Tag Archives: Barack Obama

About time

Barack Obama was in Detroit today and he’s finally bringing the fight on union-busting legislation.

Not a second too soon.

Barack Obama was also in Michigan to announce new investments by Daimler here in Michigan.

And in case you weren’t looking, just when you thought this lame-duck session was jam-packed enough, both chambers voted to approve measures restricting abortion coverage on health insurance plans, leaving the decision up to the employer as to whether or not they want “elective” abortions covered (i.e. abortions not covering the mother’s life).

 

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Filed under Michigan is burning

Picture this

To better understand what’s going on in the Gaza Strip, I wanted to find some point of reference to help myself understand the size of the area that’s being targeted by the Israeli military.

I live in a pretty small state, so I wanted to see how the Gaza Strip matched up size-wise with Delaware.

Even though we’re the second smallest state in the U.S., it’s no where close. We’re still nearly 18 times larger than the Gaza Strip geographically speaking.

OK, so I thought maybe New Castle County would be somewhat comparable to the size of Gaza since our county is by far the smallest in our tiny state.

Nope. New Castle is still about three times larger than Gaza.

My next guess was nearly spot on, though.

Philadelphia, the fifth largest city in the United States, has about the same land area as Gaza: 369 square kilometers to Gaza’s 365.

Now imagine hitting over 1300 targets with one of the most powerful militaries in the world in the city of Philadelphia.

Yeah, neither can I.

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Filed under Palestine - Israel

Soul Searching with Steve Schmidt

Steve Schmidt and David Plouffe visited the University of Delaware tonight as part of UD’s National Agenda Speaker Series. Steve Schmidt is one of my favorite Republicans and I’ll tell you why: Based off what he said tonight, he could have been the author of a post I wrote after the election calling for the Republican party to step up.

I’m not just saying that to flatter myself. I may no longer be a Republican, but I grew up as one and I still have a lot of friends and family who are red as blood. Moreover, as an American, I take it as a manner of national honor that we should have a political discourse that is fitting for our great country – and sadly that’s been missing from the GOP over the last few years.

There are good signs, though, that the GOP is waking up. While there is still some convincing to do, I think there are at least signs showing that this long winter of unwillingness to work together could be about to break. I have to give Michael Steele a lot of credit for being a class act over on MSNBC the other day as well as he talked about the need for a broadening of the Republican party, the GOP needs to “get outside of its comfort zone.”

I’m glad to hear a Republican finally say what so many of us have been thinking for the last four years: Republican leaders need to stand up to the Rush Limbaughs of the world and take their party back from people who may have some influence with the far right, but will never appeal to the rest of us. This “conservative entertainment complex”, as Schmidt terms it, is one of the greatest obstacles to our country moving forward – and by forward I don’t just mean that in the sense that we should advance Obama’s policies over the next four years and keep supporting Democrats, but in a much more general sense that we should move forward by relearning the art of compromise, remembering that we are “more than a collection of red states and blue states” but instead the United States. We should be able to agree on some things, like helping veterans as they return to civilian life or extending tax cuts for people who make less than $250k/year.

I noticed tonight, here in little blue wonder Delaware, that the biggest applause lines were all Steve Schmidt’s and almost all for bipartisan sentiments. There was applause for ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest, sure, but not as much applause as there was when Schmidt calle for civility, for a new Republican party to retool and “soul search” (as I think was the most overused phrase of the night).

A Republican in Delaware got by far the most applause tonight in a room full of people that helped reelect Barack Obama and couldn’t be prouder of their own Vice-President.

The Republican party just suffered a huge loss, but every loss is an opportunity to retool and to bounce back.

If you can get applause in Delaware, surely you can win an election.

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Filed under Election 2012, Post-politics, US Politics

 

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Filed under Election 2012

SNL does Christie

Gotta love it.

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Lessons learned – or not

A certain temptation exists to draw parallels between Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy and there is definitely some justice to this: A hurricane hits a major population center and after an initial sigh of relief, the light of day reveals just how much carnage has been left in the storm’s wake.

But on other levels, the storms are very different. Katrina hit in 2005, a year after George W. Bush had been reelected to a second term in office. Sandy hit less than two weeks before a presidential election. You think Bush would have been so slow to react if his hide had been on the line?

Secondly, although Washington D.C. is the home to the White House and loads of other government buildings, everyone knows that New York City is America’s first city; it functions in the same iconic way Paris does for France or London for the U.K. A submerged New York sends somewhat the same message to the world that Nazi flags did when they flew over Paris and Hitler was bombing London. Okay, of course that’s a pretty far-flung analogy (and I hate WW2 analogies anyways), but you get the idea: to the rest of the world it’s a giant SOS sign.

Now I don’t want to suggest either that George Bush would have done a good job with the aftermath of Katrina if he had been facing reelection or that Barack Obama would be doing a poor job if he were faced with a situation in another less affluent part of the country.

But in my mind, I can’t help but think that this moment has very little to do with the lessons learned from Katrina but rather it has considerably more to do with the timing and location.

Have we learned anything from Katrina? Well, I hope so. I don’t think we’ll know the answer until some time from now, possibly weeks or months or maybe even more than a year from now. I can’t remember who said this in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (probably more than one person, I imagine), but that was a moment for us as Americans to reconsider the situation of the poor in our country, it was a moment for us to decide what sort of country we wanted to be. Did we feel comfortable as a country with abandoning the poor in the face of a natural disaster? If you don’t remember the horror of the days following the Hurricane, might I recommend a quick Google search for Hurricane Katrina Superdome. Better yet, Google search images.

I credit the events of Katrina with forcing me to finally abandon my hold on a political philosophy that I was already keeping at arm’s length. I was still a Republican, but more concerned with the environment than big business, and more worried about justifying our intervention in Iraq than the “strategic advantages” there were to being in the region or the oil resources we could now access.

While I was sitting in my classroom with a bunch of other privileged white kids in the Midwest, we saw a black woman on CNN crying, distraught at “raper men” in the Superdome. My classmates and my government teacher laughed. It was one of those moments that look insignificant on the surface, but seven years later, it’s still ingrained in my mind, it’s still forming me.

And so now as I wonder if we’ve learned our lessons, if we’ve taken a good hard look at ourselves as a nation I realize that what we’re seeing unfold in New York and New Jersey has remarkably little to do with what happened in Louisiana and Mississippi back in 2005.

My heart and hopes go to all of those affected by Sandy in solidarity – in solidarity with those in New Orleans, as well – and everyone in Detroit, Philadelphia, and all those other corners where you might not recognize the street corner for the United States or any other western country.

Note: For an informative and succinct overview of the days following Katrina, I would highly recommend this account from a photographer present at the Convention Center and the Superdome.

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Filed under Post-politics

A little perspective

It’s good to remember your place in the world. Injustice anywhere is inextricably linked to injustice at home, it is a threat to justice everywhere.

I feel privileged to fight against injustice with a relative amount of security in the United States. Cases of violence against gay men and lesbians occur – and occur with all too great a frequency – but there is little organized threat against us in most corners of the United States.

Not so in many other corners of the world. And hell, it’s not even “corners” of the world, but great swathes.

Just one news story. One out of so many others. The people of Lebanon, the people of Iraq, the people of Uganda, the people of X country, Y country, Z country.

We need more leaders like Hillary Clinton. A major reason why I am supporting Barack Obama’s re-election is because of the courage his administration has in spotlighting the need for equality. Mitt Romney’s promise if he gets elected to office? He won’t deport us or criminalize homosexuality.

If this becomes the U.S. policy – quiet tolerance at best – what does that mean for the rest of the world? Would Romney’s Secretary of State deliver speeches to the UN about the need for leaders to be out front, leading their respective countries on the question of LGBT rights? What would Romney’s election mean not only for us as the LGBT community in the United States but for our fellow LGBT siblings across the globe? Our progress is linked. We don’t make advances in isolation of one another and Romney’s election would be an inevitable setback for all of us.

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Filed under Election 2012, Injustice anywhere