Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 49,234
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 49,234
I know I can sometimes appear to be an optimist, but I'm often deeply cynical about politicians and government. Don't mistake my confidence and positive persona for optimism, or for some kind of naivete. Hell will freeze over, I believe, before I see all of the changes I want enacted by government realized in my lifetime.
There are, however, transformational moments in our history which usher in progress which can't be reversed or erased. I believe that President Obama's announcement, in his calculated interview released today, that he now fully supports marriage equality, is one of those earth-moving political decisions which will usher in a new generation of civil rights for those individuals in the LGBT community who have been deliberately denied basic citizenship rights because of who they love; who they choose to have sexual relationships with; and, who they choose to marry.
We don't need to dwell too long on the utter immorality and political timidity of the president's earlier position which he had said was 'evolving' over time. There is no justification to be had for his insistence on sticking to his position against marriage equality and rights for gay Americans. There isn't any mitigation of those views to be had in his welcome and correct support of many other precepts of our LGBT agenda. There isn't any justification for waiting so long to express this change of heart -- no letting the powder dry; or waiting for the next election; or defending his reelection can justify maintaining such a selfish and hurtful stance.
Yet, there isn't any more need to dwell on those transgressions of Barack Obama now that he's made a decision to move forward to change attitudes and the law. There's no more need than there was to dwell on the faults of President Lyndon Johnson -- a man who ushered in a new era of civil rights for black Americans and others; yet, couldn't keep himself from calling blacks 'nigras.' -- after he had his own epiphany and embraced the civil rights fight; enlisting every instigation of democracy he could manage to further the historic progress he ultimately achieved in making the federal government responsible and accountable for the defense of those rights.
What the President has done with his statement -- just a couple of paragraphs; a few sentences -- is to make himself the primary target for those who would oppose these rights he's advocating. In this election year, President Obama will be forced; challenged to defend his position on marriage equality as integral to the defense of his entire candidacy for reelection. I don't know if that's the fight folks were expecting, but that's the one we've got right now.
The President will need to be nimble and positively brilliant in his defense of his stance in order to avoid those in opposition making this issue one which overshadows all else in his campaign. Yet, it will likely dominate almost every instance of his bid for reelection.
Fortunately, this President has already demonstrated his capacity and ability to express empathy, compassion, and understanding on many issues in ways which welcome all Americans to join in and participate. Indeed, President Obama will likely use this issue as a measure of our commitment to each other; employs his defense in a way which ultimately unites us.
It's hard to understate the importance of this sitting president's embrace of these basic, but denied, rights. History has shown that it takes leadership at the level of the presidency to initiate and carry through important changes in our society. It has been said by Edmund Burke that, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Or, perhaps, more accurately, ""When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
So, united we now stand. Forward to the fight for equality for all!
Posted by bigtree | Wed May 9, 2012, 06:50 PM (8 replies)
May 8, 2012
During an election-year clash over which U.S. political party has the best prescription for curing unemployment, Democrats can argue that almost two-thirds of private-sector job growth in the past five decades came with them in the White House.
Democrats hold the edge though they occupied the Oval Office for 23 years since Kennedy’s inauguration, compared with 28 for the Republicans. Through April, Democratic presidents accounted for an average of 150,000 additional private-sector paychecks per month over that period, more than double the 71,000 average for Republicans.
Obama focused his remarks on the improvement at non- government employers. “Our businesses have now created more than 4.2 million new jobs over the last 26 months -- more than 1 million jobs in the last six months alone,” Obama said at a May 4 event in Virginia.
Through April, private employers have added an average of about 900 jobs per month since Obama’s inauguration. During the two terms of his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, private payrolls shrank by an average of 6,700 jobs per month.
. . . Republicans, campaigning on pledges to cut government spending and programs, had a relatively better record at creating public-sector jobs Since January 1961, federal, state and local government employment grew by 7.1 million under Republican presidents and 6.3 million when Democrats were in the White House. Government agencies added an average of 21,000 jobs per month under Republicans, compared with 22,000 for Democrats.
read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-08/private-jobs-increase-more-with-democrats-in-white-house.html
Posted by bigtree | Wed May 9, 2012, 07:00 AM (5 replies)
Monday, 7 May 2012
One third of all U.S. manufacturing executives of companies with sales above $1 billion per year now say they are planning or considering “reshoring”
____ Most economists — even those inclined to sympathize with the Obama administration’s economic policies — scoffed in 2010 when, in his State of the Union address, the president vowed to double US exports in five years — creating 2 million jobs in the process.
It’s not that this wasn’t possible in the eyes of economists. It just wasn’t likely, they thought, that the global conditions and political climate in the United States would allow it.
The “zero effect” — the distorting phenomenon of measuring growth starting at an unnaturally low point — kept a damper on enthusiasm even as export figures soared in 2010-2011.
Many experts assumed that the favorable trends supporting that growth had little to do with long-term shifts. Instead, most felt the numbers reflected a coincidental confluence of events: sky-high oil prices that drove the costs of shipping upwards, a mega-recession that undermined American labor’s negotiating leverage, Federal Reserve “quantitative easing” that kept the dollar cheap and pumped up US exports, and freak events like the euro zone meltdown and the Japanese earthquake/tsunami that took major players off the economic chessboard.
But the data has started to cause reassessments. Monthly net exports have grown from $140 billion to $180 billion since the start of 2010.
read more: http://www.cnbc.com/id/47323840/
Posted by bigtree | Tue May 8, 2012, 02:38 PM (2 replies)
No clouds in my stones
Let it rain; I hydroplane into fame
Comin' down at the Dow Jones
When the clouds come, we gone
We fly higher than weather
In G5's or better . . .
When the sun shines, we shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be your friend
Took an oath that I'm a stick it out till the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella . . .
These fancy things will never come in between
You're part of my entity, here for infinity
When the world has took its part
When the world has dealt its cards
If the hand is hard, together we'll mend your heart . . .
It's raining, raining
Ooh, baby, it's raining, raining . . .
-- Rhianna's Umbrella
pics and vid from the Obama Diary
Posted by bigtree | Tue May 8, 2012, 01:21 PM (5 replies)
Watching President Obama's campaign kickoff speech in Ohio, just one more time, I got a bit more of an idea of what he's angling to achieve in this campaign beyond his reelection. I'm looking at Barack Obama in the context of the history of our nations leadership --within and without government -- and I'm struck by the degree that this president has managed to inflect his political rhetoric with elements of a progressive agenda which have previously been the elements of activism and advocacy from outside of government; rhetoric not normally associated with a sitting president.
One of the very first thoughts expressed in his speech was a profound statement of our political party's purpose and identity:
"We came together because we believe that in America, your success shouldn’t be determined by the circumstances of your birth," President Obama said. "If you’re willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job. If you’re willing to meet your responsibilities, you should be able to own a home, maybe start a business, give your kids the chance to do even better -- no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name is."
Right out of the gate, this president is embracing the struggle that the majority of Americans are facing in trying to earn a living and to provide for their families and their future.
"It was tough . . . It was tough all across the country," he said, "But the American people are tougher. All across America, people like you dug in. Folks like you fought back."
Most importantly, the President Obama defined where we came from in this economy, and in the other affairs which make up the state of our union, and declared that we are going forward -- not backward to the policies and politics which let us down in the first place.
'Forward' is more than just a motto; it's a defining stand against those who would have us reverse and take away the elements of progress that we've achieved so far. Forward is a declaration that we intend to build on the initiatives and actions which are already taking root for Americans around the nation.
an excerpt from the speech:
After a decade of war that’s cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is right here, right here at home. So we’re going to use half of what we’re no longer spending on war to pay down the deficit, and we will use the other half to repair our roads and our bridges and our airports and our wireless networks. That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for President.
That's as progressive an appeal as we've ever had from a President. This one just happens to have remained focused in his first term on the needs and concerns of ordinary Americans. Moreover, there's a springboard effect to his promotion of these issues in this election which affect the vast majority of us.
In an earlier response to a thread of mine, DUer, grantcart, perfectly summed up President Obama's appeal in this election:
"He's not running to win the election," he said, "He's running to win the agenda. Rather than pivoting to the center he is trying to get the country to sign on to going forward on a progressive tact."
"We’ve got to move forward to that future where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules," President Obama said.
Posted by bigtree | Sun May 6, 2012, 07:35 PM (2 replies)
@BarackObama The President is fired up for the first rallies of this campaign—here’s a reminder of what those look like: http://t.co/ixZw0o63 #Obama2012
"Here's what I understand: That as long as all of us are together, as long as we are all committed, then there's nothing we can't do."—Barack Obama
Posted by bigtree | Thu May 3, 2012, 03:15 PM (3 replies)
A number of conservatives have gone public with their heightened (if not contrived) anxiety over President Obama's perceived or actual 'coolness.' They suggest that it's just another slick facade which masks the president's supposedly objectionable or vacuous agenda. Still, they're so concerned with that perception of theirs that they've completely validated the notion by expressing their own comfortableness in looking less 'cool' than our Democratic rock star.
Let me say from the outset that, in comparison to most politicians of any stripe or position, Barack Obama is a very dynamic and compelling figure.
Fact is, his persona, character, and interests reflect more of America than any president in my lifetime. Much is made about Bill Clinton playing sax on Arsenio as candidate, but this president has displayed contemporary cool in office with his embrace of electronic and social media; his public embrace of contemporary music and musicians; as well as his interest in sports from the major leagues to his frequent games of one-on-one b-ball.
More importantly, though, President Obama has embraced many of the progressive issues of our time and presented their resolution or disposition as imperatives for the immediate future. That's a marked difference from the traditional caution of our political establishment. To be certain, many politicians are now challenged to come forth with positions and action on issues they thought they could slow-walk through the political process until they were dead or forgotten.
Even in the midst of our present financial disaster/recovery-- maybe even because of it all -- this president is pressing for action and accomplishment to counter the typical, deliberate cynicism many in our national legislature have worked to engender in our expectations of the government we've made them responsible for.
'Cool' for this president isn't just an attitude; it's a persona derived from his sincerity and commitment to those things which Americans feel characterize the best of what we are and what we aspire to become. Folks recognize that commitment to our national, social, and political advancement and want to identify with that sentiment and effort. Barack Obama inspires Americans on a real level; on a plane where Americans actually live and exist.
That brings us to conservatives' objections. It certainly may be that republicans want to be seen as 'cool,' as well. Curious though, that they would be arguing that Obama's cool doesn't cut it.
Conservative columnist, Kathleen Parker at the Washington Post, argues that republican candidate Romney's best chance of defeating the president is 'being proudly nerdy.'
The GOP is obviously mindful of the coolness gap and has issued a video ad in response to Obama’s late-night foray titled “A Tale of Two Leaders.” The ad juxtaposes Obama’s slow jam with Romney’s general election kickoff speech that is both earnest and heartfelt. It does not hurt that Romney’s voice at times could be mistaken for Ronald Reagan’s. Implicit in the message (and the voice): Take your pick. Grown-up or cool dude?
All of that ridicule of President Obama's messaging suggests that conservatives like Parker believe it's having some success in promoting his agenda. Even Parker admits that 'slow-jamming' his college loan agenda on Jimmy Fallon's show wasn't necessarily an ineffective strategy. After all, effectively communicating that agenda is the president's primary challenge and responsibility.
What conservatives seem to actually be lamenting is that the relative lameness of their appeal to the American public has gone stale; perhaps from the inherent flaws in its acceptability. What they seem to long for is a return to the distance they've enjoyed between their legislative offices and the people they purport to represent. They're 'up here' and their constituents are 'down there' and couldn't possibly understand their supreme rationale in blocking initiatives and actions which are intended to sustain us with their petty and opportunistic obstructions.
What conservatives are anxious to do (since the beginning of this democratic presidency) is to define this president as outside the American mainstream. What they've actually succeeded in doing, so far, however, is to highlight their own institutional and aspirational uncool.
Conservatism is uncool. That's a message I'm certain they'll proudly carry into the election and beyond.
Posted by bigtree | Wed May 2, 2012, 01:32 PM (23 replies)
. . . on the part of the media to portray Romney anywhere near the level of competence, class, and commitment of President Obama,
I'm not saying that there won't be a contest. There clearly are enough ambitious folks in the industry and in the political establishment willing to 'equalize' these two candidates in the public eye to make it look like there's something redeeming or virtuous about whatever convenient retread republican policies and pronouncements Romney is able to throw in the air. Hell, they'll even give him a few, just to make it look like a horse race.
When all the bull is stripped away, though (that's the challenge), Romney won't have a thing to stand on or behind. He won't have the (mythical) reputation of a 'maverick', for instance, that McCain failed to sell in his own regressive, backbiting campaign, All he has is his reputation as a flip-flopper -- and he's living up to that in his campaign, so far.
Fact is, Barack Obama is just the better man -- and it shows. He's the closest President I've seen in my lifetime to the people he intends to represent. He's the real deal, and folks he interacts with out in the nation identify and respond to that sincerity and attentiveness to their concerns.
His superlative image and character is on display and there isn't anyone in the republican party who can better him in that. That's why there's such a desperate effort to tear him down; to drag him down to their lowly level. I think Barack Obama relishes in proving the cynical and the apathetic wrong. He relishes in organizing folks around accomplishment and success. He revels in enlisting like-minded Americans to contribute their expertise and experiences to advancing solutions to our complex needs and interests.
It's going to be hard for even those cynics and provokers to keep from cheering him on in the end.
Posted by bigtree | Wed May 2, 2012, 02:39 AM (7 replies)
“My family gave me love. They gave me an education. And most of all, they gave me hope. Hope, hope that in America, no dream is beyond our grasp if we reach for it, and fight for it, and work for it.” Barack Obama, 2008
Ann Jackson of Hinesville, Ga., holds a fan with the image of President Barack Obama as she waits for his arrival at the Fort Stewart Army post - at The Obama Diary
Posted by bigtree | Sat Apr 28, 2012, 10:40 AM (0 replies)
from The Obama Diary:
President Barack Obama stops to view the moon and Venus before boarding Marine One in Boulder, Colo., April 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Posted by bigtree | Wed Apr 25, 2012, 08:02 PM (4 replies)