Monday, February 22, 2016

A black life matters at 106 years of age

Image result for virginia mclaurin
Virginia McLaurin dancing with Michelle and Barack Obama Photo: White House

Well, it may have taken Virginia McLaurin 106 years, but the centenarian helped President and Michelle Obama celebrate Black History Month by turning her visit to the White House into a dance party. And as noted by Dominique Mosbergen Senior Writer, at The Huffington Post, "The Obamas could barely keep up with her." Here's the scoop:

Barack and Michelle Obama are no strangers to busting a move, but this week the presidential couple were completely outshone by the twinkle-toed magic of a spry centenarian.

On Sunday, the White House shared a delightful video of Virginia McLaurin’s meet-and-greet with the Obamas. McLaurin, 106, who’s long harbored a dream to visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, was invited to take part in Black History Month celebrations.

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

"Um, Bernie, this ain't beanbag"

via the Boston Globe.
I missed last Thursday's PBS debate between Sanders and Clinton, but Boston Globe columnist Scott Lehigh offers a good summary and interpretation of that event while giving Clinton the win.

Lehigh writes:

THURSDAY NIGHT’S PBS-fest wasn’t a night of political pyrotechnics, but a good solid exchange that showed the strengths and weaknesses of both candidates. I scored it a win for Hillary Clinton.

One of the most dramatic moments came in the last few minutes of the debate, when Clinton, who had wrapped herself in President Obama’s legacy, offered up several critical comments that Sanders had made of the Democratic incumbent.

She expected that kind of thing of Republicans, but not of Democrats, Clinton said.

“Madame Secretary, that is a low blow,” Sanders rejoined.

Um, Bernie, this ain’t beanbag.

Read more:


Friday, February 12, 2016

Bernie's perpetual temper tantrum

Image of Bernie Sanders courtesy of the Canadian Dimension.
Watching Bernie Sanders in his perpetual temper tantrum mode, white hair standing on end, waving his arms around, and shouting about starting a revolution, it's hard to imagine him in the Oval Office greeting heads of state from around the world. And yet Senator Sanders, who accomplished next to nothing during his many years in Congress, recently ditched his independent status to formally join the Democratic Party, obviously for personal gain - Bernie needed its backing for his run for the presidency. 

(Did I mention Bernie has zero knowledge of foreign affairs.)

The Blue Nation Review takes a look at Bernie's promised revolution in its article headlined "There is no Bernie revolution: turnout should worry Democrats," Peter Daou writes:

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Elizabeth Warren's distortion of Hillary Clinton's relationship with Wall Street

Associated Press.

There's a good deal more in Zachary Leven's piece about Hillary Clinton at the Huffington Post than his expose of Elizabeth Warren's falsehoods about Clinton's relationship with Wall Street, but that expose is certainly key.  Leven explains why Warren chose to join the likes of Arianna Huffington and Maureen Dowd, who seem determined to bring Hillary down.

I would ask: are these women jealous that Hillary has repeatedly been voted the most admired woman in the world?

Leven begins his piece at the Huffpo Blog with the Warren example, and he goes on from there:

The case for Hillary Clinton is mostly a matter of rebutting the case against her. Once that's done, you're simply left with the most qualified candidate, and someone who is, by all reality-based measures, progressive (ranked the tenth most liberal senator). And just as important, someone who is capable of achieving results (I'll conclude with the case against Sanders, and there's a very, very strong case to make against him).

We'll start with this specific example, which I think is illustrative of the sorts of attacks we see made on Hillary. It begins with this video of an interview with Elizabeth Warren that's been making its rounds on the internet, you may have seen it:

It's worth watching, but I'll summarize. Warren tells a story about the bankruptcy bill initially supported by the Clinton administration in the 1990s. Warren wrote an op-ed opposing the bill on the grounds that it offered deadbeat dads a mechanism for cheating their ex-wives out of child support, along with a few other issues.

After the op-ed was published, Hillary phoned Warren requesting a meeting. They met in private, and Warren proceeded to educate Hillary on this issue. She said that Hillary was a "quick study" and really "got it." Hillary returned to Washington, and by all accounts, single-handedly turned around the administration's support of this legislation. When the bill reached Clinton's desk, he vetoed it.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The scary results from the New Hampshire primary

Hillary is still in the running.
I grieved for my country when I first heard the news from the Granite State: the Democrats rejected  the better qualified and more experienced  Hillary Clnton in favor of  the "cool grandpa Sanders,"  and the Republicans chose Donald Trump - enough said.  Europe must be wondering at the insanity that prevailed in the New Hampshire primary.

Bllogging at the Huffington  Post yesterday, prior to the scary NH results, Lesleyann Coker tellingly  titles her piece: "I'm not ashamed to like Hillary." Coker writes:

I like Hillary. 

There, I said it. 

I'm tired of feeling like a pariah. Liking Bernie Sanders is cool. Liking Hillary Clinton is not.
Whenever I tell people I like Hillary, I'm met with incredulous stares and voices dripping with disgust. "Really?" they ask. "Why? How can you like her?" You'd think I confessed to killing puppies the way they carry on. 

I'm then met with a litany of common refrains. "She lies. You can't trust her. Remember Benghazi?" Or my personal favorite, "She's a Clinton. She thinks she's entitled." 

And those are just my Democrat friends! My Republican friends are even more unrelenting in their irrational disdain for this woman.

Yet when I ask them to explain, they can't delve deeper than the platitudes.

When President Obama famously said to Hillary in a debate before the New Hampshire primary in 2008, "You're likable enough," he was tapping into a deep vein of unlikability that surrounds her like a cone of shame.

I can't think of another national figure, politician or celebrity who has been as scrutinized and savaged for over two decades the way Hillary has. 

In addition to the run of the mill haters, she has to contend with more stereotypes and overt sexism than anyone else in modern politics.

When Bernie raises his voice, it's cute and humorous. He's the beloved cranky grandpa. Memes are created. When Hillary raises her voice, she's a shrill, angry woman, and the hate ensues. Yet if she's soft spoken, compassionate or shows too much emotion, she's criticized as weak. She's damned if she does, damned if she doesn't.

Any other public servant would have left politics for a career where character assassination isn't standard practice. 

Read more:

Monday, February 8, 2016

In response to the newly aroused Hillary Haters

A couple of years ago, the Daily Kos published Meryl Streep's tribute to Hillary Clinton. The Hate Hillary club is out in full force in 2016 and  doing its best to take Hillary down. It's heartwarming to reread Meryl Streep's tribute to Hillary, a woman whose years of public service have been primarily invested in supporting the downtrodden around the globe.

The Hillary Haters will no doubt continue their attacks on the best qualified candidate for president this year, but it has become increasingly obvious that their warped opinions bear little or no relationship to the real Hillary Clinton. Meryl Streep gets the word out:

Read Meryl Streep’s introduction of Hillary Clinton during the recent 2012 Women in the World conference:

Two years ago when Tina Brown and Diane von Furstenberg first envisioned this conference, they asked me to do a play, a reading, called – the name of the play was called Seven. It was taken from transcripts, real testimony from real women activists around the world. I was the Irish one, and I had no idea that the real women would be sitting in the audience while we portrayed them. So I was doing a pretty ghastly Belfast accent. I was just – I was imitating my friend Liam Neeson, really, and I sounded like a fellow. (Laughter). It was really bad.

So I was so mortified when Tina, at the end of the play, invited the real women to come up on stage and I found myself standing next to the great Inez McCormack. (Applause.) And I felt slight next to her, because I’m an actress and she is the real deal. She has put her life on the line. Six of those seven women were with us in the theater that night. The seventh, Mukhtaran Bibi, couldn’t come because she couldn’t get out of Pakistan. You probably remember who she is. She’s the young woman who went to court because she was gang-raped by men in her village as punishment for a perceived slight to their honor by her little brother. All but one of the 14 men accused were acquitted, but Mukhtaran won the small settlement. She won $8,200, which she then used to start schools in her village. More money poured in from international donations when the men were set free. And as a result of her trial, the then president of Pakistan, General Musharraf, went on TV and said, “If you want to be a millionaire, just get yourself raped.”

But that night in the theater two years ago, the other six brave women came up on the stage. Anabella De Leon of Guatemala pointed to Hillary Clinton, who was sitting right in the front row, and said, “I met her and my life changed.” And all weekend long, women from all over the world said the same thing:

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hey, Katalusis friends, you gotta love this:

Hillary Clinton took the campaign trail by storm—with a little help from her friends.

Feb 6, 2016 by Lauren Peterson
Meet 8 incredible leaders.
With just a few days to go until the New Hampshire primary, Hillary has been hitting the campaign trail across the Granite State.
And yesterday, she brought a few of her friends along.
These aren’t just any friends—they’re some of the toughest, hardest-working, most effective leaders in America. They’re helping to elect Hillary Clinton because she’s a progressive who gets things done—and over the years, they’ve seen her fight for the values they share and deliver real results.

Meet the lineup:

Left to right: Stephanie Schriock 1, Kirsten Gillibrand 2, Maggie Hassan 3, Amy Klobuchar 4, Debbie Stabenow 5, Hillary Clinton 6, Jeanne Shaheen 7, and Lilly Ledbetter 8.

1. Stephanie Schriock

President of EMILY’s List—an organization dedicated to shattering glass ceilings at every level of politics. In high school, won an election for student body president by campaigning among underclassmen and earning a key endorsement from her male opponent’s younger sister. She’s been helping women (and a few men) run for office and win ever since.

2. Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator from New York. Senator Gillibrand succeeded Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate. Among other things—taking on the issue of sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, fighting for family friendly workplace policies, to name a few—she has worked hard to bring women “off the sidelines” and into the political process.

3. Maggie Hassan

Current governor of New Hampshire—and hopefully, next senator. As governor, she built a bipartisan consensus to balance the budget and extend health coverage to tens of thousands of people. Has a well deserved reputation for working hard and getting things done.

4. Amy Klobuchar

First woman senator from Minnesota. Straight-talker who is taking on the challenges that make the headlines and the ones that keep families up at night. When asked about the difference it makes to have more women in the Senate, she said: “Women tend to be problem solvers, we work together … They didn’t get there by swaggering around, they got there by getting things done.”

5. Debbie Stabenow

Senator from Michigan. Currently doing everything she can to support the people of Flint and make sure that there is an appropriate response at all levels of government in the wake of this heartbreaking and unacceptable crisis. Fighting to create good paying jobs, expand access to health care, protect the environment, and more.

6. Hillary Clinton

Former first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, first woman senator from New York, Secretary of State, running for president to build a country and a world where everyone, everywhere can live up to their potential. Pantsuit expert.

7. Jeanne Shaheen

The only woman in American history—until Maggie Hassan—to be elected both governor and senator. A fierce and unapologetic champion for women’s health and rights, including equal pay and Planned Parenthood.

8. Lilly Ledbetter

Fighter for equal pay. 19 years after she started working for Goodyear, she received an anonymous note listing her salary and the salaries of three men with the same title—she was being paid less. Fought her case all the way to the Supreme Court, lost, and refused to give up. Instead, she worked with President Obama to help pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act so that no one would ever have to endure what she did. 

Stand with Hillary Clinton and these smart, trailblazing women. Add your name:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Clinton/Sanders debate highlights two competing philosophies

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders greet the crowd during the MSNBC Presidential debate in Durham, N.H., Feb. 4, 2016.
Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters, courtesy of Maddow Blog.

Hi Katalusis friends, my son and his wife took me out to dinner last night to celebrate my birthday, so I missed the Clinton/Sanders debate. I'm sorry I missed the debate but Rachel Maddow's blog post by Steve Benen summed it up very nicely for me. Benen wrote:

Those hoping for some fireworks in last night’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire weren’t disappointed. In their first one-on-one debate of the cycle, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were fierce advocates of two competing approaches to politics and policy.
But to perceive their aggressive confrontations as some kind of election-year food fight would be a mistake. As MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald reported overnight:
Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC offered the clearest, rawest, and most specific examination of two fundamentally different philosophies about the character and future of the Democratic Party voters have seen yet. […]
Clinton represents one view, calling for continuity and pragmatism, while Sanders represents the polar opposite, with his outspoken calls for “revolution.”
Sanders specifically called for a “political revolution” three times last night, while Clinton made clear from the outset, “I’m not making promises that I cannot keep.” Pressed by Rachel Maddow why, in light of some of the more moderate parts of Clinton’s record, liberal Democrats should support her, Clinton responded, “Because I am a progressive who gets things done. And the root of that word, ‘progressive,’ is ‘progress.’”

Read more:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Stop the anti-wildlife forces!

Donate Now Katalusis friends, I am so grateful to Jamie Rapaport Clark at Defenders of Wildlife for keeping me posted regarding the efforts of the anti-wildlife forces in Congress to harm or destroy the nation's wildlife. I just got this message from Jamie:

Protect Our Wildlife
Gray wolf, (c) Michael Quinton NGS
This Congress, more than 90 bills, riders and amendments have been proposed to undermine the ESA!
Donate Now Button
Dear Virginia,
Can you believe it?
There have been more than 90 legislative measures introduced this Congress to undo decades of wildlife conservation progress and abandon the wildlife we all love.
If these measures pass, wolves will die. Other wildlife will lose protection. And still others will find their habitat plundered and destroyed.
Most recently, anti-wildlife senators in Washington, D.C. have introduced a series of amendments to the Energy Bill that would cripple wolf conservation and set wildlife protection back by decades.
There are four amendments in particular that must be defeated:
    The "open season on wolves" amendment – would delist wolves in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes. We’ve seen what delisting looks like in Wyoming, where it was open season on wolves every day of the year in 80% of the state before the courts put a stop to it;
    The "let’s give up on Mexican gray wolves" amendment – would delist Mexican gray wolves if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determines that minimum survival goals under a deficient, outdated plan from 1982 have been met;
    The "leave bats in the dust" amendment – would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting the highly imperiled northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act; and
    The "forget your day in court" amendment – blocks citizens from going to court to hold the government accountable when it does not properly enforce the ESA. This amendment would bar recovery of legal fees otherwise available under the law and allow local governments to veto a federal court’s decision to enforce the law with regard to certain species.
The anti-wildlife forces have their high paid lobbyists and lawyers. Wildlife have you and me as their voice – we're the premier organization speaking out on behalf of wildlife and wild places.
You and I know that most Americans love their wildlife and want to see it protected. It’s up to you and me to make sure the true voices of Americans are heard on Capitol Hill.
Thank you for all you do.
For the wild,
Jaime Rappaport Clark
Jamie Rappaport Clark
President, Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders of Wildlife leads the pack when it comes to protecting wild animals and plants in their natural communities

Defenders of Wildlife | 1130 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036 |
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hillary won the Iowa Caucus

In reporting the results of the Iowa Caucus, Huffpo reminded its readers: "The Iowa Democratic Party doesn't report vote counts. It reports State Delegate Equivalents (SDEs), predictions of who will attend the state-wide party convention." Most reporting sites agree this morning that Hillary Clinton garnered 701 SDEs; whereas, Bernie Sanders emerged with 697 SDEs. That translates into 28 delegates for Clinton and 21 for Sanders.

In other words, although Bernie Sanders claims it was a tie, others disagree:  NBC News said:  "Based on the report from the Iowa Democratic Party Chair, we have marked Hillary Clinton as the apparent winner. The party described the race as a 'historically close caucus."

In the run up to the Iowa Caucus, I kept encountering Bernie's angry face in his online ads - his perpetual scowl with arms waving as he rants and raves at the top of his lungs. Each time, I've been reminded of his attempt to put Hillary Clinton down back in October 2015 by telling her in reference to her position on gun control: “all the shouting in the world” won't fix the issue."

I imagine Bernie is convinced that his ranting and raving and promise to start a revolution will fix not only all of America's problems, but the world's problems as well.  Maybe his inexperienced youthful followers - with all of their enthusiasm - can swallow his pitch, but for the rest of us, Bernie's unrelenting shouting is quickly growing old.