xenologer: (cocky Kamina)
Dear Apathetic and Cynical Democrats:

If anybody screws up our momentum and advantage, it's going to be you. You're sitting there, wallowing in your learned helplessness, telling yourself that you already worked hard, and it didn't make everything all better. Can't you just sit this one out? You'll have the bonus of being right about yourselves: you can't do anything, nothing that you manage to do will matter, and nothing that you do which matters will last.

I don't want that. Do you? Maybe. Does it have to be that way? No. You were laying groundwork before, and you were laying it for this. You think it won't make a difference whether you work to get more Democrats in office or not? You think it won't? Why? It did last time. Six months ago we got the first piece of our health care reform passed, and a lot of it goes into effect today. Right before the mid-term election, things have changed.

Health Care Reform Changes Effective Today
Starting today, for example, insurers won't be able to exclude children from coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Rescission, which led to many Americans losing their coverage when they needed it most, is forbidden. Young people can now stay on their parents' plan until age 26. Preventive care -- including colonoscopies, mammograms, and immunizations -- must now be covered without co-payments.

Republicans intend to take all of this away, of course, and will fight tooth and nail next year if voters reward them with a majority.


For more details, the White House has a website dedicated to the new law, and you can probably find some good stuff in there.

I'm posting this as a reminder to everybody that this, new credit card regulations, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Tribal Law and Order Act, and a host of other things are why you guys need to get up off your asses and make sure that the Republicans don't take back the House this November. The few small reforms we've managed to get done are all things that they hate, and they absolutely will take them away if we invite them in the door. You know it and I know it.

About the Democratic candidates, and about us: )
xenologer: (smartass)
Man. I just saw something amusing.

So Obama keeps mentioning Vegas as an example of the kind of thing people shouldn't blow their money on when they've got bills to pay, to make an analogy with the government and the fun stuff that deserves funding but can't have it. So legislators who represent Nevada got all pissed that Vegas is being used as an example of a place people shouldn't spend their money, and they're offended, and they're yada yada yada. That's not what made me laugh.

What made me laugh was a black reporter looking at a couple of white politicians--with a big shit-eating grin that said she knew exactly what the fuck she was saying--and basically commenting MAN people are so SENSITIVE these days! Why can't we just let these things go?

Of course they didn't realize that they just got hit with the "get over it; you're too sensitive" card, but I did and I LOL'd.

But oh, jeez. If she hadn't had that big grin on her face, I wouldn't have assumed that was what she was doing, but she couldn't even keep a straight face when she said it. That had to feel good.
xenologer: (smartass)
Man. I just saw something amusing.

So Obama keeps mentioning Vegas as an example of the kind of thing people shouldn't blow their money on when they've got bills to pay, to make an analogy with the government and the fun stuff that deserves funding but can't have it. So legislators who represent Nevada got all pissed that Vegas is being used as an example of a place people shouldn't spend their money, and they're offended, and they're yada yada yada. That's not what made me laugh.

What made me laugh was a black reporter looking at a couple of white politicians--with a big shit-eating grin that said she knew exactly what the fuck she was saying--and basically commenting MAN people are so SENSITIVE these days! Why can't we just let these things go?

Of course they didn't realize that they just got hit with the "get over it; you're too sensitive" card, but I did and I LOL'd.

But oh, jeez. If she hadn't had that big grin on her face, I wouldn't have assumed that was what she was doing, but she couldn't even keep a straight face when she said it. That had to feel good.
xenologer: (smartass)
Man. I just saw something amusing.

So Obama keeps mentioning Vegas as an example of the kind of thing people shouldn't blow their money on when they've got bills to pay, to make an analogy with the government and the fun stuff that deserves funding but can't have it. So legislators who represent Nevada got all pissed that Vegas is being used as an example of a place people shouldn't spend their money, and they're offended, and they're yada yada yada. That's not what made me laugh.

What made me laugh was a black reporter looking at a couple of white politicians--with a big shit-eating grin that said she knew exactly what the fuck she was saying--and basically commenting MAN people are so SENSITIVE these days! Why can't we just let these things go?

Of course they didn't realize that they just got hit with the "get over it; you're too sensitive" card, but I did and I LOL'd.

But oh, jeez. If she hadn't had that big grin on her face, I wouldn't have assumed that was what she was doing, but she couldn't even keep a straight face when she said it. That had to feel good.
xenologer: (stupid questions)
I think [livejournal.com profile] copperstewart has the right of it.
I've got nothing against principled outbursts.  Indeed, I encourage them and wish our US Congress looked a bit more like PM's question-an-answer period in the British Parliament.

But "Joe" Wilson is a racist with a long history and questionable involvements, and it looks to me like the Obama + immigration context was just too much for an old cracker to bear.

14 Things You Need to Know About Obama Heckler, Rep. Joe Wilson
That's pretty much what I'm feeling right now. I think that if someone actually is a liar, we should call them liars, and our unwillingness to do so for the sake of "civility" has resulted in Republicans telling outrageous lies about LGBT people, undocumented migrants, women, science, Jesus, and damn near every other topic of relevance in our culture. But Rep. Wilson has a serious case of pot and kettle syndrome if he's calling the President a liar for accurately describing the health care reform plans being tossed about.

(And as a side note, I don't think it would be a problem if undocumented migrants were covered by public insurance instead of having to rack up everyone else's bills with their ER visits, and I am incredibly pissed that my tax dollars wouldn't be going to pay for the abortions of women who need them. Also, yada yada fight cap and trade because coal companies don't deserve a bailout and other miscellaneous issues on my mind lately that I haven't been blogging about as diligently as I should.)
xenologer: (stupid questions)
I think [livejournal.com profile] copperstewart has the right of it.
I've got nothing against principled outbursts.  Indeed, I encourage them and wish our US Congress looked a bit more like PM's question-an-answer period in the British Parliament.

But "Joe" Wilson is a racist with a long history and questionable involvements, and it looks to me like the Obama + immigration context was just too much for an old cracker to bear.

14 Things You Need to Know About Obama Heckler, Rep. Joe Wilson
That's pretty much what I'm feeling right now. I think that if someone actually is a liar, we should call them liars, and our unwillingness to do so for the sake of "civility" has resulted in Republicans telling outrageous lies about LGBT people, undocumented migrants, women, science, Jesus, and damn near every other topic of relevance in our culture. But Rep. Wilson has a serious case of pot and kettle syndrome if he's calling the President a liar for accurately describing the health care reform plans being tossed about.

(And as a side note, I don't think it would be a problem if undocumented migrants were covered by public insurance instead of having to rack up everyone else's bills with their ER visits, and I am incredibly pissed that my tax dollars wouldn't be going to pay for the abortions of women who need them. Also, yada yada fight cap and trade because coal companies don't deserve a bailout and other miscellaneous issues on my mind lately that I haven't been blogging about as diligently as I should.)
xenologer: (stupid questions)
I think [livejournal.com profile] copperstewart has the right of it.
I've got nothing against principled outbursts.  Indeed, I encourage them and wish our US Congress looked a bit more like PM's question-an-answer period in the British Parliament.

But "Joe" Wilson is a racist with a long history and questionable involvements, and it looks to me like the Obama + immigration context was just too much for an old cracker to bear.

14 Things You Need to Know About Obama Heckler, Rep. Joe Wilson
That's pretty much what I'm feeling right now. I think that if someone actually is a liar, we should call them liars, and our unwillingness to do so for the sake of "civility" has resulted in Republicans telling outrageous lies about LGBT people, undocumented migrants, women, science, Jesus, and damn near every other topic of relevance in our culture. But Rep. Wilson has a serious case of pot and kettle syndrome if he's calling the President a liar for accurately describing the health care reform plans being tossed about.

(And as a side note, I don't think it would be a problem if undocumented migrants were covered by public insurance instead of having to rack up everyone else's bills with their ER visits, and I am incredibly pissed that my tax dollars wouldn't be going to pay for the abortions of women who need them. Also, yada yada fight cap and trade because coal companies don't deserve a bailout and other miscellaneous issues on my mind lately that I haven't been blogging about as diligently as I should.)
xenologer: (Speak)

Send Your Comments on the “Conscience” Rule to HHS

I recently wrote that President Obama was planning to overturn Bush’s last minute HHS “conscience” rule that prevents health care providers from “discriminating” against all levels of anti-choice employees who literally refuse to do their jobs, and is intended to not only restrict access to abortion, but also birth control and reproductive health care in general.

Well he’s gone and begun the process to do exactly that.  The 30 day comment period for the public to send in their thoughts on the proposed change opened earlier this week.  Which means that just like it was important for you to send in your opposition to the rule when Bush proposed it, it’s important to send in your support for its repeal now.  Not because we have reason to believe that Obama will back out of his promise, but because pro-choice causes, women’s health, and access to services needs all of the public support that they can get.

Click here to send your comments to the Department of Health and Human Services. And then, make sure to spread the word and ensure that all of your friends do the same!

xenologer: (Speak)

Send Your Comments on the “Conscience” Rule to HHS

I recently wrote that President Obama was planning to overturn Bush’s last minute HHS “conscience” rule that prevents health care providers from “discriminating” against all levels of anti-choice employees who literally refuse to do their jobs, and is intended to not only restrict access to abortion, but also birth control and reproductive health care in general.

Well he’s gone and begun the process to do exactly that.  The 30 day comment period for the public to send in their thoughts on the proposed change opened earlier this week.  Which means that just like it was important for you to send in your opposition to the rule when Bush proposed it, it’s important to send in your support for its repeal now.  Not because we have reason to believe that Obama will back out of his promise, but because pro-choice causes, women’s health, and access to services needs all of the public support that they can get.

Click here to send your comments to the Department of Health and Human Services. And then, make sure to spread the word and ensure that all of your friends do the same!

xenologer: (Speak)

Send Your Comments on the “Conscience” Rule to HHS

I recently wrote that President Obama was planning to overturn Bush’s last minute HHS “conscience” rule that prevents health care providers from “discriminating” against all levels of anti-choice employees who literally refuse to do their jobs, and is intended to not only restrict access to abortion, but also birth control and reproductive health care in general.

Well he’s gone and begun the process to do exactly that.  The 30 day comment period for the public to send in their thoughts on the proposed change opened earlier this week.  Which means that just like it was important for you to send in your opposition to the rule when Bush proposed it, it’s important to send in your support for its repeal now.  Not because we have reason to believe that Obama will back out of his promise, but because pro-choice causes, women’s health, and access to services needs all of the public support that they can get.

Click here to send your comments to the Department of Health and Human Services. And then, make sure to spread the word and ensure that all of your friends do the same!

xenologer: (hope)
I know that there are people on my F-list who are interested in American politics (whether they live here or not), but don't necessarily know where to look for things like this. So! Here's a rundown of what President Obama has started (at least the most thorough one I've seen, since a lot of places are still too arguing over the Chief Justice garbling the oath, and whether family planning resources help low-income families).

Executive Order Watch

Executive orders from the office of the new President are trickling in at a faster pace now. Here's the rundown so far:

  • Guantanamo Bay must be closed down within a year. Nothing is clear yet about what exactly the government plans to do with the detainees, whose trials have been suspended. Along with Guantanamo, the CIA has been ordered to shut down their overseas network of covert prisons where they've kept suspects in secret custody for months or years. Another order Obama signed created a task force to figure out what to do next.
  • The U.S. Army Field Manual is now the official standard for interrogation for all U.S. personnel; it prohibits waterboarding as well as threats, coercion, and physical abuse. A pretty tight restriction on anything approaching torture, but a source of the Washington Post suggests that there may be revisions to that manual in store, which would re-expand what is allowed.
  • Along with requesting that military judges suspend the trials of the Guantanamo detainees, another order suspended the trial of Ali al-Marri, who is accused of being an al-Qaeda agent and is being held indefinitely as an "enemy combatant." His status and fate remains uncertain as well.
  • All White House officials who makes more than $100k is getting a pay freeze.
  • Executive branch employees are prohibited from taking any gifts from lobbyists. (It's hard but not impossible, sadly, to believe that this wasn't a rule before. I haven't been able to find out if it was or not.)
  • Hiring, firing, and other employment practices in the executive branch must now be made based on qualifications, competence, and experience, as opposed to political connections. (This is thought by some to be a repudiation of how former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez fired a bunch of prosecutors who weren't faithfully doing everything Republicans told them to.)
  • New executive branch appointees may not take part in any matter related to any employer or client that they've worked with during the last two years, or work on any issue area or in any department of government that they lobbied during the last two years. This is intended to stop "revolving door" cronyism, of course, and may affect a lot of Obama's staff. UPDATE: In fact, it looks like the administration may already have to seek a waiver from this rule for William Lynn, nominated to be Deputy Secretary of Defense, because Lynn was a vice-president and Raytheon and now would be involved in budgeting and acquisitions. DOH way to make a rule and break it, in the military-industrial complex no less.
  • Similarly, executive branch employees who leave government service are now prohibited from lobbying the executive branch for two years after they leave or the rest of the Obama administration, whichever is longer.
  • Other officials besides the President *cough*CHENEY*cough* can no longer claim executive privilege to keep executive-branch documents sealed. Bush gave that power to former Presidents and Vice-Presidents as well… oops, can't seal your old records any more! Now, if even the President wants to exercise that power, the act must still be reviewed for constitutionality by the Attorney General and the White House counsel.
  • Obama has ordered new guidelines to be developed for government communication and the Freedom of Information Act to implement principles of openness, transparency, and participatory government.

Sounds good to me so far, although I expect the "up in the air" status of Guantanamo detainees is unlikely to make anyone happy, especially the right wing. Still, for now it means no more hidden prison networks, no more waterboarding, and slightly fewer possibilities for secrecy and cronyism. (...)

UPDATE: According to California NOW the Department of Health & Human Services has confirmed that they have yet to develop guidelines for implementing the "conscience rule" that would allow health care providers to refuse service if they didn't like it. Because Obama's team issued an order halting any implementation of last-minute Bush directives until they can be reviewed, it looks like that rule will not be going forward. I can't imagine the Obama administration would review it and let it continue.

Sources: here and here and here.

xenologer: (hope)
I know that there are people on my F-list who are interested in American politics (whether they live here or not), but don't necessarily know where to look for things like this. So! Here's a rundown of what President Obama has started (at least the most thorough one I've seen, since a lot of places are still too arguing over the Chief Justice garbling the oath, and whether family planning resources help low-income families).

Executive Order Watch

Executive orders from the office of the new President are trickling in at a faster pace now. Here's the rundown so far:

  • Guantanamo Bay must be closed down within a year. Nothing is clear yet about what exactly the government plans to do with the detainees, whose trials have been suspended. Along with Guantanamo, the CIA has been ordered to shut down their overseas network of covert prisons where they've kept suspects in secret custody for months or years. Another order Obama signed created a task force to figure out what to do next.
  • The U.S. Army Field Manual is now the official standard for interrogation for all U.S. personnel; it prohibits waterboarding as well as threats, coercion, and physical abuse. A pretty tight restriction on anything approaching torture, but a source of the Washington Post suggests that there may be revisions to that manual in store, which would re-expand what is allowed.
  • Along with requesting that military judges suspend the trials of the Guantanamo detainees, another order suspended the trial of Ali al-Marri, who is accused of being an al-Qaeda agent and is being held indefinitely as an "enemy combatant." His status and fate remains uncertain as well.
  • All White House officials who makes more than $100k is getting a pay freeze.
  • Executive branch employees are prohibited from taking any gifts from lobbyists. (It's hard but not impossible, sadly, to believe that this wasn't a rule before. I haven't been able to find out if it was or not.)
  • Hiring, firing, and other employment practices in the executive branch must now be made based on qualifications, competence, and experience, as opposed to political connections. (This is thought by some to be a repudiation of how former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez fired a bunch of prosecutors who weren't faithfully doing everything Republicans told them to.)
  • New executive branch appointees may not take part in any matter related to any employer or client that they've worked with during the last two years, or work on any issue area or in any department of government that they lobbied during the last two years. This is intended to stop "revolving door" cronyism, of course, and may affect a lot of Obama's staff. UPDATE: In fact, it looks like the administration may already have to seek a waiver from this rule for William Lynn, nominated to be Deputy Secretary of Defense, because Lynn was a vice-president and Raytheon and now would be involved in budgeting and acquisitions. DOH way to make a rule and break it, in the military-industrial complex no less.
  • Similarly, executive branch employees who leave government service are now prohibited from lobbying the executive branch for two years after they leave or the rest of the Obama administration, whichever is longer.
  • Other officials besides the President *cough*CHENEY*cough* can no longer claim executive privilege to keep executive-branch documents sealed. Bush gave that power to former Presidents and Vice-Presidents as well… oops, can't seal your old records any more! Now, if even the President wants to exercise that power, the act must still be reviewed for constitutionality by the Attorney General and the White House counsel.
  • Obama has ordered new guidelines to be developed for government communication and the Freedom of Information Act to implement principles of openness, transparency, and participatory government.

Sounds good to me so far, although I expect the "up in the air" status of Guantanamo detainees is unlikely to make anyone happy, especially the right wing. Still, for now it means no more hidden prison networks, no more waterboarding, and slightly fewer possibilities for secrecy and cronyism. (...)

UPDATE: According to California NOW the Department of Health & Human Services has confirmed that they have yet to develop guidelines for implementing the "conscience rule" that would allow health care providers to refuse service if they didn't like it. Because Obama's team issued an order halting any implementation of last-minute Bush directives until they can be reviewed, it looks like that rule will not be going forward. I can't imagine the Obama administration would review it and let it continue.

Sources: here and here and here.

xenologer: (hope)
I know that there are people on my F-list who are interested in American politics (whether they live here or not), but don't necessarily know where to look for things like this. So! Here's a rundown of what President Obama has started (at least the most thorough one I've seen, since a lot of places are still too arguing over the Chief Justice garbling the oath, and whether family planning resources help low-income families).

Executive Order Watch

Executive orders from the office of the new President are trickling in at a faster pace now. Here's the rundown so far:

  • Guantanamo Bay must be closed down within a year. Nothing is clear yet about what exactly the government plans to do with the detainees, whose trials have been suspended. Along with Guantanamo, the CIA has been ordered to shut down their overseas network of covert prisons where they've kept suspects in secret custody for months or years. Another order Obama signed created a task force to figure out what to do next.
  • The U.S. Army Field Manual is now the official standard for interrogation for all U.S. personnel; it prohibits waterboarding as well as threats, coercion, and physical abuse. A pretty tight restriction on anything approaching torture, but a source of the Washington Post suggests that there may be revisions to that manual in store, which would re-expand what is allowed.
  • Along with requesting that military judges suspend the trials of the Guantanamo detainees, another order suspended the trial of Ali al-Marri, who is accused of being an al-Qaeda agent and is being held indefinitely as an "enemy combatant." His status and fate remains uncertain as well.
  • All White House officials who makes more than $100k is getting a pay freeze.
  • Executive branch employees are prohibited from taking any gifts from lobbyists. (It's hard but not impossible, sadly, to believe that this wasn't a rule before. I haven't been able to find out if it was or not.)
  • Hiring, firing, and other employment practices in the executive branch must now be made based on qualifications, competence, and experience, as opposed to political connections. (This is thought by some to be a repudiation of how former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez fired a bunch of prosecutors who weren't faithfully doing everything Republicans told them to.)
  • New executive branch appointees may not take part in any matter related to any employer or client that they've worked with during the last two years, or work on any issue area or in any department of government that they lobbied during the last two years. This is intended to stop "revolving door" cronyism, of course, and may affect a lot of Obama's staff. UPDATE: In fact, it looks like the administration may already have to seek a waiver from this rule for William Lynn, nominated to be Deputy Secretary of Defense, because Lynn was a vice-president and Raytheon and now would be involved in budgeting and acquisitions. DOH way to make a rule and break it, in the military-industrial complex no less.
  • Similarly, executive branch employees who leave government service are now prohibited from lobbying the executive branch for two years after they leave or the rest of the Obama administration, whichever is longer.
  • Other officials besides the President *cough*CHENEY*cough* can no longer claim executive privilege to keep executive-branch documents sealed. Bush gave that power to former Presidents and Vice-Presidents as well… oops, can't seal your old records any more! Now, if even the President wants to exercise that power, the act must still be reviewed for constitutionality by the Attorney General and the White House counsel.
  • Obama has ordered new guidelines to be developed for government communication and the Freedom of Information Act to implement principles of openness, transparency, and participatory government.

Sounds good to me so far, although I expect the "up in the air" status of Guantanamo detainees is unlikely to make anyone happy, especially the right wing. Still, for now it means no more hidden prison networks, no more waterboarding, and slightly fewer possibilities for secrecy and cronyism. (...)

UPDATE: According to California NOW the Department of Health & Human Services has confirmed that they have yet to develop guidelines for implementing the "conscience rule" that would allow health care providers to refuse service if they didn't like it. Because Obama's team issued an order halting any implementation of last-minute Bush directives until they can be reviewed, it looks like that rule will not be going forward. I can't imagine the Obama administration would review it and let it continue.

Sources: here and here and here.

xenologer: (aaaah)
Obama?

Hell no. Not cool. You do not agree to these things.

President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in ceremony will feature big names like minister Rick Warren and legendary singer Aretha Franklin, the Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced Wednesday.

Warren, the prominent evangelical and founder of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, will deliver the ceremony's invocation. The minister hosted a presidential forum at his church last summer that challenged both Obama and Arizona Sen. John McCain on a host of faith-related issues. Warren did not endorse either presidential candidate.
In case anyone on my friends list doesn't get yet why this guy is a total asshat embarrassment to America, here's the statement from People for the American Way (who, I gotta say, are pretty spot on with this comment).
It is a grave disappointment to learn that pastor Rick Warren will give the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church's engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right's big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion.

I'm sure that Warren's supporters will portray his selection as an appeal to unity by a president who is committed to reaching across traditional divides. Others may explain it as a response to Warren inviting then-Senator Obama to speak on AIDS and candidate Obama to appear at a forum, both at his church. But the sad truth is that this decision further elevates someone who has in recent weeks actively promoted legalized discrimination and denigrated the lives and relationships of millions of Americans.

Rick Warren gets plenty of attention through his books and media appearances. He doesn't need or deserve this position of honor. There is no shortage of religious leaders who reflect the values on which President-elect Obama campaigned and who are working to advance the common good.
Prosperity Gospel-spewing misogynist theocratic sonovabitch. I can't actually figure out what part of this little combination bothers me most... it might actually be the Prosperity Gospel bit. rake_blackguard has an eloquent (and appropriately foul-mouthed) take on this.
It looks like Obama is getting in bed with a nutso fucking religious zealot. For real this time! He's getting that bigoted, greedy Dr. Phil wannabe Rick Warren to do his inaugural invocation. Bonus points for his book, "The Purpose-Driven Life," because in biblical baby-talk and large, page-eating text basically condones and encourages an economic underclass. That, by accepting your ditch-digging vocation, you're "letting go and letting god" or somesuch tripe.

THIS is the man Obama selected to speak at his inauguration. A man for whom two people making a legally-recognized commitment is comparable to incest and rape, discussions on social welfare tantamount to Marxism, and who thinks some gold-encrusted megachurch glorifies the pauper son of a carpenter.

This man is emblematic of everything wrong with American christianity. And Obama's cuddling up to him.
Yep. About says it.

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