Monday morning mishmash

1. That terrible, terrible health care law:

More small businesses are offering health benefits to workers

Major insurers around the country are reporting that a growing number of small businesses are signing up to give their workers health benefits, a sign of potential progress for the nation’s battered healthcare system.

The increase, although not universal, has brought new security to thousands of workers, many of whom did not have insurance or were at risk of losing it.

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The independent nonprofit insurer has been particularly aggressive in marketing the new tax credit, which can mean a discount of as much as 35% for very small companies with low payrolls.  38% of the businesses it is signing up had not offered health benefits before.

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For Bistro Kids, a small business in the Kansas City suburb of Gladstone that serves school meals made with locally grown, organic produce, the deal was too good to pass up.

“We said, ‘How could we not do this?’” said Kiersten Firquain, 42, a trained chef who started the company after being appalled by the quality of the food her son was being served at school.

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2. That terrible, terrible health care law:

Medicaid Bonuses to Reward for Insuring Children

The Obama administration plans to announce Monday that it will make $206 million in bonus Medicaid payments to 15 states — with more than a fourth of the total going to Alabama — for signing up children who are eligible for public health insurance but had previously failed to enroll.

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3. Terrible, terrible news:

Analysis: Job creation happening at faster rate than other recessions

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4. Terrible, terrible news:

U.S. Online Holiday Sales Climb 15%

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5. Usually I will try to stay away from the war in Afghanistan. IMO, the only good news about a war, any war, is when it ends. But, this is a very interesting read, because apparently things on the ground are a little bit better than the administration is ready to say in public:

NYT: Taliban Fighters Appear Quieted in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The deadliest group of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan has not conducted a complex large-scale attack in the capital city of Kabul for seven months, its momentum stymied as elite American-led commandos have escalated raids against the militants’ bomb makers and logisticians.

But in a testament to the resiliency of the fighters, the so-called Haqqani network, and a nod to the fragility of the allied gains, the White House is not trumpeting this assessment. Instead, it is tucked into a classified portion of the Obama administration’s year-end review of its Afghanistan war strategy, and senior American officials speak of it in cautious terms, as if not wanting to jinx the positive trend.

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6. My condolences to the MSM:

WaPo: Obama’s two months of foreign policy wins

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7. My condolences etc.

Steve Clemons: Obama’s Game May Be Picking Up — Even with Tougher Congress

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8. Best feel good holiday story:

Haitian orphans settling in with adoptive families

PENFIELD, N.Y.—Under a towering Christmas tree, 3-year-old Sevil Fletcher giggled in delight amid some not-so-rough roughhousing with his brother and sister.There were snow drifts outside the comfortable suburban home, and the warmth of a close-knit family inside, as his parents, Brian and Emily Fletcher, recounted how Sevil—his infancy spent in a faraway orphanage—came to be their son.It’s a remarkable tale, all the more so because it is shared to a degree by hundreds of other American families who were seeking to adopt children from Haiti when the cataclysmic earthquake struck nearly a year ago, on Jan. 12.// much more and must read

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115 thoughts on “Monday morning mishmash

  1. Let’s keep transforming this world. There’s stuff all over the place that can happen, like with you and the person sitting near you. Let’s keep transforming this world. xoxox

  2. BWD, what a great way to start a new week. Like you, I have the same belief that the best news about any war is that it is over. This is particularly true since I have a son in the army who has already served two tours in the ME and I would prefer he not have to go back. However, in their attempts to make lemons out of lemonade, the MSM seems to concentrate only on the bad news. Of course there is enough of that to go around, but it is good to hear some good news as well.

    I believe the economy is definitely rebounding, and if not for the naysayers who want to depress the public, would probably have moved even faster. And the Republicans are mainly to blame for this. Not only did they keep the stimulus package from being bigger and even more effective, they kept making misleading claims about the economy. What this did is discourage people even more from being optimistic. The economy hinges on several factors, but an often over looked one is the general mood of the public. The quicker the public believes the economy is turning around, the quicker it does. it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy of a sorts.

    Again, thak you so much for your contribution to positive thinking.

  3. I hate war too, LOVE is always good. But think this or ask yourself this…What the hell could you do if you were this Prez? When you were given TWO wars that you don’t even supported (at least one of them) and you told or given to manage both. I think he is doing the best he can to get out of this mess, he finished one and he is on his way out of the other. I can’t anything more than this, because first, you can’t cut and run that is a no no. Second, you can’t be there forever. At some point we will get out ofd there I am sure, but we need to be patient. I know what he is doing and I understand him. Let me just this THERE IS NOBODY ON THIS PLANET ANTI-WAR THAN THIS PREZ. contrary to what people on the left might believe.

  4. I am thankful for this president every day, because he is a thinking man. He is methodical, he is patient and he is true to who he is.

    When you have truth on your side, no matter how long it takes or how much people try to sully you, you will prevail. My grandfather, who never stepped his foot in a school building always told us that. My dad always reiterated it to us.

    The so-called MSM, the right wingers, the frustrati, teabaggers, etc., try hard as they may, cannot change reality.

    As for us, we should never let them get away with their lies.

  5. You are so right. In small ways, whether in line at the grocery store or at the park, we should set the record straight when it is projected negatively. Or we can simply just share what we know about the progress we see.

    My secret weapon is my now beat-up president Barack Obama backpack. My sister in Maryland sent it to me a while back. The straps are about to break but I carry it most every where. It is almost always a source of conversation, most times interesting, sometimes it offers stares or ire. But who cares, I always use it as an opening to talk about the president, the Democratic Party and the good work they’ve done these past years.

    Now, in those same conversations, I have started telling people about this site, TPV, The Obama Diary, and others I’ve found since this space was established.

  6. Sports Illustrated reporter Peter King just tweeted this about POTUS:

    Yes, Obama called Eagle owner Jeffrey Lurie to praise the Eagles for giving Vick a chance. Said too many prisoners never get fair 2d chance.

  7. Amen. I have so much trust in him. I know that if we fight this war – it because there is really no other choice. And i know that he’s doing everything he can to end it as soon as possible.

    Most of all, i know that he’s devastated by any death, and injury, anyone who’s coming back with PTS. It kills him. You can just see the pain on his face.

    I really think that this world is so fortunate to have this man as the US president at this time.

  8. Me too. BWD. I hve never, ever felt this way about a president. President Obama is just stunningly brilliant and a wonderful leader.
    Thanks for finding and posting all the great news.

    Happy Monday, everyone!

  9. Thanks, BWD, for you usual excellent job of rounding up the good stuff. I must say, though, that even when the likes of Ignatius and Clemons praise the President, they do it looking down their arrogant noses in a way that I find truly offputting.

  10. OK, So we need Blackwaterdog T-shirts pretty quickly now so we can get more attention for this blog. Are we Blackwaterdogettes and Blackwaterdogers? Or Pragmatii for Obama? Or Both?

  11. Aren’t these two Canadian politicians? One Liberal and the other a Conservative? So, whatever they think don’t change anything in the US of A.

    Charlote, don’t you worry about those non-American thoughts. What really matters now is he is doing fine with Americans.

  12. “Amen. I have so much trust in him. I know that if we fight this war – it because there is really no other choice. And i know that he’s doing everything he can to end it as soon as possible.”

    I don’t really understand why some people have such a hard time understanding why he is fighting the war in Afghanistan. He has all the people in the US to protect, even the ones who are against him. If one looks at the pictures of the President with the children or adults, you know instantly that he would not want anyone to die in a terrorist attack or in a war, but it is something that just has to be done right now to protect us all.

  13. Your second paragraph is spot on and is a component of economic health which is not discussed often enough. Constant doom and gloomers who sourly spread their pessimism are not helpful, to say the least.

  14. That just made my morning, and amen, POTUS, indeed, too many people are just tossed away like trash and never given a second chance when they leave prison.

    Reason #3887862754265408 that I am delighted with the WH occupant. He’s just terrific.

  15. Once again such a great way to start the day. I do love our First family. We are so blessed by the love that they share with everyone.

  16. Did you guys hear about Michelle Obama talking on the phone to kids who had called the NORAD Santa-tracker hotline on Christmas Eve? She’s a class act, our FLOTUS. I adore her as much as I do the president.

    Michelle Obama helps out Santa Claus

    Merry Christmas, my pragmati (love that!) friends! And an extra-special holiday hug to my good friend Blackwaterdog. I’m proud to be a member of your “family”.

    P.S., don’t forget that you can still order Anne’s Obama photomosaic posters for only $5 until Saturday as our holiday gift to you, his staunchest defenders and supporters. More info HERE. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email.

  17. I just hope Vick doesn’t murder any more innocent animals. I have problems with the man being on the Eagles. I’m just glad he is not on my favorite team.

  18. See this is why I will always stick with this man. Again he is right.

    Now let’s collectively brace ourselves cause y’all know the perpetually angry progressives, the “dog lovers”, and the concern trollers gonna go off because of this statement. They been craving for an “Obama” nontrovery. MSM will be more than happy to create one for them. I am sure they are commissioning a poll as I type. “Do you think “Obama” should be standing up for convicted dog killer Mike Vick?” *I sigh*

  19. Me too BWD. It is well known by all my family and friends that I said when he was candidate Obama that he was going to win by a landslide and become one of the greatest POTUS this country has ever had….and President Obama proves me right daily. I love this man.

  20. Just listen again to the Christmas address. The President speaks about the birth of a child who brought the world a message of peace, love and redemption. Yes, that’s right – redemption. I think that we all understand the “peace” and “love” part real easily. But it is the “redemption” promise that we fail to appreciate. And yet all progress in the world depends on it. When we seek to correct mistakes – our own or others’ – we need to first believe in the possibility of change, in the perfectability of the human condition, in the power of forgiveness and the promise of redemption. That belief is the core value of the great humanitarian leaders who have changed the condition of mankind for the better and it is also at the heart of our remarkable President’s philosophy.

  21. Wow. That is great news, but you know I’m a little scared of feeding folks red meat like this (red meat = pop culture stories where race is a factor).

    I couldn’t be happier to hear this though and it is what I’ve come to expect from the President.

  22. Stephen Harper is the current Canadian Prime Minister, Michael Ignatieff is the leader of the Liberal Party, Jack Layton is the leader of the NDP.

    David Ignatius and Steve Clemons are journalists in the United States.

    And if you want to write off all non-American opinions than the outpouring of support from around the world would have to be discounted, and the Nobel Prize would be meaningless as well because, well the judges are not American.

  23. OT-RIP to Teena Marie. She was such a wonderful artist and her death (at 54 years old) is shocking to me. A million sympathies to her loved ones.

  24. My, my this fabulous piece certainly is making the rounds; how wonderful of them to post “I’m Grateful” on their site.

  25. So true. He has done a lot of work campaigning against dog fighting. Even in his football play, he is showing a different attitude. He used to be super cocky, but there is a little more humility right now. If he had gotten a free ride in regard to what he had done, it would be different. But, as the saying goes, he paid his debt to society.

  26. A powerful statement. And it relates to the comments upthread about Vick. If we don’t believe in the possibility of redemption, even if you are speaking in a non-religious sense, then we are demeaning ourselves in the process.

  27. I’ve been a dog lover my whole life and I certalinly find dog fighting abhorent but I do find the outrage very hypocritical from non-vegetarians. If you’re eating factory farmed beef, pork, chicken than the meat on your plate lived as just a terrible existance and faced an equally violent death as the dogs did.

    And that is not any attempt to justify what Mike Vick did. But he served years in prison and lost tens of millions of dollars while bringing dog fighting to the public forefront. He is now speaking out against it, to the same inner city youth that would look up to him, and would also be more likely to fall into dog fighting circles.

  28. Yeah Kelly, I’m prepping for a backlash on this one. There’s only a few things that can divide a room almost faster than POTUS and one of those is Mr. Vick.

    Sometimes I wish he would say no comment regarding stuff like this and Kanye, but we shouldn’t have to do all the tip-toeing because the media are disingenous members of our democracy who only want to gin up fear.

  29. BWD, blush all you want. But you have provided something that is its own little miracle. Not just that post, but this whole community.

  30. What are factory farm animals guilty of?

    Why are dogs innocent and pigs, which are just as smart – if not smarter, are condemned to be food animals sentenced to our dinner plates?

  31. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around all the faux outrage and hypocrisy regarding this issue.

    Without even having to wade into the vegetarian v. meat eater debate… one of the things I found a bit disturbing was Disney-owned ESPN’s foaming at the mouth about this story while running hunting programming. It was just kinda wierd IMO.

  32. Well said. I keep saying, it takes a big person to admit a mistake. That’s true of Maddow who cheerfully admitted that her sour doom and gloom predictions about DADT were mistaken, and it’s true of Vick who appears to have genuinely reassessed what he was doing, and who has more than paid his debt to society. POTUS is 100% correct on this one.

  33. See I didn’t even know that re: your second paragraph. That seals the deal for me in terms of the hypocrisy of the over the top outrage. I can respect a point of view which is unhappy with Vick, but the (I’m loving this word right now) *sanctimony* is deeply opportunistic and unattractive.

  34. I think that’s why he did this:

    “DOVER, Del., April 6, 2009

    For the first time since the Obama administration
    reversed an 18-year-old ban on news coverage of
    returning fallen soldiers, the military allowed media
    to cover the arrival tonight of an airman killed in
    Afghanistan.

    The arrival of remains of Staff Sgt. Phillip A. Myers, a
    30-year-old supporting Operation Enduring
    Freedom, at Dover Air Force Base at 11 p.m. today
    marked the first time that the transfer of any of the
    nearly 5,000 U.S. troops who have died in Iraq and
    Afghanistan was open to the media.

    The transfer of the flag-draped casket was carried out
    with great dignity, for the seven family members
    present. One of the men present dabbed his eyes with
    a tissue.

    After a prayer was said by a chaplain, Maj. Klabens
    Noel, a carry team of eight airmen and women
    wearing battle dress uniforms with white gloves
    moved Myers’ flag-draped casket from an Atlas Air
    747 cargo jet to a waiting panel truck.

    In the cool night, under a light breeze, the only noise
    was the hum of the jet’s auxiliary power unit, until the
    quiet was pierced by the engine of the lift lowering
    the casket from the jet to the tarmac.

    The eight airmen and women carried the casket to a
    white panel truck, placed it inside, as the doors were
    slowly closed, the call went out for present arms. The
    saluting arms were then slowly lowered.

    The entire transfer was very methodical and very
    dignified.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=7265545&page=1

    It’s so easy to ignore the war if there are no images of the our dead soldiers returning home. Because they are our sons and daughters fighting and dying over there, not just numbers dying.

    I don’t care who thinks what when they come into my house and see my HOPE poster PROUDLY displayed. I feel NO SHAME. My Obama buttons are STILL pinned to my bags. And my bumper sticker is still up on my car. When I see others stubbornly leave theirs on, too, I want to go over and knock on their car window and hug them! :)

  35. I agree GN.. I have a son who broke the law and spent time in prison.. and thankfully he was given a second chance, and proved to be well worth it.. as many do. Once a person ‘pays their debt’ then it behooves all of us to help support their re-entrance into a healthier way of life. Too many folks fail because too many folks turned their backs on them, imo.

    I hope everyone had a peaceful Christmas.. and is looking forward to a New Year.

  36. I don’t believe it would have been sport hunting programming, eventhough it would have been hunting for entertainment purposes, though the meat would have been donated somewhere I’d presume.

    I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 17yrs old and I’d eat mean from a hunter before I’d eat facory farmed meat that is found in supermarkets.

  37. I’m telling you BWD, I’ve found repros (badly done because person attempting to just copy and paste, but well-intentioned!) on “our town” type of sites!!! They seemed to have hit Christmas Eve.

  38. I think he’s felt true remorse – and is trying to redeem himself. I guess, time will tell in the end, but in this situation, if it _hadn’t_ been some really big name in (sports, hollywood, tv, fill in the space) it wouldn’t have gotten the media attention, would not have gotten the coverage to bring this to the attention of all about the disgusting horrors of dog fighting!! if Vick had been just some kid on the street caught doing this, well, he would have just been 1 in 100 young adults promoting this horrible sport. And nothing would have been splashed across the headlines.

    Maybe in the end, this was just Vick’s fate.

  39. In this regard it is very important that our pres speaks on it. Not because of Mr. Vick, but look at the big picture….there are TOO many, especially people of color who have been in prisoned and after serving their time, they are not given a second chance, thus they end up falling back into the same situation.

    As far as the Kanye situation, that remark was off the record but of course media doesn’t accord this president an off the record moment.

  40. Ahh thank you GN, that is so kind of you. He has been out for almost ten years and never been in trouble since, has a wonderful little 3 year old daughter and is almost finished with mechanic’s school. I’m quite proud of his entire turn around. But I also never doubted him, I always said that he got into trouble, made mistakes, but it wasn’t what defined who he was or what he could be, he proved that to be true.

  41. You are right, Kelly, we should collectively brace ourselves from the vicious attacks for the “dog lovers” and trolls both on the left and right. But am 100% with the Prez on this one. Every body deserves a 2nd chance.

  42. Well that is all you can ask of anyone that committed a crime. I keep hoping serial woman abuser Charlie Sheen doesn’t beat up anymore women. Or attempts to murder anyone else, like he did his ex wives. Funny he hasn’t served any time for those crimes yet. * wonders why O_o*

  43. You’re absolutely right. I admit to having as sort of battered spouse syndrome when it comes to the media. But this is an important issue and I hope it can help inspire us to have a larger conversation leading to some change.

  44. I understand all of the nuances and differences; it just would’ve been nice if their reporting included some of that. Instead we got treated to the “Michael Vick is the Worst Human Ever” show 24/7 which was great for the Big Mouse’s ratings.

  45. Heh, I just received this quote in my email.. which I think is very appropos to the Vick situation and the belief (I certainly have) in ‘redemption’.:

    Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.
    - Oscar Wilde

    That would just about cover all of us, imo.

  46. Absolutely, blackwaterdog. Punishment is worth nothing. Only rehabilitation matters and punishment often precludes that rather than encourages it.

  47. It absolutely is BWD. I tried that argument with others at another place and it seemed as though it sounded good for them except when they actually had to put it into practice.

    Redemption is one of the greatest things about human nature.

    I think we’ve found another thread that runs thru us all and brings us here. “Empathy”

  48. Good Morning/Afternoon everybody. Man all this bad news is making me ill. BLACKWATERDOG!! PLEASE STOP IT!!! (smile)

    I love this site….

    But anyway let me add something I just saw that was so adorable. My little cousin got “Of Thee I Sing” children book President Obama wrote for Christmas after her mother went to every store in Georgia trying to find it. Several stores had sold out so she was lucky to find one and didn’t want to order it on the internet because she wanted it in her hands and is scared to order stuff online. She also wanted to support the children of troops who would get proceeds from the sales of this book for college. But anyway I read some of the reviews on Amazon and it brought tears to my eyes how a lot of people love not only Barack Obama but this book.

    Here are some of the reviews

    Also here is a short video about this book

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/m1EWG9GV1H0XEV/ref=ent_fb_link

    Also here is a video review of the book from elementary kids who absolutely loved it..

    Also another video that you may want to check out.. This video was featured on PBS about the history of President’s Photographers and it featured Pete Souza who was followed by PBS while he followed the president. It was amazing to see what it’s like behind the scenes following President Obama. The video is about 45 minutes so if you have time, check it out. It was reaaaaaaaalllllly Good!!!

    http://video.iptv.org/video/1672209202

  49. That is so great to hear sheri. Thanks for sharing.

    We need to be reminded often that mistakes do not make people and they are not disposable.

  50. Don’t even get me started on Sheen SMDH…

    There was a Falcon player (Vick’s teamate) who beat and killed his girlfriends puppy with a hammer because he was mad at her…he was on the team while the Vick situation was going on. Not a peep was heard about it.

    Vick was probably saved by his punishment, but it makes you wonder about all those who continue to be serially enabled.

  51. thank you.. and yes, I believe that is what being “our brothers/sisters keeper” is all about.

  52. Please do.. it seriously cracked me up to read it immediately after reading the conversation on Vick here.

  53. BWD, I adore you but I’m not a liberal. I’m a social conservative (pro-choice, though) with moderate leaning. It takes an evil mind to murder an innocent, evil. I believe in forgiveness, because one day Jesus forgave me of my sins. I just have an issue with the glorification of Vick.

  54. Sheila, thank you. See, this site is wonderful. You have added to my vocabulary with a word with a wonderful meaning. Although, does it really have to include Delay? :)

  55. I 2nd what Japa21 just said!

    I LOVE new words and that one, with it’s meaning, is super precious and significant. We need more people to know the word because we need more people to know and understand the concept.

    (even for Tom Delay) LOL

  56. I don’t think he’s being glorified, I do believe however that he is very much in the process of redeeming himself.. and I believe it would be inappropriate to not acknowledge that, most certainly because the world absolutely acknowledged his crime.. if folks can condemn his negative deeds, his criminal acts, then why not admit his positive deeds, his change of behavior.

  57. So well said Sheila. Particularly in the context of a country which is very unfair and uneven with the application of punishment.

  58. Waved good-bye to the last of my family members who “descended on me” :) for the last 4 days—whew! Fun but total bedlam. Have the house mostly right right side up again, dishwasher running for about the 17th time, washer and dryer going and am finally free to get caught up and comment. The good news keeps coming. It’s going to get harder and harder for the MSM to keep pushing the bad news stories without appearing totally foolish, and/or determinedly partisan.
    And I loved the adoption story. I have an adorable 1 yr. old adopted grandson, who has thrived in his new loving home. He was the big hit around here during our holiday festivities, charming all of us with his smiles and sweet disposition. There is no greater love than to give a needy child a warm and loving home.

  59. He was young and immature. I do believe he has worked hard to do the right thing. He has surrounded himself with people like Tony Dungee, who are right there to give him good advice.

    In this life, I think we all deserve a second chance. I am glad the president spoke to this.

  60. I’m glad you said that. I’m a huge bleeding heart liberal but am just one component of President Obama’s diverse base. I don’t always agree with Lorraine, but I’m really glad that she’s here and I hope that people of all points of view and opinions delurk and raise their voices!

  61. OG – I had the same thought last week! Hell, they had Orange t-shirts whose sole purpose was to increase a blog’s numbers. But would be meaningful!

  62. Good mishmash today, BWD. Gallup says he’s “most admired man” again this year and Secy Clinton is “most admired woman.” Good news for both of them!

  63. Hot damn, BWD. I’ve ALWAYS felt that way about A and POTUS, but as tough as I can be, for a million dollars I never would have said that on Kos! Can you imagine – I’d have that pseudo-photojournalist OPAL sending me photos of cemeteries, suggesting I was to blame.

    They had devolved to using shorthand over there the past year or two. They did not discuss A, they posted photos. They did not discuss the economy. They uttered, “Geither.” They did not discuss Gay rights, they screamed “DADT”. Why think when you could use dog whistles. Of course, some of the rocket scientists over there needed talking points.

  64. Interesting perspective from two retiring stalwarts of the House and the Senate.

    Snip:

    “Obey and Dodd believe that President Barack Obama has enjoyed as auspicious a start as any of his predecessors. “As Pat Moynihan once said,” Dodd recalls, “a president only gets 20 months from inauguration to the first midterm election to do anything of real significance. That’s the window. Obama’s done it.”

    Read the entire article here:http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-26/dodd-obey-close-an-era-of-congressional-comity-commentary-by-albert-hunt.html

  65. Lorraine. I remember you from DK. From your posts, I inferred you were a Christian. I noticed you rarely posted there, but here are family. I am so glad.

  66. My own reaction to his speech intrigued me. If it had been Bush saying those words, I would have been appalled. “Don’t mix church and state. You hypocrite. Etc, etc” But with Pres Obama, I listened carefully…and believed. I am Buddhist, born Jewish. The Buddha and Jesus Christ promoted the same values, and that is what POTUS was expressing.

    Bet anything, orange freaked when they hear RELIGION alluded to in a CHRISTMAS message from the WH. Whhen I was there I had gotten so angry, I felt that the next person who taunted those who are religious with FSM, I seriously wanted to (unChistianlike)..SMACK.

    It is truly bizarre. I am not religious in any Western leaning, but of all the horrors perpetrated on DK, their derisiopn of those that were, infuriated me no end. I posted that often and was supported by the folks from IGTNT. The frustrati never contributed to that series. How compassionate.

    I’m rambling. Coffee >>>>>>>>>>

  67. Thanks for the links, Nonie. I love the YouTube video with the kids’ review of the book. I always says that if you want to know the truth about something, ask a kid! The Amazon reviews are better than what I expected. Many military families will be helped by the proceeds from this book. I also loved the video of the illustrator.

  68. Near where I used to live (Lansing, Michigan) there is a GIANT chicken farm. They had four huge buildings each with 250,000 chickens in them. You know the story: tiny cages scientifically-designed to maximize egg production in a the smallest amount of space possible.

    One night one of the barns burned to the ground and a quarter million chickens burned to death in a less than an hour.

    A year later, they had replaced the barn and added three more with the insurance payoff.

    Arrggghhh…

    Another reason among many I’m a vegetarian, I guess. I do eat eggs but I get them from my friend who has the happiest chickens you’ll ever hope to meet. They all have names ;)

  69. I gave that book to my 8 yr. old granddaughter who was visiting for the holiday. She read it to me last night as her bedtime story. We both loved it and talked about every photo on every page, pointing out all the accumulating famous Americans.
    I want to recommend another amazing childrens/family book I gave her and that we also enjoyed immensely together. It is The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco. The Junkyard was the name given by students to the class in school where those with disabilities and challenges were assigned. It is a true story of this class and their wonderful teacher who named them “the junkyard wonders”, making them believe that there were no limits on their possibilities and changed their lives. The author was one of the junkyard wonders, now a successful childrens’ book author, and the postscript tells of what became of all her classmates, many achieving the highest of success and leading incredible lives. It is a tear jerker with a great lesson for all.

  70. g thank you for your wishes. He is career army and has several years to go before he retires. Currently he is working on a special cross-services project and will be stateside for at least the next twp years. Hopefully, by then things will be winding up over there.

  71. I’m one of those hypocritical ones, Saint Roscoe.

    As if the dog-fighting weren’t bad enough, if one of the dogs didn’t perform well enough, they would hang the dog from the tree and kill it.

    It was his lying, as well. I live in Atlanta, and he stood in front of cameras time and time again proclaiming his innocence. He met with Blank, who believed his lies and went in front of the cameras to emphatically proclaim Vick’s innocence. He made a fool of Blank. (not that I’m a fan of Blank’s. blech. and he also made a fool of Falcon’s fans who believed his lies)

    Sadly, there are more who care about football than animals, and those were probably pissed about Vick’s flipping off the fans during a game.

    He dug himself a hole in many, many ways. It’s not just about dog-fighting, although that would have been enough.

    And, no, I’m not a vegetarian, so I’m a hypocrite. But at least I’m an honest one!

  72. Oh yeah, don’t you think so? I admit that I dislike the man, but his days of power are over and he can’t really do harm in the public sphere. As blueness wrote in a diary, he hates to see any man put in a cage, even Delay. However, is there hope he will change significantly for the better? I don’t want to doubt it, but I do, though his silly appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” (I only saw excerpts on other shows) gave me hope.

  73. That’s awesome. Congratulations to BWD who’s living proof that, “One voice can change the world.”

  74. Yes, g, their view of “God” is as narrow as the religious fundamentalists’ view of “God”. They do not seem to be capable of imagining a God who could accommodate free will, scientific truth, evolution (of consciousness as well as matter) and a willingness to allow the existence of an ever-expanding creative consciousness in the cosmos. I don’t feel threatened by atheists and can’t understand why atheists are threatened by those who believe in god, especially since there are almost as many meanings for that word as there are people.

  75. Happy to be here as a strong pro-life Pentecostal Christian but believe in Obama as a great human being. Obama will succeed. I am planning on forming a network of ordinary Christians who believe in the power of prayer to pray for the president.

    God bless you BWD and the positive thinking people here!

  76. I totally agree.

    It was very telling for me when in the first year of his presidency, President Obama reversed the Bush policy of not allowing images of coffins of dead soldiers getting back home. The message was that americans should remain conscious of the terrible, terrible price of war.

    Some critics of the Af-Pak war will say they’re against it and point out many problems, but they rarely offer a serious anaysis of the real consequences of other scenarios.

    Critics also ignore the e-nor-mous efforts at diplomacy we have seen in the last two years. Easing tensions with Russia, working on better cooperation with China, pushing for a solution in the Middle-East, LEADING international efforts to secure nuclear materials, and on and on…

    There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that President Obama hates war and will always work to avoid it, and work to build a more just and peaceful world.

    And I have to say… one thing that especially impresses me is when he does town-halls with young peole in other countries. He’s trying to inspire them. He’s promoting peace, cooperation, respect of other cultures. He shares his vision of a world where economic growth goes hand in hand with social justice.

    The world is indeed fortunate to have him.

  77. I want to again thank BWD for this great site. It is so relaxing to come here and read so much that is good, refreshing, intelligent, and caring. I hope and pray that this site will remain this way.
    I also want to thank those who post great reading material,(books, articles) for our attention. I have tried to keep in my personal library at home the books that President Obama reads.(When it is announced) Currently, I am reading “resident Reagan:The Role of a Lifetime” That is one that POTUS took on this trip. I also completed “The Clinton Tapes”. I like to read the books that he is reading because it gives me an insight into his frame of thinking by choosing these books. Also for those of you who are interested, David Plouffe’s “The Audacity to Win” is excellent. I am re-reading it now also. Another insightful book by Richard Wolffe is an excellent read: “The Revival:The struggle for Survival Inside The Obama White House.”

  78. I loved the little boy in the youtube book review video who said “I didn’t know Presidents could write!” LOL, it’s like before and after when comparing the previous presidency to what we are blessed with now.

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