All The News: Mid-Week Updates

by: jlms qkw

Thu May 02, 2013 at 10:41:17 AM EDT

Pat Toomey confirms it: Obama is right about GOP
Wapo; Greg Sargent
Having a Republican on record confirming this is useful. As Steve Benen notes, it makes all the suggestions that Obama needs to "lead" and "twist arms" look pretty silly. Indeed, Toomey's concession is particularly relevant to the ongoing debate over Obama's remarks at his presser yesterday. Here's the bit that has all of the Green Lanternites out there slapping their knees and laughing uproariously:

   "I cannot force Republicans to embrace those common-sense solutions...It's tough. Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They're worried about primaries. And I understand all that. And we're going to try to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to be able to do what's going to be best for the country. But it's going to take some time."

But is this materially different from what Toomey said about his own party? No, it isn't.

Just a reminder:  The GOP in general and in specificity cannot stand to do one single thing that might possible make Obama look good.  
jlms qkw :: All The News: Mid-Week Updates
BYU, Utah researchers find genetic cause for migraines
By Emma Penrod, Deseret News
After suffering intense migraines for years as a child, Emily Bates decided in high school that she would dedicate herself to searching for the cause of her illness.

K. C. Brennan has long sought the same thing, hoping to find a medication that might finally help ailing patients afflicted by the mysterious disorder.

Today, both are one step closer to their goal.

Bates, a BYU professor, and Brennan, an assistant professor at the University of Utah, are two of the three lead researchers who found a genetic cause for migraines. The team identified two families with similar genetic mutations that resulted in migraines and, after testing the mutated gene in mice, established a link that could nudge research toward effective medications for migraines, which afflict about 12 percent of Americans.

This may have been included in a fp post, however, I could not resist sharing such a rational story from Deseret News.  It is such a rare opportunity.

Nature deficit disorder in nature
Emily Willingham's Blog

Edward Abbey wrote in Desert Solitaire that Delicate Arch has "the power of the odd and unexpected to startle the senses and surprise the mind out of their ruts of habit." I can only imagine how startled Abbey's senses would have been if he'd seen the teenaged boy on a sunset visit who dropped his pants, urinated on the arch, and hollered, "Look, I'm making a waterfall!" None of the shocked onlookers threatened to strap him to a spire on the Primitive Loop for his behavior, but they probably should have.

We make tracks for places like Arches National Park to get away from people and into nature. The reasons underlying our need for escape range from the obvious (noisy, crowded cities) to the subtle (we are part of nature, too). The wilderness draws us to solitude, even though we are naturally social animals. But what I don't understand are the people who get into the wilderness and then proceed to act like socially dysfunctional jackasses. And I still haven't figured out exactly how to deal with them.

We've all seen them. They ignore the signs, feed the animals, urinate on arches. They sleep through backcountry orientation or think they're above the rules. It makes me want to whap 'em upside the head with an organic carrot. Or at least force them to listen to a lengthy diatribe about the consequences of their behavior. We can't beat them with carrots, so lecture is our best alternative.

I usually try "Honey, stay on the trail, it's not safe for you to be over there."  

Fodder for the Front: German Jihadists on Syria's Battlefields
Der Spiegel; Kurt Pelda

A young man in his mid-twenties with a stubbly beard is driving a delivery van through the rubble-strewn streets of the northern Syrian town of Azaz. He speaks excellent German and calls himself Yousuf. The man in the passenger seat is around the same age and also sports a beard. He won't even reveal his first name, but he also speaks nearly perfect German.

"After we go back home, we don't want any problems with Germany's foreign and domestic intelligence agencies," says Yousuf. This also explains why the two men refuse to divulge what city in Germany they come from. "Before we entered Syria, the Turks had already put our passport information into their system," he adds. "They know exactly who we are. If they pass that on to the Germans, we're sunk, even though we're just here on a humanitarian mission."

A humanitarian mission? That's the euphemism foreign jihadists use when they try to explain their presence in Syria.

There are reportedly a few hundred Muslims from Western countries who are fighting alongside the rebels to topple Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. It's a relatively small number compared to the perhaps 100,000 insurgents in the country.

2013 Readers' Choice Awards on Parenting Special Needs; Terri Mauro

The Readers' Choice Awards give us an annual opportunity to celebrate the special-needs resources that inform us, support us, inspire us, give us a laugh when we need it, and otherwise contribute to our ability to parent our kids with special needs and help our children shine. This year, there were close races in nearly every category. Join me in celebrating the winners, the runners-up, and the finalists you picked as the Readers' Choice.
Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog
"Not Alone"Logo courtesy of Not Alone
Not Alone (33%)
Mealtime Hostage (29%)
Thomas Marshall Does It All (29%)
Other Finalists
Lessons from Matthew and Isaac
Big Blueberry Eyes.

For those of you who may know a special-needs child or their parent:  Remember, we are not alone.  

How One Family Built America's Public Palaces
NPR; Susan Stamberg

A Washington, D.C., museum wants you to spend some time looking up - to see soaring, vaulted tile ceilings built by a father-son team who left their mark on some of America's most important public spaces.

These ceilings grace landmarks that include state capitols, Grand Central Terminal and Carnegie Hall - as well as some more ordinary buildings. One of them is Engine No. 3, a small brick firehouse not far from the U.S. Capitol - where, yes, they still slide down one of those shiny brass poles. It's one of the oldest fire stations in the District of Columbia.

Built in 1916, the firehouse has bright red doors, gleaming trucks and a narrow, gently arched ceiling over the entryway. The underside of the arch is lined with white tiles arranged in a ziggy-zaggy herringbone pattern.

Firefighter Andre Burns is less than impressed. But that little entryway ceiling has some distinctive touches - the tiles, the pattern - that are being noticed with no little respect at the nearby National Building Museum.

Police stage crackdown on May Day protesters in Istanbul
Hürriyet Daily News; Özgür Korkmaz

Police began battling with crowds early in the morning today with water and tear gas in a bid to keep groups that included trade unionists, as well as members of political parties and other groups, away from Taksim Square due to a ban there on May Day demonstrations.

Thousands of Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) workers and their supporters gathered early today in Şişli to march to the iconic square. However, police started a crackdown against the group, which also included members of socialist groups, anarchists and supporters of the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) after a final warning was issued in Istanbul's central Şişli district.

For the last two years Labor Day celebrations were no longer a source of political tension in Turkey. It was Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan's Justice and Development party (AK Parti) government which declared May Day a National holiday for labor...
At least three demonstrators and a reporter were injured during the crackdown and hospitalized. Demonstrators refused to back down, regathering just after police intervened and turning the back alleys of Şişli into small war zones.

Zero emissions power is possible, and we know what it will cost
The Conversation; Roger Dargaville

To avoid 2 degrees of climate change, global carbon emissions will need to be reduced by at least 50% by 2050. For developed countries such as Australia with higher carbon emissions this will mean cuts closer to 80%: it essentially implies decarbonising the stationary energy sector in Australia. Several studies have now tackled the question of how to achieve this, and despite different approaches and different assumptions they've come up with rather similar results.
The cost of changing

Current wholesale electrical energy costs are around $60 per megawatt hour (MWh).

Previous studies from Beyond Zero Emissions and the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets at UNSW report a range of between $100 and $173/MWh, depending on a range of technology-cost assumptions.

This week the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) released their 100% Renewables Report, costing the system at between $111 and $133/MWh across four scenarios with different timelines and cost projections.

Each of the above studies has its own drawbacks and none can claim to be all-inclusive, but they all cost their 100% renewable systems at between $100 and $170/MWh. Current wholesale prices are around $60/MWh so this represents an increase of between $40 and $110/MWh.

China's new envoy warns US against meddling on Diaoyus
South China Morning Post; Teddy Ng

China's new ambassador to the US has warned Washington not to "drop a stone on its feet" by meddling in a territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo.

In his first direct remarks on the territorial dispute since his appointment last month, Cui Tiankai also said China was alert to a "negative trend" of right-wing intentions in Japanese politics, and denounced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wearing of a camouflage uniform at a weekend exhibition as a political stunt.

Analysts said the tough rhetoric was in line with the new Chinese leadership's increasing assertiveness in diplomatic affairs.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Monday that the disputed Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, were under Japanese administration and fell under a US-Japanese security treaty.

But Dad (whine whine) it's not Jimmy's turnnnnnn . . . .

Rhino poaching figures still on the rise
SAPA via Mail & Guardian

Spokesperson Albi Modise said in a statement on Tuesday that the Kruger National Park bore the brunt of poaching.

Modise said three alleged poachers were arrested in the Tshokwane section of the park last week after a black rhino was killed. One of the men died in a local hospital after he was wounded in a shoot-out with park rangers.

The rhino horns, as well as a .458 hunting rifle with a silencer, ammunition, and poaching equipment were confiscated from the men.

Last Tuesday an alleged poacher was shot dead by rangers near the Langtoon dam in the park during a shoot-out. Two guns, ammunition, and poaching equipment were recovered.

Poaching needs some severe disincentive.  And rape.  Also.  

Sarabjit Singh dies in Lahore hospital, India asks Pak to punish his attackers
PTI via Hindustan Times

Officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad said they had been informed by officials of Jinnah Hospital about Sarabjit's death.

Sarabjit sustained severe injuries when at least six prisoners attacked him in a barrack at Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday, hitting him on the head with bricks.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed sadness over Sarabjit's death, saying criminals responsible for the barbaric and murderous attack on the Indian national must be brought to justice.

Sarabjit was convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990 and spent about 22 years in Pakistani prisons.

crossposted from teh orange.

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Thomas B. Edsall, writing in the NYT (2.00 / 5)

Guns and Political Suicide
Does Bill Daley, a former White House chief of staff, have the right to complain that Heidi Heitkamp, the first-year Democratic Senator from North Dakota, refused to commit political suicide after taking his $2,500 contribution?
For Daley, whose family ran Chicago for decades, what Heitkamp, Begich, Pryor and Baucus did was unforgivable. Writing a few days after the vote in the Washington Post, Daley laid down the gauntlet:

"I have had a long career in government and politics, but I don't donate heavily to political campaigns. When I contribute, it's because I know the candidate well or am really impressed with the person. Heidi Heitkamp was one of the latter: She struck me as strong-willed, principled and an independent thinker.

But this week, Heitkamp betrayed those hopes."

Challenging the NRA is not risk free, but by doing so the power of special interests to control congress will change. Edsall's analysis is interesting.  

Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

Here is the Dishonor Roll (2.00 / 5)
From Bloomberg's group:
The 45 senators who voted to block expanded background checks have received a combined total of $8,165,490 in lifetime contributions and independent expenditures from the NRA, Gun Owners of America, and the National Association of Gun Rights. Even though 91% of Americans -- and 74% of NRA members -- support background checks for all gun sales, these senators voted against effective measures that would save lives.

The graphic, which they ask to be shared widely:

HA! At the bottom of the receipt "Thank you for shopping at your nation's favorite legislature".

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
Another plan to publicly shame poor people ... from Wisconsin (2.00 / 6)
In a vote yesterday, the Wisconsin State Assembly gave a big wet kiss to national Republicans who are convinced that all our problems are caused by poor people gaming the system:
MADISON - A Wisconsin Assembly committee approved a bill on Tuesday that would limit the amount of food stamp benefits that could be spent on junk food.

Republican Rep. Dean Kaufert, of Neenah, amended his original bill to require people enrolled in the state nutrition assistance program, known as FoodShare or food stamps, to spend at least two-thirds of their monthly benefits on items such as milk, bread and vegetables. They could spend their remaining benefits on any authorized food.

Kaufert told members of the State Affairs Committee he often heard complaints that food stamp users were buying large volumes of chips and soda. He said he simply wants people to use their benefits to eat healthier.

Liar. Republicans do not care about the nutrition of poor people.

The original version of the proposal didn't specify an amount to be spent on non-junk foods. The committee had delayed the vote after representatives from food companies, grocery stores and food banks told Wisconsin lawmakers that restrictions would shame recipients and burden businesses with enforcement.[...]

Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, a Milwaukee Democrat, called the proposal "press release politics" that would divide Wisconsinites. She said half of food stamp recipients in Wisconsin are only in the program for about a year.

I wish we could find a way to shame teaparty racist Republicans who are trying to score points this way.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

I read in a diary over at the GOS... (2.00 / 6)
...that cheese was being defined as a junk food for purposes of this law. In Wisconsin! But Velveeta is apparently fine. Do you know anything about this?

There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

[ Parent ]
I had not heard that but I wouldn't be surprised. (2.00 / 5)
The Republicans handed over the state's natural resources to their corporate masters and damaged the state's tourism industry. Why wouldn't they bow to their ideological masters and take whacks at poor people to the detriment of their dairy farmers?

Velveeta isn't even food much less junk food!

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
Two more NRA related stories..... (2.00 / 4)

THE WORST QUOTE OF THE DAY by Charles P. Pierce. This one leaves me speechless.....

Next Time, the NRA Will Lose, by Michael Tomasky. This one gives me faint hope.....

Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

There may be charges in that awful Kentucky shooting (2.00 / 4)
Charges Possible In Death Of Ky. 2-Year-Old Shot By Brother

The Lexington Herald Leader wrote that "Kentucky State Police said Wednesday it is too early to say whether charges will be filed in the case of a 5-year-old boy who accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister."

That was a shift from earlier in the day, when a spokesman for the state police had said that it was unlikely any charges would be filed.

"There is still some information that we don't fully understand," Trooper Billy Gregory later said, according to the newspaper.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
Marketing real guns as gifts for children..... (2.00 / 4)
I remember when Ron's dad gave our boys BB Guns and of course we had a disagreement. He was here visiting once when da boys got in trouble for shooting at the neighbor hood bully who was in our apple tree pelting da boys with apples. The bully's father was furious, so I asked Bill (Ron's dad) to talk to him. It became quite funny watching the two men sort out the naughty boys and their (the adults) part in the whole fiasco.

Seems like a simple story compared to a small boy with a real gun...and a dead sister. It's heartbreaking.

Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

[ Parent ]
california, years and years ago (2.00 / 5)
passed a law that someone had to be charged in every accidental shooting.  

it came into effect after midnight on a new year's day and the first case was quite sad, involving a grandson who found grandfather's gun in a coat pocket.

i wonder if that law is still in effect.  

[ Parent ]
the best news I've seen (2.00 / 5)
is that senators who voted against the background check amendment are seeing their polls take a hit while the ones who voted for, especially red state Dems, are seeing their numbers grow. And people are waking up to the fact that our elected representatives serve their patrons not the people who voted for them. This is exposing how it's working so I believe it's two very good results from a terrible situation. We may get better background checks and Congress is exposed for the craven servants of the 1% they are.

There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.--Thornton Wilder

[ Parent ]
Good news from Michigan regarding Senate (2.00 / 5)
Rep. Peters Announces Michigan Senate Run
Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) announced that he will run for the Senate in 2014, a widely expected move that gives Democrats a strong candidate in the race to fill retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin's seat, the Washington Post reported.

We are defending more seats in 2014 than the Republicans are. Lots of the folks running would have been elected in the 2008 wave election on Barack Obama's coattails.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

Will there be a strong candidate running against Walker? (2.00 / 4)
It would seem that even mainstream R's would start to think about his ability to govern the state in a balanced way.

Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

[ Parent ]
We have no one who has tossed their hat in the ring. (2.00 / 4)
Probably no one wants to put a target on their back so early in the election cycle.

I am going to guess that Senator Kathleen Vinehout, who ran in the recall primary, might take another shot at it. The problem is that she is up for re-election in 2014 for her senate seat and we need her there, also:

Kathleen Vinehout: Dairy Farmer, College Professor, State Senator

Kathleen Vinehout, 53, came to politics relatively late in her career after spending 10 years running the family dairy farm and the 10 years before that teaching health administration to college students.

In her first run for public office, Kathleen was elected in 2006 to the state Senate from a large, mostly rural district in the western part of the state. She was re-elected in 2010 and is serving her second four-year term.

I met her at a gathering of Wisconsin liberals last year that our friend bleeding heart dragged me to.

That's the kind of person we need ... a good, solid Democrat with rural roots.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
Hot enough for you? (2.00 / 4)
NASA Video: Global temperatures since 1884
The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880, according to NASA scientists. The finding continues a trend in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000.

Watch what has happened since 1970.

h/t Mnemosyne and Climate Central

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

Maryland Repeals the Death Penalty (2.00 / 5)
O'Malley Signs Death Penalty Repeal
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) signed a bill Thursday repealing the state's death penalty, CNN reported. The legislation, a top priority for O'Malley, will take effect on Oct. 1.

"Maryland has effectively eliminated a policy that is proven not to work. Evidence shows that the death penalty is not a deterrent, it cannot be administered without racial bias, and it costs three times as much as life in prison without parole," the governor's office said in a statement.

The article mentioned that O'Malley is a "top 2016 presidential contender". I did not realize that.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

Quite a turnaround since 2004 (2.00 / 5)
Poll: Americans More Concerned About Trading Liberties For Tough Anti-Terror Laws
61 percent of Americans said "they are more concerned about the government enacting new anti-terrorism policies that restrict civil liberties compared to 31 percent who say they are more concerned about the government failing to enact strong new anti-terrorism policies," according to the poll.

When George W. Bush was president, people scared spitless because of terrorism had little interest in civil liberties. The PATRIOT Act, stripping the rights of Americans, passed the U.S. Senate 99 to 1. In 2004, a Gallup Poll showed "only one-quarter of Americans (26%) believe the Patriot Act goes too far in restricting people's civil liberties in order to fight terrorism."

Hmmm. I wonder what has changed about "government" in that time frame.  

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) wants to try again to fix the filibuster. (2.00 / 5)
Jeff Merkley Escalates Push For Filibuster Reform
The Senate's leading supporter of filibuster reform is back at it, declaring in an email to supporters late Wednesday that the modest rules changes enacted this January has "failed" and that real reform is urgently needed.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is teaming up with the liberal advocacy group Democracy For America to build public awareness of filibuster abuse and court supporters for reform.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

Smartypants has an interesting article re presidential power..... (2.00 / 5)

Is President Obama a leader?

The argument many of us make about this is the one President Obama made...its time to hold the Republicans accountable! But I think its just as important that we stand back for a minute and ask what it is people mean by "leadership."
Its only natural that when people are so used to the power of dominance that they would dismiss the reality of the power of partnership. Its why we so often hear Obama criticized as weak and naive.

But history tells us that all of the battles won by the left in this country have been based on a partnership model of power...enough people finally spoke up in ways that couldn't be ignored. We see that in the battle for civil rights, unions, women's suffrage, anti-war, etc.

I think its time the left in this country began to recognize that feeding in to the power of dominance is not conducive to our concerns and is an abdication of democracy at its roots. In other words, its time we took Obama up on his offer to lead by partnership with us. As he said so often in the campaign..."we are the one's we've been waiting for."

I'm probably quoting to much, but this paragraph is worth remembering....

I would posit though, that Barack Obama is the first modern day president who is attempting to utilize the power of partnership. More commonly its been civil rights, labor, anti-war movement leaders who've embraced that kind of leadership to bring pressure from outside the system. That's why this quote from Michelle Obama about what her husband is doing has always fascinated me.

"Barack is not a politician first and foremost. He's a community activist exploring the viability of politics to make change."

In other words, he's exploring the possibility of the power of partnership to make change from inside the system...that's his way of providing leadership.

Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

The Irony, it burns (2.00 / 4)
A master of facilitation and negotiation is thrown into a situation where his hitherto successful method of problem solving is never going to work, no matter how good he is at it.

Let there be light. Then let there be a cat, a cocktail, and a good book.

[ Parent ]
Timothy Egan, in the NYT (2.00 / 5)

House of Un-Representatives

Obama may be doomed to be a reactive president in his second term, with even the most common-sense proposals swatted down because, well - if he's for it, Republicans will have to be against it. What could be a signature achievement, immigration reform, faces quicksand in the House. But a gerrymander is good for only a decade or so. Eventually, demography and destiny will catch up with a Congress that refuses to do the people's bidding.

Only a "decade or so"......I'll always wonder what his presidency could have accomplished.

Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

[ Parent ]
Me too, princesspat (2.00 / 4)
Right now it feels wasted. But I think that may be us falling into the gloom and doom I am seeing all over the Internets these days. I opened up a couple of news sites and I depressed just reading the headlines.

People are already writing off the next 4 years based on the last 2 years but there are a lot of things that we can't predict.

For example, we just need 17 seats to take back the House of Representatives. If there were a ground swell of anger from the electorate about the direction that the country is going with a do-less-than-nothing congress, that could happen. It is entirely possible that the Republicans will overstep in a major way that will shine a white hot light on them and turn people against them, even in gerrymandered districts.

Maybe we should not try to predict the future but instead work to form it. In 2010, the Republicans took over many state governments, including my own, in a low turn out midterm election. They did some things that were bad for their constituents and they are frantically trying to put lipstick on their pig records. We can undo a lot of 2014 at the state level with high turnouts and dedicated grassroots. The Pennsylvania teaparty governor is very unpopular and Joe Sestak may run. The Ohio teaparty governor is unpopular, the Michigan teaparty governor is unpopular. Wisconsin's teaparty governor does not poll above 50% so he is beatable with the right candidate. I think that people in Florida still despise Rick Scott. So the states that have gubernatorial elections will very likely have high turnout. Can we turn that into 17 more House seats? Maybe ... maybe not. But if we can fix the statehouses we can go a long way to setting the stage for 2016 when demographics will offset some of the gerrymandering.

And even if President Obama is stuck legislatively for the next 4 years, he has a long list of accomplishments from the 111th Congress and things he was able to do with executive orders. He can still form the federal courts if they can find a way to fix the filibuster.

I'm not ready to give up.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
Don't. (2.00 / 5)
I'm not ready to give up.

(I know you won't.) As an old queer I have no doubts about Obama's place in the history of LGBT civil rights. Whatever else he fails to accomplish, the shift in national thinking about DOMA and marriage equality which he nudged forward will always be to his credit.

And no Republican (and not every Democrat) would have called Jason Collins with such a heartening message of support (not to mention the tweet from FLOTUS), and that's just the latest small example of many. :-)

There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

[ Parent ]
On this: "history of LGBT civil rights" (2.00 / 4)
It really boils down to "civil rights" ... without qualification. Because that is how it should be ... without qualification.

There are still a lot of battles to be fought: ENDA for example. But the ground has been broken, the seeds have been planted and it will be nearly impossible to stop what has started growing. When DOMA is declared unconstitutional, all states will have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and that will be another success for human rights.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
Andrew Sullivan and John Favaeru (2.00 / 3)

Leading From Below

The president and the Congress are responsible for the decisions that this country makes or doesn't make. But as citizens, so are we. We can complain about what's happening in Washington for the next year, or the next four years, or the next 10 years, or we can do something about it. We can make sure that young woman's voice isn't lost in a cacophony of ads and lobbying and primary challenges. Whether or not we support this president's agenda, we can rise to the challenge he laid out on the night of his reelection:

"The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America's never been about what can be done for us. It's about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That's the principle we were founded upon."

Obama's Leadership: Power With, Not Power Over

The trouble right now is that a certain narrative is over. It began with the 2000 election, continued with 9/11 and a dubiously legitimate president marching the country into two deeply divisive and disastrously costly wars, trashing the country's hard and soft power, and wrecking the government's balance sheet before leaving his successor with the worst recession since the 1930s. Obama was elected to heal that gaping wound. And he has: one war is over, the other winding down; torture is over; alone among Western countries, the US economy is slowly, slowly returning to health - its rebound cramped by spending discipline. Obama's re-election also cemented a deep social shift: we are now emphatically a multicultural country that celebrates that fact. Latinos and gays are part of the American spectrum. These are profound changes in five short years. And many seem ready now to relax and see his re-election as the end of the central narrative of the 21st Century so far. Hence the difficulty of leading from below today.

You want more from him? Get off your asses and make him and the Congress do it. We're a republic, not a benevolent dictatorship. And we remain lucky to have such a sane, stable, no-drama pragmatist to marshall the forces we can muster. But without us? He is head of state and not much more


Thanks for your thoughts Jan. You are in good company!

Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

[ Parent ]
Good points from Andrew Sullivan. (2.00 / 3)
Bush did so much damage that most of us felt that it would take a generation to fix it. With the right leadership, President Obama's, we seem to be making great progress towards that goal. The "soft power" that the United States had is mostly repaired with the Bush "I am the deciderer" view of the world replaced by the presidents reaching out to all countries and peoples. His global popularity is very high and gives pause to petty dictators who might want to test our resolve.

I only have one quibble with Sully's commentary ... that we need to make President Obama "do something". President Obama is doing every damn thing he can. When people say "make him and Congress do it" they fall into the false meme of "both sides do it". I call bullshit on that. Our inability to do anything to move forward in significant ways lays at the feet of Congress. Period.

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
The problem, of course, is that a partnership requires willing partners. (2.00 / 4)
Until and unless the Republicans show a willingness to put county above party, President Obama has no partners. He can cajole, he can threaten, he can talk until he is out of breath. But he can't make the Republicans want to be partners in the governing of our country.

The Republicans have run and won on obstruction for two election cycles in a row, 2010 and 2012. Can they keep doing it? If the president can patiently work to convince people that the partnership model is the correct approach, maybe obstruction will fail.  

Words have meaning. Our words will reflect what is in our souls.

[ Parent ]
A US military plane crashed in Kyrgyzstan today. (2.00 / 3)
Reports differ on whether it was a refueling plane or cargo.

A U.S. military cargo plane crashed Friday near the border of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, according to Pentagon and Central Command officials.

It was not immediately clear how many people were on board.

Reuters quoted an official from Kyrgyzstan's Emergencies Ministry as saying the aircraft had "caught fire in the air and crashed."

This on top of the crash Monday of a 747 contract cargo plane crashing on take-off in Afghanistan. There is video at this link, which I will not be able to watch.

The 747 is bigger than a military C-17, but isn't configured for as much cargo capacity. Also the C-17 can use shorter runways, and has pretty much unlimited range due to in-flight refueling ability. 747 as owned by private companies cannot be refueled in flight. They have to have ALL the fuel they need on board at take-off, which is another thing that reduces their potential cargo capacity. The extra weight can also cause problems on take-off, in particular with shorter runways.

At this point it isn't clear the cause of the Afghanistan crash. Taliban claimed "credit" but it isn't verified.  

Love anyway.


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