Saturday, December 18, 2010

DADT Is Over, Civil Rights Are Stronger: Who Made It Happen?

It's worth pausing to note some of the folks who made this success possible.

* The LGBT community's activists and their allies -- For those demanding equality and LGBT civil rights, there are a variety of issues that fuel and motivate activism, but DADT has been a central rallying cry for many years. They helped get repeal on the map, helped push policymakers to do what's right, and it was the community's tireless efforts that helped deliver today's win.

* The American people -- Policymakers don't always follow the polls, but the more popular the proposal, the easier it is to pass. In the case of DADT, survey after survey showed the American mainstream overwhelmingly supportive of repeal -- regardless of party, ideology, age, race, gender, education level, income, or region. Had the public not shown such good sense, today's victory, in all likelihood, wouldn't have happened.

* U.S. troops -- Gay and lesbian soldiers helped tell their story, making it painfully obvious to decent people that the status quo wasn't working. The larger community of servicemen and women answered a survey, and their comfort with change made today possible.

* President Obama -- In 2008, candidate Obama ran on a platform that included DADT repeal as a key promise. In his first State of the Union address, President Obama put repeal on the front burner, urging Congress to make the long-overdue change, and raising the visibility of the issue to new heights. The president, his White House, and Organizing for America continued to push for repeal, and played an important role in making it happen.

* Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen -- Perhaps no one brought more credibility and stature to this debate than Gates and Mullen, both of whom not only endorsed repeal, but offered persuasive and powerful congressional testimony on the issue. In multiple hearings, Republicans kept rehashing tired talking points, and these two men kept knocking them down. It was absolutely pivotal.

* Joe Lieberman -- It pains me to admit it, because I've been exasperated with Lieberman for many years, but the truth is he showed real leadership on this issue, and today's victory is a direct result of his hard work.

* Harry Reid -- The Senate Majority Leader was not only on the side of angels on this issue all along, but he made damn sure it reached the floor when it looked like it might not. Reid invested endless hours in helping assemble the necessary votes, and worked with the House to get the standalone bill crafted just right. Without Reid's commitment and follow-through, the bill would have very likely died.

* Susan Collins -- There have been times when I've questioned whether she was negotiating in good faith. She was. Last week, Collins teamed up with Lieberman, when it would have been easy for her to quit and move on, and made the standalone a bipartisan bill, which in turn helped bring other Republicans on board.

* Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Patrick Murphy -- House Democrats have been on board with repeal from the outset, and were willing to pass this more than once to accommodate a serpentine process. Pelosi, Hoyer, and Murphy never wavered, and never blinked.

I could go on, and I don't want to short shrift other deserving figures. Kirsten Gillibrand, Barney Frank, Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, and many others made today possible.

The larger point, though, is that a variety of groups, figures, leaders, and policymakers established a goal and worked together to reach it. The result is a historic victory for American civil rights that all of us can be proud of.

Bravery has no orientation.

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Obama's Long Game: 65 - 31

"Like 2009's removal of the HIV ban, which was as painstakingly slow but thereby much more entrenched, this process took time. Without the Pentagon study, it wouldn't have passed. Without Obama keeping Lieberman inside the tent, it wouldn't have passed. Without the critical relationship between Bob Gates and Obama, it wouldn't have passed. It worked our last nerve; we faced at one point a true nightmare of nothing ... for years. And then we pulled behind this president, making it his victory and the country's victory, as well as ours.

We also know now what a McCain administration would have done: nothing. The disgraceful bitterness and rancor and irrationality that the Senator has shown these past few months reveal just how important it was to defeat him and his deranged, delusional side-kick in 2008."

- Andrew Sullivan

Obama is delivering on his word. As Commander-in-Chief, as a diplomat, as a pragmatic world leader. START is coming along, too. Democrats will need to join the Presidential vision as the House changes in 2011.

Just think how little would have been done if McCain/Palin were in charge? Disturbing.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Wealth And Power Trumps Facts

"In the end, those of us who expected the crisis to provide a teachable moment were right, but not in the way we expected. Never mind relearning the case for bank regulation; what we learned, instead, is what happens when an ideology backed by vast wealth and immense power confronts inconvenient facts. And the answer is, the facts lose."
Paul Krugman, Wall Street Whitewash

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MD University Study: Extended Exposure To Fox Causes Stupidity

The troublesome record of spin by conservative television station Fox News has long been a cause for concern to many Americans, who frequently allege that the nation's most viewed "news" network has the effect of dumbing down voters.
Turns out, they were right.
A University of Maryland study (PDF) published earlier this month found that people in the survey who had the most exposure to Fox News were more likely to believe falsehoods and rumors about national and world affairs when compared to those who paid attention to other news outlets.
In a summary carried by Alternet, the following falsehoods were most relayed by Fox News viewers:
91 percent believed the stimulus legislation lost jobs;
72 percent believed the health reform law will increase the deficit;
72 percent believed the economy is getting worse;
60 percent believed climate change is not occurring;
49 percent believed income taxes have gone up;
63 percent believed the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts;
56 percent believed Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout;
38 percent believed that most Republicans opposed TARP;
63 percent believed Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear).
Does Fox make viewers more stupid, or, are stupid people drawn to Fox? #willfully ignorant

Obama Leads Palin By 22% In WSJ/NBC Poll

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Obama with a 55 percent to 33 percent lead over Palin, and a 47-percent to 40-percent lead over Romney. The survey also found Obama with a 47-percent to 27-percent lead over the relatively unknown South Dakota Senator John Thune. The poll was conducted Dec. 9-13 by Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican pollster Bill McInturff among 1,000 adults, and has a 3.1-percent margin of error.

Run, Sarah, run.

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PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: 'A government takeover of health care'

In the spring of 2009, a Republican strategist settled on a brilliant and powerful attack line for President Barack Obama's ambitious plan to overhaul America's health insurance system. Frank Luntz, a consultant famous for his phraseology, urged GOP leaders to call it a "government takeover."

"Takeovers are like coups," Luntz wrote in a 28-page memo. "They both lead to dictators and a loss of freedom."

The line stuck. By the time the health care bill was headed toward passage in early 2010, Obama and congressional Democrats had sanded down their program, dropping the "public option" concept that was derided as too much government intrusion. The law passed in March, with new regulations, but no government-run plan.

Reality is stubborn, and the "government takeover" claim is demonstrably false, whether it was called out by the media or not. PolitiFact quoted Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, explaining, "The label 'government takeover" has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a 'takeover.' "

NOTE: In late 2009, PolitiFact named Sarah Palin's "death panels" garbage the Lie of the Year. It was a well-deserved honor.

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The GOP: Delays Just For The Sake Of Delays

After eight months of Senate consideration of the pending nuclear arms control treaty, New START, Republicans are still complaining the process is moving too quickly. The latest problem is over amendments.

Fine, Democrats said, let’s have the debate. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), one of the leading champions of the treaty, went to the floor yesterday to invite Republicans with concerns to present their amendments for consideration. It was, by some accounts, the moment the GOP has been waiting for — a chance to present their recommended policy changes and have them voted on.

Except, that’s not what happened. Kerry kept asking Republicans to present their amendments so the Senate could vote on them, but GOP detractors of the treaty had nothing to offer. They had demanded time for their amendments, but hadn’t bothered to actually write any.

Kerry waited for 5 hours. The GOP delivered nothing.

“We’ve reached a new stage in America where you just say something; it doesn’t matter if it’s based on the truth ” Kerry said, speaking without a prepared text. “Just say it. Put it out there — somebody’s going to believe it, someone will pick it up.”

The GOP: Delays Just For The Sake Of Delays.


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IMDb’s Top 10 Films of 2010

Click the link. I've seen 4 of them.

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Republicans' Race To The Bottom

"Democrats have some things they want to do, but in addition to satisfying their own interest groups they have to settle for third or fourth best policies because Republicans have simply decided they don’t care about anything except tax cuts for the rich, hating gay people, and bennies for favored industries.

In the middle of a massive recession they opposed a stimulus bill. In the aftermath of a financial crisis they opposed a financial reform bill. In the face of skyrocketing health care costs they demagogued modest cuts in Medicare spending. They spent months negotiating a spending bill — transparently, openly, via the ordinary committee process — and then killed it just because it would annoy Harry Reid.

Global warming is a hoax, gay recruits will destroy the military, and creationism is an appropriate topic for high school biology classes. Our infrastructure is crumbling and our schools are mediocre, but the creeping encrustation of government prevents anything serious from being done about either.

We’re in hock to Middle Eastern theocracies for our oil, and the laughable answer from the right consists entirely of nukes and a bit of marginal extra drilling around the periphery of America.

An arms control treaty that could have been negotiated by Ronald Reagan himself is unsure of passage because too many Republican senators deem it unsafe to risk the wrath of Fox News or their tea party constituencies."

The Decline of America | Mother Jones

The Republican race to the bottom. “Why try?” should be their motto.

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Boehner's Billionaire Bailout

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On Slippery Slopes: "You Just Might Be Wrong"

"The fear of slippery slopes is not the fear of a legislative or judicial process leading by its own wicked logic to the abandonment of common sense. It’s the fear of cultural change. Or rather, the fear that the future will not always agree with you. Less charitably, it’s the fear that you might just be plumb wrong on a lot of things that you would find highly embarrassing to reconsider." - Jason Kuznicki

Ex: there is no reason that religious liberty and marriage equality can't co-exist. The slippery slope does not end with a person marrying his horse or dog is same sex marriages are made legal. It ends with two people loving each other.

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Why Hate On WikiLeaks As Others Do The Exact Same Thing?

The New York Times & Los Angeles Times would publish reports divulging information obtained from classified documents all the time.

"Put simply, there is no intellectually coherent way to distinguish what WikiLeaks has done ... with what newspapers around the world did in this case and what they do constantly: namely, receive and then publish classified information without authorization." Glenn Greenwald

Truth hurts. Get ready for some pain.

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Dumbest Judge In America

In declaring mandatory health insurance unconstitutional, Federal Judge Henry Hudson uses a perfect tautology—a fallacy that proves a point by restating it. Buying insurance isn’t covered under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, the judge says. Therefore, he says, the law can’t be covered under the Necessary and Proper Clause. The problem is, the Necessary and Proper Clause exists to extend federal power over things not covered by the Constitution. In other words, Hudson argues that because insurance isn’t covered by the Constitution, it can’t be covered by the part of the Constitution that exists to cover stuff that isn’t otherwise covered. You follow? While striking down a key part of the health care law, Judge Hudson has pulled off an equally impressive feat: embarrassing his fellow conservatives. The Dumbest Judge in America

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U.S. Sues BP, Transcoean, Anadarko Over Gulf Oil Spill

WASHINGTON; Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday that the United States is filing a lawsuit against BP and its partners in the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico claiming their negligence led to the massive spill that sent millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf during the spring and summer.

Holder said a months-long investigation by Justice Department investigators had found that BP, which was the primary operator of the well, its partners in the well, which included Aandarko and the MOEX subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., and Transocean, which BP had hired to drill the well, had failed to secure the well properly, failed to maintain drilling equipment and failed to monitor the well, and that those failures had caused the spill.

Holder also said the massive spill was a violation of the Clean Water Act, and that the defendants will be held liable for fines for each barrel of oil that spilled into the gulf.

You know this somehow annoys Republicans.

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Unfettered Capitalism Consumes The Country

“We have to grasp, as Marx and Adam Smith did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill, and lie to make money. They throw poor families out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars to make profits, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship money and power. And, as Marx knew, unfettered capitalism is a revolutionary force that consumes greater and greater numbers of human lives until it finally consumes itself.”

Chris Hedges from Death of the Liberal Class (2010)

The US has socialized capitalism. True capitalism would shred this country from limb to limb, grinding every advantage over the next person, until nothing were left. So stop yourself from saying how great capitalism is because it does not really occur as you think it does.

Yes, parts are good, but as we see with modern banking, the game of making money was not good enough, they had to make the most money until the entire global game broke.

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via Jeff Parker / Florida Today

You don’t need a 1000 words for this picture, you need one: frauds

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Opposition to Health Law Is Steeped in Tradition

"Guaranteeing people a decent retirement and decent health care does more than smooth out the rough edges of capitalism. Those guarantees give people the freedom to take risks. If you know that professional failure won’t leave you penniless and won’t prevent your child from receiving needed medical care, you can leave the comfort of a large corporation and take a chance on your own idea. You can take a shot at becoming the next great American entrepreneur."

Opposition to Health Law Is Steeped in Tradition - David Leonhardt (via

The Entitled Class hates access to upward mobility. Their DNA “earned” it.

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Fox Manipulating Facts. Again. And Again


Today, more hard evidence of Fox’s spin came to light when documents concerning global warming issues were leaked. The same Fox editorial manager behind the careful manipulation of ‘government option,’ had this to say about reporting on any climate change issues:

…we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.

Now, we know that 2.5% of the top 200 climate scientists are even skeptical of people’s impact on rapid climate change, but Fox found this extreme fringe opinion worth pointing out “IMMEDIATELY.” In caps, folks.

This is how conservatives do business. Manipulation.

—Billy from GoodReasonNews filling in—

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Mark Zuckerberg is Time’s ‘Person Of The Year"

Pretty unflattering picture of Mark. Maybe he should un-friend Time.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Obama Pushes Ahead With Health Care


A judge’s ruling on Monday that the individual mandate in health-care reform is unconstitutional hasn’t thrown the legislation off course yet: “Implementation of the act will proceed,” a White House official said Monday.

“The ruling will not materially impede our work.” Health insurers are complying, though one representative says, “There is no alternative [to the mandate].”

The New Republic’s Jon Chait says, “The real loser here is the health-insurance lobby. Health insurers would have preferred to avoid any health-care reform at all. But the health-insurance lobby’s second-highest priority would be a working system with an individual mandate.”

(Source: The New York Times)

Activist Republican judges can’t stop this CHANGE. Single payer/Universal on the way. #hope-y change-y

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Tweet Of The Day

Tears of a huckster. Beck is a copycat.

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Gawker FAIL

LiberalsAreCool On TUMBLR

Be sure to follow my Tumblr, I post more stories and pictures there. It's like Twitter with visuals, youtube video, pictures. Check it out. Click below.

A Man Has Been Cured Of HIV.

A man has been cured of HIV:

Let us never forget that even though Congress passed a bill (in the senate it passed 63-37) permitting federal funding for stem cell research in 2006, President Bush vetoed the funding. President Obama overturned it early in his administration.

(Source: hannahlouisef, via liberal-lad)

Science > faith.

Bush’s anti-baby, pro-fetus, civilian massacring, pro-torture, #1 executioner as TX Governor, “Culture of Life” rhetoric is complete bullshit.

For anyone who dislikes Obama and uses technology from stem cells, I hope you can rationalize who is saving you. Democrats.

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Conflict Of Interest? Or Republicans Doing What They Do?

"So is it a problem that Judge Henry Hudson, the Virginia-based federal judge who struck down part of the Health Care Reform law today, is part owner of a GOP consulting firm which spent the last year attacking the Health Care law?"
Striking down parts of reform, albeit less popular, that pay for the good parts of the reform is not the solution. #lazy fake populism

Hudson is in error calling things un-Constitutional, too:
The Necessary and Proper Clause allows Congress to take steps beyond those listed in the Constitution to achieve its Constitutional ends, including the regulation of interstate commerce. Hudson’s argument wipes a key part of the Constitution out of existence. Kerr says Hudson “rendered [it] a nullity.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

I've Got Thick Skin

And by “thick”, Boehner means privileged, within a Conservative ultra-safe Ohio district, crying at-the-drop-of-a-hat, white skinned with an orange hue.

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When Frank Luntz Rules Your Brain: Boehner Programmed Not To Say "Compromise"

  • Boehner: We have to govern. That's what we were elected to do.
  • Stahl: But governing means compromising.
  • Boehner: It means working together.
  • Stahl: It also means compromising.
  • Boehner: It means finding common ground.
  • Stahl: Okay, is that compromising?
  • Boehner: I made it clear I am not gonna compromise on my principles, nor am I gonna compromise...
  • Stahl: What are you saying?
  • Boehner: ...the will of the American people.
  • Stahl: You're saying, "I want common ground, but I'm not gonna compromise." I don't understand that. I really don't.
  • Boehner: When you say the word "compromise," a lot of Americans look up and go, "Uh-oh, they're gonna sell me out." And so finding common ground, I think, makes more sense.
  • Conservatives are robots. Built without empathy, run on greed.

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    Sarah Palin Invents Drawdown Of US Assistance To Haiti

    At the news conference, Palin created some confusion when she referred to a potential drawdown of U.S. assistance to Haiti.

    “I know that there’s been some discussion of U.S. aid perhaps being lifted from this area,” she said. “Again – not to get political – but if some of the politicians would come here and see the conditions, perhaps they would see a need for, say, a military airlift to come bring supplies that are so needed here.”

    It was not clear what she was referring to, and a Palin spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

    Discussion of drawing down aid to Haiti? Not to get get hyperbolic about Conservatives always making shit up, but Palin just made some shit up.

    Love her caveat, "not to get political". Then what are you doing?

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    Always Looking Backwards

    "Republicans live in this fantasy world, where it’s always 1945, America is always #1. We’re like 65th at Infant Mortality, 19th in Literacy. One of the big arguments during the Health Care debate that the Republicans put forward, one of their major talking points was, ‘why are we messing around with the greatest health care system in the world?’ I don’t know, maybe because the U.N. ranks it #37? You know, these people love the truth, they just hate facts."

    Bill Maher (via leftish)

    (via liberal-lad)

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    Magical Tax Cuts-For-The-Rich Beans

    GOP Fairy Tales never address the real problems.

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    GO[od]P Grief

    We all know how this ends, yet we give Republicans the chance over and over again.

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    Sunday, December 12, 2010


    Facing a huge budget deficit when he took office in January, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano did not impose a hiring freeze. He did not stop borrowing to subsidize some of the richest school districts in the country. He did not eliminate the Police Department’s beloved mounted unit.

    Instead, Mr. Mangano, a Republican who won one of the first upsets of the Tea Party era, did what he had promised: He cut taxes, adding $40 million to the county’s deficit, which has since reached nearly $350 million.

    Now, with its bonds suddenly downgraded and a state oversight agency preparing to seize its checkbook and credit cards, Nassau is on the verge of a full-fledged fiscal crisis.

    Tea Klanners and GLibertarians have zero skills in governing. Their one skill is making things worse.

    The invisible hand is giving Nassau Country the finger. Schadenfreude is a bitch.

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