Weekly Address 06-29-13

 Posted by at 08:09  Politics
Jun 292013
 

“Confronting the Growing Threat of Climate Change”

From the White House weblog:

In this week’s address, President Obama tells the American people about a plan he unveiled a few days ago to confront the growing threat of climate change. His plan will cut carbon pollution, protect our country from the impacts of climate change, and lead the world in a coordinated assault on a changing climate.

Click below to listen to the audio only:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Transcript after the break.

Continue reading »

Jun 272013
 

The United States Senate approved an immigration reform bill today. However, it has little to no chance of passing (or even getting a vote) in the Republican controlled House of Representatives.

Senate approves comprehensive immigration bill

The contentious bipartisan effort to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws achieved a decisive victory Thursday when the Senate approved legislation that would allow millions of illegal immigrants the chance to live legally in the United States and to eventually become U.S. citizens.

The 1,200-page bill, which now faces a stern test in the Republican-controlled House, carries a $50 billion price tag. It would double the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents along the southern border and require the construction of 700 miles of fencing there. It also would place new burdens on employers, who would be required to check the legal status of all job applicants using the government’s E-Verify system.

Senators approved the plan 68 to 32, capping more than six months of negotiations that began behind closed doors and concluded with almost a month of debate on the Senate floor. Fourteen Republicans voted with every member of the Senate Democratic caucus to approve the bill — an impressive bipartisan margin in a chamber that has become sharply partisan.

“Before the American people give up on the Congress, look at what we achieved today in a bipartisan fashion,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), a key member of a group of Democrats and Republicans who wrote the bill.

But the path ahead is likely to be increasingly acrimonious because the bill is now in the hands of the House, where intense GOP opposition threatens to kill it outright.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday laid down stern conditions for what kind of immigration bill he would allow the House to vote on, and it was not the one that came of out the Senate.

Boehner said that any bill would need majority support among his GOP colleagues before it could get a vote in the House. “For any legislation, including a conference report, to pass the House, it’s going to have to be a bill that has the support of the majority of our members,” he said. Recent history suggests that assembling such a majority will be difficult to achieve.

The 14 Republican Senators who voted with the Democrats in favor of the bill were: Marco Rubio (Fla.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Jeffrey Chiesa (N.J.), Susan Collins (Maine), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Dean Heller (Nev.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), and John McCain (Ariz.).

Rick Perry is dumb

 Posted by at 16:51  Politics
Jun 272013
 

I think you probably already know this, but in case you don’t let me enlighten you. Texas Governor Rick Perry is a dumb ass. He proved it again today: “Rick Perry: Wendy Davis learned nothing from ‘her own example’ as a teen mom.”

There is video at the link. I’d rather not post it here. I want as little of Rick Perry on my site as possible. I’m telling you, the man makes George Dubya Bush look like a fricking genius.

Perry said:

In fact, even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. She was the daughter of a single woman, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas senate. It is just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.

To which Wendy Davis responded:

Rick Perry’s statement is without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds. They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view.

Our governor should reflect our Texas values. Sadly, Gov. Perry fails that test.

Wendy Davis for governor! (Video: Meet Wendy Davis)

P.S. It is kind of funny to hear Rick Perry say that “every life matters.” Under his rule, Texas now ranks at or near the bottom of all states in the United States in the number of people with health insurance. It also ranks at or near the bottom of students graduating high school. There is one thing in which it excels: Texas has executed the highest number of its prisoners than any other state… 500 since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1982; 261 of those since Rick Perry became governor. Yep… every life matters.

Summer of 2013

 Posted by at 09:53  Politics
Jun 262013
 

The summer of 2013 is only a few days old, but already it has made its mark on history.

Last night, the people of Texas stopped their “representatives” in the State Senate from enacting the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. It may be too soon to celebrate on this one, however, as Texas Republicans are not beyond playing dirty politics to get their way. There is a possibility that Rick Perry could call a second special session of the legislature in order to get this bill passed. (Update: Perry has, as expected, called a second special session of the Texas state legislature. It will begin on Monday, July 1.)

In other news, the Supreme Court this morning ruled in favor of equal rights for all citizens of the United States of America. First, they ruled that the party in favor of California’s Proposition 8 did not have standing before the court and the ruling of the lower court on this issue will stand. Same sex marriages will soon resume in California. Second, they ruled that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Same sex couples who are married in one of the twelve states that currently recognize the civil rights of same sex couples can no longer be denied all the federal benefits enjoyed by married heterosexual couples.

So far a very good day in America.

UPDATE: President Barack Obama released the following statement on the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act:

I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.

So we welcome today’s decision, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.

On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.

The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.

Snowden on the move

 Posted by at 09:45  Politics
Jun 232013
 

American outlaw and fugitive Edward Snowden is on the move…

Hong Kong: Edward Snowden has left for third country

A former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for revealing highly classified surveillance programs was allowed to leave for a “third country” because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory’s government said Sunday. CBS News confirmed Snowden was supposed to land in Moscow early Sunday morning, although whether or not that is his final destination is unclear. WikiLeaks, which claims to have aided Snowden’s flight, said on Twitter he had landed at around 9:15 a.m. ET.

Hong Kong’s government did not identify his destination. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was unaware of Snowden’s whereabouts or travel plans.

Snowden, who has been in hiding in Hong Kong for several weeks since he revealed information on the highly classified spy programs, has talked of seeking asylum in Iceland.

However, both Russia’s ITAR-Tass news agency and Reuters cited an unidentified Aeroflot official as saying Snowden would fly from Moscow to Cuba on Monday and then on to Caracas, Venezuela. Others have mentioned Ecuador as a possible final destination.

So much for his manly claims of having done nothing wrong and his willingness to take responsibility for his actions.

Edward Snowden is nothing more than a narcissistic coward and traitor to his country. I wish those of you who are trying to make him out to be some kind of hero would get over it.

Update: Word is now that the traitor may be enroute to Ecuador.

Weekly Address 06-22-13

 Posted by at 10:29  Politics
Jun 222013
 

“Time for Congress to Pass Commonsense Immigration Reform”

From the White House weblog:

President Obama discusses the bipartisan legislation in the United States Senate that would take important steps towards fixing our broken immigration system, while growing our economy and reducing the deficit.

Click below to listen to the audio only:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Transcript after the break.

Continue reading »

Kennedy tribute

 Posted by at 22:27  Politics
Jun 202013
 

The city of Dallas, Texas is planning a memorial event to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza. Here’s the deal, though. Only 5,000 tickets will be made available. Recipients of those tickets will be chosen at random by a computer from all who apply. All ticket holders will then undergo a thorough background check by Dallas Police.

The terrorists have already won. Seriously, could this country get more paranoid?

5,000 tickets available for Kennedy tribute in Dallas

DALLAS — Requests for 5,000 tickets to a John F. Kennedy memorial event in Dallas went online Thursday, beginning a process that includes rigorous background checks and random computer-driven drawings of people who want to attend.

“ The 50th: Honoring the Memory of President John F. Kennedy” is a public memorial planned for Nov. 22, 2013, in Dealey Plaza in Dallas. President Kennedy was assassinated there in 1963. He was the nation’s 35th president.

Dallas Mayor Michael S. Rawlings said security and fair access are key to the tribute, which he said will be “serious, understated and respectful.”

Security is a high priority in this era, given the terrorists attacks on Sept.11, 2001, and the recent bombings in Boston, Rawlings said at a news conference held at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

First Assistant Dallas Police Chief Charles Cato said police will conduct full criminal background checks on all people requesting tickets. People can request up to two tickets and each person listed in a single request will be screened.

While ties to extremist groups might cause security concerns, Rawlings said people with varying views about the events leading to JFK’s assassination won’t be discriminated against in the process.

The following comes directly from the event’s official website:

Persons of all ages, including children, must have a ticket to attend. There will not be seating at the event; however, there will be accommodation for persons with disabilities.

Please note:

  1. For security purposes, you will be asked to enter a valid driver’s license/state issued ID number or passport number or social security number on your request form. Two forms of ID are required on the form; please have your numbers ready when you begin the process.
  2. You may request 1 or 2 tickets to the event. Blocks or group ticket requests cannot be accommodated.
  3. You will be notified on the status of your ticket request on or about October 1, 2013. Only those receiving tickets will be notified.
  4. Tickets will not be mailed to you. You may only pick up tickets in person at the American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Avenue in downtown Dallas, on the day of the event, Friday, November 22, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. CST. Each person attending MUST present photo ID, with information that matches the ticket form, when picking up tickets. For security reasons, no tickets can be released without a photo ID. Acceptable photo identification includes driver’s license, state issued ID, school ID or passport.

Yep, no doubt about it. The terrorists have definitely won.

Berlin 2013

 Posted by at 20:47  Politics
Jun 192013
 

President Obama spoke to the people of Germany today… from the east side of the Brandenburg Gate.

I’d suggest that peace with justice begins with the example we set here at home, for we know from our own histories that intolerance breeds injustice. Whether it’s based on race, or religion, gender or sexual orientation, we are stronger when all our people — no matter who they are or what they look like — are granted opportunity, and when our wives and our daughters have the same opportunities as our husbands and our sons. (Applause.)

When we respect the faiths practiced in our churches and synagogues, our mosques and our temples, we’re more secure. When we welcome the immigrant with his talents or her dreams, we are renewed. (Applause.) When we stand up for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and treat their love and their rights equally under the law, we defend our own liberty as well. We are more free when all people can pursue their own happiness. (Applause.) And as long as walls exist in our hearts to separate us from those who don’t look like us, or think like us, or worship as we do, then we’re going to have to work harder, together, to bring those walls of division down.

Complete transcript follows the break.

Continue reading »