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Archive for September 10th, 2009

Grateful to Have a Job, and Bone-Tired

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2009 4:46 am by HL

Grateful to Have a Job, and Bone-Tired
The spotlight of the Great Recession has been properly on the nearly 10 percent of workers who are unemployed. But there has been far less said about the collateral damage on the 90 percent who “still have a job” but are looking at the empty seats. Fearfully. Gratefully. READ THE WHOLE ITEM By Ellen Goodman

The spotlight of the Great Recession has been properly on the nearly 10 percent of workers who are unemployed. But there has been far less said about the collateral damage on the 90 percent who “still have a job” but are looking at the empty seats. Fearfully. Gratefully.

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A Perfect Storm of Idiocy
How did America surrender its political discourse—not to mention the news cycle—to the most unreasonable and unstable elements of the far right? READ THE WHOLE ITEM By Joe Conason

How did America surrender its political discourse—not to mention the news cycle—to the most unreasonable and unstable elements of the far right?

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Cenk Uygur: The Problem with Obama’s Speech

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2009 4:45 am by HL

Cenk Uygur: The Problem with Obama’s Speech
That was a great speech, as usual. It left people energized. It sounded like he’s going to take the fight to the other guys. Obama…

Michealene Cristini Risley: “Forget Kick the Can…let’s kick politicians out of Washington”
We use to play “kick the can” back in Clawson, Michigan, a small rural town north of Detroit. Of course, when someone kicked the proverbial…

John Milewski: The Healthcare Debate: Expecting of Ourselves, What We Demand From Our Children
This past weekend, like many others in recent years, I spent the majority of my time watching my son’s baseball team compete in their latest…


Conservative media now claim Obama’s plans to indoctrinate children were “thwarted”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Conservative media now claim Obama’s plans to indoctrinate children were “thwarted”

Responding to President Obama’s September 8 back-to-school address, the text of which was posted online on September 7, several conservative media figures have echoed Florida Republican Party chairman Jim Greer’s assertion that Obama altered his speech after “the White House got their hand in the cookie jar caught.” Numerous media conservatives, as well as Greer, had previously made the baseless charge that Obama would use the speech to push an ideological agenda or indoctrinate children.

Greer: “Now that the White House got their hand in the cookie jar caught, they changed everything.”

From the September 7 edition of CNN’s The Situation Room:

SUZANNE MALVEAUX (guest host): You’ve had a chance to see the president’s text here. Have you changed your mind?

GREER: Well, I haven’t changed my mind that I was very concerned as a parent last week when the White House was writing lesson plans and telling teachers what they should say to students before the president’s speech and what they should say afterwards. And then when the White House said they weren’t going to release the text, that concerned me. But now today, that they have released the text, and I’ve read it. It’s an — it’s an upbeat speech, but is it the one the president was always going to give? You know, the White House —

MALVEAUX: You —

GREER: — should not have been involved in writing lesson plans.

MALVEAUX: So you suspect that this isn’t really the speech that he was going to give?

GREER: No, because clearly last week there was a plan with the Department of Education. When you ask students to write a letter to the president on how we can help you with your new ideas, Mr. President, that is leading the students in an effort to push the president’s agenda.

Now that the White House got their hand in the cookie jar caught, they changed everything. They re-did the lesson plans. They released the text. And tomorrow he’s going to give a speech that every president should have an opportunity to give. This was never about the president speaking to children about the importance of education. It was about the White House writing lesson plans.

MALVEAUX: They did change the lesson plan. But — but you have no information that the White House actually changed the text of the speech. You don’t have any inside knowledge of that?

GREER: No, I don’t. But I would anticipate, based on this president being so vocal and so aggressive about his vision of America, where government is in every aspect of our lives, I believe that the speech that he was going to give, based on the lesson plans, is different.

Previously, Greer had baselessly asserted that Obama would use speech to “indoctrinate” children. In a September 1 press release, Greer baselessly claimed students “will be forced to watch the president justify” a policy agenda and that Obama would “turn[] to American’s children to spread his liberal lies, indoctrinating American’s youngest children before they have a chance to decide for themselves.” PolitiFact.com concluded Greer’s claim that Obama would discuss a policy agenda was “Pants on Fire” false, noting that “the [Florida Republican] party could not offer any support for the statement.”

Conservative media figures accused Obama of planning to “indoctrinate” kids with speech. Echoing Greer’s September 1 press release, numerous conservative media figures similarly accused Obama, without evidence, of “indoctrinating” children by delivering the back-to-school speech.

Conservative media assert Obama was forced to change speech after uproar

Goler: “[S]ome skeptics say” Obama would have discussed politics in speech if they hadn’t “wav[ed] the red flag.” Fox News White House correspondent Wendell Goler uncritically reported that “[f]ormer first lady Laura Bush says kids should see the speech. But some skeptics say the president might have included politics in the speech if it hadn’t been for them waving the red flag last week.” [Fox Report with Shepard Smith, 9/8/09]

Rove: “I would suspect, a dime to a dollar bet you, that they altered that speech.” Fox News contributor Karl Rove stated: “I would suspect, a dime to a dollar bet you, that they altered that speech. And they certainly altered the study guides. But the purpose was partly good, partly political. It’s now been turned a lot more good, less political.” [Fox News’ Happening Now, 9/8/09]

Limbaugh: Personal responsibility was “not the original intent of the speech.” Nationally syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh asserted: “The theme of his speech, which was not the original intent of the speech, by the way — the original intent of the speech was a, you know, a ‘dear leader’ kind of thing, right out of the pages of that potbelly dictator in North Korea, Kim Jong Il. That’s what it was gonna be.” [Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/8/09]

Janet Porter: “America demanded a rewrite”; Obama’s plans to recruit “Obama Youth” have “been thwarted.” In a WorldNetDaily commentary, Janet Porter wrote: “America demanded a rewrite of Obama’s speech he is to give to our children today. The indoctrination of the captive audience in public schools was going to be subjected to helping President Obama secure his radical agenda of government take over of health care — but instead of recruiting ‘Obama Youth,’ with written pledges, that agenda has been thwarted for another more opportune time — like when people aren’t watching as closely.” [WorldNetDaily, 9/8/09]

White House said speech was not altered

White House spokesmen stated that the speech was not changed as a result of conservative complaints. CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported, “White House spokesman Bill Burton says President Obama’s speech to school children was not altered as a result of the controversy over the remarks – that it is the same speech that was originally to be delivered to students before critics began accusing the President of trying to indoctrinate the nation’s children.” Malveaux also reported that “Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says the speech was ‘largely written (over) the past week or two.’ ” [CNN.com’s Political Ticker, 9/8/09]

Transcripts

From the September 8 edition of Fox News’ Fox Report with Shepard Smith:

TRACE GALLAGHER (guest host): Wendell, what is the White House saying about the schools that decided not to show the speech?

GOLER: Well, obviously they’re disappointed, but they won’t admit it. In fact, the president’s press secretary yesterday compared the fight over the whole thing to the — the controversy over the whole thing to the Animal House food fight. Education Secretary Duncan points out that the speech, both the video and the text, are on the White House website right now for parents who want to watch it with their kids. Former first lady Laura Bush says kids should see the speech. But some skeptics say the president might have included politics in the speech if it hadn’t been for them waving the red flag last week, Trace.

From the September 8 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now:

JON SCOTT (host): We know that the Education Department sort of scrubbed or altered some of the lesson plans that were to go along with this speech. Here’s my question. The White House took the extraordinary step of releasing the text of the president’s speech 24 hours in advance. That doesn’t usually happen. Do you think that the speech itself was altered?

ROVE: Oh, I bet it was. I mean, look, the White House was tone deaf. They clearly had a purpose here, which was, let’s have the president speak to every student in the country, let’s have a study guide, let’s have them write the president and the president can write them back. In fact, they still have that in there. The president’s — the students are now being encouraged to write the president about, sort of, their life experiences, so the White House can then, you know, using the Department of Education budget, send out God knows how many, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of letters to students, signed by the president, saying thank you for writing me.

This clearly has a political import; it’s clearly using the government’s budget in a way to advance the president personally. It’s the kind of thing that makes us — that makes all Americans uneasy about what the White House is doing. But they clearly, I would suspect, a dime to a dollar bet you, that they altered that speech. And they certainly altered the study guides. But the purpose was partly good, partly political. It’s now been turned a lot more good, less political, but there still is a political utility to this, which is have them write the president and then, using the Department of Education budget, have the president write them back.


Tea Party Group: Obama Is Both Goebbels And Mengele

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Tea Party Group: Obama Is Both Goebbels And Mengele
So as you may have heard, the Tea Partiers are set to get back in the news next weekend with a big “March on Washington” to protest health-care reform, the bailout, climate-change legislation, and all those other intolerable encroachments on…

Boehner To Rangel: Step Down Till Ethics Probe Is Complete
Things aren’t looking good for Rep. Charlie Rangel. Last week, we learned that the embattled New York congressman had failed to disclose $600,000 in assets, as well as tens of thousands of dollars in income, on his 2007 financial disclosure…





Iglesias Responds: Weh “May Not Even Be Literate”
We told you yesterday about Allen Weh’s hilarious claim that, in working to get David Iglesias fired as U.S. attorney because he wasn’t prioritizing bogus voter fraud cases that would help Republicans, Weh, then the state GOP chair, was actually…


Little Piggies

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Little Piggies


Obama’s Speech Moved Swing Voters

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Obama’s Speech Moved Swing Voters
Democracy Corps did dial testing and focus groups with 50 independent and weak partisan voters watching President Obama’s speech last night and found “these swing voters reacted strongly to Obama’s message.”

Key findings: “Support for Obama’s plan jumped 20 points, from 46% before the speech to 66% after. Importantly, Obama also achieved one of his principal goals of boosting the intensity of support. Prior to the speech, just 2% of these swing voters supported the plan strongly while 26% opposed it strongly; by the end of the evening those numbers were virtually reversed, with 28% supporting the plan strongly against just 8% strongly opposed.”


Push for Peripheral Canal in California Ignites Grassroots Uprising

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Push for Peripheral Canal in California Ignites Grassroots Uprising

A grassroots uprising has ignited to stop a mad rush to build a peripheral canal without regard for many Northern California and Delta constituents.

Wall Street Is Gambling on How Soon Old People Will Die

It sounds too gruesome to be true, but the bankers have already shaken the silver out of everything that had value in America — except for the elderly.

This Was the Obama We’ve Been Waiting for

At a joint session of Congress that rang like town halls, Obama comes out swinging for progressive ideals; yet his stance on the public option still is unclear.

Chomsky: What America’s ‘Crisis’ Means to the Rest of the World

The way we perceive "crises" here in the U.S. is a profound symbol of how we don't understand them internationally.


As Obama Delivered, the Justices Delivered a Laugh a Minute

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

As Obama Delivered, the Justices Delivered a Laugh a Minute
As I listened today – and as you can right now –to Supreme Court justices questioning the proponents and opponents of a suit to overturn campaign-finance regulations on the grounds that the current McCain-Feingold law and previous court rulings violate…


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Obama’s Speech To Students: A Great Opportunity To Turn On The Brain
As I read Andrea’s post yesterday, I was struck by the timing. Just hours before, President Obama delivered a speech to students in which he exhorted them to ask questions, get help, work hard, and most of all, find…


Sponsored Topics: Barack ObamaUnited StatesHistoryPresidentsSpeech Technology

The Death Of Why?
Hope you all enjoyed the holiday – we’re ready to get back to business! This week at Cafe, Andrea Batista Schlesinger joins us for a discussion of her book The Death Of Why? The Decline Of Questioning And The Future…






Sponsored Topics: Andrea Batista SchlesingerUnited StatesMichael BloombergSociety and CulturePolitics


Congressman Joe Wilson is an example of something… I just don’t know what

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Congressman Joe Wilson is an example of something… I just don’t know what

Tonight, President Barack Obama, in front of a joint session of Congress, spoke with conviction on healthcare. He beat down the lies and pledged his support to Medicare and seniors. He told his progressive colleagues that the public option is a means to an ends. It is the ends that we want.

Watch the video:

Before I go on, I must address Congressman Joe Wilson. What a dork. In public, there is some behavior that is simply unacceptable. If you’re a meeting with colleagues and you suddenly drop your trousers, that is unacceptable. If you’re in one of those nice hotel meeting rooms with some perspective clients and suddenly spit on the floor, that is unacceptable. Shouting in a joint session of Congress, “You lie!” Is unacceptable. There no two ways around it. After his jaw-dropping comment, after the president’s speech was complete, the South Carolina representative released a statement which stated in part, “While I disagree with the president’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable.” Accidentally knocking over a glass of cold water which spills in your wife’s lap is regrettable. Shouting at the president as an elected official of United States Congress is totally unacceptable for Republicans or Democrats. Since it seems that no Republicans ever resign (almost never) from anything these days, I’ve donated money to Rob Miller who is challenging him in 2010.

Now, as we sat back and analyze the president’s words, we must remember that Republicans never rest. This fight is not over. Republicans, the health-insurance industry and the pharmaceutical companies are reloading. We have to be ready for their counterpunch because it is coming. Even if we pass effective healthcare reform, this fight isn’t over. There are still Republicans who are trying to kill Medicare and Social Security. We cannot become complacent because the president has just laid out his case and given a great speech. We must continue to organize. We must continue to write and call our Congressman. (No matter whether your Congressman is for or against healthcare reform he or she has to know where you stand.) This is the legislative fight of our generation. Healthcare will help level the playing field and give a huge boost to small business. We must win this fight.


GOP Lawmakers Treat President Obama?s Joint Address To Congress Like A Town Hall Protest

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

GOP Lawmakers Treat President Obama?s Joint Address To Congress Like A Town Hall Protest
Tonight during his joint address to Congress, President Obama attempted to set the record straight on some of the “key controversies” surrounding the health care debate. While it’s normal for members of the opposition party to occasionally not clap at statements with which they disagree, congressional Republicans went further tonight, being outright rude at times. At […]

Tonight during his joint address to Congress, President Obama attempted to set the record straight on some of the “key controversies” surrounding the health care debate. While it’s normal for members of the opposition party to occasionally not clap at statements with which they disagree, congressional Republicans went further tonight, being outright rude at times.

At one point, President Obama addressed the myth that his health care proposals would insure undocumented immigrants: “This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”

In response, Republicans not only began booing him, but Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted out, “LIE!” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) shot an angry look in his direction, and Vice President Biden shook his head. The rudeness shocked even veteran political observers such as NBC’s Chuck Todd, who wrote on Twitter, “Wow. What’s next a duel?” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough also wrote, “Whoever shouted out that the president was lying is a dumbass who should show the President respect.” On MSNBC after the speech, Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman said, “The Republicans were mostly stage props in this speech tonight and they behaved like it.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) could also be seen wearing a homemade sign — similar to the ones seen at town hall protests — around his neck, which read, “What bill?” Watch it:

Various Republican lawmakers were also holding up draft GOP bills during the speech:

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Transcript:

Still, given all the misinformation that’s been spread over the past few months, I realize that many Americans have grown nervous about reform. So tonight I’d like to address some of the key controversies that are still out there.

Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up – under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.

My health care proposal has also been attacked by some who oppose reform as a “government takeover” of the entire health care system. As proof, critics point to a provision in our plan that allows the uninsured and small businesses to choose a publicly-sponsored insurance option, administered by the government just like Medicaid or Medicare.