Please stop making fun of the guy in Cleveland who saved those girls/women because he doesn’t *look* the way you think a hero should look. You are helping to reinforce that looks-matter-more-than-what’s-inside crap. He saved three girls’/women’s lives!!! He is responsible for rescuing them from kidnapping. Can we please focus on something that is clearly fifty times more important in this world than his teeth and the texture of his hair?
People who agree with me keep asking in confusion why this making fun of him is so rampant. My guess (because I think like a social psychologist) is that it is because heroes are supposed to be clean-cut, well-off, slightly-nerdy, white guys like Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and Ironman. Even The Hulk as Bruce Banner fits this stereotype. Whenever we’re faced with something that defies well-internalized stereotypes, we belittle and ridicule it. (This is the same phenomenon at work when women have the same assertive, take-charge attitude that men are typically expected to have in the workplace. People who have internalized double-standards and stereotypes about how men and women are “supposed” to act will often belittle and ridicule her for being “bossy,” “bitchy,” “overbearing,” and other negative adjectives when they consider the exact same behavior by men to be a good thing.)
We have a real-life, Black, poor Superhero who doesn’t look like the ones in the Marvel movies. Get over it.
Please stop making fun of the guy in Cleveland who saved those girls/women because he doesn’t *look* the way you think a hero should look. You are helping to reinforce that looks-matter-more-than-what’s-inside crap. He saved three girls’/women’s lives!!! He is responsible for rescuing them from kidnapping. Can we please focus on something that is clearly fifty times more important in this world than his teeth and the texture of his hair?
I wrote this Sunday in a Facebook status:
Saw this thing in my news feed addressed to women telling us that if we want to be a wife we should not give every man we meet “husband benefits.”
I have several issues with this typical, sexist example of slut shaming:
1. It assumes every woman’s goal is to be some man’s wife.
2. It says nothing about how men who want to be a husband shouldn’t give every woman he meets “wife benefits.”
3. It puts down women for making the choice to have sex with whom they want and when they want.
4. It puts the onus on women to prevent premarital sex while completely excusing males.
Shake my head. This is why so many men freak out when they are faced with having to deal with all of the things that go along with women’s equality. We socialize them to think like this. And we even (unfortunately) tell them that God is into this subjetive treatment of women.
And we wonder why we have a huge rape culture problem.
Then today, Jezebel published this article essentially getting at the same thing:
Anyone who is into slut-shaming, get over yourselves. We can make our own choices just fine without your input, thanks.
Someone decided to argue that the New Deal did not bring any relief to the Great Depression. Now, most of the problem here is in proving a negative. It is pretty problematic to try to prove that unemployment would have been worse if not for the Works Progress Administration (WPA)? It is the same problem in getting people to understand that the 2009 “stimulus” (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or ARRA) helped keep things from being worse than they would have otherwise been.
But there were some simpler things wrong with his argument and his sources for backing it up (they were US News article entitled “Did the New Deal Work? and blog post entitled “New Deal Was Bad for America). While the first was a nice source, he seemed not to fully get the meaning of the data presented and that it does not prove his point. The second is just not a great source.
Here are my arguments:
The New Deal was having a positive effect on the economy until 1937, when opponents started preaching austerity. Austerity had a negative effect and caused the economy to plunge again (much like it has been doing in Europe for the last four years). Then WW2 which caused the government to need to stop the austerity in order to spend for the war and to raise taxes in order to pay for the war caused it to pick up again.
The economy encompasses far more than the unemployment rate. The economy has to do with the entire exchange of goods and services and money in the country. The percentage of people working is not a measure of the economy. It is a separate variable that has an effect on the economy and that is itself affected by the economy, but it is not itself a measure of the economy.
There is also an important economic fact to keep in mind. The unemployment rate, while it does tell us something about how well individual average Americans are doing in the country at that moment in time, it is a lagging indicator of how the economy as a whole is doing. So when the economy plunges it takes a few months for the unemployment rate to follow suit and reach bottom (which makes perfect common sense when you think about it. Individual companies and employers don’t immediately lay off everyone they are going to have to lay off the moment the economy tanks). It also is a lagging indicator on the way back up. When the economy recovers and starts doing better, businesses and employers do not immediately rehire again. Historically, it has taken anywhere from just under a year to a few years for the unemployment rate to follow the more immediate measures and indicators of economic performance.
And it would be helpful, knowing this, to reread your own article from usnews.com: “Just how rapid that trend was, though, depends on whom you ask. Except for a downturn in 1938 (historians still debate its origin), the economy and unemployment did improve after the onset of the New Deal. The country’s real gross domestic product fell from $865 billion in 1929 to $635 billion in 1933 but rebounded to $1 trillion by 1940. The only hiccup was a decline from $911 billion in 1937 to $879 billion in 1938. But the percentage of jobless Americans remained in the double digits until the onset of World War II.” also “‘Recovery was just one piece of the New Deal,’ Rauchway says. ‘Relief was another piece, and by all accounts it worked pretty well. It kept people from starving.’ He also notes that a decline in the relief programs was correlated with the downturn in 1938.”
I’m not even going to spend time arguing with the second link. It is basically an opinion piece of a random blogger that makes the same analysis errors I already addressed. It ignores the trends in data before 1937 austerity measures and between those measures and WWII which show a more complete picture of how the economy reacted to specific measures and uses the lagging indicator of unemployment rate, not the more appropriate GDP to measure economic performance. Basically, it presents data in a way to reinforce his opinion and ignores the data that is the better measure and the more detailed trends that would contradict that person’s opinion. It could be a well-meaning person not understanding enough about economics to understand the problems with his/her analysis of the data and choice of data to analyze, so I’m not saying that it was meant to deceive, just that it is flawed.
Someone challenged me and a friend of mine on comparing Australia’s gun regulations favorably with the United States’ almost complete lack of them by pointing out the shooting at Monasah University in 2002. While the Monasah University shooting was a tragedy where five people were injured and two were killed, it only goes to further prove the point, not contradict it. Here is part of my response to that person.
“A few things:
2. The Monash University shooting in 2002 actually would not fit the criteria of a mass shooting. While he was able to injure 5 people, only 2 died. Part of the reason the number of fatalities was much lower than what would constitute a mass shooting is because of their gun control laws after 1996. They banned weapons that can shoot dozens of rounds per second. The practical effect of that is that less people get injured and killed before a gunman is stopped.
3. Here is a great article from the Injury Prevention journal that discusses the first 10 years of the gun ban in Australia - http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/12/6/365.full
4. As for how I got 62 here in the U.S.: Simple. Using this criteria for what constitutes a mass shooting - lone gunman kills at least 4 people (not including himself) during a single incident in a public place - we have had 56 (but in 30 years, not 15, so I was wrong on that part). If you add in spree killings, where it meets all of the above except there were multiple locations there are 6 more. Unfortunately, we have had 7 just in the year 2012.
Here is a list:
1. Aug 20, 1982 - welding shop in Miami, FL
2. Jun 29, 1984 - night club in Dallas, TX
3. Jul 18, 1984 - McDonald’s in San Ysidro, CA
4. Aug 20, 1986 - post office in Edmond, OK
5. Apr 23, 1987 - spree killing in shopping malls in Palm Bay, FL
6. Feb 16, 1988 - software company in Sunnyvale, CA
7. Jan 17, 1989 - elementary school’s schoolyard in Stockton, CA
8. Sep 14, 1989 - printing company in Louisville, KY
9. Jun 18, 1990 - General Motors in Jacksonville, FL
10. Oct 16, 1991 - cafeteria in Kileen, TX
11. Nov 1, 1991 - University of Iowa in Iowa city, IA
12. Nov 14, 1991 - post office in Royal Oak, MI
13. May 1, 1992 - high school in Olivehurst, CA
14. Oct. 15, 1992 - child-support office in Watkins Glenn, NY
15. Jul 1, 1993 - office building in San Francisco, CA
16. Aug 6, 1993 - restaurant in Fayetteville, NC
17. Dec 7, 1993 - public transit train in Garden City, NY
18. Dec 14, 1993 - Chuck E. Cheese’s Aurora, CO
19. Jun 20, 1994 - air force base in Spokane, WA
20. Apr 3, 1995 - refinery inspection business in Corpus Christi, TX
21. Feb 9, 1996 - city park employee trailer in Fort Lauderdale, FL
22. Sep 15, 1997 - engine electronic systems company in Aiken, SC
23. Dec 18, 1997 - maintenance yard in Orange, CA
24. Mar 6, 1998 - state lottery office in Newington, CT
25. Mar 24, 1998 - middle school in Jonesboro, AR
26. May 21, 1998 - high school in Springfield, OR
27. Apr 20, 1999 - high school in Littleton, CO
28. Jul 29, 1999 - spree killing in day trading firms in Atlanta, GA
29. Sep 15, 1999 - church in Fort Worth, TX
30. Nov 2, 1999 - Xerox office in Honolulu, HI
31. Dec 30, 1999 - hotel in Tampa, FL
32. Dec 26, 2000 - consulting firm in Wakefield, MA
33. Feb 5, 2001 - Navistar trucks in Melrose Park, IL
34. Jul 8, 2003 - Lockheed Martin in Meridian, MS
35. Dec 8, 2004 - concert in Columbus, OH
36. Mar 12, 2005 - church in Brookfield, WI
37. Mar 21, 2005 - high school in Red Lake, MN
38. Jan 30, 2006 - post office in Goleta, CA
39. Mar 25, 2006 - party in Seattle (Capitol Hill), WA
40. Oct 2, 2006 - Amish schoolhouse in Bart Township, PA
41. Feb 12, 2007 - shopping center in Salt Lake City, UT
42. Apr 16, 2007 - Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA
43. Oct 7, 2007 - party in Crandon, WI
44. Dec 5, 2007 - mall in Omaha, NE
45. Feb 7, 2008 - city hall in Kirkwood, MO (I lived there, in Clayton, MO when this one happened)
46. Feb. 14, 2008 - Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL (my younger cousin worked there at that time. That week in 2008 was a scary one for me.)
47. Jun 25, 2008 - plastics factory in Henderson, KY
48. Mar 29, 2009 - nursing home in Carthage, NC
49. Apr 3, 2009 - immigrant center in Binghamton, NY
50. Nov 5, 2009 - army base in Fort Hood, TX
51. Nov 29, 2009 - coffee shop in Parkland, WA
52. Aug 3, 2010 - beer distributor in Manchester, CT
53. Jan 8, 2001 - Safeway parking lot in Tucson, AZ
54. Sep 6, 2011 - IHOP in Carson City, NV
55. Oct 14, 2011 - hair salon in Seal Beach, CA
56. Feb 22, 2012 - spa and sauna in Norcross, GA
57. Apr 2, 2012 - Oikos University in Oakland, CA
58. May 20, 2012 - cafe in Seattle, WA
59. July 20, 2012 - movie theater in Aurora, CO
60. Aug 5, 2012 - Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI
61. Sep 27, 2012 - sign company in Minneapolis, MN
62. Dec. 14, 2012 - first grade classrooms in Newtown, CT
5. And that’s not including shootings with less than 4 victims like with Monash University. If you include shootings in public places with less than 4 killed, we had several just this week. Mall in OR, school in CT, hospital in AL, Excalibur Hotel in Vegas and a mall in CA in less than 5 days. We have a serious problem on our hands, unfortunately.
Just in case you are tempted to blame this tragedy on God not being in schools, let me stop you there for just a minute and point out a few things. I don’t want you to say something that will embarrass you because you misunderstand things.
1. God has not been removed from public schools. This common myth is a severely inaccurate misunderstanding of the law. Students are perfectly free to pray, read their holy books and have their own religious beliefs and practices. The law prevents THE SCHOOL from forcing any religion upon students because not all students have the same religious beliefs and this is to keep a school from forcing upon YOUR child or grandchild religious beliefs or practices you might disagree with. The purpose of school is to teach academic subjects and that should remain its purpose. If you would like to instill your children with a belief in God that is like your own beliefs, you should be glad the school is not allowed to get into religious teachings that might contradict your own. Instead of thinking like a person whose religion is in the majority think about how you’d feel if it were in the minority. Think about how the percentage of our population who believes as you do is waning. As the beliefs of the American population changes, this will come to protect you as much as it does the current religious minorities. And all who call themselves Christians do not have the same beliefs. Trust me. I went to a Christian school where they had different beliefs than my Christian father. You want to be the only one deciding on your child’s religious education more than you realize.
2. This was the point of why our founding fathers came here. They disagreed with the religious teachings of the country from which they came, but their was a mixture of religion and government there. They fled here for religious freedom to worship as they saw fit. For us Christians who have read our Bibles, this story should sound very familiar to us. If it doesn’t sound familiar to you, I would recommend you turn to the first three chapters of Daniel and read them. In the case of the school issue, the children are like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the school would be Nebuchadnezzar. Even the Bible supports the separation of Church and State.
“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
3. That person whose name I won’t mention who is responsible for Friday’s tragedy was home schooled. I do not mention this to say that home-schooling is evil or bad or anything like that. I just mention it because, if a person tries to blame the erroneous belief that God is not in public schools it is relevant to recognize that neither was the perpetrator of Friday’s atrocity.
I know you are a law-abiding citizen who uses your guns responsibly. The problem is not you. We all recognize that. We are not saying you are bad or wrong or responsible. We are not suggesting that you would do something like this.
Please, let us get past our initial, automatic, defensive feelings of being blamed and persecuted. This is about the safety of society as a whole.
We often give up our total freedom to do whatever we want or whatever comes into our heads that we’d like to do in the name of safety for society as a whole. We have speed limits and seatbelt laws and drunk driving laws and laws against teen drinking and smoking that are all infringement upon our rights. We all spent years taking off our shoes at airports. We all understand and accept that we do sometimes limit the ability for all of us to do anything and everything we want in the pursuit of safety as a society. That is part of what being a part of a society is about.
Instead of automatic defensiveness about how you are not the bad guy and you are not wrong - which is not the argument of gun control advocates at all - please take a moment to remove yourself from the picture. Frankly, it isn’t about you at all. It is about all of the people who have lost their lives whose death we could have prevented and all of the people who will lose their lives whose deaths we could still prevent.
And I know we, as a nation love denying that the gun is part of the problem, but evidence does not back up that position. Gun deaths do decline with effective gun control. Gun “control” is probably too loaded a term for us to use anymore because people misinterpret it to mean “no guns.” I’m not suggesting we be like Japan (though it should be noted that it is a scandal there if the gun deaths in a year number in the double digits in a calendar year, while ours get into the tens of thousands in a year). Not many gun control advocates are saying that is the way we should go. We are asking for a middle ground “safer guns” laws if you prefer that to “gun control.” Do you honestly use assault weapons to hunt? Do you honestly use more than 30 rounds per second for hunting? We are asking for safer guns. Gun restrictions that mean that, even when guns get into the hands of someone who uses them to hurt the innocent, we do not have quite so many people dying.
In a week where we had a shooting in a mall in Oregon, another in a school in Connecticut, another in a hospital in Alabama, another in the Excalibur Hotel in Vegas, and yet another in a mall in Southern California. In a week where in the span of 5 days we had at minimum five shootings in very public places - public places of the type that you and your children visit every day - can we please stop being so much about ourselves and our own rights to own whatever we want and think about how stubbornness about that hurts the people who keep dying every day? Can we think about how that right might not trump the right of 20 first grade babies to live? Yes, people will find other ways to try to harm people, but, frankly, those other ways are a lot less deadly and end up harming less people and often with less fatal consequences. Friday there was another event in China. Nine children were injured. Those poor children should not have been targeted either, but, unlike in Connecticut, those babies are still alive. So yes, “people kill people,” but certain types of guns and certain types of ammunition (hollow-points, I’m looking at you!) help them kill more, help them be better at it, and help them do it faster.
And please, as the media focuses on the twenty-six people who died in the school, let us all keep in mind there was a twenty-seventh. The first person to die in this tragedy saw the world just like you. She was an NRA member who knew how to use her guns and who was a law-abiding individual. She had hers to practice at gun ranges. She wasn’t doing anything wrong and was responsibly exercising her gun rights. Friday morning, before the rest of the horror of that day unfolded, that responsible gun owner was killed with her own weapon.
And she is not alone. Owning a gun makes it more likely that the owner or a person who lives with the owner - including children in the home - will either have THAT gun used against them or will be injured by it. In contrast to our typical American mindset that having a gun makes you and your household safer, it actually does the exact opposite. It provides a false sense of security while actually increasing risk of danger. So my concern is just as much for you.
There was a period for most of August, where it was not only possible, but more probable than not, the Republicans would win the majority in the Senate.
Then Congressman Todd Akin went on the Jaco Report and took care of that by explaining about “legitimate rape.” He made it probable that Dems would hold the Senate.
Then there was Mitt Romney’s attack on the the statement put out by the U. S. embassy in Egypt while the embassy in Egypt and the Consulate in Libya were still being attacked. It was followed very soon by his 47% comment. Romney’s missteps hurt not only his own race, but all of the down-ballot races (i.e. Senate and House) races as well.
Then, the Sept 25 deadline for Akin to get out passed. Now stuck with him in Missouri as their only chance to beat Claire McCaskill, all of the people who had denounced him before started defending him and pumping money into his campaign trying to salvage that race. This had the unfortunate consequence of demonstrating that all of their denials of support and feigned horror back in August wasn’t the least bit genuine.
Then Oct 23 came and Richard Mourdock chose, for some incomprehensible reason, to mimic Todd Akin (and Paul Ryan, but Ryan’s remark went largely unnoticed). Now there is a bipartisan poll released that has Mourdock losing badly. I’m afraid to credit it. It seems just impossible that this election season could end with Democrats picking up Dick Lugar’s Senate seat. It won’t make much difference in the control of the Senate (it still will be Dems controlling the Senate but Republicans having enough to filibuster as I predicted a week and a half ago), but it makes for an extremely interesting turn of events!
As for the remaining races, assuming Donnelly wins in Indiana:
1. There are 30 Democratic Senators who are not up for re-election this year.
2. Most polls have Maria Cantwell (WA) with about at 20 point lead over her challenger. So the Dems have 31.
3. Diane Feinstein (CA) has a similar lead over her challenger. that brings the Dems to 32.
4. Amy Klobuchar (MN) is leading her challenger by 30 points. That brings the Dems to 33.
5. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) is ahead of Wendy Long by a jaw-dropping 40 points. That brings the Dems to 34.
6. Independent Bernie Sanders is certain to win Vermont. Since he caucuses with the Dems, that brings them to 35.
7. Ben Cardin is ahead of both challengers in Maryland by about 30 points. That brings the Dems to 36.
8. Sheldon Whitehouse is leading the Rhode Island race by more than 20 points. The Dems reach 37 with his win.
9. Bob Menendez is up by about 20 points in New Jersey’s Senate race. His win would bring the Dems to 38 in the Senate.
10. Tom Carper is heavily favored to win in Delaware. FiveThirtyEight has his chances of winning at 99.8% percent. The Dems reach 39.
11. Some polls have Joe Manchin winning West Virginia by as much as 40 points. That brings the Dems to 40.
12. The Dems need only 11 more to hold the Senate, and this is where things get less certain.
13. It is fairly certain that Martin Heinrich (NM) and Debbie Stabenow (MI) will win. This brings Democrats to 42 in the Senate.
14. It is more certain than not that Claire McCaskill will win Missouri thanks to Todd Akin in order to bump Democrats up to 43.
15. It is also probable that Sherrod Brown (OH), Bob Casey (PA), Maize Hirono (HI), Chris Murphy (CT) and Elizabeth Warren (MA) are headed for victory. They boost the Democrats up to 48.
16. It looks like Independent Angus King is sure to win Maine, and it is assumed that he will caucus with the Democrats. If he does, the Dems are up to 49.
17. It looks like Bill Nelson has pulled ahead in Florida now enough to have a more comfortable lead and is now likely to defeat Connie Mack IV, bringing the Dems to 50.
18. At this point, with all of the more solid and lean Democrat races counted, the Democrats are very close to a majority. They already have a majority if President Obama wins (then Joe Biden would be President of the Senate and the tie-braker) or they need one more seat if Mitt Romney wins. It is highly probable they will get more than enough.
19. Though Tim Kaine (VA), Tammy Baldwin (WI) are statistically tied on polls reported by Real Clear Politics, Five Thirty Eight has both of them with more than a 77% chance of winning. Either one would bring Dems a majority even if mitt Romney wins.
20. If Joe Donnelly also pulls off the amazing feat of defeating Richard Mourdock (and now it looks like he just might), Dems could have as many as 53 seats when it looked like they would lose the Senate just two months ago.
I can’t wait until Tuesday night!
Politics is not my only obsession. There are a few. (I have a love for/addiction to sugar that might be unparalleled) but the one I’ve been thinking about a lot this morning is music.
On iTunes, I ran across this new album that Alicia Keys recommended to her fans. I decided to take a listen. It was… interesting.
Now don’t get me wrong. It is good music. It is worth buying the songs you like on it. As an album, though, it completely lacks focus.
My one friend who is a fellow music junkie asked me “Is it good.” It is hard to answer her because the quality of the music is overshadowed by its diversity.
It is a tad bit all over the place in musical style. “eclectic” is an understatement. It’s like he couldn’t decide what genre he wanted his album to be, so he put them all on there! It’s good… but it is really, really, really, eclectic. It bounces around from one musical style to the next from song to song. I rarely found two songs that were from the same genre.
It is like he took the whole Ben-Haper-diverse-genres thing to an extreme and I’m not sure whether it works as one album. But since we are in the age of MP3s and shuffle mode where people rarely listen to one album at a time in order, it might not be a bad thing. If you try to listen to the album all at once, it feels kind of ADD and at times I was thinking “Jeez! Focus!” It wasn’t because the music itself was bad, just because he did not even remotely pick a genre for it.
I’m not even sure whether I recommend it or not. It is such a new experience to know how I feel about an album (for instance I definitely think you should give Tristan Prettyman’s new one a try, but her ex-fiance, Jason Mraz disappointed on his latest offering - with the exception of “I Won’t give Up (Demo) - which is a nice bit of musical karma). But with Gary Clark Jr., I don’t know what to think.
Some L.A. Times music critic uses the beautiful description that it is “every shade of the blues.” That is true, I guess. However, it is a bit jarring to hear the smooth imitation of Smokey Robinson on “Please Come Home” and the Black Keys wannabe “Ain’t Messing Round” and the piano-heavy “Travis County” (which sounds like the love child of a classic Jerry Lee Lewis tune and Amos Lee’s “Truth”) all on the same album. And that is not the extent of Clark’s influences. I hear influences from classic country music to Lenny Kravitz to early neo-soul to hip-hop.
Tuesday’s #MorningNewsDump is entirely about Superstorm Sandy:
1. NBC Nightly News 10/29 New Jersey Shore
2. NBC Nightly News 10/29 Lower Manhattan
3. Maddow 10/29 Report on rescue operations and conditions from Superstorm Sandy
Happy World Stroke Day!
Because I am a stroke survivor, this is a big deal for me. Please learn about your own risk. It can happen to anyone at any age (I had barely turned 23). Also find out how to use FAST to identify a potential stroke.
Monday’s #MorningNewsDump is a huge one that is a continuation of the topic from Friday.
1. Friday we were here.
2. Andrea Mitchell (reporter and wife of Alan Greenspan) on Mitt Romney’s response.
Now, beyond the real scandal of Romney hoping for another Iranian hostage crisis to take political advantage of and jumping on this as his Iranian hostage c
risis, Romney has made three allegations against the President:
A. That the President/Administration apologizes for the U.S. and in this instance the Administration put out a statement in response to the attacks on the embassy apologizing for the U.S.
B. That the President took 14 days to call it terror and misled the American public about what it was:
C. That they asked for more security in Libya and The President denied them more security and that is why Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other three people died.
Let’s look at the problems with each of these one at a time.
A. First, let’s look at the accusation that the President/Administration apologizes for the U.S. and in this instance the Administration put out a statement in response to the attacks on the embassy apologizing for the U.S.
1. Remember, on Friday, we saw that the statement preceded the attacks on the embassy by 5 or 6 hours. So it is nonsense to call the statement a response to the attacks. In fact, they were trying to head off protests as noted by Andrea Mitchell above.
2. On Friday, we also noted the statement was put out by the embassy without pre-approval from Washington and that Washington disavowed the statement when they learned about it and removed it from online.
3. The whole “Obama apologizes for America” narrative itself has been repeatedly debunked, even by the Washington Post.
B. Next let’s look at the accusation that That the President took 14 days to call it terror and misled the American public about what it was:
1. Friday’s news dump included a video from 9/12 of the President in the Rose Garden referring to it as an act of terror.
2. Intelligence Briefings officials were given during first weeks were contradictory.
3. The people who were unclear were other Administration officials saying what conflicting reports told them, and frankly, people don’t instantly know who is responsible for attacks like this and why
4. The e-mails that are supposed to be so scandalous aren’t scandalous at all. I mean really not scandalous.
C. Finally, there’s the accusation that they asked for more security in Libya and The President denied them more security and that is why Ambassador Chris Stevens and the other three people died.
1. This one might be the most ridiculous of all.
2. Libya is an entire country that has more than one city. You think I’m joking, but this is apparently something people have either forgotten or completely chosen to ignore:
here and here and here and here
3. Benghazi is 400 miles from Tripoli.
4. Then there’s the fact that mid-level people at the State Department, not the White House deal with approvals of security for diplomatic officials. The President, Vice President and rarely even the Secretary of State ever hear about security requests.
5. Also, the main responsibility for security for diplomatic officials is that of the host nation, not us. So that would be Libya’s responsibility. We just provide extra when necessary and available.
6. And there’s that slight problem with the fact that funding for the extra security that we do provide in addition to that of the host nation was cut by the Republicans in Congress, and almost all of them voted to do so, including Romney’s VP candidate, Paul Ryan, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned them this was a huge problem.
None of this has stopped Romney from trying to make this his Iranian Hostage Crisis. And some of his surrogates happily comply with helping him.
And the sad thing is, if you think about it a step or two past the surface, it is REALLY bad for Romney and the idea that embassy attacks are unique to President Obama ignores the seven embassy attacks under President Bush.
So, it’s certain that, even if Mourdock wins in Indiana (despite the whole Todd Akin moment he had) the Senate is staying Democratic.
1. Democrats have 37 seats that are either not up for re-election or such safe seats there is pretty much no way they’ll lose them.
2. Stabenow (MI), Menendez (NJ), Cantwell (WA), Manchin (WV), Brown (OH) and Casey (PA) are definitely keeping their seats. That brings Dems to 43.
3. Hirono (HI), Heinrich (NM), Warren (MA), are going to win those seats currently held by someone else bringing the Dems to 46.
4. King (ME) is going to win and is probably going to caucus with the Dems (he’s an independent). So that brings the Dems to 47.
5. It is looking more likely than not that Nelson (FL) and McCaskill (MO) will hold on to their seats bringing the Dems to 49.
6. Tommy Thompson has helped Tammy Baldwin out so much it is fairly certain she’s going to win in Wisconsin (that’s 50).
7. Chris Murphy is probably going to beat Linda McMahon for Joe Lieberman’s seat in Connecticut. That’s 51 and a majority even if we no longer have Joe Biden as VP and President of the Senate (and it’s fairly likely we will).
8. Tim Kaine is looking likely to win Virginia for 52.
(Republicans are likely to win AZ, MT, NE, NV, ND meaning they’ll still have the ability to filibuster like they’ve been doing these past two years and keep things from being done).
So whether Mourdock wins or loses, it is safe to say we’ll have a Democratic Senate, Harry Reid will still be in charge, but Republicans will have more than the 41 they need to filibuster.
There aren’t enough tossup races to even make it possible the Dems win back the House. There are 228 solid and leaning Republican districts in the US. only 218 is needed for a majority. Unless there are major demographic changes over the next decade, it is unlikely the Dems can win back the House before the next redistricting in 2021 - though Pelosi is trying! Dems may gain more seats than they have right now, but the House is unlikely to flip back.
I am continually struck by how many American voters have almost no knowledge of the accomplishments of our President over the last four years.
1. Creating Manufacturing Jobs http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Pj_9iLEMCec
2. Equal Pay http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nP2wI7Oco6Y
3. Supporting Teachers http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HS83FwneICs
4. Health Coverage for Young Americanshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ODRMJGfLy_
5. Hate Crime Legislation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmaSY80rwW8&feature=relmfu
6. Lowering the Cost of Medicare Prescriptionshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBVeT0aufng&feature=relmfu
7. Credit Card Reform http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=t2F4O1PnFF4
8. Community College Partnership http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1b5LstPhfb4
9. Equality for LGBT
10. Women’s Health http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AHLwSLYUQ-E
11. Extending Unemployment Insurancehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=I-IbsPL_IWc
12. Early Childhood Education http://www.vxv.com/video/atcRGmFOlPwk/health-reform-explained-video-health-reform-hits-main-street.html
13. Five million kids with pre-existing conditions can now get coverage thanks to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare) http://www.vxv.com/video/atcRGmFOlPwk/health-reform-explained-video-health-reform-hits-main-street.html
Not to mention student loan reform, efforts to help those facing foreclosure whose mortgages were with the government (the only ones he has control over), ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and a long list of other things he has done that people seem to not think of or not know about when they are so full of criticism without being based on fact. A lot has gotten done and that with the limitation of a record number of filibusters in the Senate from the GOP senators and with a House that appears to be intent on voting against every single proposal that might do something positive while voting for a record number of bills against women’s reproductive and breast health and voting 33 times to repeal health care reform. 33 votes on the same thing, but not one on the American Jobs Act that would help give states money to employ teachers, policemen, firemen, and build and maintain this nation’s crumblings roads and bridges while simultaneously employing construction workers (the hardest hit by the job losses). A President has only so much power. He does not make law by himself. He signs into law only those things that are passed by Congress. So is there room for criticism on things he didn’t do perfectly? Yes. Is there no reason for continued support of him? Of course not. There is a long list of reasons to continue to support him. It took 30 years of bad fiscal policy to get us into the mess that happened in 2007/2008. It does not get undone and fixed by waving a magic wand and becomes infinitely harder wth a Congress actively working against him for political gain.
If the video above listing even more accomplishments is not playing for you, it can be seen at MSNBC’s website here.
The list and links in this post are provided by I will vote for Barack Obama in 2012:
Today, at this moment, I am filled with extreme gratitude for a book that was published when I was nine years old. It probably cost a total of four or five dollars, if that much (and that is in 1988 dollars). I am more grateful for that five-dollar book than I am for most things in my life, because it completely changed the course of my life.
At nine years old, I hated reading. I told a classmate that, if she did all the reading and book reports and I did all of the Math, school would be a breeze. When she reminded me of that, at first I was shocked. Me? NOT want the book reports more than the Math? Me? I’m the kid who my dad had to search for books before kicking me out of the house and telling me to go find kids my age. I’m the kid who had to be forbidden to just sneak around the corner from my house and go read a book. I’m the kid who read to escape the trauma and pain of watching my mother die while not being allowed to live with my only remaining parent.
Finally I connected what she said to another event I actually remember quite well… the chicken pox. The wonderful, glorious and itchy three weeks where I got to live with my father and not have to wait only for Tuesdays and every other weekend. The three weeks I learned to love to read.
Unfortunately (or fortunately considering how it turned out) I was very behind on book reports by the Tuesday when I found myself at my dad’s with a fever. I was discovered to have that fever during our demonstrations of our science fair projects quite early in the day. Someone did a wonderfully-designed project trying to figure out which thermometer was more accurate and I volunteered to be demonstrated upon. At first, my fellow nine-year old was quite confused about why her thermometer wasn’t working at all. The teacher finally realized that the thermometer was working just fine, I was the one malfunctioning. The chicken pox was spreading through the fourth grade at Emmanuel Christian School.
Any one of us would of course send the child straight home. I was the easiest of all my classmates to send home, too. I lived only two blocks away, with an aunt who worked at the school. But it was TUESDAY. The day I was supposed to go to my dad’s. I don’t know what made that wonderful teacher know how much it meant to me to not be sent home to my aunt’s that day. (I suspect, in hindsight, that any child begging to be allowed to stay in school until their father came at six p.m., instead of being able to go home early when they were clearly, legitimately sick is a big red flag to an adult that the home might not be the best, or safest place to send that child). That sweet woman let me sit in the class, lying my head down on my desk, drifting off to sleep for the entire day. (If you’re wondering why my dad wasn’t called, my aunt worked in the office. If I had to go to the office to call, I’d just get sent to her house and not be allowed to go to my father’s. I was desperate that my aunt not know I was sick for fear I wouldn’t get to see my dad that week).
When my dad finally came to pick me up I was delighted, and surprised, that things in my life had worked out so well and that no adult had ratted me out or gotten rid of my fevered butt. By the time he got me home and I was getting ready for bed, I was discovered to have come home with a few little microscopic friends and the pox to announce their presence. When my father and aunt decided I would stay there until I got rid of the chicken pox, I could not believe it. Especially after it was explained to me that they typically took a couple of weeks to go away. Two weeks of living with my dad, it was amazing gift.
There was only one issue. I would have to do all of my homework. Most of it I had no problem with and enjoyed doing. I was a fairly good student. But there was that backlog of book reports, book reports that would change my whole life and everything that defined my self-identity and that would show me a way to cope with trauma and grief and a… difficult… home.
The book reports to my nine year old mind were the worst part, though. I was not fond of reading. Not. At. All. I would have to read several books in order to be able to catch up with them (which was the term set in order for me to get to stay there. Or at least that’s what my dad told me… I should really check if anyone set that term other than him, now that I’m no longer nine years old.) He said he would buy me books that day and I’d have to read them for my book reports.
He came home with “The Hardy Boys.” I was skeptical. I mean this was a book about boys, not girls. And there was nothing about them that made it seem like it might be as non-painful as a sort of okay “Sweet Valley Twins” book that I’d read before. Turns out, “The Hardy Boys” were much better. It was that book that made me fall in love with reading. I had some horrendous sounding edict from my dad to read at least two chapters before he got home from work that day. When he came home. The book was done and I wanted another one. I was transformed from a girl that hated reading into someone who would read so much we had to store my boxes and boxes of paperbacks in the garage, I would once beg for the “Anne of Green Gables” series as a Christmas gift, I would read my way through the pain of a not so great home, a stroke, a divorce.
That one five dollar book made me a completely different person because it taught me that I didn’t hate reading… I just hated WHAT I was reading. And my love of reading ending up being an inspiration for other kids to think that, if I could like it, maybe they could too. I’ve even talked some adults in to finding out that their descriptions of themselves (“I’m not really a reader” “I don’t really like reading”) were because they hadn’t been introduced to reading with reading material that was interesting to them.
So if your little reader (or big reader) doesn’t really like doing it try finding something they’d want to read.
Dedicated to Kaydence and Marcus… and their dad.
I’m not defending the horrific, offensive, nonsense that came out of Representative Todd Akin’s mouth on his Sunday appearance on The Jaco Report shortly before he inserted his foot into it. Even Rush Limbaugh called it “just absurd” and “not intelligent” in the midst of trying to defend the guy (and we all know that Limbaugh doesn’t even understand how contraception works).
I’m not defending the disgusting use of the word “rape” to describe the political hailstorm in which Rep. Akin has found himself or the political pressure for him to withdraw from the race. Those disgust me and infuriate me so much that I can’t quite put it into words. (Though I have a lot of respect for Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan for doing her best to try).
As an avid supporter of sexual and domestic abuse victims a person who has spent pretty much my entire adult life (excluding a short stint in law school) working in some way in psych and counseling the minimization of rape has always infuriated me. Seeing the reality of rape and sexual assault changed me from the pro-life person I was taught to be in church to a pro-choice advocate trying to fight for every woman’s right to make her own decisions. So I’m not about to sit here in say one word defending that ridiculous but dangerous ignorance. Frankly, I think you should read what women who have been raped have to say about the issue, like Shauna Prewitt, Renee Devesty, Eve Ensler and Maureen Herman.
What I’m defending is Akin and Walsh and a lot of anti-abortion activists being completely and genuinely confused by the mass effort of Republicans to shut Rep. Akin and Rep. King up and get Rep. Akin to leave the race. Their confusion is quite legitimate and fair. Because not two days after Todd Akin’s honest “gaffe” on The Jaco Report the Republican Party voted on a platform that favor makes Representative Akin’s views on rape and abortion a constitutional amendment. While calling this firestorm “a distraction” and saying how women don’t care about this they care about the economy (as if we’re incapable of caring about both things at once or as if the two things aren’t interrelated), they have voted on this as part of their plan for the country upon which they want to be elected. Frankly, it’s not even news, or it shouldn’t be. Various members of the Republican party have spent the last two years in power in the states and in the U.S. Congress passing hundreds of anti-abortion, anti-contraception and other anti-women’s health bills. The embattled Rep. Akin and the Republican Vice-Presidential Nominee have been co-sponsoring and voting for all of the most extreme ones in lockstep.
After campaigning on “jobs, jobs, jobs” and not wanting to talk about “social issues” in the 2010 election, including Paul Ryan’s plans for Medicare, Americans gullibly decided to let them get away with changing the subject and voted in the most far right Congress in history. Most weren’t paying attention while record numbers of anti-abortion bills were being passed and even the people who sat up and paid attention when they tried to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood, held a hearing on birth control at colleges and universities with only male clergy as witnesses (and from which they barred a female graduate student who dealt with the issue of health care coverage and saw how not allowing contraception had made some female students have consequences as serious as losing an ovary) were mostly political wonks & feminists.
Even the law that earned Governor Bob McDonnell the nickname “Governor Ultrasound” and “Governor Vaginal Probe” for requiring that any woman seeking an abortion be given a medically unnecessary ultrasound t(hat requires a large probe to be inserted into her vagina even if she doesn’t want it under the guise of “informed consent”) only got a few more people’s attention. That same law that got passed in Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, where some “lovely” legislator suggested that it wasn’t a problem to invade a woman’s body in that way since she had already consented to be penetrated by a man to get her pregnant. (Even if we leave off the obvious fact that some pregnant women seeking abortions are victims of rape or incest there is the issue of women who want the child but their life is endangered by the pregnancy, women who have had the fetus die during pregnancy and other heartbreaking women who are married and whose pregnancy was intentional and for whom ending the pregnancy is already a heartbreaking decision, who now are being forced to have a plastic probe stuck up their hoo-hah for no reason other than an anti-choice legislators righteous indignation and ignorance). People still believed “this war on women nonsense” wasn’t real.
The fact is that it is, sadly real. It has been enacted into law at record numbers in the states and attempts to do it in the House have been repeatedly voted on while no actual jobs bills were being worked on. Representative Akin, a man who has been sitting in the House of Representatives since 2001 and who is a true believer has been working with his Republican colleagues to pass bills that say exactly what he was saying Sunday. Suddenly though, because he made the “gaffe’ of telling the truth out loud instead of the accepted method of saying “there is “nothing to see here” with these social war issues, calling them a distraction and pointing to something else, Akin is being ostracized.
Akin and King and Fischer and those anti-abortion fundamentalists are right to be confused. They’re being thrown under the bus solely because they are saying out loud what the Republican Party has been doing for the past few years. The people condemning him the loudest are the ones who voted against equal pay for women for doing the same job as men. Many of them can’t even bring themselves to admit that the reason there is a pay gap is that there is discrimination from employers, despite overwhelming evidence that there is.
There is a stark choice this election, and the Romney/Ryan plan on Medicare (which does turn it into a voucher program) is not the scariest part that should send you running to the polls this November. And everyone who says there isn’t has clearly NOT been paying attention. This amazing senior citizen does and I’m with her. My vagina has legitimate concerns too.
Please help those who have been victims of rape and sexual abuse by supporting The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).
A veteran friend of mine, who is Black, went to the Northern Trust Bank location in Lake Forest, IL today to cash his pay check as he does every two weeks. He gave them a few forms of identification, one of which was his military ID and another which was his employee ID that showed he worked for the institution that issued the check. After stalling for over an hour and not cashing his check and calling several of her bosses despite the adequate ID and the fact that the check was completely legitimate, the cashier had the security guard come stand right behind him to intimidate him and then someone (it was not clear to the veteran friend of mine whether Northern Trust employees made the call or not) called the Lake Forest Police Department. Since everything was aboveboard, she eventually had to cash his check. There had never been any legitimate reason to stall, call over the security guard OR for anyone to call the police. Any bank that knowingly treats our veterans this way should not get your business and you should boycott them to make sure they don’t make money off of your hard-earned money. I urge everyone who reads this to refuse to bank with Northern Trust.
My friend Adrienne S. said something so perfect, I had to ask her if I could just cut and paste it and put it here:
TV keeps trying to tell me that Paul Ryan will secure a portion of female voters, because women find him attractive. That chicks will vote for HIM, specifically, because they think he’s hawt. Paul Ryan. With the ears.
TV has been doing a lot of meth or something.
I mean, lets ignore for a second the idea that I, or any other woman, would be persuaded to vote for a dude based on looks alone. Let’s not get all offended by that part. Let’s get offended that TV thinks that this guy, THIS GUY, is attractive to me. I’m offended that TV thinks I have such low standards for hawtness.
Now, I’m not a Mitt Romney supporter, but I really need him and his campaign to get better at campaigning, even if they only do it to stop embarrassing us as a country. Mitt Romney seems to be a fine father and friend and appears to be quite dedicated to his faith. He is by all accounts a a brilliant person and a superb businessman. However, he is not a good politician. Not at all.
And this is not just about being rich, lacking charisma, being aloof or making gaffes. Some of our most beloved Presidents were enormously wealthy; take John F. Kennedy for example. Others have lacked charisma; George H.W. Bush comes to mind. He isn’t the only candidate in this race with an aloofness problem; Barack Obama has shown himself to be quite exclusive in his circle of friends and is not good at courting Congress. He is not the only one known for gaffes; Joe Biden is quite famous for them. His issue is far more fundamental than that.
In another, unpublished post I started to take on his apparent lack of empathy for people he doesn’t know personally, but I’m not even talking about that right now. Although I have issues with many of his policies, that is not what I’m talking about either. He - and for that matter, his campaign - are just really bad at the politics of it all.
From announcing that he likes firing people (though what he meant was a really good point and a perfect explanation of why not only his heath care plan in Massachusetts, but also “Obamacare” have heath care exchanges much like an Amazon.com way of shopping for the best health insurance at the best price) to his many facepalm-inducing conference calls to his campaign trying to show they “support women” by trotting out female surrogates who themselves repeatedly vote for legislation that harms American women, Romney’s campaign is really bad at this.
The recent disastrous trips to Englad and Israel and California are just another example. It seems that Romney insulting the cookies at an event in Pennsylvania was a sign to us that he is missing a really important understanding that insulting people is a problem.
Even the high-profile spokespeople in his campaign have issues. From Eric Fernstrom’s etch-a-sketch comment to Rick Gorka at a holy site in Poland telling reporters to kiss certain parts of his anatomy, the people speaking for him seem to be bad at… well… speaking for him.
This is the reason NewsCorp’s (and Fox News Channel owner) Rupert Murdoch has been critical of the campaign staff, the right-leaning Wall Street Journal has ripped them in its opinion pages and potentially why the Mormon Church in the UK has been making efforts to distance themselves from his campaign.
They are not good at this. And for the first time I can remember, Rupert Murdoch and I agree.
Okay, after having to respond to several friends’ friends on facebook who are appalled at the idea of paying 10 cents extra for a pizza so that Papa Johns employees get adequate health care, I feel the need to say something
The problem with being angry about paying 10 cents extra for a pizza for the healthcare of Papa John’s employees - or a little extra for other products - is that we are all already footing the cost of other people’s healthcare. We just do it in a much dumber way now. Many of us are just unaware that we are paying for other people’s healthcare. Basically about $1 in every $6 those of us in this country spend, we are spending on healthcare. And, now we do it in the STUPIDEST way imaginable. Now, we refuse to pay for preventative healthcare and tests to head off disease before it progresses, but once it becomes really serious and people have to go to the E.R., we THEN pay for the expensive tests, surgeries and treatments to treat the diseases we could have prevented if we as a people paid for people’s healthcare when it was cheaper and they could have stayed healthy. No one would choose this route if they REALIZED they were paying for it anyway, but we don’t realize that we are already doing so (and not just through our tax dollars - our health insurance costs, our medication costs, how much we pay hospitals and doctors - part of all of those things is each and every one of us already paying for other people once they get really sick).
While our cost of pizza or lumber or clothes may go up (by less than 1%, by the way) the fact that we will be paying for people to get PREVENTATIVE care and paying to treat them BEFORE they get sick and cost us more money, means that we will be paying LESS money to treat those same people in the ways we pay for them now and less money out of our pockets overall. And there have already been natural experiments in states that have shown this to be true. As a result of Romney’s own healthcare law in MA - which is EXACTLY THE SAME (except it does less to help people who can’t afford health insurance pay for it, while “Obamacare” helps people who can’t afford it) - healthcare costs have gone down DRASTICALLY and people are paying less out of pocket for other people’s healthcare in all the ways most of us still do outside of MA. States like VT and UT have also tried some different ways and found that various attempts at universal healthcare increase health of the population and decrease how much people are paying for their own & other people’s health care. And the same is true outside of the country.
Despite our technological advances in medicine, we have some of the absolute worst healthcare outcomes (unless people are enormously rich and can pay for it out of pocket which less than 1% of us can), but we pay FAR MORE money for those worse outcomes than other countries who do better at treating their population. Basically, we have better medical care in this country, but only the richest among us actually get that better medical care because of our silly way of doing it. Put in other words, we already ration healthcare, we just do it by only giving it to those with a lot of money. If you are not rich and you get sick, insurance companies will drop you off your insurance even if you have always paid your premiums (these are called “rescissions”). If you are like me and you have healthcare through your job like I did and you get sick and you can no longer work, not only do you lose your insurance because you lost your job, but you also can’t get new insurance because you now have a pre-existing condition. You have a child born with a health condition? Until “Obamacare’s” new requirement went into effect last year, insurance companies could (and almost all of them did) refuse to cover that child. Oh, and how much money we pay for administrative costs like CEO salaries and company profits that don’t go towards paying for healthcare is going to drop too. ”Obamacare” requires insurance companies to use at least 80% of your premiums to actually pay for health care - no more than 20% is allowed to go to CEO salaries and profits. And if an insurance company violates this rule, they have to refund you back the extra they charged you for administrative costs. And they were charging us more than 20% of our health insurance premiums for profits and salaries and other administrative costs before.
Nothing about the way this was working before was a good idea. There was a very good reason that every President in 50 years was trying to get it changed. It was bad for the country as a whole and for individual citizens both financially and in terms of our health.
So you pay 10 cents more for a pizza, but hundreds less for health insurance and we get far more people healthcare for less money out of all of our pockets.
Update: One brilliant friend of a friend put it this way, “In order to understand why “Obamacare” is helpful, people have to think past their first selfish reaction of ‘I don’t want to have to pay for other people’s health care,’ to get to ‘Obamacare is great, cause it helps me pay less for other people’s health care.’”
I have already started writing my daily debunking which points out a part of today’s Supreme Court decision on health care that a lot of people have missed and/or don’t understand how bad it is. I also started another one simultaneously skewering and defending CNN for today’s blunder. But a couple of things made me change my mind and I’m going to do something, instead, that isn’t a debunking at all.
On September 11, 2001, I still lived back home in Chicago. I vividly remember driving up I-294 past O’Hare airport that afternoon on my way to work. The country knew that all domestic flights had been halted, so when airplanes were seen and heard above areas of Chicago, a lot of residents were justifiably scared. I was one of them. It turned out not to be a bad thing, they were military planes aimed at keeping the city safe, but some part of that stuck with me.
It probably didn’t help that I didn’t have a lot of personal experience with airplanes at that point in my life. My father is a roadtrip kind of guy and we always drove places. The only time I had ever taken an airplane anywhere was just over 2 weeks before 9/11 happened. So, even though I did not live in New York at that time, I did end up with one slight emotional scar from that experience that stayed with me. I developed a little bit of a phobia about airplanes overhead, especially when they sounded too close.
The last place in the country someone with this issue should probably choose to settle is Colorado Springs. It is basically the air force mecca of the United States. Not only is NORAD located here, but there is one air force base within city limits, another outside city limits, and it is home to the gorgeous Air Force Academy campus. One often hears planes flying closely overhead here. It being a common sound didn’t help me any. I still am a bit anxious when I hear the sound even though I know it is 99.9% likely that it is some air force exercise.
Then there was a fire.
On Saturday, a fire began in Waldo Canyon that, as of my last check on it, is nearing a size of 16,000 acres has 1,200 fire personnel fighting it and 500 sheriffs office and police department employees assisting. There are also untold numbers of members of the air force assisting in the effort. On Tuesday, bad weather conditions including 65 mph winds made it exponentially worse than it had been and it spread quickly and began to burn homes. They have been fighting it from both the air and the ground and now, one hears a plane overhead several times a minute.
Suddenly, the sound of a plane nearby is a comfort. It means that there is another plane full of fire retardant rushing to keep the residents of my new hometown safe. It means someone doing their best to protect me and the other residents and try to save as many homes and businesses as possible.
Weather conditions today are not going to be good. Just like Tuesday, all of the worst weather issues for a wildfire like this are expected to happen together. It is a good possibility that things will get worse by the end of the day. Firefighters have been going for almost a week on this fire and many were involved in fighting the eleven other fires in this state over the past week. Personnel at Peterson Air Force Base are working 24 hour shifts assisting with evacuees and providing back-up to the firefighting effort.
And I keep hearing the comforting sound of planes in the air.
Will CNN be found unconstitutional?
— Indecision (@indecision)
If there is one very consistent thing that polling has found, it is that that people really like all of the parts of the health care reform law (The “Affordable Care Act” or “ObamaCare”). Even though people say they dislike the law, they really like all of the parts of it with the notable exception of the individual mandate (the Republican idea for bringing down health care costs that was accepted as a compromise because Congress could not pass the Public Option). The reason for this glaring contradiction is that most people don’t really know what is in the health care law and they are convinced some myths about it are true. Many are unaware of the part of it that seems to be the most popular - the health care exchanges. (Think an amazon.com-like shopping experience where you can pick and choose the best plan for you at the best price). Many Americans also do not see how it benefits them personally.
There is a particularly partisan divide on this issue. While positive parts of the health care reform bill were talked about on MSNBC from the time the law was being crafted, it was a rare occasion where any of the positive particulars were discussed on Fox News outlets. Instead, untrue pejoratives like “government take-over of health care” and “socialist” were frequently repeated for months on almost every show on the Fox News network.
This is not the first time low voter information has led the public to dislike something where they support all of the parts of it. The public has similarly contradictory views about the stimulus package.
The point is that, if health care reform is struck down by the Supreme Court tomorrow, the loss of it will probably hurt you and your family - and you might not even be aware that you’ve been rooting against your own interests.
Some ways to increase your knowledge about the law:
Kaiser Family Foundation Video
I remember when SB 1070 first came up as a law. A lot of people, some of them quite xenophobic, were very much in favor of the law because they saw it as a way to catch the illegal immigrants* they believed were streaming across the border and the source of crimes. There were a couple of Republican politicians in Arizona helping to encourage that idea. Governor Jan Brewer, Senator John Kyl and Senator john McCain specifically were involved in spreading myths and misinformation about this issue. Governor Brewer claimed that there were beheaded bodies found in the Arizona desert and suggested that illegal immigrants were responsible. Senator John Kyl claimed that Phoenix was the kidnapping capital of the U.S. Senator McCain suggested that wildfires burning in Arizona were started by illegal immigrants. (Jon Stewart and the Daily Show brilliantly skewered Senator McCain for his untruthful suggestion).
Many of those supporting the legislation were completely unaware of quite a few issues with the origins of the bill and those who would benefit from it being passed. Many of them were completely unaware of its connection to a neo-nazi group who stated that their intention was to craft legislation that would preserve the White majority. They were unaware of the fact that governor Brewer’s office had connections to a donor who owned privatized prisons and who would benefit financially from the overflow of people (who would have normally been turned over to federal authorities for deportation) now having to spend time in Arizona’s prison system because it made being in the country illegally a state law in addition to a federal law. They also seemed to be unaware that it did not make it where police could detain prisoners they couldn’t detain already, it just meant that the state of Arizona had to pay to house and prosecute these people, at extra cost to Arizona taxpayers, before sending them to be deported by federal authorities.
Even before you get to the issues of racial profiling and it violating Equal Protection, there are so issues of it financially benefitting the Governor’s cronies, how unnecessarily costly it is and how it does not serve to increase border security.The claims of increased crime due to illegal immigration are decried by the fact that Arizona had LOWER crime rates, not greater. Sheriff Dupnik, of Pima County Arizona, explained it best on Rachel Maddow last night.
It is amazingly good news that our Supreme Court struck down a majority of the law yesterday. It was a mind-blowingly horrible piece of legislation.
* It is important to note that many people conflate “Latino/a” with “illegal immigrant” and seem not to comprehend that a majority of the Latinos/as that live here are either legal immigrants or citizens.
It has become almost religious dogma among Republicans that cutting taxes will spur job growth, grow the economy and that this in no way contributes to the deficit. Let’s put aside the more complicated question of whether they do spur the economy (it depends on who you give them to - basically, if you give them to people who will spend the money right away like the poor, they do; to people who have plenty of money and will save it, it doesn’t). Instead, let’s focus on that last part whether tax cuts contribute to the deficit. This question has a very clear answer. YES THEY DO.
Although I hate comparing the federal budget to a household budget (frankly, the analogy just doesn’t hold up), I will do so this one time to simplify this question. Taxes are like the government’s paycheck. If you cut the government paycheck, and its bills remain the same, then how much money it owes and doesn’t have money to pay (the deficit) goes up. Many on the right argue that they will just cut spending along with cutting taxes. That itself leads to a long explanation of why this isn’t really practical. But if you’re curious there are some online tools that allow you to try your hand at it that make it clear very quickly why Congress hasn’t had an easy time with that. The consequences to necessary programs (education, Medicare, Social Security, Defense) are severe. Here are a couple for you to try:
After you realize how necessary the “government spending” that is so vilified really is, it becomes obvious that we need a government “paycheck” (that is, taxes) large enough to pay our bills and that cutting those taxes is going to raise our deficit. But you don’t have to just take my word for it. We have had real-world experiments that have backed this up. President Clinton who completely eliminated the national debt during his time in office and actually brought us to a surplus did so by raising taxes. President Bush who took that surplus and turned it back into worse deficits than we’ve ever had did so by cutting taxes twice. President Obama, who has not been able to end the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans and return us to the tax rates that we had under Clinton, has continued to reap the deficits of the Bush tax cuts. There have been a few publications and economists who have helpfully shown us that the Bush tax cuts are the largest contributor to our current deficit.
So, when Republican politicians, including the current nominee for President talk about closing the deficit and simultaneously talk about cutting taxes, they are not making any sense!
This is hogwash. The government employs some of the most revered professions. Police, firefighters, military & teachers are GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. When you try cutting government jobs, that’s whose jobs you are cutting. The last few years have shown this. While we have had 26+ months of private job growth. Government jobs like police & firefighters have gone down because of Republican insistence on cutting spending. And those lost GOVERNMENT jobs are a big part of why we still have such a high unemployment rate. You need BOTH private and government jobs for growth and for a strong nation. And you cannot cut federal and state and local spending and keep those police, firefighters, military and teachers employed. Cutting is directly connected to our high unemployment rate.
Today’s lie that I’m clearing up with facts is one spread by Speaker John Boehner that President Barack Obama didn’t try to get immigration reform done through Congress before he went the executive order route. This couldn’t be more blatant of a lie. The House passed the DREAM Act when Dems controlled it and Senate had 55 votes for it. But Senate Republicans under Minority Leader Mitch McConnell filibustered the DREAM Act so that it couldn’t pass even though a majority supported it. What John Boehner said is not true - aka a lie.
I’m going to try to find coverage from December 2010 when it happened, but here is more recent coverage on it:
It is now my mission to combat one lie/myth/falsehood/urban legend/rumor a day by giving the facts. Today’s fact:
Project Gunrunner (the project of which “Operation Fast and Furious” and “Operation Wide Receiver” are parts) the stupid gunrunning scheme by the ATF, was started in 2005 or 2006 under President Bush. It is not some complex plot for President Obama to tighten gun laws by pointing out the flaws in our current ones.
Yes, these operations continued under Obama, and his administration bears the blame for that. But keep in mind that they started years before he was even running for President and his administration shut them down. These were not started or intended to be some secret plan whose aim is to tighten gun laws. Were they ridiculously stupid? Yes. Were they some conspiracy against Second Amendment Rights? Not at all.
Rachel Maddow does an excellent job dealing with this conspiracy theory:
It is frightening that this insane conspiracy theory has been taken seriously enough by the Witchhunter in Chief, Congressman Darrell Issa, that he held a vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. And they wonder why almost the entire American public does actually hold Congress in contempt.
Please, please, please, I beg you, stop believing Fox News tells the truth.