President Obama's numbers in several swing states have risen, but Wisconsin, home to Paul D. Ryan, is a mystery, with no polls published there since the conventions.
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Good times.In an interview with Bob Woodward for Woodward's new book, President Obama now says (well, said two months ago, but we're first hearing about it now) that his famous speech smashing the Paul Ryan budget plan to little tiny bits with Paul Ryan sitting right there in the audience was just an accident:
"I'll go ahead and say it ? I think that I was not aware when I gave that speech that Jack Ryan was going to be sitting right there," the president told Woodward according to audio transcripts of their conversations, provided to ABC News.I wonder. It seems surprising to think that if Obama had known Ryan was going to be in the audience, he would have toned down his opinions for the sake of comity or generally not making young
"And so I did feel, in retrospect, had I known ? we literally didn't know he was going to be there until ? or I didn't know, until I arrived. I might have modified some of it so that we would leave more negotiations open, because I do think that they felt like we were trying to embarrass him," Obama continued. "We made a mistake."
Ryan was apparently invited to the speech as a "polite" gesture, as were all members of the Simpson-Bowles commission (Ryan was on that, remember, and helped block any possibility for the commission deciding anything), but the White House didn't really expect he or other Republican members to show up. But what they didn't take into account is that for Paul Ryan, everything is about Paul Ryan:
When Ryan got his invite, Woodward reports, he thought it was an effort by Obama to extend an olive branch to leaders of the new Republican House majority and "triangulate" a deficit solution, Bill Clinton-style.So to Ryan it wasn't just a polite gesture by the president, it was a sign from the president that Paul Ryan was great and the president now wanted to work with Paul Ryan. Yeah, that sounds about right. So he shows up, the president gives his prepared speech lighting into the Ryan plan specifically, and Paul Ryan has an epic sad from which he may never fully recover.
At first I thought this was just a bit of a ruse by the White House to remind us all yet again about that truly wonderful speech, but if the interview was recorded before Ryan was picked for the VP slot that puts a damper on that theory. So now the only thing left is to discuss to what extent the speech was really accidental and/or a "mistake." I'm not buying it, personally: If you're giving a televised speech to the nation hammering the Paul Ryan budget, it seems improbable that you'd think that Paul Ryan wouldn't eventually hear about that. Perhaps the rhetorical nuking of that budget while its author was sitting in the same room with you was an accident, but if so, it counts as one of the happier accidents in recent political memory. Lightening an important speech in order to spare the supposed feelings of a guy who wants to replace a large chunk of the nation's social safety net with vouchers would probably have been the bigger mistake.
Oh the humanity! Don't we all shed a tear for the leading team that ran the global economy into the ground? While we will hear plenty of cries and complaints of evil socialism, the pampered class of Wall Street still doesn't get that they are the ones who caused the crash through their greed. The deregulation that they had to have in the 1990s happened and it only took them a few years to...
It's time (or possibly past time) for putative prognosticators to get their predictions down for this year's presidential election.
Our pal Al Kamen, of the Washington Post "In the Loop" franchise, has been studying Roll Call's annual list, published Thursday, of the 50 richest members of Congress, and is intrigued to find ("The lawmakers' richer halves") that a fair number "got their money the old-fashioned way -- by marrying into it." (Al prefaces his reporting of the Roll Call numbers, by the way, with the caution that "most of the lawmakers in question are far wealthier even than listed, since disclosure forms may not reveal the extent of their holdings and since Roll Call uses the minimums of the ranges they report.) Links onsite.
Take the very flushest, Rep. Mike McCaul. Most of the Texas Republican's vast fortune -- a minimum of $305.96 million -- comes from his wife, Linda McCaul, whose family's business is a little establishment called Clear Channel Communications. In fact, according to number-crunching Roll Call reporter Amanda Becker, the congressman's net worth "jumped from at least $73.75 million in 2009 to at least $294 million in 2010" thanks to a generous "gift" from his in-laws.
Or Sen. John F. Kerry , the second most affluent, who has ketchup and a spouse to thank for his wealth, estimated to be at least $231.23 million. His wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is the "widow of the late Sen. H. John Heinz III of the Heinz ketchup fortune," Roll Call notes. Sen. Richard Blumenthal 's wife is the source of most of his $79.61 million, which puts him at No. 6 on the list. Cynthia Blumenthal is the daughter of a New York real estate mogul.
Some women on the list, too, enjoy the financial perks of marriage. Two prominent California Democrats, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (No. 9) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (No. 13), have wealthy husbands. And a newcomer to the top 50, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), gained admittance into the elite club (she's No. 12) with her marriage to financier Donald Sussman.
Seems there might be something to that retro-sounding advice about it being just as easy to marry rich as it is to marry poor. Pass the chardonnay.
"This is a difficult day for all of us Americans," Reagan said. "It is time for us . . . to stand united. It is a day for quiet reflection . . . when words should be few and confined essentially to our prayers."
Bush said: "I unequivocally support the president -- no ifs, ands or buts. . . . He made a difficult, courageous decision."
But that's so very, very old-school, back in a time before winning the daily news cycle became the only important thing.
* The winning candidate.
* The number of electoral votes he'll receive.
* His percentage of the popular vote.
Up to 20 entries choosing the correct candidate will win -- the 10 closest to the electoral-vote total and the 10 closest to the popular-vote percentage (specify to the tenth of a point). Ties go to entries received first.
Send entries -- only one set of predictions per person -- to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to provide your name, profession, mailing address and T-shirt size (M, L or XL), in case you're a winner.
(Congressional and Obama administration aides may enter "on background.")
You must include a phone number -- home, work or cell -- to be eligible. Deadline for entries is midnight Friday.
On Wednesday communities held Freedom From Toxic Fracking Waste rallies to raise awareness on one of the largest environmental risks from fracking: dealing with the waste it produces. In the best case scenario the toxic stew - of unknown composition due[...]
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Rev. Moody was called the "Harriet Tubman of the abortion movement." He was a visionary Baptist preacher who was in the forefront on many, many social issues, but is probably best known for his work helping women find doctors who would perform an abortion. I knew of him back in the 70s; a friend of mine was one of his volunteers, and he really was a lifesaver to so many women:
The Rev. Howard R. Moody the longtime minister of the historic Judson Memorial Church, who hurled himself and his Greenwich Village congregation into roiling social issues, at one point helping women from around the nation get illegal abortions, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 91.
The cause was pneumonia and complications of cancer treatment, his daughter, Dr. Deborah L. Moody, said.
Mr. Moody?s religious career began at 5, when he preached his family?s strict Baptist faith on a street-corner milk crate in Texas. It flowered during his 35-year ministry at Judson Memorial, a Romanesque landmark overlooking Washington Square built from 1888 to 1893 as a mission church to help the poor. For Mr. Moody, a more inclusive gospel and good works were priorities.
He started the first drug-treatment clinic in the Village and went out of his way to offer aid, and cookies, to prostitutes. He made his church the home of one of New York?s first Off Off Broadway theaters and an innovative dance company. A gallery he established there showed artists like Claes Oldenberg and Robert Rauschenberg before they were well known. Beatniks, and later hippies, were welcomed. In the 1960s he let Yoko Ono and others stage ?happenings.? One event, called ?Meat Joy,? featured bikini-clad performers and a dead fish.
When AIDS struck, Mr. Moody set up a support group. Soon he was presiding over one memorial service after another. He fought censorship and defended people who defaced the American flag. He became a leader of a local political club, the Village Independent Democrats, and helped topple the Democrats? tainted district leader, Carmine G. DeSapio.
Mr. Moody ? whose background as a Marine sergeant both puzzled and amazed some of the more radical members of his church ? probably made his biggest impact on the issue of abortion. He believed that a pregnant woman should be able to decide the fate of an embryo or fetus herself.
Shortly after he arrived at Judson, in January 1957, to become senior pastor, a Florida woman took the train to New York to see him, hoping to get an abortion. Another minister had given her Mr. Moody?s name and he was able to guide her to a safe abortion.
A decade later, he had established a network of 21 ministers and rabbis to help pregnant women. He told The New York Times about what he was doing expressly to demonstrate that he was not hiding anything, and The Times ran an article about him on the front page on May 22, 1967. No one was arrested, nor was the operation shut down.
When New York State legalized abortion in 1970, Mr. Moody helped set up a national network of 1,400 clergy members to guide to his state women who wanted safe, legal abortions. That led to his establishment of the nonprofit Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health, a free-standing private clinic. After the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973, referrals from other states stopped, but Mr. Moody kept the clinic going to help poor New York women.
About a century after the shock of the Triangle fire spurred major safety reforms in New York and helped catalyze the U.S. labor movement, two catastrophes in Pakistan on Tuesday revealed that similarly dangerous factories still flourish outside of the[...]
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"Them belly full but we hungry
A hungry mob is a angry mob' ~Bob Marley~
These protests and riots in the Middle East aren't about a film. Those people you see foaming at the mouth in the streets were looking for a reason to protest and riot against the ?great Satan?. It doesn?t matter if Barack Hussein Obama was the president or their own brother; their hatred for the West runs deep.
Here in America Obama?s political opponents (who might be the only people on earth who hate him more than those mobs in the Middle East) are pointing fingers and blaming him for an Arab world filled with rage and hatred. ?Leading from behind?, not enough "resolve and clarity of purpose.? Those are all nice republican talking points -which were first trotted out by Reagan in the eighties- but words mean nothing. They are just words. Talking points to win an election. The truth is that the hungry and angry mobs we see in the streets of these countries would be doing the same thing regardless of who occupied the White House. And, I hate to break it to Mitt, but short of bombing them off of the face of the earth there is nothing that will be able to do if he is elected president. In fact, with his phony bravado and tough talk he might just make it worse.
Anyway it was republicans who declared that Obama wasn?t doing enough to let freedom ring in the Middle East. It was republicans who said that Obama should be doing more to arm the rebels in Egypt and Libya. And it was republicans who declared that the "Arab Spring" was taking place in spite of president Obama, not because of him. Well, how do you like that? Arab spring? now? All it took was one crack pot to think that he was Oliver Stone and all hell broke loose. (No pun intended) The irony is, of course, that one of the reasons that the Arab world is so mad at Obama is because he has been so tough on terrorist. It?s as if he had to show Americans that just because he had a Muslim sounding name and complexion he wasn?t going to ease up on those Arabs. He has been droning them down from day one. One by one he has been taking out terrorist leaders, and he nabbed the big fish when his predecessor couldn't do it. He won't get credit from the right, and some on the left don't like how he has been doing it, but he has been able to keep the homeland safe, and the folks in the Middle East have been, for the most part, quiet. That has changed.
Angry Arabs are burning embassies and KFC restaurants. It will be interesting to see the end result of this uprising. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and the region won't go to hell in a hand basket. Hey maybe the protesters are just hungry.
Finally, right wing Christians held their "Values Voter Summit" in Washington this week. And sharing the stage with the republican Vice Presidential candidate was a gentleman by the name of Kamal Saleem. Mr. Saleem's presence was like a gift from God for the faithful. The timing, given all that is going on in the Middle East, couldn't have been better. But wait....
"In a surreal performance, Kamal Saleem took the stage at the conservative Value Voters Summit Friday in Washington and described a life working as a jihadist for a who?s who of Muslim dictators on a mission to destroy America, Israel, and anyone else he disagreed with.
The crowd, virtually entirely right wing and Christian, went wild with applause.
Saleem has been a regular in evangelical circles for the last several years telling his story about how he was a violent terrorist who renounced his wicked ways for Christ.
?How do you change a terrorist? Introduce him to Jesus!? he said in a theatrical Friday speech delivered with a thick, unplaceable accent.
And what a terrorist he was. Saleem said that as a child he ?dreamed about killing Jews and Christians? after being told by his mother in Lebanon that it was his sacred duty. From there, he claims, he went on to recruit new talent for the Muslim Brotherhood, study how to properly immigrate to Western countries and infiltrate them with jihadist propaganda, smuggle explosives for PLO leader Yasser Arafat, and run a Libyan terrorist training camp for Muammar Gaddafi ? all before reaching adulthood.
?I started working for whoever paid the best to advance Islamism.? he said, pacing back and forth onstage. ?Saddam Hussein pays better money than anybody else. He was very generous.?
If Saleem?s story sounds unbelievable it?s because there?s little sign any of it ever happened. News investigations into his past haven?t turned up any corroborating evidence of his terrorist resume, but they?ve found plenty of former colleagues and acquaintances who doubt the veracity of Saleem?s autobiographical details.
For one, Mother Jones reports Saleem, real name Khodor Shami, spent over a decade before his ?ex-terrorist? act as a staffer at Pat Robertson?s Christian Broadcasting Network and James Dobson?s Focus on the Family. And despite Saleem?s claims that the FBI relies on him for insight into jihadist thinking, they claim they?ve never heard of him. A 2008 expose by CNN?s Anderson Cooper found similar holes in his story, which paralleled other equally dubious figures making their living off the ?ex-terrorist? talk circuit. " [Source]
Whoops. Oh well, even a fake former terrorist will do the job for these Christian soldiers.
In their fight for America's soul they need all the encouragement that they can get.
Of course, the current terrorist in the White House is who these Christian soldiers really want to go.
"If there was one dominant theme at this year?s Values Voter Summit, the right-wing confab organized by the Family Research Council, it was that President Obama is endangering the United States by coddling radical Islamists. ?[W]hat we?re watching develop before our eyes today are the direct consequences of this administration?s policy of apology and appeasement across the globe,? Michele Bachmann said of the attacks on American embassies and consulates in the Middle East.
Last year, you might remember, some American counterterrorism trainers were found to be using material so virulently anti-Muslim that senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins wrote an outraged letter to the Department of Homeland Security. Bachmann described the resulting changes in counterterrorism curricula this way: ?That?s enforced Islamic speech codes here in the United States, and all done with the help of our president and secretary of state.? [Source]
Where are those drones when you really need them?
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The velocity of instant fame overtakes a pair of different men this weekend.
Barack Obama eulogizes an American who ?laid down his life for his friends, Libyan and American--and for us all? after the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, killed in Benghazi during an attack on the U.S. consulate over snippets of an anti-Muslim film online.
Chris Stevens, the President says, ?was everything America could want in an ambassador, as the whole country has come to see--how he first went to the region as a young man in the Peace Corps...how he believed in Libya and its people and how they loved him back.?
?The world needs more Chris Stevenses,? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton adds.
In a murkier world, reknown is trying to catch up with the maker of the movie that killed Stevens and three colleagues.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Coptic Christian activist, is being questioned in California after false reports that it was produced ?with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors.? It turns out that film permits were issued to a group called ?Media for Christ,? headed by a Christian from Egypt.
It will take time to untangle the truth about the apparent violator of parole for bank fraud and convicted drug manufacturer, but Nakoula or whoever he really is will eventually be unmasked and given his hard-earned 15 minutes of insane fame.
Then we can all rest easy that journalism is doing its job to help us make sense of a messy world.
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