Friday, August 31, 2012

Graphic of the day

Private sector job creation, Obama vs. Bush:
Note - red = Obama, blue = Bush

Government jobs created, Obama vs. Bush:

[Spike is census jobs.]

Link

Friday, August 24, 2012

Follow the money

"By proposing to end a century of federal control over oil and gas drilling and coal mining on government lands, Mitt Romney is making a bid for anti-Washington voters in key Western states while dangling the promise of a big reward to major campaign supporters from the energy industry...

Giving states control over the energy resources on millions of acres of federal lands would be a radical shift from decades of policies under both Democratic and Republican presidents, dating all the way to Theodore Roosevelt, who first set aside vast tracts of territory to preserve wildlife. Since then, the federal government has tried to balance exploitation of mineral resources with other uses like recreation and environmental protection...

“This step would be a change in national policy direction going back at least 50 years, giving control over national assets to localities,” said Michael E. Webber, associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas at Austin. “Local decision makers could inhibit production that could be against the national interest or could encourage production that could pollute waters or air in another state.”...

Federico Peña, secretary of energy in the Clinton administration and now a co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign, said Mr. Romney’s plan would cause more problems for the oil and gas industry. “I cannot imagine a world in where there are 50 different kinds of rules and regulations for industry,” Mr. Peña said. “To see Balkanization of rules and regulation I think would drive the industry crazy.”...

An individual close to the Romney campaign said that Mr. Romney’s staff drafted the proposal in consultation with industry executives, including Harold Hamm, an Oklahoma billionaire who is the chairman of the campaign’s energy advisory committee and chief executive of Continental Resources, an oil and gas driller.

Just this week, the oil and gas industry gave nearly $10 million toward the Romney election effort in two fund-raisers."
A commenter who agrees with Peña adds: "I am in the extractive resource business, and I cannot think of a worse idea. States are extremely prone to local corrupt political practices and unsavory business influences. Utah is a classic example of this, as Romney should know. The legacy of federal ownership and management of public lands and minerals is a wonderful thing, and should be kept that way. I'm sick and tired of Republicans attempting to put everything up for sale. Truly appalling. Teddy Roosevelt is turning in his grave."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How would Obama vs Romney affect the U.S. economy and American families?

Filed under "What if we stopped talking about whether or not we liked a politician or approve of this or that thing about them and talked instead about how what they propose to do, or have done, affects our country and all of us Americans who live in it? Because, after all, isn't that the only reason that politics is important? Because it affects actual human lives? (And, well, the whole Earth itself, really.)

Click on the graphics to see larger versions:


To see the overview of the entire country above from the original source, go to the Local section of Politify and enter any location in the U.S. (your own or any you're curious about). Then zoom out by clicking the minus sign at the top left until you can see the big picture.

Source for the one below is the National section of the site.

Moron

Todd Akin says women who are "legitimately" raped can't get pregnant. Actual numbers of pregnancies in the U.S. each year that are the result of rape - 32,000.

The only sane reaction to such idiocy:

The seven stages of feminist grief (Todd Akin edition)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

What He Really Said

When creating a false narrative, one powerful tool is the truncated quote, editing out part of what was said to change the meaning of the statement. One of the mainstays of the anti-Obama narratives is "Obama doesn't think America is exceptional. He doesn't think America is anything special." As evidence they have repeatedly shown a clip of Obama answering a question at a newsconference in France. This is the text of edited clip that they show: ". . . the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Here's the entire question and answer:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. In the context of all the multilateral activity that's been going on this week -- the G20, here at NATO -- and your evident enthusiasm for multilateral frameworks, to work through multilateral frameworks, could I ask you whether you subscribe, as many of your predecessors have, to the school of American exceptionalism that sees America as uniquely qualified to lead the world, or do you have a slightly different philosophy? And if so, would you be able to elaborate on it?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. I'm enormously proud of my country and its role and history in the world. If you think about the site of this summit and what it means, I don't think America should be embarrassed to see evidence of the sacrifices of our troops, the enormous amount of resources that were put into Europe postwar, and our leadership in crafting an Alliance that ultimately led to the unification of Europe. We should take great pride in that.

And if you think of our current situation, the United States remains the largest economy in the world. We have unmatched military capability. And I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional.

Now, the fact that I am very proud of my country and I think that we've got a whole lot to offer the world does not lessen my interest in recognizing the value and wonderful qualities of other countries, or recognizing that we're not always going to be right, or that other people may have good ideas, or that in order for us to work collectively, all parties have to compromise and that includes us.

And so I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we create partnerships because we can't solve these problems alone.

You have to ask, why is the part of the answer to the question I bolded not included in the clip that's usually shown of this newsconference?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

One can hope

Comment from Mitch at Will Mitt Romney's Bet on Lying Pay Off?
All of my kin are hardcore evangelicals, and they have recently begun having major changes of heart when it comes to Romney. They have never liked him, due to his Mormonism. Yes, they do consider LDS a cult, probably influenced by Satan. But they were going to vote for him anyway. Lately, however, they have decided to not vote at all. They - Fox News watchers in Appalachia - have noticed that he lies constantly. They have noticed that he has offshore bank accounts, that he's shady about his taxes, and that his business career was a bit too centered on laying off Americans and outsourcing work overseas. I have heard from several friends and family members in Kentucky that their CHURCHES are discussing how the GOP has gone off the rails, and apparently does little more than worship money and prop up the rich while telling everyone else to stuff it. These are ALL small-town, evangelical, "real 'murcan" types. These are people who watch Fox News more than any other channel . . . but even they are starting to see the truth. So who knows? Maybe now that America is getting to know Romney as well as we political junkies know him. Maybe a lot more people feel the same way as my folks.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Also typical


Months ago was I found myself trapped in the waiting room at the car dealer’s place while the car was getting its checkup, etc. The TV was tuned to some cable news channel – I don’t remember which one – and the “story” was about the level of transparency of Venus Williams’ underwear. Evidently it was not opaque enough to suit someone or other, and the pretty, young, blond anchorperson was going on hysterically – and endlessly – about it. Sometimes consulting her sidekick about whether or not he agreed (which he emphatically did, of course).

Now not only was I completely uninterested in Venus Williams underwear and pretty appalled that a discussion of same was considered “news,” she really only had three things to say about it: You could practically see through it! Isn’t that Awful! And doesn’t it set a Terrible Example for The Children! So she just kept repeating those three points over and over making the whole thing excruciatingly boring on top of everything else.

I tried unsuccessfully to tune it out for about 30 minutes until I finally fled to stand out in the parking lot even though it was cold and rainy that day. Someone who worked there asked why I was standing out in the cold and rain and when I told him, showed me a blessedly TV-free waiting room that I hadn’t known about before. It was lovely.

So this is the other reason I don't watch TV news. If it's a marginally important or relevant story, they get it appallingly wrong. The rest of the time they're going on about something totally ridiculous. I don't know if they were wrong about Venus Williams' underwear.

I.Don't.Care. about it.

[posted on 12/30/10]

Typical


This is a blog post about a story that was widely reported on the TV news. Note that a local TV news channel is the source of the blog post, but if I didn't read blogs, there's no way I'd see a story done by a San Diego TV station.

Still Making An Innocent Man Look Bad
by Conor Friedersdorf

There’s a guy named Juan Carlos Vera. He worked at an ACORN office in San Diego, California. One day, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles walked in with a hidden video camera, and pretended to be a pimp and prostitute. They asked for help smuggling underage girls across the Mexican border so that they could work in a brothel. Confronted with what appeared to be a sex trafficking plot, you’d hope that someone would play along, get as much information as possible, and call the police. And guess what? That’s exactly what Mr. Vera did! Unbeknownst to O’Keefe or Giles, he called his cousin, a police officer, shortly after they left his office.

Perhaps you know what happened next. Having cut his teeth editing The Drudge Report and its notoriously misleading headlines, Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart published the ACORN videos, which fooled me at the time – I praised them, and even encouraged Breitbart to pressure attorneys general into investigating the organization. I’ve never felt like such a fool. Some of the ACORN tapes reflect very badly on that organization, but taken as a whole, they are misleading in a lot of ways.

The San Diego ACORN video was particularly misleading.

Put another way, Andrew Breitbart published videos that made an innocent man look as if he was complicit in a plot to traffic underage girls across the border. Granted, he didn’t do this on purpose. Still, it happened. And it cost the guy his job:

A man fired from ACORN’s San Diego-area office for discussing human smuggling with a fake pimp and prostitute;reported the incident to police two days after it happened, according to information released by the police. Juan Carlos Vera was fired by ACORN after a videotape was aired on Fox News showing him discussing with a couple posed as a pimp and a prostitute the best ways to smuggle underage prostitutes into the U.S. from El Salvador.


It’s better if it’s in Tijuana, Vera is heard saying in the video. Because I have a lot of contacts in Tijuana.

But police said in a press release that Vera reported the incident to his cousin, a detective with the National City Police Department. Vera worked in ACORN’s National City office. The detective contacted a federal task force that deals with human smuggling, and an officer from the task force asked for more details.

After publishing videos of Vera that made him look like a sex trafficker and costing the man his job, did Breitbart explain how the mistake happened, apologize and correct the record? Did he alert his readers to the truth? Having expressed outrage at the media on countless occasions for trafficking in serious accusations that weren’t grounded in facts, did he behave better after realizing that he’d done exactly the same thing?

Nope. As far as I know, neither an apology nor a correction has ever appeared. The vast majority of his readership remains misinformed. The San Diego videos remain posted at Big Government, misleading as ever. I’ve attempted to get Breitbart and O’Keefe to address this. No luck. But Breitbart has a habit of having long, often profane arguments with his detractors on Twitter. A guy named Frank Vayan Walton raised the subject of Vera. And here is how Breitbart responded on December 27, 2010 (brackets are my added context):

Juan Vera called [his police officer] cousin LONG after videos were filmed - when James [O’Keefe] refused to hook up w him to help girls over border. Try again!

After examining phone records and conducting interviews with two police officers, the California Attorney General’s Office reported [PDF] this about O’Keefe and Giles’ visit with Vera: "Immediately after the couple left, Vera telephoned his cousin, Detective Alejandro Hernandez, at the National City Police Department.

The report goes on:

He left a voicemail message for Detective Hernandez stating that some “crazy people” were in his office providing information. Vera did not explain the substance of the conversation and did not make reference to prostitution or human smuggling on the message. He asked his cousin to call him back. Later that day, Vera also reported the incident to fellow ACORN employee Cruz Acosta. Acosta had been away from the office while the couple was present. Vera explained to him what happened. Vera also reported the incident, either the same day or shortly thereafter, to Mar Murrillon, an ACORN board member. Vera told Murrillon that he had reported the incident to the police. (Vera Interview.) Vera eventually spoke with Detective Hernandez on August 27, 2009.

So Breitbart is factually wrong. He is also still insinuating than an innocent man was willing to be complicit in the transnational smuggling of underage prostitutes. All this seems like a story to me! Something that would be of interest to folks on the press beat like Howard Kurtz or Jack Shafer or others. And shouldn’t all the press outlets that wrote about the ACORN tapes from San Diego note this development? . . .


Well, yes. They should. But they won’t. Which is why I no longer read, watch, or listen to any of them. Note that although I already knew this part of the story (from an online source)

Let's review their story:

O'Keefe, dressed as a pimp, and Giles, disguised as a prostitute, visited ACORN offices where they asked for assistance purchasing a home. They claimed to have difficulty documenting income derived from the streets. But they had so much money! In fact, it wasn't just the two of them -- they had a whole crew of underage girls from El Salvador turning tricks for them. Hell, they had so much money, they needed help laundering it for the pimp's run for Congress.

Now let's tell the truth.

The truth is that O'Keefe never wore the pimp outfit into an ACORN office. Instead, he posed as a candidate for Congress that wanted to help a young woman caught in the trappings of prostitution. Supposedly, he wanted to help her, and her fellow prostitutes, escape the clutches of a brutal pimp by finding a place for them to live.


I didn’t know the part about the San Diego ACORN worker reporting the incident to the police. Immediately.

And even Conor, above, omits this part:

For instance, a much-publicized recording of a visit to the San Diego office, in which an employee is purportedly seeking information to help smuggle underage girls from Mexico into the United States to work as prostitutes, did not mention that the employee's 'contact' in Mexico was actually a police official. The employee collected as much specific information as possible, then contacted Mexican police, warning them of the plot.

Anyway, all that seems pretty typical of how the traditional media works. Get all hysterical about something scandalous (transparent underwear! pimps and postitutes!) and then never bother to do any actual research or follow up. And even when there’s plenty of correct information out there – gathered by others, of course, because they can’t be bothered . . . OMG there’s another scandalous thing to share with our viewers! – they never make a correction. They just let people go on believing the wrong thing that they reported in the first place.

As I said this is why I no longer read, watch, or listen to any of them.

[posted on 12/30/10]

We are not their customers


In 1996 I read James Fallows’ Why Americans Hate the Media. It was one of those experiences that alters where you stand as you look at something. Since you are standing in a different place, what you are looking at looks different. It’s what we mean, I guess, when someone has said something thoughtful and true and you say, “Well, that gives me a different perspective on the matter."

I never saw The Media quite the same way again.

It didn’t instantly transport me to the view I have of it now, but it started the process of asking questions that I hadn’t even known were questions before. And it started a fascination with the question of how do we know what we think we know? How close is what we think we know to reality?

I should add that when I read it I was teaching a class in critical thinking. And sometime not long after I reread Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders, written in 1957.

I think a lot of things about the media these days, but all of what I think about it is shaped by what I think is a fundamental fact that’s often missed - we are not their customers.

So many discussions of the media about how frustrating, infuriating, outmoded, misleading, shallow, etc it is – and why we hate it - end up with someone saying, well, if they can’t deliver what their customers want, we’ll stop buying.

Note the “we.” And that’s the problem. We are not their customers.

The customers of a business are the ones who literally buy the product, who hand over money for a good or a service. We may hand over fifty cents for a newspaper or a few dollars for a magazine, but any newspaper or magazine publisher will tell you that the income from subscriptions and newstands won’t keep the lights on. And we get radio and TV news for free. We may pay a cable bill, but Time Warner or Comcast aren’t forking over millions of dollars to keep NBC or Fox News in business.

Who are their customers, who pays them, for what service?

Advertisers. Other businesses, who enlist their help to recruit customers for their business.

So what is The Media selling?

Not the Nightly News, or Morning Joe, or American Idol. They’re selling eyeballs (print, TV) or ears (radio), which is shorthand for our attention.

They’re selling us. To their advertisers.

Consider a commercial fisherman, trawling for cod or tuna. The fish are not their customers. The wholesalers who buy their catch are their customers.

We are the fish. The newspaper and magazine stories, the TV and radio programs are the bait, not the product. Our attention is the product, what is being sold.

If mass media is in trouble now, if it’s not selling what their customers (advertisers) want to buy, it’s because more and more of us fish are not finding the bait as tasty as we used to. Do we really want to demand that they provide better bait? Or do we start to ask ourselves if we want to be sold?

[posted on 8/1/10]

They think you're stupid


People who take politics seriously, who have strong opinions about political issues, more or less universally think anyone who has a differing opinion is stupid.

We tend to believe that we arrive at our political views by examining the facts and drawing logical conclusions from those facts. We think that people who don’t know the facts we are working with are ignorant, and people who know these facts (perhaps because we have just pointed them out) who persist in having a different opinion – well, the only explanation must be that they can’t think logically. In other words, they are stupid.

A lot of people have analyzed political opinions and how people come to have the opinions that they do and have determined that facts and logic have precious little to do with it. But even those who agree with these analyses – and I do – can’t really help themselves when confronted with someone who stubbornly persists in disagreeing with us.

We feel compelled to share our facts with them. And we can’t help ourselves from thinking that the person we’re arging with is stupid when they don’t immediately agree with us. Even when we know that this person is not actually stupid. (Well, some people are stupid, often by choice or laziness, but the majority of human beings are not, in fact, stupid. In my opinion.)

Liberals and conservatives seem to be equal opportunity offenders here. Conservative commentators call liberals “libtards” as often as possible. Liberals love this right-winger’s sign so much that “moran” is the liberal in-joke for stupid conservative.

Get a Brain Moran Pictures, Images and Photos

But what seems to be different is that conservatives seem to take this back and forth much more seriously. There’s real anger, real emotion, about being called stupid by those who think differently. While liberals are more, eh whatever, when called a libtard, for example.

Why? Liberals don’t have a constant drumbeat of “conservatives think you’re stupid” poured into their ears. If you’re a liberal who’s not passionate about politics to the point of reading conservative blogs, comments on YouTube, etc (to see what the other side is up to, ya know), you’ve probably never even heard the term libtard.

On the other hand, there seems to be no end to it in the conservative mainstream media. Fox news, talk radio. It’s constant. Liberals think they’re better than you. They think you’re ignorant, stupid, hicks.

I got to thinking what this does to a person, constantly being told that there are a lot of people who think you’re stupid. Those people, those right over there, your neighbor with the sign for the Democratic candidate in their yard, your co-worker who makes the case for conserving energy and abortion rights (clearly a liberal). They think you’re stupid. So you’re told. And told, and told, and told, and told.

Isn’t it kind of like an abusive husband, who repeatedly tells his wife something like, “Most people think you’re ugly. They make fun of how fat you are behind your back.” But then he’ll say, “But not me. I see your inner beauty. I like a woman with a little meat on her bones. No skinny chicks for me!”

It’s classic manipulativeness. Make her feel worthless and bad, and then make sure she knows the only relief from how bad she is feeling is you. If she doesn’t feel worthless and bad, if she really felt beautiful (inside or out) she might run off with someone else. It’s about power. It’s about control.

Otherwise, why tell her the bad things other people are saying? If you really love her, if you really see her inner beauty and that’s what matters to you, if you really prefer a woman to be voluptuous rather than looking like an emaciated fashion model, why not just say, “Wow honey, you are so hot!” Why preface that with the nasty things “other people” say?

So why don’t conservative anchors on Fox news and conservative talk show hosts just say, “This conservative proposal is better. Here’s why. The liberal ideas on this are wrong. Here’s why.”

Why the need to always present it as, well, of course, you know that (insert conservative proposal here) is better, but the liberals – who think you’re stupid - want to do (insert liberal proposal here).

Except to insinuate in their viewers’ and listeners’ minds that they are, in fact, stupid. Or at least to make them doubt themselves. When you’re told over and over that a lot of people think you’re stupid (or ugly) doesn’t that plant the seed somewhere in your mind that maybe they’re right? So that it feels really good when the person that just told you that other people think you’re stupid, says, “But I don’t!”

[posted on 11/26/10]

Job creator?



[posted on 6/24/12]

Memorial Day


When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac. 


The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."




[posted on 5/28/12]

The growth in government spending

From the Wall Street Journal:


A former Republican, now a Democrat, said, "I voted for Republicans all those years because they said they were fiscally conservative and for less government spending. I just believed them. I never actually checked the numbers. It turns out what they were saying is the opposite of what they were doing."

[posted on 5/23/12]

Who actually cut spending?

Click graphic for larger version. Article

[posted on 5/17/12]

Who are the job creators?



[posted on 5/17/12]

Deficits - Bush vs Obama



How the deficits got this big

[posted on 4/8/12]

Did the stimulus fail? (No)



Steve Benen at the Maddow blog.

[posted on 4/5/12]

Just can't win with Wall Street


From The Salt Lake Tribune.

[posted on 4/4/12]

Reality check




Obama's Spending Record: More Conservative Than Reagan's

[posted on 3/19/12]

Women who use birth control are sluts

Here is Georgetown Law Center student Sandra Fluke's statement before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on women's health and contraception.

Transcript here.

Note that:

- She never mentions her own sex life or that she personally wants or needs birth control pills. She only discusses fellow students whose stories she knows. Students who could not afford the birth control pills they needed because they are not covered under student health insurance. A married student using them for birth control, a student with polycystic ovarian syndrome who lost an ovary because she had to stop taking the pills that kept the disease under control, a student who needs the pill for endometriosis, and a student who was raped but did not go a doctor because had gotten the impression that no women's heath care was covered by the university.

Sandra Fluke herself could be a virgin or a lesbian or a nun with no need of birth control for all we know from her testimony. She never asked that the university student insurance cover hormonal contraceptives for herself.

- She is testifying that she supports insurance coverage for hormonal contraception, just like any other drug prescribed by the student's doctor, "insurance students pay for completely unsubsidized by the university." She's not asking for anyone else to pay for the students' prescriptions. She's only asking that the insurance that the student pays the premiums for cover these drugs as they do other drugs.


Here's Rush Limbaugh's three-day attack on Sandra Fluke:


Note that this was not an off-hand comment, a couple of words that were a little rude. This went on and on for three days.

The response from the Republican presidential candidates here. Rush Limbaugh's "apology" here.

(Note that he uses his so-called apology to repeat his lies about her testimony - he states that her testimony was about "personal sexual recreational activities" when clearly it was not, and that "I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities" when no one asked him to! The students only want the insurance that they pay the premiums for to cover all of their prescriptions. He just cannot stop lying.)

[posted on 3/13/12]

Jobs lost, jobs gained



[posted on 2/6/12]

Who decides?

This Graphic of the Day might seem to imply that abortion services, since they are a small part of what Planned Parenthood does, are unimportant to those of us who support Planned Parenthood.

Not unimportant. Critical.

Too many politicians would allow abortions only to save the life of the mother - no exceptions for rape, incest, or severe fetal abnormality. If a woman gets pregnant as a result of a rape, or a 12 year old is pregnant by her father (also rape whether violent or not), they believe that the government should force the rape victim, even a 12 year old, to live with that pregnancy for nine months and give birth to their rapist's baby. If a fetus is so deformed that it cannot survive outside the womb, they believe that the government should force the woman to carry it until it dies inside her, or to give birth and then watch it struggle and die in her arms.

This is a horrifying and cruel demand for government control of our very bodies, our hearts, our souls.

But women also need to be able to determine the course of their own lives in less extreme, but still difficult situations.

I graduated from high school with a full college scholarship. It paid for everything. Not just tuition and books, but room and board as well. It was a life-saver for me. My mother died when I was seven and when Fall came I was finally able to escape from my abusive and violent father. I had tried before. I ran away from home three times my senior year of high school, but I kept being returned to him. Children had no rights in those days. They were simply possessions of their parents. I guess I just wasn't brave enough to run off to a distant big city and try to survive any way I could. Too many street kids in cities like New York or Chicago were kids like me, desperate to escape. I had heard the stories, that many survived by prostitution and stealing. Scared that I'd end up like those kids, I knocked on doors of teachers or friend's parents late at night, in tears and hysterical. They took me back.

I got pregnant when I was 19. No idea how that happened. I was taking birth control pills and don't think I had missed any. But it happened.

I had no idea what to do. I had no home to go to. The only money I had was the $63 a month I got from Social Security survivors benefits because my mother had died. I would have lost my scholarship and been expelled from school. For being an immoral slut. Several girls I knew who had gotten pregnant had abortions arranged by their parents, but I effectively had no parents.

Finally I told a friend. He told me that he knew how to get me an abortion (an illegal one, of course) if that was what I wanted. He'd done that for his sister, who had attempted suicide when she found out she was pregnant. He was literally trying to save her life, sure that she'd try again and might well succeed the second time.

The relief I felt when he told me that he could help me flowed through my whole body. I can't describe it. I told him I'd think about it. I desperately didn't want to be pregnant, but I also knew how dangerous illegal abortions were. I could die.

A few days later, I miscarried.

About a year later, my friend told me his sister had attempted suicide again. It turned out that the infection that happened as a result of her back alley abortion had left her infertile. She couldn't accept never being able to have children. My friend and his sister had grown up in a very strict Baptist family and she believed that she was being punished for having sex, for getting pregnant. She figured that since she was going to burn in Hell for all eternity, she might as well get on with it. Why wait? Eternity is a long time.

I look at my daughter, the light of my life, and I think, if I hadn't miscarried, if I'd accepted my friend's offer of help, I too might never have been able to have children.

I don't want young women today to experience the panic and desperation that I did and I sure as hell don't want them to go through what my friend's sister went through.

We can't go back.

Abortion is complicated. But the basic principle is simple. There are as many reasons, as many personal stories like mine behind every decision to terminate a pregnancy as there are women who need an abortion.

The decision should not be the government's.

From Planned Parenthood:

Our primary goal is prevention — reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, especially the alarmingly high number of teenage pregnancies, in the United States. At the same time, to protect their health and the health of their families, women facing an unintended pregnancy must have access to safe, legal abortion services without interference from the government. Decisions about childbearing should be made by a woman in consultation with her family and doctor — not by politicians.

(bold mine)

[posted on 2/5/12]

What Planned Parenthood does


(thoughts here)

[posted on 2/5/12]

Why do Americans hate the media

From Devilstower at DailyKos

The media -- newspapers, radio, and television -- is not made up of reporters running on a sparkling field of journalistic integrity. Those reporters are instead embedded in a machine intended to do the one thing that Mr. Keen sets as the mark of professionalism -- make money. And the way the media has chosen to make money over the last few decades is, perversely, by devaluing their own product. The clearest illustration of this can be found in three massive changes that have affected news over the last two decades: the increase in radio pundits, the establishment of the Fox News Network, and the reaction of the remainder of the media to the first two events. . . .

But the right wing talk brigade doesn't exist just to build up their own or tear down Democrats. They have, from the moment they first rolled onto the air, existed to tell you that traditional news organizations are no good. The Washington Post? Inside the beltway losers out of touch with real America. CNN? The Clinton News Network. The New York Times? Please. Do you really have to ask?

Punditry has always aimed as much artillery at the people who deliver the news as it does at those who make it. There's a very good reason for this. Before you can convince someone of a lie, you need to make it more difficult for them to check your information. If you establish from the start that NPR is communist, MSNBC and CNN are slanted, and every newspaper this side of Journal's editorial page should be printed on pink paper, then any exaggeration you deliver becomes the de facto standard. Impugning the validity of other news sources is the first job of a successful pundit. They don't seek to be your sources of information by passing along reliable news. They do so by constantly assailing the legitimacy of other sources until you're left shaking your head at the absolute ignorance of everyone but Rush/Bill/Sean/Ann.

The same principles apply to an even greater degree for Fox News. Yes, the network exists to promulgate a rigidly conservative agenda, but it can't do that without first informing you that every other source of news is invalid. Fox doesn't compete with the other networks, it sneers at them. From its motto to its non-existent boundaries between opinion and reporting, Fox exists by being an instrument of destruction to other news providers. Why do those who watch Fox News continue to believe that Iraq was involved in 9/11 despite that idea having been disproved over, and over, and over? Because Fox tells them to. Because Fox's pundits repeat the lie. Because Fox has convinced them that no other source of fact exists.

Fox News Network alone has done more to devalue the whole idea of news than every supermarket tabloid, every radio ranter, and every blogger combined.

If both the institutions at blame are heavily weighted to the right, that's no coincidence. Conservative dogma has long held the idea that it must discredit the press by claiming that the Fourth Estate is in fact a Fifth Column. They have depended on their ability to defame factual sources as a means of easing the way for misinformation since well before the time of Joe McCarthy. The right has successfully extended this campaign into the realm of science, convincing people that both evolution and global warming are somehow "political issues," deserving of no more attention than alternatives despite reams of evidence.

The myth of the "liberal media" came long before the blogs. Discrediting the "nattering nabobs" of the press is not a game that originated with bloggers. Every blogger I know is fully aware that we could not survive without the legwork done by hardworking, professional reporters. Bloggers are not competition to the traditional media -- though they do, hopefully, act as an occasional check on its excesses. However, even if the Internet were entirely dedicated to the downfall of existing media, it would be only one popgun in a chorus of cannons. A large part of the traditional media is dedicated to nothing less than making war on the rest. . . .

The media is working very, very hard to make sure that you don't trust the media. Professionalism defined only by dollars dictates that they chase declining ad revenues through alleys of filth. News outlets have become devoted not to providing stories that are timely and accurate, but to providing proof that their competitors are slanted and unreliable. It's devolved into a battle in which all sides lose. And the biggest loser is the consumer looking for a reliable, authoritative source of information.


The parts I bolded in the excerpts from Devilstower's post reminded me of why I continually have a deeply disturbing sense that the extreme right-wing is more like a cult than a political party. As I understand it, as new members are enticed into a cult, the first thing that must be done to ensure their "capture" into the cult is to isolate them. They must be completely separated from any source of information that would cause them to question the ideology and worldview of the cult.

Cult members are often required to cut off all communication with family and former friends. TV, newspapers, magazines, books (except for any written by the cult leader) are usually banned. The only "information" new members are allowed is the distorted view of reality provided by the cult itself.

Some cult members (often the women and the children) are permanently kept isolated from the wider world. However, it is difficult to impossible to completely isolate everyone in the cult from the outside. The men, for example, may be required to have jobs or the cult itself may establish businesses that require contact with their customers in order to financially support the cult. The truly isolated members may accidentally be exposed to outside sources. So it is necessary to install deep distrust of any information from outside the cult into the very brains of the cult members.

What Devilstower describes is how this is being done to millions of Americans through the traditional media. What started as conscious propaganda on the part of the extreme right has now spread to formerly more-or-less reliable sources of information. And the formerly more-or-less reliable sources are actively participating in their own erosion of credibility.

Scary, when you think about how dangerous the cult mentality can be and where it can lead. What's scary is not that most Americans are buying it. They aren't. What's scary are the horrors that can be unleashed in any society by a minority of "true believers" in the name of an ideology.

[posted on 12/27/11]

Priorities


Larger graphic and discussion at the source Center for American Progress


[posted on 12/27/11]

Pretty funny

Watch More News Videos at ABC
2012 Presidential Election
Entertainment & Celebrity News

The death penalty

Cacti:

If we go from 1976, the year the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court, there have been 1,266 executions.

In the same time, there have been 133 inmates who were sentenced to die, who have had their conviction overturned on appeal, and were subsequently acquitted on re-trial, or had their charges dismissed by the State, or were granted an absolute pardon. . . .

Those numbers mean, in the past 35 years, 1 in 10 deathrow inmates was tried, found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of their peers, and sentenced to die for crimes they did not commit.

Those are just the ones we know of. If the system could get it demonstrably wrong 10 percent of the time. There’s a good chance that there’s a similar number of cases where the accused wasn’t so fortunate.



[posted on 12/13/11]

Medicare

Darksyde considers his parents:

I'm lucky. Both my parents are entering their ninth decade of life and in relatively good health. They're alive, vibrant, enjoying their golden years surrounded by legions of kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.

Thanks to Medicare, my parents have survived heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, each requiring major, life saving surgery. They’ve had cataracts repaired, hold arthritis in check, and closely monitor and treat any signs of peripheral artery disease or pending stroke. That's why today they can enjoy a round of golf, shop for Christmas presents, hug their great-grandchildren, and do all the precious things more valuable to everyone in my family than any sum of money. To say that private, for profit health insurance could never offer our clan that option is a laughable understatement.

If Fox News, Newt Gingrich, or Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the lying wingnut clowns had been around when Medicare was proposed, my mother and father would be, at best, blind and crippled in a homeless shelter due to medical costs. Probably with at least one or two of their medically tapped out adult children living in a dumpster across the street. Or, more likely, they would live only in my family’s memory. And make no mistake; this Republican war on affordable heathcare is a war on my parents and yours. It's a fundamental plank in conservative ideology and includes destroying Medicare, usually disguised by widely quoted bytes like ‘ let's get the government out of healthcare.’

. . . What’s so remarkable about my parents' healthcare battles and victories isn’t that they're unique; the remarkable thing is they are the norm. Millions of senior citizens are alive, pain free, and productive today as a direct result of a core value in the progressive movement: it's time for affordable, quality healthcare to be a right, not a privilege, for everyone.

. . . If ever there was a time when pastors and priests should be reminding their congregation that "whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me," it is here. If ever there was cause worth fighting for, healthcare reform is it. Our time is now.


[posted on 8/16/09]

How they do it

One way insurance companies set people up for recission is by making the enrollment questionnaire tricky. The applicant can be being a honest as they can and still get caught up in this.

I watched these hearings as they were happening - this was my favorite part.

Watch all the way to the end . . .



[posted on 8/7/09]

What is recission?

When you apply for private insurance you have to fill out pages of info about your health and any health issues/treatments you've had. You've probably had to do this. I have. This can be a source of major suckage right away. For example, when my friend Ursula was in her thirties (she's in her early 60's now) she found a lump in her breast. Her doctor told her that she was pretty sure it was just a fat deposit, but that she should have a biopsy "just to be 100% sure." So Ursula did. And it was a fat deposit. No worries, no further problems. But now most insurance companies won't cover her at all, and the one she finally found that would has very high premiums and deductible - and cancer treatment is excluded!

Anyway, that's not recisssion. Recission is when you fill it all out and then they happily take your premiums for years, but when you're diagnosed with something expensive - heart attack, cancer, etc - they pull out your original application and then comb through all of your medical records with sophisticated computer programs until they find something you didn't put on the form. At which point they say, "Aha! You didn't tell us everything! Policy cancelled!"

But of course even the most honest person in the world might not remember every single trip to the doctor for their whole life, or they might not recognize a medical term on the form for something they were treated for . . .

And then this is what happens:




[posted on 8/5/09]

Weekly address - Insurance for small business



[posted on 8/4/09]

Pushback against health care reform misinformation



[posted on 8/4/09]

From MLK to today . . .



[posted on 7/21/09]

How did it happen?

Best explanation I've seen.


The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

[posted on 2/20/09]

A New Day

And it's a New Year. Things are looking pretty bleak lately. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed. But if we are going to have a chance of repairing the damage that's been done in the past eight years and tackling the challenges that lie ahead, we have to have hope.

Hope is important.




[posted on 1/1/09]

Hope



[posted on 11/5/08]

An American Prayer



[posted on 11/5/08]

Make history



[posted on 11/4/08]

Mr. November

OK, there's some irony in juxtaposing pictures of Obama with the lyrics, "I'm the Great White Hope." And well, I do hope (it's about hope, right) that the refrain turns out to be true.

But, The National is my current favorite band and the visuals are great, so:



[posted on 11/1/08]

Local voices in Ohio



truth and hope.org created these videos. You can donate to help get these ads on the air here And check out their Mamas for Obama videos, too.

[posted on 10/24/08]

Local voices in Nevada






truth and hope.org created these videos. You can donate to help get these ads on the air here. They also have some great Elders for Obama ads too.

[posted on 10/24/08]

Local voices in Missouri
















truth and hope.org created these videos. You can donate to help get these ads on the air here.

[posted on 10/24/08]

Cpl. Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, 1987-2007



[posted on 10/19/08]

Gen. Colin Powell endorses Obama



[posted on 10/19/08]

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chill

Okay, FIRST watch this:



Now go look at this.

;-)

[posted on 9/20/08]

Confessions of a Republican (1964)



[posted on 9/19/08]

Remember the Unitarian Jihad?

Their manifesto started out like this and only got better from there:

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary.

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Divine Atom Bomb of Serene Freedom. What's yours?

[posted on 8/8/08]

"It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant"

Time magazine did their homework. The Republican attack dogs, not so much.



[posted on 8/5/08]

Paris's, er, Obama's Energy Plan

This is a hoot. Thing is, what she presents as "her" plan is actually Obama's plan. McCain just wants to drill, period.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die


[posted on 8/5/08]

Netroots for the troops

I'm deleting most of the original post, since it was very long and mostly had to do with how to help with the project.

The Netroots for the Troops project is done! We ended up packing 130 boxes at Netroots Nation in Austin, and roses, jnhobbs, and I made sure they all got mailed. (The Oak Hill post office knew me very well by the time it was all done, and I knew just about everyone who works there by name. Thanks Guy, Gus, Eli, Leo, Chris, and Henry . . . you all were s-o-o-o-o helpful!)

From the Netroots for the Troops series of diaries at Daily Kos, greenies' diary:

115° in Iraq and No Complaints


 title=Today on the radio I heard a staff sergeant and his CO interviewed about how they were dealing with the heat in Northern Iraq - triple digits every day. In their body armor it feels like 115° and there will be no respite from that in the foreseeable future.

What struck me was that there wasn't even the hint of a complaint from either of these men.



NFTT stands for Netroots for the Troops, a coalition of the IGTNT and Mojo Friday crews. With the generous support of the Daily Kos community, Netroots for the Troops is hosting a Care Packages for the Troops seminar at Netroots Nation 2008 in Austin on July 19.

Perhaps you are like lots of people - you've thought about sending a care package to the troops, but just haven't gotten around to it. Now's your chance to do something for the troops by helping to send them things they truly need.

Netroots for the Troops is holding a seminar on Saturday, July 19, 2008, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at Netroots Nation 2008 on how to pack and ship troop support care packages. Participants will get hands-on experience by helping us fill care packages that will be sent directly from Austin to our brave men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our aim is to ship a total of 101 care packages - and that’s where you come in.

[posted on 6/19/08]

Why do Americans hate the media?

From Devilstower at DailyKos

The media -- newspapers, radio, and television -- is not made up of reporters running on a sparkling field of journalistic integrity. Those reporters are instead embedded in a machine intended to do the one thing that Mr. Keen sets as the mark of professionalism -- make money. And the way the media has chosen to make money over the last few decades is, perversely, by devaluing their own product. The clearest illustration of this can be found in three massive changes that have affected news over the last two decades: the increase in radio pundits, the establishment of the Fox News Network, and the reaction of the remainder of the media to the first two events. . . .

But the right wing talk brigade doesn't exist just to build up their own or tear down Democrats. They have, from the moment they first rolled onto the air, existed to tell you that traditional news organizations are no good. The Washington Post? Inside the beltway losers out of touch with real America. CNN? The Clinton News Network. The New York Times? Please. Do you really have to ask?

Punditry has always aimed as much artillery at the people who deliver the news as it does at those who make it. There's a very good reason for this. Before you can convince someone of a lie, you need to make it more difficult for them to check your information. If you establish from the start that NPR is communist, MSNBC and CNN are slanted, and every newspaper this side of Journal's editorial page should be printed on pink paper, then any exaggeration you deliver becomes the de facto standard. Impugning the validity of other news sources is the first job of a successful pundit. They don't seek to be your sources of information by passing along reliable news. They do so by constantly assailing the legitimacy of other sources until you're left shaking your head at the absolute ignorance of everyone but Rush/Bill/Sean/Ann.

The same principles apply to an even greater degree for Fox News. Yes, the network exists to promulgate a rigidly conservative agenda, but it can't do that without first informing you that every other source of news is invalid. Fox doesn't compete with the other networks, it sneers at them. From its motto to its non-existent boundaries between opinion and reporting, Fox exists by being an instrument of destruction to other news providers. Why do those who watch Fox News continue to believe that Iraq was involved in 9/11 despite that idea having been disproved over, and over, and over? Because Fox tells them to. Because Fox's pundits repeat the lie. Because Fox has convinced them that no other source of fact exists.

Fox News Network alone has done more to devalue the whole idea of news than every supermarket tabloid, every radio ranter, and every blogger combined.

If both the institutions at blame are heavily weighted to the right, that's no coincidence. Conservative dogma has long held the idea that it must discredit the press by claiming that the Fourth Estate is in fact a Fifth Column. They have depended on their ability to defame factual sources as a means of easing the way for misinformation since well before the time of Joe McCarthy. The right has successfully extended this campaign into the realm of science, convincing people that both evolution and global warming are somehow "political issues," deserving of no more attention than alternatives despite reams of evidence.

The myth of the "liberal media" came long before the blogs. Discrediting the "nattering nabobs" of the press is not a game that originated with bloggers. Every blogger I know is fully aware that we could not survive without the legwork done by hardworking, professional reporters. Bloggers are not competition to the traditional media -- though they do, hopefully, act as an occasional check on its excesses. However, even if the Internet were entirely dedicated to the downfall of existing media, it would be only one popgun in a chorus of cannons. A large part of the traditional media is dedicated to nothing less than making war on the rest. . . .

The media is working very, very hard to make sure that you don't trust the media. Professionalism defined only by dollars dictates that they chase declining ad revenues through alleys of filth. News outlets have become devoted not to providing stories that are timely and accurate, but to providing proof that their competitors are slanted and unreliable. It's devolved into a battle in which all sides lose. And the biggest loser is the consumer looking for a reliable, authoritative source of information.


The parts I bolded in the excerpts from Devilstower's post reminded me of why I continually have a deeply disturbing sense that the extreme right-wing is more like a cult than a political party. As I understand it, as new members are enticed into a cult, the first thing that must be done to ensure their "capture" into the cult is to isolate them. They must be completely separated from any source of information that would cause them to question the ideology and worldview of the cult.

Cult members are often required to cut off all communication with family and former friends. TV, newspapers, magazines, books (except for any written by the cult leader) are usually banned. The only "information" new members are allowed is the distorted view of reality provided by the cult itself.

Some cult members (often the women and the children) are permanently kept isolated from the wider world. However, it is difficult to impossible to completely isolate everyone in the cult from the outside. The men, for example, may be required to have jobs or the cult itself may establish businesses that require contact with their customers in order to financially support the cult. The truly isolated members may accidentally be exposed to outside sources. So it is necessary to install deep distrust of any information from outside the cult into the very brains of the cult members.

What Devilstower describes is how this is being done to millions of Americans through the traditional media. What started as conscious propaganda on the part of the extreme right has now spread to formerly more-or-less reliable sources of information. And the formerly more-or-less reliable sources are actively participating in their own erosion of credibility.

Scary, when you think about how dangerous the cult mentality can be and where it can lead. What's scary is not that most Americans are buying it. They aren't. What's scary are the horrors that can be unleashed in any society by a minority of "true believers" in the name of an ideology.

[posted on 4/13/08]

A more perfect union



[posted on 3/20/08]

How to do the Texas two-step on Mar 4

It's easy.

First step: Vote in the Democratic primary.

Second step: Go to your precinct polling place at 7:15pm Tuesday Mar 4. This is your precinct convention. If you voted early and you're not sure where your polling place is, go here to find out.

Sign in and list your preference for the presidential nominee (for Obama, of course!).

After the meeting is called to order, you can leave if you want to. By signing in, you're "counted" in the math that decides how many of your precincts' delegates for each candidate will go to your county convention.

If you decide to stay, you can vote for the delegates or you can be a delegate yourself. The people who stay at the precinct conventions will elect the actual delegates to the county conventions. Some precincts will have lots of delegates to select - and an equal number of alternates. My precinct gets 41 delegates! So we'll be needing 82 people willing to be delegates.

If you're really dedicated, also take a list of people who would be willing to serve as delegates even if they are not going to be at the precinct convention. Delegates do not need to be at the precinct convention - but they must be elected at it.



To see this bigger (so you can read the fine print) click here.










[Why do we have a "two-step" in Texas? Well, historically, delegates to the national convention from Texas were selected only by caucus at the Texas convention. To make it more democratic - to let more Texans have a say about who the nominee should be - the system was changed to make it so that 2/3 of the delegates would be apportioned based on the regular primary vote.

Those who are involved enough in Democratic party politics to go to their conventions get to vote again at their precinct for how the other 1/3 are apportioned. It's also a very democratic process - anyone who votes in the Democratic primary is welcome at their precinct convention, to "vote twice" for a candidate they feel strongly about. It's complicated, but I think it's overall a good system.

I think those who feel very strongly about a candidate, and those who are willing to work more actively in Democratic party politics, should have a louder voice in who is selected as the Democratic party's nominee.]

[posted on 3/1/08]

¿Como se Dice, como se LLama?



[posted on 2/29/08]

Tough enough?

I wasn't an early supporter of Obama (Dodd, then Edwards), mainly because I wasn't sure he'd be tough enough against the inevitable Republican "do not let a Democrat win anything - even if it's a good thing."

See, for example, the S-CHIP battle. As far as the R's are concerned, the name of the game is . . . it's a game, and winning isn't the most important thing, it's the only thing. The concept that we elect people to office to get things done, useful things that affect our lives, seems beyond their conception. War? It has the same reality as a football game. Yay! We're winning! Boo. You're not cheering loud enough. (Traitors.)

Would Obama be tough enough? Would he fight them hard enough? Would he be able to kick their asses into total irrelevance?

But I've come around for a variety of reasons, and now that I'm looking at him more closely, I think I might be seeing something that will actually work. Maybe. Maybe not. But attempting to "pacify" the Right-Wing is clearly futile and self-destructive. Attacking them seems to not work either - they just double and redouble their counter attacks, which even when totally dishonest and irrational, finally wears everyone down.

I liked the way Obama countered Hillary's inane "plagiarism" attack during the Austin debates by pointing out that that whole line of discussion was purely silly and immediately changing the subject to "we have real problems in this country that need solutions."

And XStryker had a comment that showed something else I hadn't seen before:

Obama's [strategy] is hugely effective. Instead of using the Clinton strategy of offering red meat to Republicans (like Hillary's anti-flag-burning bill or her Iraq War vote), Obama remains progressive and then finds Republicans who agree with him. For example, he takes a conservative guy, Dick Lugar, with a sensible stance on foreign policy and he passes legislation to secure loose nukes, a bill previously rejected by the Republican congress during the Clinton administration. Even president Bush, who nominally opposed it, concedes and signs it. That's how things get done. He finds a conservative who is willing to speak out against his party's earmarking, Tom Coburn, and passes the Coburn-Obama bill to force congress to disclose their spending and earmarks on the internet.

Instead of moving to the center, he approaches people issue-by-issue. The Republican party includes social progressives, economic populists, and foreign policy realists. Obama's strategy is to appeal to everyone's most liberal tendency individually. Clinton, however, has a tendency to unite people against her, and her only strategy in response is to triangulate to the right. The truth is that her campaign is not very effective and lousy on strategy, which is how she managed to go from front-runner to down nearly 100 delegates.

And if she's run a mistake-ridden losing campaign for the Democratic nomination, how can she possibly beat the Republican machine in any state less Democratic than New York? Obama leads McCain in the polls because his strategy works. He appeals to both progressives and independents. All this nonsense of Obama as "center right" is willfully ignorant spin . . .

(I would add further, if she can't manage a campaign effectively, how can she manage a country? There's a reason the President is called the "Chief Executive." Because the main part of the job is to be a manager of the biggest damn bureaucracy in the world.)

. . . and . . .
The Obama campaign made a brilliant move by making Obama's website the top search response for "Obama + Muslim". They've effectively marginalized, isolated, and forced retractions out of Fox News. They had Jesse Jackson on Olbermann yesterday keeping the heat on Bill O'Reilly. Unfortunately, when you're being attacked by the Clinton campaign and the McCain campaign at the same time, you can't always draw attention to every GOP criticism by addressing directly. Once Clinton is done attacking Obama, Obama will be ready to silence McCain's attacks as effectively as he's answered Hillary's.

Visit Election Inspection for analysis, polls, and predictions!
by XStryker

Maybe we need someone who can fight smarter, instead of harder. Maybe that's the right kind of "tough."

[posted on 2/24/08]

How it works



Hmmmm. This explains a lot about, well, a lot of things.

From xkcd comics.

[posted on 2/24/08]

Si, se puede!



[posted on 2/22/08]

Obama addresses automakers in Detroit

"I went to Detroit, I stood in front of a group of automakers, and I told them that when I am president, there will be no more excuses — we will help them retool their factories, but they will have to make cars that use less oil.”



Obama on the Issues: Energy

[posted on 2/16/08]

Obama Super Tuesday ad



[posted on 2/7/08]

Yes We Can



[posted on 2/4/08]

Sen. Ted Kennedy



[posted on 12/17/07]

Why It matters

From the Church Committee Report:



(Click on images to view larger.}



Historian Henry Steele Commager assessed the Committee’s legacy. Referring to executive branch officials who seemed to consider themselves above the law, he said, “It is this indifference to constitutional restraints that is perhaps the most threatening of all the evidence that emerges from the findings of the Church Committee.”


Our Presidents should not be able to conduct secret operations which violate our principles, jeopardize our rights, and have not been subject to the checks and balances which normally keep policies in line. - Morton Halperin, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs


In its consideration of covert action, the Committee was struck by the basic tension--if not incompatibility--of covert operations and the demands of a constitutional system. Secrecy is essential to covert operations; secrecy can, however, become a source of power, a barrier to serious policy debate within the government, and a means of circumventing the established checks and procedures of government. The Committee found that secrecy and compartmentation contributed to a temptation on the part of the Executive to resort to covert operations in order to avoid bureaucratic, congressional, and public debate. - The Church Committee


And remember that once violated, the rule of law is itself in danger. Unless stopped, lawlessness grows. The greater the power of the executive grows, the more difficult it becomes for the other branches to perform their constitutional roles. As the executive acts outside its constitutionally prescribed role and is able to control access to information that would expose its mistakes and reveal errors, it becomes increasingly difficult for the other branches to police its activities. Once that ability is lost, democracy itself is threatened and we become a government of men and not laws. - Al Gore, address for Martin Luther King Day, January 16, 2006


[posted on 12/17/07]