• comment on a post On Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Act over 4 years ago

    ...Rand Paul, winner of the Kentucky Republican Senate Primary.

    In an interview last night, Paul told Maddow that he agrees with most parts of the Civil Rights Act, except for one (Title II), that made it a crime for private businesses to discriminate against customers on the basis of race. Paul explained that had he been in office during debate of bill, he would have tried to change the legislation. He said that it stifled first amendment rights.

    Rachel pushed for specifics:


    <blockquote><em>Maddow:... How about desegregating lunch counters?

        Paul: Well what it gets into then is if you decide that restaurants are publicly owned and not privately owned, then do you say that you should have the right to bring your gun into a restaurant even though the owner of the restaurant says 'well no, we don't want to have guns in here' the bar says 'we don't want to have guns in here because people might drink and start fighting and shoot each-other.' Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his restaurant? These are important philosophical debates but not a very practical discussion...

        Maddow: Well, it was pretty practical to the people who had the life nearly beaten out of them trying to desegregate Walgreen's lunch counters despite these esoteric debates about what it means about ownership. This is not a hypothetical Dr. Paul.</em></blockquote>

    Oh Boy... this is going to make Kentucky a real fight. Paul faces Democratic Senate candidate and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway in the general election to replace Republican Sen. Jim Bunning on November 2, 2010...

    Here's a big chunk of the Maddow show if you think you haven't heard enough:




  • comment on a post MyDD Civic Literacy Test over 4 years ago

    C-Span has been running the videos from the Tea Party Convention in Nashville all night, and I started watching when I got up in the morning... and, believe me, this is scary stuff. I especially was taken by one Joseph Farah, who is the Founder, CEO and Editor In Chief of WorldNetDaily.

    This is scathing stuff about the country's move to Socialism over 90 or so years, the Marxist description of President Obama, and the focus on changing our underlying culture with its non-political organizations away from the socialist-leaning entities that, he says, they have become.

    It is particularly frightening to me because Theatre is one of the areas (Entertainment Industry) that Farah fingers and encourages his followers to overcome.

    He ties everything together with ACORN (which he seems to think is an openly Obama-operated organization) and uses that connection to attack the poor, the immigrant population, etc., with the notion of "turning make believe crises into real crises... and why?... to take away our freedom and the American Way of life.

    Is it dangerous to have this stuff up on TV... even at 6 in the morning? You bet it is. But, if like me, you believe in free speech, which I don't think Farah does, you have to let this crap go on. If you want to accept his notion that Obama is using Government to replace God for Americans (and here I will go beyond my own non-religion base), then you will see that he is calling for an Above The Government control of the population.

    If you see, as he does, that our elected leaders are a judgment on us and that we have to find tea-party-related leaders to elect, then you are already removed from freedom.

    Time to actively work against these monsters.

    <a href="http://underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com">Under The LobsterScope</a>

  • comment on a post MLK Day open thread over 4 years ago

    Every Vote Matters. You can either ignore the decades of work by Ted Kennedy to get Health Care for all Americans, you can ignore the two terms of George W. Bush and the six years of Republican led Congress that brought us to the dismal near-Depression that the Obama Administration has been busting a tail to get us away from, you can fall for the cries of the wealthy and the Corporations that taxes are coming (for them... not 95% of you)... or you can buy into the lies that have been told by Scotty Brown to suck up to the Teabaggers.

    If you are a woman who needs womens health coverage, if you are unemployed and know it was the Republicans and the Banks and operations like AIG that got us there, if you are a Union member who forgets that the number of Union members in the USA is half of what it was when we started all this Conservative crap under Reagan and continued it right through George W. Bush... Then you better be ready to Vote For Coakley.

    If you don't get out there and do it, we weaken the Senate that we need to make America strong for ALL of us again.

    <a href="http://underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com">Under The LobsterScope</a>

  • comment on a post Dear Mr. President: over 4 years ago

    Sorry to disappoint you, Ludwig. I'm a Connecticut boy who spent other parts of his life in Chicago, NYC and Cape Cod. I've been a Shepherdstown resident for a little under 2 years now... attracted here by the Contemporary American Theater Festival, which is distinctly multiracial and the pride of our community.

    Hope I haven't disappoimted you.

  • Make sure you let your Senators and Reps know what you think and that we want the Public Option.

    Under The LobsterScope

  • My Senator, Jay Rockefeller, who is also on Baucus' Finance Committee, just met with Obama and told him he can't support the Baucus Bill without the Public Option. I just sent him an e-mail asking him to stay in there.

    Under The LobsterScope

  • comment on a post Open thread and Moon landing memories over 5 years ago

    40 Years after a truly huge achievement and we are ... where?

    Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the landing on the Moon in 1967. Neil Armstrong ("One small step for a man... one giant leap for mankind") ad Buzz Aldrin planted the flag and put out a plaque marking the landing which, in under a decade, had been the result of spending $183 Billion Bucks and upping the confrontation with the Russians, who had achieved the original advance in space by putting up Sputnik and sending two different cosmonauts on full orbits around the Earth.

    I was a Junior in college and I know I was impressed. Jack Kennedy, who kicked off the program wasn't alive to see the results he had called for carried out by NASA. Lyndon Johnson, who pushed the budget through, was no longer in office. And Dick Nixon, who was never really a supporter of the space program, but who saw its publicity value, got to congratulate the two moonwalkers by phone as they stood looking at our planet in space.

    The reason why the moon oriented space program got the push it did was the Cold War. To let the USSR get ahead of us scientifically, in a way that could have military consequences, was not going to be tolerated.  When the military threat of the USSR was gone... when the USSR itself was gone... there was no reason to put that kind of thrust into our rockets. Reagan wanted to put our military budget relating to space into missiles pointed back at our enemies from satellites. George H.W. Bush was concerned with Saddam Hussein's actions, but there was no Iraqi space program to compete with. Clinton saw the public relations advantages of doing a minimal amount of activities with a space station and George W. Bush, well, he barely saw that,

    Originally, NASA had planned to have us on Mars by 1987. People, that is. In the 21st Century we have managed to get a couple of crawling robot TV cameras on Mars, and a very old space shuttle is still flying on missions that do very little. And we are bored with it all.

    That's right... bored. We rarely know when a shuttle goes up any more (unless it blows up in space... dead people are always news wherever they are) and we don't really seem to care. It is not as important as unemployment or health care or the recession. They talk about getting folks back on the moon by 2020... but you can bet that such a program, without some kind of real, philosophical need by Americans is unlikely to make the deadline. Or, if the Iranians gave up on nuclear power and focused their attention on a Muslim moon base, perhaps we would have a need to beat the date. That's how we're programmed.

    The 19th Century and early 20th once had a philosophical and artistic need to get us to the moon. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells created literary works. Filmmakers from the silents to the sci-fi directors of the 1950s got us to the moon frequently (and rarely with rocket ships.) Science Fiction magazines in the 1920s made Hugo Gernsbach a rich publisher and getting us to the moon was an established need. So many youngsters in my generation grew up wanting to be involved that science programs in colleges grew faster than arts programs and that all helped us get to the 1967 landing.

    And now here we are, 40 years later, watching a 72-year-old Buzz Aldrin on TV being interviewed about a future that has become the past. We are not pushing for it any more... and that is too bad.

    Under The LobsterScope

  • comment on a post Connecting the Dots to Donald Rumsfeld over 5 years ago

    It looks like torture was used to get false confessions which connected Al Qaida with Iraq.

    In a McClatchy article:

    A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under "pressure" to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

    "While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq," Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. "The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results."

    We know now that connections between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaida did not exist.

    McClatchy continues:

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney and others who advocated the use of sleep deprivation, isolation and stress positions and waterboarding, which simulates drowning, insist that they were legal.

    A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that intelligence agencies and interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.

    And more information is coming out from other sources.

    According to the NY Times there was no investigation into the past use of torture techniques:

    According to several former top officials involved in the discussions seven years ago, they did not know that the military training program, called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, had been created decades earlier to give American pilots and soldiers a sample of the torture methods used by Communists in the Korean War, methods that had wrung false confessions from Americans.

    Even George J. Tenet, the C.I.A. director who insisted that the agency had thoroughly researched its proposal and pressed it on other officials, did not examine the history of the most shocking method, the near-drowning technique known as waterboarding.

    Perhaps, if this had been looked into, we would have known that waterboarding leads to false confessions.

    Under The LobsterScope

  • comment on a post To Change the Middle East, Invest in Education over 5 years ago

    I'm watching a live broadcast on MSNBC where the State Department employees welcome her to their ranks in the lobby of the main State Dept. building in DC. It's a big crowd and the all seem to be overwhelmingly excited and happy to get her on board as Secretary of State.

    Undersecretary Burns announced her officially to speak. Hillary is the 67th SofS. Her speech to the employees, mostly Civil Servants who have been through several administrations, was positive and  struck a pretty high note. In her comments:

    Diplomacy and development are essential tools in securing the future of the United States...

    In my testimony I spoke a lot about 'smart power' and you are the smart people responsible for that smart power...

    This is going to be a challenging time.

    This looks like a good start.

    Under The LobsterScope

  • comment on a post Declaring Victory Open Thread over 5 years ago

    Waiting to see what Sore Loser Coleman does in Minnesota

    It is interesting that, in November, Norm Coleman was suggesting that Al Franken concede graciously when it looked like the Republican had a very small lead. Now, as we can see, the now certified loser won't take his own advice and is going to take the results to court in the face of Franken's 225 point lead.

    Governor Pawlenty (a Republican) and Secretary of State Ritchie (a Democrat) haven't yet signed the Certification as pronounced yesterday by the state Canvassing Board, so the Senate minority led by Mitch McConnell is putting up opposition to seating Franken, which means he won't be sworn in today. While no problem is anticipated with Ritchie's signature, Pawlenty may hold until Coleman takes this to the US Supreme Court. This could go on for months and get very expensive.

    In the long run, this will make Coleman, who, with his staff, was locked out of the Senate offices that he held by the Rules Committee (his term officially ends Saturday), look even worse. Why the Minnesota Republican Party wants the state to spend this amount of money for what is likely to be embarrassing results, is a mystery.

    Under The LobsterScope

  • comment on a post Obama Unveils His National Security Team over 5 years ago

    Obama has now presented his security team, a racially-mixed, politically-mixed, gender-mixed team that seems to be very comfortable together.

    Obama talked about his strategic view:

    To succeed, we must pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy; our intelligence and law enforcement; our economy and the power of our moral example. The team that we have assembled here today is uniquely suited to do just that.

    In their past service and plans for the future, these men and women represent all of those elements of American power, and the very best of the American example. They have served in uniform and as diplomats; they have worked as legislators, law enforcement officials, and executives. They share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America's role as a leader in the world.

    That's it, he ties them together.

    Now, my hope is that quite soon after January 20th, he will gather this same group together and officially revoke the "Bush Doctrine" of attack before we are attacked. I can see why he didn't do it today...Bush is still in charge. But if we are going to get the world behind us again, the Bush Doctrine has to go.

    Under The LobsterScope

  • comment on a post A Secret Ballot Awaits Lieberman over 5 years ago

    Holy Joe is likely to get his comeuppance here... at least one would hope so. This is one of the lowest forms of life in the Senate and he deserves to lose his Chairmanships at the very least.

    Under The LobsterScope

  • comment on a post Election Hangover Open Thread over 5 years ago

    With 70 days left to go, is anyone watching Bush?

    George W. Bush has done so much to damage this country, it is a relief to have Obama elected.

    But 70 days is a long time... and Bush could still make the mess he created worse. What could he do with the military, say, by creating a shakeup with Iran? Or how could he make the financial crisis be worse?

    And Cheney... Cheney is still in place and he worries me more than Bush, primarily because we NEVER see what he is doing.

    One thing the blogs will do is stay as much on top of Bush as possible.

    I hope.

    Under The LobsterScope

  • comment on a post Colin Powell: 1996 and 2008 over 5 years ago

    Anybody catch Fareed Zakaria  on CNN today?

    Fareed Zakaria endorsed Obama at the end of his Sunday international news discussion show. I was surprised! I didn't think Television news celebrities did that. I certainly wouldn't expect Wolf Blitzer to openly endorse anyone.

    Maybe I'm wrong.
    Under The LobsterScope

  • comment on a post McCain Went There over 5 years ago

    I live in West Virginia. Fortunately my town, Shepherdstown, is relatively progressive, due to the presence of the Shepherd University Community and a large quantity of artists and theatre people (we are the home of the Contemporary American Theater Festival every year, drawing thousands from around the country each year for a month of new plays).

    West Virginia, however, despite having a Democratic Governor and two Democratic Senators, scores very red in the Presidential Polls (50% McCain to 44% Obama in the current Rasmussen reading), due, I think, to our really close to poverty populace... at best lower-middle-class... and all the conservative fears that go with it.

    I work in Hagerstown, Maryland, about 14 miles away, in that Democratic state's heaviest Republican area - Washington County. As I cross the bridge over the Potomac each day to head from WV to MD, I go through Sharpsburg through endless displays of McCain/Palin signs. There are 2 or 3 very small towns I go through as well, often stopping for coffee at small establishments on the way.

    I hear a lot of talk.

    Listening to call-in shows on the car radio, I'm hearing endless local comments that Obama was brought up as a muslim, that he favors Al Qu'ida, that he has the most liberal voting record in the Senate (in reality, he is seventh in line of others who are much more liberal), that he votes against the troops, that he pals around with William Ayers - a terrorist!, that he is involved with criminals, the mafia, Tony Rezco, etc. etc.

    These are not people who read my blog, I know. Nor do they watch television other than Fox, apparently. They cannot be spoken to (I've tried on several frustrating occasions - but backing up truth with proof is utterly meaningless.)

    And, underneath, there is certainly a racial element affecting all of the arguments. This scares me the most, not because I am of a minority race, I'm not, but because of where such feelings can lead in the future. The recent Sean Hannity show, with anti-Jewish statements which were thrown back in Sean's face by Obama's Communications Director, Robert Gibbs, is a case in point. If we use racial reasons for backing or attacking candidates, why not use religious or cultural reasons? Why not cop America up into separate components that can't work together, can't appreciate each other and, finally, can't live in peace with each other?

    My wife is a secular Jew, my son is, therefore, half Jewish. I am an atheist... does this mean I can't get along with the tremendous volume of born-again Christians who are waiting here in WV for the Second Coming?

    What people say, devoid of reason, can indeed make one crazy... it keeps me awake at night, thinking about the voices on the radio and the people yelling "Kill Him" and "Terrorist" and "Traitor" at Sarah Palin rallies. It makes me crazy to hear the things both Palin and McCain say at these rallies, or in interviews with the seemingly anti-semitic Sean Hannity, yet cannot say directly into Obama's or Biden's faces at their televised debates. Such cowardice is something to be afraid of, since cowards are folks who shoot in the back, as I recall from growing up with western movies and folk songs (like "That dirty little coward/who shot Mr.Howard/ and laid poor Jesse in his grave".)

    With 26 days to go, I'm expecting it to get much, much worse.

    Under The LobsterScope


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