December 2009
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Month December 2009

New Year’s Eve open thread!

Hope you are having a nice evening.  I’m working — but having fun nonetheless.  Be safe, and have a very happy new year!

ACTION: No Public Option, No Mandate

There are 65 members of Congress who pledged to vote against a bill without a public option (who now it seems have decided to backtrack on their pledge}

“All of the protest letters in the world don’t add up to much if you don’t finally stand up and vote No on something the President and Nancy want,” Weiner said. “There is clearly a sense that progressives in Congress are easily rolled.” –  Rep. Anthony Weiner

Now that the public option has been killed, we want their pledge to vote against a bill with an individual mandate to buy private insurance. Click here to get the phone numbers of progressive members of Congress, then ask if they’ll oppose an individual mandate without a public option. When you report your call it will show up below.  link

“If the Congressional left can’t pass even something as modest as a watered down public option, then frankly I don’t think anyone is going to take the left very seriously later on in this Congress,” Weiner continued. “When Blue Dogs talk, there are fewer of them but they have more influence than when progressives talk. –  Rep.  Anthony Weiner

Obama’s big gamble

MIT economist Simon Johnson lays it out on Baseline Scenario: No modern economy can function without a financial system, so some form of rescue that restored confidence in our banks was necessary – just as it was in Thailand, Indonesia, and Korea in 1997.  But in any rescue, the governments with deep pockets (i.e., the economic strategists deciding how to deploy US fiscal resources now and in the 1990s) choose the strings to attach – and the approach adopted for the U.S. has been one of the least conditional and softest ever on troubled banks. Let’s hope the President’s first big decision — to carry on with the Bush administration’s policy toward Wall Street — is a success. History, and Johnson’s piece, paint a worrisome picture of the odds. Whatever the result, I’d put this decision high on the list of 2009′s most momentous political calls. What’s your candidate?

Daughter Of Slain Clerk Obtains Visa After Capuano Intercedes

By KATHLEEN MCNERNEY, WBUR, Published December 31, 2009

BOSTON – U.S. authorities have agreed to give a traveler’s visa to the 9-year-old daughter of a convenience store clerk who was killed during a robbery in Jamaica Plain over the weekend.

The U.S. Embassy in Nepal had previously granted visas only to the widow and brother of Surenda Dangol because of concerns the family would overstay the visa if the daughter came as well.

Congressman Michael Capuano called the Consulate and asked them to review the case. link

The gentleman was here legally. He had done everything that he was supposed to do, and I think it would be totally inhumane for us to turn our back on the family in their time of trouble.” – Mike Capuano

Afghans burn effigy of Obama

The actual “war/fighting” in Afghanistan has not been headline worthy news these last few months because of the healthcare reform debate and the drama over President’s decision whether to send more troops to Afghanistan or not saturated the news. But as the weather gets better in AF, the fighting will be intensifing and the estimate is many American soldiers will be dying. We talk about the new approach in AF being less fighting and more winning the hearts of the people in AF but this report out yesterday can’t help… The head of a presidential delegation investigating the deaths of 10 people in eastern Afghanistan concluded Wednesday that civilians – including schoolchildren – were killed in an attack involving foreign troops, but NATO officials disputed that. This story out yesterday is also bad news for the President’s struggle to keep the US public engaged and in support of the war in Afghanistan. KABUL – The Taliban claimed responsibility Thursday for two separate bomb attacks in Afghanistan that killed eight Americans, five Canadians and an Afghan in a surge of violence in the war-battered country. A U.S. congressional official said CIA employees were believed to be among the victims of a […]

DeMint, Hypocrisy, and the TSA

OK, so  the GOP is upset with the underwear bomber security failure and they continue to try to use it to make political hay. Yet, oddly, they also continue to block the appointment of the new head of the TSA. HuffPo states Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has placed a hold on the president’s choice to head the TSA over the senator’s concern that the new leader would let TSA screeners join a labor union. This has some Democrats blaming politics for the vacancy. Curious why the mainstream media has not picked this up yet and pointed out the hypocrisy of the GOP simultaneously blaming the administration while feverishly working to make it fail through obstruction and mistruths.

Who Is Your Person of the Year?

I hate Time’s Man of the Year or whatever they call it now. “Biggest newsmaker” is a maddeningly vague standard, and they inevitably get gunshy when the obvious choice is someone awful. So I thought, let’s have a Person of the Year, and make it a little more hope-changey. My choice is Sonia Sotomayor. What say you, BMGers? Don’t feel wedded to my criteria.

The Decade of Arrogance and Ignorance

You may recall that the Dunning-Kruger Effect shows that whereas people who do things well tend to underestimate their performance, the inept have no idea how bad they are. Indeed incompetent people consistently over estimate their abilities and success. What a metaphor for the past ten years! First up, of course, is the Bush-Cheney administration. When W was running in 2000, he was asked about his inexperience on the national stage and in foreign policy. His stock answer: “I’ll have great advisers.”  He didn’t. Not one. Stupid, venal, mendacious incompetents every one of them. The Presidential Briefing memo, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US?” Why Condi Rice said that was a “historical piece.” And she was supposed to be one of the best and brightest of the group. Dunning-Kruger in a nutshell. Next-and a close second it is-the financial lords of the universe who had the reverse Midas touch. Rating agencies that could rate, insurance companies that couldn’t insure, investment houses that couldn’t invest, watchdog government agencies that couldn’t watch, compensation plans that rewarded failure.  Arrogance and ignorance packaged as free-market enterprise. It’s enough to make one go back to Karl Marx-but he’s another dude who illustrates the Dunning-Kruger […]

Martha’s Middle Class and small Business Tax Relief plan…

Best News Of 2009

Best News of 2009 ! Robert Strange MacNamara died on July 16,2009. Too bad he didn’t off himself in 1963 or 64 and save 58,000 American lives. May he burn in Hell for eternity and greet D. Cheney when God pulls the plug on him for the final time.