A serious word


I understand we’re all upset, but the way someone as good as askew been treated in the previous thread is a serious no-no. If we can’t accept any criticism of PBO – from people we know are true supporters – then we’re just validating the nonsense the professional left is saying about us. That’s what I meant when I asked that we’ll try to hang in there. These are tough days, and honestly, it’s a struggle for me too – but we built something here and there’s no reason to destroy it because we’re going through a difficult period.

askew, I personally apologize. I understand how you feel today, I even agree with some parts of what you said, but I do hope that you won’t give up on this place, and more importantly – on the President.


Here’s something pretty:

A Certificate of Embarrassment

I’m still so incredibly heartbroken, I feel totally numb today.

NYT Editorial:

With sardonic resignation, President Obama, an eminently rational man, stared directly into political irrationality on Wednesday and released his birth certificate to history. More than halfway through his term, the president felt obliged to prove that he was a legitimate occupant of the Oval Office. It was a profoundly low and debasing moment in American political life.

The disbelief fairly dripped from Mr. Obama as he stood at the West Wing lectern. People are out of work, American soldiers are dying overseas and here were cameras to record him stating that he was born in a Hawaii hospital. It was particularly galling to us that it was in answer to a baseless attack with heavy racial undertones.

Mr. Obama practically begged the public to set aside these distractions, expressing hope that his gesture would end the “silliness” and allow a national debate about budget priorities. It won’t, of course.

If there was ever any doubt about Mr. Obama’s citizenship, which there was not, the issue was settled years ago when Hawaii released his birth certificate. The fuller document that Mr. Obama had to request contains some extra information, including his parents’ signatures and the name of the hospital where he was born, but it was unnecessary to show his legitimacy.

So it will not quiet the most avid attackers. Several quickly questioned its authenticity. That’s because the birther question was never really about citizenship; it was simply a proxy for those who never accepted the president’s legitimacy, for a toxic mix of reasons involving ideology, deep political anger and, most insidious of all, race. It was originally promulgated by fringe figures of the radical right, but mainstream Republican leaders allowed it to simmer to satisfy those who are inflamed by Mr. Obama’s presence in the White House.

Sarah Palin said the birth certificate issue was “fair game,” and the public was “rightfully” making it an issue. The House speaker, John Boehner, grudgingly said in February that he would take Mr. Obama “at his word” that he was a citizen, a suggestion that the proof was insufficient. He said, however, that it was not his job to end the nonsensical attacks. “The American people have the right to think what they want to think,” he said at the time. That signal was clearly received. Lawmakers in nearly a dozen states introduced bills requiring presidential candidates to release their full birth certificates.

It is inconceivable that this campaign to portray Mr. Obama as the insidious “other” would have been conducted against a white president.

There was a price to the party for keeping the issue alive; inevitably, it was picked up by a cartoon candidate, Donald Trump, who rode birtherism directly to the prime-time promontories of cable TV. The Republican establishment began to wince as it became increasingly tied to Mr. Trump’s flirtations with racial provocation, and Karl Rove told him to knock it off. Naturally, he did not.

Finally, his taunting and the questions of television correspondents obliging Mr. Trump got on the president’s nerves. Mr. Obama was tactically smart to release the certificate and marginalize those who continue to keep the matter alive. It is tragic that American politics is fueled by such poisonous fire. Mr. Trump quickly moved on to a new fixation, questioning Mr. Obama’s academic credentials. Mr. Boehner, and other party leaders, have a new reason to call a halt to the politics of paranoia and intolerance.

‘Proud of Obama’, we hug you.

As we were celebrating President Obama’s speech yesterday, one regular and loveable voice was missing. Proud Of Obama, a member of our family from the beginning, has lost her husband, who unexpectedly passed away.

Be strong, dear lady. You are in our thoughts and prayers, and we’ll be here when you’re strong enough to come back.

I think I need a cigarette (Updated with video)

Did you guys see this performance? Did you see this amazing bastard clean the floor with just about everyone out there?! IMO, this was one of his best speeches as president. It was marvelous and brought me to tears more than once. I’m still a little shaky.



Jonathan Bernstein:

Liberals have wanted a full-throated affirmation of why government is a good thing? Obama delivered, with perhaps his strongest case for a liberal vision of government that he’s given so far during his presidency.

Liberals wanted some strong pushback against the substance of Paul Ryan’s budget? That’s what Obama delivered, describing what will soon be the House GOP budget as a tradeoff between health care on the one hand (for seniors, the disabled, the poor) and tax cuts for the wealthy on the other.

Liberals like to think of themselves as the grown-ups of the budget debate? Obama gave both a budget history lesson and some facts about the composition of the budget that positioned himself — and liberals — as serious, compared to those who talk about waste, abuse, and foreign aid.

And then, liberals are paranoid highly suspicious that any changes at all in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security put those programs on a slippery slope to, basically, full repeal? Obama challenged them to, basically, knock it off, and buy into the idea that reform doesn’t mean weakening those programs.

That’s what I heard.


Steve Benen:

As heartening as it was to hear President Obama’s full-throated condemnation of the House Republican budget plan — he didn’t pull any punches — what made his remarks this afternoon especially satisfying was his defense of the progressive vision.

The point of the remarks was primarily to advance two goals: explain why Paul Ryan’s radical proposal must be rejected and present a “balanced” alternative towards long-term deficit reduction.

But along the way, the president made a point of reminding his audience that government, the institutions of the modern welfare state, and the modern social compact are worthy of a spirited defense. Indeed, to hear Obama tell it, the progressive vision is the American vision.


The “sellout of the left” this wasn’t. What we saw today was an unapologetic defense of a progressive vision of government, cased in terms that were equal parts moral and pragmatic. America doesn’t hear it often enough, and Obama delivered it with passion and conviction today.


John Cole:

Not sure if you are watching, but all the chicken little shit about Obama going after Medicare and Medicaid seems to have been, well, a little premature (which now means the usual suspects will spend the next few days furiously congratulating themselves that their outcry on blogs is what changed Obama’s mind). Obama is also simply taking it to the Ryan plan, pointing out what a joke it is. He can barely suppress a laugh as he repeatedly points out how unserious it actually is.




Substance: Much better than many of us feared. Hardly any Bowles-Simpson — yay!

The actual plan relies on some discretionary spending cuts, this time including defense — good, although I think too much is being cut from domestic spending. It relies on letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire — finally! — plus unspecified reductions in tax expenditures.


Overall, way better than the rumors and trial balloons. I can live with this. And whatever the pundits may say, it was much, much more serious than the Ryan “plan”.


Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are

Thank you, overseasgranny, for sharing this beautiful, beautiful story about that well-known “evil”, Rahm Emanuel:

When Kathleen Owens began her job last December as a social worker at the Longwood campus of the Chicago International Charter School on West 95th Street, the first child she laid eyes upon was DeJuan Brown.

“I was being given a tour of the school, and there was a little boy sitting by the library, eyes like to cry, a disoriented look on his face,” remembers Owens. “I said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ He said, ‘I hate school.’ ”Owens asked who the boy was.“The lady giving me the tour said, ‘Oh believe me, you’ll get to know this kid,’” says Owens. “ ‘You’ll see him every day, because he’s a lot of trouble here. He’s not motivated, very defiant and always getting kicked out.’ ”Owens instructed the boy to find a smile and bring it to her office the next morning.

There, the University of Chicago graduate and the seventh-grader talked — he told her he is interested in government, and Owens told him she was a volunteer at Rahm Emanuel’s Hyde Park campaign office.“He said, ‘Honestly? Are you for real? Do you know Rahm Emanuel is going to make my neighborhood safer?’ ” says Owens. “He literally ran off Rahm’s platform for me. I was completely floored. He knew more about Rahm’s platform than I did.”DeJuan had heard Emanuel’s campaign promises on TV commercials.

“He would be on TV,” says the 13-year-old. “He would talk about how he was going to change the city of Chicago.”Owens asked if he wanted to visit the local campaign office that Saturday.“He was like, ‘Oh, my God, yes, yes!’” Owens says. “I told him to meet me there at 9:30. He was there at 9 o’clock.”

“He’s a skinny guy, quiet — really quiet at first, that’s what caught Rahm’s eye,” recalls Tarrah Cooper, Emanuel’s press secretary. “We were getting ready to canvass the troops, and here was this young African-American kid, but there were no other kids with him. We asked him what he was doing there, and he said, ‘Well, my teacher brought me. I like politics. I want to help.’ ”

“When Rahm walked in, DeJuan was very shy,” says Owens.“I was kinda nervous,” says the teen. “I didn’t know what to say at first. He asked me my name, and I said, ‘DeJuan Brown.’ He asked me if I wanted to go canvassing, trying to get some votes.”“Rahm said, ‘If it’s OK, do you want to knock on doors with us?’ ” says Cooper. “DeJuan really lit up.” It was a cold, snowy day, and they began ringing doorbells in the neighborhood.

“Mostly Rahm said nothing,” says Owens. “This kid rattled off his platform. Rahm stood back, amazed.”Ever since, Emanuel occasionally phones DeJuan, or his mother, or the school.

“Rahm checks on him, sees how his homework is going,” says Cooper.“I was working on a group project with my students a couple of weeks ago. The class phone rang and on the other end was the mayor-elect,” says Cedderick Hunter, a history teacher at Longwood. “Needless to say, it was quite a surprise for me.”

When DeJuan asked Emanuel to visit his school, he did so. On Election Night, DeJuan attended the victory celebration.“As soon as Mayor-elect Emanuel hit the stage, he spotted DeJuan,” remembers Hunter. “[He was] hugging him as if he were his own child.”

“Rahm has remained in contact — I really admire him for that,” says Owens. “Rahm has not let go of this kid, this really has given this kid motivation to go on.”

He helped him tremendously,’’ agrees DeJuan’s mother, Michelle Covington. “Fast-forward to April,” says Owens. “DeJuan has not had one suspension, his grades have gone up, he’s a student leader, he loves school, he’s excited. Everyone walks around the building amazed at how he has turned this kid around, a complete 100 percent transformation.”

“My son is dyslexic,” says Covington. “Rahm motivated him to overcome his obstacles. The stars are the limit.”On Friday, DeJuan got another call from the mayor-elect. “He says, ‘DeJuan, how you doing?’ ” says the teen. “I said, ‘I’m doing fine.’


“They want me to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.”At the May 16 mayoral inauguration? “Yes.”

Anything else?

“He said I could come by the office.”

What advice will he give the mayor?

“Just to stay motivated — like the advice he gave me,’’ says DeJuan Brown. “Do good in school, get good grades, do a good job — that’s the same he could do. Do good at what he’s good at, so people will like him. That’s what he’s doing.”