Category Archives: current events

President Obama, WTF?

I’m still happy that I can say “President Obama.”

But some things make you say WTF?:

The Obama administration is fighting to block access to names of visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush administration argument that a president doesn’t have to reveal who comes calling to influence policy decisions.

President Obama, this is an easy one. You’re supposed to be all about accountability and transparency. You’re not a dork obsessed with secrecy like President Cheney was.

Give us your White House visitor log.

Photo of the Day

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Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.

Also from Sullivan, an Iranian woman:

Ahmadinejad called the opposition as a bunch of insignificant dirt who try to make the taste of victory bitter to the nation. He also called the western leaders as a bunch of ‘filthy homosexuals’. All these disgusting remarks was today answered by that largest demonstration ever. Older people compared the demonstration of today with the Ashura Demonstration of 1979 which marks the downfall of the Shah regime and even said that it outnumbered that event. The militia burnt a house themselves to find the excuse to commit violence. People neutralized their tactic to a large degree by their solidarity, their wisdom and their denial to enage in any violent act.

If you’re even mildly interested in the happenings in Iran and you haven’t checked out Sullivan, you need to.

His coverage of the situation far surpasses what we’re getting from the MSM.

Biblical Marriage

Betty Bowers, America’s best Christian explains:

Is it clear now?

GOP Discovers Racism

The wingnuts are in a tizzy over racism! They just won’t tolerate racism of any kind because racism is bad.

Tom Tancredo’s former speechwriter and the current Executive of Tancredo’s Team America PAC just plead guilty to a hate crime for uttering the “n” word at an African-American woman while giving said woman a karate chop (?). And despite Tancredo’s years of anti-immigrant hysteria, he just won’t tolerate racism of any kind!

Rush Limbaugh, the guy who told an African American caller to take the bone out of her nose and call him back, just hates the idea that President Obama has nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court because white men like him are part of an oppressed minority.

You don’t think that Sotomayor is a racist? Well, she’s a member of La Raza, an organization that exists to improve opportunites to Latino Americans! What more proof do you need?

Well, the nonracist denizens of Free Republic also think she’s a racist.

Thankfully, Bob Herbert brings some sanity to the discussion:

Here’s the thing. Suddenly these hideously pompous and self-righteous white males of the right are all concerned about racism. They’re so concerned that they’re fully capable of finding it in places where it doesn’t for a moment exist. Not just finding it, but being outraged by it to the point of apoplexy. Oh, they tell us, this racism is a bad thing!

Are we supposed to not notice that these are the tribunes of a party that rose to power on the filthy waves of racial demagoguery. I don’t remember hearing their voices or the voices of their intellectual heroes when the Republican Party, as part of its Southern strategy, aggressively courted the bigots who fled the Democratic Party because the Democrats had become insufficiently hostile to blacks.

It’s nice that they’ve discovered that racism really is an issue in our country, but it would be nice if they attacked actual racism rather than racism invented to score political points and scare the GOP base that sees its influence and relevance waning as the country changes while they refuse to adapt.

Please pass the popcorn. In the upcoming weeks, we’re sure to hear more of this amusing tripe from Limbaugh and his ilkmates.

A Response to Michael Steele

Dear Mr. Steele:

This evening, I was proud to receive an e-mail from you. Who wouldn’t want an e-mail from the RNC Chair?

I hope you’re enjoying your new job; I’m sure it can be challenging at times, but also rewarding.

But I was concerned about some of the points you brought up in your letter, so I’d like for you to clarify some things for me.

You wrote:

Last year the Democrats told voters they would bring “change” to Washington, but their version of change has been to push America to the left farther and faster than I think anyone could have imagined.

Mr. Steele,  Republicans seem to have poor imaginations. Wasn’t it that Condi that said “no one could have imagined that terrorists would crash airplanes into buildings” when the intelligence indicated that Bin Laden planned on doing just that?

Obama did campaign as a centrist. And now he’s moved the country slightly to the left. Very slightly. Do you really think that overly-cautious and incremental change is a push to the left greater than anyone could imagine?

Nah, I don’t think so either.

Last year the Democrats told voters they would bring “change” to Washington, but their version of change has been to push America to the left farther and faster than I think anyone could have imagined.

That is why I believe America needs the Republican Party now more than ever before.

Well, yes, I would agree. We always can use a healthy and functioning opposition party, especially when one party controls the executive and legislative branches. Democrats really do need principled Republicans if they seek to govern effectively and honestly.

Across our nation, some people who were willing to take Barack Obama at his word when he campaigned as a reasonable, moderate candidate are coming to realize the unfortunate truth.

Candidate Obama talked about fiscal responsibility, about government living within its means. But President Obama is spending with reckless abandon and saddling our children and grandchildren with mountains of debt.

Candidate Obama boasted about cutting taxes. But President Obama will have to raise taxes to pay for his massive top-down government explosion.

First, yes, a majority of people voted for Obama. They voted for him because they wanted him to enact his agenda. And as president, he’s acted as a reasonable moderate executive. In what ways has he shown himself to be anything but what he campaigned as?

Second, no, I’m not a fan of TARP, either. But faced with the economic problems Obama inherited, how should he have handled the crisis? I take it you’re against the stimulus, but do you really think that we should decrease government spending during a deep economic crisis?  Should Obama have done nothing?

Third, Obama has put forth the largest tax cut in American history. I’m getting a little bit extra in my check every pay period. I’m a thrilled about those extra $30 every two weeks? Not so much, but the objective reality is that Obama has cut taxes for the vast majority of Americans.

I don’t know if Obama will raise taxes on most Americans or not, and neither do you. But your president Bush oversaw a “massive top-down government explosion” and never bothered to find a way to pay for it. Did you speak out on Bush’s spending habits?

Candidate Obama talked a lot about being bipartisan, but he has yielded his legislative agenda almost entirely to Nancy Pelosi who has repeatedly shut Republicans out of negotiations on important legislation, from economic stimulus to the budget to health care.

Um, no offense Mr. Steele, but how is President Obama supposed to work with people who seek to do nothing but obstruct his agenda? Show me where Republicans have offered ideas on the stimulus or health care? GOP politicians don’t even believe in universal healthcare, for God’s sake!

President Obama and his Congressional allies have shown America their true agenda.They are leftist radicals bent on transforming our constitutional republic into a socialist “utopia” by dismantling the free enterprise system, eroding the rule of law, imperiling our national security, and curtailing our freedom.

Leftist radicals? Where do you guys get this stuff? Who is suggesting that we turn our country into a socialist utopia? And who is trying to dismantle the free enterprise system? Seriously?

And how is the President eroding the rule of law? What laws have been broken? Or are you maybe referring to Obama’s reluctance to prosecute those who ordered torture?

Imperiling national security? Wow, you and Cheney must be tight. Too bad the GOP’s 2008 man-crush, General Petraeaus disagrees with you.

And how in the world is your freedom being curtailed? Did he campaign on taking away guns? No. Does he have plans to take away guns? No. Did he campaign on the Fairness Doctrine? No. Is anyone serious about renewing the Fairness Doctrine. No.

I just brought up those issues, because I know your base tend to obsess on gun control and the Fairness Doctrine, but if you can tell me how President Obama and the Democrats are trying to curtail freedom, I’m all ears.

Oh, and why does the link that you provide just take me to an RNC fundraising site? I was hoping you were pointing me to a page that provide evidence that Obama is Stalin plus Hitler divided by Mao.

Tea Party movements to protest outrageous confiscatory taxation by Washington, renewed enthusiasm for strong local government, and concern for the loss of traditional American values are growing.

Sigh. Ok, so the teabaggers were protesting that their taxes were lowered, they want their mayors to have more power, and because they don’t think that gay people should have the ability to legally protect their families? Is that what the Tea Parties were about? Thank you for clarifying, because from my seat, all I could see about the Tea Baggers was that they were upset about some kind of amorphous mess. To me, they just seemed to be pissed that their side lost an election.

And that is why I’m asking you to continue your support of our efforts. America is looking for leadership and it’s our responsibility to step up and provide it. Please help us lay the groundwork to win back government for the American people by making a contribution of $1,000, $500, $100, $50 or $25 to the Republican National Committee today. Your gift will support the recruitment and election of principled candidates who will roll back the Democrats’ damage and govern with humility and respect.

Our time is coming. We can and must be ready to lead the fight. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Michael Steele
Chairman, Republican National Committee

Thanks, Michael, but excuse me if I opt out of sending money to help you provide leadership.  Your party’s leadership is largely responsible for the mess we are in today. Did your president Bush say that he was going to govern with humility?

But anyway, I thank you for writing me. It was a very nice gesture, so I’m wishing you luck in all your future endeavors.

Love-

Raford

Reflections on an Inauguration

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Maya Angelou – On the Pulse of the Morning

Angelou wrote those words sixteen years ago to celebrate Bill Clinton’s first inauguration, but I think she was a little bit ahead of her time back then. Those words beautifully sum up the feeling in Washington on inaugural weekend. I’ve never seen a city so full of smiling and happy people.

My journey started with my old friend Alicia (she’s not old, but our friendship is) who lives in DC. She was kind enough to host me and show me a wonderful time. My flight got in early Saturday morning, so after an attempted nap that was aborted by our excitement, we headed to Capitol Hill for lunch and to observe the goings-on around the Capitol. We wanted to view the preparations and feel the vibe of the city.

It was a good choice.

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Of course, the Capitol looked as majestic as it ever did, but there was something special about seeing it ready to go for January 20, 2009.

But the real story that day was the people who also gathered to check out the preparations. Ever single person was smiling. Huge smiles. Joyous smiles. Loving smiles. But they all  had their different ways of expressing them.

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We walked up and down the National Mall that day, putting up with the cold and sore feet, enjoying the moment.

We ended up in Georgetown at Moveon.org’s Manifest Hope display of Obama-inspired art. It seemed like less of a gallery opening and more of a celebration of our country and where we are right now.

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It was the most joyful gallery experience I’ve ever had. It felt more like a party than anything else.

On Sunday, we attended the We Are One concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Phenomenal. U2, Springsteen, Wonder, and others gave great performances, but I didn’t know how emotional I was about what was transpiring until the show began and a Naval band performed the “Star Spangled Banner.” I wept like a baby. It was some kind of strange catharsis for me, as I sobbed when they got to the “flag was still there” part. It seemed like such a great metaphor. Given all that the Bush administration put us through, we are still America.

We capped off the night with dinner at the home of one of Alicia’s friends who was hosting another friend of Alicia’s who popped into town from Rwanda as a guest of Nancy Pelosi’s. Odette (the friend from Rwanda) was delightful and her story of how she came to support Obama while speaking from Kigali with her son who was in Zanzibar was a great reminder about how much an Obama presidency means to the world.

Monday was a great day. We didn’t do much special but wander around the city in search of food and cocktails, but there are some pics from that day worth sharing.

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Tuesday, January, 20? What can I say?

When we left Alicia’s apartment at around 8:00 AM, we were a little panicked as CNN told us the National Mall was full. We went anyway and found nice real estate on by the Washington Monument. We were cold, but we were happy.

I must have said “good morning” to 1000 strangers that day. It was simply a matter of making eye contact and reciprocating those words. It was a joyful crowd.

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When I think about the inauguration, all I can think is that change happened because of us. We voted, we donated, we blogged, we canvassed, we spoke to our families and neighbors. We were the catalysts behind this beautiful moment.

President Obama will disappoint us. He’s human. But this is a moment that we will hold on to forever. We made change happen.

8 Days Left

Once he’s gone, can we change the name of the “Department of Homeland Security?”