Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One Year Later: Stimulus Recovery Plan a Success

Has it been a year already?

Last year, on Feb 17, 2009, President Obama signed the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus bill, which has proven to be quite effective. It has created or saved about 2 million US jobs and has been sanctioned by economic experts on both sides of the aisle. It has taken the US economy, which was like a runaway train on the steepest decline in 80 years, heading into another Great Depression -- and slammed on the emergency brakes.

As you can see in the graph above (provided by Organizing for America with statistics from the US Department of Labor), job loses increased month by month during the final Bush/Cheney year. Just before walking out the door, Bush and Cheney presided over a loss of more than 700,000 jobs in December of 2008 alone.

You can see the first Obama year is essentially a mirror-image of the last Bush/Cheney year. Where their year gets progressively worse each month, President Obama's first year shows progress each month in combating the mess he inherited.

You can click on the graph above to make it more easily readable. And feel free to send a link of this blog to anyone you like!

From Free Republic:

* Cut taxes for 95 percent of working families through the Making Work Pay tax credit

* Cut taxes for small businesses

* Provided loans to over 42,000 small businesses Funded over 12,500 transportation construction projects nationwide, ranging from highway construction to airport improvement projects

* Made multi-billion dollar investments in innovation, science and technology that are laying the foundation for our 21st century economy

* Provided critical relief for state governments facing record budget shortfalls, including help to prevent cuts to Medicaid and creating or saving over 300,000 education jobs

* Economists on the left and the right have stated that the Recovery Act has helped avert an even worse economic disaster.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Palin Scribbles Notes on Her Hand!

Like a 3rd grader cheating on a test, Sarah Palin actually scribbled notes to herself on her own palm before speaking before a small but friendly crowd at the latest Teabagger's Convention.

The words "energy," "tax," "lift American spirits" and "budget cuts" are visible.

From the Huffington Post:

Just to be clear: The notes most likely weren't for her speech, for which she used prepared remarks, but for the Q&A session that followed, during which she glanced at the hand in question.

But in my opinion that's even worse.

There were no specifics on there, just general concepts and things she supports.

The takeaway is that this presidential contender apparently can't remember her supposed core principles and needs a cheat-sheet when simply asked about her beliefs.

This is supremely rich coming immediately after a speech in which Palin took a shot at President Obama for using a teleprompter [like all previous presidents] to read his prepared speeches.

You can bet that the President wasn't reading scribbles off his extremities while he sparred with Republicans and Democrats in an unscripted format in his recent Q&As.

Palin, on the other hand, seems to need a cheat-sheet just to get through a contrived lovefest with a smitten interviewer and an adoring audience.

Exploding Underwear Bomber Talks

The FBI has revealed that the Nigerian Exploding Underwear Guy, accused of trying to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day with a bomb, has been cooperating with investigators. FBI agents flew to Nigeria and returned with his parents, who have assisted. For two weeks, actionable intelligence has been obtained from him. On January 21, Malaysian counterterrorism authorities arrested 10 suspected terrorists tied to Abdulmutallab, the guy in question, thanks to information retrieved from him.

Useful, actionable intelligence, without using waterboarding or other illegal torture, and without further destroying our image in the world, like during the Cheney/Bush years.

Dumping "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

President Obama is making good on a campaign promise to end "don't ask, don't tell" which discriminates against gays and lesbians in the US military. Supporting his position are Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. General Colin Powell also endorses this long-overdue change.

Of course, in 2006, hypocrite John McCain said he would support ending the military's “don't ask, don't tell" policy if “the leadership of the military comes to me and says, 'Senator, we ought to change this policy.'" Well, that's exactly what has happened. But now he's suddenly on the other side. Big surprise.

There are many countries which welcome gays and lesbians in the military. Countries like Italy, Germany, France, Finland, Belgium, Austria, Australia, Canada, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Israel and Brazil.

Countries that still discriminate include Cuba, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Iran. Are they who we want to emulate?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Great Memory

This has nothing to do with politics. But it's one of the most memorable commercials of all time, from 1971, almost 40 years ago. The song was originally done by the Hilltop Singers, then it was a hit again for the New Seekers.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Supreme Court Decides Corporations are People

In one of the worst decisions in Supreme Court history, last week the justices ruled to allow huge corporations -- American and foreign corporations as well -- to be infinitely better represented in Congress than American citizens. The decision turns back the clock on almost a century's worth of campaign finance regulation. The court held for the first time that a corporation is entitled to the same First Amendment protections for its electoral spending as an individual citizen.

Huge corporations may now spend an UNLIMITED amount of money in campaign ads to promote the candidate who will do whatever is in the best interest of the corporations. The decision will free up corporations to use their immense corporate wealth to flood federal elections and buy government influence. We will literally have the best Congress money can buy.

Insurance companies, banks, drug companies, energy companies and others will be free to each spend $5 million, $10 million, $200 million or more of corporate funds to elect or defeat a federal candidate.

Welcome to the United States of Exxon, Walmart and Bank of America.

Air America Shuts Down

...and nobody really noticed. It was a good idea originally -- having liberal radio hosts to counteract the right wing nutjobs on the air all day in every city -- but it was run badly from Day One.

In the words of Bill Press:

After years of keeping it alive on life-support, investors have finally pulled the plug on Air America. What difference will that make on progressive talk radio nationwide? Zero. The truth is that Air America, which launched on March 31, 2004, died at least twice before. First, when it declared for bankruptcy in 2006. The second time, when Al Franken left the network to run for U.S. Senate. And it's moribund ever since. In the future, business majors will study Air America as the textbook case of a great idea, but lousy execution. The plan was to create a progressive talk radio network to compete with the army of right-wing talk show hosts. Given that 50 percent of the country did not vote for George W. Bush and are therefore not served by talk radio, that idea was, and remains, a solid business proposition.

But there were two problems.
The first was that Air America was not properly funded from the beginning. Even before its launch, it was taken over by a con artist who was later convicted on un-related charges of business fraud.

The other problem was that, in the beginning, Air America filled its ranks with people who were long on political
ideology, but short on business or talk radio experience. Except for Randi Rhodes, few of their talk show hosts had ever been behind the microphone. So the surprise is not that Air America died. The surprise is what took it so long. For the last few years, Air America has existed in name only.

Which is why, in the thriving and expanding world of progressive talk radio, the absence of Air America will hardly be noticed. Most of today's nationally-syndicated, progressive talk show hosts - Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes, and yours truly - have never been, or are no longer, Air America hosts. Our programs will carry on, without interruption or change. And, in every market where we are heard on the air, we will continue to match or beat our conservative competition in both ratings and revenue.

Despite the fact that 90% of talk radio in the US is right wing talk (and hysteria) from the likes of Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck, the Repressives still lost the House and Senate to the Democrats in 2006, and the White House in 2008. So much for their influence!

And from the now-defunct Air America, Al Franken went on to be Senator Franken of Minnesota, Rachel Maddow went on to host one of television's highest-rated political shows.

Another Selfish Republican

Kit Bond (R - what else?) from Missouri is his name. And because he wanted a $175 million Federal Building project approved, he selfishly was the only senator to hold up President Obama's choice to head the General Services Administration for 9 months. The nominee passed the vote today, 96-0.

Early last year, Martha Johnson was unanimously approved by the Senate Homeland Security Committee. But this one typical selfish Regressive Republican held up the works.

The ability of a single senator being able to put an indefinite hold on a Presidential appointment to extort goodies for his district is outrageous and one of the main reasons we have a dysfunctional Senate.