Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tax Cuts Panel May Handle Jobless Benefits After Senate Blocks Reauthorization

Okay. It's okay to extend the tax cuts to the top 2% of the American public but not extend unemployment benefits for those out of work? What is wrong with the GOP and why do people not get it? Why don't more people see the smoke and mirrors platform of the Republican party. This kind of crap makes me sick...

Tax Cuts Panel May Handle Jobless Benefits After Senate Blocks Reauthorization

Gates To Senate: End 'Don't Ask' Before Courts Do : NPR

If there are 14,000 men and women who want to serve this country, then why? why? would we deny them?

Gates To Senate: End 'Don't Ask' Before Courts Do : NPR

Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Recounts Terror Inside And Outside Captivity : NPR

If you listen to the story from NPR's All Things Considered, David Rohde says something remarkable. Even though he was held captive by the radical Taliban in Pakistan for seven months and feared for his life, he still recognizes that not all Pakistanis or Afghans are as radical as the Taliban. There are moderate Muslims. Those who helped Mr. Rohde escape. Those who want peace just as badly as we do. It is refreshing to hear someone state that being Muslim is not the issue. It's the radicalization of the faith and the very few people that follow it to such a violent extreme that terrorize the world. The Taliban is evil; al-Qaida is evil. Muslims are not...

Book Recounts Terror Inside And Outside Captivity : NPR

Saturday, November 27, 2010

TRENDING: Palin delivers a gaffe-filled message – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs

Well... um... the reason why, Sarah Palin, that your mistake is so publicized is that well... you are a dumbass. You don't have the intellectual capacity or better yet the curiosity to be even considered an eventual leader of the free world. Most of us know not to mix up North Korea with South Korea. This is why you will never be taken seriously by the media or thank goodness, the American public...

TRENDING: Palin delivers a gaffe-filled message – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanks. : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR

Life is precious. We all have gifts to give. This video was emotionality touching tribute to the brother that was senselessly killed in Oakland...

Thanks. : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Who Brought The Turkey? The Truth About The First Thanksgiving : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR

Happy Thanksgiving! We will take today off of the usual political banter. Enjoy the holiday. We all have things to be thankful about and reflect upon. Today is a good day to do that...

Who Brought The Turkey? The Truth About The First Thanksgiving : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Liberals Pounce On GOP Congressman Who Wants His Health Care : Shots - Health News Blog : NPR

Good catch! This is why the GOP and the Tea Party is nothing but hot air. The petition to tell GOP congresspeople to "forgo their taxpayer-funded health care coverage before trying to repeal health insurance reform for hardworking Americans" can be found here.

Sign the petition!

Liberals Pounce On GOP Congressman Who Wants His Health Care : Shots - Health News Blog : NPR

Monday, November 22, 2010

Born In The U.S.A.? Some Chinese Plan It That Way : NPR

Okay, this is completely permissible through the fourteenth amendment. Whether you are here legally (like these Chinese visitors) or illegally, you are under the jurisdiction of the United States. As long as you are within the U.S. jurisdiction and you have a child here, that child will be naturalized. This goes for illegal immigrants too. For once they are found here illegally, guess what? They are under the United States jurisdiction at that point. That's why a constitutional amendment to not give naturalization to a child of an illegal immigrant does not make sense. Once they are born, they are just as American as the rest of us... Think about it.

Born In The U.S.A.? Some Chinese Plan It That Way : NPR

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bob Inglis: A Republican Swamped By The GOP Wave : NPR

The one thing I really find strange about the Tea Party is their refusal or admittance to anything positive about bi-partisan cooperation. Why would they demolish the party on spite for finding common ground for advancement of the country as a whole? Their practices are very destructive to public policy...

Bob Inglis: A Republican Swamped By The GOP Wave : NPR

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Election Forecasts - FiveThirtyEight Blog - NYTimes.com

Interesting. I know Sarah Palin is an exciting choice for those ultra-conservatives but I don't think she could win against Barack Obama. She was one of the reasons John McCain did not have a chance in 2008. She still lacks the intellectual capacity to comprehend complex domestic and international issues. This is something that will not change in 2012. I don't really see her as a viable candidate for the mainstream. That is unless the mainstream goes completely insane. Then I might have to think of emigrating to Canada...

Election Forecasts - FiveThirtyEight Blog - NYTimes.com

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why is John Boehner orange? - Yahoo! Answers

Okay - it's Friday. I could not resist...

Why is John Boehner orange? - Yahoo! Answers

So That Senior Vote...

One can respect one's elders without necessarily thinking they're very smart, right? I mean, when you analyze the midterm elections, it's pretty clear that the over 65 set voted almost 60/40 in favor of their neighborhood Republican, and that this is what tipped the balance of the House so strongly in their favor. (I tweeted exit poll results on this yesterday).

The same neighborhood Republican that wants to cut and gut Social Security. Like they tried to do in 2006.

And then there's our old friend Grover Norquist who promises this time, Republicans can actually benefit from shutting down the government. Because Fox News is around to explain to seniors, veterans and the disabled why their checks aren't coming, according to him.

I don't normally ascribe to the destroy-the-village-to-save-it theory, but perhaps, like 1995, a shutdown would get the point across to at least some of these voters. And make sure Senator Jim DeMint(R) is front and center. 25% of South Carolina's economy comes courtesy of federal funding. If the tap is cut off long enough, perhaps it might motivate that backwater* to do some thinking about who they elect to public office.

When you shut down the government in the name of an issue that only 4% of Americans consider a priority, it doesn't end well, even if you have a television network that's nothing but a continuous PR arm for your party. When you vote against your own self interests for a party that makes it clear you aren't a priority, you get what you deserve, not what you expect. A live lesson that some of us learn at earlier ages than others, apparently.

But by all means, Republicans, try it.

*With apologies to Charleston.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Of This, Please

For many years, one used to reasonably assume that, if a story was written by an Associated Press writer, it was pretty close to the truth.

At least, that was, until Ron Fournier took over as Washington Bureau Chief in 2008. Fournier, who was outed as a Bush supporter in 2004 didn't last long at this particular job. A particularly racist push poll he authorized and "analyzed" in September 2008 earned him a reprimand and left him neutered. Ultimately, he left for a job at the National Journal in July of this year.

If you're like me and have some degree of interest in how your media sausage is made, what Ron Fournier has done is interesting reading, and Al Giordano's work on Fornier on his website The Field is quality web advocacy reading as well, that links you onward to better detail than I'm providing here.

But I digress, as I've come not to bury the AP, but to praise it.

The hot topic of the news cycle is the intrusive TSA body scanners and pat downs one must face to fly over the forthcoming holiday weekend. Not everyone is happy about the procedure. I must admit, I tend to fly out of airports that are smaller and don't have the full on invasive photographic machinery and, frankly, if you feel the need to see a clothes free image of me more than once you have a fetish a shrink may need to address anyway. I stand by George Carlin's opinion on the issue, which is that the whole process is nothing but theater and doesn't really do much good.

But I digress, because this isn't really about the TSA either.

Instead, it's about the bleating of Congressman John Mica (R) of Florida who is an advocate of riding us of the TSA altogether, and allowing private security guards do the work instead, and why he's an advocate of said position.

Because of the AP, we know that Mica is essentially on the take and, for a change, the former gatekeeper of our media, AP, takes pains to tell us so by working into the story which companies would benefit from privatization, and how much they donated to Mica's campaigns.

Would private security guards not be as invasive? Nope. They'd have to use the same equipment and procedures as TSA. So really, all you're doing in Mica's world is trading surly public employees for surly private employees from whom he profits personally. So Mica has no point, really, he's just acting in the self interests of those corporations who donated to his campaign by attempting to obfuscate TSA people with TSA policy. The payoff:

Companies that provide airport security are contributors to Mica's campaigns, although some donations came before those companies won government contracts. The Lockheed Martin Corp. Employees' Political Action Committee has given $36,500 to Mica since 1997. A Lockheed firm won the security contract in Sioux Falls, S.D. in 2005 and the contract for San Francisco the following year.

Raytheon Company's PAC has given Mica $33,500 since 1999. A Raytheon subsidiary began providing checkpoint screenings at Key West International Airport in 2007.

FirstLine Transportation Security Inc.'s PAC has donated $4,500 to the Florida congressman since 2004. FirstLine has been screening baggage and has been responsible for passenger checkpoints at the Kansas City International Airport since 2006, as well as the Gallup Municipal Airport and the Roswell Industrial Air Center in New Mexico, operating at both since 2007.

Since 2006, Mica has received $2,000 from FirstLine President Keith Wolken and $1,700 from Gerald Berry, president of Covenant Aviation Security. Covenant works with Lockheed to provide security at airports in Sioux Falls and San Francisco.

This is the type of journalism we thought we had as a nation at one point in time, a fourth estate that laid bare the motivations of people and politicians that pushed advocacy positions. For once, AP saved the blogosphere the effort of doing the research and exposing someone pushing a needless tangential issue because he has a financial interest in doing so. We need more of this, please.

The New Republic: Missing The Compassionate GOP : NPR

It is scary to think that the Bush years were actually better than this new wave of conservatism. Who would have thought?

The New Republic: Missing The Compassionate GOP : NPR

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Last Chance to Pass the DREAM Act

So there is good news to report, both from a strategic/tactical perspective and morally.

Among the items that will be discussed in the upcoming lame duck Senate session are the DREAM Act and the overdue repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

I'll defer discussion on the latter, though I certainly have no problem with those who meet the mental and physical qualifications for serving the country doing so, regardless of sexual orientation, because it's the former that's more interesting.

First, even with Rasmussen doing it's customary scale tipping, a clear majority of Americans support the DREAM Act as a means for people who have entered this country illegally to carve out a path to citizenship either by obtaining higher education or serving in the armed forces. (Most polls show support significantly higher than the story to which I have linked you; in some cases as high as 80% for those immigrants who volunteer to serve in the military).

Second, and here's the real interesting part for me; historically the DREAM Act, which also has Department of Defense support, has had wide bi-partisan support. And yet, despite being introduced in various forms and fashions since 2001, it has yet to pass. Why?

Well, let's start with this glance at the increasing trend of Latino voters in states in the American Southwest. It's already turned New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado into swing states (though a large influx of Californians who cashed out before the housing bust and moved to Denver helped) and kept California solidly blue.

But what I find more interesting is the analysis of this poll conducted the last time the DREAM Act was introduced. Though Latino voters, like most voters, still voted their pocketbooks (and shouldn't most of us, really?), the high unfavorables the Republican Party continues to rack up among Latinos (not helped by the 2006 anti-immigration referendums and the rhetoric among Tea Party candidates like Sharon Angle) continue to grow.

And that, rather than any of the other quasi or outright discriminatory rhetoric that the Republican Party continues to throw out about the act by bleating about the travesty of amnesty and how it impacts the availability of financial aid for citizens (non-citizens in this position don't qualify for PELL Grants, so that one really doesn't hold much water) is what's really at stake here.

If you assume that at least some in the Republican Party are able to think strategically, rather than just utilizing the short term tactical thinking in which they specialize, you can assume that allowing a Democratic majority to pass the DREAM Act would be yet another blow to a party that has hemorrhaged votes among a demographic that provided significant support to Bush the Younger. What is at stake is likely a growing generation of younger Latino voters, one that would likely be lost, in large numbers, should this act pass.

So look for Republicans to filibuster the DREAM Act during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress, and for us to repeat the theater of the last two years, where we have to hunt down one or more Republicans with consciouses to overcome said filibuster. Outgoing Utah Senator Bob Bennett would be one Republican who would vote to end the filibuster, he's stated previously that he would vote yes on a standalone bill and is said to have re-asserted this stance recently.

Orrin Hatch had supported it previously, though I'm not holding my breath for him to do so this time, unless he's interested in meeting the same fate as Bennett did in Utah's crazy Republican primary system. Scott Brown is apparently still opposed, as is outgoing Ohio Senator George Voinovich. I'm hard pressed to find vote 60, unless one of the ladies from Maine once again stands up to their party and does the right thing, or a Republican who is simply not worried about a Tea Party primary opponent (likely because they're retiring or running for a different office) takes a stand.

For some fine lunchtime reading on the Act's likely impact, in raw numbers, download this position paper on the issue.

In Afghanistan, Can NATO's 'Security Bubbles' Last? : NPR

I personally think it will take longer than 2014 for this to work out correctly. I believe it will take decades of work in Afghanistan to create a stable functioning democracy. It's like having children in a bitter divorce. You play nice with each other for the kids. For now and for the future...

It was a short sided vision that got us into the mess and we are now here for the long haul...

In Afghanistan, Can NATO's 'Security Bubbles' Last? : NPR

Joe Miller is a sore loser....

Joe Miller, give yourself some respect and concede now! It's over...

http://www.adn.com/2010/11/16/1557873/murkowskis-lead-more-than-10000.html ADN

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Nugget of Wisdom From the Usual Dreck

One of my favorite sayings (and it actually originates from me, as far as I know) goes as follows:

If you ever wake up one morning having found yourself with renewed faith in the intellect of your fellow citizens/residents/man, just spend a few minutes reading the comments on your local newspaper's website and you'll have that faith sucked out of you by the time you finish your cereal.

Earlier today I tweeted an article on how one in four Americans now receives some measure of food assistance from the government. Inevitably, the conservative 'blame the victim' crowd came out to blame the fat/lazy/stupid defrauders eating away "their" tax dollars. But from under the pile of non-constructive dreck that made up the comments on this article came this gem from a user named gentil77 that was both eye opening and worthy of applause:

You didn't get mad when over 200,000 US Citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance.You didn't get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend, the filthy rich, over a trillion dollars in tax breaks.You didn't get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused US Citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments, retirement, and home values.You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.You didn't get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.you didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate Energy policy and push us to invade Iraq..You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.You didn't get mad when we spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.You didn't get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined.You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq .You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people!!!!You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.you didn't get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.You didn't get mad when as a result of of the reckless BUSH administration massive harm to the country, we migth never be able to recover from this one..No.....You finally got mad when a black man was elected President and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick!.
A bit long, but it kind of sums the last decade or so of Republican supporter thought up nicely, doesn't it?

Tell Joe Miller to concede now...

I just did...


Shameful Joe Miller, shame on you...

If the voter intent is there, why would you want to deny many voters of their right? This is disgusting. Joe Miller should concede now. This quote is ugly and shameful and quite un-American!

"... Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto said he still thinks the court challenge could get enough votes thrown out for Miller to win.
"The race is far from over," DeSoto said."

Alaska's Lisa Murkowski Passes Joe Miller In Senate Vote Count NPR

Monday, November 15, 2010


The amount of Islamophobia that persists through this county is frightening. I can't believe that a Oklahoma state representative who voted against this constitutional amendment from appear on the ballet because "He considered the idea unnecessary, since the First Amendment already bans state-imposed religion." Exactly! And these so called "activist" liberal judges recognize this too. The first amendment protects us from religion being part of our government. The really scary thing from this article was the last line "America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles — that’s the basis of our laws, and people try to deny it,” said State Representative Mike Reynolds, a Republican who was an author of the bill. “I believe there is an awakening of people concerned about Christian values in our nation, and they are starting to express themselves.” That is not appropriate either...

Oklahoma Surprise: Islam as an Election Issue

The End of Media As We Knew It

If you haven't had the chance to read Ted Koppel's Op-Ed in Sunday's New York Times about the devolution of media, I strongly recommend it. It simply reinforces what's been mentioned here previously, and what was predicted over a decade ago. It also greatly offended, apparently, Keith Olbermann, who has stated he'll have a commentary in response on tonight's show.

I'm more or less with Koppel, however, I will take issue with one statement:

The transition of news from a public service to a profitable commodity is irreversible.
The St. Petersburg (FL) Times clearly shows the way that media, and newspapers in particular, can re-make themselves as non-profits. This seems a reasonable path to survival for what's left of your local newspaper, in my opinion, but more on that to come.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

AP-GfK Poll: Public backs GOP on taxes, not health - Yahoo! News

This goes along with Daniel Cromartie's link on out Twitter feed (@majorprog). It's good to see America wake up and realize the benefits of the new health law...

AP-GfK Poll: Public backs GOP on taxes, not health - Yahoo! News

Tea party groups have wide range of goals for new champions in Congress

A couple of things from this article.

1. Exactly. "Funding should be cut unless it affects me." Hmm. I don't think it works that way.

Here is the quote: "Toby Marie Walker, a leader of the Waco Tea Party, has applauded the use of federal stimulus money to expand the Interstate 35 bridge in the busy central Texas corridor and wants to see the federal government finish the job. Cut spending elsewhere, she said."

2. Um as I seem to recall, it was DEREGULATION that caused the housing crisis. And well Detroit, um I hate to say this but Chrysler was bad. GM not much better. Both were mismanaged companies. I live here in Detroit and know...

Quote # 2: Julles Rodgers, a member of the Nebraska Tea Party, takes a harder line.

"Taxes, taxes, taxes. Lord, the tax burden we have is out of this world!" said Rodgers, owner of the Liberty Inn motel in Aurora, Neb. "They are killing the economy with the rules and regulations. It's the government telling Detroit how to make cars that made Detroit go belly-up. It's the government telling the mortgage companies how to make loans that caused the housing crisis."

3. Bring on a third party. I've been wishing for this all along!

Quote # 3: Looking ahead, newly elected Republicans will have two years to prove their tea party mettle, said Rodgers, the Nebraska activist.
"If these guys don't deliver on their promises, then I expect by 2012 a third party could emerge," she said. "For Republicans . . . it's their last shot. They better perform."

Tea party groups have wide range of goals for new champions in Congress

On The Media, Part 1 - The Corrupt Versus the Non Corrupt

This is Jon Stewart's recent interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.

In fairness, it isn't one of Stewart's more coherent interviews. Perhaps he and Maddow didn't gel. But I think it's mostly on Stewart, personally. If you have the time, dig up his pre-rally appearance on Larry King. Much funnier and much more succinct.

He does manage to make some salient points, however. First and foremost is his position that the real conflict that media, specifically cable news media, is not that of left versus right, but that of corruption versus the non-corrupt. He asks, and it's never really effectively answered, why this focus is so pervasive in what passes for our modern day news media.

Fortunately, this question is easy to answer. Investigation of corruption is expensive and time consuming. It also returns results that can be extremely complicated for the viewer to understand. (Enron, for example).

What is not cheap, not time consuming, and fills a great deal of time (and with a 24 hour news cycle we have nothing but time) is the idea of arguing. Within the cable news paradigm, all one has to do is choose a side and watch the arguments unfold, within the backdrop of a marginally credible "news" network, and you're off and running.

You might suggest that CNN's iReports and Al Gore's Current TV are attempts to work around this model. And you'd be partially right. These two concepts rely on people to send in live streams of events as they happen. But these don't really qualify as investigative reporting either. It's free content provided by self selecting eyewitnesses. Like the arguments that take place on tv, largely moderated by a useless host such as Wolf Blitzer, they depend on the viewer to make an accurate interpretation of what's being said.

In the past, we could rely on newspapers to make the investment in investigative reporting to pick up the slack. Watergate was driven by the Washington Post. The Toledo Blade won a Pulitzer Prize investigating Vietnam atrocities (and deserved a second for it's Tom Noe investigation). More recently, the Cleveland Plain Dealer did terrific work untangling the corruption rampant in Cuyahoga County government.

But, for reasons I'll elaborate on in another entry, newspapers no longer have the money or the patience to make large scale investments in investigative reporting.

And even if a publication does make an effort to focus on investigative reporting, those who find themselves on the short end of the partisan side of the results of these investigations simply accuse the publication of bias. Mother Jones (which is usually well worth your time and money) and The Nation (which kind of isn't) are not the same publication. Both are painted with the liberal brush.

Local news organizations aren't usually much help either. Just this week, I was enlightened to the fact that there is apparently an epidemic of people who have never had sex with each other getting married (and then not having sex with each other), and that another station has exclusive photos that prove ghosts are real.

For the record, I like Maddow, and do make an effort to catch her program. Her program with Chuck D of Public Enemy was without question the most entertaining thing about Air America.

And Jon Stewart is right as well. At the beginning of the last decade, we had multiple forms of media that audited the media. Brill's Content, Inside.com and the Media Studies Journal were three publications that served as excellent, non-partisan watchdogs that audited the media we consumed. All three are now gone. With the financial and content free state of our media today, we are worse off for it.

Some Thoughts on Trains, and Public Transportation

This particular post started as a response to our Cat Daddy's posting of a story on how Wisconsin and Ohio are about to return federal funding for High Speed Rail, but I thought I had enough thoughts on the issue that I'd turn it into a full entry.

I'm not, in general, opposed to high speed rail. And, like our Cat Daddy, I understand that our time horizon for oil is not infinite. However, the Ohio plan (which is the only one I can speak to) was not well thought out, would have been underfunded, would have shared tracks with CSX and Norfolk and Southern freight traffic, been at least partially subservient to freight traffic and, for the foreseeable future, would not have been self sustaining.

First and foremost, the Ohio plan would have created a rail system that would have been slower than actually driving among any two of the three c's. And while there would have been economic benefits to upgrading the existing tracks for freight, the trains and the tracks were not equipped to handle high speed rail as it exists in Japan or Europe. At best, there would be portions of the trip that would hit 90 miles per hour for brief periods.

And, because this is state administered, this supposes there are minimal stops and that smaller cities such as Mansfield and Wooster don't manage to wrangle stops out of the system, further eroding the system's speed and efficiency.

For Ohio, the US Government is ready to award approx. $400 million in funding. At best, this creates a rail system that is more time consuming than the not terribly difficult drive down I-71. While people still have a choice, their choice will be to drive.

For true high speed rail, speeds exceeding 90 mph, connecting the three Cs requires an entirely new rail infrastructure with new tracks and an adequate right of way that, if California's pricing is to serve as the model, would cost approximately $14.5 billion dollars. And this doesn't include any consideration for the "Other Ohio": Dayton, Toledo, Youngstown, and the Southeastern part of the state.

On the one hand, the issue really truly is the perfect (high speed rail on other continents) being the enemy of the kind of good( this proposal). And if you can't come up with $400 million for this version of high speed rail, where are you going to find $14 billion for the real thing? You have to start somewhere, right?

Personally, I think the administration's approach is wrong on the issue, in the sense that awarding funding by state is the mistake. Any rail system proposal needs to be thought out and funded regionally, rather than state by state. If profitability is to be a factor in the operation of a high speed passenger rail system, and it will need to be at some definable point on the horizon, the first question that needs to be answered involves determining routes and destinations to which one would prefer to neither drive nor fly due to cost of fuel or inconvenience. If I live in Cleveland, I would drive to the other two Cs, Detroit, or Pittsburgh. I would gladly take high speed rail to Chicago, Indianapolis or Philadelphia (at which point I could transfer to the Acela). Beyond Minneapolis or Louisville, given a choice, I'd probably prefer to fly.

Trusting each state to create a patchwork network of high speed rail lines without any real thought as to how they interconnect is a recipe for failure, and that's what we're seeing now. And perhaps, for now, the administration might consider taking that funding and offering it to those companies that haul freight on those systems instead.

Kabul By Skateboard: A Love Story Amid Destruction : The Two-Way : NPR

An amazing video. A touch of sadness and a touch of hope...

Kabul By Skateboard: A Love Story Amid Destruction : The Two-Way : NPR

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Beck's bizarre, dangerous hit at Soros - CNN.com

And again, why is this guy still on the air?

Beck's bizarre, dangerous hit at Soros - CNN.com

Nazis Were Given ‘Safe Haven’ in U.S., Report Says - NYTimes.com

Definitely this is an amazing story and needs to be told. This is disgusting...

Nazis Were Given ‘Safe Haven’ in U.S., Report Says - NYTimes.com

Alaska's Murkowski-Miller Race A Win For Penmanship : It's All Politics : NPR

I think it is awesome that Joe Miller is losing. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

Alaska's Murkowski-Miller Race A Win For Penmanship : It's All Politics : NPR

Not So Fast: Future For High-Speed Rail Uncertain : NPR

I'm opposed to this action of turning down federal funding for high speed rail. With both the congestion and security requirements from airports and the environmental effects of more cars on the roads, America needs an alternative to both of these regional travels options. Plus, we would help reduce our dependency on foreign oil.  The infrastructure would be built. The benefits would not only help this generation but many to come. We are far behind the rest of the civilized world in high speed rail. Why can't it happen here?

Not So Fast: Future For High-Speed Rail Uncertain : NPR

Friday, November 12, 2010

Glenn Beck Slammed for 'Horrific' Remarks About George Soros and Holocaust

And why is this guy still on the air?

Glenn Beck Slammed for 'Horrific' Remarks About George Soros and Holocaust

New Polling On President Obama And Speaker Boehner | The New Republic

Interesting numbers...

New Polling On President Obama And Speaker Boehner | The New Republic


Okay - I have an issue with Ms. Lopez' argument. If the universal health coverage is to not exclude anyone for any condition, then her argument doesn't carry any weight. Since abortion is a legally permissible medical procedure and the intention of universal health care is to not deny coverage for ANY pre-existing condition - the abortion procedures still will get federal funding...


Fourth leter down:

Kathryn Jean Lopez
Courtesy of Kathryn Jean Lopez
Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor-at-large of the National Review Online.
Dear Mr. President,
Please join John Boehner in making the Hyde Amendment permanent and universal.
No federal taxpayer funding of abortion, period.
You and I don't have to agree on the morality of abortion to keep my money out of it.
You would be getting us beyond the contentious appropriations debate we have every year, talking past one another.
It would show you respect the moral consciences of many Americans — and that you don't view us as enemies.
Thank you, Mr. President.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Battle Lines Drawn Over Medicaid in Texas - NYTimes.com

The quoted comment below sickens me. It's this kind of mentality and generalizations that the right uses all the time. But I fail to see where they give ANY facts to their generalized comments. Why do these heartless, gutless, half-witted people keep getting elected into office?

Battle Lines Drawn Over Medicaid in Texas - NYTimes.com: "“If people are in superbad poverty, that’s one thing,” said State Representative Warren Chisum, Republican of Pampa, the state’s most vocal supporter of dropping out of Medicaid and a candidate for speaker of the House. “It breaks my heart when there’s someone who smokes, and who stays drunk half the time, and we’re supposed to provide their health care.”"

GOP Takeover May Speed Anti-Hunger Bill : It's All Politics : NPR

I think it is interesting that lawmakers are concerned about this anti-hunger bill passing after the new Republican majority takes hold of the House of Representative in January. Does this mean Republican are less compassionate? Or is it that those struggling to survive do not tend to vote Republican and therefore are ignored?

GOP Takeover May Speed Anti-Hunger Bill : It's All Politics : NPR

Refinancing Plan

An interesting article on the mortgage crisis and a possible solution. Whatever solution is proposed for this crisis, it should be available to all households...

part 1

Economic Woes Spur Interest In Refinancing Plan


part 2

Mass-Refinancing Plan Has Doubters


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Let us remind ourselves of our purpose...

I thought Franklin D. Roosevelt's words from June 14, 1942 still holds much credence today. Whether it's extending unemployment benefits in those in need. Whether it's extending health care for all. Whether it's fighting the injustices of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We strive to make this world a better place. A better place for us and our neighbors. To help our neighbors. To help humanity.

"Our earth is but a small star in the great universe. Yet of it we can make, if we choose, a planet unvexed by war, untroubled by hunger or fear, undivided by senseless distinctions of race, color, or theory. Grant us that courage and foreseeing to begin this task today that our children and our children's children may be proud of the name of man.
"The spirit of man has awakened and the soul of man has gone forth. Grant us the wisdom and the vision to comprehend the greatness of man's spirit, that suffers and endures so hugely for a goal beyond his own brief span. Grant us honor for our dead who died in the faith, honor for our living who work and strive for the faith, redemption and security for all captive lands and peoples. Grant us patience with the deluded and pity for the betrayed. And grant us the skill and the valor that shall cleanse the world of oppression and the old base doctrine that the strong must eat the weak because they are strong.
"Yet most of all grant us brotherhood, not only for this day but for all our years- a brotherhood not of words but of acts and deeds. We are all of us children of earth—grant us that simple knowledge. If our brothers are oppressed, then we are oppressed. If they hunger, we hunger. If their freedom is taken away, our freedom is not secure. Grant us a common faith that man shall know bread and peace-that he shall know justice and righteousness, freedom and security, an equal opportunity and an equal chance to do his best, not only in our own lands, but throughout the world. And in that faith let us march, toward the clean world our hands can make. Amen."

The whole speech is here...

Face it Joe Miller, you lost...

The federal lawsuit by Joe Miller does not make any sense. Really? Do you expect every voter to correctly spell a write in candidate's name? If the voter intent is there, reasonable misspellings of the name should count. If the election officials can determine the voter intent, then it should count. Sorry Joe Miller, you are just a sore loser...

Alaska Starts Counting Write-In Vote For Senate Seat
by Frank James
Alaska Starts Counting Write-In Votes For Senate Seat
09:45 am November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just as I thought...

Sarah Palin is all talk and no substance...

TRENDING: War of words between Palin and the Wall Street Journal
November 9th, 2010
04:57 PM ET

Environmental Change

Just what does the House takeover mean for progress on Climate Change? Nothing positive, that's for sure.

GOP Takeover In The House May Spell Doom For Obama's Environmental Policies


Andrew Shirvell fired from job at Michigan Attorney General's Office - AnnArbor.com

This kind of hatred should never be tolerated. The Michigan attorney general made to correct choice in firing Andrew Shirvell...

Andrew Shirvell fired from job at Michigan Attorney General's Office

By: David Jesse
AnnArbor.com Staff

Andrew Shirvell fired from job at Michigan Attorney General's Office - AnnArbor.com

Oklahoma's Anti-Shariah Law Put On Hold -- For Now : NPR

Finally, somebody is making some sense...

Oklahoma's Anti-Shariah Law Put On Hold -- For Now

Oklahoma's Anti-Shariah Law Put On Hold -- For Now : NPR

Monday, November 8, 2010

Different perspective...

A different perspective is alway nice. William Saletan's article is a good read. Health care reform is here for good. Deal with it Republicans and Tea Partiers....

Pelosi's Triumph

Democrats didn't lose the battle of 2010. They won it.

Expect little...

I think to expect not much but I also see the glass half empty...

How the Republican Congress Will Vote

On health care, labor, taxes, the environment...


Sunday, November 7, 2010

The product was fine. The sales job was not...

Sorry Senator McConnell, you are wrong again. The product was just fine. The sales job was lousy. Americans enjoy some of the benefits of the law. The Tea Party misses the boat on the facts...

Fresh Off Victories, Republicans Share Their Plans

Here are the popular elements of the law. Most notable are guaranteed coverage and insurance for dependents through age 25...

The Health Care Reform Provisions Americans Like -- And Don't Like

Contributing Editor


Why Republicans? Why?

To repeal some of the consumer protections would be a mistake. I think it's time for the Democrats to really get the message out. Okay, here is why the insurance coverage is mandatory.   


This is a HUGE accomplishment of this law. Thousands of Americans suffer from conditions that insurance companies have DENIED coverage. This is unethical. Everyone has a right to health coverage. How else will this be accomplished? 

G.O.P. Plans to Use Purse Strings to Fight Health Law


Things were summed up pretty nicely here:


OPINION: Taxes - our new compass as a nation


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You've found the blog, now follow us on Twitter. Tweets daily @majorprog.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Continuation of "Really?"

Continuation of the post yesterday titled "Really"

Oklahoma Muslims unsure of status after voters outlaw 'Shariah'


I still don't understand why seven out of ten Oklahomans passed this state constitutional amendment. Isn't this the USA? Where we have the first amendment? The freedom to follow your own beliefs? This is a slap in the face to the Muslims that reside in Oklahoma. To combat radical fundamentalism, we need to embrace the moderate Muslim face. What is a bigger rejection of radical fundamentalism then acceptance of moderation? We would be sending a much larger message to Al Qaeda by acceptance of Islam and Muslims in our country. This passage of referendum 355 plays right into their propaganda. Don't you get it Oklahoma? You are feeding into the radical hatred. You are not solving the problem. You are making it worse...

Some things never change...

Because of this, I sent a note to Senator McConnell...


Why is he so instant on bashing the president? Why doesn't he focus on fixing the country? You too can contact the Senator. Here is the link. Tell him to fix the economic crisis we seem to have a hard time getting out of rather than limiting the president. Work together. Do your job Senator!



Come on Oklahoma. Really? Are you that paranoid? Doesn't the first amendment protect you from this? I'd think I'd be more concerned if there was a Christian law written in the books...

          FOR THE PROPOSAL - YES                NOP   695,650   70.08%
          AGAINST THE PROPOSAL - NO             NOP   296,944   29.92%

The proposal is listed here: http://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/sq_gen10.pdf

It states:
This measure amends the State Constitution. It changes a section that deals with the courts of this state. It
would amend Article 7, Section 1. It makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It
forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia
International law is also known as the law of nations. It deals with the conduct of international organizations
and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes. It deals with their relationship with each other.
It also deals with some of their relationships with persons.
The law of nations is formed by the general assent of civilized nations. Sources of international law also
include international agreements, as well as treaties.
Sharia Law is Islamic law. It is based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed.

Kudos for the 296,944 who voted 'no'!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Food for thought...

Timothy Egan: How Obama Saved Capitalism and Lost the Midterms
Published: November 2, 2010
The president helped capitalism more than he helped himself.



Hello all-

Welcome to our new political commentary island of refuge on the web. With the deluge of ramblings of the recent midterm elections and the so-called new majority of those somewhat right of center ideologies; I wish to create a forum for progressive thought. This is a rebuttal to the recent trends in national politics and some of the regional happenings. Some of which I am not happy about...

For instance, I live here in Michigan. A state that has just elected a Republican state house and senate. It has elected a Republican governor. (He may turn out to be moderate, but I'm just not sure yet.) And on top of this, elected a conservative supreme court (now it's a 4-3 margin). These things scare me. This blog will bring together like minded progressive thought and maybe, just maybe someday get big enough to change public policy...

Enjoy the ride!