Get This Rat a Lawyer! A recent target of right wing anger has been Obama administration "czars", a term used to denote appointed presidential advisers not subject to Senate approval. Opponents of "czars" were recently emboldened by the resignation of Anthony "Van" Jones, who served from March 16 to September 5, 2009 as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. An additional target of the hunt for Obama's czars is Cass Sunstein, a constitutional-law professor at Harvard University, who was confirmed Thursday as the director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. [more inside]
Representative Joe Wilson, R-SC, shouted "You lie" during President Obama's health care speech to Congress. While it is quite 'common' to heckle the Prime Minister in the British House of Commons (yt), heckling a sitting President of the United States during a speech to Congress is simply Not Done. Until tonight (yt).
How Charlie Sheen spent his 20 minutes with Barack Obama
"Employer Requirement in Baucus Health Package Would Have Unintended Effect of Discouraging Hiring of Low-Income and Minority Workers." Robert Reich channels his inner Don Draper to sell the public option, while Josh Marshall wonders if the current plans are even a good idea. Rep. Raul Grijalva claims that progressives in the house arn't Prepared to Surrender on the public option, and Obama's Speech before congress is tomorrow. [more inside]
Next Tuesday, Sept. 8, speaking at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va. President Obama will address the youth of America during a live television broadcast urging them to stay in school. Some school districts, bowing to parent pressure, have decided not to show the speech during school. [more inside]
People are starting to get a little worn out on Healthcare coverage, or at least, a little worn out on the way it's been covered. Thank god our own grrarrgh00 isn't listening. Because someone has to spread the truth about Obama's nazi socialist communist granny killing satanist witchcraft healthcare reform.
The Circumcision v. HIV debate rages on. [previously and previously-er and previously-er still] The debate has been rekindled due to new findings. It is expected to be one of the main topics during the CDC's National HIV Prevention Conference this week, as the CDC is considering endorsing routine circumcision. The American Academy of Pediatrics is also considering revising their circumcision policy, thus making it covered under Medicaid. Naturally, there is a lot of criticism of the evidence. In related news, it appears that there is a modicum of the so-called 'Birthers' who believe Obama's citizenship can be proven by his penis.
Big Newsfilter: US Attorney General Holder appoints a prosecutor to investigate abusive CIA interrogations in the War on Terror. [more inside]
This weekend the Obama family arrives on the Massachusetts' island of Martha's Vineyard for a week-long vacation. While known as a summer colony/destination for New Englanders, tourists and the famous1 the island has a storied history from its early pre-colonial days to today. The Obamas' visit highlights the island's proud connection to its deep African-American heritage as a "well integrated" community (especially Oaks Bluff)2 from the days that freed slaves and retired black whalers settled and established homes and businesses on the island. [more inside]
Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table - I have no interest in doing it! Congressman Barney Frank confronts a woman at a town hall meeting who compared Obama to Hitler.
A conservative blogger talks about what the Republicans are really (should really be) mad about - Bush's terrible economic and fiscal legacy.
The history of needle exchanges in the United States starts in 1986 with Jon Parker, a dyslexic Yale medical student and former IDU (intravenous drug user), who was arrested time and time again for providing sterile needles and supplies to drug users, to prevent infection and spread of disease. David Purchase started the first organized (and illegal) needle exchange in Tacoma Washington in 1988, which still exists 21 years later. [more inside]
The Obama administration signaled today it is ready to entirely abandon the public option, i.e. giving Americans the choice of government-run health insurance (AP, Daily Kos, Politico, Hill). Further, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius indicated that end-of-life counseling was "probably off the table", presumably due to Republican "death panel" commentary.
First seen on the web this week, posters have sprung up in LA and Atlanta. Interesting discussions on the Washington Post.com site. Lots of different ideas about the posters and their meaning. Tampa Bay Times takes up the debate.
All at once, they practically screamed, “We’ve got ten minutes with the President on Monday…do you wanna do the shoot?!!”. Don’t let anyone tell ya photographing the President ain’t all it’s cracked up to be! [more inside]
Kenyan Birth Certificate Generator (Birther approved!)
The White House receives over 60,000 letters to the President every day. A new video from the White House briefly shows the process of selecting the ten of them that the President reads, three or four of which he writes responses to, every day.
The Making of an Iran Policy: Inside the Obama administration’s struggle with its biggest diplomatic challenge.
On August 12, President Obama will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the nation's highest civilian honor -- to the late gay-rights pioneer Harvey Milk. Lesbian tennis star Billy Jean King and Teddy Kennedy will also be honored that day. Previous recipients include Martin Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi, Colin Powell (twice), Muhammad Ali, Mother Theresa, Elie Wiesel, Vint Cerf, George Tenet (Bush fail), Irving Kristol (WTF?) Dick Cheney, Walter Cronkite, Julia Child, and Lucille Ball. Now about that DOMA thing...
Is Barack Obama An American Citizen? "...because Obama’s claim to American citizenship is only supported by evidence and logic, he must not be an American citizen."
With the vote on Health Care Reform pushed back to september, Ad campaigns are revving up, both for and against. The DNC has given the 13 million e-mails Obama collected during his campaign to Organizing For America. And our old friends Harry and Louise are back. [more inside]
According to the Pulitzer Prize winning Politifact.com, change has stalled. Obama has kept 2 of his top 25 campaign promises so far. But he hasn't closed Guantanamo, restored habeus corpus for "enemy combatatnts", attempted to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, attempted to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, or cracked down on lobbyists. With promises on healthcare in the works, Obama seems to be at a crucial point in his first term.
Obama's Faithful Flock. Sarah Posner reminds us that Obama promised to reverse the most egregious aspects of Bush's faith-based policies and asks why he's extending them.
'Silent partner' examines what happens when people 'don't tell' "We can really see the destructive effects of 'don't ask, don't tell' . . . when you see the pain that these spouses and partners go through". Lt. Dan Choi introduces a new documentary film about three gay partners of military personnel. [more inside]
How to win in Afghanistan? Peter Bergen looks at the capability of the Taliban insurgents, NATO troops, and the Afghan army and police, compares the current conflict to the Soviet invasion, and weighs the dangers of civilian casualties and popular support. He concludes that renewed American effort in the fight will "produce a relatively stable and prosperous Central Asian state." (via Matthew Yglesias)
Rebuilding Something Better by Barack Obama: "this week, I'll be talking about how we give our workers the skills they need to compete... Part of this goal will be met by helping Americans better afford a college education. But part of it will also be strengthening our network of community colleges..." [more inside]
Newsweek has "four knowledgable sources" who claim attorney general Eric Holder is considering appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Bush administration interrogation practices. (h/t Glenn Greenwald).
Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus want to change the way countries think about global warming. Instead of treating carbon as a pollutant, and legislating our way out of a climate crisis, they suggest a "challenge" approach to the problem—igniting a creative fire under companies and even the federal government to create new and cheaper solutions instead of more loophole-filled legislation. [more inside]
He's Barack Obama, to a Jack Black-ian rock version of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." [more inside]
Bill Maher's criticism of Obama? Be more like Bush. ...And just like Lindsey [Lohan], we see your name in the paper a lot, but we're kind of wondering when you're actually going to do something. Follow up of his statements with Keith Olbermann. ...But where's the beef? And it's easy to make speeches; what's hard to do is stand up against corporations. Corporations and their incredible strength are what have ruined this country so far, and this president -- we thought -- might be the one to stand up to them. I'm losing hope. I still have audacity, but my hope is fading.
Obama's ninja-like fly swat has been objected to, rejected, genuflected, relatively neglected and hopefully disinfected.
US unveils banking reform plans. But will the proposed measures adequately address the causes of the current crisis? [more inside]
Tomorrow, Obama will extend federal employee benefits to same-sex partners. But is it too little, too late to mend the growing rift between Obama and gay rights advocates, especially after last week's controversial DOMA brief (discussed previously)?
Dear Mr. President: ... I realized that although I and other LGBT leaders have introduced ourselves to you as policy makers, we clearly have not been heard, and seen, as what we also are: human beings whose lives, loves, and families are equal to yours. I know this because this brief would not have seen the light of day if someone in your administration who truly recognized our humanity and equality had weighed in with you. [more inside]
The US House of Representatives today passed a Cash-for-Clunkers bill, giving people up to $4,500 to trade in their old cars for newer, more efficient cars. Inspired by European and Chinese successes, the bill is naturally not without its detractors.
"Bring An End To This False Prophet Obama"
Jon Voight speaks at Annual GOP Fund-Raiser [more inside]
Jon Voight speaks at Annual GOP Fund-Raiser [more inside]
I'm Back An analysis of the present macro-economic and political situation. [SLYT] [Adult Language] [NSFCRTs] [Right-wing Smears x2] [PepsiGold Pitch at the end]
Obama speaks in Cairo: "I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world." Text is here. He quoted the Koran and highlighted a subject he avoided during his campaign - his own family's ties to Islam, his youth in Muslim Indonesia and even Chicago's Nation of Islam. An early roundup of US right wing reaction, and US left wing reaction, and the Middle East.
Every once in a while in the busy urban working environment, the boss buys hamburgers for everyone from Five Guys. [more inside]
"There was a time between 4 November and mid-February when I was the only full-time member of the auto task force,” Deese, a special assistant to the president for economic policy, acknowledged recently as he hurried between his desk at the White House and the treasury building next door. “It was a little scary.” [more inside]
The New York Times is reporting that President Obama will nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor as Justice David Souter's replacement on the Supreme Court. Sotomayer, currently a judge in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, will (if confirmed by the Senate) be only the third female and the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog predicted Sotomayer as one of Obama's three most likely candidates back in January.
When President Obama says he's looking for a judge with the "quality of empathy" to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, is it code for a female judge? In the two decades since Bertha Wilson famously asked Will Women Judges Really Make A Difference? (mms), the answer has come back as a resounding yes (studies: 1 (pdf), 2) -- and no (studies: 1 (pdf), 2). But either way, is choosing judges based on supposed gender qualities ever a good idea?
The Obama administration has repeatedly threatened to conceal future information of terrorist threats from the British government, unless the British government disobeys the High Court ruling requiring them to release information about the US government's acknowledged torture program. This may be a breach of the Convention Against Torture. Glenn Greenwald has new evidence. Previously.