Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Bob Ehrlich For Governor
Save the Date – Ehrlich for Governor Campaign Announcement
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
10:00 a.m. Ehrlich for Governor Campaign Kick Off
Rockville Town Center
12 North Washington Street
Rockville, Maryland 20850
6:00 p.m. Evening Campaign Kick Off
1610 Old Sulphur Spring Road
Halethorpe, MD 21227
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Earlier today President Obama kept his promise to Rep. Stupak: 44 - Obama signs executive order on abortion out of sight of media glare
"But that didn't stop pro-choice activists from condemning Obama for agreeing to it, or keep pro-life groups from asserting that it falls short."
…now, in light of such goodwill, only a cynic would point to the "success" of a previous executive order (albeit, one that the President signed to much media glare):
Obama signs order to close Guantanamo Bay facility - CNN.com
Side Note: And what's with this new Barack Obama – first, no media coverage for the meeting with PM Netanyahu and now this? Our guy 's getting camera shy?
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Profile in Courage (2010 edition)
"The new proposal starts with a wholly unacceptable Senate health care bill and, with a few exceptions, continues to make it worse.” Kucinich: Obama Plan Makes 'Unacceptable' Senate Bill 'Worse'
But the President, as is his wont, appealed to the Ohioan's better side:
“Too many people are “talking about what this means for November,” Obama said, adding, “We need courage.”
So, all caution to the wind, Dennis Kucinich courageously flew in Air Force One with the President:
“What was said at 35,000 feet is anyone's guess, and Kucinich is -- for once -- not talking. The president talked one on one with Kucinich aboard Air Force One on the flight, a White House spokesman said.” 44 - Kucinich in Obama's crosshairs
Kucinich backs healthcare bill
..now he has to explain this to a constituency that went 59% for the President (slightly better than his 57%).
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Tim Kaine, former Virginia governor and head of the Democratic National Committee:
“Everyone knows what this vote is about. It's about, is there a health care package or not. And I think Democrats will be very comfortable voting yes and then putting this system in place and being judged by how it does. And I think Republicans will be held to account for voting no and standing with insurance companies rather than trying to solve these issues."
Contrast that slant with Speaker Pelosi’s:
“It's more insider and process-oriented than most people want to know," the speaker said in a roundtable discussion with bloggers Monday. "But I like it," she said, "because people don't have to vote on the Senate bill."
So I ask you – is "deem and pass" then just a convoluted way for Speaker Pelosi to help out her Republican colleagues?
The President's "Plan"
“For Americans who support these goals — reducing health care costs, increasing choice and competition, preventing insurance abuses, and covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans — the only sensible choice is to support the president's plan, too.” Another view: 'The only sensible choice'
That’s her fifth – and concluding – paragraph. That's probably because anything longer and she may have had to start addressing exactly what the president’s plan consists of. Is it the House Bill? The Senate Bill? The Senate Bill with House corrections? Does the President’s plan cover abortions; allow union-negotiated plans to remain untaxed and/or include the Cornhusker Kickback? What about the Public option? The Secretary doesn’t provide any details; I guess, as Speaker Pelosi has told us, we’ll just have to read it after it’s passed.
Years ago, while in law school, a fellow student penned an article for the school newspaper offering up reviews of various movies to take in over an upcoming break. She saved her highest rating for Malcolm X…which she then admitted she hadn’t yet seen but still…Spike Lee, it had to be great. The President will sign whatever “plan” Congress puts on his desk; apparently that’s all the talented Ms. Sebelius needs to give it 5 Stars!!
Monday, March 15, 2010
East Jerusalem in the News
This, of course, is not the first time that a president has reacted negatively to Israeli actions in East Jerusalem:
…and that would George H. W. Bush back in 1990.
The reaction was swift:
"President Bush's comment two weeks ago opposing new settlements in East Jerusalem was a "heavy-handed blunder" that has contributed to Israel's political crisis and jeopardized the quest for peace in the Mideast, Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell (D-Maine) charged yesterday.
"I am mystified and disappointed by President Bush's decision, at a time when the need for partnership and trust is most crucial, to provoke deep concern about American intentions," said Mitchell in a statement released by his office."
Are we still whining about East Jerusalem?
We've been reading about it for awhile:
Officials: US wants Israel to cancel building plan
"The project caused a storm in Washington because it was announced during Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the region last week, badly embarrassing the U.S. and complicating its efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking."
Okay – the timing was part of the problem but the criticisms have been heavy on the substance. Would this Administration have preferred the announcement right before the Vice President's trip? Right after? Who's kidding who here – this is part of the President's unilateral decision that any settlement freeze is to be a total freeze:
"President Obama "wants to see a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions," Clinton said." U.S. wants no more Jewish settlement growth, Clinton says
But it's not as if Israel has gone rogue on us here – they have quite consistently maintained that Jerusalem is an undivided Israeli city and that settlement freezes will not apply to Israeli cities. Indeed, announcements about building in East Jerusalem have been flowing out of Israel on a regular basis. Finally, this Administration has long maintained that settlement freezes should not be a precondition for any talks.
Also unclear is just why the President is so adamant about East Jerusalem. It's gone from being part of an International City to annexation by Jordan to capture by Israel in 1967 and subsequent annexation by Israel as part of its unification of Jerusalem. Under what post-WWII scenario does the President think East Jerusalem would be part of a Palestinian state?
Instead, Israeli envoy sees historic crisis with U.S.
This settlement freeze nuance that the President has introduced to the process has done little besides give the Palestinians one more talking point towards unsuccessful talks. Israel has apologized for the timing. It's time for the President to call off his attack dogs.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Obama in Mesopotamia
His rhetoric aside, I have generally been supportive of President Obama as regards to Iraq and Afghanistan. That doesn't mean I've forgotten Candidate Obama. Apparently, neither has David Ignatius, who today concludes his column with of this bit of nostalgia:
"As a guide for the future, I still like Barack Obama's line from the campaign: "We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in."
Remarkably this follows a bit of hindsight by Mr. Ignatius:
"In the darkest days of the Iraq war, it was tempting for Americans to think that we could walk away from the mess we had created. Things look better now than anyone could have imagined in 2006…"
Do you mean 'anyone' as in "Barack Obama"?
While I acknowledge that few were actually discussing a walk-away, that bleak 2006 fed the opposition to the troop level increase in 2007 – an increase consistently opposed by then-Senator Obama (and so consistently that he wouldn't later admit it was a right move). And I question Mr. Ignatius's assumption; people like John McCain championed the "surge" precisely because they thought things could look better.
If, as Vice President Biden suggests, Iraq becomes one of this administration's greatest success stories, good for them. If so, it will be because former Obama campaign adviser, Samantha Power, was prescient:
"You can't make a commitment in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009," said Power, who resigned from the campaign yesterday over separate comments insulting Clinton. "He will, of course, not rely upon some plan that he has crafted as a presidential candidate or a US senator. He will rely upon an operational plan that he pulls together in consultation with people on the ground." Obama stance on Iraq shows evolving view - The Boston Globe
Saturday, March 13, 2010
We're on a roll!!!
"This is the first time that Holy Cross has defeated Colgate in men’s lacrosse in school history as the Raiders won the previous 20 meetings."
Friday, March 12, 2010
Lindsay Lohan Files $100M Suit Over E-Trade’s ‘Milkaholic’ Baby
Obama delays foreign trip to work on health care
“Obama has struggled mightily to get Congress to pass a health-care bill, which was his top legislative priority upon taking office.”
Mightily?? Both the Senate and the House have already passed a health-care bill – any idea which one the President prefers? Should we ask his teleprompter?
Meanwhile, some surprising good sense from a Montgomery County pol:
"We're not going to consider taxes. That's the mantra this year. That's it," said Sheila E. Hixson (D-Montgomery), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, in an interview. Maryland's strong alcohol lobby likely to quash tax increase
And for today's Kumbaya moment:
Poets of Split This Rock Festival put their words to work at Capitol
My immediate reaction was to mock the poets but the writing in this story is so tedious that I have to consider that maybe the poets involved are not as sanctimonious as they come off.
“Once the words are taped together in one long poem of antiwar protest, the question becomes: Will they do what the writers intend?
“Will they be heard beyond this grassy open space? Will they effect social change, even a bit?”
You tell me:
"Don't forget those who want peace."
"We are citizens, not tools. Educate us, shelter us, feed us."
“A circle of poets looking on, Browning climbs onto the stage to recite her lines, the last in the poem.
"Onion and chocolate and all the stew of ourselves we can eat," she says.”
All that poetry and not a single reference to the Man from Nantucket?
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Obama Speaks Truth to Power on Free Trade
Obama pushes trade initiative as jobs helper
“President Barack Obama sought Thursday to put some detail behind his lofty drive to double U.S. exports over the next five years, calling the effort imperative to putting people back to work. “
Of course, he says all this “[i]n a speech to the Export-Import Bank conference.”
But some of you may remember Candidate Obama whistling a different tune a few years ago in Ohio:
"Only Barack Obama consistently opposed NAFTA," it declares. "A little more than a year ago, Hillary Clinton thought NAFTA was a 'boon' to the economy," it continues (citing a 9/11/06 item in Newsday). And, "Hillary Clinton was not with Ohio when our jobs were on the line. Why should we be with her now?" Obama Mailer Slams Clinton on NAFTA
Coincidently, I'm sure, polls showed that to be a popular message to Ohio Democrats.
But what about Canada?
“Clinton tried to make a meal over a report that Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee…told Canadians that Obama's anti-NAFTA rhetoric was just for show and that they should trust in Obama's free-trade credentials.” NAFTA Nonsense: Explaining the Clinton/Obama spat over trade policy.
A message for every audience.
Makes me a bit wistful though, that the President’s didn’t embrace this nascent enthusiasm for free trade and new-found understanding of its benefits a bit earlier in his term. What with all his Administration’s efforts to stimulate the economy, he’s been sitting all the while on THREE, “shovel-ready”, trade agreements.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Biden Speaks Palestinian
Palestinian leader joins Biden in condemning Israeli housing decision
Yep – the Vice President wasn’t too happy with an Israeli decision and gave voice to Palestinian angst while he was at it:
"I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem," Biden said in a statement released during the meal. "The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I've had here in Israel."
…and “proximity talks” have always held such promise.
Israelis waking up in the morning are an affront to a large swath of Palestinians and the Palestinian leader cited is Salam Fayyad – who carries no weight in Hamas-led Gaza. If it wasn’t this housing decision then it would have been something else that raised the hackles of the Palestinians. These talks are meaningless. What’s worrisome – though not surprising – is this Administration’s instinctive venting of the Palestinian meme.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
"This marks the first time in school history that the Crusaders have defeated the Big Green in men's lacrosse as Dartmouth won the previous 28 contests starting in 1960."
Of course, this means a boost to my donation!
Side Note: The only time I ever got to do a taking-the-field run through-the-tunnel was up at Dartmouth. Very cool...even if we did get crushed!
Monday, March 08, 2010
A Mideast Report...signifying nothing
“Israel and the Palestinians agreed Monday to resume indirect peace negotiations mediated by the United States, said President Obama's Middle East envoy, George Mitchell."
Scott Wilson reports why he calls it a resumption:
“Talks broke down most recently after Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip in December 2008, which left more than 1,000 Palestinians dead and was aimed at stopping rockets from being fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel.”
…and in one sentence, manages to touch on two peeves of mine in such reporting.
Maybe it’s just a Washington Post thing and I’m too sensitive but it continually irks me to read about the military response by Israel as if they were the initiator. Mr. Wilson is not alone here – I have previously mocked a similar tone taken by Griff Witte and Glenn Kessler.
Further, such wording seems to imply that Israel is largely to blame for any disruption in a peace process. Again, Mr. Wilson is not alone here – much of the reporting of this takes this tack but let’s remember our history:
December 2008 saw the end of a 6-month Hamas-Israel cease-fire and the subsequent rocket attacks by Hamas from Gaza. The talks between the Palestinians and Israel had already stalled in the waning days of the Bush Administration. Israel was pre-occupied with an upcoming election in the aftermath of Israeli PM Ehud Olmert’s political problems and, as noted, the ongoing Gaza matter. Finally, the talks stalled ostensibly over the issue of settlements and not because Abbas was showing any kind of solidarity with Hamas. Hamas had pilloried Abbas over his talks with Israel so it seems ludicrous to suggest that Gaza and subsequent lack of talks are a cause and effect. (Ludicrous, that is, unless, your knowledge of the Gaza matter begins and ends with the UN’s Goldstone Report – Soccer Dad has been following that sham closely, including an update today.)
I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb when I predict that Mr. Mitchell’s jet setting diplomacy should result in little of substance…I mean, besides an obvious carbon contribution to global warming.
Dear Mr. President, Love and Kisses from UVA
Transformational leader: Obama has the skills, but will he deploy them on key issues? - Thomas S. Bateman
Professor Bateman sees great possibilities out of our President even though – as he is forced to admit throughout - there really hasn’t been much to see.
As a college professor, he is, of course, duty-bound to get in the obligatory slam at George W. Bush:
“Transactional leaders use authority, rewards, and punishments to get people to comply. George W. Bush applied these all tactics.”
Ahh but our hero:
“Transformational leaders have high aspirations and stimulate innovation. President Obama deserves credit for addressing big problems -- health care in particular -- that others have punted, but he has made strategic and tactical errors along the way.”
Unfortunately, it turns out that a particularly large "strategic and tactical' error was that the President didn’t really address the big problem:
“…he was not an engaged leader on an enormous, complex issue that needed his personal involvement.”
“He also failed to use the powers of his office to line up supporting votes”
In other words, unlike the mere “transactional” guy that preceded him, he didn’t “use authority, rewards, and punishments to get people to comply.” But, don't despair, there’s real hope for our guy in the White House:
“One of the most important things transformational leaders do is to intellectually stimulate others -- both adversaries and supporters -- with the leader's ideas.”
As support for this, he notes that “despite some charges of dawdling over Afghanistan, Robert Gates and others credit him with thoroughness and thoughtfulness as he challenged others to think harder about the options and their consequences.”
…and we all know how tough it is to garner public favorable praise from the people who work for you.
That’s not all, though; the professor also quotes that noted NYT cynic David Brooks:
"The man really knows how to lead a discussion... he picked out the core point in any comment...”
Who knew that’s where our crisis in leadership was?
“This kind of intellectual stimulation is a trademark of transformational leaders.”
Gee, I hope I’m not being too much of a Negative Ned here but that display of so-called transformational leadership resulted in exactly ZERO defections from the Republican side while so far having no apparent effect on the ongoing trickle away from his side of the argument. Yet despite the object of his obvious man-crush not having shown any sustained semblance of leadership in his adult life, Professor Bateman remains optimistic:
“Is President Obama a transformational leader? Not yet in terms of overall impact, but there's hope, for the country's sake, that the answer may turn to yes.”
Actually, for our country’s sake – that’s awfully pessimistic.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Winning IS everything!!
Caps 3 - Sabres 1
Maryland drops Duke to move into tie atop ACC standings
And most importantly of all:
Holy Cross Athletics: Men’s Basketball Defeats Bucknell 67-64
(1st round of the Patriot League Tournament)
That, my friends, is one hell of a night!!!