Get yer Trans News, right here!

Yesterday was consumed with our buying a new car.  Our ’95 Saturn gave up the ghost last weekend and prolonged renting of a car didn’t seem like the best deployment of our financial resources, so Debbie’s brother freed up some funds from Debbie’s money market account (never had one of those myself) and we were able to afford the down payment on a used car.  We shopped at Enterprise and got what we think is a good deal on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata, which we completed the paperwork on last evening.

List of top things I hate doing (for future reference):   (1) Moving  (2) Looking for a job (3) Buying a car.

So I didn’t really get a chance to write my regular column ysterday…so I had to spend what little time I had available this afternoon (between my classes) to scribble something down to share.

News Items!

You’ve probably already heard about some of these.

1.  Because of Jenna Talackova’s successful bid to be un-disqualified from this year’s Miss Universe Canada competition, the parent organization has decided to change their rules.

The Miss Universe Organization, which is co-owned by Trump and NBC, announced on April 10 that it will be officially changing the house rules to allow transgender contestants to compete in their pageants, which include Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA.

9th Circuit Court Orders Military To Stop Enforcing DADT

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Court Rules Against Ban on Gays in the Military

The government must stop enforcing the law that prohibits openly gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from serving in the military, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday.

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a two-page order against the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” in a case brought by the group Log Cabin Republicans.

In 2010, a federal judge in California, Virginia A. Phillips, ruled that the law was unconstitutional and ordered the government to stop enforcing it. That decision was appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which issued a stay allowing the government to continue enforcing the policy as it made its way through the courts.

Congress repealed the policy last year, but called for a lengthy process of preparation, training and certification, still under way, before ending it. While the government has significantly narrowed enforcement, some discharges continued. And while the Obama administration had advocated the Congressional repeal, it had asked the court to keep the stay in place until the policy could be ended in an orderly fashion.

This is very welcome news. Joe Sudbay at AMERICAblog Gay gives the best explanation of what this ruling means:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay of the District Court’s injunction against enforcing DADT. When DADT was found unconstitutional in the Log Cabin case last October, the District Court judge issued an injunction against its enforcement. And, Judge Phillips refused to grant a stay pending appeal. Despite numerous requests (including 21 U.S. Senators) that the Department of Justice not appeal this decision, DOJ did. DOJ also immediately went to the Ninth Circuit asking for a stay pending appeal, which was granted. Today, the Ninth Circuit lifted that stay, meaning DADT can’t be enforced anywhere in the world.

It is still not safe for gays in the military to reveal themselves. Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, deocrated US Air Force fighter pilot, appeared with Rachel Maddow to discuss the aspects of this latest ruling

DADT Update: The Service Chiefs Report, The Republicans Fret

There’s been a great deal of concern around here about the effort to prepare the US military for the full repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), and I’ve had a few words of my own regarding how long the process might take.

There was a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee last Thursday that had all four Services represented; with one exception these were the same Service Chiefs that were testifying last December when the bill to set the repeal process in motion was still a piece of prospective legislation.

At that time there was concern that the “combat arms” of the Marines and the Army were going to be impacted in a negative way by the transition to “open service”; the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Army’s Chief of Staff were the most outspoken in confirming that such concerns exist within the Pentagon as well.

We now have more information to report-including the increasing desperation of some of our Republican friends-and if you ask me, I think things might be better than we thought.

‘Don’t Go, Don’t Kill’

In the past few weeks a series of reforms have been passed which some are saying justify President Obama’s, the Democratic Party’s, and American liberals’ extreme moderation and corporatism (or, in some cases, a mere subservience to, if not an outright embrace of, this horribly corrupt form of capitalism).

However, I would advise you to consider these words which Malcolm X uttered in another terribly corrupt and unequal world which, as the US continues its decline as an empire and omnipotent economic presence, even many liberals and radicals are starting to get nostalgic for:

You don’t stick a knife into a man’s back nine inches, pull it out six inches, and call it progress.

That is, if you ignore the context in which these mild reforms are taking place, you are ignoring the fundamental problems which need to be solved.  This is particularly apparent in the case of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  

On Actually Ending DADT, Or, “Could It Really Take Another Year?”

So we got the good news that legislative repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy that kept LBGT folks from openly serving in the military has occurred, as the Senate voted Saturday to first cut off debate on the question (that’s the vote that required 60 Senators to pass) and then to pass the actual repeal legislation (which also garnered more than 60 Senate votes, even though it only needed 51).

Most people would assume that once Bill (remember Bill, from Schoolhouse Rock?) made it out of Congress and over to the President to for a signature that the process of repeal will be ended-but in fact, there’s quite a bit more yet to do, and it’s entirely possible that a year or more could go by before the entire process is complete.

Today we’ll discuss our way through why it’s going to take so long; to illustrate the point we’ll consider an actual military order that is quite similar to the sort of work that will be required from the Department of Defense (DOD) before the entire “DADT to open service” transition is complete.

Senate Somehow Manages NOT to Screw Up DADT Repeal

Saturday, December 18, 2010, The Lame Duck Session:

The Senate took 2 votes today on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the archaic discriminatory policy against gays from serving openly in the military, leftover from the Clinton administration, which Judge Virginia Phillips found unconstitutional this past September.  


Both times the Senate voted to repeal DADT.  

First we had the House pass getting rid of DADT as a stand – alone bill last Wednesday the 15th, 250 to 175, on a bill offered by Rep. Patrick Murphy, (D PA who was sadly not re elected) after it was not going anywhere in the Senate as part of a larger bill.


The vote to repeal picked up 15 Republicans and lost 15 Democrats, here’s the roll call #638 on Govtrack:


The first “test vote”  in the Senate today was 66 – 33 to get rid of it.

The second vote passed getting rid of DADT by 65 to 31.

That 2nd vote got Republicans Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Scott Brown (Mass.)  and George Voinovich of Ohio.

3 Republicans who probably did not like the bill had enough sense to just abstain from voting, as did Vichy Dem Manchin of West Virginia, who helped scuttle it earlier.  Both CA Senators voted for it, the usual Republican Chickenhawk Caucus of NorCal (Lungren, Herger, McClintock) voted against it, of course.

Note that the bill has a weird title, most of them at this point do and are relying on the “and for other purposes” to be able to make it through the House and Senate during the lame duck session.  Roll call here: http://www.senate.gov/legislat…

John McCain of Arizona, the maverickity 2008 GOP Presidential nominee, of course voted against it, proving once again his greatest attribute is acting too old to remember what his stance was on an issue last year.   Some of the Republican Senators are now indicating they would like to scuttle ratifying the START Treaty with Russia on Nuclear safeguarding and disarmament,  because the Senate actually passed something.  It is unknown if they have a secret communications line to the Kremlin or N. Korea,  and are capable of calling in a strike on the remaining Democrats.

The DADT repeal still has to go to the President’s desk for his signature, so we’ll get to see if he adds some sort of signing statement to it, delaying its implementation until several more excuses can be thought up to protect the tender sensibilities of the Marine Corps and the challenges they will face in coming into this century.   Sen. Lindsey Graham (R, SC ), the perpetual and petulant AR reserves JAG who typically spends months crafting bipartisanshipthingee bills in the Senate and then withdraws his support at crunch time, with great glee, accused supporters of caring more about politics than governing the country.

Per Sen. Wyden, nearly 10,000 of the 14,000 soldiers forced out of the military since 1993 were language specialists, and he was alarmed by how many Arabic and Farsi linguists were discharged during this current mid east conflict. Unspoken was the impact this is having on the proceedings at Guantanamo.


But a change in the law will not automatically change the policy. Rather, the bill stipulates that the policy will only be discarded after the president, the Secretary of Defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that changing it will not hurt the armed services’ readiness, morale or cohesion. After a 60-day review by Congress, the Pentagon is to develop procedures for ending it altogether, a process that could take months or years to complete.

On Asking And Telling, Or, 115,000 LBGT Troops? How Many Is That, Exactly?

I took a couple of weeks off, as Thanksgiving and snow came around (a subject we’ll address in a day or so), but we are all again occupied as lots of things we’ve been talking about  either will or won’t come to pass, and it seems like all that’s happening all at once.

Today we’ll take on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT); this because the Pentagon’s top leadership just came out and reported that revocation of the policy, following a period of preparation, would be their preferred way to go.

There will be lots of others who will take on the question of what’s right and wrong here, and exactly how implementation might occur; my interest is, instead, to focus on one little fact that makes all teh rest of the conversation a lot more relevant.

That is the fact that about 70,000 LBGT troops serve in the military today, DADT notwithstanding, and, that if it wasn’t for DADT, almost 45,000 more troops would be serving that aren’t today.

And that one little fact leads to today’s Great Big Question: exactly how much military would 115,000 troops be, exactly?

Monday: Welcome Back From Your Trip, Mr. President of the Republican Party

President Obama is back from his Pan Pacific – Asian debt sales trip, and the Lame Duck session of Congress is now officially underway.

Dan Choi,Lt Dan Choi,Get Equal,White House Protest,DADT

Lt. Dan Choi and 12 other Get Equal civil rights activists handcuff themselves to the White House fence on Monday, Nov 15, 2010, to protest the military’s discriminatory policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” (photo of murky screenshot from video was highlighted. )

Supreme Court Just Nuked Log Cabin Republicans On DADT Stay

Happy Friday from the Obama Administration:


The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Friday to pause enforcement of the military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian service members while that policy faces a legal challenge.

The high court sided against the Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP gay rights group, that had asked that discharges of gay and lesbian members of the armed forces under military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy be suspended.

The Supreme Court of the United States sided with Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and the Obama White House, and against the Log Cabin Republicans, letting the military’s unpopular and discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy stay in place while it is undergoing a legal challenge that is trundling through the Federal appeals process, after Judge Virgina A. Phillips of the Central District of CA ruled that DADT was unconstitutional on September 9, 2010.


On October 12th, Judge Phillips issued an injunction to suspend DADT and

(3) Orders Defendants United States of America and the Secretary of Defense immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have commenced under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Act, or pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 654 or its implementing regulations, on or prior to the date of this judgement.

That is where and when the Obama administration could have let the thing die, but, oh no, they have to go on appealing and defending it.  On October 14, the DOJ under Eric Holder appealed with a request for an emergency stay on Judge Phillip’s injunction, and on November 1 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed it, pending appeal to the Supreme Court.

The policy change is currently stuck in the Fiscal Year 2011 Defense spending appropriations bill, and Senator John McCain of Arizona successfully filibustered it on September 21st.  His wife Cindy McCain, and her daughter Meghan, are doing their usual good- cop Republican routine and calling for the policy to end.  His 2008 Vice Presidential running mate is busy planning a book tour and promoting her new reality TV show on her twitter account.  The first stop on the book tour is in …. Phoenix, AZ.    A leaked draft of Gate’s review of DADT has shown that the report says repeal would not be detrimental to the military.



Some 70% of troops surveyed said the effects of repealing the ban would be positive, mixed or nonexistent, the paper said, citing a Pentagon report.

According to the newspaper, (the WAPO)  which spoke to people who had read the unreleased 370-page study, the survey results have led the report’s authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them.

However, a significant minority opposes serving alongside openly gay troops, with opposition apparently strongest in the Marine Corps.

Currently the Marines have fewer active personnel (14%) than any other branch of the military except for the Coast Guard.

Nicholson’s response from Servicemembers United

“These results confirm what those of us who actually know the modern military, especially the rank and file troops, have said all along. The men and women of America’s armed forces are professionals who are capable of handling this policy change,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army Human Intelligence Collector who was discharged under the law in 2002. “In light of these findings, as well as the Secretary of Defense’s recent call for Senate action on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ during the lame duck session, there is no longer any excuse for failing to bring the defense authorization bill back up during the first week of the post-election legislative session.”


Since the Democratic Party took the House of Representatives in 2006, there have been over 2,000 discharges of servicemembers under the discriminatory DADT policy.  Since the Clinton administration, there have been over 13,000.  The Democrats now have a short window of time in a lame duck session to accomplish anything,  before they can kiss their supermajorities goodbye.  One of the political fatalities of the last election was Representative Patrick Murphy of PA, who introduced the amendment repealing DADT into the bill.   In an interview, the President asked for assistance from the Log Cabin Republicans to get more Republican votes to get the bill changing the policy through the Senate (before the Nov 2, 2010 election).  Secretary of Defense Robert Gate’s military review report on DADT is “due” out officially now on December 1st.   The lame duck session will begin next week.

Apparently there is an (unspoken)  assumption being made, that if a conservative, Republican dominated Senate passes something the Supreme Court will not rule to over turn the law or declare it unconstitutional later.

Kabooki (updated)



“Obama conducts first sit down with “progressive” bloggers ”

The invitees fall more under the rubric of ideological or issue-oriented activists as opposed to online reporters, though the names are familiar to most political junkies. An administration official confirmed that Joe Subday of AMERICABlog; Duncan Black (“Atrios”), who runs the site Eschaton; Barbara Morrill, who writes for the DailyKos; Jon Amato, who edits Crooks and Liars; and Oliver Willis, who runs an eponymous site, spoke with the president on Wednesday.

Calling the mistress of the ugog MF banhammer trolls who routinely rid the site of anything not uber right wing a ‘progressive blogger’ is like calling a shark a vegan guppie kitten kisser.  

Of her last eight diaries, 7 were about the Rand Paul headstomping incident and one about the latest Jerry Brown ad.  Before that set, ones on AZ sherrif tweets about Sarah Palin, and Juan Williams getting fired and going to Fox. DADT.  One on Joe Miller. Joe Miller. Joe Miller. Joe Miller. Sharron Angle. Christine O Donnell. Tea Party. Christine O Donnell.

At least 16 Tea Party Is Bad diaries in the last 22 days (others were open threads and news roundups)

Joe Miller, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle are all being financially supported by the same King Media/Russo Marsh Rogers/Move America Forward/Our Country Deserves Better/Tea Party Express PAC and Republican PR firm (that is also registered as a foreign lobby for Northern Iraq, and that also has done extensive Pentagon media work during the Iraq War)  that supported Sarah Palin and Tom McClintock (R, chickenhawk) in 2008 and John Doolittle (R, Abramoff Scandal) in 2006. This PAC has changed their name and filing techniques, so the swiftboating expenditures they did before Oct 2008 on behalf of McClintock and Doolittle do NOT show up under their current FEC name but were made as general payments to Russo Marsh.  Here’s their first 2008 filing under the new name, which has a payment to Bryan Barton who made the anti Democratic candidate videos for Tom McClintock http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-b…  

I just checked their independent expenditures and they appear not to be funding the Rand Paul Kentucky thing but certainly Paul associates himself with Tea Party.  

So I imagine the “outreach” went something like this.  Say, could y’all start ramping it up some more on how bad the Tea Party and the Republicans are ? Big Scary. Other issues way too complex. Don’t mention where money comes from. Do NOT mention Blue Dogs, DOD, or Foreign Interests. Do not mention Wars, Torture, Drones, Pentagon Budget having Domestic Narco Surveillance Money, 50 million Americans without Health insurance,  Economy, Energy or Foreign Policy, Foreclosures or the Unemployed and Homeless. Do not mention that Greek woman named Arianna. Do not mention any Senators from Connecticut, ever.  Kthnxbai !

Other lead blog stories right now on:

Oliver Willis.  Rand Paul headstomper story, calls Ari Fleischer a liar.

Crooks and Liars.(Amato)  Rand Paul headstomper story.  Teabaggers.

Eschaton. (Black)  Said he was optimistic about November on Tuesday. Aie yi yi.  Latest post is on walkable neighborhoods.

John Aravosis at Americablog. had a TeaParty Rand headstomper story and Obama meets 5 top progressive bloggers at White House, including Joe Sudbay of AMERICAblog includes photo and write up of meeting.

The invitations were extended late last week, and the meeting was to be a Q&A with the President for 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes with presidential adviser David Axelrod. No recordings are permitted, but the White House will release a transcript of the discussion after it is finished.

It will also be the first time that President Obama has sat down and taken questions from a member of the gay media, Joe Sudbay, who is representing both AMERICAblog and AMERICAblog Gay.

You know, when I watch somebody like Rachel Maddow, I don’t think of her as the “gay” media but somebody who just brilliant at interviewing, but I don’t in my mind have to make her over into “straight” media, either.  She just is what she is.

comment under post at AmericaBlog:

….The administration has spent months trashing progressive bloggers as well as those who read and support them. One afternoon, mere days before the election, smacks of desperation. Like they suddenly realized they did something wrong and have to quickly try to unburn a couple bridges.

  Here’s the verbal writeup from Aravosis.  Go read. But here’s the summary.

Finally, Joe asked the President if he has a strategy for passing the DADT compromise legislation during the lame duck session in Congress. The President did make some news here, by telling Joe that he asked the Log Cabin Republicans in a meeting at the White House yesterday to get him 2 to 5 votes. The President seemed to think that Joe could help persuade Log Cabin to help. Joe told the President that he didn’t have sway with those people.

“Those” people ?

Well, hell, they are Republicans.  Try the Bipartisanshipthingee.

“once like a movie write your own ending keep believing keep pretending we done just what we set out to do….”


Thurs am update:  Full transcript of this “outreach” can be found here .  It is not possible to tell easily who was asking what question on all of them  


Summary. The guy still thinks he needs 60 votes to do anything.

I don’t think that this person in the WH Oval Office really has a core commitment to anything other than saving his own hide for the next 2 years, and he’s already been practicing mouthing Republican catch phrases for months in preparation.  I think at this point it is time to stop calling him the “leader” of the Democratic Party.   Somebody else needs to act as a spokesperson when they have a top elected official sabotaging the ticket that much and trying to get more of the other party elected.   Apparently he also wants the supposedly left blogs (hah ) to acknowledge their lack of actual relevance,  and diss him to give him credibility with the MSM.   If anyone would want to accuse me of hyperpartisanship I would be more than willing to debate several of the Republican talking points he used in this interview,  and tell the country that we do not need any more excuses from either the WH or the Senate as to why this country MUST constantly seek to appease privatization extremists and Corporations in the MIC who do NOT want things to become better.


Fri Afternoon 10/29/10 update

The “progressive” blogger whom I characterized as a shark masquerading as a guppie kitten kisser has not posted anything on her homebase website since the White House experience other than the WH transcript of the meeting, and a few comments on it.   She has since stated in a comment that the questions she asked were on raising the retirement age and the one which started “I want to go back with working with Republicans…. ”

This would be these questions, which were actually very good:

Q – I want to go back to the idea of working with Republicans. And given the comments from McConnell and — well, all of them — I think that what a lot of people find frustrating is that our side compromises and continues to compromise just to get that one Republican on. We’re going to get one of the Maine twins — whatever. And it doesn’t happen, and then by the time health care or whatever goes through we’ve compromised; we still don’t get any Republicans.

I don’t anticipate this changing in the next two years. I think it’s going to get worse. How are you going to get Democrats to understand that compromise means the other side has to give something sometimes, one day?

THE PRESIDENT: Look, obviously I share your frustrations. I’ve got to deal with this every day.

Q Well, I don’t expect you to talk like a blogger. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: But I guess I’d make two points. The first is, I’m President and not king. And so I’ve got to get a majority in the House and I’ve got to get 60 votes in the Senate to move any legislative initiative forward.

Now, during the course — the 21 months of my presidency so far, I think we had 60 votes in the Senate for seven months, six? I mean, it was after Franken finally got seated and Arlen had flipped, but before Scott Brown won in Massachusetts. So that’s a fairly narrow window. So we’re right at the number, and that presumes that there is uniformity within the Democratic caucus in the Senate — which, Barbara, you’ve been around a while. You know that not every Democrat in the Democratic caucus agrees with me or agrees with each other in terms of complicated issues like health care.

So it is important for me, then, to work every angle I can to get as much done as I can. If we had a parliamentary system, then this critique would make sense to me because you do as much as you can to negotiate with the other side, but at a certain point you’ve got your platform and you move it forward and your party votes for it.

But that’s not the system of government we have. We’ve got a different system. I will say that the damage that the filibuster I think has done to the workings of our democracy are at this point pretty profound. The rate at which it’s used just to delay and obstruct is unprecedented. But that’s the reality right now.

So I guess my answer is that there has not been, I think, any issue that we’ve worked in which I have been willing to sign on to a compromise that I didn’t feel was a strong improvement over the status quo and was not the best that we could do, given the political alignments that we’ve got.

And, yes, it leaves some folks dissatisfied. I understand that. But let’s take the health care bill. As frustrated and angry and dispirited as the base might have been — we didn’t have a public option, and it just dragged on for such a long time, and you’re having conversations with Grassley, even though it turns out Grassley has no interest in actually getting something done — all the complaints which I was obviously very familiar with, the fact of the matter is, is that we got a piece of legislation through that we’ve been waiting a hundred years to get through; that in the aggregate sets up a system in which 30 million people are going to get health insurance; in which we’ve got an exchange that forces insurance companies to compete with a pool of millions and will be policed so that they can’t jack up prices; that pool has purchasing power that they’ve never had before; that you’ve got a patient’s bill of rights that was the hallmark, sort of the high-water mark of what progressives thought we could do in the health care field — we got that whole thing basically just as part of the bill.

You’ve got investments in community health centers and preventive medicine and research that’s going to help improve our health care delivery systems as a whole. And we can build on that.

And I know this analogy has been used before, but when Social Security was passed, it was for widows and orphans. And a whole bunch of folks were not included in it. But that building block, the foundation stone, ended up creating one of the most important safety nets that we have. And I think the same thing is going to happen with health care.


…… (the answer continues to ramble on to include financial reform and finally the stimulus. note this:  )

And I’ll give you one last example because I know this is a famous example in the blogosphere, is the stimulus. I mean, if folks think that we could have gotten Ben Nelson, Arlen Specter and Susan Collins to vote for additional stimulus beyond the $700 billion that we got, then I would just suggest you weren’t in the meetings.

This notion that somehow I could have gone and made the case around the country for a far bigger stimulus because of the magnitude of the crisis, well, we understood the magnitude of the crisis. We didn’t actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible. We had to act quickly.

They never filibustered. They merely threatened to, and the Democrats folded meekly.

Here is the sorry spectacle of the President trying to set the conditions of what reality he can operate under, the Majority Party Caucus declaring that they need a supermajority of 60 to pass any legislation. the 3/5’s rule, we should start to call it,  and then saying he cannot depend on his own caucus so he has to go to the other side.  But he did have that 60 vote majority for half a year.    We already know that the President decided to have secret meetings with lobbyists like Billy Tauzin at the WH right at the very beginning of his Presidency, and that is when the Public Option was secretly ditched.  We know the House under Speaker Pelosi passed their version of the Bill on time and with a Public Option.  We know the President let the Senate dither away stalling for months all summer.   And he finally got the health care bill he wanted – one with no Public Option.

Said bill which much of the general public hates, because most of it isn’t implemented yet,  did not change a single thing for them, and let private contractors, aka private insurance, get the promise of being able to feed off of more Medicaid in the future,  but it let the insurers continue to jack rates up. It will, by the numbers, barely cover half the uninsured someday in the future if the Republicans don’t destroy it,  the rest have still been thrown to the wolves.   The reality is embarrassing.

If Ben Nelson is such an incredible impediment to ever getting any sort of legislation passed in the Senate, there is a simple solution –  throw his sorry butt out.  Nebraska is low in population. There is no reason I can see to let people who are never going to vote with the party on major issues continue to caucus with said party.  They’ve already tried this with Sen. Lieberman and it never works-  it backfires.  Notice how he never mentions Lieberman and his wife who sits on so many boards who pay her a nice fee.  He never mentions Blanche Lincoln, whom he endorsed and campaigned for after she went on point against that Public Option.  Nor Kent Conrad, another in what Glenn Greenwald aptly named the Village Villain Rotation.

Regarding the stimulus bill, look who he tries to blame again – Ben “Mutual of Omaha” Nelson, Arlen Specter who has changed parties again, another Republican, Susan Collins, plus Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s irresponsibility.

How does a person who has relied on charisma to get elected, now criticize populism and direct appeals for public pressure with a straight face ?

They can’t.  It’s an excuse, again.  He got what he wanted.  


The other question, and look at the ridiculous answer:

Q Mine is an easy question. Will you rule out raising the retirement age to 70?  

THE PRESIDENT: We are awaiting a report from the deficit commission, or deficit reduction commission, so I have been adamant about not prejudging their work until we get it.

But I think you can look at the statements that I’ve made in the past, including when I was campaigning for the presidency, that Social Security is something that can be fixed with some modest modifications that don’t impose hardships on beneficiaries who are counting on it.

And so the example that I used during the campaign was an increase in the payroll tax, not an increase — let me scratch that. Not an increase in the payroll tax but an increase in the income level at which it is excluded.

And so what I’ve been clear about is, is that I’ve got a set of preferences, but I want the commission to go ahead and do its work. When it issues its report, I’m not automatically going to assume that it’s the right way to do things. I’ll study it and examine it and see what makes sense.

But I’ve said in the past, I’ll say here now, it doesn’t strike me that a steep hike in the retirement age is in fact the best way to fix Social Security.

No, we cannot look at statements you made in the past, unless you wish us to presume that you are going to ignore them now that you are elected, that you were lying, or at least you were persuadable to being lobbyied, and that you now have all the possible scenarios on the table.  Because that is the historical precedent we have seen so far with many campaign promises the President made —  they were just that, words.   And the President has a set of preferences, but he certainly isn’t going to share them with anybody.

A “Steep hike” may not be striking him as the best way, but a less steep hike in the retirement age is implied to be on his table.

Currently the retirement age in the US is 62/66 for reduced to full Social Security benefits.  

He could have just said “no,”  and have been done with it.

I don’t believe that one could write up such an experience with those sorts of answers with the timing being right before the election and not have rather the opposite impact of what you intended, if you were intending to want to motivate voters to actually vote for the incumbent Party in office.

Changing the filibuster rules to give themselves a smaller, simpler Senate majority, would mean the responsibility for passing lousy legislation or not bothering to pass it at all, would fall squarely on the shoulders of the Democratic Party with that majority in this instance.  With a much tighter Senate coming up, and a possible loss in the House looming, the President in the next term will now have his perfect, built in excuse.

No wonder the front pagers at that blog all switched over to writing Get Out The Vote pieces afterwards.    

On Asking Experts, Part One, Or, Do Democrats Really Understand Their LBGT Problem?

Stories begat other stories, or at least they do for me; this two-part conversation came from a comment that was made after I posted a story suggesting that voting matters this time, especially if you don’t want environmental disasters like the recent Hungarian “toxic lake” that burst from its containment and polluted the Danube River happening in your neighborhood.  

Long story short, we are going to be moving on to ask what, for some, is a more fundamental question: if you’re an LBGT voter, and the Democratic Party hasn’t, to put it charitably, “been all they could be” when it comes to issues like repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” or the Federal Defense of Marriage Act…what should you do?

Now normally I would be the one trying to develop an answer to the question, but instead, we’re going to be posing the question to a group of experts, and we’ll be letting them give the answers.

And just because you, The Valued Reader, deserve the extra effort, for Part Two we’ve trying to get you a “Special Bonus Expert” to add some input to the conversation: a Democratic Member of Congress who represents a large LBGT community.    


There is zero legal or Constitutional reason why this stay has been sought by the Obama Administration.

Thank you, Dan Choi, for standing up for the truth and for equality.

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