As the dangerous Category 5 Hurricane Irma barrels toward southeast of Florida, officials in the Sunshine State, Georgia and the Carolinas have declared disasters and ordered evacuations.
The storm, which has undergone rapid intensification in the past several days is now the strongest Atlantic hurricane in the last 10 years, a dangerous Category 5, which made landfall overnight packing winds of 185 mph on the Caribbean island of Barbuda.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a news conference Wednesday that Irma can still go anywhere and the entire state needs to be prepared.
“The storm is massive and the storm surge is predicted to go for miles. In some instances, it could cover homes and go very far inland,” Scott said.
He urged urgent preparation:
“Every family needs to have a plan. …Do not sit and wait. Prepare right now.”
“Do not ignore evacuation orders.”
“Take what you need to evacuate. Don’t take extra.”
Read more about Florida’s preparations at the link.
Cars sit on a flooded street on the island of Saint-Martin after Hurricane Irma passed through
South Florida came under hurricane and storm surge watches Thursday morning as powerful Hurricane Irma steamed toward the peninsula on track for a weekend strike.
Tropical storm force winds could begin battering the Keys and South Florida Saturday afternoon, National Hurricane Center forecasters said in their latest advisory. The fierce center of the Cat 5 storm is also increasingly likely to plow across the state’s crowded east coast, and it’s more than 6 million residents, in three to four days.
The hurricane and storm surge watches cover much of the South Florida coast, from Jupiter Inlet south and up the west coast to Bonita Beach, including the Keys. Water levels could reach from between five and 10 feet above ground level in the storm surge watch area, forecasters said.
Because Irma is such a large hurricane, the storm surge could be widespread and life-threatening, said senior hurricane specialist Mike Brennan, with waters moving further inland along the Gulf.
Presumably, the storm will keep moving on up the coast. It’s not clear yet how it will impact us up here in New England, but environmental experts are trying to prepare Boston for future storms as the sea level rises from climate change. The Boston Globe: What a future sea barrier in Boston would look like.
Palm trees buckle under winds and rain as Hurricane Irma slammed across islands in the northern Caribbean on Wednesday, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico Sept. 6, 2017.
The chances of a Harvey-esque 50 inches of rain are minuscule in Boston. But with the expected sea level rise, a one-in-100- or one-in-10-year storm (Harvey was a one-in-1,000-year storm) would put many Boston neighborhoods underwater, according to the report, Climate Ready Boston. Even monthly high tides would flood 5 percent of the city’s real estate market value toward the end of the century, officials said.
With the sea level rise expected within roughly 30 to 50 years, major storms could make neighborhoods including East Boston, the South End, and the Seaport “unviable.” This interactive map shows what exact places could be threatened (and it doesn’t look great for Faneuil Hall).
“You’re not going to escape it,” Curt Spalding, New England’s regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, told Boston.com last year regarding sea level rise, after Boston’s waterfront was inundated by simple king tides.
According to a 2013 report by the World Bank, Boston ranked eighth out of 136 coastal cities for risk of flood damage.
Local officials are thus faced with a dilemma: how to manage the characteristic that historically made Boston a thriving commercial hub — its favorable port location — when that same asset now contributes to a potentially existential threat?
Head to the Globe to read the rest. I imagine many coastal cities are looking at possible protections from future flooding.
Donald Trump Jr. is being interviewed by investigators from the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. MSNBC reports that he has changed his story again–now claiming he took a June 2016 meeting with Russians to get information that would help him assess Hillary Clinton’s “fitness for office.” From The New York Times:
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, is set to meet with Senate Judiciary Committee investigators behind closed doors on Thursday to answer questions about his June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, committee officials said.
Homes are damaged after Hurricane Irma struck in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Martin on Sept. 6, 2017. Netherlands Ministry of Defense via AFP – Getty Images
Committee aides said the interview, Mr. Trump’s first with congressional investigators, will be transcribed and could last for much of the day. It will largely focus on the meeting in Trump Tower, which appears to have been set up to deliver harmful information about Hillary Clinton to the Trump campaign, according to emails disclosed in June.
Democrats, led by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s top-ranking Democrat, said on Wednesday that Mr. Trump had also agreed to testify at a public hearing before the committee and that he would probably be subpoenaed if he did not follow through on that agreement. Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the panel’s chairman, declined to discuss the committee’s dealings with Mr. Trump. Lawyers for Mr. Trump could not be reached for comment.
The closed-door interview is the clearest indication yet that the Senate Judiciary Committee — after months of being eclipsed by the Senate and House intelligence committees — is emerging into a higher-profile role in investigating the president, his family and his associates in the coming months.
The committee is trying to get answers about the firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director this spring and has staked out a broad investigation that aims to look at everything from the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia to the Obama Justice Department’s handling of the Clinton email case last year.
Sea water rises to a water deck as hurricane Irma approaches Puerto Rico in Fajardo. Ricardo Arduengo AFP Getty Images
Representatives of Facebook told congressional investigators Wednesday that the social network has discovered that it sold ads during the U.S. presidential campaign to a shadowy Russian company seeking to target voters, according to several people familiar with the company’s findings.
Facebook officials reported that they traced the ad sales, totaling $100,000, to a Russian “troll farm” with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda, these people said.
A small portion of the ads, which began in the summer of 2015, directly named Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the people said, although they declined to say which candidate the ads favored.
Most of the ads, according to a blog post published late Wednesday by Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, “appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum — touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights.”
The acknowledgment by Facebook comes as congressional investigators and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III are probing Russian interference in the U.S. election, including allegations that the Kremlin may have coordinated with the Trump campaign.
Read more at the WaPo.
The other big story from last night is that Trump suddenly aligned himself with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on raising the debt ceiling and threw Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell under the bus. Ryan Lizza at The New Yorker: How Democrats Rolled Trump on the Debt Ceiling.
A man drives through rain and strong winds during the passage of hurricane Irma, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017.
For weeks, Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, had been plotting a strategy to use the debt-ceiling vote to extract concessions from Donald Trump and his fellow-Republicans. Over the weekend, the White House and Senate Republicans indicated that they wanted a debt-ceiling increase attached to a bill to provide immediate aid for areas of Texas and Louisiana affected by Hurricane Harvey. The plan was perfect for the G.O.P. The House would pass a “clean” debt ceiling that most Republicans would probably support. In the Senate, Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader, would add the Harvey money and pass the two bills together with the help of Democrats. The plan was to raise the debt ceiling for eighteen months, which would kick the next difficult vote past the 2018 midterm elections. In the House, such a bill likely would have lost some votes from both parties, but, given the urgency of the hurricane aid, it was a decent bet to pass. Best of all, for G.O.P. leaders, the bill would have taken away the Democrats’ debt-ceiling leverage from the coming debates on immigration, government spending, and health care.
But, when conservative Republicans came out vocally against McConnell and Ryan’s plan, Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, saw an opening. They called for the three-month debt-ceiling deal, which would kick the issue into mid-December, allowing them to maintain their leverage as Congress worked out agreements on other agenda items.
At his morning press conference, Ryan had been withering about this idea. “Let’s just think about this,” he said. “We’ve got all this devastation in Texas. We’ve got another unprecedented hurricane about to hit Florida. And they want to play politics with the debt ceiling? That will strand the aid that we need to bring to these victims of these storms that have occurred or are about to occur. And then they also want to threaten default on our debt? I think that’s ridiculous and disgraceful that they want to play politics with the debt ceiling at this moment.”
He added that the idea was “unworkable,” and, speaking for Trump, noted, “What the President doesn’t want to do is to give more leverage where it shouldn’t occur on the debt ceiling.”
But Ryan spoke too soon.
An hour later, in the Oval Office, Ryan, McConnell, Schumer, and Pelosi sat down with Trump and Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, to negotiate. The Republican leaders—at first—stuck to their demand for an eighteen-month debt-ceiling increase. But the Democrats held fast as the Republicans dropped their request to twelve months and then to six months. Mnuchin argued that the financial markets needed a long-term deal. Trump cut him off and abruptly sided with Schumer and Pelosi on their three-month request.
Read the rest at The New Yorker.
Hurricanes Irma and Jose stacked over the Caribbean and Atlantic on September 6.
Lots of media people are outraged that Hillary Clinton dared to write a book detailing the challenges she faced during the 2016 election. Never mind that Clinton won the popular vote and her book has been number 1 on Amazon for months. Those of us who voted for her are still invisible to the media. Politico: Democrats dread Hillary’s book tour.
President Donald Trump may be the only person in politics truly excited about Hillary Clinton’s book tour.
Democratic operatives can’t stand the thought of her picking the scabs of 2016, again — the Bernie Sanders divide, the Jim Comey complaints, the casting blame on Barack Obama for not speaking out more on Russia. Alums of her Brooklyn headquarters who were miserable even when they thought she was winning tend to greet the topic with, “Oh, God,” “I can’t handle it,” and “the final torture.”
Political reporters gripe privately (and on Twitter) about yet another return to the campaign that will never end. Campaign operatives don’t want the distraction, just as they head into another election season. And members of Congress from both parties want the focus on an agenda that’s getting more complicated by the week.
But with a new NBC News poll showing her approval rating at 30 percent, the lowest recorded for her, Clinton kicks it off on Tuesday with a signing at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York. She’ll keep it going all the way through December, all across the country.
Do the Democrats really think they can win elections without Hillary’s hard core supporters? They seem to be going all in with Bernie, who lost to Hillary in the primaries by 4 million votes. Do these people know anything about math?
That’s all I have for you today. What stories are you following?
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Another day under the belt for 2013, and it seems like things are never going to change.
I caught a quick interview on CNN Tuesday, Dana Bash was interviewing some Congressman…I don’t remember who…but he was a Republican from Colorado. She asked him point-blank if he was going to do anything in his power to stop Obama from passing new gun control laws. Of course, he hedged and then said the usual.
It was Cory Gardner, the GOP Rep from Colorado that Dana Bash was interviewing.)
At the same time this CNN interview was going on, I was engaged in a heated conversation with my husband over the government control of bullets. He was against it, flatly. His loyalty to the GOP is really something to see. After everything he has been through and all the personal miseries we have endured because of the Republicans’ ridiculous positions on everything that would help us, he still will agree with them.
Why be against controls on ammunition? If we must show our drivers license, have it recorded in a database to keep track of our purchases and even place our signature…swearing we are who we are….just to buy the over-the-counter cold medicine Sudafed, why not make folks do the same for bullets?
Well, the response I got was typical. It would be inconvenient, take too long, etc. WTF?
After that comment, and listening to some asshole from a state who has had more than their share of mass shootings give Dana Bash the typical GOP answer to any reasonable question about changing gun laws that do not follow the powerful gun lobby’s agenda, I lost it. I turned the TV off and have not looked at any of news since.
The reason I am going on about this is simple, PAD…political affective disorder strikes again.
Okay, I have an OPM (Other People’s Munchkin) at our house today, so this evening news reads will be on the short side. A few of the links at the end hopefully will add a lighter note to this crappy news day. We’ll just get to it.
The bipartisan 74-26 roll call followed a 269-161 vote in the House Monday evening and the bill was quickly signed by President Barack Obama, ending an unprecedented, hard-edged political struggle that pushed the nation to the brink of default.
According to EPI, the plan “not only erodes funding for public investments and safety-net spending, but also misses an important opportunity to address the lack of jobs.” In particular, the immediate spending cuts and the “failure to continue two key supports to the economy (the payroll tax holiday and emergency unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed) could lead to roughly 1.8 million fewer jobs in 2012.”
Top economists and CEO’s have also weighed in against the deal and said that GOP concessions to the Tea Party will cost our economy dearly. Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian warned that the deal will lead to less growth, more unemployment, and more inequality. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman called the plan “a disaster” and “an abject surrender” that will “depress the economy even further.”
And what about that Super Congress or should I say Super Committee? I saw a post over at The Weekly Standard talking about conservative republicans being part of the 12 members. I won’t link to it obviously. But, there is this over at ThinkProgress. Will Interest Groups Ride To The Rescue? | ThinkProgress
Now what I’m hearing (see Douthat and Scherer but most explicitly Chait) a new version of this “lobbyists to the rescue” story:
But imagine Democrats insist on higher revenue, and they decide, sensibly enough, that failure to cut a bipartisan deal is better than $1.8 trillion in cuts. (Which is probably is.) Then what? Well, then the entire defense lobby plus the entire medical and insurance lobbies turn fiercely against the very people with whom they had marched shoulder-to-shoulder under Bush. If the Democrats hold the line and insist on more revenue, the committee has the potential to split the GOP coalition wide open.
Or how about this scenario. First, Republicans refuse to agree to more revenue. Second, Democrats refuse to agree to a no-revenue deal. Third, lobbyists for the defense and health care industries get nervous. Fourth, lobbyists for the defense and health care industries remember that they are high-income people who don’t want to pay taxes. Fifth, executives at defense and health care industries remember that they are high-income people who don’t want to pay taxes. Sixth, executives at defense and health care industries start lobbying Democrats in swing districts, red states, or in which key weapons manufacturing or certain hospitals are major industries. Seventh, Democrats fold.
Labor unions, environmental groups, anti-poverty advocates, etc. all have some clout in the Democratic coalition. But rich businessmen also have clout in the Democratic coalition. And all that needs to happen for the Democrats to fold is for rich businessmen to persuade a relatively small group of congressional Democrats to start taking their side. Then a unified anti-tax GOP will roll the Democrats. What’s more, recall that it’s not as if non-business groups will be united in lockstep against surrender. Defense contractors and health care providers are firms with rich executives, but they’re also firms with working class employees who can be mobilized to beg Democrats to save them by surrendering on revenue and agreeing to modify the trigger to reduce defense and health care cuts and increase cuts to anti-poverty programs.
Well, I honestly cannot express how mad this entire thing makes me…and the helplessness I feel only makes it worse. No one is representing me in Washington, and with the new super committee, a precedent is going to be set. Whenever there is an important vote or issue up for debate, Congress will pull this shitty Super Congress of 12 out again, and the accountability will be held to just those dozen politicians. No chance for anyone to stand up for the people who voted them into office. They will only stand up for the big money donors who got them there.
Now for a bit of humor, because we sure as hell need it!
Yesterday Newt Gingrich laid out a new argument for why he should be the GOP presidential nominee: He’s got the most Twitter followers. But according to a former Gingrich staffer, he bought them.
Gingrich complained yesterday that the press is ignoring his prodigious Twitter audience: “I have six times as many Twitter followers as all the other candidates combined, but it didn’t count because if it counted I’d still be a candidate; since I can’t be a candidate that can’t count.” Which is true! Gingrich currently boasts 1,325,842 followers, whereas competitors Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann have yet to crack 100,000.
But if Newt is winning the Twitter primary, it’s because of voter fraud. A former staffer tells us that his campaign hired a firm to boost his follower count, in part by creating fake accounts en masse.
I know that Newt is pretty much out of the picture, but it is little bits of news like this that makes me laugh to myself…what an idiot.
On to The Word from Colbert…it is a good one!
Vodpod videos no longer available.
With the proposed Super Congress, only 12 lawmakers will have to make unpopular recommendations, and the rest of Congress can avoid blame.
This past April, right-wing war hawk John Bolton suggested during an interview on Fox News that the United States should cut Social Security and Medicare to finance the defense budget.
During debate over the debt deal today on the Senate floor, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) appeared to endorse this call. Lieberman explained that he is working with Coburn on a Social Security spending reduction plan and that “we can’t protect these entitlements and also have the national defense…to protect us…with Islamist extremists”:
LIEBERMAN: I want to indicate today to my colleagues that Senator Coburn and I are working again on a bipartisan proposal to secure Social Security over the long term, we hope to have that done in time. To also forward to the special committee for their consideration. So, bottom line, we can’t protect these entitlements and also have the national defense we need to protect us in a dangerous world while we’re at war with Islamist extremists who attacked us on 9/11 and will be for a long time to come.
Ah, to think of what this guy used to be…he was my Senator when I lived in Connecticut, and I voted for this man. Now it is statements like this that make me snicker the same phrase I do with Newt…what an idiot.
I am sure you have seen lots of other news items, please share the links with us.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Weiner said he would request a leave of absence from the House and seek treatment, but provided no further details.
“Congressman Weiner departed this morning to seek professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person,” said the spokeswoman, Risa Heller. “In light of that, he will request a short leave of absence from the House of Representatives so that he can get evaluated and map out a course of treatment to make himself well.
“Congressman Weiner takes the views of his colleagues very seriously and has determined that he needs this time to get healthy and make the best decision possible for himself, his family and his constituents.”
I’m sure Weiner could use some therapy, but I still don’t get why he is being singled out for this kind of public outrage when David Vitter wasn’t. As far as we know Weiner didn’t act out any of his fantasies with these women. I would think that hiring prostitutes to spank you when you’re wearing diapers would elicit more calls for “treatment” than Twitter and Facebook flirtations. But what do I know? Maybe a lot of Congressman like to wear diapers and have sex with prostitutes.
Delaware police said Friday they were investigating the reported communications, had interviewed the teen, and that “she has made no disclosure of criminal activity nor inappropriate contact by the Congressman.”
“It is with great disappointment that I call on Representative Anthony Weiner to resign,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement issued by the Democratic National Committee, which she has led since the beginning of May. She’s President Barack Obama’s representative as DNC chairwoman.
“The behavior he has exhibited is indefensible and Representative Weiner’s continued service in Congress is untenable.
“This sordid affair has become an unacceptable distraction for Representative Weiner, his family, his constituents and the House – and for the good of all, he should step aside and address those things that should be most important: his and his family’s well-being.”
According to Fox News, the police in Delaware are still investigating. The girls parents have turned her laptop over for inspection, but their attorney says there’s nothing to find.
“The Tweets in question between the student in question and the congressman were not salacious or in any manner inappropriate, said Daniel McElhatton, the attorney representing the girl’s family. “No photographs were ever sent to her or from her.”
Weiner spokeswoman Risa Heller also said that Weiner’s interactions with the girl “were neither explicit nor indecent.”
The police are trying to verify that, McElhatton said.
Fox News claims to have been told by “sources” that much of the interchange between the girl and Weiner had been deleted from her computer. Fox is obviously hoping the police can find something salacious on the girl’s hard drive. I sure hope Weiner didn’t send anything sexual or suggestive to her.
The girl’s high school posted on her now defunct Tumblr blog a quote that appears to be from her direct messages with Weiner.
“I came back strong. Large. In charge. Tights and cape s—… My favorite congressman,” she wrote, adding a heart emoticon after “congressman.”
Seven days earlier, she posted a YouTube video of Weiner giving a speech and wrote, “My true love.”
Poor kid. It’s a shame she had to get dragged into this.
As an antidote to having to watch politicians call for their smelling salts and fainting couches, I recommend this story from NPR’s Weekend Edition: Zombies Walk the Halls of Congress.
NPR can now confirm that there are zombies in the U.S. Capitol.
OK, not the kind that pop out of graves and eat brains, but a different kind of undead — the undead political career. This week New York Rep. Anthony Weiner said he is staying put, even though some top Democrats have publicly called for him to resign.
He’s not the first one to stay in politics after serious ethics violations, trying to revive a seemingly lifeless career.
In this contrived scenario, there are three categories of Congressional Zombies:
— those who survived a scandal to live again,
— those who are wounded by scandal but stay in Congress (the real zombies),
— and those who hung on for a while but eventually got buried.
According to NPR, both Charlie Rangel and David Vitter are real zombies.
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who was a client of a Washington prostitution ring. He was never charged because the news came out after the statute of limitations had expired. Two of Vitter’s calls to the madam were made during votes on the floor.
He apologized in 2007 — “I want to again offer my deep sincere apologies to all those who I’ve let down and disappointed with these actions from my past” — and neatly won a second term in the Senate.
Good grief! Vitter called the DC Madam from the Senate floor? Did he get a sudden urge for punishment? Please explain to me why he didn’t need to enter a treatment facility after his colleagues learned about his illegal behavior?
I’m pretty disgusted by Weiner’s behavior at this point, but I still wish I never had had to find out about it. I still don’t see any reason why it needed to be revealed either. Sure the guy acted like a silly adolescent, but how many of us would look dignified if our sexual fantasies were spread all over the internet and the media? I think this kind of scandal-mongering has gone way too far, and I’d like to see a lot more approbation about Andrew Breitbart’s repulsive behavior. I’d also like to see similar outrage against Congresspeople who take money from lobbyists and vote accordingly.
This scandal appears to be setting a whole new precedent for the kinds of activities that can get a politician in trouble. As far as we know, Weiner’s activities were all in cyberspace. Now if it turns out he behaved inappropriately with an underage girl, I’ll have to revise my opinion.
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Bashar al-Assad is to have his personal assets in the US frozen as part of sanctions against his regime. Photograph: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters
The US is to impose sanctions on the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for human rights abuses in an escalation of international pressure on his regime.
The penalties announced by the US treasury mark the first time that Assad has been targeted personally by the international community for his government’s crackdown on protesters.
The move freezes any assets of Assad and six senior Syrian officials that are in the United States or otherwise fall within US jurisdiction, and generally bars US citizens and companies from dealing with them.
“The actions the administration has taken today send an unequivocal message to President Assad, the Syrian leadership, and regime insiders that they will be held accountable for the ongoing violence and repression in Syria,” said David S Cohen, the acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
What took them so long? (I felt the same way about Libya as well…it took long enough to get involved.)
This next link made me cringe…but then I caught myself and realized my frustration is pointless. We’re all f’d anyway…
Yesterday morning, House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) visited the Chicago headquarters of the CME Group, “the world’s largest owner and operator” of private exchanges for derivatives products. CME Group specializes in a number of markets, including trading futures contracts for various blends of crude oil and food commodities. Cantor met with executives, and at one point, gave brief remarks before CME Group employees and various commodity speculators.
Cantor told the audience of speculators that his Republican caucus would “do our part” to block the implementation of financial reforms passed last year as part of the sweeping Dodd-Frank law. He even called out the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the regulators in charge of overseeing derivatives and energy speculation, and promised to stop regulations from going online:
Click that link to ThinkProgress if you want to read and watch the video of Cantor’s speech. I don’t know if it is my incredibly stuffed up allergy head, but damn I just don’t understand why there aren’t massive riots in the streets.
A new study shows that from 1990 to 2009, the number of emergency rooms in the U.S. plummeted from 2,446 to 1,779 – a 27-percent decline. That number includes only ERs in non-rural areas, since rural ERs typically receive federal funding that keeps them open.
What’s killing off America’s emergency rooms? Tight money and a changing marketplace.
For-profit hospitals that aren’t making enough cash and serve patients below the poverty line – with less generous forms of insurance like Medicaid – were the ones most likely to shut their doors, the study showed.
But the poor aren’t the only ones at risk. When emergency rooms close, experts say, it’s a problem for everyone.
Oh…okay. Let’s get vocal about these particular cuts because the poor aren’t the only ones at risk. If you want to read the report about this in JAMA, click here
Mike Luckovich on Newt Gingrich
Well this next link is interesting for a couple of reasons. One, that Gingrich is again walking back to appease the extreme right-wing sect that is the GOP. Two, that Gingrich actually thinks he can say, don’t use my own words against me in this political climate. Hell, if the Dems don’t use the gifts that Newt bestows on them…then there is something wrong in swampland.
On a conference call just now, Dem messaging chief Chuck Schumer vowed that Dems would aggressively highlight Gingrich’s attacks on the Ryan proposal — and the subsequent backlash it provoked from Republicans — to paint the GOP as hostage to extremists and ideologically hell bent on ending Medicare.
“Newt and I are considered political opposites, but I couldn’t agree more with what he said Sunday about the plan to end Medicare,” Schumer said. “He acknowledged that it is right wing social engineering.”
“It was refreshing to hear such candor from a top Republican,” Schumer continued. “Gingrich was saying what everyone knows to be true: The plan is extreme.”
Schumer added that the fact that Republicans turned so aggressively on Gingrich proves that they have become far more extreme than they were in Gingrich’s heyday — and vowed that Dems would continue pounding away at this theme.
Schumer called Newt a “Republican canary in a coal mine.” Further saying that when a “canary speaks truth, he is snuffed out.” Well, that goes for the left Democrat canaries as well. Just ask Cornel West.
For the past two decades, since the launch of the National Breast and Cervical Early Detection Program, a federal/state partnership to provide screening for working-class, poor and minority women who are uninsured or lack adequate insurance, we have made a real impact on detecting cancers early — which means increasing survival rates. Unfortunately, much of that progress is now at risk.
The struggling economy has created two unfortunate trends that directly affect the women we fight for every day. First, because of high unemployment, many women are now without insurance and must rely on government programs for cancer screenings and other care.
Second, large budget deficits are forcing state and federal policymakers to cut numerous programs — reducing access to critical services when they are needed most.
And third (my addition to this opinion link) the outright attack against women by the PLUBs and Religious Right, Brinker didn’t mention that one.
She goes on to say that many states are cutting funding for screening services offered to women. Her response:
While we may not be in a position to add funds to this vital program, at the very least we must protect and maintain our current commitment. How can we possibly ask the women in our lives to accept anything less?
Accept anything less? WTF…get a bit more pissed off already. Why take this crap with an attitude of “we aren’t in a position to demand it,” I think it is this mindset that is making all these laws against women’s health and women’s rights even more maddening to me. If I could get out and physically organize a group of women to stand up and fight for themselves I would. I would pluck these oppressed women from the population and set them up on the steps of the Capitol and make the assholes who are waging this war against women realize we aren’t going to take it. But when the head of organizations like Susan G. Komen are this cowardly, what the hell kind of message does that send to all those women that are willing to take this protest to the next level.
The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser today, in e-mails objecting to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed, saying pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news “fairly.”
“I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters,” White House spokesman Matt Lehrich wrote in response to a Herald request for full access to the presidential visit.
“My point about the op-ed was not that you ran it but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting US President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the President’s visits,” Lehrich wrote.
You know, the actions of this administration are really disgusting. And I know that this issue is lighting up the right-wing blogs, but dammit. You can’t ridicule Newt for asking not to quote his statements, and then keep the press that is critical of you out of the press pool.
Which leads me to my last link. A big H/T to pdgrey for this link in the comments section of today’s morning reads. It is written by Ted Rall, and I think it is marvelous. Mr. Rall states that he was optimistic when Obama took office, being a liberal cartoonist, he figured he would be able to get a regular gig, like he had before 9/11. However, as he puts it:
I didn’t count on the cult of personality around Barack Obama.
If I could reprint the entire article I would. Just go and read the whole thing…go on, do it!
The Sky Dancing banner headline uses a snippet from a work by artist Tashi Mannox called 'Rainbow Study'. The work is described as a" study of typical Tibetan rainbow clouds, that feature in Thanka painting, temple decoration and silk brocades". dakinikat was immediately drawn to the image when trying to find stylized Tibetan Clouds to represent Sky Dancing. It is probably because Tashi's practice is similar to her own. His updated take on the clouds that fill the collection of traditional thankas is quite special.
You can find his work at his website by clicking on his logo below. He is also a calligraphy artist that uses important vajrayana syllables. We encourage you to visit his on line studio.