THE FIRST FAMILY
Today’s holiday is for celebrating all of the US Presidents, but, I dedicate this post to President Barack Obama, the 44th President and the first African-American President of the United States. When we first met Barack Obama, he was delivering a memorable speech at the Democratic Convention. It was a great speech that was delivered quite effectively. We knew that this attractive Democrat would/could have a significant place in the Party. Little did we know that Barack would quickly seek the highest office in the land. His campaign blazed new trails and showed us how, the “little people” can use a grassroots inspired to get a win for their champion who later anointed himself, “The Warrior of the Middle-Class.” The issues of the poor and “very poor” are always on his mind unlike the Republican Party!
It has been hard for our president. I think for the first time in his life, Barack Obama personally experienced the ugliness of racism in America. Heretofore, this smart bi-racial man had lived a life without overt racism, as far as I know. Barack’s very birth was attacked in a campaign whose most ardent attacker was a so-called “birther” and real estate mogul from New York who failed in his bid to run for the nomination as a Republican for the office Barack Obama now enjoys. The 112th Congress had began with an announcement that Republicans in The Congress would wage a campaign to make Barack a one-term President. Those marching orders came from sour, Republican and “Poor-Johnny-One-Note,” Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader of the Senate:
President Obama tried in vain to negotiate with the Republican leaders in The Congress as previous white presidents had done. They departed from history and blocked his every step, bringing the government twice to the brink of shutdown. The people did not approve of this entrenched gridlock. [Today that Congress has the distinction of having the lowest approval-rating of any Congress in history: "10". This Congress has been dubbed a "do-nothing Congress."] Slow to overreach, President Obama could not let Congress’ inaction leave us without governance. He decided to use all of the Executive Powers given to him by The US Constitution to advance his agenda and to keep the country running for all the people. In small measure, this blog has spoken of the accomplishments of President Obama. The economy is steadily improving and the so-called “job creators” are beginning to hire. The Republican primary has shown us that their candidates have no answers to our problems. We witness them resorting—as they always do—to the political footballs of social division: abortion, race, religion, gays, etc. I think that Barack Obama deserves a second term to finish cleaning up the mess, (e.g., 2 wars) of the previous president, to see the success of his own agenda and to secure a distinguished and exemplary place in history. This November 6, 2012 is the day all fair-minded Americans will get a chance to say, “Yes, President Obama. I vote for your re-election because it is the right and American thing to do. ‘Changing horses in midstream is not a good idea.’ Be our president for another 4 years!” —GoodOleWoody
Swearing in of President Barack H. Obama with Mrs. Obama at his side.
THE HUFFINGTON POST
By Sam Stein and Arthur Delaney
WASHINGTON — The looming expiration of federal unemployment benefits raises the question of whether Democratic lawmakers bungled the debate.
Though Congress can still act retroactively, Democrats‘ goal had been to pass an extension of the benefits before Dec. 28, when they are set to expire. The administration and allies on the Hill tried to attach a provision to the budget deal passed in mid-December. But by the time they began engaging the fight, few Democrats seemed particularly attentive and Republicans were more than comfortable running out the clock.
Now, with Congress in recess, long-term unemployment insurance will come to an end for 1.3 million Americans, potentially costing 240,000 jobs, according to the White House‘s Council of Economic Advisers. Was it inevitable? Or was it a case of political mismanagement?
By Timothy Noah
President Obama observed, in a December 4 speech, that “a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility” are “the defining challenge of our time.” This seemingly self-evidentstatement prompted many people—not all of them conservative—to argue that all this talk about income inequality is overblown. They happen to be wrong, but the inequality backlash has gathered sufficient strength that it’s worth reviewing their arguments.
…President Obama’s insistence on talking about inequality is not only apt; it is, given the especially direturn this trend has taken during his presidency, pretty brave. The problem was one-third of a century in the making and won’t be halted overnight. But isn’t it time to start trying?
THE LAST WORD
PHIL ROBERTSON’S FANTASY OF THE SOUTH
By Morgan Whitaker
Tea Party member John Wallmeyer watches results from the Virginia Governor’s race at an election night gathering of supporters of Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli Nov. 5, 2013 in Richmond, Va.WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY
A pair of polls show Americans are largely unhappy with both the GOP and the tea party wing of the party.
Tea party favorability has fallen to an all-time low according a Gallup poll released Wednesday, which found a slight majority (51%) of Americans have an unfavorable view of the tea party. The poll finds 30% of Americans feel positively about the tea party, down from a high of 39% in 2011. Republicans are most likely to support the movement, with 58% seeing it favorably, and unsurprisingly Democrats overwhelmingly dislike the tea party – 74% to 10%.
Moderates aren’t too keen on the movement either. While the split is not as stark as with Democrats, moderates are more likely than even the general public to say they don’t favor the tea party (54%) and only 23% say they do favor it.
It turns out moderates tend to prefer the Democratic Party to the Republican Party as well. A secondGallup poll released Wednesday finds Democrats maintain a 10-point lead over Republicans in terms of favorability with the American public. While moderates are currently evenly split on the Democratic Party, with 47% viewing it positively and another 47% viewing it negatively, only 27% of moderates have positive views of the Republican Party right now.
American Legislative Exchange Council
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a 501(c)(3) American organization, composed of politically conservative state legislators. According to its website, ALEC “works to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public.”
ALEC provides a forum for state legislators and private sector members to collaborate on model bills—draft legislation that members can customize for communities and introduce for debate in their own state legislatures. Approximately 200 such bills become law each year. ALEC has produced model bills on issues such as reducing corporate regulation and taxation, tightening voter identification rules, and promoting gun rights. ALEC also serves as a networking tool among state legislators, allowing them to research conservative policies implemented in other states.
Since 2011, ALEC’s political activities has received considerable scrutiny by both the media and liberal groups. The New York Times reported that special interests have “effectively turn[ed] ALEC’s lawmaker members into stealth lobbyists, providing them with talking points, signaling how they should vote and collaborating on bills affecting hundreds of issues like school vouchers and tobacco taxes.” Bloomberg Businessweek stated, “Part of ALEC’s mission is to present industry-backed legislation as grass-roots work.” The Guardian described ALEC as “a dating agency for Republican state legislators and big corporations, bringing them together to frame rightwing legislative agendas in the form of ‘model bills’.” Several liberal groups, including Common Cause, have challenged its tax-exempt status.
By Travis Waldron. 12-06-13
FIFA World Cup 2014 logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The draw for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil completed this morning, and on first glance, it couldn’t have gone much worse for the United States Men’s National Team. The U.S. was drawn into Group G with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana, the first of which is among the favorites to win the entire tournament and the third of which has eliminated the United States from the previous two World Cups.
With all four teams ranked, according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index, in the top 24 in the world (Germany is 4th, Portugal 16th, the U.S. 17th, and Ghana 24th), this isn’t quite the Group of Death, since the absurdly-drawn Group B, which features Spain (3), Chile (5), and the Netherlands (9) (along with No. 53 Australia), and Group D’s meshing of Uruguay (9), England (10), and Italy (13) are both tougher at the top. But it won’t be easy.
On top of that, because of its position in the draw, the U.S. has to travel to Manaus, a city in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, for the second game of the tournament against Portugal on June 22. American coach Jurgen Klinsmann this week said that Manaus was theone place he wanted to avoid, given that it is in a separate time zone from the rest of the tournament sites, boasts a muggy, tropical climate that could wear down players, and also requires longer travel than any other site.