Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NY Judge: CIA can Keep 9/11 Videotape info Secret

The fix is in:

A judge cited national security concerns in ruling Wednesday that the CIA does not have to release hundreds of documents related to the destruction of videotapes of Sept. 11 detainee interrogations that used harsh methods.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said he believed he had an obligation to let the CIA director decide what should be released when it pertains to methods used to make uncooperative detainees divulge information.

"The need to keep confidential just how the CIA and other government agencies obtained their information is manifest, and that has to do with the identities of the people who gave information and who were questioned to obtain information," the judge said from the bench.

Chemical Found in air Outside 15 Schools

It took a news outlet to expose a potential serious threat to our kids. Then again protecting children isn't a priority of the government.

Outside 15 schools in eight states, government regulators have found elevated levels of a substance that — in a more potent form — was also used as a chemical weapon during World War I.

Those findings, based on samples collected for the Environmental Protection Agency, mark the first time the agency has expressed concern about the chemicals it detected as part of an ongoing effort to check for toxic chemicals in the air outside 63 schools nationwide.

Kids of Working Moms Less Healthy, Study says

This an argument for marriages and good paying jobs. Jobs that are disappearing because they've been outsourced.

Children whose mothers work are less likely to eat healthily or exercise as often as children with stay-at-home mums, according to a British study that is likely to raise the hackles of working mothers.

The UK Millennium Cohort Study looked at the dietary habits and physical activity of more than 12,500 children from the age of nine months to the age of five.

It found that, regardless of ethnicity, maternal education or job level, children whose mothers worked part or full time were less likely to eat fruits or vegetables at meals or as snacks.
Especially if they eat candy:
British experts studied more than 17,000 children born in 1970 for about four decades. Of the children who ate candies or chocolates daily at age 10, 69 percent were later arrested for a violent offense by the age of 34. Of those who didn't have any violent clashes, 42 percent ate sweets daily.

Guns to be Allowed in Arizona Bars

This is as stupid as it can get. We're going back to the wild west days. Have we lost our minds in this country? You mix alcohol with guns nothing good can come from that. It also shows the power of the gun lobby.

Under the law, backed by the National Rifle Association, the 138,350 people with concealed-weapons permits in Arizona will be allowed to bring their guns into bars and restaurants that haven't posted signs banning them.

Those carrying the weapons aren't allowed to drink alcohol.

The new law has Shields and other bar owners and workers wondering: What's going to happen when guns are allowed in an atmosphere filled with booze and people with impaired judgment?

"Somebody can pull the trigger, then a bullet comes out, and people get hurt and killed," said Brad Henrich, owner of Shady's, a popular neighborhood bar that sees occasional minor scuffles. "The idea of anyone coming in with guns in a place that serves alcohol just seems ludicrous."

Swine Flu School Closings Could Cost Billions


Closing schools and day care centers because of swine flu could cost between $10 billion and $47 billion, a report by the Brookings Institution think tank found.

The government is urging schools to close only as a last resort, such as when large numbers of kids or staffers come down with swine flu.

But in the month since classes began, many schools have closed. As of Monday, there had been at least 187 school dismissals across the country affecting at least 79,678 students, the Education Department said.

The report issued Wednesday by Brookings' Center on Social and Economic Dynamics estimated that the cost of closing all schools in the U.S. for four weeks would be between $10 billion to $47 billion. Brookings called that a conservative estimate.

UN: 4 Million People Now on AIDS Drugs

But is it too little too late:

United Nations health officials estimate about 4 million people who need AIDS drugs worldwide are now getting them, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The figure represents a major increase in rolling out the drugs to patients across Africa, where the AIDS epidemic is focused, but an estimated 5 million or more across the globe are still waiting for the drugs.

The numbers, based on incomplete data and modeling, are only a guess. They were released in an annual AIDS report jointly published by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the U.N. AIDS program.

"There remain uncertainties related to the quality of data reported," officials wrote. Of the U.N.'s 192 member countries, 158 provided government-approved data, most of which were not independently verified.

"Even though some of the data are not fully clear and there are some unanswered questions, this is a dramatic improvement," said Daniel Halperin, an AIDS expert at Harvard University. "It shows that all this money that has gone to treatment has made some difference."

Driving Distraction Kills 6,000 a Year

Stricter laws and education are needed to deal with this plague. How many children and families have to die for our society to wake up to this stupidity.

Nearly 6,000 people were killed and a half-million injured last year in U.S. auto accidents due to drivers being distracted, particularly by mobile phones, the government said Wednesday.
The Transportation Department brought together experts for a two-day "distracted driving summit" on highway hazards caused by drivers talking on cell phones or texting from behind the wheel. Secretary Ray LaHood was expected Thursday to offer recommendations that could lead to new restrictions on using the devices while driving.
LaHood said he wanted the meeting of government officials, safety advocates, researchers and lawmakers to set "the stage for finding ways to eliminate texting while driving."

Senate Democrats Help to Defeat Public Option

We were told during and after the last election that things would change in America now that we have the Democrats in Control of the Congress and White House. So much for that. This is the false promise they always make. Once again the welfare of the people gets thwarted by self interest. Those 5 Democrats are looking out for numero uno, not the American people. Are you convinced yet? Or do you need more proof? Because you're going to get more of the same failure and betrayal in the months to come. Until the next election when they start making more false promises. You can also thank the press which help spread the disinformation put out by the Republicans. Because the media is about covering sensationalism rather than shedding light:

A Senate committee drafting health care legislation soundly rejected two versions of a proposed government-run program Tuesday. Supporters of the "public option" vowed to resurrect the provision later this fall.

Moderate Democrats twice voted with a unanimous bloc of 10 Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee to beat back attempts by more liberal Democrats to insert the public option into the $900 billion, 10-year plan under consideration by the committee.

Defeat of the public option underscored divisions among Democrats and bolstered predictions by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., that the proposal doesn't have the support it needs to pass in the full Senate. "My job is to get this bill across the finish line," said Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee and one of five Democrats who voted against the public option offered by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.
That wasn't the only defeat for Obama:
A Senate committee voted Tuesday night to restore $50 million a year in federal funding for abstinence-only education that President Barack Obama has pushed to eliminate.

The 12-11 vote by the Senate Finance Committee came over objections from its chairman, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana.

Two Democrats -- Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas -- joined all 10 committee Republicans in voting "yes" on the measure by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Where's the Outrage, Mr. President?

It's only been a day since the monstrous murder of a promising 16-year-old honors student, Derrion Albert. But as of yet there has been no comment by President Obama, or any other "national leader," on this tragic death.

Maybe the President is busy with healthcare reform. But you should be able to find a minute to express horror over what happened in your adopted home city, Chicago.

You found the time to go to Europe to lobby for that city to become the host of the 2016 Olympics.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Russian Journalist in hiding after Soviet Critique

This person needs to be in fear. And there isn't any country to run to. Any doubt democracy is dead in Russia?

A Russian journalist says he fears for his life and has gone into hiding after angering a nationalist pro-Kremlin youth group by writing an article criticising Russia's Soviet past.

Alexander Podrabinek says he has received threats after publishing an editorial on the Internet about a Moscow restaurant changing its name from "Anti-Soviet" under pressure from local officials who said it was offensive to "Soviet veterans."

The article on recalled the prison camps and crimes of Stalinism, and accused the current Russian authorities of trying to burnish the image of the Soviet Union.

Podrabinek, a former anti-communist dissident and freelance journalist, has since been criticised by Nashi, a nationalist youth movement that began under former President Vladimir Putin.

Monday, September 28, 2009

US Income Gap Widens

The gap between rich and poor grew during the boom and widens during the recession.

The recession has hit middle-income and poor families hardest, widening the economic gap between the richest and poorest Americans as rippling job layoffs ravaged household budgets.

The wealthiest 10 percent of Americans — those making more than $138,000 each year — earned 11.4 times the roughly $12,000 made by those living near or below the poverty line in 2008, according to newly released census figures. That ratio was an increase from 11.2 in 2007 and the previous high of 11.22 in 2003.

Household income declined across all groups, but at sharper percentage levels for middle-income and poor Americans. Median income fell last year from $52,163 to $50,303, wiping out a decade's worth of gains to hit the lowest level since 1997.

Poverty jumped sharply to 13.2 percent, an 11-year high.

Chicago Teen's Beating Death Fuels Anger

This evil has to stop. Where is that good for nothing Mayor Daley. Where is the President? Send the national guard if necessary to stop the gang violence. Something must be done now before it is too late. Mob violence is the worst kind of violence. People do things when part of a mob they wouldn't when alone.

Cell phone footage showing a group of teens viciously kicking and striking a 16-year-old honors student with splintered railroad ties has ramped up pressure on Chicago officials to address chronic violence that has led to dozens of deaths of city teens each year.

The graphic video of the afternoon melee emerged on local news stations over the weekend, showed the fatal beating of Derrion Albert, a sophomore honor roll student at Christian Fenger Academy High School. His death was the latest addition to a toll that keeps getting higher: More than 30 students were killed last school year, and the city could exceed that number this year.

Prosecutors charged three teenagers on Monday with fatally beating Albert, who was walking to a bus stop when he got caught up in the mob street fighting, authorities said.
- Discuss this topic here.

Facebook Poll: Should President Obama be Assassinated

This is the kind of madness that is going on out there. If it continues enough psychos will continue to try until they succeed in assassinating the President:

The Secret Service is investigating the origins of a poll that appeared on Facebook that asked whether President Obama should be killed.

Posted over the weekend, the poll was removed by Facebook after the Secret Service received a tip and contacted the company, which was not aware of the survey, sources tell ABC News.

"When the Secret Service became aware of the poll we worked with Facebook to have it taken down and are conducting an investigation," said a spokesman for the Secret Service.

'FOX News Sunday' Transcript (9-27-09)

Krauthammer predictably (read the complete show transcript) accuses the President of undermining peace:

WALLACE: Charles, let me bring up another aspect of the policy of engagement, the Middle East.

The president has tried mightily since he took office to engage with the Palestinians and the Israelis to try to jump-start the peace talks. You can them shaking hands there this week up in New York. So far, nothing.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, that’s because he undermined the idea of negotiations when he came in and decided he would reinvent the world as he does in this issue.

He imposed a demand on the Israelis of a settlement freeze. And the Israelis left, right and center will not accept a freeze, which involves Jerusalem. The president insisted.

And the Palestinians and the Arab states looked at this and said if the Americans are putting these unilateral demands on the Israelis, we are not going to negotiate. Abbas himself, the leader of the Palestinians, was in Washington a few months ago and he said, “We will not lift a finger until Israel complies.”

And the reason it’s a -- it’s a policy that makes no sense is because for 16 years, the Israelis and the Palestinians had negotiated without any preconditions. All of a sudden Obama imposes this, and negotiations have stopped.

What happened in New York this week is that the Obama administration caved in and has now abandoned this precondition. The Israelis are ready to negotiate and the Palestinians are still holding out wanting the freeze on settlements, which is not going to happen.

WALLACE: Yeah, and let me talk about that, because Charles is exactly right, Juan. Now the president says, “All right, enough with the preconditions because they’re not getting us anywhere. Let’s go immediately, directly, to final status talks.” What are the chances that’s going to work?

WILLIAMS: Well, the chances, if you look at it now, are pretty minimal, but the -- but that doesn’t negate the idea that something needs to be done. You’ve got to have some progress in this area.

We’ve been talking about Iran. We’ve been talking about engagement, about getting the world together, to say, “You know what, it’s not just up to the U.S., you can’t just wait for the lone superpower to take action.”

Much of the world’s grievances, especially the Iranian grievance coming from Ahmadinejad, has to do with what’s taking place between the Palestinians and Israel. Doesn’t seem unreasonable to me to say to Israel, “Settlements are a bad thing. We can’t -- you can’t be an occupying power if you are truly serious about negotiation.”

WALLACE: Do you really think if there were Middle East peace, the Iranians wouldn’t be pursuing nuclear weapons?

WILLIAMS: No. I think the Iranians are acting like outlaws. I don’t have any question in my mind about that. But I think they use this as a pretext. And so many others use it as a pretext, including Osama bin Laden. So it’s time to remove it. It’s time to settle the issue.

And Charles argues for simply maintaining the status quo. “Oh, they’ve always -- they’ve been negotiating. No need for the -- any change. Why is the Obama administration going on to this arid ground?” It seems to me to the credit of any American administration to say, “Time to end this farce.”

WALLACE: Ten seconds for Mr. Krauthammer to respond to that personal attack. KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I’m in favor -- I’m in favor of negotiations. The Israelis and Palestinians were talking up until Obama came into office. He’s the one who undermined it by imposing a precondition. It makes no sense at all.

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I see we have peace in the Middle East, huh?

WALLACE: All right.

KRAUTHAMMER: We don’t even have talks.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Candidate Raffles off AK-47 at Campaign Rally

This might explain Joe Wilson. What this jerk doesn't understand is that this AK will be used to kill innocent American citizens. He needs to read the 2nd amendment. I talks about a "well regulated militia.":

A candidate to be South Carolina's next National Guard leader skipped the fiery speeches for firepower, launching his campaign with what he called a "machine-gun social."

The Greenville News reports some 500 people came out to a shooting range Saturday for Republican Dean Allen's political rally. He wants to be the next adjutant general, the person who leads the state's National Guard.
- source

Video: Secretary Clinton on 'Face The Nation' (9-27-09)

Watch CBS Videos Online

Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi Makes More Racist Remarks About the Obama's

The reason this corrupt peace of garbage gets away with his "excesses" can be traced to his control of the press in Italy. Who will be the first to demand an apology? Anybody?:

Premier Silvio Berlusconi is still talking about President Barack Obama's "tan," and this time the gaffe-prone Italian leader has made a wisecrack about Michelle Obama's skin color as well.

Berlusconi told a Milan rally of conservative supporters on Sunday that he was bringing greetings from the United States from "What's his name? Some tanned guy. Ah, Barack Obama!"

Shortly after Obama's election in November 2008, Berlusconi raised eyebrows by saying the victor was "young, handsome, and even has a good tan."

'Meet The Press' Video, Transcript (9-27-09)

Bill Clinton gave his views on Iran (Complete show transcript here):
PRES. CLINTON: Well, I--my answer is both. That is, you know, I know what I read in the newspaper, but my impression is that the United States knew about this for some time and then a couple of days ago, you know, Iran gave a kind of half-hearted notification to the International Atomic Energy Agency about this site. Then the U.S. must have shared what they knew, because you got the very tough statement from President Medvedev from Russia at the U.N., then the British and French leaders, Prime Minister Brown and President Sarkozy, joined with President Obama in issuing his statement. The Chinese, I'm assuming, have been notified, because they've been working closely with the Russians and the Americans on the North Korean nonproliferation issue to constrain the ability to spread whatever technology they have or to allow the North Koreans to add to their stock.

So I think when the secretary of state kept saying, "Iran's got a choice to make, Iran's got a choice to make," it now looks, reading in the newspaper, that what they were saying is, "We want to talk to you. You can't avoid talking about this. We have to resolve this." And I believe the president has now said by the end of the year, and I think Hillary had said something like December. So my view is this is the very time to talk to them, because we're in a difficult situation now. And it's not a question I want to emphasize about whether we trust them or not, because we've demonstrated that we have the ability to verify. And I think, I think the U.S. wanted to talk because they knew about this and they knew that Iran was about to get in a position where they might be irreversibly putting themselves on a conflict course not only with us but, as you now see, with the Europeans--the Germans endorsed a statement with the Russians--and presumably with the Chinese. Just because they haven't said anything, we shouldn't draw any negative conclusions. They normally take a little longer.
Also on the program was David Paterson. Who insists was not pressured into not running for Governor of New York:
MR. GREGORY: Has it made--been made clear by the president or others working for him that they would like you not to seek re-election?

GOV. PATERSON: I mean, I've had conversations with them, but I don't--I think that the people of the state of New York are the ones who should choose their governor.

MR. GREGORY: All right. But let's be very clear here about what happened. The president's team and others speaking on their behalf said to you, you should not run. Isn't that right?

GOV. PATERSON: I can't say that, David. There are people who've told me not to run. They're are a lot of people who've told--have told me not to run.

MR. GREGORY: Bu the White House specifically said don't run?

GOV. PATERSON: I don't know that.

MR. GREGORY: You don't know that? You certainly know you don't have their support.

GOV. PATERSON: Well, David, the White House has a country to run and I have a state to run. And there's politics that, that go on all the time. I'm blind, but I'm not oblivious. I realize that there are people who don't want me to run. I've never gotten an, an explicit indication authorized from the White House that I shouldn't run. But what I would say is what I think I should be doing is managing the affairs of my state and, when I run, making my case to the people and letting them decide who the next governor should be.

MR. GREGORY: But, but, but--fair enough. But I just want to be clear on this point. They certainly sent the message, did they not, that you would not have their support if you ran and they have concerns about you running, and that you should not run.

GOV. PATERSON: They certainly sent a message that they have concerns, and I appreciate that. But let me just tell you at the outset, I am running for governor in 2010. I don't think that this is an issue other than for the people of the state of New York to decide.

Video Spoof: Teebaggers Showe Howh Educatidid Thay Reelly Arre

Teabaggers are not exactly known for their political sophistication. This video shows why.

Georgia Bank 95th US failure in '09

"Regulators on Friday shut down Atlanta-based Georgian Bank, the 95th U.S. bank to fail this year as loan defaults rise in the worst financial climate in decades.

In coming months, more banks are expected to buckle under the weight of commercial real estate and other loans that go sour. Those failures could imperil the insurance fund for deposits, already at the lowest point in nearly 20 years."

"SNL" Newbie Drops the F-Bomb On Air

Saturday Night live likes to push the envelope. And they will do whatever the show can get away with. Profanity and vulgarity are pervasive. The scum that control the media want to get ratings.

And they know that shock sells. This is the same show that had skits about giving a gift box with a penis inside, or friends sleeping with each other's mothers. So should we be shocked by this? The question is will they get away with it? If they do, expect the bottom to drop. America will turn into one large F-Bomb:
"Saturday Night Live" newbie Jenny Slate marked her Saturday night debut by dropping the f-bomb on air, uttering the four-letter word during a sketch she shared with veteran Kristen Wiig.

Slate, a New York comedian, was performing in "Biker Chicks Chat," playing a foulmouthed motorcycle-driving woman clad in leather, when she dropped the curse word, which slipped by censors and was heard by East Coast viewers of the show.

"You frickin' just threw an ashtray full of butts at my head. You know what, you stood up for yourself and I f***in' love you for that," Slate said to Wiig's fellow biker chick in the skit.

Whether Slate's expletive was intentional wasn't clear, but the actress did puff out her cheeks after the swear word to indicate her embarrassment and apparent regret at her slip-up.
- Discuss this topic here

Def. Secretary Gates on ABC's 'This Week', Transcript (9-27-09)

Read the complete transcript. Excerpt below:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, this was clearly a carefully considered strategy. And now the president is telling us -- he told me last week that he can't approve General McChrystal's request until we get the strategy right.

Why the second thoughts on the strategy?

ROBERT GATES, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I don't think there are second thoughts so much as when he made his decisions at the end of March, he also announced that he would -- we would be reviewing the policy and the strategy after the elections...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But he said the tool was in the tactics, not the strategy.

GATES: Well, I -- I think that he -- he clearly felt that we would have to reassess where we are after the election. Now, in addition to having a flawed election in Afghanistan, we now have General McChrystal's assessment. When the president made his comments at -- at the end of March, his decisions, obviously, General McChrystal was not in place. We now have his assessment. He has found the situation on the ground in Afghanistan worse than he had -- then he anticipated.

And so I think what the president is now saying is in light of the election, in light of McChrystal's more concerning assessment of the situation on the ground, have we got the strategy right, were the decisions in -- that he made at the end of March, the right ones?

Do we need to make some adjustments in light of what we've found?

And once we've decided whether or not to make adjustments in the strategy, then we will consider the additional resources.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But did -- but didn't General McChrystal take these problems of the election into account?

He didn't even deliver his report until August 30th, which was after the elections. Dennis Blair, the head of National Intelligence, said back in February or March that we could foresee that there would be problems with this election.

GATES: Well, I think -- I think that the potential magnitude of the problems in the election really didn't become apparent until the vote count began in early September. So -- so I think it was really after he submitted his -- his assessment.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So now we have a real dilemma.

Does that mean that the United States is re-thinking whether it can even -- whether it can bolster President Karzai's government or whether we have to give up on it?

GATES: Well, I -- you know, the Afghan people have gone to the polls and we have the two election commissions, one internal and one international, that could still come to conclusions, even if they throw out some fraudulent ballots or a number of fraudulent ballots, that there was a clear winner.

The key is whether the Afghans believe that their government has legitimacy. And everything that I've seen in the intelligence and elsewhere indicates that remains the case.
- Rebeller Discussion Forum:
We Must Pull out of Afghanistan

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Militants' Threats Hover Over German Vote

There is reason for concern. al Qaeda was successful in influencing the election in Spain several years ago. They hope to repeat their success. Bin laden is looking for some kind of attack in the West. Especially, since they are failing at attacking the United States. Qaeda likes to hit "soft" targets. And that's because they are cowards.

Ignoring threats by Islamic militants, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her main rival held their final political rallies Saturday before Germany's national election, focusing on the key domestic issues of jobs and economic recovery.

Two videos surfaced Friday - one by al Qaeda and another by the Taliban - threatening retaliation for Germany's military presence in Afghanistan. The Taliban video showed top German landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and Munich's world-renowned Oktoberfest.

In response, authorities on Saturday banned all flights over Oktoberfest until it ends on Oct. 4. The annual 16-day beer festival, which was targeted by terrorists in 1980, draws some 6 million visitors from around the globe.

Security had been already tightened around the country after the first Islamic threats two weeks ago, with many more officers now visible at airports and train stations.

U.S. Drone Crashes into Iraq Political Party Office

This symbolism is ironic. Just more propaganda for the insurgents:

An unmanned U.S. reconnaissance drone crashed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul early on Saturday, hitting the offices of one of Iraq's biggest political parties, the U.S. military said.

No injuries were reported, and there was no indication the aircraft was shot down, said Major Derrick Cheng, a military spokesman in northern Iraq.

Cheng said it was a coincidence that the drone struck the local offices of the Iraqi Islamic Party, Iraq's biggest Sunni Arab political group, the military said.
More bad news from Iraq:
Iraq's president says new sanctions against Iran won't work and warns that Iraq will never allow Israel or any other country to use its airspace to carry out an attack.

Cab Driver: Slayings Suspect, Girlfriend had Fight

This has to be drug related. This kind of senseless violence can't be explained otherwise:

A cab driver who drove an aspiring rapper suspected of killing four people to the airport says he talked about fighting with his girlfriend over a text message from another man.

Richard "Sam" McCroskey of Castro Valley, Calif., was arrested at the airport the next day. He was charged with killing his girlfriend's father, Presbyterian minister Mark Niederbrock.

Authorities expect to charge McCroskey with killing his girlfriend, 16-year-old Emma Niederbrock; her mother, Longwood University professor Debra Kelley; and Emma's friend, 18-year-old Melanie Wells of Inwood, W.Va.

Video: FBI Stings Jihadist Wanting to Bomb Dallas Bank

The FBI should do many more of these stings. It is the best way to prevent terrorism, and other crimes.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kennedy Replacement in Senate is Lobbyist for Pharmaceuticals

"A longtime Democratic party insider Paul G. Kirk, Jr., who was appointed Thursday to fill the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's vacant seat in the U.S. Senate, has made tens of thousands of dollars during a brief tenure as a lobbyist.

Team 5 Investigates Kelley Tuthill reported Thursday that Kirk earned $80,000 in 1998 and 1999 working as a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry."

- Discuss this story here

Video: American Citizen Accused of Plotting to Blow up Illinois Federal Building

Watch CBS Videos Online

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Video, Transcript: Obama UN General Assembly Speech (9-23-09)

Read the complete transcript. Excerpt below:
I come before you humbled by the responsibility that the American people have placed upon me, mindful of the enormous challenges of our moment in history, and determined to act boldly and collectively on behalf of justice and prosperity at home and abroad. I have been in office for just nine months, though some days it seems a lot longer.

I am well aware of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world. These expectations are not about me. Rather, they are rooted, I believe, in the discontent with the status quo that has allowed us to be increasingly defined by our differences and outpaced by our problems.

But they are also rooted in hope. The hope that real change is possible and the hope that America will be a leader in bringing about such change.

I took office at a time when many around the world had come to view America with skepticism and distrust. A part of this was due to misperceptions and misinformation about my country. Part of this was due to opposition to specific policies and a belief on, on certain critical issues, America had acted unilaterally without regard for the interests of others.

And this is has fed an almost reflexive anti-Americanism which, too often, has served as an excuse for collective inaction.

Now, like all of you, my responsibility is to act in the interests of my nation and my people. And I will never apologize for defending those interests. But it is my deeply held belief that, in the year 2009, more than at any point in human history, the interests of nations and peoples are shared. The religious convictions that we hold in our hearts can forge new bonds among people or they can tear us apart.

The technology we harness could light the path to peace or forever darken it. The energy we use can sustain our planet or destroy it. What happens to the hope of a single child anywhere can enrich our world or impoverish it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Glenn Beck Interview with Katie Couric: Video

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Obama UN Speech on Global Warming: Video, Transcript (9-22-09)

Read the complete transcript. Excerpt below:

No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent droughts and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees. The security and stability of each nation and all peoples -- our prosperity, our health, and our safety -- are in jeopardy. And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out.
And yet, we can reverse it. John F. Kennedy once observed that "Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man." It is true that for too many years, mankind has been slow to respond or even recognize the magnitude of the climate threat. It is true of my own country, as well. We recognize that. But this is a new day. It is a new era. And I am proud to say that the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.

We are making our government's largest ever investment in renewable energy -- an investment aimed at doubling the generating capacity from wind and other renewable resources in three years. Across America, entrepreneurs are constructing wind turbines and solar panels and batteries for hybrid cars with the help of loan guarantees and tax credits -- projects that are creating new jobs and new industries. We're investing billions to cut energy waste in our homes, our buildings, and appliances -- helping American families save money on energy bills in the process.

We've proposed the very first national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks -- a standard that will also save consumers money and our nation oil. We're moving forward with our nation's first offshore wind energy projects. We're investing billions to capture carbon pollution so that we can clean up our coal plants. And just this week, we announced that for the first time ever, we'll begin tracking how much greenhouse gas pollution is being emitted throughout the country.

Obama Speech on the Economy (Transcript 9-21-09)

This speech was given at Hudson Valley Community College, Troy, N.Y. Read the complete transcript. Excerpt below:

Now, communities like this one were once the heart of America’s manufacturing strength. But over the last few decades, you’ve borne the brunt of a changing economy which has seen many manufacturing plants close in the face of global competition.

So while all of America has been gripped by the current economic crisis, folks in Troy and upstate New York have been dealing with what amounts to almost a permanent recession for years, an economic downturn that’s driven more and more young people from their hometowns.

I also know that, while a lot of people have come here promising better news, that news has been hard to come by, despite the determined efforts of the leaders who are here today and many who are not.

And part of the reason is that, while the people of this city work hard to meet their responsibilities, I have to confess that some in Washington haven’t always lived up to theirs.

For too long, as old divisions and special interests reigned, Washington has shown neither the inclination nor the ability to tackle our toughest challenges.

Meanwhile, businesses were saddled with ever-rising health care costs; the economy was weakened by ever-growing dependence on foreign oil; our investments in cutting-edge research declined; our schools fell further short; growth focused on short-term gains and, fueled by debt and reckless risk led to cycles of precipitous booms and painful busts.

OBAMA: And meanwhile, too many in Washington stood by and let it happen.

Now, after so many years of failing to act, there are those who now suggest that there’s really not much the government can or should do to make a difference; that what we’ve seen in places like Troy is inevitable; that somehow the parts of our country that helped us lead in the last century don’t have what it takes to help us lead in this one.

And I’m here to tell you that that is just flat-out wrong. What we have here in this community is talented people, entrepreneurs, world-class learning institutions.


The ingredients are right here for growth and success and a better future. These young people are testimony to it. You are proving that right here in the Hudson Valley.

Students here are training full-time while working part-time at G.E. Energy in Schenectady, becoming a new generation of American leaders in the new generation of American manufacturing. IBM has partnered with the University at Albany. Their partnership in nanotechnology is helping students train in industries in which America has the potential to lead.

Dylan Ratigan: Health Care: Let's Liberate the Masses

Ratigan has become a champion of the American consumer:

But if you decide you want to buy your appliance someplace else, no problem, the GE Appliance Store is there if you want it at any time, but there is certainly no obligation to buy there. And they certainly don't pay me in expensive GE stoves, because I would much rather have actual money that I could then go and use it to buy any stove I want, maybe even a smaller, cheaper one since I live in New York City. Or if I didn't need a new stove, I could just use the money for something I did need.

The same is true for all of the non-health insurance I have. They have nothing to do with where I work, so I can change my homeowners insurance and car insurance at any time, and the insurers are forced to compete based on my preferences.

And yet that is exactly the opposite of how the Employer-based Health Care model works: they decide your choices, and if you don't like their limited selection, you end up having to forgo their entire subsidy and pay for the plan you want completely out of pocket. It would be like getting partially paid in stoves that you need and can't sell.

However, when you compare my predicament to the 47 million people without health insurance, I couldn't seem more whiny. The fact is that GE does provide me with excellent health insurance, so this really has nothing to do with benefiting me personally. But the cost of health insurance in this country is out of control, and it is not only keeping millions from accessing proper medical care, but it is also hobbling our large companies in the global marketplace and strangling at birth many of the small businesses we need so desperately to get job growth going.

Meanwhile, innovative health care programs like the Mayo Clinic are out of reach of most of the 174 million Americans currently on Employer-based health care, protecting the majority of insurers from competing against the Mayo Clinic's amazing advances. This in turn prevents the smarter, less-expensive large scale health care companies from growing large enough to cover the currently uninsured.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Video: President Obama appears on David Letterman (9-21-09)

Longer alternative video:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Top ten list:
Other notable moments include the Letterman Top 10 reasons for Obama to appear on the show as follows:

10. Heard the lady with the heart-shaped potato was gonna be here.

9. Thought it would be fun to watch someone else get heckled.

8. Something to do with that whole Cash For Clunkers deal.

7. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has done it.

6. Someone offers you 600 bucks, you take it ladies and gentlemen.

5. We told him Megan Fox would be here.

4. Needed some time to hang out before check-in time at his hotel.

3. I have no idea.

2. Said yes, without thinking, like Bush did with Iraq.

1. Wanted to congratulate Dave on the big Emmy win.

Related topic:
- Obama Tells Letterman: I Was Black Before the Election

Gen. McChrystal: U.S. Needs More Troops in Afghanistan or We'll Lose

The report by General McChrystal is included in a pdf file. Where are we going to get the troops? The public is turning against the war, along with other Democrats. Our forces in Afghanistan are basically propping up a corrupt central government that has little power through much of the country. The warlords, along with the Taliban, are becoming rich from Heroin trafficking. Time to get out.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said in a confidential report that without additional forces, the war against insurgents there will end in failure, The Washington Post reported Monday.

McChrystal's grim assessment of the war was published on the Post's Web site, with some portions withheld at the government's request.

"Although considerable effort and sacrifice have resulted in some progress, many indicators suggest the overall effort is deteriorating," McChrystal wrote in his summary.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Obama, Meet the Press Transcript, Video (9-20-09)

Read the complete transcript. Excerpt and video below:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: No. Look, I said, during the campaign, are there some people who still think through the prism of race when it comes to evaluating me and my candidacy? Absolutely. Sometimes they vote for me for that reason, sometimes they vote against me for that reason. I'm sure that was true during the campaign, I'm sure that's true now.

But I think you actually put your finger on what this argument's really about. And it's an argument that's gone on for the history of this republic. And that is what's the right role of government? How do we balance freedom with our need to look after one another?

I talked about this in the joint sessions speech. This is not a new argument. And it always invokes passions. And I— it— it was a passionate argument between Jefferson and Hamilton about this. You know, Andrew Jackson built a whole political party around this notion that somehow— you know— there— there is populous outrage against— a federal government that was over inclu— intrusive.

And— and so what— what I think is going on is that we've got a healthy debate taking place. The vast majority of people are conducting it in a very sensible way. I— I think that every president who's tried to make significant changes along these lines, whether it was FDR or Ronald Reagan, elicit very strong passionate responses.

But I do think that we all have an obligation to try to— conduct this conversation in a civil way. And to— recognize that each of us are patriots. That each of us are Americans. And that, by the way, the— my proposals— as much as you may not like them— if you're— a Republican, or on the right, recognize that this is well within the mainstream of what Americans have been talking about for years, in terms of making sure that everybody in this country gets decent health care. And that— people who have health care are protected.

DAVID GREGORY: Just to be clear though. It wasn't just President Carter. There are others in the Congressional Black Caucus. Other thinkers who have said that they agree. That there is racism out there in that opposition to you. I just want to be clear, are you— are you saying to the former president and others, to speak this way is counterproductive?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, look— David, here's what I'm saying. I— I— I think that— the media loves to have a conversation about race. I mean, the— this is— is catnip to— to— the media because it is a running thread in American history that's very powerful. And it invokes some very strong emotions.

I'm not saying that race — never matters in— in any of these— public debates that we have. What I'm saying is this debate that's taking place is not about race, it's about people being worried about— how our government should operate.
- Related Topic:

Video: Couple Sues Walmart over Nude Photos of Children and Their Arrest

Once again the system fails. We should protect children. But we shouldn't falsely accuse a husband and wife over innocent pictures. Rapist and murderers get better treatment than this couple received. Not to mention that the children have been traumatized.

Insane Killer Planned Escape from Field Trip

Another example of a failed criminal justice system. How crazy (pun intended) is this?

Authorities in Washington state say they're looking into whether an insane killer who escaped from a field trip organized by his mental hospital planned his getaway.

Police continued to search Sunday for Philip Arnold Paul, who escaped Thursday during a trip to a county fair.

Spokane County sheriff's spokesman Dave Reagan says the 47-year-old Paul left little clothing behind in his hospital room and carried a backpack and $50 on the outing.

Obama, Face The Nation Transcript (9-20-09)

Read the complete transcript. Excerpt below:

Schieffer: You have made speeches, you've addressed the joint session of Congress, you've done interviews, but the polling continues to show that people are still skeptical about your health reform plans.

Orrin Hatch, the Republican Senator from Utah, has done a lot of work on health care over the years, summed it up this way - these are his words: "If anyone believes that Washington can do a plan that will cost close to a trillion dollars, cover all Americans, not raise taxes on anyone, not increase the deficit, not reduce benefits or choices for our families and seniors, then I have a bridge to sell you."

Have you promised too much, Mr. President?

Obama: No I don't think I've promised too much at all. Look - first of all, everybody acknowledges this is a problem. Everybody acknowledges that the current path we're on is unsustainable. Not just for people who don't have health insurance, but for those who do.

We just had a study come out this week showing that premiums for families went up 130 percent over the last decade. Those costs probably went up even higher for the average employer and that's part of the reason why you're seeing each successive year fewer Americans having health insurance from their employers than they previously did.

Health care inflation went up 5.5 percent this past year when inflation was actually negative because of this extraordinary recession. So we know that standing still is not an option.

Now what I've said is we can make sure that people who don't have health insurance can buy into an insurance pool that gives them better bargaining power. For people who have health insurance we can provide health insurance reforms that make the insurance they have more secure. And we can do that mostly by using money that every expert agrees is being wasted and is currently in the existing health care system. So -- in fact what we've got right now is about 80 percent consensus on how we would accomplish that.

Now let me be honest: With a piece of legislation this complicated and a sector of the economy that's about one-sixth of our economy there's a reason why for the last 40 years people have been talking about this and it hasn't gotten done &30151; it's hard. And there are a lot of moving parts. And so I appreciate fact that the American people are really cautious about this because it's important to them and the majority of people still have health insurance. What I'm trying to do is to explain the facts, which are if we don't do anything a lot of Americans are gonna be much worse off and over time the federal budget just can't sustain it.

Video: Romney Speech at Values Voter Summit

From CNN:

A day after former Baptist minister and likely presidential rival Mike Huckabee offered a withering critique of Mitt Romney's record, the former Massachusetts governor made his pitch to the same group of religious conservatives.

As Mitt Romney, left, defended his health care record Saturday, Mike Huckabee won a vote.

Romney appealed to attendees at the Values Voter Summit in Washington on Saturday, using a speech that drew heavily from his address to social conservatives at the same hotel earlier this year. "Putting such a spirit-crushing, back-breaking debt burden on our children is unworthy of our national character," he said.

"That is why I believe that this spending and borrowing is not just economically irresponsible, it is morally wrong."

The former Republican presidential candidate, widely considered a likely 2012 contender, was on the ballot for the gathering's 2012 presidential straw poll, along with Huckabee, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Huckabee won the straw poll Saturday, grabbing nearly 29 percent of the vote. Romney, Pawlenty, Palin and Pence each won roughly 12 percent of the 597 votes cast.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Video: Joe Wilson Cries, Apologizes

This hatepublican admits his despicable behavior was wrong. But that still leaves many others whom attacking Obama is a political strategy.

Pakistan Police raid US-Contracted Security Firm

The administration seems to be following the same path as the Bush gang when it comes to private security firms in war zones. If it was a disaster under Bush why does Obama remain silent with the abuses going on now. Is it because we lack the necessary troops to fight our wars that we have to use mercenaries? In that case, we have to rethink our national security strategy. This includes removing troops stationed in Western Europe defending against a non-existent enemy. It might also mean removing troops from Korea. It's time for our allies to defend themselves. America is not the world's policeman. Or, at least, not anymore.

Pakistani police raided a local security firm that helps protect the U.S. Embassy on Saturday, seizing dozens of allegedly unlicensed weapons at a time when unusually intense media scrutiny of America's use of private contractors has deepened anti-U.S. sentiment.

Two employees of the Inter-Risk company were arrested during the raids in Islamabad, police official Rana Akram said. Reporters were shown the seized weapons — 61 assault rifles and nine pistols. Akram said police were seeking the firm's owner.

Zazi, al Qaeda Terror Link FBI Investigation is Suspect

There is something wrong here. You're telling me that this investigation has been going on for over a year, and the FBI depends on the admission of the suspect to have a case? No arrests have been made. No bomb materials, no tapes, no plans. That sounds to me like another botched investigation. This clearly demonstrates, once again, that the FBI is not cut out to stop terrorism. We need another agency that has the power and expertise to investigation terrorism - international or domestic.

A 24-year-old Denver man with ties to Al Qaeda is expected to voluntarily answer questions again Saturday in an FBI terror investigation. Najibullah Zazi is not under arrest, but was reportedly involved in an intended terrorist attack against the United States, a senior U.S. intelligence official said.

Agents have been monitoring Zazi and four others as part of the investigation. Zazi's father cooperated with agents on Friday, undergoing questioning.

Zazi's attorney says there's "absolutely no way" his client is linked to a terrorist plot. He dismisses reports of a plot as "a rumor."

Asked by reporters if his son is frightened, Mohammed Zazi says "If you don't have anything, why would you be scared?"

Zazi, who until now had protested that he had no connection to Al Qaeda, changed his story Friday afternoon. Zazi reportedly told officials that he had received explosives training and may plead guilty as part of a deal to cooperate with the government.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Study: 45,000 Deaths from Health Insurance Lack in U.S.

This stat could be the best argument for health care reform. The President could site it since he needs to make a better argument for passing a reform package in Congress:

Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year -- one every 12 minutes -- in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.

"We're losing more Americans every day because of inaction ... than drunk driving and homicide combined," Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.

Overall, researchers said American adults age 64 and younger who lack health insurance have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have coverage.

The findings come amid a fierce debate over Democrats' efforts to reform the nation's $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare industry by expanding coverage and reducing healthcare costs.

President Barack Obama's has made the overhaul a top domestic policy priority, but his plan has been besieged by critics and slowed by intense political battles in Congress, with the insurance and healthcare industries fighting some parts of the plan.

The Harvard study, funded by a federal research grant, was published in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health. It was released by Physicians for a National Health Program, which favors government-backed or "single-payer" health insurance.

An similar study in 1993 found those without insurance had a 25 percent greater risk of death, according to the Harvard group. The Institute of Medicine later used that data in its 2002 estimate showing about 18,000 people a year died because they lacked coverage.

Part of the increased risk now is due to the growing ranks of the uninsured, Himmelstein said. Roughly 46.3 million people in the United States lacked coverage in 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported last week, up from 45.7 million in 2007.

Life for Pastor Who Sexually Abused Adopted Daughters

How does this madness happen in America? We've been sickened lately by the news of the Dugard case. Now we have to be reminded of this monstrosity. This animal is beneath contempt. Our anger should be directed at a system that allows these monsters to breed and thrive.

I have in the past proposed that every child be examined regularly by a medical doctor and a psychologist. Every child should be screened for sexual abuse and malnourishment. Every adult who has a living in their household must account for that child. This would prevent abductors from hiding kids in their houses. Every agency in the government would play a role. Every citizen would also play a role. If you see something say something. A special hotline should be set up to protect the most vulnerable - our children. Remember: abused children become abusers later in life or suffer psychologically. Maybe a reward can be given for exposing parents that brutalize their or someone else's children.

A 65-year-old California pastor has been sentenced to life in prison for beating and drugging her five adopted daughters and locking them in a Riverside County garage.

Jessica Banks received consecutive life terms Friday after being convicted in July of sexually abusing two of her daughters and forcing all the sisters to go without food for days, The Press-Enterprise reported.

Banks was arrested in 2005 after one emaciated girl was found lying outside a Moreno Valley business.

Prosecutors say the sisters, who were ages 4 to 11 at the time, lived in a hidden room in Banks' garage with no air conditioning or heating.

Pandemic Flu Vaccine Shortage: WHO

Something to worry about?

The World Health Organization says global production of vaccines for pandemic flu will be "substantially less" than the previous maximum forecast of 94 million doses a week.

WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl says the number of doses produced in a year will fall short of the 4.9 billion doses the global health body previously hoped could be available.

Hartl says production will be lower because some manufacturers are still turning out vaccines for seasonal flu.

Tearful Pelosi: Violence Could Result from Health Care Reform Debate

I'm glad there is more talk about the heated language coming out of the health care reform debate. Although, it really isn't about health care. The anti-Obama language is about demonizing a black President.

An emotional Nancy Pelosi fought back tears and warned Thursday that the nation's angry political climate could inspire deadly violence.

Pelosi said it reminded her of her San Francisco hometown in 1978, when a disgruntled member of the city Board of Supervisors assassinated Mayor George Moscone and openly gay Supervisor Harvey Milk.

"I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw this ... I saw this myself, in the late '70s in San Francisco," Pelosi said, her voice catching as she fought to keep composure.

"This kind of rhetoric was very frightening, and it created a climate in which violence took place."

Suicide Bomber Kills 25 In Pakistan Market

They are starting to look like Iraq:

An official says 25 people were killed when a suicide car bomber struck a market in Pakistan.

The attack, thought to be sectarian, targeted a hotel in Usterzai, a village on the outskirts of the rough border town of Kohat.

Kohaty is near the Afghan border with a history of violence between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim sects.

The Hikmat Ali Hotel was owned by a Shi'ite, police official Asmat Ullah said and was severely damaged.

The blast destroyed several cars, and several shops at the Kacha Paka market, near where the hotel is located, caved in.

"A restaurant and many shops have collapsed. It's chaos here. There's huge devastation," said Ibn-e-Ali, a former judge and resident of the area.

"My house is one kilometre away but the blast was so huge it felt as if it was next door."

Area mayor Syed Mehtabul Hassan said 25 bodies were pulled out of the rubble of the hotel and nearby shops and that several other people were wounded.

Muslim Couple Face Caning for Car Sex in Malaysia

I wonder how many of those passing judgment are themselves committing adultery:

A Malaysian Islamic court has sentenced a young unmarried Muslim couple to six strokes each of the cane after they were caught trying to have sex in a car, a report said Friday.

The Sharia High Court in central Selangor state also fined Mohamad Shahrin Abdul Majid, 29, and his girlfriend Nadiah Najat Hussin, 24, 5,000 ringgit (1,400 dollars) each, the New Straits Times reported.

The amorous couple, who pleaded guilty, were clad only in undergarments when they were caught in a carpark, the report said.

Premarital sex is banned under Islamic law.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oklahoma High School Students, George Washington: Can't Name him as First President

What an indictment of our society:

Only one in four Oklahoma public high school students can name the first President of the United States, according to a survey released today.

The survey was commissioned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs in observance of Constitution Day on Thursday.

Brandon Dutcher is with the conservative think tank and said the group wanted to find out how much civic knowledge Oklahoma high school students know.

The Oklahoma City-based think tank enlisted national research firm, Strategic Vision, to access students' basic civic knowledge.

"They're questions taken from the actual exam that you have to take to become a U.S. citizen," Dutcher said.

Obama Speech at University Maryland (Transcript, 9-17-09)

The President gave a speech at the University of Maryland arguing for health care reform. Read the Complete transcript. Excerpt below:

THE PRESIDENT: You know, the last time I was here it was in the heat of a very long and very tough campaign. And in that campaign, I promised to be a President who -- you guys can sit down, by the way. (Laughter and applause.)

In that campaign I promised to be a President who didn’t just clean up yesterday’s crises; I didn’t want to be a President who was just content with standing still. I promised to be a President who would build a better future; who would move this nation forward; who would ensure that this generation -- your generation -- had the same chances and the same opportunities that our parents gave us. (Applause.) That’s what I’m here to do. That's why I ran for President of the United States of America.

I ran for President because of people like Rachel. Did she not do an outstanding job in the introduction? (Applause.)

Part of that promise is an economy that leads the world in science and technology and innovation. Part of that promise is a clean energy revolution that protects our planet, protects our security, creates jobs of the future right here in the United States of America. Part of it is giving every citizen the skills and the education they need to compete with any worker in the world -- just like you’re getting right here at the University of Maryland. And today, we are on the cusp of taking another big step forward towards fulfilling that promise.

A few miles from here, the House of Representatives will soon be voting on a plan that would finally make the student loan process simpler and more affordable for millions of young Americans.

This plan would end the billions upon billions of dollars in unwarranted subsidies that we hand out to banks and financial institutions -- money that doesn’t do anything to make your loans any cheaper. Instead we're going to use that money to guarantee access to low-cost loans no matter what the economy looks like. We'll use it to strengthen Pell Grants and Perkins loans to make college more affordable. We'll shore up our system of community colleges. And we will simplify the complicated, convoluted financial aid forms so it’s easier for you to apply for help and get the finances that you need.

These are reforms that have been talked about for years, but they’re always blocked by special interests and their lobbyists. Well, because you voted for change in November, we're going to bring change in the House of Representatives today. And then we will take this battle for America’s students and America’s working families to the Senate. And then I intend to sign this bill into law. Because that's the change you worked for. That's the change you voted for. That's the change we're going to deliver.

Conservative commentator: Limbaugh's Attacks on Obama are Racist

This is from Americablog:

Rod Dreher used to write for the NY Post (perhaps he still does). He's a pretty big conservative writer - even a tad Christian conservative, as I recall - who sometimes ventures off the reservation when things get too out of hand on the right. This is one of those times.
[N]ow we have Rush Limbaugh blaming Obama for black kids beating up a white kid on a school bus. This is what happens in "Obama's America," he said today on his radio show.

How low will these people go? Look, I think it's important to talk about black male violence, or at least as important as it is to talk about any other important social trend. I don't think we should be squeamish about discussing it in a responsible and fair-minded way, despite what the politically correct say. But good grief, Limbaugh is up to something wicked. He's plainly trying to rally white conservatives into thinking that now that we have a black president, blacks are rising up to attack white kids! Christ have mercy, what is wrong with these people?

RNC Chairman Steele: Carter 'Wrongheaded' (Transcript, 9-16-09)

Read the transcript of Michael Steele interview with Greta Van Susteren on FOXNews:

VAN SUSTEREN: I want to -- I want to first start with former president Jimmy Carter. He said...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... that the remark made, the boorish outburst by Congress Wilson, was based on racism. So two-part question. One, whether you believe it was based on racism. And secondly, if you don't think it is, can you tell us how we have a legitimate challenge or -- to any policy of an African-American without getting that tag back?

STEELE: Yes. First -- first question, no, I don't think it's based on racism. I don't know where in that moment you could derive that that's exactly what was in the congressman's heart or his intent. I don't think it was an impression. In fact, I believe the president himself has said it was not an impression he took away from that moment. This was a (INAUDIBLE) disagreement, and he blurted out improperly, has been sanctioned for it, apologized to the president. So that part we can move on.

Having said that, now we have the former president, Jimmy Carter, elevating this to a point where, you know, he's sort of saying, Well, all these people who disagree with President Obama actually have some sinister view of the president based on race. And I think that that is disingenuous and it's just wrongheaded.

We cannot go to a point in this country -- we will not have progressed -- in fact, I believe we will hurt President Obama if every time we find ourselves in disagreement with him, his sycophants and others out there are running to his side and rushing in with charges of racism.

This man is the President of the United States. He is responsible for our national security, our economy, and he's got a lot of pressure and a lot of work to do. He's formulating policies. People will agree with them, people don't agree with them. So when you have members of his own party who come out and say, I don't agree with the president on -- on the public option, are they being racist? I mean, so if you don't want to go down this road, President Carter and others need to be very careful here because this is a debate that's too important to diminish it by silliness like that.

- Related Topic:

U.S. backs away from Missile Shield in Europe

Finally we have a President who understands that the missile shield was a stupid idea that undermined our relations with Russia. Not only that, it helped push the Soviet Union into a dictatorship again by creating the excuse of an external threat. Dictators use the specter of real, or imagined, threat from the U.S. to increase their power (i.e., Cuba, North Korea, Iran, etc.).

President Barack Obama has told east European states he is backing away from plans for an anti-missile shield there, in a move that may ease Russian-U.S. ties but fuel fears of resurgent Kremlin influence.

Russia said it would welcome abandonment of the plans, which have been a major source of Russian-U.S. tensions.

Poland said Obama would announce a final decision later on Thursday (1400 GMT) on a project that has raised the prospect of multi-billion dollar contracts for U.S. defense giants.

The shield, involving interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar complex in the Czech republic, was promoted by Obama's predecessor George W. Bush to defend against any missile launches from "rogue" states such as Iran and North Korea.

"Today, shortly after midnight, Barack Obama telephoned me to announce that his government is backing away from the intention of building a missile defense radar on Czech territory," Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer told reporters.

Petrol Bomb Injures 10 In German School Attack

Mass murder has become a sport in Germany too. The reason: media, including the Internet, in Germany now glamorizes killers the way we do in the States. And every time it happens the press has to keep score. They start comparing the latest atrocity with previous mass murders. Whose got the highest score kills.

An axe-wielding 19-year-old man threw a petrol bomb into his own school in Germany Thursday, injuring 10 students, two of them severely, before police shot him in the stomach and arrested him, emergency services said.

Police evacuated the Carolinum secondary school in the southern town Ansbach, a spokesman for rescue services said. It was unclear whether more than one petrol bomb had been used in the attack, he added.

Police said the man was also armed with an axe and was arrested after they shot and seriously wounded him in the stomach.

The incident is the latest in a spate of school attacks in Germany. In March, a 17-year old killed 15 people in a shooting spree at his former school in the southwest town of Winnenden. He later killed himself.

In 2006, a masked man armed with rifles and explosives attacked a school in the western town of Emsdetten, wounding 11 people before killing himself.

Germany suffered its worst school shooting in April 2002 when a gunman killed 17 people, including himself, at a high school in the eastern city of Erfurt.

Was this sick puppy motivated by this story?
The boys, aged 18 and 16, were accused of trying to carry out an atrocity in Britain to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the rampage by two Colorado high school students on April 20, 1999.

But the jury at Manchester Crown Court decided that the “plan” to detonate a series of bombs at Audenshaw School, Manchester, and use high-powered guns to pick off survivors, was no more than a teenage fantasy.

Speaking outside court, McKnight said: "I would like to make it clear that at no time was any person put at risk either at Audenshaw High School or Crown Point North Shopping Centre. This was just a fantasy. This was never a reality."

[...]During their trial the prosecution alleged that in addition to attacking their school the pair would detonate a car bomb at the nearby Centre Point North Shopping Centre.

The two had also considered blowing up an Ikea superstore and attacking the City of Manchester Stadium, it was alleged.

Once they had killed as many people as possible they would turn their weapons on themselves – just as their fantasy heroes, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, had done in America a decade earlier, prosecutors had claimed.

The AP has the latest standings:
Here is a glance at some of the worst school violence worldwide in recent years:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

'Countdown' Video: Cong. Wilson Lies About being an Immigration Lawyer

The Hatepublicans seem to have a pathological urge to tell lies. Here we catch them again, as told by Keith Olbermann.

Study: Employers to up Workers' share of Health Costs

Well, If you don't want health care reform (which is primarily the health care industry their mostly errand boys - The U.S. Congress) then better get ready for your expenses to skyrocket. And even if you want significant reform, your government won't do much for you. They've been bought off. America is controlled by lobbies. And Barack won't be able to change that. You have been abandoned.

Tens of thousands of U.S. workers face higher health insurance costs and reduced benefits next year, regardless of whether Congress passes health legislation, according to an annual survey released today.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust found that nearly 40% of employers surveyed said they were likely to make their employees pay more for heath care, including higher deductibles and co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions.

Premium increases have far outstripped wages and inflation, the survey found. During the past 10 years, employers' contributions jumped an average of 131% per worker. That's three times worker wages and four times general inflation, Kaiser said.

Some members of Congress haven't been bought off completely and are blowing the whistle on so-called health care reform:
This is a rather amazing public admission of something that most elected Democrats have kept to themselves, up until now: the growing concern that Obama will settle for anything and call it victory. From The Hill:
Rockefeller emerged from the Senate Democrats' weekly luncheon Tuesday afternoon, which featured an appearance by President Barack Obama's communications guru David Axelrod, wondering aloud (perhaps rhetorically) whether the White House's get-it-done message to Congress wasn't bold enough.

"David’s in there -- Axelrod -- saying we’ve got to try to get ‘something.’ So, the new benchmark is, ‘Well, if we can do something, if we can do anything, then we can say we did healthcare reform,’" Rockefeller said.

"Are we getting to the point where, if we do anything, we’ve achieved our purpose?" he said, less than an hour before announcing on a conference call with reporters that he would not vote to support the healthcare reform bill being drafted by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

Even news outlets that are sympathetic to health care reform are trashing the Democratic proposals:
By now you've probably heard about the draft bill submitted by Sen. Max Baucus. You may even have heard it's not a very good bill - for the American public, anyway. But it's a complex topic, and a complex bill (even though it has been written in relatively plain English and posted on the Web, to the Senator's credit).

So in order to clarify this complicated issue, here are the top five reasons why it's a really bad bill:[...]

Contractors in Afghanistan are Drugged Up

Our troops are not only dealing with an elusive enemy, but are now having to put their lives at risk alongside stoned contractors. This is at time when contractors are playing an increasing role in America's wars. And this President doesn't seem to want to change it.

A U.S. contractor in Afghanistan helping train the national police was found dead last week of a possible drug overdose, just months after his company was reprimanded by the State Department for another worker's drug-related death.

The deaths have raised questions over how well DynCorp International selects and manages employees assigned to the police training contract, a crucial component of the U.S. effort to hand over more of the security burden to the Afghans.

The leaders of an independent panel investigating wartime spending said Wednesday they are troubled that drugs appear to be involved in the deaths of two workers hired by the State Department's largest contractor.

"This shouldn't be treated as an isolated event that (the State Department) can ignore," said Christopher Shays, co-chairman of the Commission on Wartime Contracting. "They really need to step in and say, 'Do we have a drug problem at DynCorp?'"

Former WH Speechwriter Book: Bush Calls Obama "Clueless"

Another kiss and tell book. Doesn't mean it isn't true. What we need is a book that details the crimes of the Bush gang:

Matt Latimer, who used to make a living writing speeches for former President George W. Bush, has decided to let loose in a book under his own name that describes the White House as more like the TV show “The Office” and less like “The West Wing.”

In excerpts of his book “Speech-Less” appearing in the October issue of GQ magazine, out on newsstands Sept. 22, Latimer says Bush had something unflattering to say about the leaders of the pack running to win the White House in last year’s election.

(We obtained, and more importantly, read all the excerpts to be published in GQ. There is some discussion about the plan to boost the economy which we leave you to read in the magazine or book).

According to Latimer, Bush believed Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee in the 2008 presidential election and quotes the former president as saying “Wait till her fat keister is sitting at this desk,” although the speechwriter-turned-book-writer says Bush didn’t say “keister” (guess he’s urging us to use our imagination).

“He didn’t think much of Barack Obama,” Latimer writes. He recalls an occasion when Bush was fuming that it was a dangerous world, and quotes the president as saying, “and this cat isn’t remotely qualified to handle it. This guy has no clue, I promise you.”

On Joe Biden, according to Latimer, Bush had a one-liner he liked to tell: “If bull—- was currency (pause), Joe Biden would be a billionaire.”

But it does show that Bush was the truly clueless one when it came to the economy:
It seemed like every time President George W. Bush stepped before the cameras during last fall's stock market meltdown, the Dow tumbled.

It's a good thing the public couldn't see what was going on behind the scenes at the White House, according to an insider's account.

Bush is pictured as a desperate, bumbling lame duck with little grasp of the economic turmoil around him in the tell-all book by ex-speechwriter Matt Latimer in "Speech-Less: Tales of a White House Survivor."

Hours before Bush was to give a speech last September outlining the administration's $700 billion plan to buy up troubled mortgages, for instance, Latimer writes that Bush clearly didn't understand his own plan.

"We're buying low and selling high," Latimer quotes Bush as saying over and over in an excerpt posted yesterday on GQ's Web site.

"The problem was that his proposal didn't work like that," Latimer noted.

Finally, after some staffers explained to Bush that his mortgage bailout plan included no such likely return, Bush barked: "Why did I sign on to this proposal if I don't understand what it does?" Latimer writes.

President Obama on Kanye West: "He's a Jackass"

I agree. The President should use the bully pulpit to get America to turn from the vulgarity and inanity of the media and towards a more decent society. Maybe Obama didn't intend for the remark to be heard, but his comment carries weight. Americans should not stand for boorish behavior, which is a trademark of West:

President Barack Obama's candid thoughts about Kanye West are provoking a debate over standards of journalism in the Twitter age.

ABC News says it was wrong for its employees to tweet that Obama had called West a "jackass" for the rapper's treatment of country singer Taylor Swift. The network said some of its employees had overheard a conversation between the president and CNBC's John Harwood and didn't realize it was considered off the record.

The network apologized to the White House and CNBC.

Harwood had sat down with the president to tape an interview following his appearance on Wall Street on Monday. Although they are competitors, CNBC and ABC share a fiber optic line to save money, and this enabled some ABC employees to listen in on the interview as it was being taped for later use.

Their attention was drawn to chatter about West, who was widely criticized for interrupting Swift as she accepted an award at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards to say that Beyonce deserved it.

During what sounds like informal banter before the interview begins, Obama is asked whether his daughters were annoyed by West's hijacking of Swift's acceptance statement, according to an audio copy that was posted on

"I thought that was really inappropriate," Obama says. "What are you butting in (for)? ... The young lady seems like a perfectly nice person. She's getting her award. What's he doing up there?"

A questioner chimes in, "Why would he do it?"

"He's a jackass," Obama replies, which is met with laughter from several people.