Foreclosures hit a record in third quarter 2009. President Obama took measures to contain the crisis. It is now many months later, and one can start asking how successful these measures have been. [more inside]
"America's Toughest Sheriff", Joe Arpaio, has been stripped of his federal authority to make immigration arrests. (Previously)
Ralph Nader appraises Obama's first 9 months as president (guess how he feels). Warning: video starts automatically (with bizarre illustrative clips occasionally thrown in). [more inside]
While Obama strongly reaffirms his promises to the GLBT community, not everyone is convinced. [more inside]
Barack Obama wins Nobel Prize for Peace 2009. Isn't this kind of... soon?
January: Newly sworn-in President Obama says, "We need greater investment in... essential systems like the C-17 cargo... aircraft, which provide the backbone of our ability to extend global power." April: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says, "Our analysis concludes that we have enough C-17s, with the 205 already in the force and currently in production." May: The Office of Management and Budget proposes the termination of the C-17 program with a savings of $17 billion. July: The 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill includes funding for the program. September 29: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) proposes an amendment to strip that funding - "You can't walk through these hallways without bumping into a lobbyist from Boeing." September 30: By a vote of 64 to 34, the Senate defeats the amendment.
John L. Perry worked in the Johnson and Carter administrations. He posts once a week at a blog called Right Angles. Perry's latest column suggested that a "civilized" military coup to "resolve the Obama problem" should not be dismissed as "unrealistic". Another person who thinks a military dictatorship may be in America's future? Gore Vidal.
"The Obama Haters" is a horribly inaccurate title. The article itself is a 25-years-later review of Richard Hofstadter's 1964 essay The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Reading this essay (and the Slate article today) gives rise to thought on what led to the McCarthyism that Hofstadter wrote in reaction to, and what might lie in our very near future....regarding the Obama haters.
Eric Holder releases newly revamped state secrets policy. In the face of a storm of recent criticisms from political commentators that President Obama's policies on state secrets privileges represent a continuation of the Bush administration's policies, the Obama administration has maintained all along that these policies were undergoing comprehensive Justice Department review, with the intent of releasing a new set of comprehensive rules governing the invocation and abuse of state secrets. Today, the Obama administration spelled out its new state secrets policy. [more inside]
Are Peace Negotiations hosted by Russia and France in the cards? Today, President Obama is meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu and the Palestian Authority's Abbas and then hosting a three-way meeting with both leaders. Officially all parties claim they have "low expectations." [more inside]
"The key to the internet's success has been its openness. But the FCC needs your help. That is why we have created openinternet.gov [beta]. I hope you'll take advantage of this opportunity to share your ideas on (net neutrality)." FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Monday outlined his plan for requiring Internet service providers to keep their networks open to legal content and external devices. Some are enthused. The large telecommunications companies who could profit, are not.
Lifestyles of the White & Suggestible opens and closes with a Conservative of Color. The singer heard (but not seen) in the background is Lloyd Marcus, who provides the American Tea Party Anthem. Obama doesn't think it's about racism. Neither does Republican Chairman Michael Steele. An introduction to the beliefs of Conservatives of Color: Emancipation Revelation Revolution
Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus has released the "chairman's mark" (his draft) of health-care legislation, America's Healthy Future Act. [more inside]
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]