Monday, October 14, 2013

Rebel Flag Outside the White House

Why can't some folks get over the fact that the President of the United States is a Black man? He's number 44 and was been elected by the majority of the American people to serve this country for two terms as it's leader, the most powerful man in the world. Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and his two daughters, Sasha and Malia, reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D. C. It is their home.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Scandal, Censure and Rebirth: The Fall of Dinesh D'Souza

Last year, conservative author and Obama critic Dinesh D'Souza resigned as President of King's College, an evangelical Christian Liberal Arts school, amid scandal. He was embroiled in controversey over his marital infidelity to his wife of 20 years when he sahred a hotel room with another woman while attending the Truth for a New Generation gathering.
D'Souza wasn't considered an asset to the college since he spent most of his time promoting his documentary and books. His high profille in the media as a critic of the Obama Administration wasn't perceived as beneficial to the college.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ted Cruz Plays Hardball on Defunding Obamacare

(Photo by Gage Skidmore)
Rafael Eduardo "Ted" Cruz, junior United States Senator from Texas, is the darling of the Tea Party Movement and is one of the leading Republicans proposing the defunding of Obamacare.

Although Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada of a Cuban father and Irish-Italian American mother and is a citizen of Canada, little is mentioned about this part of his background. No Birthier Movement on Ted Cruz...he punches all the right buttons for the right wing G. O. P. faithful. He's a gun rights supporter, stands against additional background checks at gun shows, and voted against the Manchin-Toomey Amendment insuring that the legislation never got the sixty votes needed for cloture.

Although he took his senate seat in 2013, Cruz intends to be heard and some suspect he has his eyes on the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016. He challenged Chuck Hagel's nomination for Defense Secretary, blocked Senate Budget negotiations because of concerns over a debt ceiling hike and fought with FL Senator Marco Rubio over a bi-partisian immigration bill. Each of these actions gained him legion of fans within the right wing of the G.O.P.

Senators Cruz and Rubio both support defunding Obamacare as a condition of moving forward to fund the government. He calls his opponents the "surrender caucus", calling them "scared" to wage a fight. Cruz relishes intro-party warfare, pushing for party purity and advocates pulling the Republican Party further to the right. If the government is shut down due to lack of funding, the G.O.P. establishment believes the party will take the lion's share of blame and that such a move would be disastrous for the Republican Party.

Many people believe that Cruz's positions are not about principles or party, but rather about boosting his own brand and a possible future presidential bid. Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, along with party staple Karl Rove don't support Cruz's  position on defunding Obamacare. Mike Lee (R-UT) has the support of 12 other Senators against Cruz's "defund Obamacare push".

It'll be interesting to see how the struggle will play out and, if a government shutdown occurs based on G.O.P. strategies such as defunding Obamacare, if the American people will penalize Republicans at the polls.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

More Obama Bashing Coming from Filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza

A new “documentary” from filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza ,  co-director and writer of the "2016: Obama's America”,  is to be released  July Fourth 2014. The film is in its early stages now and should be completed by June 2014. You can expect the film to be anti-Obama, as with every other work D’Souza produces.
D'Souza, 52, a native of Mumbai, India, came to the United States as a foreign student. He earned a degree from Dartmouth, gaining notoriety for his conservative writings and is the author of several influential and best-selling books, including "Letters to a Young Conservative" and "What's So Great About America."

 “America,” D’Souza said, will extol American exceptionalism, celebrate American values, and counter the vision offered by President Barack Obama. The new film will focus on D’Souza’s case against the Obama agenda. He said it is not intended as a sequel to ‘2016.’
In "2016," D'Souza used arguments made in his bestselling 2010 book "The Roots of Obama's Rage" to argue that Obama had deep-seated anger against the country he leads, a feeling that he absorbed from his father, a Kenyan who resented British colonialism. These are continuing themes of the Tea Party and Conservative Right.

D'Souza says his new film takes the next step, by offering a debate between the competing visions of America's 1776 Founding Fathers and "Obama's America," which he traces to “the radical upheavals of 1968”.
"2016" pulled in $33.4 million, the second-highest-grossing political documentary in history. Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11", released in 2004, grossed more than $222 million.
Michael Moore
D'Souza says he hopes supporters and conservatives will come out in droves to help it surpass liberal Michael Moore's film as the nation's top documentary on record. I'm sure he won't mind putting more coins in his own pocket.

D'Souza jokes of Moore, his outspoken movie-making counterpart on the left: "We have to dethrone the fat guy. It's too embarrassing to be right behind him. I sometimes joke that he's a symbol of the federal government, overweight and out of control. We want to give him a run for his money."

D'Souza adds: "Since Hollywood isn't going to give us any Oscars, it would be extremely satisfying to beat him at the box office."

One thing you can say about D'Souza, he has hit upon a theme in his books and movies that allow the Tea Party and the conservative right wing to feed their hatred of President Obama while keeping D'Souza's pockets lined with coins. He tapped right into the financial side of "the American Dream", know little of what America is really about.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Road to Freedom: Truman Ends Segregation in the Armed Forces

During the years 1947-1954, America struggled to preserve freedom in a dangerous world. The fight abroad led to renewed demands by Black Americans back home.

In 1947, Civil Rights Activist A. Philip Randolph, along with colleague Grant Reynolds, renewed efforts to end discrimination in the armed services, forming the Committee Against  Jim Crow in Military Service and Training, later renamed the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Against Military Segregation. Randolph warned that “Discrimination and segregation in the Armed Forces is ...a grave threat... to the internal stability of our nation.”

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Watching the Criminal Justice System: Matthew Weaver-Identity Theft

Twenty-two year old business major Matthew Weaver wanted the student president title at Cal State San Marcos. He wanted the $8,000 stipend that came with it and control of the $300,000 annual budget. He rigged the vote, got caught, and is heading to prison for one year.

Weaver admits to using small electronic devices that record a computer's key strokes to steal 745 passwords and then used that stolen information to cast 630 votes for himself and his friend who were also on the ballot.

Weaver pleaded guilty to felony charges, to stealing log in information for 700 fellow students so that he could cast phony votes to elect himself class president. He pleaded guilty to 3 counts of wire fraud, unauthorized access to a computer, and identity theft. Although he was sentenced to one year in jail, 27 months is the low end of the spectrum for federal identity theft cases.

Interestingly enough, Weaver's attorney felt his client's crimes really didn't warrant a felony conviction. "Mr. Weaver is a very bright guy and this was really, really stupid. But, does it warrant having a felony conviction for the rest of his life?"

The criminal justice system is full of prisoners who did something really stupid, like holding a small amount of marijuana for their personal use, that netted them a felony conviction. It seems to matter how the victim is "perceived" and how that perception result is light  or stiff penalties.

Friday, July 19, 2013

30,000 CA Prisoners Stage Hunger Strike

More than 12,000 California prison inmates are now taking part in a hunger strike launched to demand better conditions and a reduction in the use of solitary confinement, corrections officials and organizers said last Thursday.

The protest began Monday, when organizers said as many as 30,000 inmates refused food. By Thursday, a total of 12,421 prisoners had skipped nine consecutive meals -- the official definition of a hunger strike, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation -- and another 1,300 others have skipped work assignments or classes, prison officials reported.
Organizers say the strike is a resumption two similar protests in 2011, one of which lasted for three weeks.

Another Side of the Criminal Justice System: Colin Small-Let Off the Hook for Discarding Voter Registration Forms

The young Republican who grabbed national headlines after being arrested for throwing voter registration forms into a dumpster before the 2012 election won't be facing any legal consequences. (He tossed voter registration forms in the dumpster behind a strip mall down the street from the Republican headquarters.)

A judge in Virginia dropped several misdemeanor charges against Colin Small on Wednesday, meaning the 23-year-old will not face any penalties for discarding a number of voter registration forms. Felony charges were dropped back in April, but Small was still facing five misdemeanor counts until this week.

During a four-hour court hearing on Tuesday, Small's lawyer John C. Holloran argued that Small simply made a mistake and wasn't trying to purposefully prevent anyone from registering to vote. Small, a friend from college and Small's former tennis coach all testified.

While Small tossed eight voter registration forms, he was only charged with discarding four, because some of the voters were already registered and one was a felon and not allowed to vote. Holloran said the voters who were prevented from voting were Republicans and blamed Democrats for making Small's case seem like part of a conspiracy.

"It's amazing that common sense and wisdom and mercy don't have a more stellar place in our justice system," Holloran told The Huffington Post.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

US Eugenics Victims Wait for Compensation

Much attention was been paid in recent years to America’s silent eugenics program. Originally conceived in the 1920s, eugenics was viewed by many as a way to alleviate economic pressure on welfare programs across the US by giving the state the right to remove individuals deemed unfit for reproduction from the gene pool. Of those labeled “feeble-minded” or “promiscuous” or victims of rape, tens of thousands were subjected to sterilization under the cold blade of the US government’s knife, often without consent or knowledge that the state had decided to deprive them of their ability to have children.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thirty Pieces of Silver Buys Senate Immigration Bill

All I ever hear the Republicans say is "spending is out of control", "fiscal issues have robbed America of its future" know the rhetoric. Yet, they just convinced the Senate to spend $38 billion on the "Border Surge" which is simply a way to appease the paranoid right wing base of their party. The bill passed 69-29 with 14 Republicans joining Democrats.

In June, before the Corker-Hoeven Amendment, the Congressional Budget Office reported that "revenues under the proposed (immigration) legislation would decrease federal budget deficits by $197 billion over the 2014-2023 period and roughly by $700 billion over 2024-2033 period".

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Anthony Foxx Confirmed as Secretary, Transportation

It's wonderful to report that the U. S. Senate can agree on something. Charlotte, N. C. Mayor Anthony Foxx was confirmed as Secretary, Transportation on Thursday with a vote of 100-0.

Foxx (42) rose to national prominence as an ally and key supporter of President Obama when the Democratic Convention was held in Charlotte last year. He will succeed Ray LaHood in the position of Transportation Secretary where he will oversee the agencies that regulate the nation's aviation, rail, transit and highway systems, as well as auto safety. He will face the challenges presented by large spending cuts and a deteriorating infrastructure including roads, airports, air traffic control systems, rail and ports.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why The Farm Bill Matters

The song says "it's hard out here on a pimp", but the truth is it's hard on everybody. Folks are struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. Often times, we don't have time to follow everything that the Federal Government and Congress are doing that effects our lives. So it's no wonder many of us pay little attention to something like the Farm Bill which failed to pass the House of Representatives by a vote of 195-245. 

Let me tell you why the Farm Bill matters.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Stuck on Stupid: Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA)

Congressman Paul Broun (R-Ga.) says that evolution and the big bang theory are "lies straight from the pit of Hell" and calls Global Warming "a hoax".

"God's word is true. I've come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell," said Broun, who is an MD. "It's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Dark Girls": Battling the Stigma and Beauty Standards

After spending two years developing the project, Directors Bill Duke and D. Chandish Berry produced “Dark Girls”, a film which addresses the issue of colorism among blacks and some of the challenges dark-skinned women face. Women of “the darkest hues” are interviewed and discuss their experiences battling the stigmas and standards of beauty many African-Americans attach to skin color. The film serves as an expose into the lives of dark-skinned African-American woman and the racism some encounter within their own community.

Originally premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011, Dark Girls has now made its way to the small screen and will be debuting on TV nationwide this Sunday.

Oprah will be broadcasting the documentary on her television network OWN from 10 p.m. – midnight, following an episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter at 9 p.m. where she will be talking with stars Gabrielle Union, Alfre Woodard, Viola Davis and Phylicia Rashad on the challenges they face in as black actresses in Hollywood.

Dark-skinned Black American women from all walks of life will be covered with a key focus trained tightly upon women struggling for upward mobility in the workplace of Corporate America.  Additional interviewees for “Dark Girls” include White men in loving intimate relationships with Black women that were passed over by “their own men,” as well as dark-skinned women of Latin and Panamanian background to bring a world perspective to the issue of dark vs. light.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Susan Rice's Revenge

U. N Ambassador Susan E. Rice is set to become the next National Security Adviser. Senate Republicans won't be happy about this, but can't stop her appointment.

Thomas E. Donilon resigned the post this week and the resignation will be effective next month.

Rice had to withdraw her name from consideration as secretary of state late last year after Senate Republicans continually blasted her for her response in the aftermath of Benghazi. Her new post, however, does not require Senate confirmation, something John McCain who led the assault on Rice appears to be making his peace with. He tweeted that he disagreed with her appointment, but would make every effort to work with her on important issues.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Voted Off the Island: Michele Bachmann

I didn't expect an early Christmas gift in May, but I got one when MN Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann announced her retirement from politics.

Bachmann won an open House seat in the 2006 Congressional race and has served for the past eight years, representing the 6th Congressional District of Minnesota. She was reelected in 2008. Previously, she served in the Minnesota State Senate. Prior to that, she spent five years as a federal tax litigation attorney. Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, who have five children and have opened their home to 23 foster children, live in Stillwater, Minn., and own a mental health care practice.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fighting for Freedom: A History of Service

Dorrie Miller

African-Americans have every reason to celebrate Memorial Day. Blacks held their first Memorial Day parade in 1865 and recognize the services of our men and women in uniform throughout our country's history. Craving freedom, just as every other American, we have demonstrated our willingness to fight and die for it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

African Americans: 2013 Financial Progress and Challenges

According to Prudential’s 2013 "African American Financial Experience" study, the African American community is continuing to make financial progress and to feel confident about the future, with a confidence score significantly higher than the general population. But this community is still facing significant challenges, including debt, competing financial priorities, and greater support of family.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The 27th Amendment Impacts Money Issues

Okay, here's your question: What is the 27th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution? Is that a blank stare I see on your face?  It was ratified on May 7, 1992 and probably isn't as well known as some other amendments.

It reads:
“No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”

In short, a sitting Congress can’t change its pay while it is in session for two years. But it can give the next Congress a raise. The amendment was proposed back in 1789 by James Madison along with other amendments that became the Bill of Rights, but it took 203 years for it to become the law of the land.

Members of the House and Senate are immune to pay cuts and furloughs, unlike many other government workers, because such cuts would change their pay while Congress is in session—in violation of the 27th Amendment.

Congress hasn’t seen a pay hike since 2009. Its members are now paid $174,000 per year on average.
If Congress had accepted a cost-of-living raise for the past four years, its average compensation would be $183,000 a year based on COLA estimates, or an 8 percent raise from 2008.

In March, some House representatives introduced bills that would cut the pay of the next Congress by at least 8 percent, an amount equivalent to the cuts to other workers’ pay triggered by the sequester. In April, Don Barber, a U.S. House representative from Arizona, pushed for a 20 percent pay cut for Congress in its next term.

Despite Congress’ low approval ratings, not everyone thinks Congress deserves a pay freeze or pay cut. One person who endorsed a small pay raise for Congress was President Obama, who signed an executive order late last year that gave House and Senate members a 1 percent raise as part of hike for federal workers. Just as they do for everything the President proposes, Congress rejected the offer.

Time will tell whether the sequester, budget battles and other congressional issues impact views on compensation for legislators.

Friday, May 3, 2013

New Hampshire's Big Mistake: Kelly Ayotte

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) strolled into the national spotlight when she was mentioned as a dark horse Republican VP candidate to run with Mitt Romney and then again when she joined with Senator John McCain and Lindsay Graham in the "rape and assassination" of United  Nations Ambassador Susan Rice. Now, Ayotte makes news again with her vote against the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey bill to expand gun background checks. What I've seen and heard from this Senator makes me think that New Hampshire voters made a big mistake in sending Kelly Ayotte to Washington.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Obama Nominees: Melvin Watt and Tom Wheeler

President Barack Obama intends to nominate Rep. Melvin Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government regulator that oversees lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

If confirmed by the Senate for the FHFA post, Watt, D-N.C., a 20-year veteran of the House, would replace Edward DeMarco, an appointee of President George W. Bush who has been a target of housing advocates, liberal groups and Democratic lawmakers.

Watt represents the Charlotte area, home base of behemoth Bank of America Corp. He becomes yet another high-profile African-American and the second North Carolinian nominated by Obama in three days to a top government post. On Monday, Obama nominated Anthony Foxx, mayor of Charlotte, to head the Transportation Department.

Watt, who has a consistently liberal voting record, is expected to face Republican opposition to his confirmation. The White House was already lining up supporters who might hold some sway with GOP senators.

Watt’s nomination comes at a crucial time for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government sponsored mortgage-finance enterprises that the government rescued at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008 as they teetered neared collapse from losses on soured mortgage loans.
Taxpayers have spent about $170 billion to rescue the companies. So far, they have repaid a combined $55.2 billion.

Fannie and Freddie together own or guarantee about half of all U.S. mortgages, or nearly 31 million home loans. Those loans are worth more than $5 trillion. Along with other federal agencies, they back roughly 90 percent of new mortgages.

The nomination also comes as the housing industry is making a comeback. Home prices are up, foreclosures are down and housing construction is on the rise. Moreover, Fannie Mae had its biggest yearly profit last year, earning $17.2 billion.

This nomination comes nearly a year after DeMarco, who has been acting director, stood by a decision to bar Fannie and Freddie from reducing principal for borrowers at risk of foreclosure, resisting pressure from the administration. DeMarco long has opposed allowing the mortgage giants to offer principal reduction.

In March, attorneys general from nine states, led by Democrats Eric Schneiderman of New York and Martha Coakley of Massachusetts, sent Obama a letter saying that under DeMarco, Fannie and Freddie have been a “direct impediment to our economic recovery.”

White House Officials say that President Obama plans to nominate Tom Wheeler as the country’s top telecommunications regulator. He is expected to name FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to serve as acting chairwoman while Wheeler awaits Senate confirmation.

Wheeler is former head of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association and the National Cable Television Association. Since 2005, he has been a venture capitalist at Core Capital Partners. Wheeler would replace outgoing chairman Julius Genachowski, who announced in March he would be stepping down.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Charlotte Mayor Foxx: Nominated to Join Obama's Cabinet

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx will be nominated Monday by President Obama to become the new Secretary of Transportation, according to a White House official. Obama will make the formal announcement, citing Foxx’s work in expanding Charlotte’s airport and light rail system in explaining the selection.

Foxx, 41, will replace former congressman Ray Lahood (R-Ill.), who was one of a handful of Republicans President Obama picked for his first-term cabinet. Foxx will be the first African-American to be selected for a cabinet post in Obama’s second term, although Susan Rice (U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations) and Eric Holder (Attorney General) are remaining in their current roles.

Foxx, an attorney who has worked in several positions with the federal government, was first elected mayor in 2009 and won reelection in 2011. He was a top ally of the president in a key swing state in 2012 and helped organize the Democratic National Convention, which was held in Charlotte last summer.

Foxx has led efforts to improve his city's transit infrastructure to expand economic opportunity for businesses and workers. During Foxx's term as mayor, Charlotte has broken ground on several important transportation projects, including the Charlotte Streetcar Project to bring modern electric tram service to the city as well as a third parallel runway at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. The city has also moved to extend the LYNX light rail system to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Foxx could be confirmed easily by the Senate, as transportation issues are traditionally not as partisan as others. He will manage an agency of more than 50,000 employees, with a budget of more than $70 billion. It should be noted that the transportation secretary manages agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, which drew headlines this week for delayed flights which the agency attributed to furloughs of air-traffic controllers caused by the sequester.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The “New” Face of the G.O.P.-Part 1

The 97-page Growth and Opportunity Project report was commissioned in the wake of the 2012 election debacle by Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. In his N Y Times op-ed Tom Edsall sums the report as follows:

“The G.O.P. report is an extraordinary public acknowledgment of internal discord and vulnerability, which has intensified the battle between the deeply committed conservative wing and the more pragmatic, pro-business wing for control of the Republican Party. With just a few exceptions, it does not mince words.
At the federal level, it says, the party is “marginalizing itself,” and, in the absence of major change, “it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win a presidential election in the near future.” Young voters are “rolling their eyes at what the party represents.” Voters’ belief that “the G.O.P. does not care about them is doing great harm.” Formerly loyal voters gathered in focus groups describe Republicans as “ ‘scary,’ ‘narrow-minded’ and ‘out of touch’ and that we were a party of ‘stuffy old men.’ ”

 After the report was released, strange sounds were heard from many different quarters within the party. The message came from different sources, but the substance was the same. The autopsy called for a “new face” for the G.O.P.  The Republican National Committee spent weeks trying to figure out what they did wrong in 2012, but Politico Playbook tells the story in 90 seconds in just a few buzzwords: stale, moss-covered, and anti-everything?

The R.N.C. report calls for abandonment of the party’s anti-immigration stance, flatly declaring that “we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform.” In an equally radical challenge to Republican orthodoxy, the Priebus report states:

We have to blow the whistle at corporate malfeasance and attack corporate welfare. We should speak out when a company liquidates itself and its executives receive bonuses but rank-and-file workers are left unemployed. We should speak out when C.E.O.s receive tens of millions of dollars in retirement packages but middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise in years.

The report also warns that Republicans need to mute, if not silence, anti-gay rhetoric if they are to have any chance of regaining support among voters under the age of 30. Accordingly, the issue of same-sex marriage is on course to become a source of significant division within the Republican Party. At the same time, the Republican Party risked alienating a large block of loyal voters if it moved to the left on same-sex marriage.

Many within the G.O.P believe that the party’s message is not the problem, but rather the party’s messengers. Prime examples were Todd Adkins of Missouri and Richard Murdock of Indiana. Some say they need to look at candidate selection and the influence of super-pacs on primary voters. Since the American business community has the most to lose in continued election losses, they argue for moderation. But, it’s obvious that there’s “a significant escalation in the battle between the center and the right over the soul of the Republican Party”.
In a future post, I'll take a look at how the party is responding to the items in the report. Stay tuned.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Senate Gun Vote: We Can Talk About It

The Senate voted Thursday to begin formal debate of gun legislation, beginning what is expected to be several weeks of argument on the most consequential congressional action on firearm regulations since the 1990s. The vote was 68 to 31.

The vote comes nearly four months after 26 people, including 20 first-graders, were killed by a lone gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. I can still hear President Obama telling Congress that the families deserve a vote.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

MHP Blasted For "Caring for Kids" Remarks

What Melissa Harris Perry says in an MSNBC Lean Forward ad is not new. Hillary Clinton said it this way: "It takes a village to raise a child". In fact, she wrote a book about it.

In her new "Lean Forward" ad, the MSNBC host argues that the U.S. should invest more in public education. "We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we've always had kind of a private notion of children ... We haven't had a very collective notion of 'these are our children,'" she says in the ad. "So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that 'kids belong to their parents,' or 'kids belong to their families,' and recognize that kids belong to whole communities."

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Woman Who Runs the White House

If you think that Michelle Obama runs the White House, you are wrong. That responsibility falls to Angella Reid, the White House Chief Usher who spent thirty years in the hospitality industry.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

G.O.P. Hopefuls: The 2016 Race is ON: Rand Paul

Republicans are pretending that Barack Obama never got reelected, or that he stole the election, or that he bought the election with "goodies" for his supporters. So, the G.O.P. is moving on to 2016's presidential race.

Alright, no one admits to running for President of the United States at this point in the game, potential candidates are easy to spot, even if they deny conventional wisdom that they are candidates in the 2016 presidential race. Chris Cillizza points out two things in the Fix blog, Washington Post: 1.)There are only so many spots in either party's race for the top and 2.) There are about 1030 days until the Iowas Caucuses. So, we'll take an early look at the Republican field over the next few weeks, beginning with Senator Rand Paul.

Monday, February 25, 2013

How Do They Choose the Pope? (Video)

TX Senator Ted Cruz: The New Joe McCarthy?

TX Senator Ted Cruz
For those who don’t know about Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy’s scurrilous red-baiting crusade in the early 1950s watch newly elected Texas Senator Ted Cruz. McCarthy shattered the careers of innocent public servants and alienated McCarthy from his fellow senators, but also made him a folk hero on the right. Cruz is making enemies in Washington, but winning support in Texas.

 WI Sen Joe McCarthy
In his first two months on the job, Cruz has baselessly asserted that President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel might have received money from the North Korean government. He reiterated his belief that there were 12 Communists on Harvard Law School’s faculty when he was a student there. Being at odds with his fellow Republicans gives Cruz quick attention from the media and makes him the darling of the far right. His rhetoric makes him appear smart and fearless to his Tea Party base.

Huff Post Politics explains the reception to Cruz:

…conservatives’ appetite for Cruz shows that the GOP base’s animating spirit still hasn’t changed: Loud, aggressive and reflexive hostility to President Obama, the Democratic Party and any Republican who would dare contemplate compromise is still how “conservatism” is defined.

Cruz’s Cuban-American background by itself won’t improve his or his party’s standing with Hispanics or other minorities. Instead, he’s appealing to the aging, overwhelmingly white core of the Republican base which stifles the party’s efforts to re-brand itself to appeal to women, Latino and other elements of the Obama coalition.

It will be interesting to see how the G.O.P. handles the “Ted Cruz problem”.

Creating the New G.O.P.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Amid growing turmoil and uncertainity, G.O.P. leaders met behind closed doors recently to craft an agenda to allow Republicans to sell themselves to the American people after the "surprise" loss in the 2012 presidential election. The plan is simple and begins with a mandate for every Republican to give a floor speech on the same topic with the same message, in a bid to grab the headlines.  The second stage of the plan calls for all Republicans to follow three "Rules":

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Shake Up At Fox News Network

Would you be surprised to learn that the Fox Network is the most watched cable network among the pivotal demographic 25-54 year olds? After the presidential election, Fox News Network found itself with its lowest ratings since August 2001 and set out to shake up its line up and on line personalities.

Facebook Gets $429 Million Tax Refund

Mark Zuckenberg
As you prepare to meet the April deadline for filing your income taxes, here's a little nugget to take with you while you do your calculations.
Despite earning over $1B in profits last year, Facebook paid $0 in federal and state taxes, and will get a refund totaling $429M, thanks to tax breaks.Because of the way Facebook treats stock options distributed to investors and employees instead of cash compensation on its balance sheets, the company is able to claim paying a tax liability worth hundreds of millions of dollars when the reality is they're getting paid:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Selecting A New Pope

Pope Benedict XVI
In view of the stunning resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, effective February 28, 2012, the Catholic Church will begin the process of selecting a new pope who will lead the 1 billion Catholics world-wide. Now everyone's attention is turning to the selection process. Here's a quick video from Busted Halo, outlining the process.

Thanks to Aaron Blake, The Fix Blog, for the tip.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

MA Governor Makes Surprise Senate Appointment

MA Governor Deval Patrick

It's been musical chairs on Capital Hill lately. Ultra-conservative Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) to take over at the Heritage Foundation. Republican Governor Nikki Haley appointed freshman Tea Party Congressman Tim Scott to take the Senate Vacancy.

 Hillary Clinton is packing her bags and leaving her post as Secretary of State. The Senate overwhelming approved the appointment of John Kerry. Yesterday, MA Governor Deval Patrick appointed William "Mo" Cowan, his former Chief Legal Counsel and Chief of Staff to fill Kerry's vacancy until the June 25th state wide election to determine a permanent replacement.

What's really interesting about these changes is the fact that they result in two African Americans serving in the U. S. Senate at the same time...a historical first. Here's a quick primer on African Americans serving in the Senate:

  • Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first African American to serve in the Senate.

  • Blanche Kelso Bruce was the first African American to serve a full six-year term as senator and the only senator to be a former slave.[3]

  • Edward William Brooke, III was the first African American to be popularly elected, the first to be re-elected, and the first to be elected outside of the southern states.

  • Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun was the first female African American to serve in the Senate.

  • Barack Hussein Obama, II was the fifth African American to serve as a senator.[1] He resigned from his office to become the first African American President of the United States.

  • Roland Wallace Burris was the first African American to be appointed and the first to succeed another African American. He was appointed by Governor Rod Blagojevich to succeed Barack Obama.

    SC Senator Tim Scott
  • Timothy Eugene "Tim" Scott was both the first African American and the first to be affiliated with the Republican Party to represent a southern state since the end of the Reconstruction Era. He was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley to succeed Jim DeMint.

  • William "Mo" Cowan will be the first black senator appointed by an African-American governor, Deval Patrick. The appointment of Cowan will also mark the first time that two African-Americans have served concurrently in the senate, as Cowan will serve alongside Tim Scott.

  • This information should allow you to be well prepared when these questions surface in next months' tests.