Back in Najaf, Iraq, Khayzaran and her family lived in a well-kept house. They had two cars and a small orchard. Her children, two girls and three boys, attended school and came home to modest feasts.
But when her husband, Saad, received death threats, they abruptly packed their lives into a few suitcases and left home, relatives and all that is familiar behind. They sidestepped many obstacles and dead bodies along the way to reach safety outside the inferno that Iraq had become.
For Khayzaran's kids, their days of plenty are long gone. Living on 310 dollars a month means not only having to secure illegal jobs to help their mother, but also irregular meals.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Democracy for America:
LETTER FROM SENATE DEMOCRATS TO LEADER REID
Dear Leader Reid:
We respectfully ask that you bring for a vote before the full Senate a public health insurance option under budget reconciliation rules.
There are four fundamental reasons why we support this approach – its potential for billions of dollars in cost savings; the growing need to increase competition and lower costs for the consumer; the history of using reconciliation for significant pieces of health care legislation; and the continued public support for a public option.The current list of Senate signers includes:
Michael Bennet (CO)
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
Jeff Merkley (OR)
Sherrod Brown (OH)
Patrick Leahy (VT)
John Kerry (MA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
Al Franken (MN)
Roland Burris (IL)
Bernie Sanders (VT)
Barbara Boxer (CA)
Barbara Mikulski (MD)
Dianne Feinstein (CA)
Frank Lautenberg (NJ)
Chuck Schumer (NY)
Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
Jack Reed (RI)
Tom Udall (NM)
Arlen Specter (PA)
Robert Menendez (NJ)
Tim Johnson (SD)
Daniel Inouye (HI)
Carl Levin (MI)
Show these Healthcare Heroes you have their backs -- join them as a citizen signer today.
Last week, I had an opportunity to talk with Dr. Cornel West. He is the professor of Religion and African American studies at Princeton University. Hope you enjoy the conversation.
Kathleen Wells: Dr. West, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me.
Kathleen Wells: Well, I want to thank you for taking the time…
Dr. Cornel West: Thank you so much. I’m sorry to go on, and I hope that my holy anger and righteous indignation was not viewed in any way as either disrespect of either you or my dear brother, Barack Obama. But I’m deeply concerned about this crisis and all this suffering out here.
Kathleen Wells: I really appreciate you taking the time.
Dr. Cornel West: Definitely. You take good care now.
Kathleen Wells: Okay. Thank you very much.
Kathleen Wells is a political correspondent for Race-Talk. A native of Los Angeles with degrees in political science and law from UCLA and UC Berkeley, respectively, she writes/blogs on law and politics.
After nearly seven hours of televised debate, President Obama’s so-called bipartisan healthcare summit ended Thursday without any substantive agreement between Republicans and Democrats. Republican lawmakers remained staunchly opposed to using the federal government to regulate health insurance. We speak to Columbia Journalism Review contributing editor Trudy Lieberman and pediatrician Dr. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program. [includes rush transcript]Howie P.S.: Best short description of the summit from Jon Stewart: "A long, boring seder."
Friday, February 26, 2010
In all-star cast of Seattle-based musicians are teaming up for “A Hootenanny for Haiti” Sunday at the Showbox at the Market.Howie P.S.: Via Wikipedia
Audience participation is encouraged at this latest benefit concert for the people of Haiti, which was devastated in an earthquake last month. Read an early CNN report here.
Tickets, $15, are available at Ticketmaster. Just follow this link.
A portion of the Ticketmaster fees will be donated to Partners In Health and their relief efforts in Haiti.
According to Pete Seeger, in various interviews, he first heard the word hootenanny in Seattle, Washington in the late 1930s. It was used by Hugh DeLacey’s New Deal political club  to describe their monthly music fund raisers.  After some debate the club voted in the word hootenanny, which narrowly beat out the word wingding. Seeger, Woody Guthrie and other members of the Almanac Singers later used the word in New York City to describe their weekly rent parties, which featured many notable folksingers of the time.  In a 1962 interview in Time Joan Baez made the analogy that a hootenanny is to folk singing what a jam session is to jazz. 
Conventional wisdom dictates that as younger generations slowly replace the old, conservative social traditions are jettisoned. This may be true for issues such as gay marriage, where there are clear divisions among younger and older voters, but when it comes to marijuana reform, the evidence indicates that simplistic divisions of opinion along age lines don't apply for pot.Howie P.S: In Washington state, Sensible Washington is pushing I-1068 that "would remove criminal penalties from the adult use, possession and cultivation of marijuana in Washington State."
Earlier this week, an AP wire article picked up a lot of buzz in the news-cycle, with a title and premise meant to shock the mainstream: "Marijuana Use by Seniors Goes up as Boomers Age."And with an enormous aging population that is more accepting of pot legalization, that more clearly understands its benefits and the downsides to its prohibition, that majority may grow to be a decisive one in the public debate, even if today's -- and tomorrow's -- parents might be the last ones to be dragged on board.
Young Americans are the linchpin of a new progressive era in American politics. So why aren't Democrats paying more attention to them?
And what will Democrats do about it? Politicians have a bad habit in midterm elections: They concentrate on older folks, assuming younger voters will stay home on Election Day. This may be rational most of the time, but it is a foolish bet for Democrats and liberals this year. The young helped them rise to power and can just as easily usher hem to early retirements. Obama cannot afford to break their hearts.
Obama listened politely for six hours, with occasional flashes of temper, but in the end, the message was clear: It’s over. We’re moving forward without Republicans.
Update II: A GOP aide emails the Republican take: “They badly needed a win today and they didn’t get it. Not even close. Republicans were prepared. The President was pedantic and peeved.”
Key provisions of the nation's primary counterterrorism law would be extended for a year under a bill passed by the House Thursday evening after Democrats retreated from adding new privacy protections.
Republicans have been steadily pounding the Obama administration over the closing of the detainee prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as the possibility of holding civilian trials for detainees in the United States. They have also criticized federal agents for informing a Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (OO'-mahr fah-ROOK' ahb-DOOL'-moo-TAH'-lahb), of his right to remain silent after 50 minutes of questioning for allegedly trying to ignite explosives on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Bennington (VT) Banner with video (27:07):
As President Obama struggles to salvage health care reform after months of drift while Republicans tore apart his party's plans, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is clearly laying out what the Democrats should have focused on and what still might be possible on reform.This focused speech showed how Dr. Dean has evolved as a speaker and an advocate for reform since his presidential run six years ago. It also makes us wish he were now into his second term as president. The country might be in much better shape.Howie P.S.: "Senate Dems warm to reconciliation" (Politico) seems to bolster Dean's position. Instant analysis from Howard Dean, Darcy Burner, Joan McCarter and others on HuffPo today here.
UPDATE: LISTEN LIVE ONLINE HERE, FROM CBS RADIO.
Granted, the beer summit had a catchier name, but today’s Health Care Summit is still hotly anticipated. Democrats want to prove that Republicans don’t have any substantial ideas for health care reform and Republicans are eager to show that the whole process is flawed. Sounds like a recipe for success, right?Howie P.S.: Ari Melber offers this intriguing alternative:
The Sunlight Foundation, a webby, nonpartisan transparency organization, announced it will route around the traditional media to provide its own interactive broadcast of the proceedings, with information that many TV channels can't (or won't) share. Jake Brewer, the group's engagement director, says that as each politician speaks, Sunlight's website will compliment video footage with "campaign contributions that the person speaking has received, their connections to lobbyists and industry, personal finances, and key votes that the leaders have made on health care in the past." Like C-SPAN meets Common Cause.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Whither the youth vote? A year after backing Barack Obama by an overwhelming 2-to-1 ratio, young adults are quickly cooling toward Democrats amid dissatisfaction over the lack of change in Washington and an escalating war in Afghanistan.Howie P.S.: These words
A study by the Pew Research Center, being released Wednesday, highlights the eroding support from 18-to-29 year olds whose strong turnout in November 2008 was touted by some demographers as the start of a new Democratic movement.
AP National Political Writer Liz Sidoti contributed to this report.cause me to question whether there is some spin going on here. I just don't trust "Donuts" anymore, although I find the overall results fascinating, particularly regarding the sleeping in bed with cell phones. Better news for the WH from Business Week: "Stimulus Created or Saved as Many as 2.1 Million Jobs, CBO Says. Another ray of sunshine: "Democrats block filibuster on scaled-back jobs bill."
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The crowds spilled into the main hall of the Rainier Community center even before the 7:00pm meeting was underway.Read the whole post here.
“I’m here because I raise kids in this city, and they don’t feel safe,” said one woman who attended with her neighbor. Both women said youth violence, safety and opportunities were their top concerns.
“I want to know what the guy [Mayor McGinn] is actually going to do,” said one man who identified himself as “Gary”. “He talks a whole lot of stuff, but I want to know, when he is done hearing from all of us, is he going to put the city’s money where its mouth is, or leave these kids out to dry?”
Dozens of parents neighbors, volunteers crammed into a small room prepared to begin the discussion.
The co-chairs of the new initiative are former mayor Norm Rice, former deputy mayor Bob Watt and Estela Ortega, executive director at El Centro de la Raza and were on hand to lead the meeting.