Mar 152009

Katie Couric of CBS News won the Walter Cronkite Award for her series of interviews with Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Here’s a video of the complete interviews… (Fair warning: conservatives may find this video painful to watch.)

I’m hoping the Republicans will run Mrs. Palin as their 2012 presidential candidate. I really, really am. It would definitely be fun (to say the least).

Feb 282009

It appears that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has been tapped as the new Secretary of Health of Human Services…

Kansas Governor Accepts Offer as Health Secretary

Kathleen Sebelius
Kathleen Sebelius

WASHINGTON — President Obama asked Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas on Saturday to become his nominee for secretary of health and human services, tapping a red state ally to help him push through his plan to remake the nation’s health care system.

Ms. Sebelius accepted the president’s offer and will be introduced by Mr. Obama at the White House on Monday, said administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging the formal announcement. The selection comes just days before Mr. Obama hosts a health care summit meeting at the White House.

Ms. Sebelius became one of Mr. Obama’s most valued allies when she endorsed him early in the presidential nomination battle. She has been discussed for a variety of positions, including vice president and other cabinet jobs. A two-term state insurance commissioner and second-term Democratic governor in a reliably Republican state, Ms. Sebelius has a reputation for bipartisan instincts.

“She is one of the nation’s best and most respected governors,” a senior administration official said in explaining Mr. Obama’s decision. “As a former state insurance commissioner, she has a real depth on health care. And she has a history of working across party lines.”

In selecting Ms. Sebelius, Mr. Obama has decided to risk running headlong into the nation’s volatile abortion wars. Since Ms. Sebelius’s name emerged as a leading candidate for the health job, anti-abortion groups have assailed her record and vowed to fight her confirmation.

Not exactly my first choice for the job, nor was she President Obama’s, but I think she will do a terrific job. We’ll await the formal announcement on Monday.

Feb 252009

Somewhat lost in all the excitement over President Obama’s first address to Congress last evening was the news that Hilda Solis was finally confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of Labor. The Republicans were doing all they could to delay and even possibly derail her nomination due to her pro-labor beliefs. She is the complete ideological opposite of Elaine Chao, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor. (Ms. Chao was the only cabinet member to serve throughout both of Mr. Bush’s terms and is the wife of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.)

Solis Confirmed as Labor Secretary

Hilda Solis
Hilda Solis

The Senate this afternoon confirmed Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) as labor secretary, more than two months after she was nominated for the post by President Obama.

The Senate voted 80 to 17 to confirm Solis, after Senate Republicans today assured Democrats that they would not filibuster the nomination. Solis had come under fire from Senate Republicans, who thought she was unresponsive to many of their questions during her confirmation hearing, a situation that was compounded by her work as treasurer for American Rights at Work, a pro-labor group.

There were also concerns among some Republicans about her support for a measure that would make it easier for workers to organize unions.

Consideration of Solis’s nomination was further delayed when it was revealed that her husband had recently paid about $6,400 to settle tax liens against his California auto repair business.

While Solis’s nomination generated skepticism among many Republicans and their backers in the business community, the new labor secretary enjoys solid support among members of organized labor. The daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Nicaragua, both of Solis’s parents were union members. Also, as a member of Congress, Solis has shared union skepticism toward free trade agreements, and been a strong proponent of developing jobs in renewal energy and other “green collar” areas.

“America’s working men and women will be fortunate to have someone of Hilda’s tremendous talents leading the Department of Labor. She knows the huge challenges facing workers and their families, and she has the experience and dedication needed for this vital position,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. ” It’s been a privilege to work with her in Congress, and I look forward very much to working with her as secretary.”

Labor leaders applauded Solis’s confirmation.

UPDATE: Here are the 17 Republicans who voted against our new Secretary of Labor: Bond (R-MO), Bunning (R-KY), Burr (R-NC), Coburn (R-OK), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Ensign (R-NV), Inhofe (R-OK), Kyl (R-AZ), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Vitter (R-LA) and Wicker (R-MS).

Feb 252009

President Obama’s third attempt at filling the Secretary of Commerce post… They say the third time’s the charm.

Obama nominates Locke for Commerce chief

Gary Locke
Gary Locke

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Obama named former Washington Gov. Gary Locke as his nominee for commerce secretary Wednesday.

“Gary will be a trusted voice in my Cabinet, a tireless advocate for our economic competitiveness and an influential ambassador for American industry who will help us do everything we can, especially now, to promote our industry around the world,” Obama said at the announcement made near the White House.

“Gary knows the American dream. He’s lived it. And that’s why he shares my commitment to do whatever it takes to keep it alive in our time,” he added.

Locke, 57, was the country’s first Chinese-American governor, elected to lead Washington in 1996 and re-elected in 2000.

Before becoming governor, he served five terms in the Washington state House of Representatives and one term as King County executive. He was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee from 1989 to 1994.

A lawyer, Locke is in private practice with Davis Wright Tremaine in the national firm’s Seattle, Washington, office.

“Working with the professionals at the Department of Commerce, I’m committed to making the department an active and integral partner in advancing [Obama’s] economic policies and restoring the American dream to all Americans,” Locke said.


Feb 202009

Illinois Gov.: Burris Should Resign From Senate

CHICAGO. Feb. 20 — Gov. Pat Quinn (D) said Friday that the time has come for Sen. Roland W. Burris (D-Ill.) to resign and allow a special election to be held for the seat once held by President Obama.

Quinn said Burris never should have accepted the appointment from then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and erred when he failed to disclose fully his contacts with some of Blagojevich’s closest advisers, including the governor’s brother.

He praised Burris as a “wonderful human being” and a “dear friend.” He called him “inspirational” and “God-fearing.” But he said a decision to resign would be seen as “an act of fortitude and doing what’s right for the common good.”

“To step aside would be a heroic act,” Quinn told reporters in Chicago, “and I ask Roland to do it.”

From this week’s Friday Night Cartoons:



Feb 022009

We have a new Attorney General and President Obama’s cabinet is one step closer to completion…

Senate confirms Holder as attorney general

Eric Holder
Eric Holder

WASHINGTON – The Senate voted to confirm Eric Holder as attorney general Monday evening, making President Barack Obama’s choice the nation’s first African-American to hold the job.

Though debate quickly turned partisan when his chief supporter denounced Republicans who sought a pledge not to prosecute intelligence agents who participated in harsh interrogations, the Senate still confirmed Holder as expected.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, singled out Texas Republican John Cornyn as one who wanted to “turn a blind eye to possible lawbreaking before investigating whether it occurred.”

A small group of Republicans sought such a pledge from Holder, but he declined to give one. Leahy, D-Vt., has been infuriated for several weeks by such demands.

“No one should be seeking to trade a vote for such a pledge,” Leahy said.

Despite the partisan beginning, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said Holder made mistakes but was well-qualified for the job and should be confirmed.

The Senate voted 75-21 for Holder’s confirmation.

Holder’s confirmation will trigger reviews — and changes — to the most controversial Bush administration policies, from interrogation tactics to terrorism trials and warrantless surveillance.

John Cornyn again? We Texans are so proud. (Not.)

Update: The roll call vote. Both of our illustrious Texas senators were in the nay column. Of course.

Jan 222009

This post is dedicated to John Cornyn, Jim DeMint and David Vitter…

Secretary of State Clinton Arrives at Foggy Bottom

Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived for her first day of work at the State Department Thursday, assuming the mantle of the nation’s chief diplomat and preparing to name a pair of renowned diplomats to serve as special emissaries to the Middle East and South Asia.

The morning after she was easily confirmed by the Senate, Mrs. Clinton was greeted by a crowd of more than a thousand State Department employees, cheering and whooping like a campaign gathering.

“This is going to be a great adventure,” Mrs. Clinton said to employees in a lively 10-minute address, as people craned to see her from a balcony in the flag-lined lobby of the State Department.

Mrs. Clinton said she sought a “sense of openness and candor in this building,” and invited people to “think outside the proverbial box,” which drew a yelp from a man in the crowd. She promised “robust diplomacy” and “effective development” to restore America’s standing overseas.

Mrs. Clinton walked into the building just after 9:15 a.m., to a hail of camera flashes. She was met at the door by Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns, the top-ranking career diplomat, who introduced her as the nation’s 67th secretary of state.

Speaking for the employees, Steve Kashkett said, “As you can tell from the enthusiastic welcome, so far, we are thrilled to have you here.” Noting that Mr. Kashkett had shown wise caution in adding the words “so far,” Mrs. Clinton said, “This is not going to be easy.”

No, Secretary Clinton, it is not going to be easy. Cleaning up the mess left by the Bush administration is going to be very difficult and is going to take a lot of work and a lot of time. But, as our new president has promised, we will get there.

Good luck, Madame Secretary!

 Comments Off on Clinton arrives at State

Chris Wallace

 Posted by at 18:37  Election 2008, Politics
Jan 212009

It has always been my considered opinion that Chris Wallace of FOX News is somewhat of a dolt. My opinion was solidified yesterday:

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Where do I even start? I guess I’ll start with the Constitution. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States contains the following paragraph:

Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation: — “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Granted that Chief Justice Roberts flubbed the oath yesterday, but cut the guy a little slack. It was his first time administering this particular oath and I’m sure he was just a little flustered and nervous. I do not believe it was done purposely by the Chief Justice or as part of any right wing conspiracy to derail the presidency of Barack Obama (as some have suggested). In hindsight, he probably should have had the oath written down rather than trying to recite it from memory. I’m sure he’ll do much better on January 20, 2013 when he administers the oath to President Obama for the second time. (January 20, 2013 will fall on a Sunday. Just thought you’d want to know.)

President Obama tried to correct the Chief Justice, even pausing a moment to give him a chance to recoup and correct himself. Even then, the President put the word “faithfully” in the wrong place. According to Chris Wallace, this means that Barack Obama is not the president of the United States because the oath of office was not administered word for word as stated in the Constitution.

Alright, Mr. Wallace and the rest of you screamers out there, answer me this: Where in the presidential oath of office as outlined in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States of America do the words “so help me God” appear? The answer, of course, is “they do not.” The conclusion we must then draw, by Mr. Wallace’s standard, is that every president who ever uttered the words “so help me God” during his recitation of the oath was never legally the president. How many presidents do you think have said “so help me God” while reciting the oath of office? I’m not going to do the research, but I’m willing to bet there have been quite a few. In fact, including President Obama, I’d almost bet that the number is or approaches 44.

So we can only conclude that Chris Wallace of FOX News is a dolt. Does he really think anyone is going to go to court claiming that Barack Obama is not President because Chief Justice Roberts messed up the oath office? Really? Do you?

Many are saying that Mr. Obama became president at the stroke of noon on January 20th regardless of whether he took the oath or not. I have been unable to find anything, in the Constitution or elsewhere, to substantiate that claim. If anybody knows where that is written, please let me know in the comments. I’d appreciate it. [UPDATE: Found it. 20th Amendment, Section 1: “The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.”]

(Video courtesy of Raw Story.)

UPDATE: This is just plain silly: “Obama retakes oath of office after Roberts’ mistake.” Did he say So help me God this time, too? If he did, I’m calling for a do-over.

President Obama took a mulligan on the oath of office with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the Map Room of the White House on Wednesday night. (Photo: Pete Souza/The White House)
President Obama took a mulligan on the oath of office with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the Map Room of the White House on Wednesday night. (Photo: Pete Souza/The White House)

Audio: Take two…

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Once more I will reiterate… The words “So help me God” do not appear in the oath as prescribed by the Constitution. They just don’t.

Jan 212009

Clinton confirmed as secretary of state by 94-2 vote

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. Senate approved the nomination of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state Wednesday by a vote of 94-2.

The two senators who opposed Clinton’s confirmation were Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, and David Vitter, R-Louisiana.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, had objected to the confirmation Tuesday, preventing the Senate from voting by unanimous consent. His objection meant that the Senate held a roll call vote on Clinton’s nomination Wednesday…

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 16-1 last week in favor of Clinton’s nomination, with Vitter casting the sole dissenting vote. The committee vote sent Clinton’s nomination to the full Senate, the final step in the confirmation process.

Well, at least our esteemed senator from Texas managed to get is name in the news. That doesn’t happen very often. He doesn’t do much.

As for David Vitter, it seems to me that he would be doing all he possibly could to keep his name out of the news. Perhaps he is trying to re-establish himself as some sort of bastion of conservative values (whatever they are). Good luck with that, David.

I don’t know what Jim DeMint’s problem is. I don’t really know that much about him. One report I read stated that he objected to Mrs. Clinton’s stand on the issue of abortion. Like that has a lot to do with being Secretary of State. More likely Mr. DeMint, like Mr. Cornyn, just decided it was time to get his name in the news by playing a bit of partisan politics. They are both graduates of the Tom DeLay school of politics which — and we can all be thankful for this — is quickly fading into irrelevance.

Though I still have not completely forgiven Hillary for her slash and burn campaign against Barack Obama last year (President Obama is much more forgiving than I, for which Hillary Clinton and John McCain can both be thankful), I will say… Congratulations, Madame Secretary.