Archive for December 3rd, 2010

03
Dec
10

where’s the change?

Right here:

Hate Crimes after Obama

From BoomanTribune.com:

Many people (primarily Republican politicians) objected to the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act last November, for a variety of reasons. The principle opposition to the bill didn’t want sexual orientation added as a protected class.

However the law that Congress passed and President Obama signed did much more than extend federal protection to the victims of crimes committed because of their sexual orientation. It also expanded the scope of the prior 1969 federal hate crimes law, which previously was restricted only to hate crimes committed against victims “engaging in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school.”

The Matthew Shepard Act as it has been come to be known also gives the Department of Justice and the FBI “greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue.”

That last point is critical, and we are starting to see the results of increasing federal protections for the victims of these acts of terror.

For one example, consider the case of Ronald Pudder. Pudder committed arson against a small African American church. When confronted by videotape evidence of his actions Pudder confessed his guilt. Evidence that his crime was racially motivated was not hard to find:

Read about the case here

The two-count indictment against Pudder was detailed at a news conference Friday with the nation’s top civil rights attorney, Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. He said the government was determined to deter a rash of copycat crimes.

“Hate crimes reflect a cancer of the soul,” Perez said. “They are designed not only to injure the particular victim or victims, but to send a message to the community: a message of fear, an effort to divide communities along racial or religious lines.”

On Monday, Pudder pled guilty as part of a plea bargain in which Federal authorities will seek a sentence of 41-51 months.

Hate crimes do indeed leave scars, whether the crime is the directed against Christians, Jews or Muslims, members of the LGBT community or members of racial or ethnic minorities like this disabled Navaho man who had a swastika burned into his arm with a coat hanger, among other things done to him in Farmington New Mexico.

Read about the case here

Federal prosecutors say they were able to bring the case because the 2009 law eliminated a requirement that a victim must be engaged in a federally protected activity, such as voting or attending school, for hate crime charges to be levelled.

In the past many local authorities simply refused to prosecute such violent acts as hate crimes even if their state had an adequate hate crimes law on the books.

Now we don’t have to rely upon local authorities to bring these charges when they are appropriate.

And that, my friends, is progress, small though it may seem to some.

Thank you for the link BlackWaterDog

President Obama with Louvon Harris, her sister Betty Byrd Boatner (both sisters of James Byrd, Jr) and Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, after he spoke in honor of the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr, Hate Crimes Prevention Act during a reception at the White House, October 28, 2009

03
Dec
10

signed (sealed, delivered)

A U.S. soldier shows off President Barack Obama’s signature on her hand at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, Dec. 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

03
Dec
10

respect

President Barack Obama gets a hug as he shakes hands with the U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, Dec. 3, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

03
Dec
10

blackwaterdog will never make it on the interwebs…

…..she keeps reporting the facts. I know, I know: Craaaaaaaaaaazy.

Click

03
Dec
10

so, there’s no sign of a recovery?

03
Dec
10

support

President Barack Obama visits with a platoon of U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan that recently lost six members, Dec. 3, 2010. The President made an overnight trip to visit troops in Afghanistan. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

03
Dec
10

courage

President Barack Obama reaches for a Purple Heart medal which he presented to a wounded soldier at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, Dec. 3, 2010. The President presented five Purple Hearts to soldiers during his overnight trip to Afghanistan.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

03
Dec
10

remember that “failed” asia trip?


USA Today: The three-year-old free trade agreement with South Korea finally may be ready for congressional passage.

The Obama administration said today that their negotiators reached a deal with their South Korean counterparts on auto imports, exports and tariffs, the major stumbling block that had prevented the president from signing a revised treaty during a visit to Seoul last month.

Under the agreement, South Korea would cut its 8% tariff on U.S. automobiles in half and eliminate it in five years. The United States would keep its 2.5% tariff on South Korean autos during that five-year period. Automakers would get flexibility on meeting South Korean environmental standards.

Without the deal, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had estimated that 345,000 American workers could lose their jobs.

U.S. automakers exported less than 6,000 cars to South Korea in 2009 while South Korea has used its historically closed market to finance an aggressive push into the U.S. market, exporting 476,000 cars to the U.S. in 2009. The imbalance is so severe that automotive trade accounts for a full three-quarters of the $10.6 billion U.S. trade deficit with South Korea.

Business groups immediately hailed the breakthrough in negotiations, which came after four days of nearly round-the-clock negotiations in Washington.

(Hey, the Leftbaggers and Teabaggers have united yet again! They both oppose the deal, largely because they’re terrified it’ll be a success)

Three weeks ago….. AP: The President struck out in his attempt to close a new free-trade pact with Seoul …. It was an embarrassing setback for a president who stressed that the top objective of this trip was to cement agreements that would help create jobs at home…

…Obama said he needs “extra time” to reach agreement with longtime ally South Korea on a new free-trade agreement. He said he “wasn’t interested in making an announcement” just to send a signal of success and said he thinks any such pact can — and must — can be a “win-win” deal for the United States.

So, the President asked for patience. Deal. Done. 😉 Who’s embarrassed now?

President Obama hailed the agreement as he was returning on Air Force One from a surprise trip to Afghanistan:

I am very pleased that the United States and South Korea have reached agreement on a landmark trade deal that is expected to increase annual exports of American goods by up to $11 billion and support at least 70,000 American jobs. Last month in Seoul, I directed our negotiators to achieve the best deal for American workers and companies, and this agreement meets that test.

American manufacturers of cars and trucks will gain more access to the Korean market and a level playing field to take advantage of that access. We are strengthening our ability to create and defend manufacturing jobs in the United States; increasing exports of agricultural products for American farmers and ranchers; and opening Korea’s services market to American companies. High standards for the protection of worker’s rights and the environment make this a model for future trade agreements, which must be both free and fair.

Today’s agreement is an integral part of my administration’s efforts to open foreign markets to U.S. goods and services, create jobs for American workers, farmers and businesses, and achieve our goal of doubling of U.S. exports over five years. It deepens the strong alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea and reinforces American leadership in the Asia Pacific. I look forward to working with Congress and leaders in both parties to get this done and to ensure that America competes aggressively for the jobs and markets of the 21st century.

More info here

President Barack Obama greets South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak during their bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Toronto, Canada, Saturday, June 26, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

03
Dec
10

his approval rating is tanking! oh….maybe not

CBS: President Obama’s overall job approval rating has risen in a new CBS News Poll, showing 3 percent more Americans feel he’s doing a good job than did a month earlier.

According to the survey conducted by phone between Nov. 29 and Dec. 2, 48 percent of Americans approve of Mr. Obama’s job handling, up from 45 percent in November.

Approval among independents has risen, also, from 40 percent last month to 45 percent now.

Americans also seem more optimistic about the country’s economic outlook than they have been for months. According to the new poll, 31 percent believe the economy is getting better, the highest number since April.

A whopping 82 percent said they favor the idea of the U.S. and Russia coming to an agreement to limit nuclear weapons, a huge show of support for the Obama administration’s push to have Congress ratify the new START treaty, which is being held up by Congressional Republicans. Only 12 percent of those questioned in the latest CBS News Poll said they were against such a treaty.

03
Dec
10

fox noise: hostile bagram reception for obama

Transcript

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President Barack Obama greets troops at a rally during an unannounced visit at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan, Dec. 3




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