Wednesday, December 30, 2009

“Time to Resurrect the Term Limits Movement”

Obviously elections have become meaningless. The only solution for beginning to take back our government, now, is the People's Term Limits movement.

in reference to:

"Why must the importance of issues that impact our daily lives, and what they portend for our progeny, be degraded by relating them to the personal desires of our duly elected representatives to retain their access to cushy benefits and the perks of power? Are not the ramifications to our collective interests of national fiscal responsibility, defense of our country, energy independence, and health care policy more important than the career longevity of our congressmen? It seems we elect serious and sincere individuals to go to Washington on our behalf and tend to our national interests. And for the most part, they are that. But once they become accustomed to the special benefits self-endowed by themselves and their antecedents, their interest turns from the merits of the issues to how their positions on the issues will impact their ability to retain the accouterments of power and representation. In this context, the issues become “all about them.” The quest to maintain membership among the favored few becomes a barrier to voting their conscience and tending to what is in the best interests of those who sent them there."
- People's Term Limits Blog (view on Google Sidewiki)

Somalia: Plane Attack Attempted in November

Could these two incidents be trial runs for a larger attack? Are you confident the government will prevent it? I'm not confident.

in reference to:

"A man tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion in a case bearing chillingly similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The Somali man - whose name has not yet been released - was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops before the Nov. 13 Daallo Airlines flight took off. It had been scheduled to travel from Mogadishu to the northern Somali city of Hargeisa, then to Djibouti and Dubai. A Somali police spokesman, Abdulahi Hassan Barise, said the suspect is in Somali custody. "We don't know whether he's linked with al Qaeda or other foreign organizations, but his actions were the acts of a terrorist. We caught him red-handed," said Barise. A Nairobi-based diplomat said the incident in Somalia is similar to the attempted attack on the Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day in that the Somali man had a syringe, a bag of powdered chemicals and liquid - tools similar to those used in the Detroit attack. The diplomat spoke on condition he not be identified because he isn't authorized to release the information."
- Somalia: Plane Attack Attempted in Nov. - CBS News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Underwear Bomber: The Government's Ineptitude Continues to Endanger American's

Nothing demonstrates more the governments lack of concern for American lives than the fact that the agency in charge of airport security does not have a boss almost a year into Obama's presidency.

Two federal agencies charged with keeping potential terrorists off planes and out of the country remain without their top leaders.

The Obama administration took more than eight months to nominate anyone to head the Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection agency. Those two agencies will be at the forefront of discussions as security policies are reviewed in the aftermath of the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack on an international flight bound for Detroit.

But the Senate hasn't set a date for hearings on the Customs position, with other matters such as health care dominating the agenda. Former U.S. attorney Alan Bersin is Obama's nominee for the post.

Meanwhile South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint has placed a hold on the president's choice for TSA, police detective Erroll Southers, over his concerns that Southers might let TSA screeners join a labor union.
Too many lists. Are they any good? And is anyone actually looking into them?
The man accused of trying to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner was not flagged in Britain as a potential terror suspect — he was merely put on a standard watch list of people whose visa applications were rejected, British officials said Monday.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who had graduated from a London university last year, had his subsequent visa application denied in May 2009. Government officials said the school on his application form was not a government-approved institution.

[...]Home Secretary Alan Johnson said U.S. authorities should have been informed that Abdulmutallab had been placed on the U.K.list and believed all procedures had been followed correctly.
So what now? No one is saying it. Does airline security in future ask everyone to take off their underwear? And if not, why not? And doesn't this show stupidity of having people taking their shoes off at airports? Demand a explanation. And while you're at it, ask some politician why don't we have an agency/department that will prevent, investigate and spy on terrorists. Clearly neither the FBI or CIA are up to the job.
Looking back, analysts say there were many aspects of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian charged with trying to blow up the plane, that could have raised red flags. He had no checked luggage, and he paid for his ticket with cash. Mr. Abdulmutallab’s name had already surfaced on the National Counterterrorism Center’s database of known or suspected international terrorists, but that information was never made it to US airlines.

“Eight years after the 9/11 attacks, this is someone who makes it on one list only to disappear into a bureaucratic black hole,” says Bruce Hoffman, a professor at the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University in Washington. "Eight years after the 9/11 attacks, it’s a compound failure in intelligence and physical security. Once again, valiant and alert passengers are the last line of defense.”

The incident, which ended when passengers tackled the suspect and put out the flames of his failed bomb, is refocusing attention on Capitol Hill. The question is whether the post-9/11 reforms, including the creation of a Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence, are working as Congress intended.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Government Incapable of Protecting Us

This is the second time in less than 2 months the government failed to protect our fellow citizens when they had been warned. There is a pattern here. As in Fort Hood, there was ample evidence to suggest that the individual trying to bomb that Delta jet on Christmas day had Jihadist tendencies. Not only did they fail but, like the administration, are claiming that somehow they had thwarted a terrorist attack. The media has failed to connect the dots. But you and I should not ignore the awful truth that not this White House but the Congress are clueless in fighting terrorism. It is why we need an agency set up specifically to fight terrorism. The alternative is making a passengers have a cavity check at the airport.
in reference to:
"The botched attack on an Amsterdam-Detroit flight is expected to have a limited impact on global air traffic, but the need for tighter security measures caps an already difficult year for the airline industry. Air travelers were facing stringent new security restrictions following the failed bombing of the US-bound aircraft last Friday that was claimed Monday by Al-Qaeda in a statement picked up by US monitors.... "Traffic is only affected by tragedies or war," Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with Teal Group Corp., told AFP. "Smaller incidents like these seldom have an impact, although a security overreaction could lead to even greater dissatisfaction among travelers, which helps weaken long-term traffic growth," he said. Oliver Fainsilber, a consultant with Oliver Wyman, agreed. He said the incident alone "will not have a lasting impact on traffic" unless "if two or three similar cases occurred in the weeks to come which refutes the idea of an isolated act.""
- Limited impact seen on air traffic after bombing bid (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Meet The Press Video: Mayor Bloomberg, Newt Gingrich, Gov.Deval Patrick

"Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Newt Gingrich, Gov. Deval Patrick and Andrea Mitchell join NBC's David Gregory, moderator of "Meet the Press," to discuss the future of the nation as it enters a new decade." Video below (12-27-09):

We Need a New Government Agency to Prevent Terrorism

Once again we have failure to prevent an a terror attack. This time we were lucky. Obviously the CIA and FBI are inadequate or incapable of fighting terrorism. We need a spy/investigative government agency that deals exclusively with terrorism, domestic and foreign. 9-11 happened exactly because neither the FBI or CIA communicated with each other. Neither department was set up specifically to process, investigate or pursue terrorists. The CIA was defanged in the 70s and are not allowed to track terrorists domestically. This leaves and gaping hole. So lets scrap Homeland Security and create a department that actually does something to protect us. Obviously, no amount of airport security will stop the terrorists:

The alleged Christmas Day terrorist had been in one of the U.S. government's many terror databases since November, which is when his father brought him to the attention of embassy officials in Nigeria.

However, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab came to the attention of intelligence officials months before that, according to a U.S. government official involved in the investigation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because it is ongoing.

Still, none of the information the government had on Abdulmutallab rose to the level of putting him on the official terror watch list or no-fly list. On Christmas Eve, the 23-year-old Nigerian - who later claimed to law enforcement that he was operating on orders from al-Qaida - was able to carry a concealed explosive device onto a U.S.-bound airplane.

...Four weeks ago, Abdulmutallab's father told the U.S. embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, that he was concerned about his son's religious beliefs. This information was passed on to U.S. intelligence officials.

Abdulmutallab received a valid U.S. visa in June 2008 that is good through 2010.

His is one of about 550,000 names in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database, known as TIDE, which is maintained by the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center and was created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Intelligence officials said they lacked enough information to place him in the 400,000-person terror watch list or on the no-fly list of fewer than 4,000 people who should be blocked from air travel.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Video: al Qaeda Terror Attack on board Delta Plane Thwarted

AP report (CBS news video below):

A passenger attempted to detonate a small explosive aboard a Delta-Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Friday in what the U.S. government considers a failed terrorist attack, according to U.S. media reports.

The reports said the passenger, who was taken into custody, was identified as a Nigerian national and that the explosive device failed.

The Associated Press, quoting U.S. officials, said the passenger was acting on behalf of al-Qaida when he tried to blow up the flight.

The Northwest Airlines plane, an Airbus 330, was carrying 278 passengers. Delta Air Lines has taken over Northwest.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Video: David Goldman Interview on board Plane Returning Home

This NBC news video interview of David Goldman is on board plane returning home after the return of his son, Sean. It took 5 long years for his son to be returned to him by the Brazilian Supreme Court.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Video: Michael Brewer is Returning Home Early from Hospital

This Today Show video is on the Florida burn victim teenager, Michael Brewer's, return home from the hospital.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Video: AIG Executives are Keeping Bonuses Despite Promises

In this video Dylan Ratigan exposes AIG's breaking promise to return the bonuses their executives are getting from the bailout money we gave them.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Report says 225,000 Haiti children work as slaves

It is shameful that this happens in our backyard.

in reference to:

"Poverty has forced at least 225,000 children in Haiti's cities into slavery as unpaid household servants, far more than previously thought, a report said Tuesday. The Pan American Development Foundation's report also said some of those children — mostly young girls — suffer sexual, psychological and physical abuse while toiling in extreme hardship."
- Report says 225,000 Haiti children work as slaves - Yahoo! News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Transcript: Meet The Press (12-20-09): David Axelrod

David Axelrod appeared on Meet the Press (12-20-09). Complete Transcript. Excerpt below:

You appear to have this compromise now in the Senate, 60 votes now that Ben Nelson is on board. Is this mission accomplished, or does this represent a selling-out of key principles that the president fought for initially on health care?

AXELROD: Oh, no, I think this -- this adheres to the key principles that the president set. It’s going to bring more security to people who -- who have insurance today, in relation to their insurance companies; it will reduce their costs over time as well.

It’s going to help people who don’t have insurance, including small businesses who can’t afford it or people who don’t get it through their employer, get it at a cost they can afford. It’s going to extend the life of Medicare and give seniors some -- some more support in terms of prescription drugs and better care.

And in the long run, it’s going to reduce our deficits, the CBO said yesterday, by $132 billion in the first 10 years, over a trillion in the second, and -- and stop the inexorable rise of health care costs that threatens to crush our budget...


AXELROD: ... family budgets, business budgets.

GREGORY: Well, we’ll -- I want to break some of these down. But do you describe it as mission accomplished?

AXELROD: No. I -- I think it is a -- it’s a landmark step, it’s a, it’s a great step. I agree with much of what Paul Krugman wrote in The New York Times last Friday, he’s been a strong advocate for health care reform, and he said this is a great foundation for the future. It is light years ahead of where we were.

Look, David, if you’re a person with a pre-existing condition today, you’re excluded from getting insurance by most insurance companies. I went through that with -- my child has a chronic illness, could not get her on insurance. A huge -- this was when I was a young reporter and couldn’t afford the out-of-pocket expenses. Millions of people are going through this in this country, and there are myriad other examples of -- of people who will benefit from these changes.

GREGORY: Let me back up, talk about just some procedure. Is this a done deal? Will this pass the Congress?

AXELROD: I think it will pass the Congress. I mean, obviously, it is a big step along the way. We’ve got additional steps to take. The House has a bill, the Senate has a bill, they’ll have...

GREGORY: And there are some key differences, including the House has a public option to create more competition, the Senate bill does not.

AXELROD: No. But the Senate, the Senate bill has some very tough restrictions in terms of how insurance companies can spend the money that they collect from premiums, it has a great accountability for insurance companies, it creates competition between private insurers and gives people options and choice, and that’s what we were after.

GREGORY: But how hard will it be to reconcile the two?

AXELROD: Well, I think we’re going to get it done. I think people understand that this is a historic crossroads, David. Seven presidents have tried to pass comprehensive health insurance reform, seven presidents have failed. We’ve been talking about it for 100 years. We’re on the doorstep of getting it done, and it’ll be a great victory for the American people.

GREGORY: Some people have raised the question about whether the Senate rules ought to be changed. In order to avoid a filibuster you needed the 60 votes, and you were able to get there with Senator Nelson. But a lot of people, including Planned Parenthood, condemning the abortion agreement where it would place greater restrictions on getting abortions in the states in these exchanges that had to be struck to get Senator Nelson on board. He also got extra money for Medicaid.

Do you think it ought to be changed in the Senate so it doesn’t rely, all of this health care reform, on one senator?

AXELROD: Let me say first on the, on the issue of abortion, there have been concerns expressed both from the pro-choice groups and some anti-choice groups, pro-life groups on this.

But the fact is it really doesn’t change the status quo, and that’s what we were after. The president said this should not be the vehicle through which the abortion debate and changes in the abortion law should come. In terms of the Senate, look, I’m not -- these are time-honored rules. I’m not going to -- I mean, obviously it makes it more difficult; they were structured that way.

What we should be able to do, though, is move forward in -- in good faith, and what we’ve seen is the rules being used time and time and time again to delay votes, to try and scuttle the legislation by -- through parliamentary maneuvers, because there’s a majority of senators who support health insurance reform. We ought to have an up or down vote, and that’s what all of this has been about.
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

4 policemen killed in violent Mexico border city

What is Obama doing about this? He better start paying attention to this serious issue on our border. It is already spreading onto American soil. In fact, most of the violence comes as a result of the drug trade primarily intended to satisfy to the taste for drugs in America. And the weapons used come from American vendors. This is a national security matter. We should be helping the government of Mexico in it's struggle. I'm not hearing where the U.S. government is cooperate with the Mexican authorities.

in reference to:

"Mexican law enforcement officials say four police officers have died in a series of attacks on patrol cars in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.Chihuahua state police and prosecutors say two more officers are recovering from wounds suffered in three attacks by gunmen on Friday.State police spokesman Fidel Banuelos says the first attack killed two brothers who were patrolling together but worked for different agencies."
- Newsvine - 4 policemen killed in violent Mexico border city (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Despite Recession Jump in Federal Workers Earning $100,000

It should be the opposite. This is why we the People's Term Limits:

in reference to:

"The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months — and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available. When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.The trend to six-figure salaries is occurring throughout the federal government, in agencies big and small, high-tech and low-tech. The primary cause: substantial pay raises and new salary rules."There's no way to justify this to the American people. It's ridiculous," says Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a first-term lawmaker who is on the House's federal workforce subcommittee. Jessica Klement, government affairs director for the Federal Managers Association, says the federal workforce is highly paid because the government employs skilled people such as scientists, physicians and lawyers. She says federal employees make 26% less than private workers for comparable jobs."
- (view on Google Sidewiki)

Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones

This is just what we needed. The best weapon in the war on terror can be neutralized. The Pentagon should have anticipated this. It is unacceptable. It also shows how clever the insurgency is. It is why they are prevailing and we are not.

in reference to:

"Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones"
- Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones - (view on Google Sidewiki)

WSJ/NBC News Poll: Tea Party Tops Democrats and Republicans

This sends a message to the two-party system. The problem with the Tea Party: It's extremist, without much of a message. This will force the other two to be extreme as well. Nevertheless, unless the Republicans and Democrats start addressing America's problems they will be challenged in the future. They've failed now it's time for others.

in reference to:

"The loosely organized group made of up mostly conservative activists and independent voters that’s come to be known as the Tea Party movement currently boasts higher favorability ratings than either the Democratic or Republican Parties, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll coming out later today. More than four in 10, 41%, of respondents said they had a very or somewhat favorable view of the Tea Party movement, while 24% said they had a somewhat or very negative view of the group. The Tea Party movement gained notoriety over the summer following a series of protests in Washington, D.C. and other cities over government spending and other U.S. economic policies. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party, which controls both the White House and Congress, has a 35% positive rating compared with a 45% negative rating. The Republican Party identifies closest to the Tea Party movement’s ideology, but the group has also caused splits within the GOP. Republicans currently hold a 28% favorability rating compared with a 43% negative one."
- WSJ/NBC News Poll: Tea Party Tops Democrats and Republicans - Washington Wire - WSJ (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jon Stewart, The Daily Show: Bankers Stood up President (12-15-09)

Jon Stewart, of The Daily Show, parodies how Obama was stood up by bankers whom were supposed to come to Washington to meet with the President:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Clusterf#@k to the Poor House - Flight Delay

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Miami visitor dies after hotel filters chlorine from water

And there are people who still believe Chlorine in the water supply is park of a government conspiracy.

in reference to:

"A foreign visitor has died and at least two other people have become sick after staying at a downtown Miami luxury hotel, and health officials are blaming an unusual type of pneumonia called Legionnaire's Disease. Guests at the Epic Hotel have been relocated upon request to nearby hotels to prevent further contact with the Legionella bacteria in the water, according to the Miami-Dade County Health Department.An investigation this week by county and state officials revealed that the hotel had installed a water filter powerful enough to remove chlorine from its city-supplied water, a move that encouraged bacterial growth."
- Miami visitor dies after hotel filters chlorine from water | McClatchy (view on Google Sidewiki)

Half of Teen Girls in Cities get STDs

Sounds to me like a nation that is morally bankrupt. Along with being financially bankrupt.

in reference to:

"Indiana University researchers say half of all urban teenage girls may get one or more sexually transmitted infections within two years of becoming sexually active. The researchers at the IU School of Medicine and Regenstrief Institute say their findings point to the need to screen sexually active teenage girls sooner for infections. IU professor of pediatrics J. Dennis Fortenberry says testing should begin within a year of girls becoming sexually active. He says many clinicians are reluctant to address sexual activity with younger teens and therefore miss chances to prevent infections."
- Half of Teen Girls in Cities get STDs - CBS News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, 75, to be flogged for associating with men

More barbarism from Saudi Arabia. Is it any wonder Bin Laden came from there.

in reference to:

"HUMAN rights watchdog Amnesty International has called on Saudi Arabia to stay a sentence of 40 lashes handed down against a 75-year-old woman for breaching the kingdom's sex segregation rules. HUMAN rights watchdog Amnesty International has called on Saudi Arabia to stay a sentence of 40 lashes handed down against a 75-year-old woman for breaching the kingdom's sex segregation rules."The minister of the interior (Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz) is reported to have ordered the immediate detention and flogging of a 75-year-old woman, Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, along with two Saudi Arabian men known only as Fahad and Hadyan," the London-based watchdog said."The Saudi Arabian authorities must not carry out the imminent flogging and imprisonment of an elderly woman and two younger men."Amnesty said all avenues of appeal had been exhausted in Saudi courts against the trio's March conviction for being in the company of members of the opposite sex who were not close relatives."
- Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, 75, to be flogged for associating with men | The Australian (view on Google Sidewiki)

Israel: British arrest warrant threatens ties

Obviously there is no pro-Israel lobby in Britain. This is historic. Let's see how the politicians in the U.S. try to dance around this one. so far the media has just ignored the story.

in reference to:

"An arrest warrant issued in Britain against Israel's former foreign minister was a "diplomatic offense" against the country, a Cabinet minister said Tuesday, warning that attempts in Britain to pursue war crimes charges against Israeli leaders was harming relations between the two countries.The minister, Yuli Edelstein, urged the British government to revise a law that has allowed Palestinians to try to go after Israelis in British courts for alleged crimes committed outside Britain.The law has caused several Israeli officials and retired military commanders to call off trips to Britain, and was most recently invoked to issue a warrant against former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.Livni's office refused to confirm Arab media reports Monday that she had been forced to call off a trip to London because of legal concerns. Instead, it said the trip was canceled for unrelated reasons."
- Newsvine - Israel: British arrest warrant threatens ties (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Giant Iceberg off Australia Breaking up

This has to be a hoax. The press, scientists, and the governments of the world are conspiring to convince us that global warming is real. This iceberg is a doctored pictured; Hollywood style. It's a inside job. Blah, blah, blah.

in reference to:

"A massive iceberg edging slowly toward Australia's southwestern coast is breaking up into hundreds of smaller icebergs as it drifts into warmer waters, creating potentially hazardous conditions for ships trying to navigate the region, a scientist said Tuesday. The iceberg, known as B17B, was spotted last week on satellite imaging about 1,100 miles (1,700 kilometers) off Western Australia state, prompting Australia's Bureau of Meteorology to issue a shipping alert. Since then, it has shrunk from 54 square miles (140 square kilometers) to 44 square miles (115 square kilometers), or around 11 miles (18 kilometers) long and 5 miles (8 kilometers) wide, said glaciologist Neal Young of the Australian Antarctic Division. The iceberg has broken up into hundreds of smaller icebergs, some up to several miles (kilometers) wide, and spread over more than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) of ocean, he said."
- Giant iceberg off Australia breaking up - Yahoo! News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Dems. Poised to Drop Medicare Expansion

The Democrats have predictably sold out. As a result, we will get watered-downed health care reform. Just in time for the holidays.

in reference to:

"The end game at hand, Senate Democrats appeared ready to jettison a proposed Medicare expansion from sweeping health care legislation Monday in a bid to remove the largest remaining obstacle in the way of Christmas-week passage of the measure. "Democrats aren't going to let the American people down. We all stand shoulder-to-shoulder," Majority Leader Harry Reid said after a closed-door meeting called to discuss last-minute trade-offs in the legislation that President Barack Obama has made a top priority. Liberals had sought the Medicare expansion as a last-minute substitute for a full-blown, government-run insurance program that moderates insisted be removed from the legislation. But it drew strong opposition from Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and quieter concerns from a dozen Democrats — all of whom hold votes essential for passage. Reid did not say flatly that Democrats had decided to drop the proposal for uninsured Americans as young as 55 to purchase coverage under Medicare. But several senators said it appeared inevitable."
- Dems. Poised to Drop Medicare Expansion - CBS News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Found! 22 million White House e-mails that went missing during the Bush administration

Smoking gun? We'll have to wait to see, I'm afraid.

in reference to:

"Computer technicians have found 22 million missing White House e-mails from the administration of President George W. Bush and the Obama administration is searching for dozens more days' worth of potentially lost e-mail from the Bush years, according to two groups that filed suit over the failure by the Bush White House to install an electronic record keeping system. The two private groups — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive — said Monday they were settling the lawsuits they filed against the Executive Office of the President in 2007. It will be years before the public sees any of the recovered e-mails because they will now go through the National Archives' process for releasing presidential and agency records. Presidential records of the Bush administration won't be available until 2014 at the earliest."
- Found! 22 million White House e-mails that went missing during the Bush administration (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Video, Transcript: Obama on '60 Minutes' (12-13-09)

President Obama appeared on '60 Minutes' (12-13-09). Read the transcript or watch the video below:

Watch CBS News Videos Online
Transcript Excerpt:

Kroft: In your West Point speech, you seemed very analytical, detached, not emotional. The tone seemed to be, "I've studied this situation very hard. It's a real mess. The options aren't very good. But we need to go ahead and do this." There were no exhortations or promises of victory. Why? Why that tone?

Obama: You know, that was actually probably the most emotional speech that I've made, in terms of how I felt about it. Because I was looking out over a group of cadets, some of whom were gonna be deployed in Afghanistan. And potentially some might not come back. There is not a speech that I've made that hit me in the gut as much as that speech.

And one of the mistakes that was made over the last eight years is for us to have a triumphant sense about war.

There was a tendency to say, "We can go in. We can kick some tail. This is some glorious exercise." When in fact, this is a tough business.

Kroft: Most Americans right now don't believe this war is worth fighting. And most of the people in your party don't believe this is a war worth fighting.

Obama: Right.

Kroft: Why did you go ahead?

Obama: Because I think it's the right thing to do. And that's my job. If I was worried about what polled well, there are a whole bunch of things we wouldn't have done this year.

Kroft: Do you feel like you've staked your presidency on it?

Obama: There are a whole bunch of things that I've staked my presidency on, right. That are tough, and entail some risks. There's no guarantees. But that I'm confident we have addressed in the best possible way.

Kroft: The West Point speech was greeted, it was greeted with a great deal of confusion.

Obama: I disagree with that statement.

Kroft: You do?

Obama: I absolutely do. Forty million people watched it. And I think a whole bunch of people understood what we intend to do.

Kroft: But it raised a lot of questions.

Obama: Now, it-

Kroft: Some people thought it was contradictory. That's a fair criticism.

Obama: I don't think it's a fair criticism. I think that what you may be referring to is the fact that on the one hand I said, "We're gonna be sending in additional troops now." On the other hand, "By July 2011, we're gonna move into a transition phase where we're drawing our troops down."

Kroft: Right.

Obama: There shouldn't be anything confusing about that. That's-

Kroft: Well-

Obama: First of all, that's something that we executed over the last two years in Iraq. So, I think the American people are familiar with the idea of a surge. In terms of the rationale for doing it, we don't have an Afghan military right now, security force, that can stabilize the country. If we are effective over the next two years, that then frees us up to transition into a place where we can start drawing down.

Medicare buy-in plan runs into Senate Resistance

This is a crazy idea. We can't pay for Medicare now. How could they consider expanding the program? Payments for Medicare already take up a sizable chuck of the budget now. This would be the opposite of health care reform. It is expanding a socialist program that cannot be paid for.

in reference to:

"A plan to let people as young as 55 buy into Medicare, heralded as a breakthrough in the Senate's health care debate, ran into resistance Sunday from lawmakers who can make or break Democrats' efforts to reshape the nation's health insurance system. Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut declared the early Medicare buy-in a bad deal for taxpayers and the deficit. He pleaded with Democrats to start subtracting expensive proposals from the overhaul, saying, "We don't need to keep adding onto the back of this horse or we're going to break the horse's back and get nothing done.""
- Medicare buy-in plan runs into Senate resistance (view on Google Sidewiki)

The Drone Dilemma

The Drones are the only thing we got going in that region. It would be a foolish mistakes to scale back their use. This is the kind of logic used by Clinton and Bush in failing to prevent 9-11 and destroy al Qaeda.

in reference to:

"A clandestine CIA search-and-destroy program, which launches missile strikes from remotely piloted drone aircraft, has killed more than a dozen senior leaders of Al Qaeda during the last two years. Among the dead: Abu Khabab al-Masri, reputed to be Al Qaeda's top expert on weapons of mass destruction, and Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistani Taliban and reputed mastermind of the murder of Benazir Bhutto. U.S. government spokesmen won't even confirm the program's existence, but a U.S. national-security official—who, like others cited in this article, declined to be named talking about sensitive information—says the program has been so successful that some counterterrorism officials want to expand it. They say the drones have been effective not just in killing terrorists but also in keeping them on the run and disrupting their ability to plan new attacks. They have asked for authority to target terrorists in more densely populated areas of Pakistan."
- The Obama Administration Debates Drones | Newsweek Politics | (view on Google Sidewiki)

Despite U.S. laws, thousands still virtual slaves in America

This is the result of a culture that puts profit before people.

in reference to:

"But an investigation by The Kansas City Star found that, in spite of all the rhetoric from the Bush and Obama administrations, the United States is failing to find and help tens of thousands of human trafficking victims in America.The Star also found that the government is doing little to stop the flow of trafficking along the porous U.S.-Mexico border and that when victims are identified, many are denied assistance.The United States also has violated its own policies by deporting countless victims who should be offered sanctuary, but sometimes end up back in the hands of traffickers.After spending millions of taxpayer dollars, America appears to be losing the war in its own backyard.Even some top federal anti-trafficking authorities in the Bush and Obama administrations acknowledged serious problems.“The current system is not yet picking up all the victims of human trafficking crimes,” Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told The Star two weeks ago. “It has been a growing problem and in a world of growing problems, it’s time for the nations of the world to take it on.”America’s failure to live up to its own high standards isn’t for lack of will or good intentions or even money. The Star’s investigation pointed to problems that are more systemic: an uncoordinated, inconsistent approach to finding victims; politically charged arguments over how to define trafficking; and a continuing disbelief among some in local law enforcement that it even exists."
- Despite U.S. laws, thousands still virtual slaves in America | McClatchy (view on Google Sidewiki)

Chinese car Market Overtakes US

More evidence of the rise of China and the decline of America.

in reference to:

"China has overtaken the U.S. as the world's biggest market for automobiles, the first time any other country has bought more vehicles than the nation that produced Henry Ford, the Cadillac and the minivan."
- Chinese car market overtakes US | | Cincinnati.Com (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Poor being turned away from free cancer screenings

Will this be remedied after health care is "reformed." I'm not optimistic about Washington's solution.

in reference to:

"As the economy falters and more people go without health insurance, low-income women in at least 20 states are being turned away or put on long waiting lists for free cancer screenings, according to the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network. In the unofficial survey of programs for July 2008 through April 2009, the organization found that state budget strains are forcing some programs to reject people who would otherwise qualify for free mammograms and Pap smears. Just how many are turned away isn't known; in some cases, the women are screened through other programs or referred to different providers."
- Poor being turned away from free cancer screenings (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret Raids by the C.I.A.

"Private security guards from Blackwater Worldwide participated in some of the C.I.A.’s most sensitive activities — clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees, according to former company employees and intelligence officials."

in reference to:

"The raids against suspects occurred on an almost nightly basis during the height of the Iraqi insurgency from 2004 to 2006, with Blackwater personnel playing central roles in what company insiders called “snatch and grab” operations, the former employees and current and former intelligence officers said. Several former Blackwater guards said that their involvement in the operations became so routine that the lines supposedly dividing the Central Intelligence Agency, the military and Blackwater became blurred. Instead of simply providing security for C.I.A. officers, they say, Blackwater personnel at times became partners in missions to capture or kill militants in Iraq and Afghanistan, a practice that raises questions about the use of guns for hire on the battlefield."
- Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret Raids by the C.I.A. - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Transcript: Obama Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony Speech (12-10-09)

Transcript of U.S. President Barack Obama's speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 10, 2009:

And yet I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who have received this prize – Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela – my accomplishments are slight. And then there are the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice; those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relieve suffering; the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened of cynics. I cannot argue with those who find these men and women – some known, some obscure to all but those they help – to be far more deserving of this honor than I.

But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of a nation in the midst of two wars. One of these wars is winding down. The other is a conflict that America did not seek; one in which we are joined by forty three other countries – including Norway – in an effort to defend ourselves and all nations from further attacks.

Still, we are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict – filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other.

These questions are not new. War, in one form or another, appeared with the first man. At the dawn of history, its morality was not questioned; it was simply a fact, like drought or disease – the manner in which tribes and then civilizations sought power and settled their differences.

Over time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups, so did philosophers, clerics, and statesmen seek to regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a “just war” emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when it meets certain preconditions: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the forced used is proportional, and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.

For most of history, this concept of just war was rarely observed. The capacity of human beings to think up new ways to kill one another proved inexhaustible, as did our capacity to exempt from mercy those who look different or pray to a different God. Wars between armies gave way to wars between nations – total wars in which the distinction between combatant and civilian became blurred. In the span of thirty years, such carnage would twice engulf this continent. And while it is hard to conceive of a cause more just than the defeat of the Third Reich and the Axis powers, World War II was a conflict in which the total number of civilians who died exceeded the number of soldiers who perished.

In the wake of such destruction, and with the advent of the nuclear age, it became clear to victor and vanquished alike that the world needed institutions to prevent another World War. And so, a quarter century after the United States Senate rejected the League of Nations – an idea for which Woodrow Wilson received this Prize – America led the world in constructing an architecture to keep the peace: a Marshall Plan and a United Nations, mechanisms to govern the waging of war, treaties to protect human rights, prevent genocide, and restrict the most dangerous weapons.

In many ways, these efforts succeeded. Yes, terrible wars have been fought, and atrocities committed. But there has been no Third World War. The Cold War ended with jubilant crowds dismantling a wall. Commerce has stitched much of the world together. Billions have been lifted from poverty. The ideals of liberty, self-determination, equality and the rule of law have haltingly advanced. We are the heirs of the fortitude and foresight of generations past, and it is a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SC lawmakers nix Sanford impeachment, back rebuke

Protecting one of your own, even if he is corrupt, is more important for a politician than doing what's right for the people. But we shouldn't be surprised.

in reference to:

"South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford dodged impeachment Wednesday but was scolded by legislators for his travels to see a mistress in Argentina and his misuse of state planes. A legislative panel voted down a measure to impeach the two-term Republican, opting instead to recommend a formal rebuke for bringing the state "ridicule, dishonor, disgrace and shame." "We can't impeach for hypocrisy. We can't impeach for arrogance. We can't impeach an officeholder for his lack of leadership skills," said Rep. James Harrison, a fellow Republican who headed the panel. Most of the seven legislative committee members said the Republican should resign, though his affair, use of state planes and a 2008 taxpayer-funded trip to Argentina were not serious misconduct that merited a recommendation to remove him from office. Sanford has been under scrutiny since June when he tearfully revealed a yearlong affair. Ensuing probes of his travel and campaign spending led to more than three dozen state ethics charges."
- SC lawmakers nix Sanford impeachment, back rebuke - Yahoo! News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Fast-food standards for meat top those for school lunches

If accurate, this would be a scandal.

in reference to:

"In the past three years, the government has provided the nation's schools with millions of pounds of beef and chicken that wouldn't meet the quality or safety standards of many fast-food restaurants, from Jack in the Box and other burger places to chicken chains such as KFC, a USA TODAY investigation found. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the meat it buys for the National School Lunch Program "meets or exceeds standards in commercial products." That isn't always the case. McDonald's, Burger King and Costco, for instance, are far more rigorous in checking for bacteria and dangerous pathogens. They test the ground beef they buy five to 10 times more often than the USDA tests beef made for schools during a typical production day. And the limits Jack in the Box and other big retailers set for certain bacteria in their burgers are up to 10 times more stringent than what the USDA sets for school beef."
- Fast-food standards for meat top those for school lunches - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Brazil police ‘kill 11,000 in six years’

Can this really be true. If so, a real shock.

in reference to:

"Police in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have killed more than 11,000 people in the past six years, many in execution-style murders, according to a report released by Human Rights Watch. Telegraph | Dec 9, 2009 Few of the officers have been charged in the extrajudicial killings, which are often labelled in police reports as the deaths of suspects who resisted arrest, the report said. The 122-page declaration echoes a 2008 United Nations’ finding that police throughout Brazil were responsible for a “significant portion” of 48,000 slayings the year before. “Extrajudicial killing of criminal suspects is not the answer to violent crime,” said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “The residents of Rio and Sao Paulo need more effective policing, not more violence from the police.” Isabel Figueiredo, Brazil’s coordinator-general of human rights and public safety, acknowledged that police violence is a widespread problem and “it concerns the federal government a great deal.”"
- Brazil police ‘kill 11,000 in six years’ « Aftermath News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Report: Dems Plan to Drop Public Option

The Democrats in the Senate sellout/cave.

in reference to:

"After days of secret talks, Senate Democrats tentatively agreed Tuesday night to drop a government-run insurance option from sweeping health care legislation, several officials said, a concession to party moderates whose votes are critical to passage of President Obama's top domestic priority. In its place, officials said Democrats had tentatively settled on a private insurance arrangement to be supervised by the federal agency that oversees the system through which lawmakers purchase coverage. Additionally, the emerging agreement calls for Medicare to be opened to uninsured Americans beginning at age 55, a significant expansion of the large government health care program that currently serves the 65-and-over population."
- Report: Dems Plan to Drop Public Option - CBS News (view on Google Sidewiki)

UK believed Iraqi weapons had been dismantled

More evidence showing that the Bush gang started the Iraq War under false pretenses.

in reference to:

"Britain believed Iraq had dismantled its chemical and biological weapons in the run-up to the 2003 invasion but thought it was possible they could be reassembled, the former head of the country's Joint Intelligence Committee said Tuesday.John Scarlett, who chaired the committee from 2001 to 2004 before moving to MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence agency, told a panel of inquiry that it had long been believed that Iraq had been dismantling weapons in order to conceal them.On March 7, 2003, Scarlett said an intelligence report revealed that "Iraq had no missiles which could reach Israel and none which could carry germ or biological weapons. The leadership had ordered the dismantlement of the missiles known as al-Hussein ... to avoid discovery, and they thought they could be quickly reassembled."A second report, made a few days later, said intelligence had been received that chemical weapons "had been disassembled and dispersed and would be difficult to reassemble.""
- Newsvine - UK believed Iraqi weapons had been dismantled (view on Google Sidewiki)

Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show

This should be a major top story. But it isn't. It is shocking. It shows how we take things for granted and how our government is failing us.
in reference to:
"More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data. Skip to next paragraph Enlarge This Image Andrew Sullivan for The New York Times The water system in Ramsey, N.J., has illegal concentrations of arsenic and the solvent tetrachloroethylene, both linked to cancer. That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage. Regulators were informed of each of those violations as they occurred. But regulatory records show that fewer than 6 percent of the water systems that broke the law were ever fined or punished by state or federal officials, including those at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has ultimate responsibility for enforcing standards. Studies indicate that drinking water contaminants are linked to millions of instances of illness within the United States each year. In some instances, drinking water violations were one-time events, and probably posed little risk. But for hundreds of other systems, illegal contamination persisted for years, records show."
- Millions in U.S. Drink Contaminated Water, Records Show - (view on Google Sidewiki)

New poll shows 'Tea Party' more popular than Republican Party

This explains the crazy things coming out of the mouths of Republicans. They are desperate.

in reference to:

"A new Rasmussen poll finds that the tea party movement's popularity is growing, so much so that it garners more support than the Republican party on a generic Congressional ballot. The poll hints that the burgeoning discontent among conservatives within the GOP threatens to splinter the party at a time when the popularity of President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress are waning as we head into an election year. The tea party movement was conceived out of antipathy for President Obama's economic stimulus plan and cultivated by groups like Freedom Works and conservative commentators such as Glenn Beck. Its guiding principals are centered around opposition to tax increases and the expansion of federal government spending. The movement rose to prominence when it organized highly-publicized protest gatherings across the country on April 15th of this year."
- New poll shows 'Tea Party' more popular than Republican Party - Yahoo! News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Decade of 2000s was warmest ever, scientists say

Still in denial? Or are you going to cling to conspiracy theories?

in reference to:

"It dawned with the warmest winter on record in the United States. And when the sun sets this New Year's Eve, the decade of the 2000s will end as the warmest ever on global temperature charts. Warmer still, scientists say, lies ahead. Through 10 years of global boom and bust, of breakneck change around the planet, of terrorism, war and division, all people everywhere under that warming sun faced one threat together: the buildup of greenhouse gases, the rise in temperatures, the danger of a shifting climate, of drought, weather extremes and encroaching seas, of untold damage to the world humanity has created for itself over millennia. As the decade neared its close, the U.N. gathered presidents and premiers of almost 100 nations for a "climate summit" to take united action, to sharply cut back the burning of coal and other fossil fuels."
- Decade of 2000s was warmest ever, scientists say - Yahoo! News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

1 shot in Baltimore hotel machine-gun attack

Eventually someone is going to figure out that there are too many guns out there.

in reference to:

"One man was shot in the face and another was severely beaten when a fight erupted early Sunday morning during a birthday party at a downtown Baltimore hotel, police said. Officers were called to the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel around 3:15 a.m., said Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Shortly after police arrived, they found an Uzi submachine gun in a room where the party was held."
- 1 shot in Md. hotel machine-gun shooting - Crime & courts- (view on Google Sidewiki)

SNL Video: Salahis Crash Obama Speech on Jobs

This Saturday Night Live video (12-5-09) skit/parody has the infamous Salahi couple crashing another Obama event. This time a speech on jobs.

Must-pass bills pile up as days wind down

An argument for People's Term Limits -

in reference to:

"Time is running out for Congress this year on must-pass legislation to pay for federal programs, allow the government to borrow more money, keep highway projects going and prevent the jobless from losing unemployment and health insurance benefits. It's become a tradition for lawmakers to reach the final weeks of a session without yet renewing programs that expired with the start of the budget year on Oct. 1 or will end on Dec. 31. But with the Senate devoting all the next two weeks to a health care bill, the year-end pileup has reached new dimensions."
- Must-pass bills pile up as days wind down (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Study: Slowdown In Warming Last Year Not Permanent

Not so fast, deniers.

in reference to:

"Climate researchers say cooler temperatures in North America last year do not mean global warming is easing. Their report comes just days before President Barack Obama goes to Copenhagen, Denmark, to speak at a United Nations conference on climate change. Rising temperatures over decades have prompted scientific concern, and the last decade has been the hottest in thousands of years, according to climate records. However, the warming eased a bit last year over North America, and groups seeking to deny climate change seized on that in an effort to challenge the idea of overall warming."
- Study: Slowdown In Warming Last Year Not Permanent (view on Google Sidewiki)

Montana Sen. Max Baucus nominated own mistress, Melodee Hanes, as U.S. Attorney

With incumbency comes privilege. Baucus has been in Congress since 1973. He's gotta go. But we'll have to wait to 2014. Visit to see who we can get rid of in 2010.

in reference to:

"Sen. Max Baucus was having an extramarital affair with a woman he nominated to be U.S. attorney in Montana, the senator's spokesman admitted Friday night.The Montana Democrat nominated Melodee Hanes, who was Baucus' state office director, and three others to the post in March, spokesman Tyler Matsdorf said. The two began having an affair in the summer of 2008, Matsdorf said. He said the senator was separated from his wife when he gave Hanes' name to the White House. Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and his wife have since split. "Sen. Baucus is currently in a mature and happy relationship with Melodee Hanes. They are both divorced, and in no way was their relationship the cause of their respective divorces," said Matsdorf. Hanes later removed her name from nomination and took a job in the Justice Department."
- Montana Sen. Max Baucus nominated own mistress, Melodee Hanes, as U.S. attorney (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Democrats today voted to cut nearly half a trillion dollars from Medicare.

The irony in this story is dumbfounding.

in reference to:

"Casting its first votes on revamping the nation’s health care system, the Senate rejected a Republican bid Thursday to stave off Medicare cuts and approved safeguards for coverage of mammograms and other preventive tests for women. The first round of votes ended with a fragile Democratic coalition hanging together. Senators voted 58-42 to reject an amendment by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that would have stripped more than $400 billion in Medicare cuts from the nearly $1 trillion measure. It would have sent the entire 2,074-page bill back to the Senate Finance Committee for a redo. Republicans said the proposed cuts to health insurance plans and medical providers mean seniors in the popular Medicare Advantage program will lose benefits. And they predicted lawmakers will ultimately back away from the cuts, once seniors start feeling the brunt."
- Gateway Pundit (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pew poll: Americans turning sharply toward isolationism

We were isolationist during the 1930s. That didn't turn out too well. Too many military quagmires will do that to a country.

in reference to:

"At the very moment when President Barack Obama is looking to thrust the U.S. ever more into global affairs, from Afghanistan to climate change, the American public is turning more isolationist and unilateralist than it has at any time in decades, according to a new poll released Thursday. The survey by the Pew Research Center found a plurality of Americans — 49 percent _ think that the U.S. should "mind its own business internationally" and leave it to other countries to fend for themselves.It was the first time in more than 40 years of polling that the ranks of Americans with isolationist sentiment outnumbered those with a more international outlook, Pew said. "The U.S. public is turning decidedly inward," Pew said."
- Pew poll: Americans turning sharply toward isolationism | McClatchy (view on Google Sidewiki)

Police: Pa. man punched Wal-Mart greeter, 72

"A 72-year-old Wal-Mart greeter near Pittsburgh was punched in the face outside his store and now is in the hospital.

Surveillance video shows the employee, Thomas Jenkins, walking near the entrance to the Wal-Mart in North Versailles (ver-SALES') on Tuesday night. A man comes around the corner, punches Jenkins in the face and Jenkins falls to the ground."

in reference to: Police: Pa. man punched Wal-Mart greeter, 72 - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Senate GOPers: It's Al Franken's Fault We're Being Attacked For Votes Against Anti-Rape Amendment

Franken is already making enemies. Obviously he's no joke.

in reference to:

"The Politico reports that Senate Republicans are outraged at Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) due to their votes against an amendment he introduced, to crack down on the rape of employees of military contractors, now being used against them: The Republicans are steamed at Franken because partisans on the left are using a measure he sponsored to paint them as rapist sympathizers -- and because Franken isn't doing much to stop them."Trying to tap into the natural sympathy that we have for this victim of this rape --and use that as a justification to frankly misrepresent and embarrass his colleagues, I don't think it's a very constructive thing," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in an interview."
- Senate GOPers: It's Al Franken's Fault We're Being Attacked For Votes Against Anti-Rape Amendment | TPMDC (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Transcript: Obama Speech on Afghanistan (12-1-09)

This is the complete transcript of Obama's speech on Afghanistan, given 12-1-09. Excerpt below:

Good evening. To the United States Corps of Cadets, to the men and women of our armed services, and to my fellow Americans: I want to speak to you tonight about our effort in Afghanistan - the nature of our commitment there, the scope of our interests, and the strategy that my Administration will pursue to bring this war to a successful conclusion. It is an honor for me to do so here - at West Point - where so many men and women have prepared to stand up for our security, and to represent what is finest about our country.

To address these issues, it is important to recall why America and our allies were compelled to fight a war in Afghanistan in the first place. We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001, nineteen men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women, and children without regard to their faith or race or station. Were it not for the heroic actions of the passengers on board one of those flights, they could have also struck at one of the great symbols of our democracy in Washington, and killed many more.

As we know, these men belonged to al Qaeda - a group of extremists who have distorted and defiled Islam, one of the world's great religions, to justify the slaughter of innocents. Al Qaeda's base of operations was in Afghanistan, where they were harbored by the Taliban - a ruthless, repressive and radical movement that seized control of that country after it was ravaged by years of Soviet occupation and civil war, and after the attention of America and our friends had turned elsewhere.

Just days after 9/11, Congress authorized the use of force against al Qaeda and those who harbored them - an authorization that continues to this day. The vote in the Senate was 98 to 0. The vote in the House was 420 to 1. For the first time in its history, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization invoked Article 5 - the commitment that says an attack on one member nation is an attack on all. And the United Nations Security Council endorsed the use of all necessary steps to respond to the 9/11 attacks. America, our allies and the world were acting as one to destroy al Qaeda's terrorist network, and to protect our common security.

Under the banner of this domestic unity and international legitimacy - and only after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden - we sent our troops into Afghanistan. Within a matter of months, al Qaeda was scattered and many of its operatives were killed. The Taliban was driven from power and pushed back on its heels. A place that had known decades of fear now had reason to hope. At a conference convened by the UN, a provisional government was established under President Hamid Karzai. And an International Security Assistance Force was established to help bring a lasting peace to a war-torn country.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Commentary: U.S. is drowning in debt

The Congress doesn't care because they are not accountable.

in reference to:

"The following editorial appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday, Nov. 29: The federal government reached a distressing milestone this month — $12 trillion in debt. That's about $39,000 for every man, woman, and child in the United States.In 2001, the national debt stood at about $5.5 trillion. In the past eight years, Washington piled up more debt than the nation had accumulated in its entire history. Foreign countries hold $3.5 trillion of our country's debt, led by China at around $800 billion and Japan at $730 billion. Unless the United States starts living within its means, foreign lenders could decide to end our free-spending ways.What does this record debt mean? With interest rates at historic lows, the government is paying about $200 billion per year in interest on the debt. But as rates inevitably rise and the government borrows even more, interest payments are projected to soar to $700 billion annually within 10 years.Paying an extra $500 billion per year is equal to the combined costs of fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus the budgets of the U.S. Departments of Education, Energy, and Homeland Security. There's just no room in the federal budget to absorb that kind of increase.The bailouts under former President George W. Bush and President Obama, as well as the $787 billion package of tax cuts and spending in February to stimulate the economy, were needed to prevent an economic meltdown. But these actions have only increased pressure on Congress and the president to get long-term fiscal policy under control.The only solutions are tax increases, or massive spending cuts, or both.This is not a partisan issue. For decades, under Democratic and Republican administrations, under liberal and conservative Congresses, Washington has spent more than it has collected in taxes and borrowed the rest."
- Commentary: U.S. is drowning in debt | McClatchy (view on Google Sidewiki)

Dying man robbed in Philadelphia ER waiting room

Now tell me we don't need health care reform. This is a said indictment on our society as a whole.

in reference to:

"Police say three people who noticed a Philadelphia school counselor unconscious and dying in an emergency waiting room robbed him instead of going for help.DiscussCOMMENTS (0) Police say 63-year-old Joaquin (wah-KEEN') Rivera spent nearly 80 minutes waiting in an emergency room after complaining of pain down his side. But they say he died of an apparent heart attack at Aria (AR'-ee-uh) Health's Frankford Campus before seeing a triage nurse.Surveillance video shows three people talking with Rivera before he passed out and then taking his wristwatch.Police arrested 44-year-old Richard Alten at the hospital and are seeking his companions, whom Capt. John McGinnis described as homeless addicts. Alten's public defender has declined to comment."
- Dying man robbed in Philadelphia ER waiting room - (view on Google Sidewiki)