Happy Mother's Day to one and all. Not to be a downer, but I want you to take a moment and step away with me from the lovingly prepared breakfasts in bed, crayon-scribbled Mother's Day cards, bouquets of flowers and sweet kisses from your little ones and remember those mothers who are having to experience their Mother's Day without their child. The newly revamped BagNewsNotes (one of my favorite sites--do check them out) has a photoessay by Ashley Gilbertson called "Bedrooms of the Fallen" chronicling the bedrooms of fallen Iraq/Afghanistan service members. Gilbertson intended it to be a look at the lives of the service members themselves, but as I watched the video, I imagined the grieving mother, unable to take down those last connections to their son or daughter. Because to pack away that trophy or throw away that poster is to acknowledge the finality of that loss. One family has left their daughter's room basically intact for six years. Can you imagine the emptiness that mother must feel today? So for my fellow mommies, especially those grieving for their sons and daughters, I salute your strength, your resilience and the powerful love that still connects you.
On to the Sunday shows. For as pleased as I've been with Jake Tapper's hosting of This Week of late, I'm disappointed to see the booking of Rudy Giuliani today. What value could Mr. "A Noun, A Verb and 9/11" possibly bring to any discussion? At least he'll give Politifact lots to work with. The Times Square "bomber" (I'm loathe to give anyone that inept such an official-sounding title--a bag of fertilizer and some personal fireworks are hardly the tools of a serious terrorist) has caused the GOP to trot out the tired talking points of how Democrats are weak on terror--the fact that the bombing was thwarted and the terrorist arrested within 72 hours notwithstanding. So of course, the White House goes on defense, sending out counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, AG Eric Holder and Coast Guard commandant Thad Allen to argue that there really wasn't much more the White House could have done. "Holy Joe" Lieberman will cozy up to his neocon buddies on Fox News Sunday and Richard Shelby will be on Face the Nation and State of the Union to concern troll both the banking bill and homeland security. Not on the official schedule but possibly worth checking out: Howard Kurtz will have on Jon Meacham to discuss the Washington Post's decision to sell Newsweek.
ABC's "This Week" - Attorney General Eric Holder; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
CBS' "Face the Nation" - John Brennan, President Barack Obama's homeland security and counterterrorism adviser; Sens. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala.; Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard.
NBC's "Meet the Press" - Holder.
NBC's "The Chris Matthews Show" - Panel: Joe Klein, Cynthia Tucker, Kathleen Parker, John Heilemann. Topics: Growing Outrage Over Immigrants Among Us/The Sale Of Newsweek: Is There No Hope For Old Media?
CNN's "State of the Union" - Brennan; Shelby; Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" - To understand recent economic crises, Fareed talks with the foremost economic columnist in the world. Plus, we discuss terrorism and the Times Square plot with counter-terrorism expert Richard Clarke. Later, how does a guy like Faisal Shahzad - with a good job, a wife, kids and a mortgage - get radicalized? Who is to blame? Bernard Henri Levy joins our panel.
"Fox News Sunday" - Brennan; Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.
I've been criticizing the president for not speaking out more forcibly that a a public plan MUST be included in health care reform. I know he's playing his cards tight to the vest so republicans have less to work with as they apply their usual attacks on any kind of meaningful health care reform, but I still don't like it. On Meet the Press, David Axelrod gave one of the strongest indications I've seen that President Obama firmly stands for a strong public option. He also called it "the Public Choice." I can't tell you how important the latest polling was on health care which told the politicians that America wants the government to be involved in fixing the health care system. Gregory used Howard Dean's statement on The Hill about America voting for change to get the segment rolling.(rough transcript)
Axelrod: We believe strongly in the public choice, not something ...what the President was saying was illogical were the same people saying that the government is incompetent, that the government can't run anything, that the government shouldn't be involved in anything, but we can't let that be involved in any of the choices because it'll be an unfair advantage against the insurance companies.
Gregory: When it comes to the public plan though, no ultimatums from the President?
Axelrod: Well, the president believes strongly in a public choice, he's made that very, very clear. He's made that clear private and publicly and we're going to continue to do so.
Gregory: But the president is not going to ram this through, his priorities through?
Axelrod: Well, I just told what the president's priorities were are and he won't sign a bill that does not meet those priorities.
Gregory: Can there be a successful outcome in the president's mind without a health care reform plan without a public plan?
Axelrod: I think the president wants a robust public option to compete against the private plans.
We're getting closer to finishing up our Blue America/Blanche Lincoln/Public Option ads as we fight to make Democratic politicians stand up for us and not the health insurance companies on health care reform. You can still donate here: Blue America's Campaign For Health Care
We've been trying to figure out why, whenever Rush Limbaugh speaks these days from the comforts of his studio, all we ever see is placeholder cards or really bad webcam video. We also noticed, in his last coupleof live public appearances, he was looking a bit, ah, portly, and naturally we wondered if there might be a health issue.
So we sent one of our C&L special investigators to get actual live footage from inside Rush's studio to find out what was up. This is what he sent us from this morning's remarks on Sonia Sotomayor.
Well, the truth, as they say, is Out There. Let's just say that Rush is now the living embodiment of the transformational power of right-wing politics.
NonnyMouse sent this article from The Motley Fool UK, and while this is focused on the UK banking system, it was still as disturbing to me as the thought of Madonna trying to make an updated version of Casablanca set in Iraq (which is to say, on so many levels). But it also occurred to me that given the hyper-partisan and crony-favored atmosphere fostered by the Bush administration, this wouldn't be a completely out-of-left-field thing to be happening here in the US too, if only tacitly:
You may have noticed that, for the past few years, this website has compared personal loans. Thousands of people have used the comparison tool.
As a writer, my involvement with it has largely been limited to looking through data to see patterns in the loans market. We survey users to find out how their applications went, so that we can identify patterns and provide better guidance in our articles. We've found that, of course, sometimes people don't get the loan they apply for, or that the lender offers them a worse rate than the typical APR that was shown.[..]
However, analysing the data we've collated, it's clear that who you vote for in elections affects whether you'll get a loan with a bank. If the bank supports one political party through donations or other means, and you vote for that party, you're more likely to get a loan. If you aren't a known supporter, you're less likely to get the loan. If you're a known supporter of a different party, you're even less likely.
Also, you're more likely to get the cheapest rates (the 'typical' APRs) if you support the same party as the bank!
This has serious implications about data protection, amongst other things.
I'd be curious to know how private banks in the UK would get voter information...but it should serve as a HUGE red flag on the dangers of the Voter/REAL ID cards here in the US.
Actually, it’s illustrative of the fact that the Pox News Cargo Cult is either dying off in waves (they are all 90 years old, after all), that Heath Ledger’s ghost is having a laugh at Gibson’s expense, or just that the wheels are totally coming off the Right Wing Propaganda Machine.
Addressing California's 14 billion dollar deficit, Ahnold is a one-trick nightmare.
For everyone living in CA like myself, Governor Schwarzenegger's State of the State earlier this year was reprehensible. You can see it here.
We now have no way out except to face our budget demons. It does not raise taxes, it cuts the increase in spending and it cuts that spending across the board. As governor, I of course see first hand that the consequences of cuts are not just dollars but people. I recently brought leaders and advocates of various communities into my office to tell them about what we face financially. I had to look them in their eyes and tell them. I mean talking about fiscal responsibility sounds so cold when you have a representative for AIDS patients or poor children or the elderly sitting across from you. It's one of the worst things about being governor---yet, fiscal responsibility like compassion is a virtue because it allows the necessary programs in the first place.
Steve Lopez of the LA Times wrote a great piece about the Governor and said that we're basically in the same situation that California was in when the Davis recall was instituted.
Only a year ago, Gov. Schwarzenegger was telling us we were in good shape financially, with no need for a rainy day fund. Now he says the wolf is at the door. He's planning to lock the gates at 48 California state parks and beaches. And give get-out-of-jail-free cards to tens of thousands of prisoners statewide. And slash school budgets.
These and many other draconian horrors have been proposed by the governor who rose to power on three main recall promises: No more gaping budget holes. No more reckless borrowing. No more out-of-control fundraising and caving in to special interests. Is it time for Total Recall: The Sequel?
When I was a kid, my class would have to write cards to soldiers in Vietnam during the holidays, our teachers reminding us that these men and women were far from home and all the comforts of the holidays. I remember hearing how much it meant to the troops to get these little packages with childish scrawls and pictures, along with the socks and chocolate and other treats we would send along to bring them a little bit of home in the Vietnamese jungle. Maybe that's why this seems so simultaneously poignant and pathetic.
Hundreds of thousands of holiday cards and letters thanking wounded American troops for their sacrifice and wishing them well never reach their destination. They are returned to sender or thrown away unopened.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks and the anthrax scare, the Pentagon and the Postal Service have refused to deliver mail addressed simply to "Any Wounded Soldier" for fear terrorists or opponents of the war might send toxic substances or demoralizing messages.[..]
USO spokesman John Hanson said that like the military, the nonprofit service organization does not deliver unopened mail to unspecified recipients. He said the USO worries about security as well as hateful messages from war critics.
"We just want to make sure it's not, `Die, baby killer,'" he said. "There are people out there who act irrationally, and we don't want anyone to get a message that would be discouraging."
That's right...you can put your life on the line, but we think you're too delicate for bad words on a card...as if people who are against the war are calling the troops baby killers. It's a disgusting slur on both the troops and those of us who want them out of harm's way.
Jill Holzman Vogel is a nationally recognized lawyer in Republican political circles. She has held senior posts in the Republican Party and in the Bush administration, including Chief Counsel to the Republican National Committee and Deputy Counsel at the Department of Energy. Call it a payoff for her work during November and December of 2000, when Jill served as counsel in the Florida Presidential Recount, acting on behalf of the Bush-Cheney campaign in West Palm Beach and in Osceola County.
She's running for Virginia State Senate, and during this last weekend of the primary campaign she has unleashed an anti-gay, anti-Muslim campaign flyer, with little to no time left for a rebuttal from her opponent.
The flyer is here, and it quotes advertising used by the image consultant hired by Vogel's opponent.
There is no earthly reason to do this except to point out that this consultant is proud of its record getting a Muslim candidate elected, as well as a lesbian candidate. Playing the anti-gay, anti-Muslim cards is the reason for this flyer, period.