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Member since: 2001
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Obama should treat Snowden the same way he treated Bush's torturers and Wall Street banksters

Obama claimed he could not prosecute them because their crimes were committed in the past.
Snowden's crime was committed in the past, so Obama should just leave him and all whistle blowers alone.

President Obama's budget puts House Democrats in bind

So much for Obama's 3 dimensional chess strategy...

President Obama's budget puts House Democrats in bind

Democrats have used a clear and potent attack against Republicans in recent elections: Don’t vote for them because they’ll cut your Social Security and Medicare.

But using that playbook next year, as Democrats had planned, just got a lot more complicated.

President Barack Obama blurred the lines this month when he embraced entitlement cuts of his own as part of his budget plan. And Democrats now fear their leader’s tack to the center could blunt one of their sharpest weapons in the battle for the House of Representatives next year.

The concern is that Republicans will have a ready retort — your own president proposed entitlement cuts — and force Democrats on the defensive. The issue is critical to senior voters, who turn out in disproportionately large numbers in midterm elections.

“I think it does make it more difficult for Democrats in the next election,” said Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan, who occupies a swing district in Minnesota. “I would think that Republicans will say this cycle that if you want your Medicare and Social Security cut, that’s what Obama wants to do. … And I imagine that’s what Republicans will campaign on.”

I fear his legacy will be tied to his quest for the Grand Bargain, the elusive holy grail for centrist politicians, and further blur the lines between Repubs and Democrats in the eyes of low info voters.

If House Democratic members want to be very sure to end up on the right side of the Big 3 in 2014, they should all sign the Grayson-Takano letter as the first step to rallying the Democratic base for the upcoming midterm election.

Women's College BB: Hartford Courant -- An Irish Win, And A Wake Of Sorts

An Irish Win And A Wake Of Sorts http://www.courant.com/sports/uconn-women/hc-jacobs-column-0313-20130312,0,4040163.column by Jeff Jacobs

UConn's final possession may have been the worst in a big moment in the history of the program. Skylar Diggins stole the ball. Notre Dame stole UConn's heart. Again. Again. Again.

Yet it wasn't until the Notre Dame women gathered in a chorus line following their dramatic Big East tournament triumph and began dancing the jig to their band's playing of "Rakes of Mallow," that the thought crossed my mind.

This really was an Irish wake, or at least the basketball equivalent of it.


On a day when Notre Dame officially announced it was leaving for the ACC in July, on a night when the Big East brought down its curtain both on the women's tournament and the tournament run at the XL Center, the Huskies died one more excruciating basketball death at the hands of the Irish.

These are the headlines.

  • UConn failed to win either the Big East regular season or tournament title for the first time since 1993. Two decades, one, the other, or usually both titles — an unreal streak.

  • UConn failed to hit a three-pointer for the first time since it won the national championship against Oklahoma in 2002. Eleven years, raining threes, with the best shooter in the nation in Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis Tuesday night — an unreal streak of 403 games.

  • SNIP

    if anybody walks away from the past few years saying anyone other Skylar Diggins is the greatest opponent in UConn history, well, they're faking it. They're relying on the argument of pure greatness of a Candace Parker or a Holdsclaw or a Griner. Nobody has dug down deeper when it matters most against UConn than Diggins.

    One thing before we get into the last play, maybe the worst play in UConn women's history when it mattered. One thing before we bemoan how UConn had a lead at the end of the Final Four game in Denver and lost in overtime. One thing before we bemoan how the Huskies had a lead at Gampel Pavilion at the end in January and lost by one, and had a lead in South Bend at the end last week and lost in triple overtime. And this is the thing.

    As much as been said about her terrific leadership, clutch offensive play and sometimes wayward shot, Diggins is a tremendous defender. "A lot of players can't guard the dribble," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "She is able to pick up players in the backcourt and force turnovers. But her defense is excellent because she has so much pride. She does not want you to score on her."


    What was Kelly Faris thinking last night with 18.4 secs left? Her bad pass to Stewart was luckily saved by the freshman. It was a 1 handed catch like you see in the NFL. Then after Faris gets the ball again she drives towards the baseline and Achonwa cut it off. Instead of turning around, Faris makes an awkward pass to KML, who was heavily guarded by Jewel Lloyd and which caused her to be off balance after catching the pass. The KML made a bad pass that was easily intercepted by Diggins. You could see the domino effect of a bad play in real time during that period. Faris acted as if she thought there was 8 secs instead of 18.4 secs left in the game. Why didn't they try to pass the ball around the perimeter for a better shot? There was plenty of time for that. Worse, even if they missed the shot, they were guaranteed an overtime?

    My other comment on the game last night --where was Bria Hartley? She seems to fade in tough game situations and her play this year is a disappointment for UCONN. She needs to score the 3's when the other team shuts down KML. Though I have to congrat ND for doing a great defensive job on KML. She killed them in the first half last week and ND was determined not to let her repeat that scoring blitz.

    Overall, last night's game was another thriller and another growing spurt for women's basketball. ND is my alma mater and she will always be first in my heart, but as one who witnessed Title IX come in when I was in 7th grade, I respect UCONN and how Geno proved that women can play high caliber basketball that was interestingt to watch. UCONN is now where Tenn was when UCONN was an up-and-coming basketball power. Defeating UCONN is now proof that a team/program is a national contender.

    I remember when ND first joined the Big East and I would see how the ND Women's team at first was psyched out before the game against UCONN started. UCONN dominated the Irish til 2001 when Ruth Riley & Co. defeated them first at ND and then in the Final Four. Even after that UCONN regained their dominance until Diggins became a sophomore and her tough minded attitude helped her teammates learn to psych out UCONN and defeat the Huskies.

    Because I like the UCONN Huskies and can never root against my alma mater, my approach to their matchup is "you have to earn the win". Notre Dame finally figured out how to do that against the Huskies. Congrats to the Irish for a great season and one that was not expect by much of the women's basketball world.

    Are the "Fix the Debt" fetishers doing overtime trying to smear Paul Krguman?

    I watched Krugman's debate with Joe Scarborough on Monday night's Charlie Rose show and my first impression was that Scarborough's job was to do his best to smear and discredit Krugman and his support of more stimulus spending as opposed to deficit reduction.

    Now on Huff Post, I read Jeffrey Sachs op ed, Professor Krugman and Crude Keynesianism
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/professor-krugman-and-cru_b_2845773.html ,which continues the crude attacks on Krugman.

    Krugman is a prominent opponent of Peter Peterson's group, "Fix the Debt", which wants to shovel Social Security money into Wall Street so they can rob the elderly and disabled. They seem to be attacking Krugman because he has a lot of credibility with liberals and progressives who are doing a good job fighting them and winning the PR battle so far.

    What do you think?

    Women's BB: After Titanic Battle, #2 Notre Dame Irish muzzle #3 UCONN Huskies

    Notre Dame undefeated in Big East, claims conference title

    It was a titanic battle last night between 2 of women's college BB elite teams.
    My alma mater, Notre Dame prevailed in the end, but there were times that I thought UCONN would pull it out. But Diggins & Co. seem to have UCONN's number right now. We'll see if they can finally win the BE Tourney over UCONN this year.

    More stories on this great game:
    South Bend Tribune: Notre Dame women's basketball: Another notch in Diggins' belt http://www.southbendtribune.com/sports/notredame/sbt-notre-dame-womens-basketball-another-notch-in-diggins-belt-20130304,0,862560.column

    South Bend Tribune: Notre Dame women's basketball: Third OT's the charm http://www.southbendtribune.com/sports/notredame/sbt-notre-dame-womens-basketball-irish-top-huskies-in-three-overtimes-20130304,0,4292849.story

    Hartford Courant: UConn Doesn't Have What It Takes In Big Games http://www.courant.com/sports/uconn-women/hc-jacobs-column-0305-20130304,0,4629989.column

    Hartford Courant: Irish Have Huskies' Number Again, 96-87 (3 OT) http://www.courant.com/sports/uconn-women/hc-uconn-notre-dame-women-0305-20130304,0,458547.story

    Hartford Courant: Box Score -- UConn Women At Notre Dame http://www.courant.com/sports/uconn-women/hc-box-score-uconn-women-at-notre-dame-20130304,0,1784155.htmlstory

    Notre Dame's Brian Kelly Wins Second Home Depot Coach of the Year Award

    Notre Dame's Brian Kelly Wins Second Home Depot Coach of the Year Award
    Following a 12-0 regular season and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has been named the 2012 Home Depot Coach of the Year, according to Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune.

    #NotreDame HC Brian Kelly named Home Depot Coach of the Year. First two-time winner of that.
    — Brian Hamilton (@ChiTribHamilton) December 5, 2012

    Kelly previously won the award with Cincinnati in 2009, when the Bearcats went 12-0 in the Big East and played Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Kelly wasn't on the sidelines for the bowl game because he had just taken the head-coaching position at Notre Dame.

    Of course, there will be no job switching for Kelly this time around. He is preparing the Fighting Irish for a showdown against No. 2 Alabama on Jan. 7 in one of the most anticipated BCS games ever.

    The turnaround that Kelly has led at Notre Dame is remarkable, especially considering where the program was before he got there. His job as a recruiter, talent evaluator and leader has brought stability to a program that has been searching for answers since the end of the Lou Holtz era.

    From unranked to undefeated!! Go Irish!!

    Israeli Vets on Israeli Treatment of Gaza & Palestinians: “It’s Mostly Punishment”

    Israeli Vets on Israeli Treatment of Gaza & Palestinians“It’s Mostly Punishment” (Breaking the Silence)

    “There is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” President Barack Obama said at a press conference last week. He drew on this general observation in order to justify Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel’s most recent military campaign in the Gaza Strip. In describing the situation this way, he assumes, like many others, that Gaza is a political entity external and independent of Israel. This is not so. It is true that Israel officially disengaged from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, withdrawing its ground troops and evacuating the Israeli settlements there. But despite the absence of a permanent ground presence, Israel has maintained a crushing control over Gaza from that moment until today.

    The testimonies of Israeli army veterans expose the truth of that “disengagement.” Before Operation Pillar of Defense, after all, Israel launched Operations Summer Rains and Autumn Clouds in 2006, and Hot Winter and Cast Lead in 2008 — all involving ground invasions. In one testimony, a veteran speaks of “a battalion operation” in Gaza that lasted for five months, where the soldiers were ordered to shoot “to draw out terrorists” so they “could kill a few.”

    Israeli naval blockades stop Gazans from fishing, a main source of food in the Strip. Air blockades prevent freedom of movement. Israel does not allow building materials into the area, forbids exports to the West Bank and Israel, and (other than emergency humanitarian cases) prohibits movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It controls the Palestinian economy by periodically withholding import taxes. Its restrictions have impeded the expansion and upgrading of the Strip’s woeful sewage infrastructure, which could render life in Gaza untenable within a decade. The blocking of seawater desalination has turned the water supply into a health hazard. Israel has repeatedly demolished small power plants in Gaza, ensuring that the Strip would have to continue to rely on the Israeli electricity supply. Daily power shortages have been the norm for several years now. Israel’s presence is felt everywhere, militarily and otherwise.

    By relying on factual misconceptions, political leaders, deliberately or not, conceal information that is critical to our understanding of events. Among the people best qualified to correct those misconceptions are the individuals who have been charged with executing a state’s policies — in this case, Israeli soldiers themselves, an authoritative source of information about their government’s actions. I am a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), and I know that our first-hand experiences refute the assumption, accepted by many, including President Obama, that Gaza is an independent political entity that exists wholly outside Israel. If Gaza is outside Israel, how come we were stationed there? If Gaza is outside Israel, how come we control it? Oded Na’aman


    The subsequent stories by these IDF vets paints an unheroic view of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and confirms my view that Israel views the Palestinians the way the 19th century US Government viewed Native American -- as vermin instead of as humans. If that makes me anti-Semitic, I call all the Israel-is-always-right mob racists and Israel and apartheid nation.

    These stories also prove that Gandhi was right, that Israel could not maintain itself as a democracy and a Jewish state. That combination would lead to Israel becoming an oppressor.

    Manti Te'o's decision to return to play his senior year at Notre Dame proves divine

    Te'o's decision proves divine
    Notre Dame star returns, leads Irish to 12-0 season, BCS title game, has chance to win Heisman
    ...Notre Dame was in the national title game, and this splendid night was all he came back for and more. Te'o left the field in buoyant, giant gallops, at a loss for any words that didn't emerge as screams.

    "If there's anything I can say, the heavenly Father answers prayers in ways you don't know," Te'o said.

    "And you may not see it at the time. At the time, it may seem like the odds of something happening are crazy. I've been an example that if you pray and actually listen and have faith, he will provide a way for you to do it. I'm grateful I was smart enough to listen."

    Te'o came back for this, to lead Notre Dame one more time, and his team followed to 12 wins and no losses and a No. 1 ranking and a BCS title game berth on Jan. 7. What he could not have considered as even a possibility was the Heisman Trophy decision that arrives on Dec. 8 and, possibly, renders him a legend.


    Weeks ago, as the Notre Dame community rallied around him after the death of his grandmother and girlfriend, he said he knew he made the right decision to return. He didn't know how right he was.

    "Notre Dame should be at the top," Te'o said. "I'm just grateful to be part of that whole process."

    Juan Cole: Gaza’s Health Crisis and Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity

    Gaza’s Health Crisis and Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity

    Israeli air strikes for the past 6 days have killed over 100 Palestinians in Gaza, many of them women and children; one strike deliberately targeted a media building that Israeli government knew to house journalists. Medics announced Monday that they are running out of key medicines (Gaza is under Israeli blockade). Military strikes are also interfering in the delivery of medical and other aid by international organizations in the Strip.

    This Arabic-language report says that Israeli warplanes targeted the Jordanian field hospital late on Monday. I have not been able to find confirmation for this report, but if it is true, and deliberate, it would be a war crime.


    Since small homemade rockets coming out of Gaza in 2012 had killed no Israelis before the Israeli Air Force started bombing the Gaza Strip last week, there is no doubt that Israel is engaged in a disproportionate use of force and a reckless disregard for the well-being of civilian non-combatants in its own occupied territory. Israeli army spokesmen claim they are precisely targeting only Hamas paramilitary personnel and blame Hamas for hiding among non-combatants. However, it is the Occupying power’s responsibility to do due diligence in ensuring the safety of the occupied population, and if Israeli pilots don’t have a clear shot at an enemy combatant, they simply should not take it.

    These hostilities are deepening a longstanding crisis in Gaza health care that has resulted from deliberate Israeli policies.

    A recent World Health Organization Report worries that in just 8 years, in 2020, if current Israeli policies continue, Gaza will be virtually uninhabitable. Israel as the occupying power since 1967 is directly responsible in international law for the well-being of its occupied populations, and is in severe violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention on the treatment of the occupied. Moreover, since Israeli policies of Apartheid, discrimination, exile, restriction of movement and infliction of harm on Palestinians in Gaza are long-standing, deliberate and systematic, Israeli leaders are guilty in this regard of crimes against humanity.

    Gandhi told the Zionists who asked for his blessing for the creation of the state of Israel that Israel could not survive being both a democracy and a Jewish state. Looks like the Likud Party is proving Gandhi's point.
    It's historically ironic that Israel is doing to the Palestinians what European Christians did to their ancestors-- regulate them to ghettos, like Gaza, and institute violent pogroms against the inhabitants of those ghettos from time to time.

    In this same blog post, Juan Cole says,

    Some 500 Egyptian activists, from the same youth groups that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in February, 2011, brought food and medical aid to Gaza on Saturday. Egypt is keeping its Rafah checkpoint with Gaza open for the transport of wounded to El Arish Hospital.

    It would be interesting to see how the United States, Israel, and the world will react if these activists unite with Palestinians in a Palestinian-Arab Spring movement.

    Tomorrow will Biden bring up Ted Kennedy's description of Mitt Romney...

    referring to the former MA Gov as "Multiple Choice" Mitt?

    After all Joe personally knew Ted Kennedy when the latter was running against Romney for the US Senate. I think Kennedy's term for Romney fit's the Mittster more now than it did then.

    It will be interesting to see what Biden's game plan is for tomorrow night's debate.
    I think he will start out praising the accomplishments of the Obama Admin. That's what Obama failed to do, but looking at Biden's DNC Convention speech, I think he will pick up from there and emphasize their accomplishments for women and of course remind everyone that the Obama Admin killed bin Laden and saved GM. After that he'll needle Ryan over the Romney-Ryan elusive politicies.

    What else do you think Biden will or should bring up or emphasize?
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