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Monday, October 12, 2009
by Andy Ostroy
In Oslo, Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjørn Jagland said "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. We are not awarding the prize for what may happen in the future, but for what he has done in the previous year. We would hope this will enhance what he is trying to do."
Right-wingers are unsurprisingly outraged, calling Obama's award a travesty, claiming the president hasn't yet "accomplished" anything that would merit such an honor. As the news broke Friday, conservative pundits were in high-gear robotically regurgitating the primary talking point that Obama won the award simply for not being George W. Bush.
But let's get something straight here: this is a very proud day for America. For all Americans. After eight embarrassing, unrepentant years of reckless cowboy arrogance marred by war, war crimes and human rights abuses, Obama's Nobel Prize symbolizes the beginning of the Unites States' return to respectability and perhaps even greatness someday. A time when the world is looking to America, and its president, for leadership. This isn't about Bush. It's about Obama and what he represents on the world's stage.
The notion that Obama's prize is undeserved is absurd and an insult to every American. First of all, who said the Nobel Committee's criteria for winning requires candidates to be "accomplished" U.S. presidents? Or that they even be a U.S. president, for that matter? So the fact that Obama was selected so soon after his inauguration is totally irrelevant. This honor isn't about what he's done since January. To the contrary, it's about how this relatively unknown Midwestern politician with humble beginnings became the first black president of the United States by inspiring a nation through a message of peace, hope, and aspiration...and thus shifted the political and racial winds in this country and throughout the world. The award is a recognition of Obama's vision for a new, harmonious planet, and how he's serving as a catalyst for that change. To say he's won because he's not Bush is grossly oversimplifying the significance of the prize. Rather, he's undoing the colossal damage that's been done by Bush. Big difference.
The speech Candidate Obama gave in Berlin July 24, 2008. The whole speech!
Obama Berlin Speech: See Video, Photos, Full Speech Transcript
This includes his vision of a nuclear-free world. He was a Senator at that time. See below for his accomplishments as a Senator toward that goal.
In Cairo, President Obama called for a new beginning in the relationship between between Islam and the West. June 4 2009
Obama Cairo Speech (VIDEO): Calls For New Beginning, Gets Standing Ovation
Obama's Speech in Cairo - Text - NYTimes.com
In its Press Release October 9 announcing the 2009 Nobel Prize winner, the Nobel prize committee said "The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons."
In his brief time in the Senate, Obama sponsored a bill designed to cause the United States to make a cooperative global effort to reduce nuclear threats in the world. That 2007 effort needs to be recognized as an early step toward recognition with the Peace Prize.
Title: A bill to provide for sustained United States leadership in a cooperative global effort to prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce global nuclear arsenals, stop the spread of nuclear weapons and related material and technology, and support the responsible and peaceful use of nuclear technology.
Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 8/2/2007) Cosponsors (4)
Latest Major Action: 8/2/2007 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
The previous year he worked toward a cooperative global effort to reduce threats from conventional arms.
Title: A bill to provide for coordination of proliferation interdiction activities and conventional arms disarmament, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN] (introduced 4/6/2006) Cosponsors (26)
Lugar-Obama Cooperative Proliferation Detection, Interdiction Assistance, and Conventional Threat Reduction Act of 2006, S.2566. Obama was the only Cosponsor on 4/6/2006 when the bill was introduced into the Senate. The term "Lugar-Obama" is in the Senate record. The Lugar-Obama bill was included in the Department of State Authorities Act of 2006, Public Law No: 109-472, and was signed by President Bush in January 2007. This bill/Law was aimed at conventional arms threat reduction.
In 2006 and 2007, Senator Obama had a vision of cooperation in the world to reduce nuclear and conventional weapon threats. That needs to be acknowledged - and was October 9 with the Peace Prize.
3/18/8 - Obama caught world-wide attention for his moving speech on race relations
7/24/8 - Obama lays the foundation for a new era of international relations and began inspiring renewed hope in American leadership during his campaign speech in Berlin
11/6/8 - Obama's victory was hailed as a promise of hope for the world.
12/1/8 - Obama began plans to restore U.N. ambassador to cabinet rank.
1/22/9 - Appointed a Special Envoy for Middle East peace
1/22/9 - Ordered the closing of Guantanamo Bay
1/22/9 - Ordered comprehensive review of detention policies
1/22/9 - Prohibited use of torture
1/22/9 - Signed an executive order to close CIA secret prisons
1/23/9 - Lifted "Global Gag Rule" on international health groups
1/26/9 - Began to address climate change by increasing fuel standards for automobiles
1/26/9 - Appointed Special Envoy for Climate Change
1/27/9 - Signs Lily Ledbetter "Fair Pay" Act
2/1/9 - Expanded healthcare for children by signing SCHIP
2/5/9 - Again addressed energy conservation by increasing standards for appliances.
2/24/9 - Directed almost $1 billion for prevention and wellness to improve America's health
2/25/9 - Initiated international efforts to reduce mercury emissions worldwide
2/27/9 - Committed to responsibly ending the war in Iraq
4/1/9 - Agreed to negotiation of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia.
4/1/9 - Enhanced U.S. - China relations
4/2/9 - Led global response to the economic crisis through the G20, obtaining commitments of $1.1 trillion to safeguard the world's most vulnerable economies
4/4/9 - Renewed dialog with NATO and other key allies
4/5/9 - Announced new strategy to responsible address international nuclear proliferation
4/13/9 - Began easing tension with Cuba through new policy stance
4/17/9 - Secured $5 billion in aid commitments "to bolster [Pakistan's] economy and help it fight terror and Islamic radicalism"
4/22/9 - Developed the renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents.
5/8/9 - Proposed International Affaires budget that included funds to create a civilian response corps -- teams of civilian experts in rule of law, policing, transitional governance, economics, engineering, and other areas critical to helping rebuild war-torn societies; Provide $40 million for a "stabilization bridge fund," which would provide rapid response funds for the State Department to help stabilize a crisis situation.
6/4/9 - Gave historic address to the Muslim World in Cairo - "American is not at war with Islam" Foreign affairs experts insist that Obama's engagement with the Muslim world has been remarkable. "He has been able to dramatically change America's image in that region"
8/4/9 - Used DIPLOMACY to free 2 American journalists from a North Korea prison
9/18/9 - De-escalation of nuclear tension through repurposing of missile defense prompting Russia to withdraw its missile plan.
And what that means for the way we communicate
Email has had a good run as king of communications. But its reign is over.
In its place, a new generation of services is starting to take hold—services like Twitter and Facebook and countless others vying for a piece of the new world. And just as email did more than a decade ago, this shift promises to profoundly rewrite the way we communicate—in ways we can only begin to imagine.
We all still use email, of course. But email was better suited to the way we used to use the Internet—logging off and on, checking our messages in bursts. Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.
Why wait for a response to an email when you get a quicker answer over instant messaging? Thanks to Facebook, some questions can be answered without asking them. You don't need to ask a friend whether she has left work, if she has updated her public "status" on the site telling the world so. Email, stuck in the era of attachments, seems boring compared to services like Google Wave, currently in test phase, which allows users to share photos by dragging and dropping them from a desktop into a Wave, and to enter comments in near real time.
Little wonder that while email continues to grow, other types of communication services are growing far faster. In August 2009, 276.9 million people used email across the U.S., several European countries, Australia and Brazil, according to Nielsen Co., up 21% from 229.2 million in August 2008. But the number of users on social-networking and other community sites jumped 31% to 301.5 million people.
"The whole idea of this email service isn't really quite as significant anymore when you can have many, many different types of messages and files and when you have this all on the same type of networks," says Alex Bochannek, curator at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.
So, how will these new tools change the way we communicate? Let's start with the most obvious: They make our interactions that much faster.
We have more degrees but less sense;
more knowledge but less judgments;
more experts but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness.
We've been all the way to the moon and back,
but we have trouble crossing the street
to meet the new neighbour.
We build more computers
to hold more information,
to produce more copies than ever,
but we have less communication.
We have become long on quantity
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods,
but slow digestion;
tall man, but short character;
steep profits, but shallow relationships.
It is time when there is much in the window
but nothing in the room.
By Kate Thorp
From sexual innuendos to brash examples of tomfoolery, the following ads are just a sample of the misplaced pun today.
Ivory Soap (1947)
I understand that the "soap floats" angle was actually a factory mistake where too much air was injected into the soap during processing. Voila! an advertising angle is born. Wonder if they ever really pictured how men in a shower bending over for a bar of soap would translate.
Griffin Microsheen (1957)
Advertising has drawn some bold connections over time, but I'm still at a loss as to how cleavage and shoe polish go togetheror maybe that was the point. Somehow, I picture Mrs. Cleaver not allowing this particular brand in her home.
I couldn't help myself. The following ads are for everything from frankfurters to office projection equipment that had to have been over the top both now and then.
Barry Crimmins, too long absent from this vale of soul-making more vulgarly known as "blogging," attempts to call off the jackals that have descended upon former child actress Mackenzie Phillips (perhaps best known for the sitcom One Day at a Time but whom I'll always picture as the spunky little squirt riding in the front seat with Paul Le Mat in American Graffiti) following the drug and incest revelations involving her father "Papa John" Phillips in her just-published memoir High on Arrival. America has become a nation of three hundred million armchair judges making snap moral decisions based on easy hindsight and pious lecturing, and enough already. Crimmins:
When Ms Phillips let the word "consensual" slip while being interviewed on Oprah the other day, she armed her detractors with all they needed. I wonder if any of these people have ever been mugged. I wonder how they'd feel if their mugging was videotaped and someone edited the tape to only show them handing over their valuables. How would they feel if they were then blamed for willingly giving the perpetrator what he wanted?
And so a lot of people now justify harsh judgments of Mackenzie Phillips because she was a "junkie" who "consented" to an incestuous relationship. They ask why she had no moral compass while ignoring the fact that she had been blindfolded and spun ever since she was small child. In such dizzying circumstances, she never once had the kind of clear mind needed to give informed consent to anything. John Phillips never gave his little girl the moral guidance that is a child's birthright. Instead, he made sure that she felt complicit in her drug abuse and sexual exploitation, assaults and rapes. That's what mega-perps like John Phillips do. They turn children's lives into unspeakable hell and then instruct their victims to blame themselves for their pain. The rest of the time they make sure that their prey understands just how unspeakable everything is. And they do this while counting on the average person to snicker away from such situations with seedy little jokes rather than summon the courage to confront the unspeakable. Because of such societal cowardice, John Phillips was able to hide in a bright spotlight.
Now Mackenzie Phillips has sold the legacy her father left her -- the tale of terror that is her life's story. Many will, and are, saying that because she stands to derive a profit from her book "High on Arrival," we know all we need to know about her motives. This is nothing more than an attempt to punish her for speaking the unspeakable...
I suppose there are also those who would question the timing and motivation behind Tyler Perry's recent disclosure of being brutally abused as a child (since he's the co-executive producer and one of the promotional forces behind Precious, a forthcoming feature film about struggling to overcome horrendous sexual and physical abuse), but the truth is that violence visited by adults upon children is an ongoing, underreported epidemic that only seems to draw attention when a celebrity comes forth or the cruel details are too hellacious to ignore.
Earlier this week, an enraged righty named Andrew Schlafly, fruit of his Blessed Mother Phyllis' virgin womb, together with some of his fellow pseudo-Christians announced that it was time to rewrite the Bible. The Literal Word of God had somehow been corrupted into The Liberal Word of God. Time to snatch back the Good Book, from those who spend their worthless doing things like feeding the hungry, healing the sick, paying laborers a fair wage and casting money-lenders interior exterior darkness. You know -- stuff Christ might have done.
Unfortunately I and one Sean Kelly -- father of the estimable Chris Kelly whose posts are possibly the funniest pieces to grace these far too solemn columns -- got there first. 27 years ago to be exact, in the heyday of parody, we published a toxic tome called Not The Bible. It was precisely what Andy and his spluttering buddies are setting out to do: the Good Book as it should be, stripped of its socialistical and radic-lib pollutants. Returned to the pristine state God The Patriarch Creator of the Unregulated Universe, intended.
Here are the first three chapters of its very first Book. Not of Genesis of course but of Creation:
1. In the beginning God created Dates.
2. And the date was Monday, July 4, 4004 BC.
3. And God said, let there be light; and there was light. And when there was Light, God saw the Date, that it was Monday, and he got down to work; for verily, he had a Big Job to do.
4. And God made pottery shards and Silurian mollusks and pre-Cambrian limestone strata; and flints and Jurassic Mastodon tusks and Picanthopus erectus skulls and Cretaceous placentals made he; and those cave paintings at Lasceaux. And that was that, for the first Work Day.
5. And God saw that he had made many wondrous things, but that he had not wherein to put it all. And God said, Let the heavens be divided from the earth; and let us bury all of these Things which we have made in the earth; but not too deep.
6. And God buried all the Things which he had made, and that was that.
7. And the morning and the evening and the overtime were Tuesday.
8. And God said, Let there be water; and let the dry land appear; and that was that.
9. And God called the dry land Real Estate; and the water called he the Sea. And in the land and beneath it put he crude oil, grades one through six; and natural gas put he thereunder, and prehistoric carboniferous forests yielding anthracite and other ligneous matter; and all these called he Resources; and he made them Abundant.
10. And likewise all that was in the sea, even unto two hundred miles from the dry land, called he resources; all that was therein, like manganese nodules, for instance.
11. And the morning unto the evening had been a long day; which he called Wednesday.
12. And God said, Let the earth bring forth abundantly every moving creature I can think of, with or without backbones, with or without wings or feet, or fins or claws, vestigial limbs and all, right now; and let each one be of a separate species. For lo, I can make whatsoever I like, whensoever I like.
13. And the earth brought forth abundantly all creatures, great and small, with and without backbones, with and without wings and feet and fins and claws, vestigial limbs and all, from bugs to brontosauruses.
14. But God blessed them all, saying, Be fruitful and multiply and Evolve Not.
15. And God looked upon the species he hath made, and saw that the earth was exceedingly crowded, and he said unto them, Let each species compete for what it needed; for Healthy Competition is My Law. And the species competeth amongst themselves, the cattle and the creeping things; and some madeth it and some didn't; and the dogs ate the dinosaurs and God was pleased.
16. And God took the bones from the dinosaurs, and caused them to appear mighty old; and cast he them about the land and the sea. And he took every tiny creature that had not madeth it, and caused them to become fossils; and cast he them about likewise.
17. And just to put matters beyond the valley of the shadow of a doubt God created carbon dating. And this is the origin of species.
18. And in the Evening of the day which was Thursday, God saw that he had put in another good day's work.
19. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, which is tall and well-formed and pale of hue: and let us also make monkeys, which resembleth us not in any wise, but are short and ill-formed and hairy. And God added, Let man have dominion over the monkeys and the fowl of the air and every species, endangered or otherwise.
20. So God created Man in His own image; tall and well-formed and pale of hue created He him, and nothing at all like the monkeys.
21. And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth. But ye shalt not smoketh it, lest it giveth you ideas.
22. And to every beast of the earth and every fowl of the air I have given also every green herb, and to them it shall be for meat. But they shall be for you. And the Lord God your Host suggesteth that the flesh of cattle goeth well with that of the fin and the claw; thus shall Surf be wedded unto Turf.
23. And God saw everything he had made, and he saw that it was very good; and God said, It just goes to show Me what the private sector can accomplish. With a lot of fool regulations this could have taken billions of years.
24. And the evening of the fifth day, which had been the roughest day yet, God said, Thank me it's Friday. And God made the weekend.
Alan Grayson (BIG D-FL08) is my new hero, and you can donate to him at the bottom of the diary. We need this guy in Congress for years to come!
But first, on to the show, and what a show it is!
Full transcript of the can of whoop@$$ unleashed by Grayson on Republicans AND weak kneed Dems below the fold.
- MinistryOfTruth's diary :: ::
First the transcript, and WOW!
"Madame Speaker, I have words for Democrats and Republicans tonight."
"Let's start with the Democrats"
"We as a party have spent the last six months, the greatest minds in our party, dwelling on the question, the unbelievably consuming question of how to get Olympia Snowe to vote on health care reform. I want to remind us all that Olympia Snowe was not elected President last year. Olympia Snowe has no veto power in the Senate. Olympia Snowe represents a state with one half of one percent of America's population."
"What America wants is health care reform. America doesn't care if it gets 51 votes in the Senate or 60 votes in the Senate or 83 votes in the Senate, in fact America doesn't even care about that, it doesn't care about that at all. What America cares about is this; there are over 1 million Americans who go broke every single year trying to pay their health care bills. America cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that there are 44,780 Americans who die every single year on account of not having health care, that's 122 every day. America sure cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that if you have a pre-existing condition, even if you have health insurance, it's not covered. America cares about that a lot. America cares about the fact that you can get all the health care you need as long as you don't need any. America cares about that a lot. But America does not care about procedures, processes, personalities, America doesn't care about that at all."
"So we have to remember that as Democrats, we have to remember that what's at stake here is life and death, enormous amounts of money, and people are counting upon us to move ahead. America understands what's good for America. America cares about health care, America cares about jobs, America cares about education, about energy independance, America does not care about processes politicians or personalities or anything like that."
"And I have a few words for my Republican friends tonight as well. I guess I do have some Republican friends."
"Let me say this; last week I held up this report here and I pointed out that in America there are 44,789 Americans that die every year according to this Harvard report published in this peer reviewed journal because they have no health insurance. That's an extra 44,789 Americans who die who's lives could be saved, and their response was to ask me for an apology."
"To ask me for an apology?"
"That's right. To ask ME for an apology!"
"Well, I'm telling you this; I will not apologize. I will not apologize. I will not apologize for a simple reason; America doesn't care about your feelings. I violated no rules by pulling this report to America's attention, I think a lot of people didn't know about it beforehand. But America DOES care about health care in America."
"And if you're against it, then get out of the way. Just get out of the way. You can lead, you can follow or you can get out of the way. And I'm telling you now to get out of the way."
"American understands that there is one party in this country that is favor of health care reform and one party that is against it, and they know why."
"They understand that if Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world the Republicans would blame him for overpopulation"
"They understand that if Barack Obama could somehow bring about world peace they would blame him for destroying the defense industry."
"In fact, they understand that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwhich tommorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon."
"But that's not what America wants, America wants solutions to it's problems and that begins with health care, and that's what I'm speaking for tonight."
"I yield back the balance of my time"
I yield to your TOTAL AWESOMENESS, Representative Grayson!
We absolutely MUST have Alan Grayson in Congress for YEARS to come, so, if you can, donate here to keep him where we need him, fighting his @$$ off and telling the TRUTH!
NEW YORK (IPS) - With 2,000 people dying daily in armed violence fuelled by irresponsible arms transfers, talks to create an international treaty regulating these weapons can no longer be delayed, says a coalition of NGOs in a new report "Dying for Action" published Wednesday.
While nuclear disarmament is high on the UN agenda these days, 90 percent of casualties in conflict areas are caused by small arms such as submachine guns, mortars and hand grenades, according to the Red Cross.
The main contributors to the report, Amnesty International and Oxfam argue that governments should be prevented from exporting arms to countries where there is a substantial risk that those arms will be used for serious human rights violations.
France, one of the main exporters of arms to Guinea, recently ceased all military trade with the West African country after the Guinean army broke up a civilian demonstration on Sep. 28 with extraordinary use of violence, including incidents of rape by soldiers.
A release by Amnesty Thursday said that Guinean police officers had been photographed in the capital Conakry on Oct. 1 carrying 56mm 'Cougar' tear gas grenade launchers, made in France, as well as kinetic impact grenades produced by the same French manufacturer.
France's decision to suspend trade comes too late for the people who have died and suffered from violence, charged Brian Woods of the Military, Security and Police Team at Amnesty International.
Woods urged that the essence of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), to be discussed by governments at the United Nations in New York this month, should be preventive rather than punitive in order to avert humanitarian crises.
The NGO report shows that around 2.1 million people have died directly or indirectly as a result of armed violence since 153 governments agreed in a 2006 vote on the need to control illegal and illicit small arms trafficking.
The largest producer, supplier and importer of small arms, the United States, voted against the proposal, while 24 countries abstained, including major arms exporters like China and Russia, and major importers like Pakistan and Egypt.
As an active senior, I get damn frustrated by people who tell me that I'm too old to drive my car.
I haven't been in an accident worth remaining at for at least 6 months, consistently drive 10-20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit and regularly stop in the middle of the road to read street signs or to avoid injuring squirrels. I'm a very safe driver.
Despite this, I am tailgated with alarming regularity and subjected to volleys of obscene language and nasty hand gestures from my fellow motorists on a daily basis.
I'm damned fed up. And in response, I've whipped up a series of bumper stickers specifically designed to get my damned message out to young motorists.
(I may be turning, I may not. I haven't decided yet but that's my damned business not yours)
(And stop telling me to sit on a phone book, smartass!)
(I'll go whatever speed I see fit and having you slam on the horn isn't about to change my mind!)
(As long as I have partial hearing, some sight and enough energy to press the damned accelerator you're not getting me out of my LeSabre)
(Just because I find it amusing)
by Mad Kane
Thirty Senate Republicans voted to keep rape victims who work for defense contractors from having their day in court. How? By voting against an Al Franken-proposed amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies (like Dick Cheney's KBR) "if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court."
Franken was inspired to sponsor this amendment by the ordeal of Jamie Leigh Jones, who was gang-raped by her co-workers while working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. A clause in Jones' KBR employment contract made employer-friendly private arbitration her only recourse, precluding Jones from seeking justice in court.
I hope all those pro-rape Republicans (listed below my limerick) are proud of themselves:
Ode To Pro-Rape Republicans (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane
Though Republicans yearn for support
From females, they're bound to fall short:
Their position on rape
Is in criminal shape
Cuz they treat it like less than a tort.
Here's the list of the thirty pro-rape Republican Senators:
Lamar Alexander (R-TN) John Barrasso (R-WY) Christopher Bond (R-MO) Sam Brownback (R-KS) Jim Bunning (R-KY) Richard Burr (R-NC) Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) Tom Coburn (R-OK) Thad Cochran (R-MS) Bob Corker (R-TN) John Cornyn (R-TX) Mike Crapo (R-ID) Jim DeMint (R-SC) John Ensign (R-NV) Michael Enzi (R-WY) Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Judd Gregg (R-NH) James Inhofe (R-OK) Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Mike Johanns (R-NE) Jon Kyl (R-AZ) John McCain (R-AZ) Mitch McConnell (R-KY) James Risch (R-ID) Pat Roberts (R-KS) Jeff Sessions (R-AL) Richard Shelby (R-AL) John Thune (R-SD) David Vitter (R-LA) Roger Wicker (R-MS)