Category Archives: America
Colbert’s Super PAC American’s for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow has raised $1.02 million. Upon disclosing the amount of money earned, Colbert was quoted as saying “How you like me now, FEC?” in a letter written to the commission. To celebrate this monumental achievement, let’s have a countdown of Colbert’s top 5 moments.
Oh yay, I was wondering when this was going to happen. Members of the Republican Party are making the behind-the-scenes moves to be candidates in the 2012 Presidential election primaries.
Lets start with everyone’s favorite philanderer, Newt Gingrich.
Ol’ Newt is making the most visible steps toward running, announcing an exploratory website at the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Iowa on Monday. Has already scored the endorsements of some high-profile governors. Has a spokesman, Rick Tyler, an advisor and an attorney as part of his staff.
Next up, Tim Pawlenty, the man who took 50 eons to certify Al Franken as a US Senator despite every indication that he had won the race outright in 2008.
Per DailyKos, Pawlenty “Phil Musser, a former adviser to Romney and former head of the Republican Governors Association; former Bush campaign officials Terry Nelson and Sara Taylor; and Alex Conant, a former RNC press secretary.” This gem, who according to PPP wouldn’t even win his home state in a primary, seems pretty geared to run.
Mitt Romney, a politician since the womb, has made huge steps toward running as well:
Romney has essentially been running for President since 2008, with a built-in staff including his former communications chief Matt Rhodes, Rich Beeson as political director, Neil Newhouse as pollster and Andrea Saul as communications director (after working as spokeswoman for Carly Fiorina’s senate bid and a staffer on McCain’s campaign. Because we all know how those two worked out.)
Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Mike Huckabee, Jon Huntsman, and (yes) Sarah Palin have all signaled some interest in running as well. No matter who runs it’s going to inevitably wind up with a lot of people calling Obama a no-good socialist communist arugula-eating hater of America. And the Antichrist. And it’ll all come down to whether the American public will be able to see through the rhetoric and vote on the issues. We will find out in just a year and a half.
As the Washington Post reported today, the National Park Service (NPS) has decided that the Solar Decathlon, an international collegiate competition to design and build solar powered houses, will no longer take place on the National Mall due to the amount of damage the event causes to the grass. Forget that hundreds of thousands of people attend the biennial event and learn how to incorporate solar energy into normal American homes. Or that it stimulates competition to develop energy efficient technologies at our country’s top engineering schools. It seems that the Solar Decathlon is the epitome of President Obama’s call for a “Sputnik moment” and that it represents everything that our country should be doing for environmental sustainability, technical innovation, and economic expansion.
But we all know how we want future generations to remember us: the people that saved the grass on the National Mall.
There is no question our Commander in Chief is quite happy right now. First, of course, he’s going to Hawaii. That would make pretty much everyone elated, especially those dealing with the freezing cold up here in Michigan. The biggie, however, is the massive amount of legislative victories and ability to reach across the aisle to those difficult-to-compromise-with Republicans over the past few weeks. Normally, the lame duck session, or the session following a Congressional election but preceding the formation of a new Congress, is quite uneventful. Rachel Maddow said on her 92Y special last night on MSNBC that pundits were expecting perhaps “a few post offices to be renamed.” But this could not be further from the truth, as we have seen this White House finally come out and fight hard for common-sense policy items that are heavily favored by the American people. Let’s go down the list, shall we?
New START Treaty ratified by the Senate. A treaty requires 67 votes to be ratified, or made law, in the US Senate. The New START treaty was one of the items on the lame duck agenda that Washington heavily pushed. All six living Republican secretaries of state supported it, as did the joint chiefs of staff, and Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Still, however, Republican leaders in the Senate headed by Jon Kyl, minority whip, asked for more time and more funding for “infrastructure”. In the end, this was pushed to a vote and made it in just three days before Christmas, ratified 71-26. Now, we don’t have to worry about a Second Cold War breaking out and all of humanity perishing as we know it. Yay!
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repealed. A major progressive victory no matter how you look at it, the House and Senate passed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and its full implementation across the board will only take a matter of months, according to Obama himself. Better late than never, as we were the second to last NATO country to allow homosexuals in, but no matter what all of Obama’s critics on the left have to admit this was a fantastic legislative accomplishment.
Food Safety Act passed. Anyone who has read Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation knows how loose FDA regulations are. This bill will help make America’s food safer across the board by imposing stricter regulations.
The 9/11 First Responder Health Care Bill passed (unanimously!) Despite Tea Party Republicans’ best attempts to stifle a bill giving health care to those who bravely risked their lives on September the 11th, a scathing indictment over the past week by Jon Stewart and others prompted the Senate into action. The bill passed without objection.
Pell Grants, Unemployed benefits Extended. The tax cut compromise proposed by Obama two weeks ago was roundly criticized by liberals, but within it were some golden nuggets that will really help those who need the help most- students and the unemployed. Pell Grants will continue to be funded at the current amount, and God knows for me that’s essentially the only way I can attend U of M. Also, for millions of Americans who are unemployed and were worried the Congress would play politics with their benefits, they can enjoy a nice meal for Christmas and rest a bit easier. Paul Krugman, one of the leading economists in the world, points to unemployment benefits as the best economic stimulus, as the impoverished need to spend the money on goods to keep going- stimulating business, ushering in new jobs, all that good stuff.
Sure, some post offices were probably renamed too, but you’d be hard pressed to find a time in Congressional history since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt where this much has been accomplished. The tax cut compromise allowed a temporary extension of tax cuts for the wealthy, and in exchange all this has been accomplished in a matter of days. According to a CNN poll released on December 22, voters approve of Obama’s handling of the lame duck session 56-41, while voters disapprove of Republicans’ handling 53-42. Similarly, on the issue of compromise, the tax cut decision went well with voters as 59-37 percent believe Obama has done enough to reach across the aisle, whereas 68% thought Republicans weren’t doing enough in return. This poll highlights what happens when Obama fights for the extremely popular policies that he championed when running for office. Now, for the next few days, Obama can rest easy, eat lots of food, and participate in those wonderful Hawaiian luaus and know that he has really proven himself as the leader of this nation. Merry Christmas to my fellow Dems, Happy Kwanzaa if you are so inclined, and Happy New Year. Huzzah.
“Our consensus is that we go out there listening to the American people. It’s about jobs, it’s about reducing the deficit and it’s about fighting for the middle class. I look forward to doing that with this great leadership team.”
As some of you may or may not have seen, Mitch Rivard from MSU Dems posted this on his Facebook earlier and I wanted to repost it:
After watching the video go to this website to sign a petition to end discrimination against gay marriage.
The health safety system in this country has officially died. After a year full of salmonella and carcinogens in baby shampoo, you wouldn’t think it could get much worse.Â
Until the CDC announced that they found the rocket fuel chemical perchlorate in baby formula.Â
And the amount that they found in the formula? It exceeded what the CDC has deemed as a “safe” limit for adults.Â
Perchlorate can affect the thyroid, which plays a large role in infant brain development. However, scientists are unsure how big the effect the chemical will have on infants. Apparently, the government requires iodine to be put in all baby formulas; iodine can negate the effects of the perchlorate.
Regardless of the iodine requirement, you would think a company would know to not put a rocket fuel chemical into baby formula. Additionally, parents cannot find out what formulas are safe to give to their children because the CDC did not release the names of the companies that used this chemical. The blatant denial of information is disgusting.
So, let’s hope the CDC actually does something. In the meantime, be enraged.
Today is April 2nd, which officially marks the second day of Primary Immune Deficiency Diseases Awareness Month. PIDDs are a class of genetic disorders that cause some part of the immune system to not function correctly. The diseases are life-threatening but can be treated through regular doses of antibiotics or more expensive treatments derived from blood plasma, depending on the severity of the disorder.Â
I am one of approximately 250,000 Americans diagnosed with one of the 100 known primary immune deficiency diseases. My specific disorder is Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID), a condition which causes me to produce low levels of antibodies and therefore I cannot build immunity to infections. CVID is one of the most common disorders, but there are less common disorders that affect 1/1,000,000 people, or even less. There are up to another 250,000 people living undiagnosed, although estimates vary.Â
One of the larger issues is the fact that up to half of people living with PIDDs are undiagnosed. This comes mostly from a lack of knowledge of the diseases among primary care doctors, although some refuse to run the blood test to diagnose. Refusal to run the test is ridiculous because it is one of the cheapest blood tests available. To address the fact of undiagnosed patients, I thought I would provide the ten warning signs of Primary Immune Deficiency Disease, taken from the Jeffrey Modell Foundation website:
“The US embargo on Cuba is a 50-year failure, and lifting the ban on travel is a good first step toward a more rational policy.” -Myron Brilliant, US Chamber of Commerce
I have always wanted to travel to Cuba. A few years ago my Aunt, Uncle and cousins took advantage of a program that allowed them to vacation there, open only for a short period of time. It was an incredible vacation, they said there was always music playing in the streets, the people were friendly and quaint and the country has not become over run by tourists. It’s a strange paradox, when I travel I am usually disgusted by the presence of other tourists and find them to be quite obnoxious. Thus for that reason, Cuba really attracts me. I also love Cuban food. La ropa vieja y platanos son deliciosos. However Americans are currently only permitted to travel to Cuba under very specific circumstances. If you are going for an academic conference, studying there for at least 3 months…. there are a couple other but none of them fall under the “leisure and interest” category. Since 1962 we have had a trade embargo with Cuba, at which time travel restrictions were also enforced that have prevented us to travel there. Recently there have been changes to allow Cuban Americans more opportunities to travel there with the purpose of visiting family but as I am not Â Cuban those changes haven’t helped me.
However, yesterday senators Byron Dorgan (South Dakota-D) and Mike Enzi (Wyoming-R) introduced a bill that would allow Americans to travel to Cuba for leisure, appropriately called the “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act”. 20 other senators are co-sponsoring the bill and Â the house has 121 cosponsors. Hopefully we’ll see some change!