said. "He got the prize for what he has done." Jagland named Obama’s work to improve relations between the West and the Muslim world, and also decision to scale back the anti-missile shield in Eastern Europe. "All these things have contributed to—I wouldn't say a safer world—but a world with less tension," Jagland said.

In a recent online commentary titled "A Prize to Far", Christopher Buckley deemed to write a letter directed to the Nobel Panel from the president. The mock reply includes such gems as:

...I feel that were I to accept the award, it would ultimately debase the coinage of the medal.

...we are still in the first quarter of this game, and to accept this award would be to declare a kind of victory, and that, in my view, would be be inappropriate, presumptuous, and tempting karma.

So, to the Nobel committee I say, in all humility, hold the gold and check back with me in say three years.

Meantime, takk fir mal. Or as we say in America, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

My take on Buckley's letter? Didn't like it and didn't agree with the premise which in a nut shell says 'catch me later".

I guess I agree with Daily Beast blogger Walter Russell Mead..."What's Wrong With Winning?"

...Yes, he's got more words than deeds to his credit. But President Obama's Nobel is a reminder of America's unparalleled power to set the world’s agenda.

And really, this peace prize is more than a compliment to President Obama. At a time when the talking heads and the pundits worldwide are obsessed with the precipitous decline of American power, this award testifies to the extraordinary and unparalleled power of the United States to set the world’s agenda.
It is true that President Obama has received the prize more for his words (which are many) than for his deeds (which, so far, are still few). But that only underlines the degree to which the words of an American president have the power to shape events—especially compared to the competition...

All this is good, and it’s also good that the Nobel win wipes out the Olympic loss. Last week, everyone was writing off Obama’s vaunted international popularity. He was toast, past his sell-by date, jumping the shark. Now he’s back; Oslo returns what Copenhagen took. Good for him, good for us.

All I can say is Congratulations, Mr. President. I'm proud of all you've accomplished in the first nine months of your presidency. I know you'll continue to do great things, so don't sweat the small stuff.

Psalm 27:14
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait , I say, on the Lord."

A NFL Team for Rush Limbaugh?

Rick Morrissey's article in the Chicsgo Tribune goes like this:

"Trying to envision a scenario in which the NFL allows Rush Limbaugh to own part of the Rams requires a runaway imagination and quite possibly some psychedelic drugs.

It's not going to happen. There is no way the league lets the conservative radio talk show host own a piece of the Rams, even if that piece is a blade of grass from the team's practice field. No way."

Morrisey also says "People have a First Amendment right to say just about anything in this country. But there is nothing in the First Amendment that says a business has to accept someone who might be anathema to more than half of its workers. No one has a constitutional right to own an NFL team."

So what's all the controversy about Rush Limbaugh wanting to buy an NFL team?

Let's look at the facts:

Fact #1. Some folks object to the hate and bigotry that Rush Limbaugh spews n the public air ways. But, some folks love him and agree with every word. In fact they love it so much that they tune in faithfully to his programs. His ratings soar, his contracts keep getting more lucrative and guess what...he has the money to finance his dream of owning an NFL team.

Fact #2. In America, every person's right to free speech is protected by our constitution. Spewing hatred and bigotry can even get you elected to Congress, so how can it keep you from making a purchase that you have the money to make?

Fact #3. So Rush made some comments about the NFL and some of its players that some folks don't like and disagree with. They say he'll be divisive and create a negative atmosphere. Well, that's his trademark and his claim to fame. It's what keeps his wallet fat and his checkbook ready to buy an NFL team.

Fact #4. They tell me this is America...Land of the free and home of the brave. They say we don't discriminate against folks...not based on their race, sex, national origin, age, etc. I believe we don't discriminate based on how a person uses his right to free speech.

Enough about Rush Limbaugh. I know I don't want to be like him or even talk about him. I'll remember what this country stands for and it's goals, aims and principles. Even if we fall short of those goals, aims, and principles at times, I'd like to think we'll keep trying to achieve them. One thing I'm sure of though...Money Talks and Rush has the money! Of course, time will tell it all. Whether he gets the NFL deal or not, he'll still win. He can whine about being a victim forever!

Olympia Snowe-Miles to Go Before I Sleep

The Senate Finance Committee easily approved a sweeping overhaul of the nation's health-care system, clearing the way for President Obama's top domestic initiative to advance to a historic debate before the full Senate. The vote in favor of the bill was 14 to 9.

Republican Sen. Olympia J. Snowe of Maine broke with her party and joined all 13 Democrats on the committee in voting for the package, which would spend $829 billion over the next decade to make health insurance affordable for millions of Americans who would otherwise go without coverage.

"Is this bill all that I would want? Far from it," Snowe said. "But when history calls, history calls."

She added: "There are many miles to go in this legislative journey. . . . People do have concerns about what we will do with reform. But at the same time, they want us to continue working. And that is what my vote to report this bill out of committee represents."

President Obama praised Snowe for her "political courage" and "seriousness of purpose."

"We are now closer than ever before to passing health-care reform, but we're not there yet," he said. "Now's not the time to pat ourselves on the back. . . . Now's the time to dig in and work even harder to get this done."

Snowe entered politics in 1973, when she was elected to fill the seat of her late husband, state Rep. Peter Snowe, who died in a car accident that year. As one of the only Republican moderates left in the Senate, Snowe has been at the center of some of the upper chamber's most divisive policy debates and has helped craft compromises on some of the nation's most polarizing issues.

Senator Snowe has a history of being in the middle of things. Throughout her career in public office, she has shown a willingness to defy her party’s leadership. Snowe supports abortion rights, opposes drilling in the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and has backed proposals long-heralded as bedrocks of the Democratic platform, including adding prescription drug benefits to Medicare and raising the minimum wage. She was the swing vote in the Senate Finance Committee during 2009 debate over President Obama's health-care reform package.

Snowe has a history of breaking barriers. In 1978, at the age of 31, she became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She is the only woman in history to serve in both houses of her state legislatures and both chambers of Congress. These accomplishments prompted Forbes magazine in 2005 to name Snowe the 54th most powerful woman in the world.

Time magazine named her one of the "Ten Best Senators" in 2006.

Snowe’s dedication to her constituents has helped her maintain a loyal base at home in Maine. She won re-election to a third term in 2008 with 61 percent of the vote. She is up for re-election in 2012.

The battle of Health Care Reform looms on with "miles to go" before the issue is finalized. Meanwhile, the fate of millions of Americans hangs in the balance.

Photo Sources: Senate Finance Committee-Harry Hamburg/Associated Press; Wikipedia
Official Photo of Olympia Snowe

New York Times, Washington Post, Wikipedia,

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tpaw Gets Ready to Run

Clearly ramping up his bid for the Republican nomination in 2012, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) unveiled a detailed list of state and national operatives -- who will serve as the core of his political inner circle as he moves toward a presidential bid in 2012.

At first glance, the biggest strengths of Pawlenty's operation are the presidential-level experience of the team and the strong connections both Nelson and Taylor have to Iowa -- almost certain to be the first 2012 vote in the country in 2012. The only obvious gaping hole in Pawlenty's inner circle is on the money front. Aside from Strong, there is no financial heavy hitter who can begin to rally the major donors from the two Bush campaigns and, to a lesser extent, the McCain campaign, behind Pawlenty.

Still, Romney's demonstrated fundraising ability -- and his vast personal wealth -- mean that one of the first hurdles Tpaw will have to clear is to show he can collect the sort of cash that can keep him withing shouting distance of the former Massachusetts governor. And, with President Barack Obama -- and the $750 million he raised in 2008 -- looming in the general election, you can bet a candidate's ability to raise heaps of cash will be much on the mind of the Republican chattering class heading into the 2012 primary season.

In MN barely half of those polled approve of the job he's doing, and 55% said that they don't think he should run. Overall, there seems to be a feeling that he's still governor and should be attending to the difficult state of economic affairs here and not his own political ambitions, even if he is out the door in a year.
One Minn. voter left the following comment on a recent blog:

Speaking as a Minnesota voter, I wish Pawlenty would do a Palin and resign now. He's made such a mess of our state budget, university and K-12 funding, health care and transportation systems (remember the I35 W bridge?) that the sooner he leaves the better.

As for his presidential chances, we just spent 8 years with a former governor who had no international experience and thought he knew everything. How did that turn out for you?

Mark McKinnon posted the following comments on his Daily Beast post:

He was supposed to be the centrist, progressive reformer, but in an unfortunate testament, I fear, to the way things are and they way they are likely to be in the 2012 campaign, Pawlenty’s recent messages include defending Joe Wilson’s “liar” outburst and attacking President Obama’s speech to students.
Next thing you know, he’ll be calling the president a jerk.

It's a long way to the 2012 Election, so we'll just keep our eyes on sleepy eyed Tpaw and see what happens.

Getting to Know Alan Grayson

Most freshmen congressmen tend to keep their heads down until they learn the lay of the land, but not Florida Democrat Alan Grayson. He’s been making waves since he arrived in Washington in January. He really drew attention last week when he declared on the House floor, that the Republicans’ health-care plan amounted to “Don’t get sick,” and “If you do get sick, die quickly.” Another shot heard around the world.

Republicans rushed to demand that Grayson apologize just as Joe Wilson did after his rude outburst at the president during a joint session of congress. They claim Grayson’s behavior was just as untoward as Wilson’s, a faulty comparison at best. Well, they got a quick decisive answer from Rep. Grayson. He said he wanted to apologize “to the dead and their families that we haven’t voted sooner to end this holocaust in America.” Okay, so using the word “holocaust’ was a poor choice of words but, the sentiment in his statement is unyielding. Grayson, who is Jewish and says he has relatives who died in the Holocaust, said he wrote the letter to address the concerns his comments caused.

"In no way did I mean to minimize the Holocaust," Grayson wrote in the letter obtained by "I regret the choice of words, and I will not repeat it."

I decided to find out about this guy, just as I investigated Joe Wilson, Rick Scott, Max Baucus, Michelle Bachman, and others. Grayson grew up “in the tenements” in the Bronx, attended Harvard Law School, and was the first president of IDT Corp., a telecommunications company, before returning to the practice of law. Recently he has specialized in whistleblower cases targeting companies that allegedly profited from the war in Iraq. He worked from a home office in pink Orlando mansion, driving an aging Cadillac with anti-administration bumper stickers such as “Bush Lied, People Died.”

Shortly after his election, the 51-year-old responded to radio host Rush Limbaugh’s remark that he hoped President Obama would fail by calling Limbaugh a “has-been hypocrite loser,” adding for good measure that “Limbaugh actually was more lucid when he was a drug addict.” Mocking Republicans who apologized after criticizing Limbaugh, Grayson issued an “apology” of his own: “I’m sorry that Limbaugh is one sorry excuse for a human being.” Grayson has used his perch on the House Financial Services Committee to skewer Federal Reserve officials, pressing them on how their money is being spent and forming an unlikely alliance with Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul to demand an audit of the Fed. Some of his interrogations have become YouTube favorites.

Somewhere along the way, Grayson found time to get rich. Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, ranked him 12th among all members of Congress based on financial disclosure forms, with a minimum net worth of $31.12 million. Grayson was among those pushing hard to restrict bonuses of companies that take bailout money. He’s become a vocal member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. In February, Grayson issued a statement demanding that Bernard Madoff go to jail, rather than awaiting trail staying in his penthouse ‘free to drink martini, and watch the sun rise,’ while his victims are ‘innocent men in a living hell,’.

After Grayson’s comments on the House floor, Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R., Tenn.) said, “That is about the most mean-spirited partisan statement that I’ve ever heard made on this floor.” Still, Republicans have repeatedly accused Democrats of planning “death panels” as part of their health overhaul. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.) on the House floor on July 28, suggested that that the Democrats’ plan would “put seniors in the position of being put to death by their government.”

I’m sure this isn’t the last well hear from Alan Grayson.

Our President and the Olympics

President Obama drew sharp criticism from Republican leaders for immersing himself in Chicago's effort to capture its bid for the 2016 Olympics.

"Our country needs the president's undivided attention on the urgent issues facing American families today: rising unemployment, soaring health care costs, winning the war in Afghanistan and dealing with Iran's nuclear threat," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said.

Despite the criticism, the president decided to travel to the Danish capital to lend his personal popularity and the prestige of his office to his adopted home town's effort. He was the first U.S. president to lobby the Olympic committee. Chicago's swift rejection was a disappointment for Obama and he was subdued when he returned to the White House after his whirlwind trip.

"I believe it is always a worthwhile endeavor to promote and boost the United States of America and invite the world to see what we're all about," he told reporters in the Rose Garden.

I wasn't surprised by the criticism from the opposition. Anything the President does results in attacks from the Republicans. Of course, no one focused on former president George Bush's four day trip to the Olympics. We were still fighting two wars in foreign countries and facing an economic downturn at home. Obviously, the GOP doesn't give a damn about healthcare reform. All they can say is "no".

Daily Beast blogger Mark McKinnon reported shock and disappointment on the comments from conservative radio talk-show host Mark Levin on this issue.
"I was shocked by what I heard. He was spewing streams of hate-filled venom at Obama that were jaw-dropping. His favorite epithet for the president is ”jerk.” And he was reveling in Obama’s failure."

Personally, I was sickened by the obvious glee that Rush Limbaugh displayed over what he considered a personal failure by Obama and we all know by his own statements that he hopes the president fails. Still when all things are considered, the loss was a loss for the United States against a foreign competitor. The jobs and revenue losses were potential American jobs and monies that the heartland could surely have used. For example, a Chicago Olympics would have been a boon for the tourism industry in Milwaukee and for the state of Wisconsin. I marvel at the conservatives insensitivity and lack of support for Chicago, an American city and the country at large.

I admire the president for doing what he thought was right and supporting the cause of an American city in its bid for a potential positive focal point for our country.

I watched the film of the jubilation of the winning city and rejoiced with them in their success. More than 30,000 people gathered on Rio's iconic Copacabana Beach to watch the results on giant televisions. When the final decision came, silvery confetti sprayed out into the crowd, and people hugged, danced, sang and wept. It reminded me of the celebration in Grant Park on election night and of Barack Obama's victory.

Then I thought of the pack of wolves liking their chops at Chicago's loss and mocking the president's efforts to assist. Guess they still can't get over the fact that he is the President of the United States and still are trying to cope with their loss. As the kids at play often say, "to bad, so sad". I say, "get over it."