Tuesday February 25, 2014 Watering Hole: Environmental News and Food Politics – Open Thread

Let’s start with some of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules:

#11. Avoid foods you see advertised on television.

#19. If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.

#20. It is not food if it arrived through the window of your car.

The rest of the rules here: Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

Obama’s most effect environmental action, from High Country News: Smog in the West

Not environmental per se, but more from HCN – Failed secession movements litter the West.

Open Thread

Watering Hole: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 – Don’t Do It

Last week, I felt conflicted as to how the US should respond to the gassing of citizens in Syria by the Assad government.  I have since reached an opinion regarding the use of targeted missile strikes by the United States.  Mr. President, don’t do it.

Assad has already killed many Syrians using conventional weapons and air strikes won’t prevent him from killing more Syrians in the future.  Children are always collateral damage in a war regardless of the weapons of choice.

The use of chemical and biological weapons were outlawed after World War I at the Geneva Convention.  The Chemical Weapons Convention, which further bans chemical weapons and requires the destruction of these weapons, clearly specifies:

  • Prohibition,
  • Declaration Requirements,
  • Destruction Requirements,
  • On-site Activity,
  • Trade,
  • And Penalties for non-compliance.

You can read more at the Arms Control website.

Since it is clear that using chemical or biological weapons is greatly frowned upon, I am left wondering, “Where is the outrage by the rest of the world’s nations?”  Why isn’t Assad being charged as a war criminal by the Hague?  European nations are timid in their response.  Could this silence be because of the war crimes committed by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld when no nation spoke up?  Is Putin siding with Assad because he would do the same to Russians that oppose him?  Just asking.

I question why Assad used chemical weapons.  He knows that President Obama claimed their use was the red line and yet Assad used them.  Does he want the US to get involved?  Were these chemical weapons the lure on the line?  There are still too many questions that have not been answered.

Americans are tired of war.  If our government is struggling to handle the current case load of our veterans, it certainly can’t afford to add to that work load.  We are struggling to recover from a huge deficit by using “sequestration”.  Many home bound citizens are missing meals because of cuts to Meals on Wheels and children that could greatly benefit from early education are being denied admission to Head Start.  This is just some of the impact of the budgetary cuts made by Congress but yet, we are suppose to believe that the US can afford to pay for missiles.  A single Tomahawk cruise missile costs approximately $1.5 million and Hellfire rockets cost about $115,000.00 each.  These prices do not include the cost of transportation or the tools need to launch the weapons.

I am hopeful that the House will say “no” to President Obama’s request for military strikes in Syria.

In the meantime, you might want to dust off your yellow ribbons.

This diary at Daily Kos presents an interesting perspective.

This is the Open Thread.  Speak Up!

NB:  This post was created on Saturday, Sept. 7 and does not reflect any updates that may have occurred since then.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, March 21, 2013: Free Dumb

Video

Oddly the tea party still believes it will control the Repubican party.  CPAC held a straw poll and the winner for the 2016 primary is Rand Paul.  While that’s not really much to worry about the fact that so many current members of congress legislate with an eye to avoiding a tea party primary challenge is.

Tea Party Leader Defends Membership In Fascist Group

 James_Ives_Fascist

Nothing says patriotic like good old-fashioned Fascism, at least according to the president of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party, James Ives. As reported by the Texas Tribune, Mr. Ives’ title before he joined the Tea party was quite different: the director of propaganda for the American Fascist Party (AFP). When confronted with this information, he wisely did not deny, but what he did say was far more revealing:

“From my point of view, it was all pro-Constitution, pro-America.

I never did anything. There really weren’t enough people involved to be a gathering, let alone a rally. It was basically a scattering of people across the continent just complaining.”

READ MORE AT LINK

Obviously we can’t afford to ignore Rand Paul and the Tea Party types while they continue to force their beliefs on the rest of us.

THIS IS OUR OPEN THREAD.  WHAT’S UP?

The Sunday Roast: 2012 – The Best Line…and The Worst

I have been thinking a lot about what stuck in my mind from last year and, of course, there are numerous occasions that are memorable. In my own life and in politics. Not all good memories, but that was 2012 for me. Not all good. Let’s stick to politics.

Here the best line in politics of 2012. Hint: A door painted on a rock…

And there was in my humble opinion the worst:

The only way is to take away the guns from the bad guys. Period!

So, what are you thinking? There are some really great quotes out there you are welcome to post the best, funniest, most thoughtful, most thought provoking and most uplifting lines that come to your mind. I think we might as well end this year on hope. Heaven knows we can all use it.

To All Critters and Regulars and the Occasional Lurker. I wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year. Let’s get 2012 behind us, we have been spared another Republican President, yes it affects us over here as well. But there is still a lot of work to do on both sides of the Atlantic. I wish us all the best for it.

EV

 

The Watering Hole: December 14 — Obamadon

obamadon

Guess who has a dinosaur named after him?  You’re right — President Obama!  Wow, you’re good guessers.

In the picture, Obamadon is the cute one in the foreground.  I think the other one is John McCain, screaming at Obamadon to get off his rock.

From examiner.com:

The lizard sized dinosaur is thought to have lived on insects, and was small in stature in comparison to other known behemoths. Researchers say that the dinosaur’s size is not in anyway a political reference. The name Obamadon was chosen due to the lizard’s tall, straight teeth. According to sci-news.comPaleontologist Nick Longrich said, “Obama has these tall, straight incisors and a great smile.”

Interestingly enough, our President has a fish and a fungus named for him as well:

Obamadon is not the first organism to be named after Obama. Other researchers have given his name to Etheostoma obama, the spangled darter or “Obamafish”, and the fungus Caloplaca obamae.

It’s nice to have a President who is so well-respected, although George W. Bush also had something named after him…

While in office President George W. Bush also had something named after him, the “agathidium bushi“; a slime-mold beetle.

You had to see that one coming.  :)

This is our daily open thread — It’s Friday, Obamadonbots!

The Watering Hole, Monday, December 3rd, 2012: Conservative BS on Taxes

Since I forced myself to wallow in some of the crap on Newsmax, I figured that I should share some of the sliminess with you all. Let’s start with the arrogantly delusional George Will, who manages to squeeze a lie into each paragraph of his dementia-driven article. Here’s just a few examples of Will’s drivel; he starts off with:

“With a chip on his shoulder larger than his margin of victory, Barack Obama is approaching his second term by replicating the mistake of his first. Then his overreaching involved healthcare — expanding the entitlement state at the expense of economic growth. Now he seeks another surge of statism, enlarging the portion of gross domestic product grasped by government and dispensed by politics. The occasion is the misnamed “fiscal cliff,” the proper name for which is: the Democratic Party’s agenda.”

- and -

“…he surely understands that the entitlement state he favors requires raising taxes on the cohort that has most of the nation’s money — the middle class.”

- and -

“Republicans…respond that because lower rates reduce incentives to distort economic decisions, they promote growth by enhancing efficiency. Hence restoration of the higher rates would be a giant step away from, and might effectively doom, pro-growth tax reform…Furthermore, restoration of the Clinton-era top rate of 39.6 percent would occur in the very different Obama era of regulatory excesses and Obamacare taxes. Hence Republicans rightly resist higher rates.”

On to forever-lugubrious John Boehner:

“I would say we’re nowhere, period,” Boehner said on a taped segment of the “Fox News Sunday” program that aired today. “We’ve put a serious offer on the table by putting revenues up there to try to get this question resolved. But the White House has responded with virtually nothing.”

Yet, from the same article:

“Obama has proposed a framework that would raise taxes immediately on top earners and set an Aug. 1 deadline for rewriting the tax code and deciding on spending cuts, according to administration officials. It calls for $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $350 billion in cuts in health programs, $250 billion in cuts in other programs and $800 billion in assumed savings from the wind-down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Next, we’ve got the ubiquitous Grover Norquist. Norquist, despite a growing number of Republicans attempting to put some daylight between themselves and the Norquist pledge, stated last week:

“Well, the Republicans also have other leverage. Continuing resolutions on spending and the debt ceiling increase. They can give him debt ceiling increases once a month. They can have him on a rather short leash, you know, here’s your allowance, come back next month…Monthly if he’s good. Weekly if he’s not.”

In the Newsmax article, Norquist continues in the same childish vein, threatening “Tea Party 2“:

“Republicans want to continue the Bush tax cuts, and the extenders and the AMT [Alternative Minimum Tax] package . . . it’s the president who’s threatening to raise taxes if he stamps his feet and doesn’t get his way.”

And in case you aren’t sickened enough by those three, there’s the Sue Ann Niven of the Republicans, Peggy Noonan, saying:

“The election is over, a new era begins — and it looks just like the old one…A crisis is declared. Confusion, frustration, and a more embittered process follow. This is the Obama Way.”

Got your blood boiling yet?

This is our daily open thread — it’s Monday, wake up and start discussing something!

The Watering Hole, Thursday, November 29th, 2012: By the Numbers

For today’s post, here’s a mix of articles with one very minor common theme: they’re all numbered lists.

First, from Foreign Policy magazine, a list of “The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers”, which includes Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma (recently visited by President Obama), Bill and Hilary Clinton, Bill and Melinda Gates, Malala Yousafzai, and (coming in at Number 7) President Barack Obama. As David Rothkopf says in a companion article on FP (titled “The Opposite of Thinking”):

“Once again, Foreign Policy has with characteristic humility compiled its list of leading Global Thinkers. How we could possibly identify the top 100 thinkers on a planet of 7 billion people when we’ve never met a fairly considerable number of those people is not something we dwell on when discussing our methodology. Suffice it to say, the list is impressionistic. (OK, it’s more than a little ridiculous. But this is a tradition, so let’s just keep that between us, shall we?)”

On a more aesthetic theme, from The Weather Channel, here’s “The World’s 20 Most Amazing Bridges”, several of which are located in the United States.

And, just for fun, visit cracked.com for “14 Photographs That Shatter Your Image of Famous People.” Try not to get lost at cracked.com, it’s an addictive site.

Enjoy!

This is our Open Thread. What’s up?

The Watering Hole, Thursday, November 8th, 2012: “Political Capital”

George W. Bush appears to have had a long-term “thing” about “political capital. From Slate, November 2004:

“Bush has long been smitten with the notion of getting and spending “political capital.” In December 2000, Time asked him, “What did you learn about being president from watching your father?” Bush’s answer: “I learned how to earn political capital and how to spend it.” The interview continued:
TIME: You think he didn’t spend it well late in his term?
BUSH: I think he did not. History has shown that he had some capital in the bank that was not properly spent.”

…and…

“…during an interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press in 1999. Bush told Russert he would spend “capital” on his plan for Social Security.”  [Yes, we remember his cross-country "Privatize Social Security Tour" (sigh)]

W’s first press conference after his re-election, on November 4, 2004, has a couple of gems when viewed an eternity later (2012):

On “political capital”:

PRESIDENT BUSH:
I feel — I feel — I feel it is necessary to move an agenda that I told the American people I would move…you go out and you make your case and you tell the people, “This is what I intend to do.” And after hundreds of speeches and three debates and interviews and the whole process, where you keep basically saying the same thing over and over again, that when — when that — when you win, there is a — a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view. And that’s what I intend to tell the Congress, that I made it clear what I intend to do as the president; now let’s work — and the people made it clear what they wanted — now let’s work together. And it’s one of the wonderful — it’s one of the — it’s like earning capital. … I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. That’s what happened in — after the 2000 election. I earned some capital. I’ve earned capital in this election, and I’m going to spend it for — for what — what I told the people I’d spend it on…

On the supposedly all-important Deficit:

“Q Thank you, sir. Many within your own party are unhappy over the deficit, and they say keeping down discretional spending alone won’t help you reach your goal of halving the deficit in five years. What else do you plan to do to cut costs? [emphasis mine]
PRESIDENT BUSH: (Chuckles.) Well, I — I — you know, I would suggest they look at our budget that we’ve submitted to Congress, which does in fact get the deficit cut in half in five years. And it is a specific, line-by-line budget that we are required to submit, and have done so.

The key to making sure that the deficit is reduced is for there to be on the one hand spending discipline — and I — as you noticed in my opening remarks, I talked about these appropriations bills that are beginning to move. And I thought I was pretty clear about the need for those bills to be — to be fiscally responsible, and I meant it…

The revenues are exceeding projections, and as a result the projected deficit is less. But my point there is is that — so with — with good economic policy that encourages economic growth, the revenue streams begin to increase. And as the revenue streams increase coupled with fiscal discipline, you’ll see the deficit shrinking, and we’re focused on that.”

Now, I have been puzzled about this whole “political capital” idea since I originally saw George W. Bush swagger and leer about it. Back then, the other election buzzword was “mandate”, as in “the re-election of GWB proved that he has a ‘mandate’ from the American people,” even though only a little more than half of the American people had actually voted for him. I’ve never seen Democratic Presidents utilize this reasoning; nor would I actually expect them to do so, for the same reason why I would never use the term “landslide” to describe a win of only a few percentage points.

Three questions:

-Using Bush’s “political capital” logic, shouldn’t President Obama have now earned some of his own, to spend on doing what he promised America he would do?
-Would Republicans and the TV cheerleaders at Faux News admit that President Obama had earned “political capital” to spend, since he had won a “mandate” from the people? …and…
-Will President Obama and the Democrats ignore the Republican obstructionists and actually try to spend that “political capital”?

This is our daily open thread–what do you think?

The Watering Hole, Thursday, November 1st, 2012: “Disgusted” Just Doesn’t Cut It

I’m so sick and disgusted by far too many of my fellow American citizens that I don’t even know what to write about.

I don’t know what’s worse, the lies of the Romney campaign and their supporters, or the stupidity of the people who believe the lies, even after they’ve been debunked. The political opportunism of the President’s opponents making shit up about the Benghazi attack before the four bodies were even cold, forwarding conspiracy theories under the guise of “some people say” and “there are rumors”, show just how despicable these die-hard “party over country” people are.

The blatant politicizing of the Hurricane Sandy disaster by Romney and Ryan, all while Romney refuses to answer questions about his stance on FEMA, should make their supporters at least take pause; instead, their supporters are nit-picking the stories of the Romney/Ryan photo-ops during the disaster.

One of the latest attacks on Obama comes from Breitbart and The Washington Times‘ Ben Shapiro:

As Hurricane Sandy rocks the east coast, the Obama campaign soldiers on via email. Tasteless email. With millions out of power, the Obama campaign sent an email this evening with the following text:

GOT A PHONE? GET HIS BACK. CALL.BARACKOBAMA.COM

If you have a phone, don’t call your loved ones to ensure they’re safe. Call up a random person and push for Barack Obama. Because when the weather gets tough, the tough stump for Obama’s re-election.

At this point, even the word “disgusted” just isn’t enough. Anyone have a better word?

This is our daily open thread–talk amongst yourselves, I’m too disgusted.

The Watering Hole: October 26 – 5 signs racism still rules politics (and much of this country)

Salon, by David Sirota

The double standards that exist in this country in regard to President Obama — and really, other people of color — is just crazy-making.  David Sirota has an article out pointing out just five examples, but there are SO many more.  Read his whole article at the link above.

1. Joe Biden Is almost never called a socialist or a Marxist.

I know, right!  I don’t remember any president in my lifetime being called “socialist.”  Joe Biden is on the ticket with the President, but people aren’t railing against him as a socialist.

Despite a Senate voting record and presidential policymaking record that align him with moderate Republicans from a mere decade ago, Obama is regularly derided as a socialist, a communist or a Marxist. By contrast, Obama’s own white running mate, Joe Biden, has as liberal — or at times even more liberal — a voting record as Obama, but (save for the occasional Newt Gingrich outburst) is almost never referred to in such inflammatory terms.

2. Romneycare is Obamacare, yet the latter is criticized.

It’s all fun and games until the black guy does it.  Then we’re dooooooomed!

Nonetheless, under the first African-American president, the very same healthcare model the GOP championed is now being held up by the GOP as a redistributionist boondoggle.

3. A white president would never be criticized for these statements about Trayvon Martin.

After the incident, Obama said “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together.”

How dare the President speak compassionate words after a tragedy?  And who does he think he is, saying anything about any possible investigation?

4. America would neither ignore nor laugh off a young black male relative of Obama publicly fantasizing about violence against a presidential candidate.

Oh my god, Fox would never talk about another topic.  EVER.  The nerve!

As I reported last week, Romney’s son, Tagg Romney, cheerily riffed on his fantasies about committing an act of violence against a sitting president of the United States…if a young black male relative of Obama went on a radio show and publicly said he wanted to “jump out of your seat (and) rush down to the stage and take a swing” at Mitt Romney” — it would be an instant national outrage, replete with headlines about an imminent race war and Romney’s desperate need for beefed-up personal security.

5. If one of Obama’s teenage daughters was unmarried and pregnant, it wouldn’t be considered a “private” matter.

Oh wait, Fox would stop talking about an Obama male relative wanting to take a swing at Romney for this.  Ohhhh, just imagine the glee with which they would throw around terms like “ho,” “baby daddy,” and “welfare queen wannabe.”

When Sarah Palin was put on the Republican ticket in 2008, Bristol Palin’s pregnancy did not initiate a national discussion about the issue of teen pregnancy, unprotected sex or promiscuous fornication outside of wedlock. Instead, conservative leaders insisted it was off-limits as a topic…

Of course, the Obamas, knowing that this hypothetical daughter was pregnant, would never have exposed her to such treatment, because they would have politely declined a VP offer — because they have class — and because they don’t have access to white privilege.

There is a shameful ugliness in this country.  Electing Barack Obama as President in 2008 didn’t cause it, but it sure brought the racism many Americans had hidden so well — even from themselves — to the surface.  I, for one, am no longer willing to simply be embarrassed for these people, while saying nothing.  I will look them in the eye and say, “I don’t know if you’re a racist, but what you just said was a racist/bigoted statement.”  I’ll be willing to discuss why something is racist or bigoted, and how that sort of thing divides us as a country and as human beings, but I will not hang around for blustering denials or counter-accusations of racism — no matter who I’m speaking to. I will simply walk away, because I won’t have that sort of person in my life — no matter who they are.

The hate is not going away because we laugh at their ignorance and their stupid signs, but enough of us eject that sort of person from our families and circles of friends, it might have an effect.  Enlightened ones are always welcome back.

This is our daily open thread — yeah, I haz a rant.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, October 25th, 2012: Mixed Bag

I realize that I’m constantly posting articles from Foreign Policy Magazine, but they do provide some interesting items. Here’s a few that you may (or may not, I admit) be interested in.

First, a “who said it” article with fifteen quotes from either President Obama or Mitt Romney. Many of the quotes make the answer pretty obvious, but considering how WillardMitt has been trying to morph into a reasonable moderate like President Obama…well, see how you do on it.

Next, “In Praise of Apathy” discusses the American non-voter, as well as the two-party system, the electoral college, and the failings of the latter two. I was afraid that this article would be similar to the ‘Voting is a waste of time’ one on which I had previously written, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Speaking of the two-party system, here’s another FP article about the Third-Party Presidential Debate that was held on Tuesday night. Some of the topics in this debate are issues that many of us are more concerned about than those covered in the three debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney: the use of drones, climate change, the war on drugs, etc.

Last, an article from “The Daily” that I found on FP’s sidebar, entitled “Unsolicited Advice: An Open Letter to Undecided Voters”, which I think you’ll all enjoy.

This is our daily open thread–let’s talk!

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 Post-Debate Detox

Happy Hump Day!

Ok, The Presidential Debates, Round Two, is now history.

Who won?

Obamny?

Rombama?

The President certainly brought his A game this time, and closed on a slam-dunk with bringing up Romney’s 47% remark behind closed doors.

The moderator did a credible job of moving things along, but could have been better in cutting Romney off after the TV monitor showed his time was up, then not allowing Obama a chance to rebut.

Romney’s Etch-a-Sketch was in full play…again…in this author’s perspective.

What do you think? Think the President regained his Mo-Jo? Think Romney will continue to add to his momentum? Think Fox News will go apoplectic over Mitt telling the President, basically, to not interrupt Romney’s interruption, that he’ll get his turn?

OPEN THREAD.

GO FOR IT.

MAKE MY DEI.

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 15th, 2012: Presidential Debates, Part Deux

With an eye towards tomorrow night’s Presidential Debate, here’s a transcript of the first debate, along with the Washington Post’s fact-checking of that debate.

Since the second debate, a town-hall style hosted by Candy Crowley of CNN, will focus on both domestic and foreign policy issues, take a look at the transcript of Mitt Romney’s recent foreign-policy speech at Virginia Military Institute (VMI.) (I’ll have a bit more on this in my upcoming post on Thursday, October 18th.)

Lest we forget the full content of Mitt Romney’s “47-Percent” talk with his $50,000-a-plate donors, I suggest a review of the entire transcript, which contains both domestic and foreign-policy comments.

And in the meantime, back in the real world, ThinkProgress discusses how President Obama is actually dealing with the “thorny issue” of a nuclear Iran. The President is considering an agreement with Iran (i.e., diplomacy) as suggested by a couple of Israeli security experts. This shall, no doubt, be seen as “weakness” by Romney/Ryan and all other Republicans.

This is our daily open thread–start studying, or talk about whatever’s bugging you lately.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, September 27th, 2012: Presidential Speed Dating Debating

Most of us liberal political junkies suffered dutifully through some or all of the 20 or so Republican Presidential candidate debates, from May of 2011 – yes, MAY OF 2011! – through February of 2012. Our months and months of exhaustive study of the Republican Presidential wannabes revealed (fairly early on, actually) that, once the true crazies made themselves obvious, the Republicans would be stuck with Willard Mitt Romney as ‘the best of a bad bunch.’ (See this Wiki page for a recap of each debate, with each one’s highlights, lowlights, weird quotes, and squabbles.) But still, we watched for hours and hours in fascinated horror. In fact, those of us who sat through most of the debates did so for a total of more than 24 hours of coverage, some of us even more. Mitt Romney attended all but one of those debates, but we still endured at least 20 hours that included a large amount of Mittspeak.

Now compare those interminable hours of coverage of the Republicans choosing their nominee, with the three 90-minute Presidential debates and the one 90-minute Vice-Presidential debate, scheduled for October.

The first Presidential debate will be on Wednesday, October 3rd, and, according to a release by CNN, will cover the following topics:

Economy – 45 minutes
Health Care – 15 minutes
Role of Government – 15 minutes
Governing – 15 minutes

(I like the fact that “The statement also acknowledged that the topics could change “because of news developments.” Heh.)

So, the first debate is going to take on the topics of ‘Health Care’, ‘Role of Government’, and ‘Governing’ for a whopping 15 minutes apiece, and those 15 minute blocks are divvied up between the two candidates – just how much are potential voters going to learn in such little time?

The second Presidential debate, scheduled for October 16th, will be a “Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy”, where “The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.”

The third debate, on October 22nd, will cover foreign policy, and “The format for the debate will be identical to the first presidential debate…” Hmmm, does that mean that, say Iran gets 45 minutes, Pakistan 15 minutes, Israel 15 minutes, and oh, how about Russia gets the last 15 minutes?

This election (as so many are) is described on both sides as “the most important election in the history of our country” – then why is so little time devoted by the major networks to helping voters make an informed decision? A total of four-and-a-half hours, to try to figure out who should be the leader of the free world for the next four years, is way too little, but hopefully not way too late.

This is our Open Thread. You may speak Up on any topic that you choose – just speak up!

The Watering Hole, Saturday September 15, 2012 – Greater Love Hath No Man Than This

It was a week of tragedy. On Tuesday, an al Qaeda-trained unit breached security, overtook the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, his aide (and former Airman) Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. They were honored yesterday in a Transfer of Remains Ceremony at Andrews, AFB, in Maryland. [Full Disclosure: My first assignment out of Tech School was to Andrews, AFB, in 1983. I got to play golf on one of their championship golf courses because Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger decided to cancel his tee time, an hour and a half late.] Recent reports indicate the attack may have been in retaliation for a drone strike that killed the then-Number Two In Al Qaeda, widely agreed to be the most dangerous job in the world. It did not have anything to do with the protests going on in Egypt and Yemen over that stupid anti-Muslim movie trailer for a film that, in all likelihood, given the criminal past of one of the men involved, does not exist. Both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton made wonderful, poignant remarks in remembrance of the fallen Americans.

President Obama began by quoting Scripture, as Christian men are wont to do, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” It is, even to this Atheist, a beautiful sentiment, and one with which I wholeheartedly agree. As for me, I can think of no more honorable way to die than in an effort to save the life of others. The brave men who died in the service of their country did so knowing their jobs were dangerous ones, and that this could happen, yet they chose to do it anyway. Though much well-deserved credit is given to the armed forces who keep us safe, an insufficient amount of credit is given to the diplomatic corps who work behind the scenes to keep us safe, too. Bad things happen, more often than we would like, and some heads of countries cannot be seen to appear weak in the eyes of their people, and diplomats find a way to satisfy everyone’s interests in the name of Peace. We may not agree with some of their results from time to time, but by and large, if it weren’t for the Department of State, every able-bodied person would have to be prepared to fight in some war over some stupid shit, because we’d have no one to talk sense into those who wish us harm. And their efforts work. And they should be appreciated more. Because sometimes, even they die in the line of duty. And we owe them every measure of respect and devotion we’d give to a fallen soldier in combat. They died for the same noble cause.

UPDATE: Thanks to badmoodman, we now have a video we can post of the entire ceremony at Andrews AFB.

This is, of course, our Open Thread, so feel free to discuss the tragedy leading to four dead Americans which had nothing whatsoever to do with the ignorant, bigoted, fraudulent anti-Islam movie trailer, released on the Internets, or maybe something a little more lighthearted for a Saturday morning, such as cute little kittens:

Dawn broke, Captain Whiskers and his mysterious sidekick—known only as “the Kitten”—had triumphed, the city was safe.

[Cross-posted at Pick Wayne's Brain]

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 10th, 2012: Romney’s Ramblings

I’ve been reading through the transcripts of Mitt Romney’s campaign speeches, and I’ve noticed that he has several recurring themes and lies about President Obama:

- “President Obama sees a different America and has taken us in a different direction.”

- “A few months into office, he travelled around the globe to apologize for America.”

- “Ronald Reagan rallied America with “Peace Through Strength.””

- “We must pass a torch to the next generation…”

- “It’s really an election about the soul of America.”

- “Three years ago, Candidate Obama promised to address the problems of illegal immigration in America. He failed. The truth is, he didn’t even try.”

- “American strength rises from a strong economy, a strong defense, and the enduring strength of our values. Unfortunately, under this President, all three of those elements have been weakened.”

- “This President’s first answer to every problem is to take power from you, your local government and your state so that so-called “experts” in Washington can make those choices for you. And with each of these decisions, we lose more of our freedom.”

This particular speech from January, 2012, in New Hampshire, probably has the most out-and-out lies of all the speeches I’ve read so far (read for yourself.)

Here’s the most hypocritical lie (and one that he reiterated at the RNC):

- “At the time, we didn’t know what sort of a President he would make. It was a moment of crisis for our economy, and when Barack Obama came to office, we wished him well and hoped for the best…”

I’ve also run across various and sundry WTF? lines:

- “As President, on Day One, I will focus on rebuilding America’s economy. I will reverse President Obama’s massive defense cuts. Time and again, we have seen that attempts to balance the budget by weakening our military only lead to a far higher price, not only in treasure, but in blood.”

- “Barack Obama has failed America. It breaks my heart to see what’s happening in this country. These failing hopes make up President Obama’s own misery index. It’s never been higher. And what’s his answer? He says this: “I’m just getting started.”

- “If a couple has a baby, the government will actually give them more support—in the form of food stamps, welfare, or other benefits—if they do not marry than if they do. Our safety-net programs penalize the decision to marry, instead of rewarding it. That’s just wrong. And that’s why I will eliminate these marriage penalties.”

- “God did not create this country to be a nation of followers.”

Romney’s campaign speeches also contain myriad Republican-hot-button-buzzwords, repeated ad nauseum, such as “freedom”, “opportunity”, “exceptionalism”, “entitlements”, “failure”, etc. In addition, Romney makes plenty of promises to uphold or strengthen various rights: States’ rights; corporations’ rights to conduct their businesses unfettered by Federal regulations; and, of course, the overarching rights of a collection of zygotes.

However, thus far in my research (ten speeches), one very important topic stands out which Mitt Romney completely ignores: Women’s issues and rights. Romney’s only mention of women:

- “We live in the most powerful nation that ever existed. And it all goes back to a few men and women who had the courage to stand – and even die – for their belief in liberty and equality.”

and

- “…I will hold fathers financially responsible for their child, whether or not they have married the mother.”

As I mentioned, I’m only ten speeches into a collection of about forty-five, so there’s a possibility that Romney may have discussed support for women’s rights in a later speech. But I’ve got the feeling that that possibility is slim-to-none.

This is our daily open thread — What would YOU like to ramble about?

On the Campaign Trail with Invisible Obama

The Obamas at the DNC.
From left to right: Malia, Michelle, President Obama, Sasha and Invisible Obama.


Tweeter caught up with Invisible Obama at the Democratic National Convention this past week. Although the transparent candidate was denied a speaking spot at the convention, he was allowed to share the stage with the First Family.

Later, Invisible Obama and President Obama met behind closed doors to discuss campaign strategy. Tweeter flew right past the Secret Service agents to gain this unique oportunity to listen in on the two candidates.

President Obama listens intently as Invisible Obama outlines his strategies.

IO: I think you should campaign on your record, and let me campaign on mine. You’ve got a solid record of accomplishments, from the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay act, to saving the country from another great depression to the first reform of health care in modern times. Me? I could only hope to achieve some of the things the Republicans are giving me credit for.

PO: Like what?

IO: Like totally socialist health care. They say I socialized health care in this country, but I didn’t even come close. No Universal health care, no single payer, no MediCare for all. But, hey, if I’m out there getting all the blame, you’re free to campaign on your own merits.

PO: But what are you going to campaign on?

IO: Repbulican successes!

PO: Are you crazy?!?

IO: Hear me out…I want to point out, day and night, each and everything Republicans should proudly take credit for. Things like blocking the American Jobs Act for what, over a year now? They have done more in that one act to increase people’s dependency on government handouts than the Democrats have done in the past decade.
And how about repeatedly stonewalling the budget, unemployment benefits – you name it – to the point of actually damaging the credit rating of this country – just to keep massive tax breaks for multi-millionaires? That’s quite an accomplishment.
They passed a law allowing a stranger to shove something up a woman’s Continue reading

The Watering Hole: September 7 — We take care of our own

Did you see the President’s speech accepting the Democratic nomination for President?  Did you, huh huh?  It was fantastic!

No going all complaisant now, we still all need to make sure we get into that voting booth and VOTE.  And we need to do all we can to help our friends and neighbors get to their polling places — no matter who they’re planning on voting for.

This is our daily open thread — Happy happy Friday!!!

The Watering Hole, Thursday, September 6th, 2012: Speech! Speech!

Over the last several days, through the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention, most of us political junkies have seen way too many speeches. There have been good speeches, bad speeches, and ugly “speeches”. And there have been a couple of great speeches. Tonight, President Barack Hussein Obama will need to give a great speech when accepting the nomination.

I ran across a treasure-trove of other historical political speeches at a site called “The American Presidency Project.” This website is just chock-full of archival information – check out the varied offerings on the “Document Archive” sidebar – including but not limited to:

- All of Mitt Romney’s campaign speeches, from June 2nd, 2011 through August 14th, 2012;
All of President Obama’s campaign speeches, from July 5th, 2012 through August 22nd, 2012;
Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speeches, from Abraham Lincoln’s letter of acceptance in 1864, through Mitt Romney’s speech on August 30th, 2012 (the site will be updated to include President Obama’s acceptance speech);
– Transcripts of all of the Republican Presidential Candidates debates – yes, all twenty of them!

For pure historical fascination alone, this website is invaluable; but I believe that its value for us today, during this Presidential election, is its usefulness for fact-checking, quote-verifying, and flip-flop tracking.

This is our Open Thread – enjoy!

 

2012 Democratic National Convention starts on Tuesday, 9/4

To get ready for the upcoming Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, from September 4th through September 6th, you can preview the event here at the convention’s official website.

You can check out the list of scheduled speakers here; see the map of state delegates here; and find the names of your state’s delegates.

I just hope that all spare chairs will be locked up and inaccessible, in case anyone has the dumb idea to pull an “Eastwood.”

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

The Watering Hole, Thursday, June 14th, 2012: GOD WARS

The topic of Monday’s post was the the appearance that a local Baptist pastor had an active political agenda.

Now it’s the Catholics‘ turn.

I received this through an email from Catholics United:

Dear Jane,
I have been an active member of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Washington, D.C., for more than 31 years. My faith is my bedrock; my parish is my home.That is why I am worried and deeply saddened to see partisan politics increasingly creeping into our faith community. A few months ago, I attended a meeting at our church when a fellow parishioner publicly expressed outrage that there were cars in the church parking lot that had “Obama bumper stickers.” The intensity of his tone and the fact that I had such a decal made me so uncomfortable that I left the meeting.

In this highly charged election season, the political attacks will only intensify. The “Fortnight for Freedom”* being organized by the Bishops because of their disagreements with the Obama administration should not be brought into our sacred space. They are asking pastors to preach about “religious liberty” and to distribute political statements inside our bulletins. ["...The Fortnight for Freedom campaign runs from June 21 to July 4. It features a variety of events designed to appeal to Catholics of all ages, from a Twitter campaign to a music festival at a winery to traditional Masses to the distribution of 10,000 car magnets promoting religious freedom. Two Kansas bishops have organized rallies in front of government buildings in Topeka and Wichita. Other dioceses are sponsoring conferences and public prayer. Bishops are also encouraging Catholics to pray briefly for religious liberty each day at 3 p.m. in a campaign they dub "A Minute to Win It!"]

But there’s hope. A group of parishioners at my church recently spoke to our pastor about our concerns and he is listening. Click here to find out what we’re doing.

We wrote our pastor a letter and asked him to reconsider our parish’s participation in the “Fortnight for Freedom”. We met with him and expressed our concern that this type of political activity was inappropriate and would cause divisiveness in our community. Our parish had always been a welcoming place where people of all different opinions joined together in worship, heard the Gospel message of Christ and found a source of spiritual strength. We are grateful that our pastor listened and feel that he has taken our concerns seriously.
As the mother of five, and the grandmother of nine, I worry whether these future generations will see the Church as a place that proclaims the expansive message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a place where they will find the abundance of God that will inspire them to go out and serve others in God’s name.
Faithfully,

Eileen Zogby
Parishioner
Blessed Sacrament Parish
Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB, “or NAMBLA”) are still getting their knickers in a twist about the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement; actually, they’re getting even more twisted. Not content with lobbying Congress, they are now marshalling their armies of pedophiles priests and their parishioners across the land. The more liberal (and Christian) folks at Catholics United believe that the bishops are wrong. But the USCCB is digging in its collective heels, just like the GOP, unless they get everything they want from The President of The United States of America.

What, the USCCB should compromise with the President of the United States of America?! “HELL, NO!”

Tax-Exempt Status?! FUCK, NO!

This is our daily open thread — comment on anything you want!

Oh, and Happy Flag Day.