Archive for December 9th, 2010

09
Dec
10

npr interview

Interview with the President here (The full version can be heard on Friday’s Morning Edition)

Transcript of interview

09
Dec
10

father

President Barack Obama kisses his daughter Sasha during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, December 9

09
Dec
10

take your pick

President Barack Obama gets a guitar pick from blues legend B.B. King, left, during the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the Ellipse across from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 9

09
Dec
10

tree cheers

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha Obama, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the Ellipse across from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 9,

09
Dec
10

good grief

MSNBC: A key procedural vote on the bill containing a repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy failed Thursday, likely dealing a final blow to advocates who hoped to overturn the 17-year old ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military during this session of Congress.

Democrats needed 60 votes to advance the Defense Authorization bill for debate on the floor. The vote failed, 57-40.
Ultimately, Majority Leader Harry Reid called for the vote without having reached a procedural agreement with moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who supports repeal but wanted greater openness for the process of amending and passing the bill. Collins voted aye on the measure, but other Republicans who support repeal but had voiced similar procedural concerns — Sens. Scott Brown and Lisa Murkowski — voted no.

One Democrat, newly-elected Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, broke with his party to vote no.

President Obama: “Despite having the bipartisan support of a clear majority of Senators, a minority of Senators are standing in the way of the funding upon which our troops, veterans and military families depend. This annual bill has been enacted each of the past 48 years, and our armed forces deserve nothing less this year.”

“I am extremely disappointed that yet another filibuster has prevented the Senate from moving forward with the National Defense Authorization Act. Despite having the bipartisan support of a clear majority of Senators, a minority of Senators are standing in the way of the funding upon which our troops, veterans and military families depend. This annual bill has been enacted each of the past 48 years, and our armed forces deserve nothing less this year.

“A minority of Senators were willing to block this important legislation largely because they oppose the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal this discriminatory law, a step supported by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and informed by a comprehensive study that shows overwhelming majorities of our armed forces are prepared to serve with Americans who are openly gay or lesbian. A great majority of the American people agree. This law weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity and equality.

“I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin, and Senators Lieberman and Collins for all the work they have done on this bill. While today’s vote was disappointing, it must not be the end of our efforts. I urge the Senate to revisit these important issues during the lame duck session.”

09
Dec
10

‘republicans block health aid for 9/11 workers’

NY Times: Republican senators blocked Democratic legislation on Thursday that sought to provide medical care to rescue workers and residents of New York City who became ill as a result of breathing in toxic fumes, dust and smoke from ground zero.

The 9/11 health bill, a version of which was approved by the House of Representatives in September, is among a handful of initiatives that Senate Democrats had been hoping to approve this year before the close of the 111th Congress. Supporters believe this is their last real opportunity to have the bill passed.

…Republicans have been raising concerns about how to pay for the $7.4 billion measure, while Democrats, led by Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York, have argued that the nation had a moral obligation to assist those who put their lives at risk during rescue operations at ground zero.

The bill is formally known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named after a New York Police Department detective who participated in the rescue efforts at ground zero. He later developed breathing complications that were common to first responders at the site, and he died in January 2006.

Senator Harry Reid: “Republicans denied adequate health care to the heroes who developed illnesses from rushing into burning buildings on 9/11,” he said. “Yet they will stop at nothing to give tax breaks to millionaires and C.E.O.’s, even though they will explode our deficit and fail to create jobs. That tells you everything you need to know about their priorities.”

Ms. Gillibrand, the chief sponsor in the Senate, even reached out to former President George W. Bush. But her aides say Mr. Bush did not respond to her entreaties.

09
Dec
10

some light (ho, ho) relief

President Obama Speaks at the National Christmas Tree Lighting

December 09, 2010 4:55 PM EST

Live here and here and here

09
Dec
10

‘the psychic satisfaction of obama-bashing’

Robert Shrum: There is something at the heart of progressive politics that yearns to turn on its own. So it’s open season on Barack Obama.

It’s right to expect the assault from the right; the patently obvious plan there is to oppose, obstruct, deadlock, and depress the economy.

Now, from the other side of the spectrum, progressives and the Democratic chattering class are increasingly and, at times, even bitterly critical. Obama doesn’t fight enough, communicate enough, change enough. Even his great achievements are tainted….

…The next two years will be decisive, not just for the election, but also for a generation and more. The stakes are too high for liberals to indulge the psychic satisfaction of Obama-bashing.

But the cudgels are in full swing. Paul Krugman, the canary in the coalmine of the liberal commentariat, has just assailed “progressives who had their hearts set on Obama”: They “were engaged in a huge act of self-delusion.”

Disgruntled with Obama from the start, Krugman has a Nobel Prize in economics, but not politics; he has never explained what the president could have done, other than stamping his foot, to secure a trillion or more in stimulus followed by a second one.

….The prospect of realignment should still beckon Democrats. They should pursue it; they can and should prod Obama; but in a tough and testing time, they also have to offer him a measure of trust. The alternative is a lost chance to bend history and probably a long exile in a cul-de-sac of liberal righteousness without results.

… He and they have their share of mistakes, missed opportunities, and miscommunications. That could be said of every great president. So it’s time for progressives and Democrats to concentrate their convictions and come to this understanding: Barack Obama’s all we’ve got—and he’s already gotten more done than any president on our side in half a century.

Full article here

09
Dec
10

‘principles matter, but not as much as progress’

Robert Shrum: The progressive resistance to the Obama deal on tax cuts is both unreasoning and unreasonable.

Unreasoning because the opponents, whose anger is congealing into adamantine ideology inside the Democratic Party, are pulling out a cascade of objections but offering up no practical alternative.

Unreasonable because what the president achieved – which in reality should be called an economic recovery package – is a fundamentally progressive deal.

Yes, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who skillfully negotiated with Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, had to concede on the top rate tax cuts – for now. Democrats can battle the issue out, and win on it, in 2012 – which is what should have happened in the midterms, and might have but for the counsel of some of the same members of Congress who are now digging in or dragging their heels against the agreement….

Now look beyond the concessions – and the tantrums of the blogpeople and electorally battered Democrats in Congress – and measure what Obama has secured in return.

Details here

For the hardest pressed, Obama won a 13-month extension of unemployment compensation for the long-term jobless. Nothing could be more regressive – or illiberal – than to sacrifice millions of workers who are out of work and out of benefits to a futile exercise in liberal posturing? …. Those who don’t have to worry about that should be cautious of trafficking in self-satisfying appeals to all-or-nothing politics. The unemployed can’t live on the porridge of ideological purity.

….Progressives can’t move forward by stamping their lame duck feet – by leaving the jobless with nowhere to turn, by letting the mainstream middle lose out, and by showing that they care so much for the unemployed that they’re willing to create many more of them.

….the president has accomplished more than any Democratic president in decades. In addition to health reform, financial reform, and college loan overhaul to benefit students not banks – in addition to the first stimulus that prevented a depression – he’s turned the Republican obsession with tax cuts for millionaires into a new engine for economic recovery.

It’s time for liberals to recall JFK’s description of what it means to be a liberal: “Our responsibility is not discharged by announcement of virtuous ends. Our responsibility is to achieve these objectives with social invention, with political skill and executive vigor.”

That’s what Barack Obama has done – again and again. In this tax debate, he didn’t triangulate; in fact, on cool reflection, it’s clear that he’s outflanked the GOP. The results, now and all across the past two years, aren’t perfect – politics never is – but the president has earned his progressive union card.

Full article here

Thanks for the link Hachikō

09
Dec
10

‘blow-torched by the left’

Washington Post (Jonathan Capehart): As someone who frequently catches more hell from liberal Democrats than from conservative Republicans, I am completely sympathetic to President Obama’s exasperation at the “sanctimonious”  folks in his party who cling to “unrealistic” “purist position[s].” He was at his best yesterday when he pushed back against the cranky critics in his own party.

You know that saying that we’re harshest towards the ones we love most? Well, for the last two years, Obama has been blow-torched by the left as the expectations of hope and change smacked up against the reality of governing. I completely understand the frustration and anger. But there are some on the left who view compromise as total abandonment.

The president barely got to day 100 in his administration before his commitment to gay rights was called into serious question. During the health-care reform debate, the left was none too pleased because Obama junked the public option when he determined that the overall effort would fail if he insisted on pushing it. And now the revolt  over the Bush tax cut compromise….

….this is the first time that I can recall that Obama has given to the left as good as he’s gotten from the left on national television. And I loved every minute of it.




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