Tuesday, July 31, 2012

KPTK: "2012 Forum Video" (video)

cbsseattle, video, Pt. 1 (1:14:01). Pt, 2, video (1:00:03) is here.

Howie P.S:  Following remarks by Jim McDermott, the panel consisting of Ron Reagan, Rhandi Rhodes, Norman Goldman, Thom Hartmann, Mike Papantonio, and Sam Seder takes over.

"Obama Ad Ties Mitt Romney To George W. Bush" (video)

BarackObamadotcom, video (00:32):
Read the President's plan: http://OFA.BO/YoPnQ7.

Ari Melber: "How the Obama Campaign's New iPhone App Really Works"

Ari Melber (The Nation):
The Obama Campaign launched a new app on Tuesday, an ambitious effort to bring the tools of a local field office to iPhones across the country. The app marks one of those potentially bland campaign developments that -- unlike the weekly gaffes that draw so much media attention -- could actually move a lot of votes in November. Obama's app is unusual because it melds technology and field organizing more than any other political campaign, including Obama's earlier efforts. MORE...

True Story: How the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Helped One Local Family

My wife was raised in South King County and has a large extended family that still resides there. While enjoying a community event there last weekend, one of her cousins (by marriage) told me how Obamacare allowed her twenty-something daughter to be covered under her parents' health insurance. Later, facing a diagnosis of a life-threatening condition requiring major surgery and recovery, their daughter was able to receive the care she needed without having to pay out of pocket medical fees of over $500,000. MORE information about the Affordable Care Act here.
Howie P.S.: This represents the kind of country I want to live in!

Monday, July 30, 2012

"Is Barack Obama a Radical Socialist, a Pro-Business Sell-Out, Both, or Neither?"

Peter Dreier and Donald Cohen (HuffPo):
President Obama's conservative opponents lambast him as a radical, a socialist, and a purveyor of class warfare. His left-wing critics think he's in bed with Wall Street, too cautious and timid to challenge the corporate establishment and the richest 1 percent. These contradictory views of Obama reflect not only the nation's ideological chasm but also a country whose stances on economic and social issues are constantly in flux. Indeed, the radical dreams of one generation often become the common sense ideas of the next generation. (SNIP) The success of Social Security teaches us two important lessons. First, Americans should not be fooled by those who attack an idea as "radical" or "socialist." They should ignore the label and look instead to see who's doing the attacking and what the proposal actually calls for. History reveals that business groups and their political and academic allies always issue dire warnings about the awful disasters that will befall us if government protects consumers, workers, seniors, children, the disabled, and the environment. As we've seen time and time again, they are usually "crying wolf." Second, throughout our history, progress is made when progressive activists and politicians propose bold, even "radical," ideas, and then win a series of stepping stone reforms that add up to major changes that redefine the social contract. Eventually, Americans learn to embrace these "radical" notions as common sense. MORE...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Obama: "AK-47s belong on battlefield, not streets" (with video)

Darren Samuelsohn (Politico) with video (00:30):
Obama’s remarks in the Big Easy about guns were the most extensive of his term, going further than what he said after the 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona. White House aides have acknowledged new gun laws are still politically impossible in the current election-year climate, but Obama’s comments suggest he’s at least willing to talk about the issue. MORE...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My friend Ben reports from the POTUS ropeline at Boeing Field (with photo)

"U.S. President Barack Obama high-fives a young supporter as Air Force One lands at Boeing Field during a visit to Seattle on Thursday . The president was scheduled to attend two fund raisers during the visit." Photo: JOSHUA TRUJILLO / SEATTLEPI.COM

Hi Howie,

I just wanted to tell you I had a momentous meeting yesterday for about 15 seconds with the President of The United States. A couple of days ago, I had to provide some security information about myself to Organizing For America for possibly greeting President Obama at Boeing Field.

I did not think much of it. I was assuming they wanted a group of us to hold some signs and cheer the President as he disembarked from Air Force One. Yes, exciting, but still doing my duty as a grassroots volunteer for Organizing For America.

Yesterday, as I was nearing Boeing Field, there was security all over the area, as much as a few blocks away. It gave you the feeling of something very important was going to happen. I met our OFA contact at the terminal and we went through Secret Service security. We were then escorted to a waiting room. They had snacks and drinks to make us comfortable for our wait. It was in this waiting room, I found out, we were to line up at the bottom of the stairs of Air Force One and President Obama would shake each of our hands.

My heart was pounding a little faster than normal. What was I going to say? Everyone was dressed super special, except me in my casual attire, jeans, short sleeved shirt. What I would have wanted to say was a long list of my appreciation for what President Obama was doing for our country, but that would not have worked in a few seconds. I could have picked one item, but it would not do justice for all he's done. I could have said I would like to have been there in Reno to support him at the VFW National meeting, to which I was invited. None of those ideas seem to fit for my 15 seconds.

So, after Air Force One landed and approached the final landing spot in front of our waiting room, there were 'staffers' disembarking from the rear of the plane. The stairway was brought to the front of the airplane and there were 2 Air Force Staff enlisted personnel saluting the President at the bottom of the stairs. They were sharply dressed, well decorated, and appeared to be in top physical shape. There were TV crews and Cameras with very expensive camera lens taking pictures about 100 feet away. The crowd of well-wishers was about 200 feet away.

As President Barack Obama appeared at the top of the stairs, he waved to the crowd and walked down the stairs. President Obama was very impressive looking, well-dressed, energetic, and I could sense he had the weight on his shoulders of the United States of America. As I envisioned many leaders, he was even more so in person. What would I finally say when he came to me about 8th in line. I said: I'm sorry Mr. President, I did not get the memo about wearing a coat and tie. He said, that's OK, you're a lot more comfortable than me as he put his hand on my shoulder. Then he asked me my name. I said, Ben, and he said thank you for your work! My 15 seconds was up, but what a thrill!

As he finished shaking hands with us, he started walking toward the open door limousine, but walked right past it to the well-wishers near the terminal. He wanted to greet them as well. What a 'down-to-earth' President. We were told not to move from our spot because once he got into the limo the motorcade would take off. As President Obama finished with the cheering crowd he again walked toward the limousine and bypassed it to get a last minute group photo. We were told we would get a copy. He thanked us as a group, got into his limo and the motorcade drove off.

I then returned to our West Seattle Phone Bank at OFA HQ told the people there of my experience and started making calls. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity and wished others could have been there as well. So while the meeting and handshake took about 15 seconds there were many minutes before that meeting and endless time afterward that will stay with me forever.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Obama Joins Romney in Gun-Control Silence After Shootings" (with videos)

John McCormick with videos from Bloomberg Businessweek:
During his NRA speech this year, Romney suggested defeating Obama would help ensure the U.S. Supreme Court would continue to protect gun rights under the Constitution’s Second Amendment. MORE...
Howie P.S.: The videos are on the left column @the link.

"Philadelphia police chief on gun control: Lawmakers lack the courage to do anything" (with video)

Eric W. Dolan (RAW STORY) with video (09:59) from ABC News:
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey on Sunday said gun control was needed in the wake of the mass shooting in Colorado, but was pessimistic about its chances.

“For me the question has been, you know, what will change as far as any gun control legislation in the wake of Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood — I mean, the list goes on and on. And unfortunately, in my opinion, the answer is absolutely nothing,” he said on ABC News’ This Week. “There will be a lot of talk, there will be a lot of discussion, there will be some debate. But this will fade into the background, like all those other instances that have occurred, unfortunately, and people will just go on and continue to be able to get their hands on guns and continue to inappropriately use those guns to commit violent acts on the streets of our cities.” MORE...
Howie P.S.: The comments by the ABC Medical Editor in the video concerning the psychic toll these events place on all of us rang true for me.

The Stranger Covers the Lines, Music, Food and Bathrooms at the CHBP (with photos)

The Stranger (with photos).

Howie P.S.: This is for concerned citizens everywhere who have offspring and other relatives in attendance.

"livin in a violent world"

the Field Negro:
A few years ago a former client came to me and wanted me to represent his little brother. He was upset because, as he put it at the time, the young man was a "civilian" and wasn't in "the game". He didn't have a record and was just caught up with some bad kids in the neighborhood. According to his brother, "he (his little brother) wasn't a soldier" like him, and he didn't want him to become one.

Anyway, I have since heard that term "civilian" used to describe folks who aren't involved with a certain lifestyle by folks who are in that life. And I have since heard them address themselves as "soldiers" as well. I suppose that in their own minds, most of the people getting killed in our inner cities are "soldiers" fighting their own meaningless wars for drugs, money, and turf.

That is how the rest of society views them as well. Maybe not as "soldiers", but people thugs caught up in a deadly and violent lifestyle who kill each other all too frequently. But we know where they are, and we know when to stay away and who to stay away from. It is why even though we have had 193 murders and counting so far in Philly (not to mention the carnage taking place in other cities all over America) we don't even seem to notice or care. They are way at the bottom of our consciousness scale. Those killings don't affect us.

It is why President Obama did not make an official statement about the 274 murders in his hometown of Chicago so far this year, but he had to make one about the shootings in a movie theater in Colorado.

When violence is random and in places that we don't expect it, we get 24 hour cable coverage and front page news headlines. We know the names of all the victims and the shooter will forever live in infamy. It ignites gun control debates and we ponder and pontificate about the violence of our culture until it fades away and the next tragedy strikes.

That doesn't happen when we pick up the paper on Monday morning and read about the shootings and mayhem in the streets of pick a city, that's just the way it is with "those people". We expect that. It's like reading the box scores from last night's baseball game. And, believe it or not, the "soldiers" fighting their senseless and violent battles want it that way. They have their turf and their enemies are defined: Other "soldiers" in the game who know the rules and who, for the most part, play by them.

Sadly, the folks who live within the confines of their battle field do not have the luxury of just moving out or tuning out the violence. They might not be soldiers in the battle, but they are also at war. Unfortunately for them, though, the presidential candidates will not take a break from their campaigns to consider their plight and mourn with the rest of the country. Flags will not be flown at half-mast, and the residence of North Philadelphia, East St. Louis, or the city of Detroit will not be getting a visit from the president.

“Turned on the TV this morning. Had this shit on about — about livin’ in a violent world. Showed all these foreign places…where foreigners live, and all. Started thinkin’, man. Either they don’t know…don’t show…or don’t care about what’s goin’ on in the ‘hood. They had all this foreign shit. They didn’t have shit on my brother, man.” ~Doughboy (Ice Cube) Boyz N The Hood~

Well Doughboy, Aurora, Colorado is right here in America, but it might as well be in a foreign place to folks "in the hood". MORE...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Who Will Replace McDermott?"

Jeff Stevens (Eat The State!):
As yet another Congressional election approaches, many Seattle-area voters may once again be asking a question that’s likely been asked among local politicos many times in recent years: Who will eventually replace Jim McDermott in the 7th District?

Despite his ongoing popularity among the majority of his constituents, the 11-term “Congressman for life” must eventually leave office, either by retirement, death, or electoral defeat. The latter option has seemed like a virtual impossibility in recent years, since the few challengers McDermott has faced in recent elections have been either political unknowns or wacko perma-candidates (such as the local voters’ pamphlet perennial Goodspaceguy). Those candidates’ only practical function has been to serve as futile protest votes for those of us in the 7th District who have been increasingly frustrated with McDermott’s ongoing lack of a substantial legislative record. MORE...

Bloomberg on gun control: "No more soothing words" (video)

MSNBC-Martin Bashir, video (10:00).

Karen Finney, Ari Melber and Jonathan Capehart discuss.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

"The most honest three and a half minutes of television, EVER... " (video)

James Bouder, video (03:27):
Beginning scene of the new HBO series The Newsroom explaining why America's Not the Greatest Country Any Longer... But It Can Be.
H/t to Pam Eakes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seattle: "City attorney rebukes McGinn's DOJ strategy"

Steve Miletich and Mike Carter (Seattle Times):
City Attorney Pete Holmes has sent a sharply worded letter to Mayor Mike McGinn, warning that McGinn's legal strategy in negotiating police reforms with the Department of Justice has put the city on the verge of a civil-rights lawsuit that could have dire consequences. MORE...

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Jay Inslee: Organized sports taught the importance of teamwork"

"Jay Inslee, right, as a player for his high-school basketball team. They won the state basketball championship at Ingraham his senior year in 1969."
Andrew Garber (Seattle Times):
Some politicians appear aimed for elected office from an early age, but that wasn't true for Jay Inslee.

Basketball and his girlfriend — now his wife, Trudi — were at the top of his mind in high school, he recalls.

At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Inlsee played small forward on Ingraham High School's 1969 championship basketball team and was starting quarterback on the football team.

But Inslee kept up with academics, too. He was on the honor roll in high school and college, and showed an early predilection for taking charge. MORE...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Obama's 'moment of honesty' (video)

MSNBC-Martin Bashir, video (06:01).

Howie P.S.: Joy Reid and Ari Melber discuss. I would venture to say that Obama has many "moments" like this, although we may not read about them in the press.

John Lewis: "What would Martin Luther King Jr. say to President Obama?"

"Civil rights leaders remember Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington."

John Lewis (WaPo op-ed):
As a minister, never elected to any public office, Dr. King would tell this young leader that it is his moral obligation to use his power and influence to help those who have been left out and left behind. He would encourage him to get out of Washington, to break away from handlers and advisers and go visit the people where they live. He would urge him to meet the coal miners of West Virginia; to shake the hands of the working poor in our large urban centers, juggling mutiple jobs to try to make ends meet; to go to the barrios of the Southwest; and to visit native Americans on their reservations. He would urge Obama to feel the hurt and pain of those without work, of mothers and their children who go to bed hungry at night, of the families living in shelters after losing their homes, and of the elderly who chose between buying medicine and paying the rent. MORE...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ari Melber on Republican Obstruction (with chart)


Ari Melber (The Nation):
House Republicans are set to vote down President Obama's health care law for the 33rd time, although it is the first repeal vote since the Supreme Court upheld most of the law as constitutional.

The GOP's constant reiteration of its opposition to the President's largest domestic achievement has reduced legislating to message discipline -- and the political class continues to debate the wisdom of this strategy.

But whether or not this is "smart political theater," the Republicans' eagerness to clog Congress with symbolic votes is a sharp contrast to all the jobs legislation that they have bottled up. Remember when President Obama pushed hard for a massive jobs and stimulus plan, the American Jobs Act, which would inject over $400 billion into the economy? The program was even "tilted heavily toward the Republican prescription of tax cuts," as Bloomberg reported after the President went all out for the plan in an address to a joint session of Congress. A majority backed the Jobs Act in the Senate, but Republicans filibustered, and in the House, they never even scheduled a floor vote for the bill: MORE...

Eli Sanders; "Is It Time for Tim Burgess?"

Eli Sanders (The Stranger):
Later in our conversation, Licata recalibrates again: "The difference between McGinn and Burgess is that the current mayor has—for the most part, not always—more liberal principles, from where I stand, and so I'm more comfortable with them. But I think Tim is better in executing what he sees his vision as. And so the balance is: Do you have someone you're more comfortable with, but you're not sure he can get there because of, let's say, poor execution? Or do you have someone who's not quite where you are, but you're more confident they're going to get there, because they have good execution?" MORE...
Howie P.S.: I have opined previously about the power of The Stranger, which it is not shy about wielding, to influence the voting habits of their audience. They were enthusiastically behind McGinn in his first race for mayor. If they bail, he will have an even more difficult time getting a second term than his lousy poll numbers suggest today. The "execution" issue, also known as "amateur hour at city hall" looks like a real one for McGinn to deal with.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

(Updated) Biden in Seattle: "GOP-Backed Voting Laws Meant To ‘Intimidate People”

UPDATE: "Jill Biden gives thumbs up to South Seattle Community College's aviation program."

Ryan J. Reilly (TPM LIVEWIRE):
Republican-backed voter ID laws and voting list purges are part of a Republican effort to “intimidate people,” Vice President Joe Biden said at a fundraiser for Sen. Maria Cantwell in Seattle on Monday night. From the pool report:

“Republicans have changed the law so you get arrested if you do vote,” he said, apparently joking. He cited efforts in Pennsylvania, Ohio and elsewhere “to essentially try to intimidate people, taking people off the [rolls].”

“This is not your father’s Republican Party.”
Howie P.S.: Here's a report from Joel Connelly: "Biden: Praise, platitudes from K.C. to Seattle." The headline on HuffPo (Nick Wing) from Seattle: "Mitt Romney Is 'Bush On Steroids'." For those who are interested, the Bidens are "visiting Utah Tuesday."

Saturday, July 07, 2012

(Updated) My 19 year old daughter just got doorbelled by an Obama volunteer

UPDATE: I just remembered that the doorbeller was NOT a volunteer. He is an official OFA staffer. Other volunteers are out doorbelling, however.

My daughter is a first time voter and as such, was a priority voter on the Organizing For America list here in West Seattle. Since she is 19, she was still asleep. And since I know the volunteer (he is the West Seattle "grassroots" staff lead from the Organizing for American HQ @ 901 S. Rainier where I also volunteer), I entertained the doorknocker for a brief visit on our deck, with an orange juice cocktail (non-alcoholic). Jus sayin'.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Charles P. Pierce: "The Rough Beast of Citizens United Slouches Forward"

Charles P. Pierce (Esquire):
"He is in every way the living embodiment of what President Barack Obama said in his first State of the Union Address when, in what may go down as the finest moment of his presidency, he looked straight into the eyes of the justices who had broken a century's worth of settled law into splinters and thereby had fastened in place everything a rising plutocracy needed to attach itself to the government of the country, and told them, "Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, and worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems." MORE...

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Robert Reich: "Patriotism July 4, 2012"

Robert Reich:
True patriots don’t hate the government of the United States. They’re proud of it. Generations of Americans have risked their lives to preserve and protect it. They may not like everything it does, and they justifiably worry then special interests gain too much power over it. But true patriots work to improve the U.S. government, not destroy it.

But these days some Americans loathe the government, and are doing everything they can to paralyze it, starve it, and make the public so cynical about it that it’s no longer capable of doing much of anything. Norquist says he wants to shrink it down to a size it can be “drowned in a bathtub.” MORE...

Naomi Wolfe: "Why women still can’t ask the right questions"

Naomi Wolfe (NEW EUROPE):
"...the real question is not whether “women can have it all.” Rather, it is how a sophisticated foreign-policy professional can write as if countries like Canada and the Netherlands simply did not exist.

In Canada, couples with a baby may sequence six-month leaves of absence at up to 90% pay. In the Netherlands – the best scenario I have seen yet – families can take a day off each week, and the government subsidizes full-time daycare. This solution was not framed as a “women’s issue,” but as a family benefit. And Dutch women have simply moved on, focusing on other interesting goals in their personal and family lives. MORE...

"Americans like Romney less when reminded of his Bain history" (video)

MSNBC-Rachel Maddow Show, video (09:10).

Howie P.S.: Melissa Harris-Perry discusses this issue.

Monday, July 02, 2012

"How Loss Of Enthusiasm Among Youth Voters Could Cost Obama The Presidency" (with video)

Peter S. Goodman:
“He was intelligent, clever, and totally composed," Terrell says. "I know I'm only 22, but I still remember well when our president wasn't any of those things. I left thinking, ‘Man, it’s just so cool that this guy’s the president.' He’s all the things I would want in a president. He hasn’t done all the things I would like him to do, but he still is that person." MORE...

"Rob McKenna: Crappy Lawyer or Total Dick?" (Or both)

David Goldstein:
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, especially for a sitting attorney general, but what McKenna and his staffers did to me last Thursday suggests something much, much worse. It appears that he attempted to use his office to bully and intimidate a working member of the press, to deny me my statutory and constitutional right to do my job, and perhaps even to provoke me into a physical confrontation that they could use as grounds for my arrest and prosecution (all I needed to do was shove back the staffer who grabbed my shoulders or the security guard who repeatedly bumped me while blocking my way, and it's my word against the AG's as to who assaulted whom). It was an arrogant, arbitrary, and illegal abuse of his office that displayed a total disrespect for the law. MORE...

Greg Sargent on the "centrist dodge"

Greg Sargent:
A little while back I suggested that many pundits are regular practitioners of what you might call the “centrist dodge.” Paul Krugman defines it for us very nicely:
A Very Serious, chin-stroking pundit argues that what we really need is a political leader willing to concede that while the economy needs short-run stimulus, we also need to address long-term deficits, and that addressing those long-term deficits will require both spending cuts and revenue increases. And then the pundit asserts that both parties are to blame for the absence of such leaders. What he absolutely won’t do is endanger his centrist credentials by admitting that the position he’s just outlined is exactly, exactly, the position of Barack Obama.

Krugman, of course, is talking mainly about his Times colleague Tom Friedman, though plenty of others fit the mold. MORE...

Sunday, July 01, 2012

"Markos Moulitsas Endorses Darcy Burner (D-WA) for Congress at Townhall Event" (with video)

Diane Sweet (CROOKS AND LIARS) with video (01:23):
In Kirkland, WA, on Saturday, Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos hosted an afternoon reception followed by a townhall event in Seattle for Darcy Burner who is seeking a congressional seat in Washington's first district.

In a first for Moulitsas, he explained to the crowd "If like me, you think Congress is broken, that we have a lot of work to do to pull it out of the mess it is in, one vote is not enough. This is the one race in the entire country right now where I can look at a candidate and say "She is going to give us more than one vote." She is going to be able to corral people, bring them together and help build a movement that moves not just the party forward...but the country forward. That is why I am here, and that is why I wholeheartedly support Darcy Burner." MORE...

"Stung by Recession, Many Young Voters Looking Past Obama"

"Chad Tevlin, 19, on the back porch of his father's house in Elkhart, Ind. A student trying to pay for college by cleaning portable toilets, he cannot recall if he registered to vote at all."

Susan Saulny (New York Times):
Polls show that Americans under 30 are still inclined to support Mr. Obama by a wide margin. But the president may face a particular challenge among those voters ages 18 to 24. In that age group, his lead over Mr. Romney — 12 points — is about half what it is among 25- to 29-year-olds, according to an online survey this spring by the Harvard Institute of Politics. And among whites in the younger group, Mr. Obama’s lead vanishes altogether. MORE...

"How Liberals Win"

"President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the National Recovery Act."

Bill Scher (NY Times op-ed):
President Obama has endured much criticism of his legislative skills from his fellow progressives. His conciliatory approach has been compared unfavorably with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s gleeful pugnacity and Lyndon B. Johnson’s relentless arm-twisting. His willingness to strike deals with corporations has been tagged “business as usual.” Many progressives, frustrated over the past three years, have concluded that the political system is fundamentally broken because corporate power has been allowed to suffocate popular liberal policies.

But the Supreme Court’s upholding of Mr. Obama’s health care law reminds us that the president’s approach has achieved significant results. If his liberal critics paused to assess how he achieved such results, they would not see a system paralyzed by corporations; they would see that the most liberal reforms in more than 40 years have been brought about because Mr. Obama views corporate power as a force to bargain with, not an enemy to vanquish. MORE...

Howie P.S.: The Money Quote-
The realities of corporate power cannot be wished away by any president, no matter how tough the talk, because corporations can and will spend freely during the legislative process. And when they are unified, they have the resources to dominate debate. Even the progressive holy grail — a constitutional amendment banning corporate campaign donations — would not stop that.

"Jessica Alba: One Million Strong for Jobs" (video)

WatchOurTime, video (01:31):
Jessica Alba wants you to join her, OURTIME.org, and ServeNext.org to call for one million new national service jobs in nursing, teaching, disaster relief, and more.