The Watering Hole, Tuesday June 24, 2014 Environmental News and Food Politics

Study links pesticides and pregnancies with increased risk of autism:

“Pregnant women who lived in close proximity to fields and farms where chemical pesticides were applied experienced a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay, according to a new study.”

Another reason to go organic

New study shows link between bald eagle deaths and lead ammunition

“Endangered California condors have been the poster birds for calls to get lead ammunition out of our environment, but they might have to make some room for our nation’s most iconic raptors thanks to a new study showing how lead ammunition is also harming bald eagles.”

The NRA isn’t going to like this one.

Oppose the DARK act.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association has introduced a bill in Congress that would block states from enacting GE food labeling laws and make “voluntary labeling” the law of the land. Big Food is trying to kill your right to know if the food you’re eating is genetically engineered.

The food giants want to control the debate.

 

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 27, 2013: The Acerebralists™ Are Still Among Us


I own a great book (thank you, Jane) called “The Superior Person’s Book of Words”, by Peter Bowler (1985). It’s very funny and has definitions (or explanations) of a bunch of great and, almost always, actual words that describe things perfectly. Not quite Ambrose Bierce, but chosen to effect an air of superiority when the occasion calls for it. Words like

CONTRADISTINCTION n. Why say “in contrast with” when you can say “in contradistinction to”?

There’s another great entry for

EREPTION n. Snatching away. Do not confuse with EREPTATION (creeping forth). Snuggling up to your beloved at the drive-in, you say, “I sense an ereption coming on,” and suddenly snatch the M&Ms from her lap. If it transpires that she has put the M&Ms somewhere else, you will be compelled to perform an ereptation.

The whole book is like that. It’s great. On the back cover can be found this:

ACEREBRAL a.Without a brain. A word for which there would at first sight appear to be no use, since no entity to which there would be any point in applying the term could in fact possess this attribute. (There would be no point in speaking of an acerebral windowsill.) However, recent researches into the central nervous system of the wire-haired terrier have conclusively demonstrated the need for such a word.

I then (technically improperly, I think) applied a suffix to indicate a person who practices or is concerned with something (“-ist”), and came up with

ACEREBRALIST n. A person who tries to think without having the capacity to do so. (i.e. A person without a brain who insists on trying to use it.)

You’ll probably derive your own variations on the theme, but it’s one of those words that you either get it and know to whom it applies or you don’t, and probably never will. Remember, you heard it from me first. Don’t go trying to steal it, Colbert!

[The above was part of a post first published more than six years ago on my original blog.]

Fast forward six years later and a word with what seemed like limited application then is almost indispensable in describing large segments of our society today. What other word best describes the faithful and believing viewers of Fox News Channel? I’ve written about Fox News in my song parodies (here, here, here, and especially here), and yet despite my efforts people still watch that network to get their news. And the sad part is that the Acerebralists™ in America (their target audience) believe every lie they’re told. Whether it’s about Benghazi or polls based on the lies about Benghazi, misinformation about the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down one section of the Voting Rights Act (not all of it), or denying that racism is still a major problem in this country, Fox News knows their audience lacks the brain power to think for themselves (or do their own internet research). If it weren’t for brainless people, Fox News Channel wouldn’t have enough viewers to stay on the air. (BTW, all of the examples I linked to were just from the past few days on Fox News Channel. The rest of the year is no better.)

But cable TV news is not the only place dependent on Acerebralists™ to make a living. Right-wing talk radio not only counts on them for their audiences, they even employ some Acerebralists™ as on-air hosts. I’m not talking about Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. Those guys aren’t stupid, they’re just plain evil in all sorts of ways. I’m talking about people like Bryan Fischer, who once regaled his audience with tales of his bravely fighting off demons, who thinks Liz Cheney isn’t anti-gay enough to be a US Senator, and who thinks it’s your patriotic duty (as Americans) to worship God. You can read about soem of the others at Right Wing Watch (A Project of People For the American Way).

And maybe all of that wouldn’t be so bad, wouldn’t be so detrimental to the country, if there weren’t any Acerebralists™ in Congress. Unfortunately for us as a nation, there are. On just the anti-immigration front, there’s Rep Michele Bachmann, who predicted that if any kind of immigration reform legislation passes, the Republicans will lose the House of Representatives because President Obama “will wave his magic wand” and declare that all immigrants have the right to vote (he can’t and won’t); Rep Louie Gohmert, who thinks that not only are black people “embracing” the Republican Party, but that “Hispanic voters will do likewise once they understand that the GOP wants them to learn to speak English and assimilate so that they don’t have to work as ditch diggers.”; and Rep Steve King (IA), who thinks that most of the undocumented immigrants are “130-pound” drug mules with “calves the size of cantaloupes.” [Not to be confused with Rep Peter King (NY), the famous terrorist supporter.] Acerebralists™ can truly feel they have one of their own (or, in this case, at least three) representing them in our Congress.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss the Acerebralists™ in your life, the ones who watch Fox News Channel, or even the ones in Congress, or anything else you wish to discuss. I only ask that you use your brain, which I know you have because you’re here at The Zoo right now.

Sunday Roast: February 17, 2013 – Bits and Pieces

Good Morning to the Sunday Roast. Let us see what Europe has to tell you this morning. You will see why bees are playing a role here, below:

The Economist:

AT A perilous moment of transition for America’s armed services, involving departure from Afghanistan, looming budget cuts and significant worldwide tension, the Pentagon is set to receive a civilian leader weakened by partisan attacks and doubts about his willingness to see military power used. As The Economist went to press, Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of defence, Chuck Hagel, seemed likely, though not certain, to earn the Senate’s grudging endorsement. (read more)

If I may add, the accusations of being anti-Israel, even anti-semitic are nothing but window dressing. Billions are at stake for war (or defense) profiteers. Numerous jobs in military funded industries, quite often to be found in red states, as well. I tend to follow the money and prefer to think it is Hagel’s reluctance to fight against massive cuts in the defense budget that earns him his difficulties. More on that may come later.

The Guardian has a Comeback Kid for you:

It could have been a career-ending moment. Given the task of delivering the official Republican response to Barack Obama’s state of the union speech last week, rising star Senator Marco Rubio made a catastrophic gaffe. (read more)

The Independent reports a “Me Too” moment:

Hours after a meteor exploded over Russia and injured more than 1,000 people and an asteroid passed relatively close to Earth, people in California reported seeing an unusual flash of light over the San Francisco Bay area that left many startled and thrilled.(read more)

Der Spiegel, as well, has a “Me Too” story, why on earth the Germans would want to start fracking beats me:

Germans are wary of fracking, but that hasn’t stopped Berlin from moving ahead to create legal guidelines for the controversial natural gas extraction method. The opposition is up in arms and the issue could dog Chancellor Merkel as she campaigns for re-election. (read more)

Finally, a little Swiss navel-gazing, which is nevertheless really important, see TheLocal.ch for more:

Basel-based agrichemical giant Syngenta on Friday urged Brussels to withdraw plans to slap a two-year ban on so-called neonicotinoid pesticides, saying blaming them for bee deaths was wrongheaded. (read more)

Grab a coffee, maybe some bread butter and honey, too, and enjoy reading. This is our Open Thread, so don’t hold back!

Across the Pond – State of the Union – Press Roundup

Yesterday’s State of the Union Address has been aptly commented here on this very blog. But what do commentators this side of the pond say?

The Independent:

By turns pugnacious and inspirational, Barack Obama last night used his State of the Union address to table a laundry list of aspirations for his second term that ranged from achieving tax reform to increasing the minimum range and tackling issues from gun control to immigration and climate change.

[On Rubio:]

Speaking so fast his mouth dried to a crust, Mr Rubio accused Mr Obama of harbouring an “obsession with raising taxes”.  And he accused him of trying to demonise his party as the party of the rich. “I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbours,” Mr Rubio said.

(read more)

The Guardian:

As an agenda, it was impressive. Jobs, immigration reform, climate change, equal pay for women, the minimum wage, troop withdrawal, universal pre-school provision for the poor, gun control, voting reform – this was unapologetic in its liberalism and unstinting in its determination. (read more)

They graced Rubio with a transcript of his speech. Aaaand, they have a live blog with some really witty remarks as well.

The Economist:

“THERE is much progress to report,” Barack Obama stated with satisfaction at the beginning of his state-of-the-union address. He was referring to the improving health of the economy and the diminishing number of American soldiers in harm’s way abroad. But he might just as well have been speaking of his strategy for facing down Republican opposition in a time of divided government. (read more)

They mention Rubio, too, in that article.

I am still waiting if Der Spiegel will have an article on their English page, their take is basically that Obama took up the gauntlet I will link to it later, if I can (UPDATE: Here’s the link to the English page). Die Sueddeutsche is unimpressed by Marco Rubio who seems to have lost his glam as the Republican Saviour a bit.

Anyhow, I do think the job of SOTU rebuttal is somehow jinxed. A bit like the “Defense Against The Dark Arts” job in Hogwarts.

It’s Time To Talk About Our Guns

On Feb 26,2012, in Sanford, Florida, 17-year-old, 140-pound, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by 28-year-old, 250-pound George Zimmerman. Zimmerman has said that it was a case of self-defense. Despite the many facts that have come to light since the shooting, Zimmerman remains a free man, who hasn’t yet been arrested. The Sanford Police report also raises some questions on its own, such as why less than one minute elapsed from the time 9-1-1 was called until the time the police arrived to find Trayvon Martin face down and dead. If accurate, it would mean that George Zimmerman could not wait one single minute from the time he was told they did not need him to follow Trayvon until the time he killed him. [NOTE: Many people have brought up the racial aspects of this case, but since race has nothing whatsoever to do with the discussion I am having here, I have intentionally left those aspects out. I completely agree that had Zimmerman been black and his victim a 17-year-old white male, he would have been arrested immediately. But let’s save the racial aspects for another discussion.]

Although Zimmerman’s lawyer has said his client would not be invoking it, at the middle of this controversy is a law known colloquially as the “Stand Your Ground Law.” It says, in essence, that if you reasonably believe your life is in danger, you can use deadly force to defend yourself. The law was modeled on laws designed and written by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group of legislators and corporations that propose bills to be passed by the states. Believe me when I say they are not acting in your best interests. They are dangerous, and the laws they’ve helped pass have put innocent people in danger. They must be exposed and dealt with, but for now we as a nation must once and for all settle this matter of what the true meaning and intent of the Second Amendment is, and what role guns should have in our Society.

For the record, and so that there is no misunderstanding about the topic Continue reading

The Watering Hole: Tuesday, February 7 – Picture of the Day

HT: Political Carnival and Twitter User @gottalaff

This goes without any comment from me.

Fellow Critter Wayne A.Schneider mentioned this in yesterday’s comments and I think it is today’s must read: The Washington Post

This is seriously good reporting and shows which lawmakers need to be replaced in Congress. Be it Democratic or Republican.

This is our Open Thread. Weigh in!

Live-blogging the State of the Union address

(photo source: whitehouse.gov)

Hello, everyone!  This evening is something more pleasant, or at least easier to take than the endless GOP clown fests — the annual address to Congress by the President regarding the state of the union.

Fun fact: You know that whole process wherein the guy says “Mr Speaker, the President of the United States,” and then the President makes his way to the podium, shaking hands along the way?  Apparently there’s a formal protocol to that process.  Very interesting!

It’s been a busy year for the President, if not for Congress, since he’s actually interested in doing his job.  It should be an interesting speech, since it will double as his first campaign speech of the 2012 election season.

If you’re wondering what President Obama has accomplished during his presidency, here’s a handy dandy list (it might be a bit dated).

If you’d like to tune in to the speech online, you can watch it on whitehouse.gov.  They’ll be providing chart, stats, and data that helped the President make policy decisions over the last year.  That could be distracting, but we’ll see.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels will be giving the GOP response this evening.  That’s always good for a laugh.  John Boehner has already declared the speech “pathetic,” and that’s a topic with which the Speaker is quite familiar.  I don’t know about you, but I anticipate misbehavior by the GOP members of Congress.

Join us in the comments section to do your own live-blogging, or simply enjoy the efforts of the other commenters, either way — HAVE FUN!!

Watering Hole – Monday, August 15, 2011 – The Congressional Reform Act of 2011

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.

Introducing:  The Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

(The Congressional Reform Act is not my creation.  I received this in an email.  The author is unknown).

This is our Open Thread.  Perhaps we should all send a copy of this to our members in Congress.   What do you think?  Speak Up!

Libya, Obama, and the Relevance of the War Powers Act

Due to the recent controversy over whether or not President Obama needed Congressional approval to take action in Libya, our bloggy friend, 5thstate, recently took an in-depth look at what the War Powers Act of 1973 actually says and what it requires of the President.

What he found might be surprising to most laymen and Congresspeople…

In a Huffington Post opinion piece of March 29th, 2011, Representative Mike Honda, the co-chairperson of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s Peace and Security Taskforce, took issue with the President’s use of US military forces with regard to the month-old Libyan uprising that, after three weeks of popular, political and geographic momentum had not only stalled in its progress but was under threat of total destruction by Moammar Ghaddafi’s resource-rich, formally-trained, and overwhelmingly better-equipped forces.

The key concern remains the lack of Congressional involvement and oversight. The War Powers Act of 1973, created after the Vietnam War to ensure legislative checks and balances before and during wartime situations, limits the president’s ability to commit armed forces to conditions that are not met in this case.

If the U.S. wants to lead and inspire the world in setting the standard for good governance, getting this executive-legislative relationship right is critical.

Mike Honda, Democrat

The thrust of Representative Honda’s complaint is shared by several other Democratic Party members and by many Republicans too, representing a rare (these days) shared bipartisan concern over not only policy but also legal and constitutional issues — which would be encouraging if the expressed concerns from both sides of the political aisle shared the same motivation for complaint, and even if, regardless of motivation, they were based on direct knowledge rather than vague interpretation and practical fact rather than conjectural fantasy.

Rep. Mike Honda:

The War Powers Act of 1973, created after the Vietnam War to ensure legislative checks and balances before and during wartime situations, limits the president’s ability to commit armed forces…

Wrong — and for so many reasons!

1973 War Powers Act:

Sec. 4. (a) In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced—

(1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances;

 

(2) into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces; or

(3) in numbers which substantially enlarge United States Armed Forces equipped for combat already located in a foreign nation; the President shall submit within 48 hours to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the President pro tempore of the Senate a report, in writing, setting forth—

(A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces;

 

(B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and

 

(C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement.

 

[Sec. 4](b) The President shall provide such other information as the Congress may request in the fulfillment of its constitutional responsibilities with respect to committing the Nation to war and to the use of United States Armed Forces abroad. (Emphasis added)

First of all; the constitutionality of any Act or general action is decided by a given, sitting, Supreme Court; the War Powers Act was not established as being constitutional by the 1973 Supreme Court and has never been ratified or struck-down by the SCOTUS since, because it has never been placed on the Supreme Court’s docket—the invocation of “constitutional responsibilities” in the War Powers Act verbiage is a rhetorical argument only, not a matter of legal fact, but never mind that; theoretically any Act passed by Congress is both legal and constitutional until tested and proven otherwise, thus the War Powers Act is actually legal, absent a specific test of constitutionality.

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The Cut That Isn’t a Cut

As you may have heard, President Barack Obama and the Republicans (who, oddly enough, are not, technically, in power yet), have struck a deal extending the Bush Tax Cuts For The Wealthy (their official name) for another two years. In return for these tax “cuts”, the Republicans have agreed to extend unemployment benefits for currently unemployed people for another thirteen months along with a few other helpful things for the poor. The stage has been set to make this a campaign issue for 2012. Do you support extending tax “cuts” for millionaires and billionaires who don’t need them? Or do you finally agree that rich people do not use their tax savings to create jobs? But is anybody really going to be paying less in taxes because of this? Not necessarily.

In Washington, DC, and only in Washington, DC, a “cut” is merely a Continue reading

Early Patriot Plan

Glenn Beck has been bragging that he has “A Plan” for 2010 and the next 100 years. His plan is for the “Refounding” (Beck’s words not mine) of policies and principles and he envisions a “battlefield”.

The Tea Party influenced by Glenn Beck wants to take our government back to the good old days of 1776. This is the time of the original Patriots that Glenn Beck and the Tea Party members emulate. Their goal is to kick out the bums, create their own brand of government and to reduce the deficit. They speak about minimizing government by dismantling all “socialist” services provided by the government. This would include the elimination of Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, public roads and public water and sewer, just to name a few. You can read the Tea Party Pledge here with the translation of this pledge here.

What the members of the Tea Party don’t want to admit is that Glenn Beck’s real “Plan” is to line his pockets with their money by staging conventions with seminars throughout 2010, none of which will be free, and by selling his new book, “The Plan”. Yes, the “Plan” is for Glenn Beck to buy fancier cars and move into bigger houses all paid for by his followers at their expense.

There can be another “Plan” which would reduce the deficit without removing the taxpayer funded services. This “Plan” would be closer to how our government operated at the time following the “Revolution” and would include:

  • Members of Congress, the Supreme Court Justices, and the President’s Cabinet paying for:
    • their own transportation to their districts,
    • the cost of attendance at events, meetings, conferences etc…,
    • their own lodging,
    • their own stamps and any other form of communication costs.

Since these benefits were not available at the birth of our nation, this other “Plan” includes reductions in these benefits by:

  • Privatizing taxpayer paid government pensions,
  • Requiring members of Congress, the Supreme Court Justices and the President’s Cabinet to pay for their own health insurance.
  • Requiring members of Congress, the Supreme Court Justices, and the President’s Cabinet be paid the minimum wage. The House in particular spends much of its time passing silly resolutions and not doing the people’s work so they certainly don’t deserve to make more money than someone working at a fast food chain.

Oddly, I have not heard any member in Congress mention the above “Plan” as a means of deficit reduction. The Republicans have included dismantling Social Security and Medicare in their deficit reduction plan and there is no mention of dismantling their taxpayer paid benefits. If the Republicans and other members of Congress are serious about decreasing the deficit by reducing entitlements, let them start by eliminating their taxpayer paid benefits first before dismantling the social safety nets paid for by taxes that benefit Americans.

CIA Director Leon Panetta Admits Agency Misled Congress

Hmm.  I’m thinking this is going to make some waves.  Huffington Post has the story:

CIA Director Leon Panetta told lawmakers in a recent briefing that the intelligence agency he heads misled Congress on “significant actions” for a “number of years,” a group of Democrats revealed on Wednesday.

In a letter written to Panetta on June 26 by seven Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, the CIA chief is urged to “publicly correct” an earlier statement he made in which he insisted that it was not agency policy to mislead Congress.

As the letter details, Panetta apparently acknowledged in an earlier briefing that this statement was not, in fact, true.

Not that this comes as a surprise or anything.  I love — in the most horrible sense of the word — the final sentence: this statement was not, in fact, true.  But I guess publishing the word horse shit might come across as less than objective.

Times are Tough

Opinion piece by Cats

The job situation is becoming worse. Each day, news outlets are reporting another Corporate lay off effecting thousands of people’s lives. When I drive around my neighborhood, I see more and more “For Sale” signs in front of houses.  I even saw one house that had a “For Sale” sign and a “For Rent” sign in front of it. Either option was acceptable to the homeowner.  Now that’s desperation.

President Obama created a stimulus plan that would help put Americans back to work. He presented this plan to the House of Representatives hoping that Congress would write a job stimulus bill. After a few days of discussion, the House passed a bill which removed some of the spending and added more tax cuts.

The House stimulus bill is now with that elite group, the Senators, and the so called “Moderates” or “Centrists” have brutally chopped away at the “spending” and added more tax cuts. For 8 years, the Republican mantra has been tax cuts and more tax cuts. Since our economy is taking a nose dive over a cliff (h/t Daily Kos), it is obvious that these tax cuts didn’t save us. So what do the Republicans want more of in this stimulus bill? You guessed it, more tax cuts. They want to continue doing the same thing over and over again even though it never worked in the past. There is a word for this behavior. It is called insanity.

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The Problem with America

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Since President Barack Obama has taken office, we have seen eradication of several of the worst inflictions that we endured through the Bush years.  Excessive secrecy and virtually no accountability for the most egregious of offenses. In just two days, Obama issued an Executive Order to revoke Executive Order 13233 signed by Bush limiting the release of presidential records (which goes against the Presidential Records Act, but that never bothered the Bushies).

Executive Order 13233 not only allowed the president to withhold his own records from public scrutiny, but required future presidents to get prior president’s authorization to release records.  Worse yet, it allowed designee’s of former presidents to withhold documents.  And, it also applied to Vice Presidential records.

Sec. 4. Concurrence by Incumbent President.
Absent compelling circumstances, the incumbent President will concur in the privilege decision of the former President in response to a request for access under section 2204(c)(1). When the incumbent President concurs in the decision of the former President to request withholding of records within the scope of a constitutionally based privilege, the incumbent President will support that privilege claim in any forum in which the privilege claim is challenged.

Sec. 10. Designation of Representative.
The former President may designate a representative (or series or group of alternative representatives, as the former President in his discretion may determine) to act on his behalf for purposes of the Presidential Records Act and this order. Upon the death or disability of a former President, the former President’s designated representative shall act on his behalf for purposes of the Act and this order, including with respect to the assertion of constitutionally based privileges. In the absence of any designated representative after the former President’s death or disability, the family of the former President may designate a representative (or series or group of alternative representatives, as they in their discretion may determine) to act on the former President’s behalf for purposes of the Act and this order, including with respect to the assertion of constitutionally based privileges.

Sec. 11. Vice Presidential Records.
(a) Pursuant to section 2207 of title 44 of the United States Code, the Presidential Records Act applies to the executive records of the Vice President. Subject to subsections (b) and (c), this order shall also apply with respect to any such records that are subject to any constitutionally based privilege that the former Vice President may be entitled to invoke, but in the administration of this order with respect to such records, references in this order to a former President shall be deemed also to be references to the relevant former Vice President.

To quote Obama on this (via Mother Jones):

“Going forward, anytime the American people want to know something that I or a former President wants to withhold, we will have to consult with the Attorney General and the White House Counsel, whose business it is to ensure compliance with the rule of law. Information will not be withheld just because I say so.

Also reversed were Bush’s policy of war crimes torture, indefinite intention, and removal of the great writ of habeas corpus.  Today, Obama is poised to reverse the global gag rule on performing, or even mentioning, abortion at womens clinics which the US funds. (This is called the Mexico City policy which was originally put into place by Reagan, rescinded by Clinton, and reinstituted by Bush 43.  This is fantastic news as many of the services that are offered to women have nothing to do with abortion and many women depend upon these clinics for basic healthcare.

Well, all these things sound great, MsJ.  So, what is the problem with America right now?

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Obama’s Saturday Radio Address

Transcript:

On Tuesday, Americans stood in lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen. It didnt matter who they were or where they came from; what they looked like or what party they belonged to they came out and cast their ballot because they believed that in this country, our destiny is not written for us, but by us. We should all take pride in the fact that we once again displayed for the world the power of our democracy, and reaffirmed the great American ideal that this is a nation where anything is possible.

This week, I spoke with President Bush, who graciously offered his full support and assistance in this period of transition. Michelle and I look forward to meeting with him and the First Lady on Monday to begin that process. This speaks to a fundamental recognition that here in America we can compete vigorously in elections and challenge each others ideas, yet come together in service of a common purpose once the voting is done. And that is particularly important at a moment when we face the most serious challenges of our lifetime.

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Pelosi: Let Rove slide

Pam Miles of AfterDowningStreet reports that she has firm confirmation that Nancy Pelosi is urging the Judiciary committee to not hold Rove in Contempt of Congress for his blatant contempt in not showing up to evoke executive privilege. Just a glorious F.U. to any oversight. And, to the American people.

First, we have masses of I don’t recall and I don’t remember’s. Then we have David Addington testifying with the attitude of a 14 year old who has been told it wouldn’t be wise to follow her friends over the cliff (But, everyone does it!). And I won’t go into Professor Yoo, of University of California Berkeley’s Boalt Hall, whose torture memos are now infamous.

I pondered the other day how this administration has managed to keep Congress on such a short leash. It’s not surprising that it will be forthcoming the level which this administration has spied on Congress. There is little in the way of explanations for what has taken place in the last seven years.

In the 2006 midterm elections, Congress was given a mandate (with 22 of the 33 seats going to the Democrats). Additionally, three red strongholds were lost to Democrats in recent special elections, further showing that the American public is tired of Republican rule. Yet, the Democrats continue to fold like cheap chairs.

So, with this, I ask you two things:

1) Call your elected officials and tell them not to let Rove off that easily. Pam has an extensive list of contact telephone numbers and you can also get all of your elected official contact information here.

And,

2) Tell me, why do YOU think the our elected officials are rolling over on all of us?

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Europeanview’s view absolutely – Open Thread

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Good Morning everyone. The results of the Texas caucuses are not yet in and it will take a short while still until the dust settles a bit and more political analysis is available. So, mostly, the papers in Europe are reporting the statistical facts and stating the obvious. Until the pro’s have decided on what to say, here’s a piece of my mind. I’ll give you the press clippings from Europe later in another post. Injun honest. This is an open thread, so whatever’s on your heart, let us know!

Using the pure facts and getting back to my “gut feeling” later, the advantage still lies with Barack Obama. First of all he has the lead in delegates and, never mind her strong showing in Ohio last night, Hillary Clinton has not made a significant dent there. Ohio is clearly hers, as expected, as is Rhode Island, equally as expected. Vermont is a win for Barack Obama with the significant margin we have seen in his other victories, too. Texas has been attributed to Senator Clinton, however, this state’s message is mixed. The caucus results are not in yet and point to Senator Obama. So, when it comes to Texas the number of delegates allotted may be evenly split or even slightly higher for Barack Obama. Even if she wins all remaining primaries by huge margins, unlikely, she will not be able to get in front of his count in pledged delegates. This puts Senator Clintons “bounce back” into perspective.

The campaigning has turned aggressive during the last few days with the notorious “3a.m. ad” at it’s center. Senator Obama seemed flustered by this and he should quickly start getting used to that kind of campaigning, because this is exactly what will be coming from Republicans during a presidential campaign. Here, too, lies a weakness of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In exit polls voters showed discomfort with the aggressive style. So, while this style has brought her some advantage in the short term lead-up to the primaries, it may be a disadvantage in the long run. It points too much to her being the political animal, the power-hungry member of the political elites in Washington.

No matter what, right now voters in the United States strongly disapprove of the government branches in Washington. In Reuters’Zogby Index you can see, that the Republican President has a 35% approval rate and the Democratic Congress a dismal 18% approval rate. Congress has squandered the landslide win in 2006, which was broadly considered a mandate to end the war in Iraq and a mandate to hold the current administration accountable for breaches of civil rights and international law. Their approval rate shows that voters consider their will disregarded by them. Now, if Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party should disregard the popular vote and nominate her against the majority in pledged delegates this would resonate badly with voters and would do damage to herself and the Party. Moreover, her aggressive campaigning is damaging beyond the nomination process as well. If Senator Obama is going to be the candidate, Hillary Clinton has already done a lot for Senator McCain’s campaign, by chipping away at Senator Obama’s standing.

The decision is in the superdelegates’ and party leaders’ hands now. The fact that Barack Obama will have a lead in pledged delegates is not likely to change, they may as well decide how the’re going to handle it now.

Priorities…

What Congress should be investigating….

Probe sought in Marine vehicle delays

The Marine Corps has asked the Pentagon’s inspector general to examine allegations that a nearly two-year delay in the fielding of blast-resistant vehicles led to hundreds of combat casualties in Iraq.

The system for rapidly shipping needed gear to troops on the front lines has been examined by auditors before and continues to improve, Col. David Lapan, a Marine Corps spokesman, said Monday night. Due to the seriousness of the allegations, however, “the Marine Corps has taken the additional step” of requesting the IG investigation, Lapan said in an e-mailed statement.

What Congress will actually investigate… 

Feds May Probe Clemens Over Testimony

A draft letter asking the Justice Department to investigate whether Roger Clemens made false statements to Congress has been written by House staffers, The New York Times reported on its Web site Monday. The chief of staff for committee chairman Henry Waxman said no decision has been made on whether to ask for a criminal investigation.

Tired….so tired.

HT:  Trueblue

Nancy and Harry and the War

(The Rolling Stone via Huffingtonpost)

No one will be really surprised at what the Rolling Stone magazine has to say about Congress’ failure to stop funding for the war. But no one has said it out as loud and as concise as Matt Taibbi does it:

The story of how the Democrats finally betrayed the voters who handed them both houses of Congress a year ago is a depressing preview of what’s to come if they win the White House. And if we don’t pay attention to this sorry tale now, while there’s still time to change our minds about whom to nominate, we might be stuck with this same bunch of spineless creeps for four more years. With no one but ourselves to blame.

Read the full story, here.

No, I don’t think any one will be surprised, but you should be really, really mad. Both, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi deserve to be chased out of office at the next possible moment. Since December 2006 1066 US military personnel died in Iraq and the dying goes on and on. You can find a list of members of the Democratic “Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus” here.  They are up for election in November, too.