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Member since: Thu Mar 16, 2006, 02:07 PM
Number of posts: 8,898

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President Obama Holds Principal Hocksprung's Granddaughter and Other Pics

Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:53 PM PST
President Obama gives great speeches and, apparently, great hugs
by coolelegans

The speech moved me to tears. And then I found something to smile about. Here is the President, taking a picture that was released by the family of Emilie Parker, who was six years old. Look at how shy the girl in the pink shirt is... and how broad the President's smile is. He looks like he is celebrating life.

Here is another taken by Cristina Hassinger who took a photo of her daughter and the Principal Dawn Hochsprung's granddaughter with the President.

This man is my President:

Thank you Mr. President. As earicicle said in the comments "I can't think of anything more important to do" than to spend time with these kids.


Obama Speaks at Newtown Vigil "You are not alone" (this copy is in sync)

This Is What I Cannot Understand

Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 08:32 PM PST
This Is What I Cannot Understand
by grannycarol

Somebody tries, unsuccessfully, to blow up a plane by putting a bomb in his shoe.

So now everyone that gets on a plane has to take off their shoes.

Somebody tries, unsuccessfully, to make a bomb on board a plane using liquid explosives.

So now all liquid holding containers are banned from planes.

We are subjected to intrusive searches before boarding a plane because, well, even that 80 year old woman could be a terrorist intent on doing us harm.

And you know what? I don't feel any safer now than I did after 9/11.

Because no mater how many times it happens, nothing is being done to keep me safe while I'm out shopping, or at the movies, or singing songs at Circle Time with my group of preschoolers.

My director has scheduled a meeting Monday night to discuss the tragedy and to present plans for what our school can do in the case of such a tragedy happening here.. Really.

There are no places to hide in my classroom. Four year olds need to be seen at all times. The bathroom stalls have no doors- just paper sheets hanging across my eye level. The tables are two feet off the ground- nobody can really fit underneath.

I looked around my classroom on Friday and thought to myself, "Well, we could drop the kids out the window and tell them to run- but to where? Our school is on a mini campus with a grassy lawn and a parking lot in front and a playground in back. We are the only building on the block. Should the kids run out into traffic?

We are already a 'locked down' building. Nobody can enter unless buzzed in by the receptionist. Would that be enough?

I don't fear Al-Quiada. I fear someone entering the mall and opening fire at the Food Court. I fear someone hiding on a roof somewhere and shooting at whomever is there. I fear someone taking out a gun and killing because the gun is there and it works.

The debate on gun control is said to be a nasty one to start. But so was the debate on abortion. With all the regulations states have placed on clinics that make it impossible to offer the services, it has become difficult, if not impossible, for women to obtain abortions today.

How about the same regulations on gun providers. Start imposing impossible to follow regulations that would force them to shut down- leaving maybe one or two places where one can purchase guns and ammo.

Get rid of gun shows. Forbid private sales- you want to sell your gun- have a government buy back program. Make it just as difficult to obtain a 'well it's legal' gun as it is to obtain a 'yes it's legal' abortion.

Because removing shoes, and banned shampoo and patting down citizens is not keeping me safe.


Just Stop. Your unwarranted fears and outmoded beliefs don't trump our rights.

Sat Dec 15, 2012 at 06:37 AM PST
Just Stop. Your unwarranted fears and outmoded beliefs don't trump our rights.
by sparkysgal

Your unwarranted fears and outmoded beliefs don't trump our rights to a safe, healthy and prosperous society.

Your unwarranted fear of government tyranny doesn't trump our right to sane, reasonable gun control.

Your belief in outmoded, disproven economic theories doesn't trump our rights to an economy that sufficiently provides for the majority rather than only further enriching a small, lucky minority.

Your misguided ideas about personal liberty don't trump our right to care for those of us stricken by illness or accident, and to help those among us who are poor.

Your belief in outmoded ideas about gender roles and sexuality don't trump our rights to live and love in the ways we find most fulfilling.

Your baseless refusal to accept scientific fact does not trump our imperative to take steps to mitigate climate change, and to prudently prepare for its effects.

Your unwarranted fear of the black man in the white house doesn't trump our right to a functioning, responsive government.

Just. Stop. Your ignorance and fear cause untold suffering.

People have a right to believe whatever they want. That doesn't mean that we have to structure our society around the unwarranted fears and outmoded beliefs of reactionaries.


The first responders

These are the police who were the first to see the children inside the school and had to tell their families. There are no words.

Quote of the Day from Ezra Klein

"Talking about how to stop mass shootings in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings isnít 'too soon.' Itís much too late." - Ezra Klein

Read the whole article here. It's fantastic.

He Tried To Break Down My Door

Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 11:55 PM PST
He Tried To Break Down My Door
by leavingthezoo

The wind is blowing. The news is threatening us with snow flurries. Nothing major. Most likely I will see no evidence as it is not expected to accumulate over night. I'm huddled in my living room wishing I were in bed asleep. I tried to be. But sleep isn't coming easily to me lately.

Last week, Wednesday night, or really Thursday morning, I was sleeping as peacefully as I ever have. I live in a trailer. (Yes, yes, I know all the trailer trash jokes, and no longer cringe when I hear them.) It's a temporary abode. I will be gone from here in six more months. But for now, it is affordable as I finish up at a local community college before transferring to my home state's pride and joy. My significant other has moved ahead of me so as to make the move as easy a transition as it can be. So, I am here. Alone.

I awoke to what I thought was an earthquake. We've felt a few here in recent years. Small ones. Just enough to register in your head that its an earthquake, but not severe enough to drop to your knees in prayer. This one was different. It was jolting. With it was a distant booming sound that I couldn't quite identify. I sat up as I tried to get my bearings, still groggy and confused. It wasn't until I made my way halfway down the hall that I realized the booming sound was someone throwing themselves against my front door. It wasn't until then that I understood the jolting of the trailer was from the force. And I could hear a man yelling.

I instantly panicked.

My first thought was something had happened to my mother, and my stepfather in his grief was beside himself as he wailed and pummeled my door trying to wake me. They live a couple of spaces down from me, so it just made sense. I moved more quickly towards the living room, then suddenly realized it was not the voice of my stepfather. It was not a voice I recognized, and the concern for my mother suddenly turned into fear for myself.

My second thought, once I realized what was happening, was, "Great! I'm going to die before I get my degree!"

And the absurdity of the second thought gave way to the third, "If this guy succeeds, there is nothing I can do. I really might not survive this..."

It's difficult to be rational when nothing around you is in your control. So, irrationally, I immediately called my parents home. I guess when you don't know what you're facing, you seek comfort. By the second ring, my mind started clicking and I realized this was a futile route. I hung up before they could answer and called 911.

I stumbled through the words as I explained my emergency. "Someone is trying to break down my door. Where do I live? I live... I'm at... He's screaming. He's ramming my door and he's screaming to let him in. No, I don't know who he is! Please, please help me. I don't know what to do..."

The operator told me to stay on the line until the sheriff arrived. I hid in my bedroom behind a door that doesn't lock. Call waiting signaled someone was trying to reach me, and I knew it was my stepdad. It was then that I heard the first gunshot.

"Oh my God! I just heard... I think I heard gunfire! Please hurry! He's still beating my door."

I heard the operator radio that a gunshot had been heard, and not long after, a second caller confirmed there was gunfire. I got down low to the ground, and started telling the operator, "I have to call my parents back. I have to hang up. I'm afraid my dad is going to come check on me and get shot."

By the time I heard the second and third gunshot, I could also hear the sirens. The calvary was coming! But in moments, I would hear them go a different direction.

"No! No! They're going the wrong way! I heard them and now they're going the wrong way!"

There was a lot of confusion for me. In some ways, I am sure things were happening more quickly than I realized, and in others, they weren't happening fast enough. The operator told me the sheriff was in pursuit of a car that sped away from the area.

"But what about the guy on my porch? What about my dad?" I cried out. It was only then that I noticed I no longer heard the chaos coming from my living room. Trying to make sense of it all, I asked, "What do I do? What if there is a dead guy on my porch? What if my stepfather..."

"No, you're ok."

The operator told me that a second officer had checked the area, and no one was lying dead on my porch or anywhere else for that matter. I was safe. It was all ok. I wouldn't trust them until I saw my stepdad. And like me being so afraid he'd been killed, he was dealing with his overwhelming fear that something terrible had happened to me.

In the end, the man was arrested. He totaled his vehicle in the pursuit. He didn't even mean to be on my porch. He thought he was somewhere else. The gunshots came from a neighbor across the street. The man had been there originally, and gotten into a fight with one of them. Instead of calling the police, someone yanked out a gun and shot into the air. I didn't hear the first shot. I only heard the three that followed once he was at my door, ramming it with intensity. The neighbor next door to me is the mother of the man's girlfriend. He thought he was on her porch. The terror wasn't meant for me. The fear instilled didn't have my name on it. These sleepless nights aren't mine. This racing heart when unexpected noise jolts me awake doesn't belong to me. The chronic checking of locks, the hesitation before opening the door, the unwillingness to open the shades, or even sit on the porch in broad daylight are not my penance. But I pay them anyway.

All I can think is how silly this is to still be scared. I tell myself how fortunate I am. How there are so many whose doors have been broken down. How there are those who did not survive. That there are those who are dealing with so much more than a temporary instance of loss of control. That there are those who will live with both physical and mental scars for the rest of their lives.

And it make me wonder, are we protecting our neighbors? Because only two calls went to the police that night. Mine and my stepfathers. But multiple neighbors have admitted to hearing the chaos, and doing nothing. Absolutely nothing.

So, do something. If you wonder if you should, the answer is yes. Make the call. I can promise you, if you find yourself in a similar situation, you will be praying someone makes the call for you.


I know it's infantile, but I still think it's funny...

Rolling Jubilee Poised to Retire $9,000,000 in Medical Debt!

Sun Dec 02, 2012 at 08:37 PM PST
Rolling Jubilee Poised to Retire $9,000,000 in Medical Debt!
by jpmassar

While New York City's Mayor is once again attempting to squash Occupy by ordering Occupy Sandy off the streets, another group of Occupiers and allies is continuing unimpeded in its efforts to do something to make the world a better place. Rolling Jubilee, an action by StrikeDebt, an "offshoot" of Occupy Wall Street, has now raised enough money to retire over $9,000,000 in medical debt.

A week and half ago I reported that donations had topped $400,000, enough to retire $8,000,000 in debt. The debtometer has been turning continuously since then, and a few hours ago it hit $450,000.

It would only take $50,000 -- $5 donations each by 10000 people -- to hit that magic next decimal: $10,000,000. (Mayor Bloomberg could do it on far less than the interest he earns in a single day, but I digress). When it does hit, that will probably connect with the lame stream media much as the original effort did.

The point, however, of the Rolling Jubilee is not so much to forgive a certain amount of debt for a certain number of people -- although it is and will continue to do that -- rather the goal is more to restart the conversation about debt and how people got into it in this country. From medical bills that no person in any other industrialized country has to deal with, to fraudulent home loans from banksters who should be in jail, to usurious credit card rates and fees, to unforgivable student debt that is causing grandparents' social security payments to be docked, debt has because a plague upon the land.

When Iceland can jail its banksters and bail out its people, the only reason we cannot do it is a lack of understanding by the people of just how badly they have been screwed.


#austerity isn't working. #Jubilee really works, just ask Iceland. It's time for a #GlobalJubilee strikedebt.org

30 Nov 12

(For specifics on the Rolling Jubilee, please see the FAQ on this page. For an in-depth discussion of the tax issues (or non-issues) surrounding this endeavor, you can try to wade through the comments in my previous diary).


Joe Klein at TIME Taunts "Republican Drama Queens"

Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 12:54 PM PST
Joe Klein at TIME Taunts "Republican Drama Queens"
by Ian Reifowitz

This is almost too good to be true, coming from a Villager like Joe Klein:

The Republicans are, reportedly, outraged by President Obamaís opening bid in the fiscal cliff talks. Republicans always seem to be outraged. Itís getting boring. They need to step up and make a counter-offer.

(snip) it is time to stow the Republican intemperance. It might have seemed ďrighteousĒ indignation when the GOP was deluding itself about representing a majority of Americans; now, it just seem puerile and petulant.

Puerile and petulant. Alright, I'm a lover of alliteration (!). Klein then delivers the hammer blow:

What is difficult for the Fox talking heads to understand is this: We had an election. The President won....the assorted Republican drama queens seem so two months ago, donít they?

They sure do. Well played, Mr. Klein. And if this attitude reflects the growing consensus of the Village -- and Joe Klein is usually a quite good representative of those attitudes -- this could play out well for the President, and thus the country. Here's hoping.

PS-Please check out my new book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity, published last month by Potomac Books, where I discuss Barack Obama's ideas on racial, ethnic, and national identity in detail, and contrast his inclusive vision to language coming from Mitt Romney, Rush Limbaugh and (some) others on the right. You can read a review by DailyKos's own Greg Dworkin here.

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