The Watering Hole, Saturday, May 30th, 2015: Hello, Cuba!

Cuba has finally been removed from the “State-Sponsored Terrorism” list, leaving only 3 nations on the short list: Iran, Sudan and Syria.

And about fucking time. C’mon, we at least have to make some concession to the fact that OUR abomination of a hellhole, that stinking albatross around America’s neck that seems to get little notice anymore, that unholy, immoral “Pit of Despair” known as GTMO, occupies part of THEIR country. We – the United States of America – cannot claim much of a moral high ground when we are deliberately and indifferently crushing hundreds of souls, day by day, year by year, simply because the greatest nation on the face of the earth ever doesn’t want to admit to or clean up the horror it spawned.

Sorry, where was I? Oh, here’s a few articles on Cuba’s elevation in status:

As The New York Times’ Julie Hirshfeld Davis reminds us, President Obama gave official notice of his intent to Congress on April 14th, 2015, beginning the 45-day “Congressional notification period”, which expired yesterday. An excerpt:

“Cuba’s removal from the terrorism list was harshly criticized by several declared or prospective Republican presidential candidates and members of Congress, a sign that the détente may become an issue in the 2016 campaign.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, who is widely expected to run, called the decision “further evidence that President Obama seems more interested in capitulating to our adversaries than in confronting them.”

The House speaker, John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, said the administration had “handed the Castro regime a significant political win in return for nothing.” He vowed that the House would ensure that sanctions on Cuba would stay in place.”

One Washington Post article mentions that Jeb also said “I call on Congress to keep pressure on Cuba and hold the administration accountable.” [Does he mean the Cuban “administration”, or the Obama “administration”?] On Congress’ role, the article says:

“Removing the terror designation lifts only some of the numerous U.S. trade barriers against Cuba. An economic embargo remains in effect, and reversing it requires a congressional vote. President Obama has said he hopes to work with Congress to get it lifted.”

Why does President Obama, after all this time, still hold out any hope that Congress will work with him towards any goal? I mean, to Congress, Obama is just continuing his communist/socialist/Muslim/dictator/America-hating/atheist agenda, right? (sigh) Moving on…

A very informative WasPo article by Ishaan Tharoor helps to explain how a country qualifies for the “State-Sponsored Terrorism List”, and why some nations that one would think belonged on the list aren’t. The article also discusses nations who were previously on the list but have been removed. i.e., Iraq (maybe because we totally fucked up their country and left it in no shape to sponsor terrorism?); Libya (maybe because we killed enough members of Mohumar Gaddafi’s family that he finally cried Uncle Sam?)

FoxNews.com has this article, which adds a bit to the Speaker Boehner knee-jerk bluster:

“The communist dictatorship has offered no assurances it will address its long record of repression and human rights at home,” Boehner said in a statement.”

Fair enough, but ONLY if Boehner promises to end the Republicans’ long record of repression and human rights violations in OUR country AND theirs.  Better ‘tend to that log in your own eye’, Boehner.

This is our daily Open Thread – have at it!

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!

Sunday Roast: We

we

Republicans, what part of this do you fail to understand?  No, we’re not asking you if you like it or think it’s good (by your standards) — that’s been decided.  Whether or not you like, accept, or understand it, Barack Obama is still our President.

“We” includes you, Republicans, so lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way, because we’re still trying to clean up your messes.

This is our daily open thread — Who else is beyond done with the WHINING?

Watering Hole: November 13, 2012 – What is Your Request?

Now that Barack Obama has been re-elected to a second term, what issues would you like for him to address?

Here are some of mine listed in no particular order:

  1. Decriminalizing, legalizing, and taxing marijuana.
  2. Legalizing the growing and selling of hemp.
  3. Presenting to Congress the approved referendum from Puerto Rico for Statehood.
  4. Fixing Federal voting laws so that no one is disenfranchised by party politics.
  5. Working to create a law or make a change to the US Constitution whichever is needed to overturn “Citizens United”.
  6. Appoint progressive, young candidates to the courts, especially the Supreme Court of the United States.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

The Watering Hole: November 9 — Get a grip, Republicans

White People Mourning Romney

I mean really, people.  Drama Queen much?  That looks like a jewelry counter in there, I think y’all will be okay — unless potential customers just don’t like how friggin’ silly you’re being.

Hey, does anyone remember how you felt when George W. Bush won re-election in 2004?  I know I was stunned — and it was my BIRTHDAY!  Man, that stung!  I walked around in kind of an astonished daze for about a day, but I never thought this country had “died,” or was doomed for destruction (although GWB gave it one helluva try).

I shook it off, pulled up my big girl panties, and started informing myself.  I realized that, although I had always voted, I had never really been interested in politics and how or why they worked.  I got an internet connection and started looking for information — not knowing the first place to look.  I just had to read and read and read, knowing that because it’s on the internet, it doesn’t mean it’s true.

Sometime in 2005, I found Eric Alterman’s blog, “Altercation.”  He seemed to have a good head on his shoulders, so I checked all his links.  By doing so, I found David Corn’s blog.  I liked him because he was smart and snarky.  I made my first comments online on Corn’s blog.  Then Alterman linked to a brand new blog called “ThinkProgress,” and shit got real!  In a pretty short time, TP went from one or two posts a day, and maybe ten comments, to eight or ten post a day, and hundreds of comments!  I met loads of wonderful people there, and learned SO MUCH from their comments and outlook on life.  I read so much information on so many topics that I’d never heard of before, and it was awesome.  Then, in 2007, when the troll shit got so deep it was over-topping our hip-waders, we left TP and created TheZoo.  I’m still learning today!

My point is this, Republicans and assorted tea-types:  Sure, you’re disappointed.  You had high hopes and dreams that Barack Obama would be a one term President, and it just didn’t work out.  I can’t say I’m sorry about that turn of events, but I understand the feeling.  Sorta.

Here’s a video that might help you start you own journey toward educating yourself about politics in this country, and an actual exploration of facts.  It’s not Fox, it’s Rachel Maddow, but stay with me here.  It might scare you, but it’s 16 minutes of your life.  You can still be furious and hurt, but please stop thinking this country is over.  I don’t know why you think we’re such a fragile country.  I mean really, come on.

Rachel just gave you a huge number of FACTS.  You probably don’t agree with that assessment, but your assignment is to make a list of all those facts and then confirm or debunk them.  You have to be discerning in your sources of information!  No Drudge or Fox, and to be fair, no MSNBC or ThinkProgress.

Remember:  Actions speak louder than words.  John Boehner and Mitch McConnell can stand in front of microphones and say they’re all about “jobs, jobs, jobs,” but check their voting record.  It’s up to you to educate yourself, because it sticks better that way.  Do it for YOU, okay?  This bitterness and anger is going to eat you alive, and no one wants that.

Let’s work together on getting this country back in shape and working again.  Whadda ya say?

This is our daily open thread — And it’s FRIDAY!!!!

Live-blogging the 3rd (and last!) presidential debate of 2012

Okay all y’all, the final presidential debate begins this evening at 9:00 (ET), live from Boca Raton, Florida, and is moderated by Bob Schieffer.

The wingnuts have already started whining about how biased Schieffer is, and expectations have been lowered so much for Mitt Romney, that if he manages to walk onto the stage and not cough up a hairball, he’ll be the winner.  Yeah, whatever.

I think the President will do well tonight.   He’s got four years of foreign policy under his belt, and he knows what Mitt’s all about — and he knows that the chances of us seeing a brand-spankin’-new Mitt Romney this evening are high.

Drink your whole glass every time Mitt says “Benghazi.”  We’ll all be hungover together tomorrow.

 

Sunday Roast: That awkward moment when you know you just walked into a trap

Blink..blink…blink…step back…blink…blink…go pale and want to vomit.

Yeah, I can’t get enough of that moment.  🙂

This is our daily open thread — what’s making you happy this fine Sunday?

Live-blogging the 2nd 2012 presidential debate

President Obama and Mitt Romney will meet this evening at Hofstra University in New York for their second “debate.”  It will start at 9 p.m. ET, and will be a townhall style format, with CNN’s Candy Crowley moderating.  The questions will come from so-called undecided voters in attendance.  i don’t get the whole “undecided voter” thing, but there it is.

C-Span will have live coverage of the debate here.

Thinkprogress has five facts for us to remember:

1. The deficit is largely a product of tax cuts and wars. The newest report out from the Congressional Budget Office shows that we have a still-large but slowing budget shortfall, with the deficit at $1.1 trillion for 2012. But the issues that are adding the most to our deficit aren’t health care costs or the stimulus; wars and tax cuts are responsible for that.

Zooey:  And remember, it’s a filthy lie that Obama has increased the deficit in any way — he’s actually lowered it.

2. When US officials asked for more security in Libya, they wanted it in Tripoli, not Benghazi.The attack on the United States embassy in Libya was a tragedy that has had a confusing aftermath. Republicans have claimed that employees at the Benghazi embassy asked for more security in the days before the attack, but actually it was the embassy in Tripoli, not Benghazi where the attack occurred, that sought longer hours for its security guards.

Zooey:  Also, remember that the House refused to pay for increased security in our foreign embassies.

3. 72 million people would be uninsured under Romney’s health plan. A recent study of Romney’s health care plan shows that it would increase health care premiums for most Americans, and would leave 72 million people uninsured. If the Affordable Care Act were repealed, 60 million Americans would remain uninsured. Under Obama’s plan, that number is expected to drop to 27.1 million.

Zooey:  Remember, Romney’s plan will cover those with pre-existing conditions, BUT only for people who already have health insurance, which makes no fucking sense.

4. If the DREAM Act were passed, it would add $329 billion to the economy by 2030.President Obama has vowed the pass the DREAM Act — a bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for young, undocumented students and service members — while candidate Romney has said he’d veto it. According to a joint report by the Center for American Progress and the Partnership for a New American Economy, passing the DREAM Act “would add $329 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.4 million new jobs by 2030.”

5. The “six studies” that Romney cites in defense of his tax plan are actually 3 blog posts, 2 right-wing reports and 1 op-ed. The idea that a Romney administration could give a 20 percent tax cut to everyone, and then pay for it by eliminating loopholes and deductions for the wealthy has been strong refuted by the Tax Policy Center. Romney has cited six other “studies” that confirm his plan could work, but those are dubious: One is a report by the conservative Heritage foundation, one is a paper from a former Bush adviser, one is an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, and three are blog posts.

Zooey:  If you like this “study” I’ve posted for the evening, please click “like” and share it to your favorite social network.  Everyone knows that gives a “study” like mine more credibility.  😀

Have fun with the live-blogging, all y’all!  There are no rules, but alcohol and a sense of humor really help.  Just sayin’…

Obama/Romney Presidential Debate — Round 1

And so it begins…

President Obama and Mitt Romney will meet on the stage at the University of Denver tonight at 8:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m. (ET), to “debate” domestic policy.  The moderator will be Jim Lehrer of PBS.

Each campaign has worked over the last week to lower expectations for their candidate, with the notable exception of Chris Christie promising Romney is a great debater and is going to kick some Obama ass.  Oops.

It’s a school night, so a drinking game might not be in order — although a certain amount of alcohol might help us cope with high levels of bullshit — but if you’re up for a drinking game, here goes:

I think we’re going to be in bad shape this evening…

C-Span will be live-streaming the “debate” here, but it’s a safe bet that all major news outlets will be having live coverage as well, and live-blogging/commentary is happening in TheZoo comments section.

Let’s do this thing…

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: 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!!!

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.”

Sunday Roast: White House beer recipes!

President and Mrs Obama brew their own beer in the White House.  How awesome is that?

Here’s a video:

Well?  Get started on that shopping list!

This is our daily open thread — The Obamas brew beer in the White House!

Sunday Roast: The ghost of teabaggery past

This video is from earlier this year, when Allen West made his stunningly idiotic remark, “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

Aside from the hair-raising bad grammar, having publicly made such a statement is rather incredible — and just goes to show how out of hand our public discourse has become.  The new normal?  West’s remarks were generally reported in the media as just another crazy remark made by a crazy guy — if they were reported at all, outside the liberal blogosphere.

While Allen West’s grotesque remarks reminded Bill Moyers of the horrible Joe McCarthy, when his ghost “slithered into the room,” this video made me think of the more recent, and equally contemptible, behavior of Darrell Issa and his completely bogus witch hunt against Attorney General Eric Holder.

Who is today’s Joseph N. Welch?  Is there anyone on Capital Hill with the courage and integrity to say words to the effect of…

You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

I know we’ve been screaming it all along, but we’re just bloggers, you know.  The media doesn’t like to admit or acknowledge that bloggers now do their jobs, while they rake in the big bucks to say, “We’ll just have to leave it there.”

Bill Moyers ends his comments with this:

So beware, Congressman West, beware: In the flammable pool of toxic paranoia that passes these days as patriotism in America, a single careless match can light an inferno. You would serve your country well to withdraw your remarks and apologize for them. But if not, perhaps there are members of your own party, as possessed of conscience and as courageous as that handful of Republicans who took on Joseph McCarthy, who will now abandon fear and throw cold water on your incendiary remarks.

No, I don’t think there are any members of the Republican party who will stop the likes of Allen West, Steve King, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, etc.  As terrible as those times were in the McCarthy era, I believe they are worse now.  The Republicans have shown time after time that they are perfectly happy with the birtherism, tentherism, and racism of its more vocal extremists.  They will not shut the extremists down, nor will they ever disavow them in any convincing manner.  John Boehner and Mitch McConnell can barely conceal their glee and their “wink and a nod” toward the teabagger crowd.

And today’s media?  The band played on…

This is our daily open thread — Speak up!

Sunday Roast: The President owns the Whitehouse Correspondents’ Dinner

Heh.  The President killed at last night’s Nerd Prom…

What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull?

Pitbull is delicious.

Cue that awful woman from Alaska to whine that the President is attacking her.  Ha!  I think Michelle didn’t know that one was coming. 

This is our daily open thread — Enjoy!

An Open Letter to Obama Haters

I found this open letter on Facebook, with a link to Democratic Underground, but with no attribution.  I’ve posted it in full, with no changes.

I think it has an excellent message for those who cannot reconcile themselves to the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama.

To your distress, for most of the rest of your life, you will bear this:

That Barack Obama, whether re-elected or not, will always be President.

He will always be the man from a mixed race background that became the President of the US, he and his wife will be welcomed throughout the world by nations and their leaders, the most influential members of the arts and sciences will be their acquaintances and companions.

He will be regarded and honored as the President who entered office during a deep recession and two wars and turned the country around.

You will always justify your lack of achievement on the unfairness of every system, your lack of success on the government or regulation, and your failure to accomplish anything in a country where impoverished immigrants with limited language skills are succeeding around you on the liberals or the communists or the elites.

The small satisfaction you garner while spouting derisive comments here only exists in your self-delusion and is a pale comfort compared to the reality that exists around you.

You can try to salve your bitter existence with theories of international Kenyan plots or document fraud, whatever.

But that is your future.

Your world will always be limited by your small-mindedness, your associates only those that are as poorly adapted to the world around them, your accomplishments non-existent and your life a bitter existence.

It’s time to move on.

In your journey into denial, you’ve already sacrificed your conscience and whatever claim to character you had.

Your pretense at a deity derived morality is mocked by your myopic hatred of the ‘other’.

Your concept of patriotism is waving a child’s flag on the sidelines as others defend your liberty.

Bush 41 and spouse are living into their nineties, the Obama’s will too. You’ll see them at the inaugurals, your TV will tell you of their lives and that of their daughters, of their successes and their trips and the books they write and their accolades.

Make it easy on yourself.

Take a deep cleansing breath and just let go, make the best of your situation.

Whether re-elected or not, he will always be the 44th President of the US, and your children and their children will read of him in their history books, the first black man elected president of the US.

If not re-elected, he will be healthier and wealthier than he is as President, but he is willing to make that sacrifice for you.

You still live in a free country made more safe and prosperous by your President, and he, the First Lady and their children will always have you in their prayers. ”

Taking America forward instead of taking America back.