Archive for the ‘Haiti’ Category

>Analysis of SOTU

January 28, 2010

>President Obama delivered his State of the Union Address (text) to a crowd that was, for the most part, well behaved. A Republican pow-wow prior to the address led to a decision not to cry out tacky pitch-lines for partisan gain.

On the overall event I give the president an A- (those who are friends on Facebook already know this, but I didn’t give the reasons last night).

The president gets extra points for showing some backbone. 15 points

He smacked the Supreme Court, and they deserved it. 10 points. They don’t look too happy, and Justice Samuel Alito seems to be channeling Joe Wilson (from Daily Kos)

http://www.dailykostv.com/flv/player.swf

Be sure and notice the nervous clerk (or whatever) to the justices left (toward the end). She looks a little concerned, like she knows the next day won’t be a good one.

He smacked the legislators in congress. 10 points. (Congress get a D from me for their performance in 2009, by the way).

But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is election day. We cannot wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about their opponent — a belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can. The confirmation of well-qualified public servants should not be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual senators. Washington may think that saying anything about the other side, no matter how false, is just part of the game. But it is precisely such politics that has stopped either party from helping the American people. Worse yet, it is sowing further division among our citizens and further distrust in our government.

and

To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve some problems, not run for the hills. And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership.

On policy

Iraq – We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August. 10 points

Afghanistan – In Afghanistan, we are increasing our troops and training Afghan Security Forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011 and our troops can begin to come home. 5 points

Taxes – … passed 25 different tax cuts.Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven’t raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime. 15 points

Energy – loses a point for “offshore” development, but overall clean energy speak was a plus. 5 points

Jobs – The major portion of the speech was about jobs, and he gets high marks for this. 15 points

DADT – the president gets a couple of points for mentioning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and another couple for saying this: 10 points

…the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal, that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it, that if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.

But he failed to mention that LGBT Americans are not treated the same as everyone else and he could have mentioned the Prop 8 lawsuit going on in California as an example of the inequality in today’s society. -5 points

Total score – 90.

Now, what I’m hoping is that the members of congress will realize that they do have an obligation to work together, regardless of what us screaming bloggers and flailing teabaggers are doing. Maybe congress should sequester themselves and not be allowed to watch any TV news or read any blogs, then they might could work together.

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Dave Matthews and Neil Young performed together during the Hope for Haiti NowHope for Haiti now concert. Nice. “Alone and Forsaken”

>A Bessemer welcome and upcoming elections

January 27, 2010

>A big Bessemer welcome to Matt Moore, who along with his sister Kim Vann and father Bud Moore, purchased the former Dixie Nissan, now named Moore Nissan.

He is optimistic that 2010 will be a good year for the auto industry and for his dealership.

Here is what their web site says about the community.

From the employment opportunities that we provide for individuals to the tax revenues we generate for our City; from giving to local organizations and schools to participating in and promoting local events, you will find that Moore Nissan is a positive force in the Bessemer community and the surrounding vicinity.

In Bessemer and around we have a boatload of elections coming up. Who’s getting election fatigue?

Several candidates for these various offices have contacted me. I’m not naming any yet, some have announced and some have not.

On June 1, the state primaries will take place. There are a lot of state offices on the ballot, but I am more interested right now in those candidates who will actually represent and be in touch with the people. You know, representatives and commissioners and such.

So, here in Bessemer and near, we will elect new county commissioners. Bobby Humphryes indicates he will run again, but none of the other commissioners are. Celebrate.

If you live in William Bell’s former district, you will vote twice, once for a replacement to finish his term, and again for someone to represent the district beginning in November when the other commissioners begin their terms.

Recently elected state legislators will have to run again.

Lawrence McAdory will have to run again for the seat that he just won in the special election for Alabama House -56. People are lining up to challenge him.

Merika Coleman in nearby district 57 will have competition from at least one strong contender.

State Senator (District 19) Priscilla Dunn will be up for re-election. Remember, she just won the seat in another special election, and formerly held the seat the McAdory now holds.

By the time that election and the runoffs, if needed (on June 22), are over, the Bessemer city elections will be well underway.

The mayor and council elections will take place in the late summer/early fall, assuming Bessemer can legally hold an election.

Several announced and unannounced candidates want to replace Ed May, who despite telling supporters in my living room in 2006 that he would only serve one term, would be seeking his third.

And there will be at least one open council seat, as one current council member is running for mayor. Another incumbent, who I am not sure if is running (but really I am), told me the people of Bessemer should elect a whole new council. We should be so lucky.

After all, it is a bad year to be an incumbent, and this holds true from the U.S. Senate down to dogcatcher, so watch out.

In the meantime, we have the President’s State of the Union Address to look forward to, James OKeefe’s arrest to gloat over, and the knowledge that Riley Anti-Gambling Task Force head John Tyson got $100,000 of his 2006 campaign funds from gambling interest PACS to stew over.

Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris performed this song during the Hope for Haiti Now Telethon. Not the best version ever, but nice, still. Hallelujah.

>Western Tribune column January 20, 2010 – Haiti

January 21, 2010

>My column from the Western Tribune on January 20, 2009, regarding the earthquake in Haiti.

The 7.0 earthquake that occurred in Haiti last week is not the first major seismologic event to occur in that country. Recorded history tells us that in 1842 a major quake struck in north Haiti, destroying the city of Cap-Haitien and killing thousands. Geologists are able to document many quakes prior to that which affected Haiti as well as other Caribbean islands.

Televangelist Pat Robertson, quick to assign blame whenever a natural disaster occurs (and sometimes before they occur), said that a long time ago the enslaved Haitians made a deal with the devil in order to gain freedom from the French. He said that ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.

Robertson is referring to the Bois Caiman ceremony, a poorly documented event that some scholars doubt is accurately remembered, in part because the earliest account was written by a white man who may have had an ulterior motive in denigrating the slaves.

If Haiti is cursed, it is not because of the sacrifice of a pig centuries ago, rather it is because it lies above the boundary between the Caribbean and the North American Plates, and these geologic plates are always moving.

Nature does not take sides and certainly natural events do not occur in response to ritual religious practices that may or may not have occurred centuries ago.

But as certain as we can be that devastating events will occur, we can also assure ourselves that Americans will respond generously. The rebuilding of Haiti will take years, but right now the major need is for medical relief and money for supplies. The best thing we can do is offer our prayers and donate money to The Red Cross or another reputable service organization. In addition, President Obama has called on former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to head our country’s effort and you can support them online at ClintonBushHaitifund.

President Clinton, who honeymooned with his wife in Haiti in 1975, stated that hopefully as the city of Port au Prince is rebuilt, it can be done using better materials and with better construction techniques that will reduce the loss of life and injury should future earthquakes occur. But that type of construction will cost more money, so our assistance will be needed for years.

Let’s be there for Haiti. Let’s stand behind Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton in this huge humanitarian effort.

>Haiti suffers, Limbaugh heartless and Pat Robertson unspeakably stupid

January 14, 2010

>Nature has just plunked a great big exclamation mark on my Western Tribune column, which I posted yesterday, and appears here if you direct linked this, or just below this post if you are on the blog. The column focused on the movie Avatar and nature, and included this:

Nature is a powerful force, and we witness this every year with hurricanes and tsunamis and mudslides and such. Nature affects us in other ways as well, from the microbes that help us digest our food to the diseases that we seek to conquer.

and this:

But as in the movie, nature “does not take sides.”

The earthquake in Haiti really has a lot of people down. Already the poorest nation in the area, and constantly suffering from hurricanes and mudslides and floods and such, yet there is so little that we can do (other than give money) but sit and watch. (Texting “Haiti” to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross, added to your phone bill, is one way).

But we certainly don’t need an oaf like Rush Limbaugh telling his uneducated listeners that President Obama would “use Haiti to burnish their, shall we say, credibility within the black community in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country.”

Every ounce of feeling I have goes out to the people of Haiti. Our country has close ties to Haiti, more on that in a minute, and it is only right for our president to make a statement offering our assistance.

I can not improve on Keith Olbermann’s criticism of Limbaugh (and Pat Robertson, who said the earthquake was a result of a “pact with the devil” that the nation made in the 19th century to gain freedom from France).

“Mr. Robertson, Mr. Limbaugh. Your lives are not worth those of the lowest, meanest, poorest of those victims still lying under that rubble in Haiti tonight. You serve no good, you serve no god. You inspire only stupidity and hatred, and I would wish you to hell, but knowing how empty your souls must be for you to be able to say such things, in a time of such pain, I suspect the vacant purposelessness of the lives you both live now are hell enough already.”

About our historical relationship with Haiti, Rachel Maddow describes it best.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/34853786#34853786

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Ambassador Raymond Joseph says any deal that Haiti made with the devil certainly benefited the United States as well.

We can only offer our prayers and thoughts and support and money right now, but at least regarding this situation, please Rush Limbaugh, and Pat Robertson, just STFU!