2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Good question: are you a ‘feminist’or pro-woman?

Photo courtesy of mniebuhr.com.        

Amy Siskind’s post, “Is ‘Feminism’ Going Chapter 11?” reminds me of the sense of betrayal I experienced in 2008 when ‘feminist’ friends and acquaintances first trashed Hillary Clinton in the primary and then Sarah Palin in the general election, seldom pointing to specific areas of disagreement. Instead, the first words out of their mouths were usually, “She’s a bitch.”

I’ve moved on from most of those friends and acquaintances since then, but I’ve continued to refer to myself as a ‘feminist.’ Siskind’s logic is breaking through today, and I’m wondering if it’s time for me to declare myself pro-woman. In her final paragraphs, she directly addresses my category as a former Clinton supporter who left the Democratic Party in June 2008, although I did not head for the Republican tent. Instead, I re-registered as non-affiliated. Now I’m about to give up my card-carrying status as a ‘feminist’ and exchange it for the pro-woman designation. Siskind writes:

And what of Clinton supporters?  The legions of women who felt they no longer had a home in their party.  Among Clinton supporters, there was a rather widely held view that women’s groups (and many feminist) were either ineffectual or complicit in Clinton’s demise, preferring candidate Obama.   The women claiming the mantle of feminism did little to heal these wounds, excoriating Clinton supporters for their criticism of President Obama.  One particularly spiteful Obama supporting feminist coined the term “Clinton dead-enders” for those loyal to Clinton, leading the charge for more Clinton supporter bashing and exclusion.

Since most Clinton supporters were silenced and had no means to act out, they chose instead to act in.  More like a raft afloat.  Each wave washing them further from political ideology.   2010 was the first year since exit polling was taken that women went GOP.  But a closer peek, reveals a truth:  Women, 60 and Over, the largest and most reliable voting block, shifted from +6 D in 2008 to +12 R in 2010.  The second largest voting block, Women, 45-59 went from +10 D in 2008, to tie.   These are Hillary’s women.
There is one place that is making a home for all women, and that is the Pro-Women Movement.  It’s last call for feminism:  go inclusive or go extinct.

Read Siskind’s post in its entirety here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

At the end of Bush’s third term, guess who’s at the top of the economic heap

President Obama and Fed. Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke.
The millions of unemployed in our nation today are lucky that Bill Clinton has their backs. The Clinton Global Initiative is currently focusing on America to create jobs and given the  CGI’s success in helping other countries resolve persistent problems, we’ll soon be seeing movement on the economic front.

As Obama wraps up what amounts to Dubya’s third term, it’s enough to make you want to start a petition asking the One to step down to make room for Hillary Clinton to lead the Dems to victory in 2012. 

 

Surely you’ve heard by now that hard times among the electorate are making Obama’s 0reelection campaign team nervous. The National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar reports:

 

It’s been a rough June for the White House. Instead of being able to run a campaign taking credit for economic improvement, President Obama will - according to the latest forecasts - be trying to win four more years amid a grim economy next year.

In the meantime, the beleaguered president has been courting Wall Street executives to fund his reelection campaign in the same generous manner they did in 2008. I know… you thought his campaign was funded solely by small donations from college students and unpaid interns.

At the Washington Post, Phil Angelides, who served as chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which conducted the official inquiry into the nation’s financial and economic crisis, begins his coverage of the latest economic developments with this not so surprising news:
They say that winners get to write history. Three years after the meltdown of our financial markets, it’s clear who is winning and who is losing. Wall Street — arms outstretched in triumph — is racing toward the finish-line tape while millions of American families are struggling to stay on their feet. With victory seemingly in hand, the historical rewrite is in full swing.

The contrast in fortunes between those on top of the economic heap and those buried in the rubble couldn’t be starker. The 10 biggest banks now control more than three-quarters of the country’s banking assets. Profits have bounced back, while compensation at publicly traded Wall Street firms hit a record $135 billion in 2010.
Meanwhile, more than 24 million Americans are out of work or can’t find full-time work, and nearly $9 trillion in household wealth has vanished. There seems to be no correlation between who drove the crisis and who is paying the price.

The report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission detailed the recklessness of the financial industry and the abject failures of policymakers and regulators that brought our economy to its knees in late 2008. The accuracy and facts of the commission’s investigative report have gone unchallenged since its release in January.

Take an anti-nausea pill and read more:


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Youthful Obama supporters from 08 “walking around like cattle hit with a stun gun”

Barack Obama Speaks to 75,000 at Portland Oregon Rally, May 19, 2008
 
Newsweek’s Michael Tomasky asks, “How can the president rev up and mobilize his demoralized liberal base?” That would be those folks who supported candidate Obama in 08 from the ranks of “African-Americans, educated white liberals, Latinos, young people, and union members.”

Um, Mr. Tomasky, some of us educated white liberals took a pass on Obama in the 08 primary and voted for Hillary Clinton – for a sampling, click here.

Anyway, Tomasky provides a couple of interesting insights and nuggets of information in his analysis of the hurdles Obama faces in campaign 2012, which, as we are repeatedly hearing, isn’t likely to be a rerun of the media-driven, euphoric stampede the last time around.

Instead, well, Tomasky is suggesting that the Obama camp use fear to get out the vote. Wonder how many of those supporters reeling as if they’ve been hit with a stun gun are going to buy that?  Here’s the scoop:

It was a rare confessional moment for Barack Obama. At a Miami fundraiser in mid-June, the president acknowledged that it’s “not as cool” as it was in 2008 to support him. It isn’t just a matter of fewer hip posters and viral videos. It’s a matter of votes. Rekindling the enthusiasm of African-Americans, educated white liberals, Latinos, young people, and union members—the Democratic Party’s most loyal and progressive members—will be a huge challenge. After all, you can only elect the first African-American president once, and the past two and a half years have deeply disappointed many liberals. “I know a lot of the kids who worked hard in 2008,” says Hodding Carter III, adviser to the last one-term Democratic president (Jimmy Carter) and now a professor at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. “They walk around like cattle who’ve been hit with stun guns between their eyes. This isn’t how it was supposed to be.”

Obama and his people have heard this sort of thing so often that they no longer bother to take umbrage. When I asked chief Obama reelection guru David Axelrod about this sense of disillusionment, he patiently ticked off a list of accomplishments: health-care reform, repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” financial regulatory reform, the drawdown from Iraq, student-loan reform. “Did we keep faith with the things that the president said he would do when he ran?” asks Axelrod. “There is a long list of things he said he’d do that we in fact did.”

It’s a solid inventory. But it’s countered by the undeniable reality that the country hasn’t noticeably moved in a more liberal direction (quite the opposite), and by the widely held perception among progressives that Obama will never wage fierce battle on behalf of liberal ideals. When I interviewed Justin Ruben, the executive director of MoveOn.org, whose 5 million members (many in swing states) must be revved up and mobilized if the president is to be reelected, he gave me four or five variants of the line “People need to feel like the president and the Democrats are really going to fight for their side.”






Monday, June 27, 2011

The fading hoop-shooting image of the once cool Barack Obama


Are you among those stunned to wake up and realize today that nearly four years ago, America, the world’s greatest superpower, at a time of national crisis on several fronts, elected as president an inexperienced young man mainly because he was hip and cool? Does that not have the power to shock you?

Yes, that’s right. It happened after Democratic Party leaders trashed the seasoned, experienced Hillary Clinton, labeling her as too polarizing, to nominate the hip one who was amassing a fortune from Wall Street pockets while claiming his campaign was funded by small donors.

Now completing his first term, Barack Obama is on record as one of the most polarizing presidents in modern U.S. history.

Courtesy of worldgolfreport.blogspot.com
As the youthful Barack’s hoop-shooting image fades, Politico points out it’s being replaced with an image of golfing with John Boehner, and the once electrifying candidate is now mourning his loss of cool while hustling potential donors for a second term.

So the electorate yawns while incumbent Obama tries to rouse his disillusioned followers from 08, and Rep. Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney take the lead in the Republican field.

But back to the Politico piece chronicling Obama’s lament of his loss of cool:

Barack Obama’s second presidential campaign seems destined to lack 2008’s gleam of insurgency — and nobody knows it better than Obama.

At a series of recent fundraisers, the president lamented his loss of cool, his transformation from fresh to familiar, from edgy to establishment.

“I’m sort of old news,” he told supporters at a New York fundraiser last week.
“I know that it’s not going to be exactly the same as when I was young and vibrant and new,” he mused. “And there was — posters everywhere, hope. The logo was really fresh. And let’s face it, it was cool to support me back then. At cocktail parties, you could sort of say, ‘Yeah, this Obama guy, you haven’t heard of him? Let me tell you about him.’”

Increasingly, Obama is confronting the difference between running as a relative unknown on the popular promise of hope and change and campaigning as a known commodity whose record reflects the inevitable compromises of governing in Washington.

“The old posters are all faded,” Obama told supporters at the opulent Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington last week. “People make fun of hope and change.”

 
 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

As the Obama world turns: Boehner is courted while Pelosi fights for a seat at the table


How quickly the mutual adoration has faded.    


Interesting how Republican Speaker of the House John  Boehner gets to play golf with President Obama and enjoy a secret meeting with the One; whereas, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who fawned over Obama throughout the 08 primary and her tenure as the first woman speaker of the House,  must now make a scene in order to get a seat at the table in debt limit discussions.

Roll Call has the scoop, along with its sorry antecedents:

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will demand a seat in the table for the final talks on the national debt limit, putting a strong liberal voice in the room.

Pelosi and House Democrats were left out of the negotiations between President Obama and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last year that extended nearly all of the Bush tax rates though 2012.

Pelosi didn’t participate in the final high-level talks over fiscal 2011 spending levels either.

But now she’s demanding her say at a time when many of her House Democratic colleagues are disappointed in Obama’s level of consultation with their caucus.

“If they don’t have the votes, House Democrats have to be at the table,” said a House Democratic leadership aide.

Pelosi stayed out of the talks on crafting a continuing resolution funding the rest of 2011 that included $38.5 billion in spending cuts because House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) expressed confidence they would pass it without Democratic help.

But, in the end of that debate, the Republican votes fell short, and GOP leaders needed help from House Democrats. Democrats went along with a deal they had almost no part in negotiating because they wanted to avert a government shutdown.

The experience left a bitter taste in their mouths, and Pelosi won’t let it happen again.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Obama’s Afghanistan speech (video)


Let me repeat: along with most of the members of my congregation, I signed a resolution opposing the invasion of Iraq, but unlike Rep. Barack Obama, not once did I consider myself qualified for the presidency.

The issue arose again this evening in President Obama’s speech to the nation regarding the draw down of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. As Chris Good at the Atlantic points out, “The spectacle of this speech, in many ways, centered on Obama's identity as an anti-Iraq-war politician, and his efforts to bridge the gap between his anti-war appeal in 2008 and his needing to steward a difficult effort in Afghanistan today."

In his takeaways from this evening’s oration, Good failed to mention that on President Obama’s watch, as noted recently by Walter Russell Mead, our nation is embroiled in five shooting wars: “in Afghanistan, tribal Pakistan, Iraq, Libya and now, apparently, Yemen.”   

And that’s only a couple of years after the president received the Nobel Peace Prize for his good intentions. There’s also that little dustup going on regarding the War Powers Act of 1973 as it applies to the conflict in Libya.

But never mind all that. Good does give a concise summary of tonight’s speech and in case you missed it, I’ve included the video.

President Obama appeared before network TV cameras at the White House Wednesday night to answer one of the biggest questions of his presidency: how many troops will come home from Afghanistan beginning next month, and how fast will they leave?
Since Obama announced his "surge" of 30,000 troops to that country in December of 2009 -- a move the U.S. public supported, but not by overwhelming margins -- the pace of Afghan withdrawal, and the public's acceptance of whatever plan he chooses, has been seen as a major factor in Obama's long-term prospects for public confidence in his presidency and his hopes for reelection in 2012. With security gains in Afghanistan described to Congress this spring by Gen. David Petraeus as "fragile and reversible," and with a majority of Americans now favoring immediate withdrawal for the first time, President Obama explained Wednesday night that 10,000 troops will return this year, with 30,000 returning by next year.


Now that he's made this announcement, here are 10 short takeaways from his brief speech to the nation:



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Clinton Global Initiative focuses on America to create jobs – you go, Bill!


 
Feel the breeze stirring across the land? It’s signaling a change in mood from despair to hope from out of the depths of the Great Recession. Nah, it’s not from the launch of Obama’s 2012 election campaign. It’s from the announcement in Newsweek that next week in Chicago, the Clinton Global Initiative will focus on America for the first time, inviting business and political leaders to make specific commitments in support of the former president’s jobs blueprint.

Clinton has 14 ways to put America back to work:

1. SPEED THE APPROVALS

2. CASH FOR STARTUPS

3. JOBS GALORE IN ENERGY

4. COPY THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

5. GET THE UTILITIES IN ON THE ACTION

6. STATE-BY-STATE SOLUTIONS

7. GUARANTEE LOANS

8. PAINT ’EM WHITE

9. DEALS TO MAKE THINGS

10. TRAIN ON THE JOB

11. TEACH SKILLS WE NEED

12. CUT CORPORATE TAXES

13. ENFORCE TRADE LAWS

14. ANALYZE THE OPPORTUNITIES

Click here for the details.


Then watch this recap of Clinton's post-presidency uploaded to Youtube by on Jan 20, 2011
 
In 2001, President Clinton moved his offices to Harlem and started the William J. Clinton Foundation. In the past 10 years, his vision and leadership have made an extraordinary impact on some of the world's most pressing issues. Follow us throughout 2011 as we highlight President Clinton's Decade of Difference.
  

Monday, June 20, 2011

And another fervent Obama supporter bites the dust


It’s sad, in a way, reading Janet Rhodes’ Sunday post at FireDogLake in which she describes her disenchantment with President Obama. 

Perhaps I would feel more sympathy for Rhodes if I had not watched in stunned disbelief as my ultraliberal church fellowship was transformed in the 08 Democratic primary to an Obama campaign site.

Or if I had not experienced personal rejection by two former close friends in the Democratic Party for my support of Hillary Clinton, one who repeatedly referred to her as a “bitch” and the other who accused her of wishing Obama dead.

In recent months, liberal pundits in the mainstream media have fallen like autumn leaves from the One’s entourage, and those left-wing storm troopers in the blogosphere are now pausing to consider what their over the top dedication to the handsome, cool, charismatic self-described walking Rorschach test has wrought for their country.

If I had not been so burned in 08 I would better appreciate the poignant theme of betrayal in Rhodes' post, but as it is, I can only shake my head in wonderment at the naiveté of so many like her who flocked to the polls in droves to vote style over substance in the Democratic primary. (You should’ve listened when Hillary warned you that the presidency is not a suitable position for on the job training.)

But read for yourself Rhodes' plaintive words:

Imagine how thrilled I was when I opened my email and discovered a dinner invitation from President Obama, except, of course, it was actually an invitation to buy a raffle ticket. For a mere $5, the grand prize was an evening with Barack Obama (and those guys worried about Anthony Weiner compromising the dignity of the Democratic party).


No doubt, you’ve also received your “invitation” and are familiar with the smarmy wording of it. Still, despite the sweepstakes entry cheesiness of it, I’ve been mulling it over–imagining what I would say if I had dinner with President Obama.


I would begin by thanking him for his kind offer to bring my story and my ideas with me to the White House. But then I would say, Mr. President, there are two parts to my story. The first part, you want to hear; the second part, you really don’t. But that is the part I’m determined to tell you.


Let’s dispense with the first part quickly. It is the boring and all-too-familiar story, the type politicians collect so they can use it on the campaign trail. In a nutshell, here is the demographic info so you may check off lots of boxes on your forms: moderate income, college educated, married, over 50, lost health insurance, underwater mortgage, husband graduating college this summer (job market and economy super-important right now), daughter of factory worker and public employee, granddaughter of Catholic immigrants, voted Democratic in every election since the age of 18, raised in small town Wisconsin, now living in California.

Rhodes continues with a litany of those many occasions since his inauguration when the president she helped elect has been absent from the table on key policy issues:

Some noticed you had left the table as soon as you said you would not investigate the Bush/Cheney administration for torture or war crimes. Others noticed when the stimulus was half the size recommended by progressive economists.


And me? I noticed your place at the table was empty during health care reform when Joe Lieberman and Blanche Lincoln were allowed to kill the public option with no response from you. As I said, my husband and I lost our health insurance. The system did exactly what it is designed to do: accept your premiums on time every month beginning in your twenties. And then after 25 to 30 years of supporting the private health insurance system, after you cross the Big Five Zero, they jack the premiums up so sky high you cannot afford them on anything less than a six-figure income. Oh yes, it is wonderful that come 2014, no insurer will be allowed to turn away anyone for a pre-existing condition. But I anticipate the premiums will remain sky high and health care will remain out of our reach. There is no public option to provide affordable insurance for people like us.


Since then, I have noticed repeatedly that your place at the table is empty. In December, you caved in to the Republicans on not taxing the rich. You decided to cut “waste” by halving home heating subsidies for the elderly poor. And, of course, why bother honoring your promise to stand with workers who are being denied their collective bargaining rights? Your place on the picket line in Madison and on the podium remained empty too.




Saturday, June 18, 2011

Conflicting reports on the Nebraska Nuclear Reactor Shutdown from Russia and the U.S.


An item in the Nation published just hours ago is cause for worry regarding a supposed blackout by the US government of reported damage to a Nebraska Nuclear plant:

A shocking report prepared by Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE) on information provided to them by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the Obama regime has ordered a “total and complete” news blackout relating to any information regarding the near catastrophic meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant located in Nebraska.

According to this report, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant suffered a “catastrophic loss of cooling” to one of its idle spent fuel rod pools on 7 June after this plant was deluged with water caused by the historic flooding of the Missouri River which resulted in a fire causing the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to issue a “no-fly ban” over the area.

The report from the Nation adds:

Interesting to note about this event was the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chief, Gregory B. Jaczko, blasting the Obama regime just days before the near meltdown of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant by declaring that “the policy of not enforcing most fire code violations at dozens of nuclear plants is “unacceptable” and has tied the hands of NRC inspectors.”


Reuters has a different report, citing word from the US government:

Reuters) - The Fort Calhoun nuclear power station in Nebraska remains shut down due to Missouri River flooding, but the plant itself has not flooded and is expected to remain safe, the federal government said Friday.

The rising river "has certainly affected the site, but the plant itself, the actual reactor is still dry," said Scott Burnell, Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman.

The 478-megawatt plant north of Omaha shut April 9 to refuel, and has remained shut because of the flooding, said Omaha Public Power District spokesman Jeff Hanson.



Friday, June 17, 2011

“We need a leader who will fight for what he believes in”


It’s good I suppose that the liberal media and those euphoric lefties from 08 are coming to their senses as 2012 approaches and realizing the stuff they projected onto the Obama Rorshach test was mostly fantasy. Hence, Joan Walsh concluded on behalf of Democrats in her post at Salon the other day, “We need a leader who will fight for what he believes in.”

Walsh examines the latest poll numbers:

President Obama's post-Bin Laden poll bounce has predictably disappeared. Gallup's weekly tracking poll shows his approval rating down to 46 percent, with 44 percent disapproving,  from a recent high of 50. Wednesday's NBC/Wall St. Journal poll found a similar drop. That poll also looked at voters' opinions about the economy, and found overall, voters' disapproval of Obama's handling of the economy rose to 54 percent. The number of people who think the economy will get worse or stay the same over the next year climbed, and the number who think things will get better dropped. May's unemployment jump, combined with the inability to push another stimulus bill at a time when the focus is on cutting the deficit, gives Democrats reason to worry things won't get appreciably better any time soon.

It's against this backdrop that AP yesterday zeroed in on a so-called "intensity gap" between Democrats and Republicans heading into 2012. It quoted a recent Pew Research Center survey that found 84 percent of staunch conservatives strongly disapprove of the president, but only 64 percent of solid liberals strongly approve of him. But those numbers are different from what Gallup finds in its weekly polls, where Obama's approval rating with liberal Democrats is pretty stable, at a respectable 87 percent. Lately, though, he's suffered several dips with black and Latino voters: African Americans have mostly given Obama approval ratings in the 90s; they've been down in the low 80s several times in the last few months, including this week. Latino support also dropped from highs in the mid-60s to 54 percent this week.

Yes, Walsh’s analysis of the challenges the Dems are facing in 2012 brings back memories like how the Obama camp boasted their incredible funds represented primarily small donations from many donors. Come to find out Obama outpaced the Republicans in emptying Wall Street pockets. No wonder he was so easily persuaded to bail out those tycoons (I hear he gives them access, too):

Finally, it doesn't help that the president raised more money from Wall Street in 2008 than John McCain did, or that overall, Democrats got far more contributions from Wall Street than Republicans did that year ($88 million to $67 million). Of course, Wall Street tycoons are furious with Obama for even moderate attempts at financial regulatory reform: The New York Times revealed energetic efforts by the president and his campaign team to woo back petulant Wall Street donors with lavish dinners and special meetings. In a case of bad timing, the next day the campaign sent emails to its small-donor list coming "from" Barack Obama himself, with the subject "Dinner?" The president announced a lottery for donors who give as little as $5 to win a small dinner with him. It was a nice populist touch, but it contrasted sharply with his outreach to the wealthy, and by comparison, it might have sounded stingy. (Also, the line "I want to spend time with a few of you," given coverage of the Wall Street campaign, might not get people fired up. "A few" isn't inspiring. Dreaming of meeting "as many of you as possible during this campaign" would sound more like the old Obama.)



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Barack Obama as the country’s new Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover, Wikipedia Commons

Walter Russell Mead, a Democrat who voted for Obama in 08 and was on board in 09 to claim the new president had earned the Nobel Peace Prize, asserts in The American Interest: “The Obama Administration’ is on the road to becoming the most anticlimactic expression known to man.”

But the real shocker in Mead’s post is a couple of paragraphs down when, after noting the euphoric media’s comparisons of Obama to predecessors Lincoln, FDR, Carter, Reagan, etc., the worthy foreign affairs professor suggests that what the country really wanted when they elected Obama was another Bill Clinton. Imagine that.

Read it for yourself:

President Obama swept into office on a tide of Lincoln and FDR comparisons.  A giddy press corps swooned every time he spoke; his cabinet was a ‘team of rivals’ like Lincoln’s.  His mandate, the press said, was to be a transformative president, like FDR.  The more sober said he would be a Democratic Reagan: just as the Californian led the country into a generation of conservative politics, so President Obama would lead Democrats into permanent majoritarian status.

This was the consensus of the mainstream press; it was also the opinion of the President’s inner circle.  Based on that consensus, the President made the decisions which, if he fails of re-election in 2012, history will likely regard as the fatal mistakes of his term: he went along with the flawed and failed stimulus program the Democratic Congress put forward, and he pushed forward on health care reform before economic recovery was assured.

In reality, President Obama’s mandate was not to be a transformer; he was elected to conserve.  In 2008 the independents who elected Obama by deserting the GOP were tired of the drama of the Bush administration and they were terrified by the financial panic that followed the failure of Lehman Brothers.  What they wanted was another Bill Clinton: a calm and soothing figure who would feel their pain and tweak the New Deal/Great Society state model to make it a little more user-friendly and a little less bankruptcy prone.

Mead concludes that Obama is most likely to be remembered as a second Hoover:

Midway through 2010, President Obama looked less like Lincoln redux and more like a Clinton manqué.  By the end of that year, the penultimate dissing of the President began; friends and foes began to ask whether President Obama might not be, gasp, the new Jimmy Carter.

Instapundit maestro Glenn Reynolds has been saying for some time that from where he sits, the Carter comparison looks like a best case scenario for this President.  For all our sakes, I hope Glenn is wrong, but increasingly there’s another specter frightening the Obama administration:  the ghost of Herbert Hoover.

Mead goes on to demonstrate the many commonalities between Obama and Hoover and in his concluding remarks almost incidentally mentions the five – the FIVE – shooting wars on the current president’s hands “in Afghanistan, tribal Pakistan, Iraq, Libya and now, apparently, Yemen.”

Read more.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Five suicides at local school district linked to anti-gay atmosphere


Note to Katalusis readers: I just received this email message from Change.org regarding the policy of a local school district in Minn. on homosexuality. What do you think? If you agree that this policy of “neutrality” has contributed to the suicide deaths of five students in the Anoka-Hennepin school district, post a comment and follow the link below to sign the petition.


In July of last year, 15-year-old Justin Aaberg took his own life after being bullied for being gay.

Four other suicides over the last year in the same school district, Anoka-Hennepin, were also linked to “a pervasive atmosphere of anti-gay hostility.”

It’s hard to imagine a school environment so toxic to lesbian and gay youth that it could lead five students to take their own lives -- until hearing about Anoka-Hennepin's district-wide “neutrality” policy on homosexuality, which allows anti-gay bullying to go virtually unchecked.

In this 40,000-student school district, the “neutrality” policy bans faculty and staff from discussing sexual orientation or recognizing homosexuality -- effectively a “gag” rule that officially marginalizes gay students and licenses bullying.

That’s why national anti-bullying advocate Shannon Cuttle has started a Change.org petition calling on the Anoka-Hennepin School District Superintendent to re-evaluate this policy that’s harming Minnesota’s youth.

Shannon’s petition comes at a critical time. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights will meet with Anoka-Hennepin about repealing the policy this week. Public outcry will boost their efforts -- and could affect the meeting's outcome.

Petition signer Baiba Olinger, who taught at Anoka-Hennepin district schools for 33 years, said, “I feel we have gone backwards in our policy towards LGBT students. How can ‘being neutral’ work? Can I be ‘neutral’ on someone being female or black?” 

Right now, administrators and faculty are standing by as students are bullied and even beaten. One teen dropped out after being attacked and called a “faggot” in front of teachers and classmates who did nothing to intervene.

Gay youth are left with the choice of attending school under miserable conditions or leaving – and some are becoming so depressed they take their own lives, as Justin Aaberg did.

Justin’s mother says, "I had no clue that in a school they would have a climate like this and be okay with it.”

Tell Anoka-Hennepin that Minnesotans aren't okay with the “neutrality” policy that's harming gay youth across the district by adding your name to Shannon’s Change.org petition: 


Thanks for taking action,

Patrick and the Change.org team

Monday, June 13, 2011

Could Palin’s email dump have been a Left-wing media strategy to divert attention from bad news for the Dems?

Gov. Palin in her office.

Okay. I think I’ve finally figured this out. The recent release of Sarah Palin’s emails from her tenure as governor of Alaska is a strategy initiated by the Left-leaning media – see David Corn, Mother Jones, et al – on behalf of the struggling Obama campaign to divert attention from the economy, Anthony Weiner, etc.

The media’s frenzied examination of Palin’s emails has not revealed any scandals and in fact has so far shown her to be an effective state leader. This is proving frustrating to media types like Politico’s Molly Ball who, although – as Rev.  Amy points out – she acknowledges that Palin emerges from her emails as a “popular, charismatic competent woman of the people,”  feels driven to smear her anyway.

In the meantime, the media looks like a bunch of fools, and Rep. Weiner is right to be seeking treatment; you don’t need to be a licensed psychiatrist to realize the man is very, very sick.

And if Democratic Party leaders have not yet repented for their treatment of Hillary Clinton in 08, they might want to do so at this juncture as they witness their one-time haloed candidate, Barack Obama, falter on his way to re-election.

Plus, we need to remind ourselves that it’s the droves of U.S. unemployed who are suffering the most for the travesty of justice the Democratic primary of 08 continues to symbolize.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

First photos of Gabby Giffords since the shooting




Giffords

Giffords and her mother.
Except for the hair color and style, it's hard to tell from the photos how severely Gabrielle Giffords was injured in the Arizona shooting. The AP provides the source of the recent photos and other information:

PHOENIX (Associated Press) -- The first photos of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords since she was shot in the head in a mass shooting in Tucson about five months ago were released early Sunday.

The photos appeared on her Facebook page.

The  Facebook photos, taken May 17 outside her Houston hospital, are the first clear snapshots of Giffords since the shooting five months ago during a constituent meet-and-greet in a Safeway parking lot in Tucson.

The photos showed how far she has come since she was wounded in the left side of her forehead, but her spokeswoman, Pia Carusone, has cautioned that Giffords still has a long way to go in her recovery.

They show the congresswoman outside, the greenery of the hospital lawn in the background. She smiled directly into the camera in one, while in the other she smiled downward as she sat next to her mother, Gloria Giffords.




Listening for Earth Songs and Star Songs on a June day in Minnesota

Seniors' gardens from summer 2010.

In preparing to host and facilitate yesterday’s session of my mindfulness meditation group, I was thinking about how Minnesotans were teased this week by about 48 hours of summer weather sandwiched in between cold, cloudy days reminiscent of March or early April. 

And yet I noted the existence of about 25 small garden plots next to my apartment building where seniors are once again rejoicing in the planting, weeding, and the anticipated harvesting of vegetables, while some are also beautifying the area with flowers.

With my mind on gardening, nature, and meditation, I stumbled on this quote by eight-year-old Opal Whitely from The Singing Creek where the Willows Grow - The Mystical Nature Diary of Opal Whiteley, Penguin, 1995:





"And all the times I was picking up potatoes, I did have conversations with them.  Too, I did have thinks of all their growing days there in the ground, and all the things they did hear.  Earth-voices are glad voices, and earth-songs come up from the ground through the plants; and in their flowering, and in the days before these days are come, they do tell the earth-songs to the wind ... I have thinks these potatoes growing here did have knowings of star-songs."

Further research on Opal’s book turned up this item:


Long before environmental consciousness became popular, a young nature writer named Opal Whitely {Whiteley} captured America's heart. Opal's childhood diary, published in 1902 {1920}, became an immediate bestseller, one of the most talked-about books of its time. Wistful, funny, and wise, it was described by an admirer as "the revelation of the ...life of a feminine Peter Pan of the Oregon wilderness ---- so innocent, so intimate, so haunting, that I should not know where in all literature to look for a counterpart". But the diary soon fell into disgrace. Condemning it as an adult-written hoax, skeptics stirred a scandal that drove the book into obscurity and shattered the frail spirit of its author. Discovering the diary by chance, bestselling author Benjamin Hoff set out to solve the longstanding mystery of its origin. His biography of Opal that accompanies the diary provides fascinating proof that the document is indeed authentic ---- the work of a magically gifted child, America's forgotten interpreter of nature.

Hoff was awarded the American Book Award in 1988 for The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow: The Rediscovered Diary of Opal Whiteley.

Yesterday, in closing our session I invited members of my meditation group to join me in listening for Earth songs and star songs affirming the presence of divinity throughout the ecological web of relationships on the planet Earth and throughout the star-flung universe. Today, I invite my readers at Katalusis to share this joyful experience as well.

Friday, June 10, 2011

An udpdate on Gabby Giffords’ condition and my struggle to forgive her assailant and our overly-zealous gun rights lobby


As one who has been following the progress made by Gabrille Giffords since the Arizona shooting in which she took a bullet in her brain, I confess my grief continues to be mixed with feelings of anger for what happened to her that day and the elements in our culture that make such horrendous events possible.

Reading E. J. Montini’s update on Giffords’ condition and the uncertainty regarding her future progress stirred up my anger again this morning.

I can be thankful Giffords is alive and for the progress she’s made so far, but I want more than that for her. Much more. And one of these days perhaps I’ll be able to forgive the perpetrator of this injustice and possibly our overly zealous gun rights lobby; I’m just not ready yet.

Montini’s report in the Arizona Republic features a dialog with Giffords' staffer Pia Carusone in which he asked some tough questions:

Who is making the decisions for the congresswoman? Is it Giffords herself or her husband, family and staff?

"It's a combination," Carusone said. "I've told her that we've been approached by every media outlet in the world, at this point, and that when she is ready, there are plenty of options for how we do it. She does not want to do that right now. And that's understandable. For someone who takes her job seriously and has a good relationship with the press and knows how important that is, to feel anything less than 100 percent is daunting. Let alone to feel what she's feeling: a real struggle and challenge with communication."

Is there a timetable established for deciding if she will remain in office?

"The only firm timetable is the legal timetable, and that is May of 2012, when petitions are due for re-election," Carusone said. "That's a firm timetable. Short of that, we'd love to know today what her life will be, what her quality of life will be, which will determine whether she'll be able to run for office and all sorts of other things involving her life. But we just don't know yet. . . .

"We're about halfway through the process that is the most important time for recovery. Patients recover for the rest of their lives, but it's the first 12 to 14 months that you make the biggest jumps. . . . In the doctors' minds, it's not even close to when you begin to make the final prognosis for the quality of her life."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What’s next from the FDA – arsenic in the chicken?

Say what?!! There’s arsenic in my chicken feed?!!

If my writing is a little erratic this morning you’ll have to forgive me. They’re testing the fire alarm system in my apartment building today between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and after posting this, I plan to take a book to read and escape to the nearest coffee shop. 

(Unfortunately, I don’t own a laptop or an ipad.)

Even though the loud incessant screeches are driving me crazy, I promise you this is the truth: in your avoidance of red meat that wholesome cut up frying chicken you’ve been buying at your local supermarket might contain arsenic.  

The LA Times has the story:

Arsenic, chicken feed and the FDA are three terms not normally seen together in health articles. Here’s how such an alignment can happen… An arsenic-containing drug used in chicken feed will no longer be sold in the U.S. after FDA researchers detected a more dangerous form of arsenic in chickens fed the chemical.

The agency announced Wednesday that Pfizer subsidiary Alpharma will discontinue U.S. sales of 3-Nitro, a drug fed to chickens to help them gain weight and to prevent an intestinal disease called coccidiosis. Chickens that had been given the drug, which contains organic arsenic, had higher levels of what’s known as inorganic arsenic in their livers, compared with chickens not given the drug. 



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Congressional newcomers on spending spree while urging budget cuts

House speaker Boehner preaches spending cuts while reps blow tax dollars on office budgets.

It figures. Both incoming Republican and Democratic representatives spend like crazy while fueling the deficit debate over which entitlement programs have to be cut. In case you haven’t noticed, “entitlement” lumps self-funded Social Security and Medicare with government welfare programs. Take that, seniors!

Politico’s Sherman and Bresnahan put the spotlight on the spending sprees of these freshman reps:

They rode into Washington on an anti-spending wave, but some House Republican freshmen are already enjoying one of the perks of incumbency, spending their office budgets on everything from $1,000-a-month car leases to pricey online advertising contracts.

At least 15 GOP freshmen have shelled out tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money on mass communication — or franking — designed to boost their exposure back home, even as they call for budget cuts and pared-back government spending, according to quarterly disbursement reports released by the House.

The biggest newly elected spender in this realm is Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who authorized spending $78,518 in taxpayer money on “mass mailings and communications” — just under $900 for every day he was in office during the first three months of his congressional career. Kinzinger sent a pamphlet to his constituents explaining “some of the ways we can help” in interactions with the government. Kinzinger also advertised the “state-of-the-art multimedia section” on his website.
His office told POLITICO in a statement that it has no more plans for franked mail after it sent a mailing to 217,000 houses across the district.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Obama’s reelection campaign stalls on latest jobs report

   


Obama speaks after meeting with business leaders at the White House on Jan. 28 2009.
 
The headline in the business section of the Washington Post with Bloomberg reads Economic news is bad for Obama’s reelection bid. (Obama's reelection bid is under the leadership of those same folks who in 08 belittled the economic successes of the Clinton Administration.)

I’ll add that in addition to poor President Obama, the economic news is also bad for the unemployed, those whose homes are being foreclosed, the employed and underemployed who haven’t seen raises in quite a few years, as well as Social Security recipients whose trust fund was stolen by the US government - they’ve not seen a cost of living increase since Obama took office. And in the meantime, he extended the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy.

When you’re losing sleep at night from worries about paying the rent, you’re probably not all worked up over Obama’s chances for reelection.

Anyway, the Post’s Goldfarb and Wallsten lay out the problems the Obama campaign is facing in the coming election:

Any notion that President Obama’s reelection campaign was gaining momentum was shaken this week by a string of worrisome economic reports showing weakness in the job market and new lows for housing prices.

The bad news for Obama stood in contrast to a run of positive developments that had given many Democrats reason for confidence. The economy had been adding jobs at a steady clip. A president once accused of being weak on national security ordered the raid that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. And several potentially strong Republican presidential candidates took a pass on the race.

But on Friday, a surprisingly grim employment report was a warning that Obama could face a more challenging economy than had been expected. The government said the economy had added far fewer jobs than analysts had projected.

The disappointing news posed a predicament for Obama, who had scheduled a visit to a Chrysler plant Friday to herald the rebirth of the U.S. auto industry. As he gave a celebratory speech to cheering autoworkers, his advisers in Washington scrambled to explain the jobs report.

Read more:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The shame of Saudi Arabia, a country where women are not allowed to drive or even ride a bicycle

Secretary Clinton in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi women’s rights activists, seeking help from Hillary Clinton, report that not having the right to drive their own cars is exploited by abusive fathers, brothers, husbands and even hired drivers, one of whom recently raped a woman.

Laura Stampler at the Huffington Post has the story:

A consortium of Saudi Arabian women's rights activists have written an open letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to publicly press the Saudi government to allow women to drive.

Penned by the organization Saudi Women for Driving, the letter has been endorsed by over 10,000 people from all 50 US states on Change.org. An almost identical letter has been addressed to Catherine Ashton, Secretary Clinton's counterpart in the E.U.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bars women from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle -– bicycles included. The movement gained traction after 32-year-old computer-security consultant Manal al-Sherif, now dubbed the "Saudi Rosa Parks," was detained after she posted a video of herself driving in the conservative kingdom, urging other women to take her lead.

 WARNING: Read the comments following this article at the Huffington Post at your own risk - a quick glance caused me to feel ill. A rough estimate indicates that about half the members of the Huffpo community are diehard misogynists. Supposedly the comments are moderated but evidently sexism and misogyny are still okay as was demonstrated in the 2008 Democratic primary.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Edwards’ indictment again triggers memories of the 2008 Democratic Primary


I’ve been trying hard to move on from the 2008 Democratic primary, but every so often a recent event triggers memories of the endless weeks of idolatrous worship of Barack Obama and the simultaneous misogynist attacks on Hillary Clinton.


Today’s indictment of John Edwards did it for me once again. The AP reported:

RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) -- A federal grand jury indicted two-time presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday over $925,000 spent to keep his mistress and their baby in hiding during the peak of his 2008 campaign for the White House.


The case of USA v. Johnny Reid Edwards contains six counts, including conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements.

I could not resist reposting my response to Edwards initial confession of his marital infidelity on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2008:

 

Flashback to John Edwards’ Endorsement of Barack Obama

(first posted on Aug. 9, 2008)

In yesterday’s confession of his marital infidelity on ABC News, John Edwards said:

"Then I went from being a young senator to being considered for vice president, running for president ... becoming a national public figure, all of which fed a self-focus, an egotism, a narcissism that leads you to believe you can do whatever you want, you're invincible and there will be no consequences. And nothing could be further from the truth."

Those words prompted a flashback to an earlier post at Katalusis in which I quoted Kathleen Parker who had already made note of Edwards’ tendency toward “self-focus:”

Here’s the background: on May 13, Hillary Clinton won a landslide victory in the West Virginia primary, propelled mainly by working class voters. The breaking news the next day was the endorsement of Barack Obama by former candidate John Edwards at a campaign event scheduled that evening, obviously designed to upstage Clinton’s win.

Posting at Real Clear Politics, Kathleen Parker reported:

“As Edwards gave what amounted to a stump speech highlighting his favorite subject -- John Edwards -- and his own anti-poverty initiative, Americans were reminded of why the North Carolina son-of-a-millworker won't be their presidential nominee.

“Enraptured by his own message, Edwards seemed reluctant to hand over the microphone. He finally relinquished the stage, after describing, yet again, the ‘wall’ that he says divides Americans: ‘There is one man who knows in his heart that it is time to create one America, not two. And that man is Barack Obama.”’

Obama supporters were delighted by the Edwards endorsement, evidently convinced the guy who had gained notoriety for his $400 haircuts would help their candidate lure working class voters away from Hillary Clinton.

That never happened and after all the hoopla last May, we’ve already learned that Edwards won’t be appearing at the Democratic convention, and he’ll probably have no role in an Obama administration.

In the meantime, Elizabeth Edwards will likely continue to be one of the most widely respected women in America.

Note: That never happened either, and Elizabeth Edwards spent the last weeks of her life trying her best to protect her children from the fallout of their father's behavior and ensure their welfare after her death, which occurred on Dec. 7, 2010.


Congressional Control Software© to save congress persons from themselves

Rachel Maddow interviews Rep. Weiner

I’ve been known to disagree with Ruth Marcus, especially when she lumps the self-funded Social Security program with welfare in her usage of the term “entitlements."

However, Ruth’s column posted June 2 is too much fun – at the expense of irresponsible congress persons – to not share with Katalusis readers this morning:

Ruth is at the top of her game with this one:

Technology-savvy parents of technology-obsessed adolescents have probably considered installing parental control software on their children’s devices. Programs are available to do everything from turning your teen’s cellphone into a GPS tracking device to monitoring his or her instant messaging. In light of recent events, it strikes me that this technology could be easily adapted for an equally urgent use — tracking members of Congress.

Herewith, my pitch, to congressional chiefs of staff, for “congressional control software.” Motto: “Know with certitude what your member’s up to.” 

Dear Congressional Chief of Staff,

Like many parents congressional staffers these days, you may be concerned about your child’s lawmaker’s inappropriate use of technology. Relax. With the help of Congressional Control Software©, you can help save your congressman or senator from him- (or, in the unlikely event, her-) self. 

You may be worried about invading your lawmaker’s privacy. Remember: You are not there to be his friend. Your primary job as a parent chief of staff is to protect your child member of Congress.