Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’

People Acting Stupid About Obama, Again

28 May 2016

President Obama was in Japan the past couple days, and he visited the city of Hiroshima and made a speech.  I’ve read it, it’s here on the White House website.

I find it troublesome that in the past two days I’ve seen no less than four separate posts on Facebook that make the claim that President Obama somehow apologized for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.  “Likes” and comments from people I respect show that they apparently believe the claim of an apology.

It find it very sad that otherwise intelligent people just blindly pass along this tripe.  The speech was televised, and a transcript is available to read.  There isn’t anything in the speech that even resembles an apology.  Yet what I can only assume is blind hatred and unthinking loyalty to conservatism or republicanism or something equally stupid makes these people believe the claim.

The so-called “apology tour” that Obama supposedly embarked on at the start of his Presidency has been debunked over and over, and still unthinking “conservatives” cling to it as an article of faith.  I asked a couple of them to show me video or audio that supports the apology tour claim, and they couldn’t.  Debunk sites are “biased”, I’m told.

It’s pathetic that people give such blind credence to stuff like this.  A couple months ago, I posted on Facebook that people really should fact check stuff before posting it.  A guy who I respect for his service and his intelligence, but is conservative, shot back “Who are you to tell people what to post?”.  This kind of response is sad in that I would assume that people would want to be truthful, but I guess that the ability to repost stuff without caring if it is true or not, just so long as it hurts the President or someone else politically, it more important than integrity.

For myself, I would rather not be led by the nose by any media or “leader”, and keep my integrity.

President Obama and Marriage Equality Today

9 May 2012

The President took a leap forward today with his remarks supporting marriage equality.

I suspect that it was “ramped up to” by the remarks of the VP and another cabinet member earlier in the week.

Of course, supporting remarks do not implement policy. It will take his reelection, and more elections over the next couple years, to remove the blight of marriage equality bans that have been passed in many states.

But it will happen eventually.

Republicans and the Payroll Tax

21 December 2011

I think that the Republicans *want* ordinary Americans to have higher taxes, want the economy in the trash, and only want this to be able to take the Presidency in 2012 so they can run wild(er).

The process associated with this effort, at least on the Senate side, worked. Democrats put forth a bill, the Republicans added some things, both sides took less than they wanted, and the thing passed.

I imagine that the Republicans hope that Americans will forgot this, and the other stuff they have blocked, impeded, and otherwise fracked up. If Obama and the Democrats will grow a pair, keep them, and keep hammering the Republicans, then not only will Obama get another term, but the House might be retaken.

I hope so.

The Debt Ceiling, and Governing

15 July 2011

The problem with the debt ceiling is a perfect example of why the Republicans have no moral authority to govern. First of all, under the Constitution, the government *has* to pay it’s bills. Period. That means the debt ceiling has to be raised. There is no question about this.

But the Republicans show yet again that they are conservatives first and Americans somewhere down the line. They have shown repeatedly since 2008 that they refuse to participate in governing, all in an effort to limit President Obama to one term. The constant no votes, constant fillibusters, these are all indicative.

Their antics are continued with the debt ceiling. Now they are putting up proposals that allow them to be constantly critical of the President for doing what he is supposed to be doing, following the Constitution. Or they make demands that have no negotiation possible. Eric Cantor rushed to the microphone and told a direct lie about the President of the United States, after one negotiating session.

The Republicans managed to get control of the House by fear-mongering and lying. They continue to lie and obfuscate. They have no integrity. The American people need to hold the Republicans to account both now (send some emails, people), and more importantly, in the 2012 election.

The Republicans refuse to govern, they do not deserve to be in office.

American Exceptionalism

15 July 2011

I have seen a promo on MSNBC a number of times; I usually don’t pay a lot of attention to them. But one with Chris Matthews this evening struck a chord with me. In the promo, Matthews says that the opponents of the President claim that the President does not love American (which is not true, of course), but that the very fact that Barak Obama could be elected President of the United States is American Exceptionalism.

This is so very true, and is a powerful thing. Think of most countries, even the peaceful ones. Britain, France, Russia. Or South Africa, or Japan. There isn’t one of those countries where a person who was not in the ethnic majority has been elected to a leadership position (Peru, of all places, is the only major country I could think of, with Alberto Fujimori, who was a Peruvian of Japanese descent being elected President there).

But in America, it happened, and in a decisive way. It is a classic statement of American Exceptionalism that we can elect an ethnic minority, without bloodshed.

Now, clearly, there are those who object. Aside from the un-American attacks by conservatives on Obama (and Clinton before him), with the only objective being to attempt to de-legitimize their very Presidencies, and people who have an irrational objection to Obama, there are honest Republicans who disagree with the President on policy grounds. But none of those has gone nuts and taken up arms or anything like that.

So as I’ve said before, I am really proud of the United States for electing Barack Obama as President of the United States (and I’m proud to say I voted for the man). His election is American Exceptionalism, in a very good way.

*Still* Not Leaving Afghanistan

23 June 2011

With all the fervent speculation today about what the President was going to announce about Afghanistan, I just couldn’t see him getting us where we should be – out.

I’m sorry to say I was not disappointed. So we are pulling 10K troops out (that’s less than 10% of the total force) by the end of the year, seven months away. That’s not very many, and not very fast.

What I keep going back to is, what the heck are we fighting for? What’s the real mission? We still do not have one. More than 1000 of our troops have died there, and thousands more have been wounded to one degree or the other. We are also spending billions of dollars there. To what end? What resources do we need there? Is there even a fat chance that the country will turn into a democracy. I’m not seeing it.

And we will be committed to pouring more money into the place over the next couple years anyway. A lot for “security”, to keep the Taliban penned in wherever they are.

I’ve said before, we have no national interest there. Just because Bush committed us to an unjust and probably illegal war was no reason for President Obama to continue it. Let’s get out and cut the losses in blood and treasure. There is no victory there.

Tim Pawlenty is Just Another Republican Liar, It Seems

24 May 2011

I’ve heard good things about Tim Pawlenty. Enough that I could vote for him for President? Not as of yet. So I was glad to see the opinion piece he wrote in USA Today. It’s here if you want to read it.

The title of the article is “Real change is about telling hard truths”. He has a couple other lines in there about truth as well, such as “I’m going to try something a little unusual in politics. I’m just going to tell the truth.”.

The problem is, the majority of his article isn’t about his personal vision, or policies he might implement. Instead, he tells lies, and half-truths.

A couple examples:

In the third year of Barack Obama’s presidency, unemployment is at unbearable levels, gas and food prices are skyrocketing and federal government spending is out of control. “ObamaCare” is unconstitutional, and it is already driving up health costs — not reducing them.

He is tying the President to unemployment and high gas and food prices. Well, it bears remembering that high unemployment was created by Bush policies, including outsourcing to other countries. Employment has been rising since after Obama took office, in spite of the Republicans in the Senate blocking and impeding new legislation at every opportunity. Even though Obama policy is working, it could have worked better if the Republicans had cooperated a bit. Gas and food prices are related – oil is high due largely to speculators, which were created by Republican deregulation under Bush. Food prices are much higher largely due to oil prices. It’s not the temporary drilling moratorium (which was on deep-water new projects, BTW). The “ObamaCare” line is not relevant. Also, the health insurance reform law didn’t drive a single price up; it was something the insurance companies managed to do all on their own using existing law!

So in a single, opening paragraph, he manages three real lies to several postulated lies by the President. And this from a candidate that wants to tell the truth?

So it seems like Pawlenty is just another Republican that wants to get elected by showing how much he is against President Obama. Sorry, guys, but you have to have some reason to be elected, and being the anti-Obama isn’t a reason.

The basic problem with Republicans in general and conservatives in particular is that they support business interests over the interests of the vast majority of Americans. Cuts are made to Head Start, but not to oil company subsidies. And these guys want to lead?

Will The Birthers Be Satisfied? Probably Not.

28 April 2011

I watched the President on the news this morning after the White House released the “long form” birth certificate for President Obama. I am saddened that he even had to. As I have said before, if you believe that President Obama is not a citizen, you are nuts. I will add that if you use the crazed “birther” theory for political gain (fund raising, etc.) then you are sad and pathetic.

A strange thing related to this played out on Lawrence O’Donnell this evening. Orly Tate, who is a birther leader, was asked directly if she accepted the released certificate, she clearly does not, and wants to bring up other issues. So I think that hard-core birthers will not be satisfied by this.

I’ve said before – birtherism is stupid and sad.

Here Is A Good Reason For Pell Grants

20 April 2011

The President spoke today at a college in northern Virgina. He asked for a show of hands of how many people there had gone to college on a Pell Grant; there were a fair number.

Then he said:

Scholarships helped make it possible for me and for Michelle to go to college. It’s fair to say I wouldn’t be President if it hadn’t been for somebody helping me be able to afford college.

I couldn’t get a Pell Grant (they called them something else back in the ’70s), but they have helped many, many people make it through college. If they can help make a President, I can’t think of a better reason to keep them, and maybe even increase them.

President Obama’s Budget Ideas

15 April 2011

I reviewed the President’s speech yesterday at George Washington University, and here is my commentary.

The speech, BTW, is on the White House website.

An observation. The Republican plan introduced last week leaves defense spending unchanged, eliminates Medicare in the next 10 years, cuts taxes more for rich people, and has a number of cuts that target things that conservatives have traditionally hated; mainly things that benefit ordinary people.

The President, as opposed to the Republicans who pitch their plan as “modifying” or “privatizing” existing programs, showed real impacts to people. He said that 50 million Americans would lose their health insurance. In 10 years, a senior citizen (and oh my, I’ll be one of those) will pay $6400 *more* each year for Medicare coverage than is paid now. The very rich will get hundreds of thousands in tax cuts. The Republicans are trying to fix the budget problems (with deficits that were CAUSED by the Republican George W. Bush, let us remember) on the backs of the lower and middle class. And yet they yell “class warfare” at the drop of a tax rate.

There are secondary arguments to this. Why do the very rich pay much less in taxes, and yet do not create sorely needed jobs? Health care, and the insurance it takes to pay for it, ought to be universal, and not part of a for-profit system.

The President, in his speech, took a high-level approach to the budget. He pointed out that 65%+ of the federal budget is Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and defense. Family-oriented programs are 20%. 12% is all the stuff for NPR, Planned Parenthood, etc. Oh, and 3% for paying interest on the national debt. According to the President, all of the Republican budget cuts have this far come from the 12%.

The President said that defense has to be subject to the same cutting that the rest of the budget is. As I have been in the defense industry pretty much continuously since 1981, I know there are cuts that can be made there – big cuts. I suggest looking hard at defense subcontract pass-throughs as one option. I also think that we need to be out of Iraq NOW, and out of Afghanistan NOW.

The President wants to lower health care costs to affect Medicare and Medicaid. Bravo! Let’s get the huge amount of fraud out; more inspectors here is an investment with real return. Same, by the way, with unpaid taxes. I like the IRS about as much as anyone, but there are a lot of unpaid and owed taxes that need to be pursued and collected.

Closing tax loopholes for the rich, but are not used by the middle class – right on. But this might be tempered by giving some tax credits back for people who actually create small business jobs, since that helps get the economy back on track.

“But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. We can’t afford it. And I refuse to renew them again.”. Right on, Mr. President. Hold that line!

“In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90 percent of all working Americans actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each.”. I wish he had been hammering this during the last election! I put a chart on my blog showing this erosion.

The President spent a lot of time talking about bipartisanship. That is going to be the real problem here. The country has problems, without a doubt. Most of the problems were directly, and solely caused by Republicans (in spite of them grumbling about being called out about it, it’s not done enough). Yet they do not want to participate unless their ideas are the only ones considered (remember the first two years of the Obama Administration?).

So I hope the Republicans grow up a little and play ball, and practice compromise. But if they do not… the Democrats in general, and the President in particular, need to call them out forcefully and constantly. Don’t let them spin or lie. And frankly, if it gets to that, use the Republican non-cooperation to take back the house and strengthen the Senate, and them press on getting the economy back on track.

Most of all, don’t let the Republicans fix the problems caused by Bush and company on the backs of the middle class.

President Obama and the Tone of the Budget Debate

14 April 2011

I did not get to listen to the full speech by President Obama yesterday at George Washington University. I am going to read the transcript today and digest it.

I have heard a number of sound bites, though, and one thing I am glad about is the tone of some of the remarks. It sounds like the President has once again grown a pair, and is at least thinking about fighting for the American people against the Republicans and Big Business.

When he got into the fight in Summer 2010, the polls for the Democrats soared. If he had kept it up (and also, if the Democrats in Congress had done something legislatively), then I think that the 2010 election results would have been very different. The President failed to show leadership except in short intervals, and the election results showed that.

I hope he stays engaged now. He is more of a President of the entire United States than any of the potential 2012 Republicans, and he has to be out there showing his skills as a leader. This is good for both his 2012 campaign, and good for the American people.

President Obama Comes Out Swinging. Finally.

11 September 2010

I have said here before, I am not a Democrat. I used to be Republican, but the increasing (largely religious-driven) rightward movement of the Republican Party caused me to drop it and become independent. While there are some things that are fundamental planks of the Democratic Party that bother me, I find that the negative overall impact of the Republican Party far outweigh the much smaller negative impact of the Democrats.

There is also the more recent Republican actions since the last election. I voted for Obama because I believed that the country had fundamental problems. The Republicans under Bush had started wars, destroyed careers, lied, eroded our civil rights, and generally did not help the vast majority of Americans. On the other hand, Obama thought there were problems, and had plans to fix them. The election was highlighted by a series of worsening economic problems that started and became worse during the Bush Administration.

Since Obama was elected, the Republicans have consistently lied about him and his policies. “Death panels”, his religion, his citizenship, all of these are repeated by the Republican Robots endlessly. Then, the obstruction. Constant holds on nominees, endless filibusters, and block voting against anything that the President supports. This last is the worst, since even when what the President puts forth was a Republican idea, the Republicans don’t support it, since that would make the President and the Democrats look good, and the Republicans hate that worse than they like helping the country. So the Democrats supported both President G. H. W. Bush and George W. Bush (that’s bi-partisanship), while the Republicans fought Presidents Clinton and Obama tooth and nail (that’s not bi-partisanship).

So in the face of the constant lies, I was glad this week when the President came out swinging. He had several major speeches, and then a press conference today, where he specifically called out Republican policies and how they negatively impacted the country, and contrasted those to his, and how they overcame the Republican policies, and reversed them. He did very well during these events.

The progress is not fast (but then, it took Bush and the Republicans eight years to dig the hole we are in, and it will take a while to get out).

The President also has a lot “press momentum” to overcome. An example: I heard a report on MSNBC Tuesday. An economic report had come out. I do not remember the report or the exact numbers, but it was something along the line of “growth of 5.5% was expected, but 3.5% was achieved”. The reporter then stated that it was bad news for the President, and that it was “another negative number”. What? it was GROWTH, but the idiot MSNBC reporter acted like it was contraction or loss.

So I hope the President keeps calling the Republicans out for lying, and to remind ever American that it was Republican policies that caused the Great Recession.

I found this graph on The Washington Post blog of Ezra Klein. Remember two things: there was a budget surplus when the Republicans took over in 2001, and it’s gone now. Also, the huge deficits are mostly the result of the spending policies of George W Bush, to include a huge tax cut for those making more than $250K per year. In the meantime, here is what happened to median income over the same time period.

Remember this chart when you go vote, and also remember that it was Obama who put in place a tax cut for the 95% of us that make less than $250K.

Obama A Muslim? Not If You Think For Just A Second

20 August 2010

So the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released a poll, one question of which was what the pollees thought about what religion President Obama adheres to.

Last year, 10% of the people polled thought he was Muslim, this time, it’s nearly 20%. While most of the people who believe this are Republicans, a number of Democrats also believe this.

I just wonder, where are the brains these people are supposed to have? Do any of these people remember the controversy about Obamas pastor, the Rev Wright, of the Trinity United Church of Christ (this is a Christian church, you know). It was on Obama’s website, and he has made several statements to the effect that he is Christian. So why do people believe otherwise?

I’m sure the right-wing radicals don’t help. Rush Limbaugh referred to Obama as “Imam Obama” (let’s note for the record that Limbaugh is lying when he states this, and he doesn’t get to use sarcasm as a defense). Franklin Graham, who apparently does not have 1% of his father’s brains or integrity, said yesterday that he believes that Obama was “born a Muslim”, which is just a load of horse crap (religion does not get passed via DNA).

But the real problem is that some people are deluded into believing that the President’s religion is something that it is not.

Just for the record, the Constitution requires that there be no religious test for holding public office. I’m not entirely sure that a candidates religion should not be disclosed at all.

President Obama’s Speech This Evening

16 June 2010

I listened to the President’s speech this evening.

I appreciated the update on the BP oil spill situation.

I was very disappointed, in that I had really hoped that he would announce that finally, after many years, the United States would have a true energy policy. He talked about energy independence, but that’s a goal, not a policy, or a plan to get there.

I feel very strongly that since it is easy to import oil, and dig coal out of the ground, that’s what Administration after Administration has skated along with that as “policy”.

I would have hoped that since the disastrous BP spill, it would have spurred at least the definition of a framework. Since none was forthcoming, I urge President Obama to define one.

I humbly make the following suggestions:

  • Start a Manhattan Project to improve battery and solar cell efficiency. Look to use batteries and solar cells for providing distributed power for houses and local-travel vehicles. Local-travel vehicles use a hell of a lot of gas, but many or most travel less then 40 miles a day. Scatter solar cells on every house, wired into the power grid.
  • Use big power plants that burn fossil fuels primarily for big offices and factories.
  • Convert oil-fueled power plants to natural gas.
  • Convert more cars (medium/long range use) to natural gas.
  • Build huge wind farms. The Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, Kansas, and Nebraska are perfect (note, don’t listen to bogus arguments that they have to have big power lines to connect to the grid, that has to be done for a conventional power plant).
  • Build several huge solar farms. The Mohave, the Dakotas, Utah, the plains would be a good place. How about offshore, maybe floating?
  • We have the capability to convert our economy to become energy independent. There might not be as much place for oil there, but if we can get oil use down to the point where we don’t buy the stuff from overseas, then we will be ahead as a country.

    But this is the perfect example of what a national government is supposed to do. Make a policy, enforce it with legislation, and get started. The security of our nation might depend on it, and better to start now than get into a situation where gas is $8 a gallon because Saudi Arabia decides to sell to China instead.

    Second Amendment Fear-Mongering

    15 May 2010

    This past week, I’ve seen a couple examples of fear-mongering related to the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

    This evening, I saw a report of Sarah Palin addressing the National Rifle Association (NRA). She went on for a bit about how President Obama and Nancy Pelosi really really really want to collect every private gun and every bit of ammo in the country.

    Now, the reality is that Obama supports gun rights and ammunition sales. The supposed attack on gun rights has as much validity as the supposed attacks on religion that have been occurring, and the same question needs to be asked – how many guns have been collected this week, or this month? The answer is the same as how many people have been stopped from going to church this past week – NONE. Ms. Palin was just making the stuff up, pulling it out of her butt, lying through her teeth.

    One thing I like to point out to my conservative friends – of the past couple presidents we have had, how many of them have granted ANY new gun rights? The answer is President Obama. Not either Bush, not Ford, not Reagan. In case you were not aware, President Obama signed legislation (introduced and passed through Congress by Democrats, it should be noted) that allows firearms to be carried in National Parks. That’s a new gun right, and it came from a Democrat President and a Democrat Congress. Not Republicans.

    The other thing that prompted this post: I was at a restaurant with some work friends this past week. There were some coupons there offering a discount on admission to a gun show. That’s OK, but what caught my eye was a statement at the bottom of the coupon, in bold font: “GET YOUR GUNS AND AMMO WHILE YOU STILL CAN!”.

    That is, just frankly, stupid. This fear of President Obama has caused some people to just start making crap up. And what’s worse, otherwise intelligent people, believe it. My very cute and 2nd Amendment supporting roommate’s parents believe that Obama is looking to get any weapons he can. The fear is based on no evidence at all. and falls under the category of fear of… something. The Presidents race is my best guess.

    Michael Medved in USA Today

    28 April 2010

    I do not understand why an otherwise reputable news outlet like USA Today allows it’s space to be used for bogus attacks. The paper printed an “opinion” piece (it really should be labeled a “random, pointless attack”) by Medved, who is one of the class of insult-shouting anti-“liberal” non-thinkers.

    The piece is here.

    The article is not worth picking apart for the many odd opinions and logical fallacies. The title, “Obama isn’t radical. His party is.” is an illustration of just another “conservative” that is wrong on the basic concept of politics. His claim of “radical” really means that he sees the Democratic Party as different from his supposed conservative views. I would point out to this guy that radical is (for example) the State of Arizona, which has it’s executive and legislative branches controlled by Republicans (which are conservatives) taking a leak on the Constitution of the United States of America. Radical is his heroes Bush and Cheney and the Republican House and Senate conspiring to ram through the PATRIOT Act against Americans.

    Clean up your own radical party before trying to lecture the rest of us.

    President Obama and Same-Sex Hospital Visitation Rights

    17 April 2010

    The Obama Administration announced that rules would be promulgated that force Medicare and Medicaid hospitals to let partners of hospitalized gays visit and participate in the medical decision making process. It’s a good idea, and I am surpirsed that I have not seen much from the right in opposition yet.

    Even though this has been portrayed as an increase in gay rights, it caused me to think about the issue in a different way.

    The question I have is, why have hospitals been denying patients the right to specify who can visit them anyway? If the patient Mary Smith wants Joe Green to visit her, that should be the patients right. Likewise, if Mary wants Amanda Gray to visit, that should be Mary’s decision, not the hospitals. Sexual orientation shouldn’t have any bearing on this at all.

    Amother thing that bothers me about this concerns the couple and their situation that partially drove the Administration in this. One member of the couple fell victim to a brain hemmorage while on vacation. The partner had a properly executed medical and durable power of attorney, and no matter if they were gay or just friends, the powers of attorney shiould have been honored. Any person who was involved in this situation (it was in a Florida hospital in 2007, it’s been reported) should be fired and fined. They failed to honor a legal court order, and so should not occupy a position of trust. At the very least, those people should be shamed.

    So good for President Obama for moving forward for equal civil rights for all Americans.

    President Obama and the Space Program

    16 April 2010

    I made some comments (here) about the President cutting the programs to put us back on the Moon.

    Today the President outlined his program for the space effort. He made the argument that we had been to the Moon already (it has been more than 30 years), and that as a great nation, we should not aim for the Moon again, but should press on to Mars. I can see his point. We should already have the technology to get back to the Moon.

    But the thing I don’t know: where are we as a country with booster and space travel technology? The areas of life support and computer technology, I think we have covered.

    If we have to rely on Saturn V class rockets (i.e. brute force), then stopping at the Moon on the way and staging supplies there (or storing a cache there) would seem to make sense.

    Today on a program I was listening to, some guy (it may have been Buzz Aldren, but I am not sure) reported that there is at least one company that is developing a rocket that could go from Earth orbit to Mars in (again, I think), 39 days. Given that I have always heard that an Earth-to-Mars transit would require six+ months, 39 days would be much better.

    So if we have the technology, perhaps it would be better to go directly to an asteroid and/or Mars.

    Regardless, we, as the human race, and as Americans, need to be in space.

    The Dems Are On A Roll

    27 March 2010

    I’m not a Democrat, but I think the Dems have America’s best interests at heart more than the Republicans.

    This afternoon came the announcement that President Obama is making 14 recess appointments after Republicans have held up a large number of Presidential appointments over the past year. I guess the President got fed up and starting making the appointments.

    I have not researched this use of these “holds”, but the first time I had heard of Senators holding up Presidential appointments was back in the Clinton Administration. I noticed because the Most Embarrassing Oklahoman (TM Bill Hensley 2010) James M. Inhoff had placed holds on many Clinton appointees, in particular judicial appointments. He, of course, howled in protest when Democrats reacted in kind towards some of the Bush appointees.

    I would like to find out the history of holds used against another party. I’ll see if I can do this at some point in the near future.

    But in the meantime, I think that Obama has every right to make the recess appointments. The Republicans should not be placing hods on appointments unless they have some real reason to justify the holds.

    A New Nuclear Power Plant In Georgia, Maybe

    17 February 2010

    Today the Obama Administration announced that they will guarantee some loans to allow a new nuclear power plant to be built in Georgia, USA.

    I think this is a great thing. Loan guarantees are not expenditures by the Government (although the guarantees could become expenditures if the loans are not repaid), and so are better than grants or earmarks.

    But more importantly, the act of helping get a new nuclear power plant built is good for the country. Nuclear is not fully renewable (it is somewhat renewable via fuel purification), and it produces radioactive waste (but in far smaller quantities than a coal plant), but it is a tremendous source of electricity with no continuing production of greenhouse gases.

    It was reported today on several outlets that it has been more than 30 years since a new nuclear plant came online in the United States. That’s far too long.

    The technology for SCADA has improved tremendously in the past several decades, and the quality of the components of safety systems (pumps, pipes, etc.) has also improved in the same timeframe. That’s a bonus to ensuring a high level of safety and stability for the nuclear plants.

    I think that a great deal of our short term energy needs for transportation should be shifted to electricity – it’s something we can make here. Nuclear is relatively clean, coal is cheap and plentiful but dirty, and natural gas is another possibility. If we can convert short term transportation (cars for local travel) to electricity, we can largely eliminate imported oil.

    So kudos to the firms trying to build the new nuclear power plant, and also to the Obama Administration for guaranteeing the loans.

    Cutting the Space Program

    13 February 2010

    I think that President Obama is making a mistake by ordering that NASA cut the program to send humans back to the Moon. I think that the nation should use a Moon/Mars program to kick start an ambitious technology development program in the areas of solar and related energy development.

    And in general, space travel is cool! And inspiring.

    I didn’t think much of it when President Nixon stopped Apollo in favor of redirecting those funds to Shuttle development. And I like the Shuttle, I’ve even been to a launch (at 0400, and anyone who knows me knows it takes a lot to get me up then), and to several places to see the shuttle being ferried back to Florida. I think we should have continued the Apollo program AND the Shuttle programs.

    So we ought to be able to keep a Moon/Mars mission focus. I hope that the President and the Congress find some way to make that happen.

    The Republicans Are Not Playing, So To Heck With Them

    10 February 2010

    Tonight Rachel Maddow had a really good piece on her show. The point, that I have thought around, crystallized for me:

    The Republicans Are Not Going To Help Govern, So Frack ‘Em, And Press, Mr. President

    Rachel is smart, funny, meticulous, and thoughtful. Tonight, she had a really good comment. As an example, she used a series of Republicans and their public records to show the utter and complete hypocrisy of many of them, including one of the major embarrassments of the State of Oklahoma, James Inhoff.

    The “stimulus package” concept was originated during the last Congress of the Bush Debacle, and the effort was continued into the Obama Administration. It was passed, with most Democrats voting for it, and every single Republican voting against it! Rachel showed photos and quoted Republicans, in the basic order:

  • Senator XXX railed against and voted against the stimulus package.
  • Senator XXX praised the effect of the money from the stimulus package, in many cases taking credit for the money, when they voted against it.
  • She had at least two dozen examples of this. Republican Representatives and Senators holding up big show checks. Republican Representatives and Senators issuing statements of how well the stimulus money would benefit their districts and states. Republican Governor Jindal of Louisiana, who opposed the stimulus package on national TV during a Republican response to a speech by President Obama, actually signed his name to several of the checks to imply the money came from him, when he opposed the act that provided the money.

    This is blatant, two-faced, craven, hypocritical politicking at it’s worst.

    But it indicative of something even worse, which was Rachels point. The Republicans do not care about policy any more, they do not care about governing, or even helping to govern. They only care about defeating any proposal made by the Obama Administration and the Democrats, even if those proposals were previously supported by Republicans.

    In short, the Republicans are only interested in defeating Obama’s policies, so that they can get back in power.

    This means that the Republicans are more interested in power, than in trying to fix the problems that are present in this country, many of which they and the Bush Administration caused!

    So I have to say to President Obama, pass health insurance reform and anything else that needs to be done by simple majorities. Take good ideas from the Republicans (if they have any) and implement them (this means you get to be the grown-up in this process), but pass the legislation. Call the Republicans out loudly and with facts aplenty every time they lie. When the elections come up, go out and stuff the fact of their lies and innuendo right back down their throats, and take the fight to them.

    The American people will remember that you provided the bold leadership to make this happen.

    Republicans and Bipartisanship – More Lies

    10 February 2010

    So the President invites the House and Senate Republican leaders to the White House for a meeting on how to get some bi-partisan agreements going.

    He appeared in the White House briefing room to give a report on what happened. The President said all the right things – compromise, give and take.

    Boehner and McConnell went right out on the White House lawn and told a much different story. Both immediately started with lies. Right there on the lawn of the White House, they out and out lied! How do they keep their security clearance, if they can’t speak truth?

    Boehner said one thing in particular. He said that the House and Senate couldn’t pass the health care bill. News flash – both DID. He’s supposed to be a smart guy, you would hope, in order to be elected, and I can’t see him making such a fundamental mistake, so I am led to the conclusion that he just lied – on purpose.

    So it sounds like these two went to the White House, talked to the President, then walked outside and essentially peed on the wall of the White House. They do not have any honor.

    Trying KSM in New York: Do It!

    31 January 2010

    So President Obama is thinking about moving the trial of KSM out of New York City. I’ve said these things before, but I will say them again.

    To the Democrats: GROW A PAIR. Try the terrorists like the criminals they are. If the Republicans whine, call them to account loudly; they are not being honest or nice, so don’t be nice back. Point out that if trying terrorists is good enough for the Bush Administration, and it’s legal, then it’s good enough for the Obama Administration. Follow the Constitution. Give them a lawyer, a trial, and a sentence; execute the SOBs if called for. That’s the American Way. In fact, if the Republicans lie about you, call them out right away, and strongly. Call them liars.

    To the Republicans: You guys are craven bootlickers. If it was good enough for your sainted George Bush, then grow a pair, use some of your lobbyist money to buy some integrity, and admit that if President Obama does it, it’s still good. Stop playing politics, and start supporting the Constitution like you claim to. Terrorists are criminals, and deserve to be treated as such.

    In general, the military commissions are not the way to try civilians. And the thing is, every single terrorist caught so far is… a civilian. In America, there should be no indefinite lockup, no secret evidence. I say “should”, but Bush wanted to go the junta or Stalinist route. We can and should do better.

    President Obama, make the right choice!

    The State of the Union 2010

    28 January 2010

    I just managed to catch about half of the 2010 State of the Union speech from President Obama. I like the way that the President challenged the Republicans to work with him. I think he seemed sincere, and I hope that (1) the Democrats come a bit more together for the country, and (2) the Republicans come and make sincere contributions to legislation.

    We have real problems in this country, and the two parties need to come together in compromise.

    Pledging to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is good, letting the high-income tax cuts expire, and urging a repair of the health insurance industry were all good.

    Has Rush Limbaugh No Compassion?

    14 January 2010

    Today, Rush Limbaugh made several comments that were intended to be critical of President Obama, supposedly related to the earthquake crisis in Haiti.

    First, he commented that the President would use the crisis to increase the Presidents credibility with the black community.

    This is reprehensible behavior on Limbaugh’s part. Limbaugh is making up criticism based on no evidence (in polite circles, this is called lying). The United States (of which President Obama is the leader) MUST respond to the Haiti crisis – people are dead and dying. Limbaugh would rather cast his political attacks than show compassion.

    Limbaugh also made a completely pointless comparison to the President’s response to the earthquake versus the failed United Airlines “Underwear Bomber”. He said that the President made a public statement three days after the attempted bombing, the the next day in the case of the earthquake. This is a completely invalid and pointless comment on Limbaughs part. An incident that is completed but still under investigation, does not warrant the same speed of comment that an incident involving HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people that is still going on, and needs life-saving response NOW. How can a person (Limbaugh) be so filled with political-based hatred that he has to use the suffering and death of thousands to prop up his accusations and criticism? If the President and the Government screw up a response to a disaster, that’s fair game, but trying to imply that the President is only interested in political gain shows a lack of integrity on the part of Limbaugh.

    Limbaugh further made the observation that the President was “clearly irritated” at having to interrupt his vacation to make the comments about the attempted bombing. I’ve said before – how does this Giant of Conservatism perform his mind reading? Could it be that the President was irritated at the problems that had been identified by the bombing investigation? Or was the President really not irritated, and Limbaugh was making it up? Frankly, I would lean towards “making it up”.

    President Obama and Afghanistan

    3 December 2009

    Although the President made campaign promises to focus more on Afghanistan, I really wish that he had found some way to pull our troops completely out of the country. Although he made arguments that the fight in Afghanistan is in our national interest, I just don’t see that it is. Or if there are still bad guys there, why not hunt them from the air the way we are doing in Pakistan?

    I just don’t see the national interest there.

    President Obama and the Nobel Prize

    10 October 2009

    When my Blackberry alarm went off at 0600, it downloaded the messages that had come in since I went to bed. There were three breaking news messages. The first one I opened was “President Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize”. My sleep-befuddled brain said… “What? Got to be a misprint”. Then the other two breaking news messages were the same. I told my very cute but very groggy roommate about the messages, and remarked that I thought that the right wing must be having a collective head explosion.

    To me it’s simple: the Nobel Committee is responsible for giving out their prize, and so they did. So why heap abuse on the recipient?

    This is a situation where the Presidents opponents should have done one of two things: either send or say a congratulations, or shut up. Instead, a lot of the right has gone nuts with critisism. It’s a symptom of the problem with the right wing – it’s an all-or-nothing proposition with them, and even worse, they can’t just disagree, they have to attack.

    So I hope that the President can live up to the confidence of the Nobel Committee.

    President Obama’s Health Insurance Speech Tonight

    10 September 2009

    I missed the first half of the speech this evening, as we were having dinner in Edmond. I just saw a replay on CNN, including the Republican response.

    I liked the general tone of the speech, it reminded me of Senator McCain’s “Straight Talk” of eight+ years ago. Taking on the bogus lies about death panels, being direct about how different groups of people will see their insurance change or not, and a statement of principles of government, were all good parts of the speech. A couple places had me want to shout “Hallelujah, brother!”, as the President got into his delivery. I do hope that the President follows through with incorporating those good ideas from the right, while not giving away the store in the process.

    As to the Republican response, it had little in the way of specific ideas. I think that their idea of “bipartisan” is “do it our way”. One thing I did not appreciate was a listing of things that the Republicans want to maintain:

    These are common-sense reforms we can achieve right away – without destroying jobs, exploding the deficit, rationing care, or taking away the freedom American families cherish.

    The implication being that the plan of the President and the Democrats will destroy jobs, explode the deficit, cause care to be rationed, and take away freedom. So in their response, the Republicans trot out the same stupid claims that have already been proven false. They do not have much credibility. BTW, they worry about President Obama maybe exploding the deficit, while I guess they were OK with Bush doing it.

    South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson Should Resign

    10 September 2009

    Republican “Representative” Joe Wilson shouted “You lie” at President Obama during the President’s speech tonight before the full Congress. He later apologized. However…

    It was not just a mark of disrespect. It is the mark of a low intellect, an ignorance of plain fact, and rudeness. It is putting party above country (I wonder if the guy supported McCain and his slogan “Country First”?).

    Just for context, President Obama was speaking to his conviction that health insurance under his plan would not be usable by people in the country illegally. Also just for a fact, here is the part of HR 3200:

    “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”

    So either the Congressman can’t read, or hear, or he willfully disregards facts. He shows no honor here, and should resign or be forced from office by his constituents.

    You can see a full debunk on claims about HR 3200 at FactCheck.org: http://www.factcheck.org/2009/08/twenty-six-lies-about-hr-3200/

    “Controversy” and President Obama’s Speech to Schoolkids

    8 September 2009

    Almost every media outlet this afternoon has reported on the Presidents speech to schools today. Most of the reporting (I think the vast majority, like “all”) has focused on the “controversy”.

    I would dispute that there was even any controversy.

    One of the local stations (KFOR) has a segment they call “The Rant”, where a topic is identified and people call and email opinions about it. Here is what I sent in:

    There never was any “controversy” about the Presidents speech to schoolkids, just a lot of paranoid, mindless whining by people before they ever read the speech. It’s terrible when people fear a man so much that they heap abuse on him constantly no matter how he tries to do what he said he would try to do.

    I fully believe that controversy arises from differences of opinion on a subject. In this case, there was a lot of paranoid fear, from one side, the “right” (and just some of those on the “right”), but none from the “left”. These people never looked at the speech (I spread it around some after it was published, and I know others did as well), and were all freaked out by a line in a draft of the teaching materials that spoke about kids thinking something to the effect of how they could help the President (which in general is not a bad idea, service to the country).

    In a more general sense, why are people so afraid of Obama? Last year, a kid I know was so freaked out by the results of the election that he was literally hysterical at school the next day. What was found out by talking to him was that his very highly conservative Republican parents were telling him constantly about all the bad things Obama was going to do the country, and the kid was scared spitless. It’s borderline abuse, in my opinion.

    It’s not just the speech to kids. The constant references to Hitler/socialism, the accelerated purchases of guns and ammo, and many other things are all results of people being afraid of the President, with no basis for being so.

    We talk to our kids about politics, but we talk about all sides of the issue, in an age-appropriate way. When Bush did something right (not a frequent occurrence), we talked about that also.

    I’ve written before about how the true hatred being sprayed in the country is almost exclusively from the right. This episode is another example. It is far worse now than when Kerry was running (the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were completely without honor). Gore in 2000 wasn’t too bad, but I was even surprised at how badly vitriol was directed against Clinton in 1992. I firmly believe that conservatism is increasingly non-relevant today, and all that the political arm of conservatism has left is lies, smears, distortion, and innuendo.

    Conservative Americans need to take a close look at their reasons for being conservative, and how the far right wing of their group acts, and maybe pull out their holy books and read the parts about loving their neighbors.

    I just heard a guy being interviewed on CNN who claimed that the President’s speech was changed after “the word got out” about it. After being pressed, he admitted that he had no evidence that the speech was changed, but he had no proof. I would not even have interviewed a guy like that. If he had some evidence that the speech was changed, that would probably be newsworthy. For some nut to say he was sure it was changed, but had no proof, he should not have been interviewed – there was no controversy since there was no evidence.

    President Obama Addressing School Kids

    4 September 2009

    07 September 2009 Update:

    The link to the text of the speech is:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/

    I read it, there is nothing untoward or “cult of personality” or anything like that in it at all.

    Original post:

    There is a lot of conservative outrage about this address that is to take place next week. The Florida Republican Party has thundered about possible socialist indoctrination and similar fears (all debunked by Fact Check); other individuals have as well.

    The question that should be asked is where these conservatives stood when President George H. W. Bush or President Raegan directly addressed school kids? If it’s OK for them to address kids directly, it should be OK for President Obama to.

    And don’t forget that President George W. Bush made many visits to schools as well (such as on 11 Sep 2001).

    04 Sep update:

    There is a lot of really ugly things being alleged by this speech. The only problem is that I have not been able to find a copy of the text of the speech anywhere. There is a screed going around that points to a YouTube video called “I Pledge”. I heard from work friends today that celebrities in the video “pledge allegence to President Obama”. I watched the video, and two times Obama is mentioned: one guy I do not recognize pledges “to be of service to” President Obama, and Demi Moore pledges to “be a servant to the President” (followed by Ashton Kutcher saying “and the country”. Claims are made that this video is being shown in schools (but not specific schools are mentioned).

    The screed also shows a Photoshopped image of Obama with a photo of Hitler and a Hitler Youth. I have to say, despicable.

    There is a lesson plan in the screed also. I read it and it seems innocuous. My wife the teacher read it, and found it weak.

    The NBC Nightly News had a piece on this speech, and had a guy on from the “Teaparty Union” or something like that. He said that Obama was creating a “cult of personality”. I think that the Teaparty guy is a paranoid idiot.

    Bill’s Requests for President Obama

    22 August 2009

    Bring our troops home from both Afghanistan and Iraq. In both cases, it’s their country, let them have it and quit letting our people die there and our treasure be wasted there.

    Get an insurance reform bill that has a public option (this in spite of the fact that I think we need a single payer system). Invite the Republicans to work on it until the end of September, then pass the bill and press with pride. In general, invite the Republicans to participate, consider their input and include where it doesn’t violate your principles, but don’t let them drive the boat.

    Drop the national threat level to Normal, or do away with the darn color chart.

    Drop the Pentagon CONUS threatcon to Normal. The Infocon condition is probably accurate.

    Do not be afraid to call something stupid when it is.

    Drop the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, and revoke the Defense Of Marriage Act.

    For the prisoners in Gitmo and the secret prisons, either charge and try them for crimes in US courts, without the supposedly secret evidence (which reminds me of descriptions of the Soviet court system), or release them, even if it means flying them to their home countries and dropping them off on the ramp.

    A few random requests from a concerned citizen.