Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nats on a roll

Newsmax writer John Perry advocates coup

There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic.

America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn’t mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it.

[...]

Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a “family intervention,” with some form of limited, shared responsibility?

Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.


Quote from Balloon Juice, the article's been taken down because some people found it kind of outrageous. You know, calling for the overthrow of the government.

There is a fairly prominent fringe of the conservative movement that is, to my eyes, crazy and dangerous. I don't mean to paint with a broad brush here but this is a staff writer for a fairly major conservative news outlet. Would a staff writer at Huffington Post advocate this sort of thing under Bush?

The original article can be found here (pdf).

Obama Needs to change his smile

Sarkozy on Obama, according to sources: "incredibly naive and grossly egotistical."

Hearsay, but interesting no less.

top 10 craziest things ever said at the UN General Assembly

Lou Dobbs cited my reporting on his CNN show on Monday

He cites my NewsBusters post that showed that NY Times mentioned five major liberal blogs 389 times since 2003, and 5 major conservative ones only 18 times during that period.

Clean Air Cool Planet on Cap-and-Trade

Some of you met my girlfriend Maria last week. This is a link to a bunch of documents on CnT from her organization, some of which she worked on.

Medical Peer-Review of FDR's Illness.

Intramural class warfare

Nats Win!

Happy Days-- On K Street

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hypocrisy concerning the 'kill Obama' Facebook poll

Written by one of my coworkers at the Washington Examiner

DC Vote Fine-Tunes Its Hill Strategy
Sept. 29, 2009
By Emily Yehle
Roll Call Staff

Less than a year ago, District residents seemed poised to get their first-ever Representative in Congress after decades of protests, political negotiating and repeated disappointment.
To voting rights advocates, the environment seemed perfect: A Democratic Congress paired with a new president who had once publicly supported the city’s goals. Within weeks of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) had reintroduced the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) had made the bill’s passage a “high priority.”

But four months ago, the bill’s progress came to a halt in the House thanks to an amendment that would create new, looser gun laws for the city. Under pressure from the National Rifle Association, conservative Democrats wouldn’t vote for an amendment-free bill, and D.C. officials wouldn’t settle for Congressionally imposed gun laws.

The bill’s supporters still hope to pass the legislation during the 111th Congress. But the political wrangling over the voting rights bill has also prompted local advocacy group DC Vote to broaden its efforts beyond the bill.

This summer, DC Vote’s board of directors officially extended its mission to include “home rule” issues that affect Washington, D.C.’s autonomy. Though the group’s focus will continue to be Congressional representation, officials will also energize its members whenever Members of Congress try to change city policy from the halls of the Capitol.

“We believe that with votes in the Congress, the District will be able to have a say in issues that matter but also have the power to prevent other Members of Congress from imposing their will on the city,” said Ilir Zherka, executive director of DC Vote. “However, as we’ve worked on this issue over the years, we have been forced to defend the city’s home rule rights.”

The fight over the voting rights act had put the conflict in sharp relief: In order to pass a bill giving the city Congressional representation, D.C. officials were forced to consider an amendment that stripped the city’s authority to pass its own gun laws.

In June, advocates decided the price was too high, and DC Vote began considering a larger mission.

“That was very important because they were slapped in the face by the NRA,” Norton said in a recent interview. “They saw wisely that equality and freedom for the District is not a one-issue matter.”

In fact, even if Congress passed the voting rights act, the federal government would still wield a great deal of power over the city. The voting rights act only gives the District a voting seat in the House; the Senate is left untouched, along with laws that allow Congress to review the city’s budget and legislation. For years, Norton has introduced bills to give the city budgetary and legislative autonomy, but they have never made it out of Congress.

The fate of the D.C. voting rights bill is similarly uncertain. Congress is poised for months of work on an array of legislation, while District officials seem to be stuck in a catch-22 on the bill. DC Vote has focused much of its efforts on changing the mind of Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.), who penned the provision that became the voting rights bill’s poison-pill amendment.

Norton said she has made progress in negotiations but declined to give any details. She scoffed at the idea that Congress’ full plate might thwart the bill’s chances.

“The notion that we can’t walk and chew gum at same time has been disproven repeatedly,” she said, later adding: “We have not been sitting on our hands for the past four months.”

Other D.C. issues where Congress may choose to inject itself are also on the horizon, however. D.C. Councilmember David Catania has said he plans to introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the District. If passed, it promises to spark debate among Members of Congress, who have the power to veto any of the city’s laws.

In such scenarios, DC Vote will now pitch in with its 80 coalition partners, who can call on their members to write letters, visit Congressional offices and stage protests to try to prevent Congress from intervening.

“Within our city, within our coalition, we might have differences of opinions on, let’s say, guns and gay marriage, but we all agree that the proper venue to decide those issues is the city council,” Zherka said.

The city’s budget is another area where officials constantly battle Congressional interference. Recently, Democrats removed a few long-standing provisions from D.C.’s budget that, among other things, banned the city from holding a referendum on medical marijuana and using funds on needle exchange programs. That victory, however, wasn’t total: Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) attached an amendment that makes needle exchange programs within the city difficult, prohibiting them within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds and a variety of other youth-oriented areas.

Such efforts, Zherka said, often “have to do with politics outside of D.C. and have nothing to do with politics within the District of Columbia.” DC Vote’s mission is to change that culture — by protecting the city’s home rule day to day and eventually by helping the city become a full-fledged state.

“Ultimately Washingtonians need to be in their own jurisdiction, not overseen by Congress,” Zherka said. “We recognize that’s not going to be easy, and we recognize that there’s going to be some resistance to that and also that it will take a lot of time.”

Best piece of political journalism I have seen for a long time

Beautiful piece of political journalism.

H1N1

Follow precautions!

Critics Voice their concern on Obama's trip to Denmark

Well, like I mentioned yesterday, there is always crticism and it has arrived this morning. Obama is out of the country from Thursday night to Friday afternoon. Obviously there is the factor of tiredness as well, but does less than a full day really matter when it comes to the issues at hand? I don't think so, but I've been wrong before. Comments? (not on my being wrong part, no need to get into specifics...)

Senate Panel Rejects a ‘Public Option’ in Health Plan

Live Blogging: Senate Finance Committee Debate on Public Option

Two Public Option Amendments both just voted down.

Interstate competition

Does anyone know why reforms don't include interstate insurance competition? Kelsey?

Rep. Franks Clarifies his Comments

I guess if Michelle and Barack Obama can leave the wrong impression, so can Representative Franks:

"'He was just referring to the way President Obama has set himself up as the most pro-abortion president in America's history,' Bethany Haley, spokeswoman for Franks, said. She ticked off a list of the president's policies and appointments she said were favorable to abortion rights.

'It's a trend — it's not just one or two things. Ever since his days in the Illinois Senate, President Obama has been radical on the issue of abortion,' Haley said.

A White House spokesman had no immediate comment."

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) on President Obama

"Obama's first act as president of any consequence, in the middle of a financial meltdown, was to send taxpayers' money overseas to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries. Now, I got to tell you, if a president will do that, there's almost nothing that you should be surprised at after that. We shouldn't be shocked that he does all these other insane things. A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can't do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity."


Emphasis mine.

Independents key in N.J. governor's race

"Mr. Christie's latest commercial features voters saying they voted for Mr. Obama because they wanted change and support Christie for the same reason."

Supreme Court Week

Figured this was pretty relevant with our Supreme Court trip coming up soon. Starting Oct. 4, C-SPAN has a week-long line-up of Supreme Court programming which includes interviews with all currently sitting and some retired justices.

I hear about this all day, and have worked on it a bit, so I figured the least I could do was pass it on. The link above is to the main site, which has some pretty interesting stuff on it, and this is the week's schedule: http://supremecourt.c-span.org/TVPrograms.aspx

Delay stumbles on DWTS

New Technique of Storing Bomb Materials Used by Terrorists

The article ends on a particularily dire note...

Absurd NewsBusters comment of the day

In response to my post on Whoopi Goldberg's despicable dismissal of Polanski's rape (she said "it wasn't rape-rape"):

"I wonder what her opinion would be if one replaced the perpetrator in this case with the name 'George Bush,' and the victim with 'your daughter.' "

Districts and Medical Coverage

Discusses the districts and the percentage of people who are uninsured.

Jon Stewart, on recent controversies

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
America: Target America
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Not sure how vast, but maybe there is a rightwing conspiracy

GOP's competitiveness conundrum

"Both parties agree that Congress should impose new regulations on the health insurance industry, and Republicans say they share the Democrats’ goal of expanding coverage. So the central fight is about how to slow the growth of ever-escalating health care costs and constrain rapidly rising insurance premiums.

In this tussle, Democrats, by pushing an optional, self-sustaining, government-run insurer to keep private insurers honest, may be offering a more clear-cut proposal for increasing competition than their free-market counterparts on the other side of the aisle.

Whereas the Democrats’ plan would operate in the existing marketplace, many Republicans would like to revamp that marketplace completely — something that makes most Americans queasy. Ideas range from dismantling Medicaid to upending the system of employer-provided health care so that insurers cater to the people they cover, rather than the companies that pay for that coverage."

Hard ball politics

A few suggestions on how to make conservatives less angry

Corzine clings to Obama coattails

Without Bush, media lose interest in war caskets

The caskets weren't the story, as so many claimed. The story was the fact that Bush didn't want their arrivals photographed. Now that it's allowed, journalists have lost interest in showing the "true human cost" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Journalists quit to work at a start up

Evan Smith is a Hamilton grad.

Abolish Switzerland!

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Keep the government out of my Medicare!"

Dana Perino on GOP strategy

We all should read this book

I just read the free Google Books preview of Frank Luntz's Words that Work, and I think it is absolutely brilliant and--if the preview is any indicator--a must read for everyone that wants to go into policy, marketing, law, advertising, journalism, or sales (or a host of other careers I would imagine).

The words of praise on the back cover say it all:

"Great words can accomplish great things. If you really want to capture the power of communication, read Words that Work" - Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of FedEx

"Language is like music. Unfortunately, the Republicans have Paul McCartney in the person of Frank Luntz. Somehow, we Democrats got stuck with Yoko Ono." - Al Franken

"Words are enormously important. I love language, the sheer pleasure of words in the right order. Frank Luntz is brilliant about words." - Rudy Giuliani

"Frank Luntz understands the power of words to move public opinion and communicate big ideas. Any Democrat who writes off his analysis and decades of experience just because he works for the other side is making a big mistake. His lessons don't have a party label. The only question is, where's our Frank Luntz?" - Senator John Kerry

Simple bullet point description of Waxman-Markey

So far, few open seats in 2010

Poll: insurance mandate could be disastrous for Dems in 2010

"Less popular with 2010 voters is a key provision in Sen. Max Baucus', D-Mont., recently unveiled health care bill that would require all Americans to purchase health insurance or face a hefty fine. A clear majority of voters in competitive Senate races (68 percent) oppose such a provision, as do 70 percent of voters in competitive House races."

Don't click on this link unless you have a strong stomach

There's been a lot of speculation today by apologists for Roman Polanski, so I thought it would be useful to post his victim's grand jury testimony.

If you don't know already, Polanski drugged and raped a 13 year old girl in 1977. He pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor (the sodomy, rape, molestation, and drug distribution charges were dropped), but he fled to France before sentencing. Swiss police arrested him yesterday, and may extradite him to Los Angeles.

Personally, I hope they lock him in the deepest, darkest hellhole the federal penitentiary system has to offer until the bastard expires. Sorry for the emotion, but I just read the transcripts myself, and I have absolutely no sympathy for him, and no common ground with his sympathizers. He is sick, and he deserves worse than what he will get.

FDR memorial


Second stop on excursion.

New Deal for Artists


First stop on excursion.

In 1934, Americans grappled with an economic situation that feels all too familiar today. Against the backdrop of the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration created the Public Works of Art Project—the first federal government program to support the arts nationally. Federal officials in the 1930s understood how essential art was to sustaining America's spirit. Artists from across the United States who participated in the program, which lasted only six months from mid-December 1933 to June 1934, were encouraged to depict "the American Scene." The Public Works of Art Project not only paid artists to embellish public buildings, but also provided them with a sense of pride in serving their country. They painted regional, recognizable subjects—ranging from portraits to cityscapes and images of city life to landscapes and depictions of rural life—that reminded the public of quintessential American values such as hard work, community and optimism.

1934: A New Deal for Artists celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Public Works of Art Project by drawing on the Smithsonian American Art Museum's unparalleled collection of vibrant artworks created for the program. The paintings in this exhibition are a lasting visual record of America at a specific moment in time. George Gurney, deputy chief curator, organized the exhibition with Ann Prentice Wagner, curatorial associate.

Complex distributional effects of insurance reform

It Happened One Decade; What The Great Depression Did To Culture

This article which appears in the current issue of The New Yorker talks about how the great Depression affected culture. Relevent to Wednesday's fieldtrip.

Democrat Senators Bringing in the Dough

Especially that guy Schumer...

Princeton Students Dislike Kindle for Study Purposes

Maybe digitizing textbooks isn't such a great idea...

Facebook Poll: Should Obama Be Killed?

Disturbing.

The Pyschology of Obama's Speech at the UN

I think this article is grossly misusing psychological terms to describe Obama's rhetoric at the UN. The author writes, "Much of the speech seemed to be an exercise in what Sigmund Freud called "projection," assuming that others think the way you do. Obama spoke as if the mullahs of Iran, the Kim Jong Il clan of North Korea, Vladimir Putin and his gang of oligarchs, and the rulers of China had the same gripes against the Bush administration as Obama and the liberal Democrats in Congress. Hey, if we just close Gitmo, they'll realize that we're all in sympathy now." I'm not sure that's at all what Obama was doing, especially in regards to Guantanamo. The author seems to me to be taking so very serious leaps from what was said in the speech and the pyschological pretenses behind it.

The fight for "white civil rights"

It's apparently been a long, hard struggle.

Or something.

Obama - Denmark - 2016 Olympics

As usual, anything Obama does is met with a huge amount of controversy and the decision to appear at the Olympic presentations is no exception. After deciding to send only his wife to Denmark, where the candidate cities will be making their pitches, Obama announced today that he will be attending as well. This move makes him the first president to actually attend one of these conferences.

A lot of people may say the timing is completely wrong, as unemployment is still high, the healthcare debate is still hot, and the Olympics will be in his final year of office anyways (assuming he wins in 2012). However, these protests are ridiculous and stretching for reasons to criticized the president. He will only be abroad for a few days (the winner will be announced on Friday) and the Olympics is a great event and honor for any country to host. This world wide event is one of the few things that really brings a country together and isn't that what we need in this time of crisis? Also, it is a great opportunity for the host city and country to show off. People announced the 2008 Beijing Olympics as the official coming out party for China, where they showed off their new money by making amazing facilities and orchestrating a grand opening ceremony. If America wins the bid for 2016, we will have an opportunity to show we are still the best and most powerful country in the world. America is in a crisis and the world is doubting our presence. Winning the bid for the Olympics can go a long way to shutting down those claims.

Obama's presence will greatly help Chicago's chance to host the Olympics and he should definitely take a few days off to make any attempt he can at winning this. The Olympics isa country uniting event and as the President, he should aim for this goal whenever he can. Every other leader from the other candidate countries is attending and it is Obama's right and duty to do so as well.

Outsourcing Hate

"Whew, I'm pooped. Jimmy Carter has got me run ragged with all the hating I'm supposed to do. Jimmy says I'm a racist because I oppose President Obama's health care reform program. Even Jimmy Carter can't be wrong all the time. And since Jimmy Carter has been wrong about every single thing for the past 44 years, maybe--just as a matter of statistical probability--he's right this time.

"I hadn't noticed I was a racist, but that was no doubt because I was too busy being a homophobe. Nancy Pelosi says the angry opposition to health care reform is like the angry opposition to gay rights that led to Harvey Milk being shot. Since I do not want America to suffer another Sean Penn movie, I will accept that I'm a homophobe, too. And I'm a male chauvinist due to the fact that I think Nancy Pelosi is blowing smoke--excuse me, carbon neutral, biodegradable airborne particulate matter--out her pantsuit."

Right Wing Conspiracy Still Going Strong

First Carter calls racism, now Clinton calls conspiracy. Thoughts on these former Democrat President's interesting thoughts?

I wonder if the Bush's have anything to say about all this.

Cap and Trade 101

From the Center for American Progress

Wal-Mart Nation

It looks to me like the elite at 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair are trying to harness their inner mid-westerner. Are sales/ratings that bad?

Debate Topic- Cap and Trade

This post is linked to the New York Times' topic page on cap and trade, this week's debate topic.

Liberals seek health-care access for illegals

Learning from history

In the 1980's Congress enacted a plan to protect seniors financially from catastrophic illnesses. Some of the intended beneficiaries complained loudly, and the law was soon repealed. Are there lessons?

Bureaucrats muzzle criticism of Obamacare

Iran Launches Long-Range Missiles

Hey Obama, can you please take a super tough stance on Iran? Now? Please? Thanks.

Reid quarterback, Obama referee

2010 is not 1994

Crisis in nation's capital

Should there be exceptions to insurance mandate?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Paul Krugman on Cap and Trade

Man likely innocent executed in Texas election year

The return of the vast, right wing conspiracy!

Obama: Kids need more time in school

I feel like this article is speaking to issues in inner-city schools, though Obama's statements imply that he wants to increase instructional time at all U.S. schools. I had a 7-hour school day throughout K-12 (7:50am-2:50). Especially as I got older, between school, after-school sports, music and community service, I had very little time to spend with friends/family and pursuing personal interests and hobbies. If anything, Obama should be encouraging funding for teachers to get Master's degrees in their fields and spend more time training to make the most of existing class time.

Steve Walt corrects David Brooks's NYT Op-Ed on Afghanistan

ObamaCare: Losing Everyone

(from NYPost/Dick Morris blog)
Will Obama's plan alienate the middle class? Obama has already lost senior citizens over the proposal to cut $500 billion from Medicare. What about average Americans who will have to pay thousands before receiving any subsidy?
Does ObamaCare cause more "pain" than reform?

By the MSM's logic, shouldn't we blame Michael Moore for the violent protests at the G-20?

My latest NewsBusters post.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rep. Maloney's husband dies in Tibet UPDATED

Sad. She's my representative.

72 hour waiting period for legislation?

Could Israel take out Iran's nuke facilities?

How to Tell the Difference Between Swine Flu, Seasonal Flu, and Glenn Beck

"Seasonal flu symptoms consist of fever, painful body aches, dry cough, and fatigue. Swine flu brings all those symptoms plus an obsessive desire to oink. Glenn Beck causes anger, resentment, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and weeping followed by hysterical laughter and, in extreme cases, attendance at tea party rallies."

Shear Madness @ Kennedy Center

Shaan and I saw this whodunit comedy last night. It's the longest-running play in American theater, but the script is constantly updated to make the show current. Last night, for instance, the actors were making cracks at Kanye West and Joe Wilson's "You Lie" outburst. The show is set in a wacky hair salon, where a famous concert pianist is murdered in the apartment upstairs. Audience members get to interrogate the actors as the cops retrace the suspects' steps. Then the audience actually gets to choose which actor committed the crime.

Tickets are only $42, and it's worth it. There aren't any choice restaurant options in the immediate area, so either eat at home before hand, or leave plenty of time eat in nearby Georgetown.

Can decline of newspapers be stopped?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Uninsured 22-year-old Boehner constituent dies from H1N1

This is very tangible evidence of the fact that we need reform, and hopefully it will wake up some Republicans who think that it's wise to kill efforts at reform because it's political gold. 22-year-olds should not be dying because they're scared of paying to go to the doctor.

I don't care how exactly we go about guaranteeing affordable insurance for everyone. We can have vouchers, or Medicare for all, or a public-private hybrid system. I really am not that picky. But people our age should not die because they're scared of the bill that comes from seeing the doctor.

Blue Dogs vs. Pelosi

Thoughts?

ELI Energy Subsidies Graphic

Link to PDF graphic that accompanies study, the full version of which is available at www.eli.org if you're interested.

Lion's Share of Government Energy Subsidies support Foreign Oil

I'll try to post the graphic that compliments this, but here are some quick facts:

1) Fossil fuels benefited from approximately $72 billion over the seven-year (fiscal years 2002-08) period.
2) Subsidies for renewable fuels totaled $29 billion.
3) More than half the subsidies for renewables—$16.8 billion—are attributable to corn-based ethanol, the climate effects of which are hotly disputed.
4) Of the fossil fuel subsidies, $70.2 billion went to traditional sources—such as coal and oil—and $2.3 billion went to carbon capture and storage, which is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.
5) Government energy subsidies highly favored energy sources that emit high levels of greenhouse gases over sources that would decrease our climate footprint.

Drinking water unsafe at thousands of schools

Kids across the country are forced to drink bottled water at schools for their own safety. In most cases, it's not because the tap water is contaminated before it reaches the school, but it's that the water infrastructure within the buildings (lead, copper pipe contamination) causes dangerous contamination levels that render the water undrinkable.

"Your mom!"

Professional Development 101

An LA handed me this WashPo article about how to make the most out of an internship

The Death (and Life) of Conservatism

Very interesting, in my opinion.

Difficulties closing Gitmo

This is what I was talking about last night regarding the difference between Washingtonians and New Yorkers

Not saying this person is representative of all New Yorkers (or any other group for that matter), but I would be willing to bet that no working professional from Washington was present at the G-20 protests (riots?).

" 'The people who developed the system that's falling apart and trying to fix it? That's just crazy,' said Sondra Perry, an art student from New York state.

'Our message here is about climate change, poverty, capitalism: they're all very intertwined and it's time that we all understand that if we are going to do anything, we have to work together,' she said."

Because I just love polls

Here's a surprise: Obama's approval is still fairly high, and people think Republicans have very few ideas on health care compared to Obama. Also, two out of three Americans support a public option.

The poll reflects the challenges facing the White House as it is consumed by two issues, Afghanistan and health care. By a margin of 52 percent to 27 percent, Americans said Mr. Obama has better ideas about overhauling health care than Republicans. And the percentage of Americans who approve of how Mr. Obama has handled health care has gone from 40 percent in August to 47 percent, about equal to where it was earlier in the summer.

On one of the most contentious issues in the health care debate — whether to establish a government-run health insurance plan as an alternative to private insurers — nearly two-thirds of the country continues to favor the proposal, which is backed by Mr. Obama but has drawn intense fire from most Republicans and some moderate Democrats.
(emphasis is mine)

The New York Times polled 1,042 Americans, conducted last Saturday through last Wednesday, and it has a margin of error of 3%.

In case you're curious about how this poll stacks up to others, a recent Research2000 poll found that nearly 60% of Americans support a public option.

Obama doesn't have to indoctrinate schoolchildren. Teachers will do it for him

Earlier this year, at the B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington Township, N.J., schoolchildren were instructed to memorize a paean to Barack Obama. A video uploaded to the YouTube account of Charisse Carney-Nunes, author of the children's book "I Am Barack Obama" and a self-described Harvard Law "schoolmate" of the president's, showed students lined up in the auditorium snapping their fingers and chanting in unison:

Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said all should lend a hand to make the country strong again.
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must be fair today, equal work means equal pay.
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said take a stand, make sure everyone gets a chance.
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama
He said red, yellow, black and white, all are equal in his sight.
Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama.
Yeah! Barack Hussein Obama.

…Hello, Mr. President, we honor you today
For all your great accomplishments, we all do say hooray.
Hooray, Mr. President, you are No. 1
The first black American to lead this nation.

Reporter banned from press deck at 'Age of Stupid' premiere for exposing fimmakers' hypocrisies

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dr. Zero on Glenn Beck's 'McCain would have been worse' comment

"McCain wouldn’t be a worse president than Obama. He would be more politically inconvenient for the conservative movement. Speaking for myself, I’d pay that price in a heartbeat… to spare my country what it has already endured, and what is yet to come."

Jefferson Memorial

Cement barriers
Dropped between the trees -
Standing vigilant

Head down, walk fast.

As I walked along the street trying to keep pace with my dad, I contemplated the advice he had offered on the train. “Now I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, but when I walk in the city I always look down. If you look down, others assume you don’t see them, so they’ll get out of your way… Just always remember that if you’re ever in a hurry..” Of course, as always, he had imparted this strategy many times before, and I had efficiently stored it away where I would never remember. And as I motored a few paces behind him rushing to get to the office on time, I discovered its efficiency.

But, when I rush to work in Washington, I get the feeling the strategy wouldn’t fly. Unsure of an alternative, I don’t rush. Turns out nobody is rushing, at least not until the subway door begins to close and then it seems like EVERYONE is rushing. Somewhat ironically, no one, no matter the city, wants to wait another 3 minutes on a subway platform when they could be at work 3 minutes earlier. Even when you leave the train it’s a race to the turnstalls, almost as if the smartcard charged based on time spent travelling.

The escalators bring back the lethargy. I find myself the minority as I trapse up each moving step. I’d stand to experience the Washington culture, but I cannot bring myself to submit to the lack of urgency. Urgency of nothing, it turns out, despite the seeming importance of the Hill’s activities…But then again, perhaps this truly ISN’T reality, but some fiendishly expensive knock-off featuring thousands of staffers and interns scurrying around but merely shuffling papers and speaking in hushed voices. Does anything really ever get done anyway? Most times it seems unlikely.

Wall street, on the other hand, now there’s a purpose behind that urgency. Stocks to be traded, and money to be made – A national economic dominance to be asserted. But, what IS the purpose? It seems in the current economic crisis this purpose is lost as well. Turns out, BOTH systems are broken, so why do we hurry, head down, in Manhattan?

Untitled

Washington is a
monument to all fifty
states. Not cultural.

The Real Washington

Allen describes what I think is a very accurate portrayal of two different Washingtons. The first is the one I walked through on my first days here; a land of marble columns and statues that impressed the hell out of me (and to be fair, I'm still more than a little impressed). But with every morning commute I feel more and more like Allen's "real" Washingtonian. To Allen, the true Washington is comprised of suburban streets and shady parks, of down-to-earth workers who disdain opulence. Living in the "real" Washington carries with it a sense of silent superiority, and I would be lying if I said I haven't found myself enjoying a slight self-important smile when watching groups of tourists roll by on their segway tour. It's cool to be a local, and it's even cooler to be a "true" Washingtonian (even if I'm only faking it for a few months). But maybe one day I'll pass the Capital on my way to work and won't even care to turn and admire it; that would be the coolest.

A Walk to Remember (2009)

A Walk to Remember (2009)

CBS is plain
Washington D.C. is short
I need a cold drink.

Obligations

Both the young and old
hate that they are sometimes told
"come to work early."

An Outsider's Artificial View

"Disneyfication"
White House to the Capitol
Unreal, but so quaint

Washington Reflection

Putting government and politics aside, Washington feels like a city in its own world; like a city that has allowed itself to be so intimately involved in American life yet so remote and independent. It’s almost like a city that has escaped the doldrums that many others have faced. It’s unlike any other city, unlike any other “state,” if you will. It’s the epicenter of the greatest nation on earth, the beating heart of the land of the free, yet it has a mind and soul of its own. Allen’s view of Washington and its contrast with sister cities is why I love Washington. Sometimes Washington can seem artificial – we have buildings and monuments and memorials commemorating nothing but themselves. Department of this and Office of that. Everything seems scripted. Like a maze or a jigsaw puzzle that jumped right off the page and onto the streets and into plan living form. However, from sunrise to sunset, Washington proves that it is alive and thriving. Washington has the uncanny ability to be vibrant yet calm, busy yet peaceful, urban yet rural, full of business yet full of nature, and so forth. Living in Washington is like working in a remote paradise. Although sometimes it’s a repeating pattern, the heartbeat of Washington is unique enough to speak for its fame and prestige, yet makes it easy to call home.

Machiavelli and the Fonz on Obama's foreign policy

"At some point, Obama is going to have to do something seriously unpleasant to someone."

"A genuinely tough sanctions regime on Iran would be the Fonzie moment in Obama's Richie Cunningham presidency."
Growing up in a town that has the words Wil, Bra, and Ham in its name, I’ve been forced to realize that I’m a small town girl, plain and simple. What’s Chipotle? Pink berry? Please don’t look at me like I’m insane, those places really don’t exist in small town Wilbraham. No, I’m serious, they really don’t exist where I’m from. Washington is a whole new world for me, providing so many more adventures and opportunities than I ever thought existed. Even after a month, I feel as though there are so many more things that I need to see and do, and not nearly enough time to do them. When I take a step back, however, I’m starting to see that Washington really isn’t that different from my small town roots. Maybe there are some more restaurants to go to, and it doesn’t take me 45 minutes to get to the nearest Whole Foods, but it still has the same feel as my home. You can find the same people strolling around with their dogs along the shady lanes of residential neighborhoods on Sunday. You don’t need to have a fashion meltdown before leaving the apartment because people wear whatever they want without feeling any need to dress to impress. Maybe what I really thought was a big city, is really just a bigger small town that I can call home for a little while. Who would have ever thought I’d call a city home? Certainly not me, but I guess we still have some time.

A reflection...

foundations of stone
consolidation of form
out of many, one

Perfection in the Imperfected

Washington is a bar of Ohio State, Penn State, Georgetown, the Red Sox, and Eagles fans. It is one of the best stadiums in baseballs, courting perhaps the worst team, nearly empty. It is a stunning park that is so frightening none wish to enjoy it. It is the home of the highest crime rates coupled with the highest judiciary powers. It is a lipstick stain on the favorite shirt that reminds you of a lost love; the only fallen tree in a forest that spans the river; a sunburn after a long summer day. It is the beauty that comes with not getting it quite right.

You Work For ME

You Work For ME

Phone rings, mad man shouts!
What's he so angry about?
Fall's reckoning soon.

The Real Washington

Allen describes what I think is a very accurate portrayal of two different Washingtons. The first is the one I walked through on my first days here; a land of marble columns and statues that impressed the hell out of me (and to be fair, I'm still more than a little impressed). But with every morning commute I feel more and more like Allen's "real" Washingtonian. To Allen, the true Washington is comprised of suburban streets and shady parks, of down-to-earth workers who disdain opulence. Living in the "real" Washington carries with it a sense of silent superiority, and I would be lying if I said I haven't found myself enjoying a slight self-important smile when watching groups of tourists roll by on their segway tour. It's cool to be a local, and it's even cooler to be a "true" Washingtonian (even if I'm only faking it for a few months). But maybe one day I'll pass the Capital on my way to work and won't even care to turn and admire it; that would be the coolest.

To think on

Promises proclaimed
Icebergs creep ever further
Results disappoint

The news at work Tuesday and today...

Baker's Washingtonian is why I love DC

We were supposed to put these on the blog, right?

Professionals come to Washington because they idealize pragmatism. Washington is where things happen--where problems are not only discussed, but addressed, and occasionally solved through concrete action and tangible institutions. The Washingtonian, by Baker's account, is concerned less with what should be done than with what can be done. This philosophy shapes the Washingtonian's urbane, conservative, grounded demeanor. This characterization of the Washingtonian--and the contrast between him and, say, a New Yorker or a San Franciscan--is a manifestation of the dichotomy between the Virginia gentleman and the Boston patriot, between George Washington and Sam Adams, between the calm, pragmatic professional, and the fiery, spirited activist.

Lonely Gordon!

Disappearing millennials?

Bipartisan health reform?

Good Stuff Eatery

Professor, this is the place I mentioned to you at the game- great burgers, a la Five Guys...and now featuring Michelle Obama!

Is there a subtext to Ken Burns latest documentary?

Great speech on the decline of 'accountability journalism'

NYU professor Clay Shirky: "So I think we are headed into a long trough of decline in accountability journalism, because the old models are breaking faster than the new models can be put into place."

Obama and the "policy approach"

Just Skim It

An interesting article about the role of "conceptual" v. "legislative" language when considering Congressional bills. Seems to me that the conceptual language would be preferable for a complicated issue like health care reform, but if the Republicans feel the need to continue to delay reform on something they will never read or for the most part fully understand...

Targetpoint

We'll be meeting with Alicia, an HC grad.

Food for thought

Interesting talk at Heritage next Monday at noon. Anyone want to join me there?

Double standards

The Dixie Chicks were basically booted out of the national consciousness after criticizing President Bush in the lead-up to the Iraq War.

As put by Rich Lowry, in 2003:

Comments critical of the commander in chief on foreign soil on the eve of a war are, uh, shall we say, not appreciated.


But then Sarah Palin goes and says, in Hong Kong:

Prominent voices in the Democratic Party are opposing the additional U.S. ground forces that are clearly needed.


She doesn't mention Obama by name as one of these Democrats. But from reading Lowry, I thought we were all supposed to rally 'round the Commander in Chief and agree with whatever decisions he makes.

Guess not.

(Hat tip to Firedoglake, but I dug through Palin's speech myself.)

See ya!

One industry is booming!

Abercombie and Fitch in Trouble...again

A girl is suing Abercombie and Fitch because they did not hire her because she wears a burka. Do they have a point? Seems like the Burka violates a lot of the store policies...

More from the department of cool and nonpartisan

NewsDots is an aggregator which graphically represents where issues in the news stand, how central they are, and how they connect to one another.

Very cool, and it changes daily, so it's worth checking.

School days!

Earn big $$$ the NEA way!!!


Poll on media bias

According to a Sacred Heart poll, 90 percent of Americans believe the national news media played a very large or somewhat large role in getting Obama elected. 70 percent believe they actively promote his agenda.

It might not be your fault! (a little psychology for everyone)

Just as the political environment a newly elected president enters into can influence his overal policy and public opinion success, so too can the circumstances of your birth -- especially if you're born in the winter?

I am not only a winter baby, but also adopted and originally born to an unmarried, less affluent 18 year old, so this study hits home for me. I've always joked that my Dec. 15th birthday makes me a "spring break baby" (count backwards 9 months...), but I had never considered the implications of that in terms of how many others might be in precisely the same position. It turns out that data shows that winter babies tend to be born to unmarried, poor women, although the article points to prom as a possible culprit.

The Malcolm Gladwell book "Outliers" discusses a similar point -- how circumstances can influence success (I recommend it), and points out that when you're born during the year can influence how good you'll be at sports and in school due to cut off dates for grade and team rules. I hadn't thought about it before, but the same ideas could possibly apply to how good a political leader one might be? I conducted some breif research and found that among the Presidents since JFK, only two presidents are born in the winter months. Reagan and...wait for it....Carter. The article also suggests that those born in the winter are sometimes young for thier grade due to cut offs, so perhaps being young makes you less of a leader among peers. Additionally, since winter babies tend to be less academically successful, I motion to give any of us winter babies some sort of handicap for grading -- it's only fair right?

Anyway, I thought this was really interesting, and although not directly related to politics, there's always room for a little psychology and sociology, right?

Coal to diamond

Overexposed? A Sampling of Views

Squeezing a balloon?

Avoiding tax increases requires squeezing money out of Medicare. But will Senator Bill Nelson go along?

The partisan industrial complex

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Possible Risks of Swine Flu Vaccine

Re: Zach's comment in class about the risks of the swine flu vaccine, the shot may increase the risk of contracting a serious nerve disease called Guillain-Barre Syndrome by eight times.

Not to be a Debbie Downer or anything, haha

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on gay marriage.

So in the end this is something that has to come with a, if there’s a push for a socialist society, a society where the foundations of individual rights and liberties are undermined and everybody is thrown together, living collectively off of one pot of resources earned by everyone. That is, this is one of the goals they have to go to is same-sex marriage because it has to plow through marriage in order to get to their goal. They want public affirmation. They want access to public funds and resources. Eventually all those resources will be pooled because that’s the direction we’re going. And not only is it a radical social idea, it is a purely socialist concept in the final analysis.


via.

More on longevity gap

Explaining the longevity gap

I await Evan's comment.

Dems should welcome rough stuff

IRS Terminating Relationship with ACORN

Best (worst) use of the teabagging term yet

Anderson Cooper, seemingly explaining why tea party protesters are so angry: "It's hard to talk when you're teabagging."

Comparing Presidents to Dictators - A History Lesson

Net neutrality

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

..And a different perspective on the same topic..

Nats stage miracle comeback!

wow, i actually clicked on the link to see if they did come back. haha

Article on Obama's press handling of late

How one family eliminated $106,000 in debt

If these people can pull it off the way they did, then anyone can.

ACORN Update

A worker in one of the videos who purportedly 'aided' the undercover 'reporters' called a police officer, who contacted a human trafficking task force to report the suspicious activity.

Regardless, the ACORN worker was fired.

New Deal art

Redskins 101

Follow Marc Elias

If you use twitter, you might want to follow Marc Elias, who tweets frequently about campaign law and finance.

ExpressAdvocacy

Interesting site about political law.

Members of Congress Advocate for Health Insurance for Criminals

Saul Alinsky - eerily conservative

"In the end he [the organizer] has one conviction–a belief that if people have the power to act, in the long run they will, most of the time, reach the right decisions. The alternative to this would be rule by the elite–either a dictatorship or some form of a political aristocracy. Believing in people, the radical has the job of organizing them so they will have the power and opportunity to best meet each unforeseeable future crisis as they move ahead in their eternal search for those values of equality, justice, freedom, peace, a deep concern for the preciousness of human life, and all those rights and values propounded by Judaeo-Christianity and the democratic political tradition.” [Rules for Radicals, p. 11-12]

"The democratic ideal springs from the ideas of liberty, equality, majority rule through free elections, protection of the rights of minorities, and freedom to subscribe to multiple loyalties in matters of religion, economics, and politics rather than to a total loyalty to the state. The spirit of democracy is the idea of importance and worth in the individual, and faith in the kind of world where the individual can achieve as much of his potential as possible." [Rules for Radicals, p. xxiv]

"We are not here concerned with people who profess the democratic faith but yearn for the dark security of dependency where they can be spared the burden of decisions. Reluctant to grow up, or incapable of doing so, they want to remain children and be cared for by others. Those who can, should be encouraged to grow; for the others, the fault lies not in the system but in themselves." [Rules for Radicals, p. xxv]

"If you respect the dignity of the individual you are working with, then his desires, not yours; his values, not yours; his ways of working and fighting, not yours; his choice of leadership, not yours; his programs, not yours, are important and must be followed; except if his programs violate the high values of a free and open society. We learn, when we respect the dignity of the people, that they cannot be denied the elementary right to participate fully in the solutions to their own problems. Self-respect arises only out of people who play an active role in solving their own crises and who are not helpless, passive, puppet-like recipients of private or public services. To give people help, while denying them a significant part in the action, contributes nothing to the development of the individual. In the deepest sense it is not giving but taking— taking their dignity. Denial of the opportunity for participation is the denial of human dignity and democracy." [Rules for Radicals, p. 122-123]

Why Obama Wishes he was King

"Obama is...a man who won the presidency largely on the basis of the electorate's judgment about his personality — he was seen as bright, and personable, and engaging, which was not surprising, because he is bright, and personable, and engaging. He was, for all intents and purposes, a Rorschach ink blot test for the body politic — individual voters saw in him whatever it was they wanted to see in him, reflected back to them.

He was so popular, in fact, that he became only the fourth Democratic President in the last century and a half to win an outright majority of the popular vote — something Woodrow Wilson, and Harry Truman, and Bill Clinton, and even the sainted John Kennedy failed to accomplish.

Imagine, then, how frustrating it must be for him to be that popular, but not to be able to enact either his legislative or his political agenda; to know that, among the public, he has a deep reservoir of goodwill, but to know that for his ends, it is all but worthless."

Maybe I should become conservative

Apparently, 'your women are hot,' and liberals aren't, or something.
"You know [King Saul's] daughter must have been beautiful because there’s no guy whose gonna die for an ugly girl. Our women are hot. We have Michelle Malkin. Who does the left have, Rachel Maddow? Sorry, I prefer that my women not look like dudes."

-David Mattera, speaking at the Values Voters summit, making a David and Goliath metaphor. In particular, addressing how David (the conservatives) would slay Goliath (liberals), and how King Saul promised his daughter to anyone who could slay Goliath.

Celebs on Health Reform

Hysterical video of celebs talking about the health care reform

Pentagon Delays Troop Call

Think Tankers and military experts are pushing for a massive addition of 45,000 US troops in Afghanistan at a time when the Obama administration seems to balk at their previous commitment to come out of this war victorious. The kitchen may have just gotten too hot.

'A Devolving, Depressing, and Debased Debate'

Victor Davis Hanson at his best

Last poll I'm ever putting up!

Weekly "State of the Nation" poll put out by Daily Kos. You'll notice that everyone except for Obama and every group has a higher unfavorable percentage than favorable.

At the end of the day, though, I find most political opinion polls completely worthless. It's all about the wording of the questions, which always manages to skew them in some way. If the question was "How do you feel about what the current Congress has accomplished so far?", I bet you'd see different results.

Congress must move on Climate Bill before Copenhagen...

...otherwise, Obama's promises will only be empty words. If we can't show that we're setting a good legislative example for other nations, we'll have little influence at the pending Denmark summit.

General to resign?

'Can the Future Be Built in America?'

Great Business Week piece on the troubles that face the American high-tech manufacturing sector, what Obama is doing right and wrong, and what he should do to make sure we remain on the cutting edge.

Fantastic analysis. Scary, but optimistic.

Boris Yeltsin at his finest

Perhaps the most startling story in the article, however, involves then-Russian president Boris Yeltsin. Clinton told Branch that Yeltsin had been staying at the Blair House, the White House guest residence, in 1995 when the Secret Service found Yeltsin standing alone on Pennsylvania Avenue, wearing only his underwear, trying to get a cab. Yeltsin, slurring his words, told the Secret Service he wanted a pizza. The next night, Clinton reportedly told Branch, Yeltsin took back stairs to the basement of the Blair House, where a guard assumed he was an inebriated intruder. U.S. and Russian security forces soon arrived to assure the guard that the man in question was in fact the Russian president.

Woodward strikes again

Bailout for newspapers?

Patriot Act

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bidenisms

A taste:

"Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see you. … Oh, God love you! What am I talking about? I tell you what. You're making everybody else stand up, though, pal. … Stand up for Chuck!"—Telling Missouri State Sen. Chuck Graham, who is bound to a wheelchair, to rise at campaign event, Columbia, Mo., Sept. 9, 2008

Glenn Beck says McCain would have been worse than Obama

Sorry about the ads.


Watch CBS Videos Online

Are Rappers and Conservative Talk Show Hosts Really that Different?

Can't we all just be friends?

Comments accepted...

Are you a racist? (don't worry, it's a joke)

A flow chart to help you determine if your opposition to the President stems from a deep-seated hatred of minorities.

It's kind of related to Congress...


BREAKING NEWS: BAT LOOSE IN CONGRESS

Crazy NewsBusters comment of the day

"How much you want to bet that AKORN directs it's minions be wary of white folks seeking help? Well, at least the clean-cut ones."

NJ and VA Governor's Races this fall may set tone for 2010

These races will be very interesting to watch in November. While they refer to NJ as "deep-blue" state (8 of the 13 House districts are Democratic, and our two Senators are also Democrats), there's certainly enough dislike for Corzine to swing the election in favor of Chris Christie (Christie leads by narrow to moderate margins in the polls). Republican wins in the two states have the potential to make Democrats squirm over 2010 mid-term elections.

Regional breakdown of Republican approval


via Andrew Sullivan. The actual poll is a Research2000 poll last week of 2400 Americans.

Edit: I incorrectly originally listed the sample size as 2600 Americans. The correct number is 2400 Americans.

No More Bank Overdraft Charges!

As the financial regulation reform starts to gain speed again, an area that can hit close to home for many college students has risen to the forefront. Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) is going to be pushing legislation through to put a ban on banks charging hefty fees for people who overdraft their accounts. In light of the financial crisis, many banks have been using these fees, reaching up to $30 dollars per overdraft, to support daily operations. The Financial Times reported that these fees could total up to $38.5 billion dollars for the industry this year. The proposed legislation would require customers to choose whether or not they wanted to belong to these overdrafting program which would prohibit banks from blindly charging consumers. This could be great news for fellow college students who, like myself, are not quite certain what is left in their bank accounts during the last few weeks of the school year.

A Dicsussion about the Overexposure of Obama

I remember we touched upon this subject last week so I figured this article would be interesting.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/21/the-funniest-protest-sign_n_292342.html

Stimulus Funding for Job Retraining: Ineffective

We're spending $3 billion on the Dislocated Worker Program in fiscal 2009, though a Labor Department study found that job retraining, "does not significantly improve earning power", and this study was only of those retrained who found jobs. Compared to those who find jobs and don't do retraining, there is no advantage, according to the article.

On a lighter note...

This is fun. Add this blog to your favorites, it's consistantly absurd and always enjoyable. Also, i think it's something we can ALL find humor in?

Border Battle

The interactive chart in the link above is merely a means to illustrate how prevalent drugs are throughout the country, particularly hard drugs such as cocaine. I don't think it will be necessarily a shock to anyone how prevalent drugs are (unless maybe if you're from Rhode Island). However, I am curious to here peoples opinions on the cartel carnage occurring at our nations southern border. It seems obvious that we have a crisis on our hands, but will it be resolved before it becomes a far more serious crisis. It seems to me that there is no forum to address this issue given the plethora of other items on the agenda. Maybe I am putting too much emphasis on the severity of the situation; however, my experience watching Gangland on the history channel has made me very uneasy about the whole situation. Any thoughts would be great

CNN's Susan Roesgen Counter Protests The Chicago Tea Party Rally

Im not sure what my comment should be...

"CNN: The [least] trusted name in news"

General Calls for More U.S. Troops to Avoid Afghan Failure

Iraq was a hot topic last week. Any opinions on the on-going War on Terror?

Fox News caught rallying Tea Party protesters

I'm not sure what my comment should be.

"We incite. You decide"?
"We're fair, but Glenn Beck is pretty unbalanced"?

And conservatives wonder why liberals don't take Fox seriously as a news outlet.

Obama continues to avoid conflict...

... in more ways than one.

Obama refused to interview with Fox recently (they refused to televise his address to Congress) but also speaks with 5 other news sources in interviews that seem to go too well? He's so good at talking to the media, staying calm and composed, and maintaining a firm and consistant message, it seems as though it's become ineffective. Perhaps what we once saw as his best characteristics and skills will end up defining the downfall of his presidency, rather than its sucecss? He continues to make his message clear, but it never seems to catch on. The countdown on 2009 has really started and it will be very interesting to see if he can get healthcare reform through, and how that outcome will influence the rest of his presidency.

Additionally, it's interesting that his press office seems to be on the offensive with Fox. Obama never seems to stray from complete composure, but perhaps he's set up the structure of his white house staff so that he can remain calm while others fight the battles. I don't know about everyone else, but I'm starting to become less interested in what he has to say to the American people and much more interested in what goes on behind closed doors with his staff. He MUST have a less composed side, and maybe he'd get more done if he let out a little passion sometimes...just to remind us he is indeed human?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Washington Cathedral Haiku

Was I too excited by the Haiku assignment? Probably.

Here's my haiku from my visit today to the National Cathedral.

Sunset through the glass
Colors Indiana limestone
Shades of red and blue

The secret plan



If only we had known earlier.

Revenge of the nerds

More on Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick

Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick

This is a summary of the issues in the case we will hear in oral argument at SCOTUS on 10/7.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

CNN to Fox: You Lie

John Edwards is a cad!

"Edwards once calmed an anxious Ms. Hunter by promising her that after his wife died, he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony in New York with an appearance by the Dave Matthews Band."

Technology and Campaign finance

WSJ op-ed about some of the issues we discussed with Marc Elias.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Conservatives use liberal playbook

Excerpts:

"The left-wing rhetoric and symbolism are so thick on the right, in fact, that some conservatives have been taken aback by it: The logo for the Sept. 12 protest in Washington, which organizers called the 'March on Washington,' featured an image that looked so much like those associated with the labor, communist and black power movements that some participants objected to it — until they found out that’s what the designers were shooting for.""The irony thus far seems to have been lost on the left, however, which has mostly voiced either disbelief or derision that the conservatives would be so shameless — or so clueless. In Democratic Underground’s discussion forum, a photo of a marcher holding a 'Keep Your Laws of My Body' sign was captioned 'OK, the cognitive dissonance hasn't hit them yet.' And of the 9/12-ers’ logo, one poster on Stephen Colbert’s site asks, 'Did these guys grow a sense of humor overnight, or did they just skip history class?' "

The I Have a Scream Option

Ex-Secretary of the Interior under investigation.

A former Secretary of the Interior under Bush gave valuable land leases to Royal Dutch Shell, then wanted to go work for Royal Dutch Shell. This might violate the law.

Attempts to shape climate bill in "full swing"

We may actually see climate legislation before the end of the semester.

Alternative to Guns in DC

We could try swords...

And now one of the more intelligent NewsBusters comments I've seen.

Posted under 'the boy who cried "racist"'

"It will soon come to pass that all this screaming 'racist' for any reason will devalue the truly racist activity in our society. I really pity the poor people who are truly treated wrongly who will be overlooked because it will become impossible to find them amongst all the other claims which appear to be based on extending one particular political philosophy."

Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate

To continue our discussion of constitutionality from last night, as applied to health care. Here are a couple articles that present both sides of the argument.

Constitutional: http://www.slate.com/id/2224258 (Professor - notice the reference to Amar)

Unconstitutional: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204518504574416623109362480.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

Possibly the dumbest comment on NewsBusters I've seen yet

If you're going to call Obama a socialist, at least get your spelling and grammar correct.

"Obama and his policies sure is holding up well to scruntitny doesn't he? Perhaps that's why the fringe media didn't do any. Obama was electeed because he was the Democrats destroy America wet dream, all their dumb socialist programs in one packaage."

It's Not About Race

David Brooks op-ed about the tea party. He argues that it is not a racial thing, rather it is a manifestation of rural, small town America lashing out against cosmopolitanism, an issue as old as Jefferson and Hamilton.

First Lady market shopping "leaves carbon footprint of several tons"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

When hell freezes over...

who knew?

Joe Klein must be the most incompetent columnist alive

Stats

Interesting site.

My Favorite Things: Dhani Jones

This article has nothing to do with politics. But I think its interesting to read about a man who is living to the fullest.

"Carpe diem. Live this moment without flinching, live this second without wincing, live this year in its presences, and just be."

Public Policy Polling is biased

Article quoting a PPP employee who admits that the polling company is indeed biased in its political opinions:

“We’re absolutely rooting in the race. We don’t want Richard Burr to get reelected. We wanted Obama to win last fall,” said Jensen. “But our reputation is predicated on getting it right, and we’re not going to cook the numbers just to tweak Richard Burr’s nerves. They are what they are.”

Recently, a poll of likely New Jersey voters was put on the blog. What kind of reputable polling company would ask people questions like, "Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States?" and, "Do you think Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ?" Probably one that's looking for a few cheap laughs.

Definitely some of the most useless information I've ever read.

The Rise of the 'Little Emperors'

"Attempts to 'empower' children and a lack of discipline in the classroom have also fostered rising levels of violence, at home, at school and in the street," according to a leading British psychologist.

It's amazing that these days parents would rather give their children a pill than a spank.

You stay classy, Rush



It's amazing that we treat people like this as very serious members of our national discourse.

Clinton and Bush 43 recieve the same low ratings for appeals to the Constitution

The Heritage Foundation ranks presidents according to their rhetorical support for and appeals to the Constitution. George W. Bush and Bill Clinton received the same (low) rating. These don't speak to their policies, but rather to their references to the Constitution in their SOTU addresses and other major speeches. Still, interesting to see that W., a supposed conservative and descendant of the Reagan legacy, rounds out the bottom with Slick Willie. At least Clinton never claimed to be a conservative.

Also interesting that, with the exception of Reagan, the bottom of the list is comprised of our most recent presidents.

From Kennedy on, Heritage ranks presidents as follows:

Reagan
Ford
Nixon
Johnson
Kennedy
Bush 41
Carter
Bush 43/Clinton

If we don't support Barack, WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!

...according to a columnist at the UK Guardian.

"The movie on this could be called Terminator 5: Rise of the Republicans"

Where are we on the Laffer curve?

From the abstract:

For benchmark parameters, we find that the US can increase tax revenues by 30% by raising labor taxes and 6% by raising capital income taxes. For the EU-14 we obtain 8% and 1%. Denmark and Sweden are on the wrong side of the Laffer curve for capital income taxation.


Via Matt Yglesias.

Teapartiers unhappy with Metro!

Smackdown in the Nutmeg State

Arcuri vote on Wilson

More on Mass as model

Massachusetts as model

Do stimuli work?

Rove on politics of health care debate

Maybe HC should try to book the Dean-Rove roadshow.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rahm Emanuel Keeps It Classy

"Emanuel, in any case, has not shown any embarassment about his language, which is famous to the point of caricature. He reportedly keeps in his office a nameplate reading, "Undersecretary for Go F*** Yourself.”"

A link in the Politico story leads to a longer New Yorker story on Rahm Emanuel.

White House calls out liars

From the White House blog post:

Last week, when the President addressed the Joint Session of Congress in a speech on health reform, he referred to some of the untruths – okay, lies – that have been spread about the plan and sent a clear message to those who seek to undermine his agenda and his presidency with these tactics: "We will call you out." So consider this one of those calls.


He's freakishly good at this. Guess that's why he's a U.S. Senator...haha

Joe Biden: Vice President

More on voter registration proposal

Dangers of Iconography

I dont agree with all the comparasons he makes and the presentation itself is a bit lacking, but some good issues are brought up.

Washington, D.C. favorite area for wealthy young

Interesting article on how DC is quickly becoming a hotspot for young professionals, a possible choice for many after graduation.

18% of New Jersey conservatives think Obama is the anti-Christ (17% aren't sure) - pdf

And other very fun crosstabs!

Other headlines: 6% of New Jersey citizens support the abolition of the federal government, but only 5% support the end of public education. Truthers number slightly less than birthers. More if you click the link.

Texas

HC grad reflects on editorship of Texas Monthly.

Young adults and heath insurance reform

Realignment or dealignment?

Article related to our discussion of last week.

Overexposure?

Complexities of health insurance reform

The case of Massachusetts. Is incremental reform like squeezing a balloon?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

President Jimmy Carter Says Joe Wilson is Racist

Is Jimmy Carter going senile? You be the judge.

Health care costs double for workers over decade

Just to drive the point home about health insurance reform and the need to create competition among insurance plans, potentially with a public option. According to the study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, average premiums for a company-provided plan for a family have risen 131% in the past decade. Compare that increase to that of average employee wages, which have only risen by 38%.

I thought health care was the most important issue in the House right now...

Thank you, Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who sponsored this waste-of-time measure with Democratic Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C. It's so comforting to know that you spent a day doing absolutely nothing productive.

Norman Borlaug dead at 95. Saved more lives than anyone, anywhere, ever

It are stories like his that make me skeptical of any super-radical policies to combat global warming (see the third and sixth paragraphs to see what I mean).

Borlaug on the Greens:

"They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for 50 years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things."

The Stimulus saved 1 million jobs...and that's a good thing?

Poll: what should Obama do to save his public image?

Very interesting, though not surprising. People like keeping their money.

More on czars

"I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg"

Pete Stark (D-Cal.) speaks his mind at another friendly Town Hall.

Are czars anti-democratic?

An issue for discussion in class tomorrow.

Another campaign finance case on the horizon

Celebrity moving to CNY

Marc Elias, Guest Observer, Roll Call, 9.15.09

Roll Call’s Guest Observers yesterday were campaign lawyers Marc Elias (Franken 08 recount; Kerry-Edwards campaign) and Trevor Potter (general counsel, 2000 and 2008 McCain presidential campaigns). Here are the key parts their op-ed, “Congress Can Better Voter Registration”:

“We have always worked for opposing candidates, but our common campaign experience has led us to the firm agreement that the inefficiencies of the election administration system require common sense upgrades...

We have formed the Committee to Modernize Voter Registration, a national, bipartisan group of individuals with vast and varied experience in elections...

[We] share a commitment to update the way that we register voters so it is more efficient, costs less, provides adequate safeguards against fraud and ensures that all eligible Americans can participate in the process...

There are two problems [with our current voter registration system]: First, our system is based almost exclusively on paper voter registration forms, and second, too many forms are submitted in the last weeks before voter registration deadlines. The result is a chaotic environment in which election officials are forced to develop complex, costly systems of data entry and quality control to decipher millions of handwritten forms in the lead-up to a major election. Millions of eligible Americans each election cycle are blocked from the polls as a result...

But there is a solution. States should use an automated system to add voters to the registration rolls when they become eligible, and that registration should move with the voters when they change residences. If we do this, we can get rid of the paper, free up resources for state and local governments, provide strict protections against voter registration fraud and eliminate many of the frustrating problems that voters face on election day...

In the area of voter registration, there is a bipartisan chorus calling for reform. Unfortunately, the closer we get to an election, the more likely partisanship will drown out our unified voices on this critical issue. Implementing the reforms will take time, but the moment to act is now."

It would be comical if it weren't true

NBC host Norah O'Donnell actually suggested on Morning Joe that hidden camera footage of ACORN officials aiding and abetting what they thought was a child prostitution ring could actually be considered entrapment. Unbelievable.

WAPO tough on Rangel

Something cool (and nonpartisan!)

Link is to a site which has basically all of the ARRA (stimulus bill) spending to date.

A very popular, expensive restaurant in my town received a $267,000 loan to cover expenses. Seeing stuff like that is pretty cool if you ask me.

Political questions about health care

One note on embedding video

Sorry, forgot to mention this bit. In the HTML code for embedded videos, you'll see two areas that dictate the physical size of the video. The normal YouTube code makes videos too big to fit well in this blog. Resize them to 400x328 and they should fit. Make sure you enter those dimensions in both places in the code.

Conservatives manage to lose sanity while teabagging



Or, the dangers of generalizing.

Embedding video

By the way, just for everyone's information, rather than linking to YouTube videos, you can post them directly on the blog by copying the 'embed' code to the right of the video, and pasting it in Blogger's HTML editor. You don't have to write any code, just paste it directly.

Tim Carney tears MSNBC's David Shuster a new one

This is amazing.

I worked with Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner, and he is one of the smartest, most witty columnists I have ever come across. He writes regularly about big government/big business collusion (a topic not often covered by conservatives).

This video is absolutely classic, and anyone who is fed up with network television news should watch it:

For the ladies in the room...

This is an interesting article about how perhaps female representatives are more effective legislators than thier male counterparts. I'm sure some confounding factors are present here, however the article claims the study accounts for differences in party affiliation, seniority, and other major differences between a representative's reign in office. Perhaps some congressmen have gotten a little too comfy in thier seats?

Obama Calls Kanye West a 'Jackass'

Bipartisan consensus on Obama remark

Liberals manage to find classism in Williams's tantrum

Leave it to HuffPo...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Are D.C. Citizens the only Residents in this Country not being Represented?

While this post is not entirely on topic with our debate this Thursday, I still thought it was an interesting thing to think about: the voting rights of non-citizen residents. As a former member of this group, I know that despite having absolutely no vote in mayoral, congressional, presidential, or any other type of governmental vote, permanent residents who are not American citizens are taxed just as much as citizens, and some more depending on income. This is a different situation than what D.C. citizens have for a few reasons. D.C. citizens can vote for their own officials, as well as in the Presidential election, due to the 23rd Amendment, passed in 1961. Really the only way D.C. citizens are not represented is in the Congress, which of course is a huge part of the American Government, but still would only give them maybe two out of what would be 437 seats in the house and 2 out what would be 102 seats in the Senate. D.C. citizens are obviously being treated worse than any other citizens in this country but note that I use the word "citizen" and not "person in this country" or "resident in this country." 

I have heard people argue that if you live in New York or any other state, then you are represented by your Senators and your congressman or woman, but I would like to pose the question, if you did not vote in the election, do you really have a say, and if you do not have a say, are you really represented? Sure a McCain supporter is still represented by President Obama even thought he/she did not vote for the eventual winner, but the fact is that he/she has a vote and had an influence in who won, no matter how small it was. Isn't this influence what we pay taxes for? Do we not pay taxes so that we can have a say in how our government is run and how our money is spent? If I remember right, the American Revolution started at the most basic level, because England was taxing the Americans without the Americans having a direct vote how their hard earned money was being spent across the pond. When an immigrant comes to this country (legally of course), this immigrant must wait two years before applying for and receiving a Green Card, which then allows this immigrant to apply for citizenship.......five years later. For those of you keeping count at home, that's seven full years of all government taxes, (local, state, and federal) with a total of zero votes (local, state, and federal). Does this sound fair? 

I can understand the argument that immigrants should not be able to vote until they have a solid grasp about this country and how it works, but does it really take seven years (it takes only 5 in Canada) and should an immigrant be paying for rights he/she does not receive? I know nothing will change (especially considering immigrants cannot vote for a change), but I would still like to pose this question just as food for thought and because it is kinda relevant for this week. 

The Great Myth: Bipartisanship

A short article analyzing the supposed true motives of each party in the present healthcare debate and beyond.

D.C.'s Shadow Delegation

In addition to Delegate, Eleanor Homes Norton, D.C. also has a shadow delegation of two senators and one representative.

Colbert Report's Better Know a District: DC

Stephen asks Congresswoman Norton whether it's safe to give her constituents full voting rights. (0:47)

Colbert Report's Better Know a District - DC

Colbert interviews Rep. Elizabeth Holmes Norton (DC)
"Since the District of Columbia is not a state, it is not in the United States." (7:18)

TIME'S brief history of DC Voting Rights

Comprehensive history of the DC Voting Rights issue

Have no fear: this Wiki article is chock full of reliable footnotes and a very accessible history of DC voting rights.

Ayn Rand was an idiot.

Article is very long but explains why very well.

Long story short, she's a crank, and her ideas aren't very well backed up by reality. Don't believe me? Why didn't the whole country 'go Galt' when the top marginal tax rate bumped up against 90%?

One more...

...and Another

An article about the upcoming debate: Taxation Without Representation: DC

Obama receives 30 death threats a day

"Since Mr Obama took office, the rate of threats against the president has increased 400 per cent from the 3,000 a year or so under President George W. Bush"

Last week we discussed whether any of us would actually want to be the President. Here's an interesting Telegraph article about the sort of threats that Obama receives on a daily basis, as well as how thinly stretched the Secret Service has become.

10 Largest Bankruptices in U.S. History

Thought some people might be interested in this list, as it is the one year anniversary of the Lehman Brother's downfall.

Republican Strategist Urges Voters To Vote Joe Wilson Out of Office

In this article prominent GOP strategist Mark McKinnon, who worked for both George W. Bush and John McCain, argues that the only way for civil discourse in America to improve is if voters vote out louts like Joe Wilson.

"I’m a Republican, but I’d rather have a Democrat in Congress who I may disagree with but who has some fundamental character and decency that Wilson clearly lacks."

House Armed Services Chair Livid that "no one gives a damn" about Afghanistan

“(There are) two things that could wreck America,” said Skelton, who is serving his 17th term in the House.

“The economy – we go into a deep recession or depression. Number two is Afghanistan and the terrorist threat. They could cause attacks like that again. That’s why we are there – to protect attacks against it,” Skelton said.

Skelton said the president should listen to General Stanley McChrystal, the top commander of U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan, who has delivered a report to the president that is expected to request additional to fight resurgent Taliban extremists.

Gormogons estimate of size of tea party

Between 520,000 and 700,000. Do you trust Gromogons?

New low for public trust in news media

DC Vote and the NRA

This article is interesting in that it sheds some light on the influence of the NRA on the DC Vote. The last version of the DC Vote bill was shot down due to last minute amendments loosening DC gun laws. Although this seems an absurd provision in a voting bill it nonetheless paved the way for conservative Democrats to reject the bill then and now to save their voting record in the upcoming elections. I also share the view presented in the article that this health care debate is truly shining a light on the ridiculousness that DC does not have a vote. In essence half a million people are being left out of this entire debate, which does not seem right.

Liberal Blog List

Finally getting around to a liberal blog list. This is basically what I read on a given day, or try to:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/
http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/
http://delong.typepad.com/
http://www.eschatonblog.com/
http://firedoglake.com/
http://lefarkins.blogspot.com/
http://thinkprogress.org/ - Disclosure: run by CAP
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/
http://washingtonmonthly.com/ (Steve Benen's blog is the front page.)
http://whiskeyfire.typepad.com/
http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/ - Disclosure: he's at CAP too.

Not a liberal but generally worth reading: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/

Probably the most conspicuous absence is DailyKos, which I find generally not worth the time. MyDD is also...okay, although I find that it has a weird brand of liberalism that I generally don't see eye to eye with and so it's not something I read often.

My favorites are Matt Yglesias and Atrios, who blogs at Eschaton.

Editorials on Citizens United

DC Vote: Text of Recently Proposed House and Senate Bills

Link is to page with PDF docs and other informational links.

Hackers Imperil Wilson Campaign Website

Be prepared for H1N1

Byron York's take on Tea Party

F-Bomb in VA

Tea'd Off

New Republic reporter crashes the party.

Who actually loses insurance?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

NewsBusters is now...

...the fifth most popular conservative political site on the web, according to web analytics service Compete.

Baller.

Dems Preventing GOP from Enacting Obama's Reforms

My latest NewsBusters post. It's a bit snarky, I know.

Killing granny. Do you agree?

Dems Practically Flip-Flopping on Public Option

Either they want it or they don't, there shouldn't be any "downplaying" of something that they were so fervently for only a few days ago.

More on undocumented immigrants and healthcare (link is PDF)

For some reason Republicans are treating these "illegal immigration restrictions" brought on by Joe Wilson's outburst as a victory. As this very brief GAO report points out, these regulations harm actual American citizens and do not stop illegals. Basically, they're stripping their constituents of medical coverage, and celebrating this fact.

Weird.


Edit: Apparently Kelsey already linked this. Sorry!

More on tea party attendance

How Many Actually Attended?

Whatever the number, the time lapse pictures are impressive...

http://scaredmonkeys.com/2009/09/13/the-912-washington-dc-tea-party-rally-what-was-the-attendance-why-the-msm-is-downplaying-the-numbers/

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/09/12/celebrating-the-912-rallies/

Slow pace of appointments

Close Encounters of the Teabagging Kind

Last night on the Metro, I was sitting next to a woman holding an Arizona state flag. I asked her if she was part of the festivities, and when she said "yes," I asked her why she came all the way out to DC this weekend. She said she was here to protect our Constitution. She said she wasn't here to protest against Barack Obama in particular; she said she would gladly protest against any President who was violating the Constitution. I asked her if she was referring to Obama's health care bill, and she said she was actually outraged by the passage of S2028, a new pandemic flu preparation law in Massachusetts that would allow authorities to raid residences of people who have swine flu. Then, she told me that she was also outraged that Obama has been packing his administration with certified communists like Van Jones. She explained to me that these 30 or so appointments were against the "checks and balances" clause of our Constitution because the Supreme Court has not approved these nominations.

Anyone else get to talk to teabaggers yesterday?

"Who's Afraid of Barack Obama," Ben Smith, Politico

"A Year After a Cataclysm, Little Change on Wall Street," NYT

How could this happen? 

Frank Rich, "Obama’s Squandered Summer" NYT Op-Ed

Interesting article about Washington's new influence over Wall Street.

Whether you are for or against the unprecedented government bailout of the financial sector that began last year, no one can deny its impact.

"It's often said that Wall Street is no longer the financial capital, that it's Washington, D.C., and that's certainly true. I don't think this is destined to change. I think this is going to be a fact of life." Richard H. Clarida, assistant Treasury secretary under President George W. Bush, now an economics professor at Columbia University. 

J Street

The end of public option?

Interesting piece from NYT.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Maybe we don't have universal health care, but how can we not have clean WATER???

Long article, but it illustrates the sad reality that so many Americans don't have access to THE basic, fundamental underpinning of life: clean water.

If you're tired reading about health care...

In other political news, the war in Afghanistan is another issue Obama faces opposition to, within his party.

Happy Tea Party Day!



For all those who are participating in the festivities.