Friday, September 18, 2009

Well Deserved SMACK DOWN!

I was recently a tad heated with a friend of mine who engaged me in a discussion about something on Fox news.

In case you don't know, I don't believe in Fox news.

At all.

Pelosi Power

I'll have more to say on this later, but for now, check this segment from Rachel's show.

It's centered around Speaker Pelosi's admonition to everyone to be more responsible with the tone of political criticism. It was refreshing and amazing to see her take such an unequivocal stance. It was even more amazing (but decidedly not refreshing) to see her counterparts respond:

Beautifully Imperfect

Missing from much of the discourse today is humanity. Hearing real stories of real people would remind us all that none of us is the uncomplicated, oversimplified persona we are often portrayed as being. This video reminds me of that.

FLOTUS on #HC09 (Updated)

Michelle Obama has always been called Barack's secret weapon. Today, again, she shows us why.

She spoke to leaders of women's groups this morning to give a "soft pitch" on health care.

Soft it wasn't.

It was moving and beautiful and honest, strong and very clear. Because of those things, it sliced through the noisy rhetoric and undoubtedly hit home for many people. I hope it gets a lot of circulation, because she makes the arguments in a way that just can't be shouted down, or even protested with any credibility.

I missed the ladies she referenced at the beginning - the ones who told their stories. But if I find a link with them, I'll update this post.

Updated. Here's a link to the whole event. It's 49 minutes.

If you just want to watch Michelle's remarks, you can do so below. Enjoy!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

ACORN update 2 - ACORN strikes back

ACORN strikes back.

Good for them! While I'm no fan of corruption, I really don't like the constant negative press ACORN gets. Sure there are some bad apples in the bunch. But when is that *not* the case? At any rate, they've released materials to show that not every field office has unqualified employees. The news has been slanted only in the anti-ACORN direction, but I'm glad to see they are making their voice heard and defending themselves.

Washington, DC - ACORN Housing today released a video of one of its staff giving her side of what happened when 'filmmaker' James O'Keefe visited the Philadelphia office. Ms. Katherine Conway Russell was approached by O'Keefe and when she realized he was not asking about a valid housing issue, she asked him to leave and called the police. "Last July James O'Keefe who has been in the news lately with videos from other ACORN offices came into our office," said Russell, "Unlike the videos he has been showing on the internet, we refused to help him and called the police and filed a report."

Read more at here.

ACORN update

see? my friend needn't have worried. the ACORN scandal has gotten plenty of coverage, and already, both the Senate and the House have voted to cut funding for the group.

Insurance Companies Discriminate Against Women

There's been some nice reporting on the health insurance industry's discrimination against women. Most recently, we found out that women who are victims of spousal abuse are deemed to have a pre-existing condition (WTF?). This "condition" subsequently makes them more expensive to insure.

Now we find out that women who have had C-sections are also considered to have pre-existing conditions.

On a related note, it's important to know that many insurance plans consider maternity care optional, and some that do cover it have a mandatory waiting period before maternity benefits kick-in. Lesson: check before you get preggers!

You'll be relieved to know that maternity care is part of the essential benefits package (EBP) mandated in the house version of the healthcare reform bill. The EBP is a set of minimum benefits all insurance plans must offer. Also in the house version - an end to discriminatory insurance practices. It doesn't matter what "conditions" you've had or still have, if you want coverage, you get it.

Read more about insurance discrimination against women here.

Van Jones Speaks

Van Jones, formerly known as the Green Jobs Czar of the Obama Administration, has spoken out. In an email he wrote in part:

My family and I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support that we have received over the past week or so. I resigned from the White House on Sept. 6, and I have remained silent since then--in keeping with my promise not to be a distraction during a key moment in the Obama Presidency.

He goes on to say there are several things people can do, but chief among them was to continue to support the President.

For those requiring a little background, Van Jones helped found ColorOfChange.Org, an organization currently best known for lobbying against FOX's Glenn Beck. Weeks ago, Glenn Beck accused President Obama of being racist. In response to that allegation, ColorOfChange.Org began to target advertisers who bought airtime on Beck's show, making them aware of his claims. As a result, several companies pulled their commercials from Beck's show.
  • Watch Stephen Colbert on the exodus here.
  • Read about it from the A.P. here.
Shortly after said exodus, Glenn began attacking Van Jones on air, sometimes resorting to lies about his background to make him into a scary black man (shock and gasp).

Regardless of how you feel about him, it's worth noting that Jones hasn't been associated with ColorOfChange in two years. It's reasonable to believe he had no role in the organization's decision to go after Beck. Likewise, there's no way to prove that Beck went after Jones as payback, but if it walks like a duck...

At any rate, tit for tat is pretty disgusting, and I don't think Jones should've lost his job. {And I will lose all credibility for stating that no one wants to see a smart, fine brother out of a job. But well...there's that duck thing again}.

Fans of Jones think Green Czar was a nice job, but not the best one for him, a well-known green activist. They believe he is better positioned outside the White House. I'm not sure Jones agrees, but read Arianna Huffington's post about it here.

No matter where you stand, Van still supports POTUS, and asks us to do the same.

Read more here.

POTUS tunes #HCR message for students

Today POTUS delivered speech on health care reform. He's spoken to Congress and now he's in campaign mode, taking the show on the road. This time his audience was a full house of excited college students. It streamed live on Facebook during lunch time.

Here's a link from C-Span.

McCain is Mad, But Who Cares?

Tweet from White House correspondent Mark Knoller:

Sen. John McCain disappointed by Obama missile decision. McCain says it could undermine perceived American leadership in Eastern Europe.

Am I the only one who really doesn't care what the 2nd place candidate in the recent presidential election thinks? I voted for Obama and one of my top reasons was I perceived him a diplomat. I perceived McCain a hot head with a penchant for gimmicks and rash decision-making. Anyway, George Stephanopoulos shares McCain's whole statement here.

While I'm holding out to see how POTUS will really handle the "wars" in Afghanistan and Iraq, I'm glad we're making more moves that will strengthen our diplomatic relations around the world.

Not sure what this is all about? Read about it here. Note, POTUS is not getting rid of the missile defense system (which I'd like), he is merely scrapping it in its present form. But still, some take this is a good step in the diplomatic direction.

POTUS Polling

I'm not one of those poll hawks - every single day wondering if Obama is up or down on various issues. I think you should consider these things over time rather than all the time. That said, I'll share the latest Gallup poll sans analysis. I'll let you decide what you think for yourself.
PRINCETON, NJ -- Of the seven specific issue approval ratings measured in a Sept. 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll, President Obama gets his highest rating (56%) on his handling of Iraq, and his lowest (38%) on the federal deficit. Obama's approval ratings on handling the economy and healthcare, at 46% and 43%, respectively, are little changed over the past two months.

Wise Latina Provokes

I'd heard some rumblings about a court case regarding corporations as humans, but didn't really know what was up. In brief, it seems past rulings gave corporations the same rights and protections as people even though (as some argued), they don't get treated the same way for mistakes they make. Stephen Colbert tackled this earlier this week.

Last week, new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor challenged this assertion. Indeed, she argued:
...the court should reconsider the 19th century rulings that first afforded corporations the same rights flesh-and-blood people have.
Read: Sotomayor Issues Challenge to a Century of Corporate Law

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rachel Recap - Frank Schaeffer

Tonight Rachel (The Rachel Maddow Show) talked about a poll that found 35% of New Jersey conservatives think President Obama is the anti-christ. More info on that poll here.

Frank Schaeffer, son of a hugely popular fundamentalist Christian, came on to discuss what he called the Evangelical subculture that is rotting the brains of many Americans (wow!). He gave an interview a few months ago on NPR's Fresh Air. It's about 44 minutes and you can find the audio here.

He also wrote an article on the Huffington Post dated 9/12 - the day of the now infamous 9/12 march sponsored by Glenn Beck. Check it out here.

ACORN, Health Care, and Orly Taitz

i started off the morning with an extremely interesting debate with a friend. he was wondering about, or more to the point, accusing the mainstream media (MSM) of refusing to cover the latest ACORN scandal. my response? there was more important news yesterday. his response? the liberal media had an agenda to keep ACORN quiet.

while i agree that liberal, conservative, and so-called neutral media outlets all have an agenda (they are almost all financed by corporate america), i do not agree there was a conspiratorial agenda to keep ACORN out of the news. i assured him it would receive more coverage, probably today, and sent him to several links (CBS, NPR, and the White House daily briefing) to show the evolving coverage just since yesterday.

here's the NYT coverage of the ACORN scandal, and here's jon stewart last night.

as the day went on, my twitterfeed didn't didn't reveal an abundance of news to share, but here are a few stories that may be of interest:
  • a doctor shares an argument on why the single payer option should be considered for healthcare reform. Read it here.
for those who don't understand single payer, this is quite simply, Medicare for All. it eliminates private insurers for health care and has the government paying all bills. on this plan, you could choose any doctor you wanted, because all doctors would be "in network." after all, there would be only one network - Medicare. no insurance company could ever drop you and you would never max out on benefits.

there are lots of reasons this is a good plan, but it is not really under discussion. it doesn't appear in any of the bills under review in the house or senate. all arguments about a government take over of healthcare are false, since no one is proposing any legislation with single payer in it. still, lots of doctors and some congress people are fighting for it anyway and this post is a good example of that voice. by the way, Anthony Weiner, congressman from NY, is a big advocate for single payer. see my post with several videos of him here.

for more on healthcare reform basics, see my 101 list. i do need to update it, but that'll get you started if you're a complete newbie.
  • max baucus finally releases his version of the Gang of Six health care bill (this is a committee of 6 senators (3 Dems/3 Repubs) who worked on the bill). supposedly it tracks with the POTUS principles for reform, but apparently no one, Dem or Reb actually likes the bill. no one, that is, but max. analysis here. short video on why his bill is a bad one here. this video features Wendell Potter, former executive of insurance giant Cigna, and whistleblower extraordinaire!
  • just for fun, a song/video about the U.S. being ranked #37 in the world in health care.
  • lastly, queen of the birthers, orly taitz (skewered on the daily show), gets slammed by a judge who dismisses her latest complaint as frivolous. for those unclear about birthers, they are people who believe Barack Obama is not the rightful POTUS b/c he was supposedly not born in the U.S. many things that make claim ludicrous, but i won't discuss them now. the taitz article, on Talking Points Memo, is here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday Recap 9/15

by request of my line sisters, here's a recap of favorite links/posts from today.

firstly, always a treat - newark mayor cory booker was on colbert report last night. {VIDEO here}

Uninsured Like Me is an article from Interesting quote:
From the beginning, attempts to create a universal welfare state in the U.S. have been thwarted by the fears of voters that they will be taxed to subsidize other Americans who are unlike them in race or ethnicity or culture. Read more...
we've talked quite a bit caster semenya, an athlete who has undergone lots of scrutiny for possibly being intersex. someone from twitter shared this piece about it. money quote: "only she can decide her gender – nobody else can." personal clarification - it's true, gender is socially constructed. sex, on the other hand, is biological.

the house passed a resolution to disapprove of joe wilson's behavior during POTUS speech. read more about it here.

jimmy carter discussed the racist tone around Obama's presidency and how it was an abominable circumstance. check out what he said here.

if you wanted to hear POTUS off the record, here it is. i saw this all day on the twitterfeed but never listened or shared it until now.

Keith Olbermann was really funny tonight. Rachel, good as always. To watch, you can download today's podcasts from itunes or visit the click on the individual shows and you can choose clips by date.

thanks for reading!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kanye & Patrick - Nightly Recap

i don't agree with lumping serena's outburst with kanye's and joe's. to be clear, i don't CONDONE her behavior, but it's not unreasonable or unusual for athletes to shout and scream and curse about a call. relevant example: McEnroe, John. there are also plenty of baseball examples of folks getting thrown out of games, etc.

again, i'm not saying this behavior is correct, (certainly not the threats) but it is not out of the ordinary. shouting out during a joint address to congress is not on the continuum of reasonable behavior, nor is snatching the mic from someone accepting an award. hilarious mashup of kanye interrupting POTUS here.

RIP patrick swayze who died today from pancreatic cancer.

a report was released today that doctors prefer the public option.

obama gave a great policy speech on the financial markets today. he said he didn't run for president to bail out banks. and that regulation is necessary to ensure all the players play fair in the future. curbing reckless behavior will ensure the markets work the way they should without endangering the whole economy due to greed. (speech is about 30 min).

cory booker is on the colbert report tonight and both stephen and jon stewart return tonight from vacay (yes!).

DON'T MISS an open letter to an anonymous woman: The African Lion and the Lyin' African.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stunning post

A beautifully written post about the current political climate, especially through the lens of 9/11.
Once upon a time, there was a President named Bill Clinton, who was, by most historical standards, a typical Centrist Republican, although by a fluke of geography and circumstances he ran for public office with a "(D)" after his name.