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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Endorsing A President: Part Two

Presidential Support
Reports are in. Policy Geeks everywhere have been enjoying the daily feast for the eyes that is Election 2012.  We're even gonna miss it. A little. With the Dec. 12th end of the world deadline looming, Progressives were greatly tickled to see President Bill Clinton on the campaign trail. We've had a living breathing popular President losing his voice in what anyone would call a frenetic and forceful Endorsement tour in support of Obama's second term. When President Carter came out in support of POTUS speaking at the DNC Convention, media consultants got all giggly trying to spin that negative for conservative bloggers. Nonetheless, when it comes to Presidential Endorsements that made 2 for the Obama Team.

Funny that President Bush Senior is mum in the Endorsement department. Other than the infamous elevator Endorsement, the invisible Bush Junior has been completely out of earshot as to what he actually likes about Romney or Ryan. We can only guess that Junior is grateful that Romney gave all of his former advisers new jobs. Presidential Endorsements for Romney more like -2.

College Papers
Luckily, nobody puts media in the corner. The college papers have been aggregated and according to Huffington Post, "college newspaper endorsement editorials reveal overwhelming support for the sitting president's reelection effort. The near-universal theme of the endorsements: Obama has done a decent job amid a harsh economic climate and dispiriting partisan politics and is the better candidate to lead the country toward full-blown recovery." If you want to get geeky about it, you can read some of these endorsements yourself. From The Maneater, to The Crimson White, the collegiate choice for President is unified and crystal clear. 4 More Years for MyBO.

Newspaper Endorsements For Obama
The Anchorage Daily News, Alaska's largest newspaper, has endorsed Barack Obama. The Christian Science Monitor, endorses Obama and adds that the Akron Beacon Journal of Ohio says, “(Obama) has used the levers of government to bolster the economy, investing in education, innovation and health care, understanding the essential role of the public sector in competitiveness."

Florida's Tamp Bay Times endorses Obama and adds Romney, "cannot be trusted to stand up to social conservatives who view overturning Roe vs. Wade as a litmus test for prospective (Supreme Court) justices" North Carolina's Charlotte Observer feels Romney's proposed fiscal plans would be "going the wrong direction." while Colorado's Denver Post says, ""Obama's record of accomplishment under trying circumstances and his blueprint for a second term make him the best pick to move the nation forward."

AllHipHop came out with an Obama Endorsement complete with detailed reasons and links to sources for vetting of facts. Fabulous and shareworthy. The Washington Post calls for a second term for this historic "clear-eyed" President and his visions for the road ahead. In addition to the Los Angeles Times, papers in  New Jersey even came out in support of Obama.

Endorsements on the Conservative Side
With distractions like threatening Big Bird, binding women, and Paul Ryan's biceps being photographed for TIME Magazine...

Sorry, what were we saying? Got distracted for a moment. Anyway, the GOP Endorsements are a treat. What do you say about someone you don't like to make them seem palatable? Publications in Texas, New Hampshire and Ohio endorsed Romney with a tepid hand, your grandmother-set-you-up-on-a-blind-date kind of way.

Minority Votes
Well, Romney tried a last minute very dark spray tan which didn't do much toward getting him the Latino vote. In fact, when it comes to that demographic, Obama seems to have made hay of the day as well. Highbrow reports: "Governor Romney has been effectively swept under the proverbial rug."
La Opinion reports: "There is no clearer choice for Hispanic voters than to re-elect President Barack Obama" while La Voz del Pueblo uses its reach to print: “Being Republican is synonymous with being anti-Hispanic.” New Pittsburgh Courier jumps in with: “Obama is fighting for the middle-class…where the vast majority of Black people are.” The Washington Afro American says: “His (Obama's) healthcare reform was the signature accomplishment of his administration”

Foreign Policy
The Plain-Dealer wrote, “Obama has shown that he favors engagement over bluster, and practical solutions over easy bromides. That’s what the country needs.” The Detroit Free Press declared, “Not since the fall of the Berlin Wall have the nation’s geopolitical fortunes improved so markedly.” Even the Beirut Times has come out for Obama with Editor Mona Smith explaining they were "endorsing President Obama for his economic plan."

All in all, HuffPost reports that Obama is slightly ahead of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in swing state newspaper endorsements.

So that's the wrap up on Endorsements for now. There are plenty of complete endorsements lists, so remember, Google is your friend.

Happy Geeking.  Have a wonderful Election Day 2012.

The Policy Geek

Sunday, November 4, 2012

To Endorse A President

Optimists think they'll all come around eventually.
(ImagChef.com, 2012)

What goes into making an Endorsement for President, essentially laying your reputation, character and judgement on the line for the record?  The most fascinating chess moves of the election season happen here. The cynical will say it just takes money. It can come in many forms, some as subversive as your employer threatening your job security if you don't endorse his/her endorsement. We prefer to focus on those interesting Endorsements that appear to be made strictly based on moral convictions or after careful consideration...and money. Hey, sometimes a newspaper can endorse a Presidential candidate after something as simple as a group vote. Very democratic.

No matter how the Endorsements get made, we love every single one of them, the good, the bad, and the downright funny.

College Students Vote
Here's Alicia Keys going after the youth vote with her Endorsement:

(Alicia Keys for OFA, 2012)

30,000 strong Univ. of Wisconsin rally
(Wisc.edu, 2012)
In fact, the re-elect Obama team is going after the college crowd with full force, as mentioned on the CBS News October 4th piece on the Obama rally at University of Wisconsin Campus. "We have a strong social media presence but have also been doing things on the ground to organize on campuses," said one Obama aide at campaign headquarters in Chicago. "I think we have (even) more tools then we had last time." 

Whether at Owens Community College in Ohio, or in Denver at the University of Colorado in front of 10,000 students, you will find either President Clinton, President Obama, or Michelle Obama barnstorming and winning the younger voters to their corner, and it's a treat to watch.

While we are on the subject of Our First Lady, and in case you missed it, here is a treasured moment of Michelle Obama from this last DNC event (thank you CSPAN):

But we digress.

Celeb Endorsements
The following are some of the many Endorsements that have come in for President Obama over the course of this election cycle:

George Clooney ~ The Oscar-winning actor hosted a dinner at his home where a bevy of Hollywood high rollers paid to have a meal with the president. The event reportedly raised an estimated $15 million for Obama's re-election campaign, which would make it the most lucrative presidential fundraiser in U.S. history

Tom Hanks ~ The Oscar-winning actor endorsed Obama and backed it up by narrating a 17-minute Obama campaign film called, The Road We've Traveled. (this is a really great video worth sharing with your friends and family)

Maya Angelou ~ Sending emails on Obama's behalf, Maya wrote "I am not writing to you as a black voter, or a woman voter, or as a voter who is over 70 years old and 6 feet tall. I am writing to you as a representative of this great country — as an American," she said. "It is your job to vote. …You may be pretty or plain, heavy or thin, gay or straight, poor or rich."

Katy Perry ~ She hit the road with one free concert after another and some very original costuming in support of 4 more years of President Obama

Mary J. Blige ~ The R&B star shot a campaign ad urging voters to protect women's health issues by re-electing Obama.

Madonna ~ She recently asked concertgoers in New Orleans if they were registered to vote and then added, "I don't care who you vote for as long as you vote for Obama."

Mayor Bloomberg ~ Bloomberg clearly laid out his exact reasons for endorsing our President for a second term: Climate Change, Leadership, his stance on carbon emissions, his support of excellent accessible primary education in America, the likelihood of vacancies on the Supreme court and predictable judgement in making those subsequent choices, et al. This was a clearly throughout and plainly explained written Endorsement by this formerly uncommitted Independent Mayor. Bravo.

More American Mayors Endorsing Obama:
Alexandria, VA Mayor William D. Euille
Atlanta, GA Mayor Kasim Reed
Baltimore, MD Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Boston, MA Mayor Thomas Menino
Charlotte, NC Mayor Anthony Foxx
Chicago, IL Mayor Rahm Emanuel;
  former US Representative, and former White House Chief of Staff of Illinois
Chicago, IL Former Mayor Richard M. Daley
Denver, CO Mayor Michael Hancock
Detroit, MI Mayor of Detroit Dave Bing
Gainesville, FL Mayor Craig Lowe
Houston, TX Mayor Annise Parker
Jacksonville, FL Mayor Alvin Brown
Los Angeles, CA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Minneapolis, MN Mayor R.T. Rybak
New Haven, CT Mayor John DeStefano, Jr.
New Orleans, LA Mayor Mitch Landrieu
New York, NY Former Mayor David Dinkins
New York, NY Former Mayor Ed Koch
New York, NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker
Orlando, FL Mayor Buddy Dyer
Philadelphia, PA Mayor Michael Nutter
San Antonio, TX Mayor Julian Castro
San Francisco, CA Former Mayor Willie Brown
Tampa, FL Mayor Bob Buckhorn

Colin Powell ~ Another lovely seasoned decision to Endorse the President for a second term, "There's some very, very strong neo-conservative views that are presented by the governor that I have some trouble with," Powell said, adding, ""I'm not quite sure which Governor Romney we'd be getting with respect to foreign policy," calling Romney's foreign policy "a moving target." As for the U.S. budget, he concluded: "It's essentially, let's cut taxes and compensate for that with other things, but that compensation does not cover all the cuts intended or the expenses associated with defense."

Chris Christie ~ It is widely well known that Governor Christie went gaga over the way Obama handled the recent crisis in New Jersey. When the s#it hit the fan in the form of Hurricane Sandy, Christie told the Today Show that the President had done a "magnificent job" and his support was "outstanding".  While on Fox and Friends, Christie was asked if Romney was coming to New Jersey for a campaign stop. Christie responded, "I have no idea, nor am I the least concerned or interested. I've got a job to do in here in New Jersey that's much bigger than presidential politics and I could care less about that stuff" adding, "If you think right now I give a damn about Presidential politics, then you don’t know me” Now, Rupert Murdoch is "demanding that Christie recommit to Romney."

and lastly
Will Ferrell ~ Promises, promises. He'll do anything to get you to vote.

Counter Endorsements that also seem to help POTUS:
Meat Loaf ~ Embarrassing himself and his fans in his first presidential endorsement EVER, the painfully off key musical icon joined Romney during a rally at a football stadium in Defiance, Ohio, for a duet of "America the Beautiful". Hard to watch. Per Rolling Stone magazine, "America ain't so beautiful when she's sung about like this." Interesting side note, it turns out that Meat Loaf isn't eligible to vote this year. He never registered.

Eastwood and the chair (Mashable.com, 2012)

Clint Eastwood ~ Although he has won an Oscar, many say his worst performance to date was speaking to an "empty chair" in an attempt at comedy at the Republican National Convention in 2012. He was even heckled with, "Please say, Make My Day!" When asked later about this appearance, Eastwood replied, "They should have known better than to ask an old man to improvise about politics. I had no idea why they asked me to do it."

Donald Trump ~ Promising an "October Surprise" that would change the presidential election, Trump offered a $5 million donation to a charity of Obama's choice if he released his college and passport records. The stunt fell flat. He actually offered $5 million dollars, and no one, not even the craziest of the crazies, bothered to hack the info and take him up on his offer. Colbert took advantage of this fairly transparent extortion stunt to offer with his own financial challenge. Trump ended up extending his deadline and extra day, due to the Hurricane thing, causing Colbert to announce to the Colbert Naion that he'll do the same.

Joe Isuzu ~ Romney locks up the 1980's used car salesman vote. Thanks to Leisure and comedy producer Martin Lewis, the car salesman is back to endorse the GOP presidential candidate with some more Joe-like promises.

Joss Whedon ~ This Buffy The Vampire Slayer producer made a short endorsing Romney.

Next post ~ To Endorse A President: Newspapers

The Policy Geek

Monday, October 22, 2012

Big Bird, Binders, and Bayonettes

After the third and final debate tonight, one thing is very clear. One cannot stand for nothing, and win the position of POTUS. That is to say, Romney can not stand for everything and nothing and try to occupy the same space at the same time. Can't be done.

So quick and dirty, here are some of our favorite quotes from tonight:

Really? lol.
(Seattle Globalist, 2012)
"We're going to have to see if soulless shape-shifting has a cost." ~~ Rachel Maddow/MSNBC

"Forceful Obama bests defensive Romney in foreign policy debate." ~~ Tom Cohen/CNN

"Barack Obama wins third debate decisively; Mitt Romney passes on big chances." ~~ Lane Filler, Newsday

"The Third Debate:  Obama Wins on Style and Substance" ~~ Joe Klein, TIME Magazine

"Syria is Iran's route to the sea." ~~ Mitt Romney 10/22/2012 3rd Debate

"Obama Wins the Third Presidential Debate 52-48 over Romney" ~~ TJ Walker, Forbes Magazine.

One thing I've learned as President, "you’ve got to be clear, both to our allies and our enemies, about where you stand and what you mean." ~~ Barack Obama 10/22/2012 3rd Debate

"Obama Gains 2 Points On Intrade After The First Hour Of The Debate" ~~ Henry Blodget, Business Insider  At the same time, reports say that Romney went down by 1 point on Intrade after the debate.

(Democratic Party, 2012)
"But, Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s." ~~ Barack Obama 10/22/2012 3rd Debate

"CBS Poll: Obama Wins Third Debate By Landslide" ~~ Jordan Zakarin, Hollywood Reporter

"I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You — you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets — (laughter) — because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines." ~~ Barack Obama 10/22/2012 3rd Debate

At the time of this posting, Fox News Insider's poll of WHO WON THE THIRD DEBATE has Obama with 61.2%  and Romney at 38.8% ~~ Fox News Insider

In conclusion, no one thought Romney won the debate, many undecided have finally fallen into the Obama camp, and Romney has again left us with some really stupid sound bites.

The Policy Geek

Here's a link to the entire transcript as posted by the New York Times if you missed it: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/us/politics/transcript-of-the-third-presidential-debate-in-boca-raton-fla.html?pagewanted=all

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Please Proceed Governor...

per The Daily Kos, enjoy our President's 'Ninja Moment'..

ROMNEY: Yes, I — I...

CROWLEY: ... quickly to this please.

ROMNEY: I — I think interesting the president just said something which — which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.

OBAMA: That's what I said.

ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror.

It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you're saying?

OBAMA: Please proceed governor. (that was a ninja moment for Barack!)

ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror. (Governor proceeding to put foot in mouth....)

OBAMA: Get the transcript.

CROWLEY: It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. So let me — let me call it an act of terror...

OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?

CROWLEY: He — he did call it an act of terror.

The crowd which had been very quiet and serious up until that moment, chuckled.

The Policy Geek

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

OCCASSIONAL REPOST: We're On The Right Track

www.groundup.com (2012)
With permission from out new friends at Ground Up, reposting.
We're On The Right Track

I’ve been quiet lately about Mr. Romney and his running mate. That’s because this pair has been so awful, they stole my thunder in trash talking about them. All is not lost. We had the first debate and a marvelous jobs report and here’s my take.

The First Presidential Debate. Or, more aptly titled, “The Ghost of Reagan Past.” Is it just me or did anyone notice that Romney’s new hair cut looks just like former Pres. Ronald Reagan? Romney even mimicked some of Reagan’s body language. And he made a rather awkward attempt at Reagan-style bluster. I’ll bet the preparation Romney did was primarily focused on watching old Reagan speeches and debates, mimicking the former President as best he could.

It wasn’t good. At times, it was painful to watch because clearly, Romney was not comfortable with his new persona. He fluctuated between anger and frustration, coupled with feeble attempts of being compassionate but then rather animated and a bit jerky. It was like watching a white guy with two left feet trying to perform hip-hop at the Apollo Theater on Amateur Night. The only item missing was the long hook to remove Romney off the stage. Had he something of value to say, we would have forgiven his rather odd new look and stance. Instead, none of what he said had any substance or truth to it. He lied, over and over again.

I went to a local restaurant to watch the debate. Some of the people there were Independents and conservative Democrats. They came because they were undecided on who to vote for and felt that perhaps the debate would help them to come to a decision. It did. They were disgusted with Romney’s performance — especially what they saw as blatant lies about everything. As they left, they said, “we’re voting for Obama.”

The Jobs Report. 7.8 percent, 144,000 jobs: I have one suggestion to anyone who wants to pooh-pooh the latest jobs report. Complain to the people who found a job this time around and listen to what they have to say. Moreover, that folks are still getting jobs — not losing them — is profound encouragement; it says we’re moving in the right direction.

Just think about where we are. In just four years President Obama, despite unfathomable odds, has managed to keep us from total free fall and gain back the half the jobs we lost. We truly are in the green column. Were Romney President, he would have “let the auto industry fail” and the “housing market go bankrupt,” both of which would have benefited companies like Bain Capital. No wonder he and his supporters are doing their best to water down the American people’s positive results. This is no time to turn the country over to someone who doesn’t care about the middle class. Remember this:


Monday, October 8, 2012

The Empire Of Philip Anschutz

Let's talk for a moment about money. Capitalism. Geek style.

See Promo
Fierce Debate
Saturday night attended the well-publicized Rumble 2012 Debate between Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly. It took place on the George Washington Campus in DC. One and a half hours of pure wonk heaven. They were both amazing. Stewart and O'Reilly discussed immigration, taxes, welfare, disability, social security, socialism, The Olympics, helping the least of us, the troops, jobs bills, Congress, FDR, the deficit, housing subsidies, the GI Bill, and even quoted the bible.

Yes, of course, I thought Stewart won, but one of the best takeaways of the night was when O'Reilly said, "Capitalism is our biggest problem." Now he was making a broader point about how people love to hear outrage, so money is thrown at producing shows promoting fear and anger, ergo anger/fear mongers in all arenas get paid a pretty penny to say things they don't even believe themselves. Yes, he said that too.

Following The Money
Starting with Capitalism, and assuming Papa Bear is spot on, it would naturally follow (into the rabbit hole) that in the game of Capitalism, whoever has the most money wins. N'est pas? A search through the top donors behind Republicans this election cycle leads to Longtime Republican Party Financial Backer brother Anschutz, that is to say, the Multi-Billionaire Phillip Anschutz.

Anschutz (UPI, 2012)
Who is Philip Anschutz? Forbes says, : "[Philip bought dad's drilling company out in 1961, and moved into stocks, real estate, and railroads. A regular Monopoly player.

Tulsa World says, "The Anschutz Co., now encompasses the empire of billionaire Philip Anschutz and includes oil and gas drilling, railroads, telecom communications, entertainment, professional sports and publishing.[9/16/11 emphasis added]

Part of the Anschutz portfolio includes AEG Holdings which owns and operates, among other things, venues like The STAPLES Center (Los Angeles, CA), The O2 (London, UK), Best Buy Theater (Times Square, New York), Sprint Center, (Kansas City), O2 World (Berlin, Germany), Mercedes-Benz Arena (Shanghai, China), MasterCard Center (Beijing, China), O2 World Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany), Allphones Arena (Sydney, Australia) and the Ericsson Globe Arena (Stockholm, Sweden). Need more? Cause we could go on...and on....and on. 

In 2010 Forbes rated him the #123 wealthiest man in the world at $6B and now, in 2012, rates him #84 in the world. This guy's movin' on up. Just in case you think this was all just great luck, be it known that Anschutz was named "The Greediest Executive of 2002" in Fortune Magazine.

Anschutz (Slate, 2012)
Mr. Anschutz has donated massive amounts of money to the RNC through his companies' pockets this election cycle, and who knows how much more he has donated to the Super Pacs supporting the GOP candidates. It must hurt to wake up every day and see the percentages on all the polls showing Obama in the lead. How far will a man go to protect his investment? When you are Phillip Anschutz, that's pretty far.

Again, there's the money. Entwined in most of Anschutz's holdings is MBNA Bank. There are so many listings, one signed deal after another, on google, that they are too many to list here. The simplest example we can post is the relationship between Randy Lerner, Chairman of MBNA Corporation, and Anschutz. Together they own the MLS, domestic soccer league. Just the two of them. 

MBNA is a worldwide Bank (2012)
MBNA Worldwide
There are literally hundreds of other business connections between MBNA, Anschutz Holdings, and the GOP. In '93 Lerner joined MBNA. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Lerner to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Now Lerner (estimated worth at $1 Billion) runs MBNA. In Anschutz's ledger, MBNA financed this, supported that, helped set up this, and executives from MBNA and Anschutz Holdings have been jumping back and forth for over a decade. They both play the sports ownership game that Romney refers to when he says, he has "a lot of good friends who are owners of the NFL and Nascar teams."

Single largest campaign donor to Bush? MBNA Bank.  Single largest corporate donor to Romney this campaign? MBNA Bank.

(PoliticsUSA, 2012)
On Top Of Bullshit Mountain
Philip Anschutz also owns The Examiner franchise and dozens of other newspapers. These publications have consistently been called out for printing outright lies on issues before state legislators and Congress, only taking positions that support GOP ideals...more money in oil and all that goes with it.

Here's a great piece on how The Examiner and its franchised papers have been distorting the truth on fracking to help out the oil holdings of the parent company:http://mediamatters.org/tags/philip-anschutz.  No one can do it like Media Matters. You should always make them a stop on your daily journeys through the cloud.

Now how can we possibly wrap up this long and diverse set of facts we've been laying down into one coherent rant? According to O'Reilly, money drives our problems in the form of distortions and sometimes in the form of fear mongering:
We know it's a stretch, but bear with us.

(Civicus. 2012)
The Examiner, in addition to running articles about how Obama wants to take away every one's guns, recently spread the rumor that hollow points are being bought up by Homeland Security. Be afraid. Be very afraid. After the story broke in The Examiner, it was picked up and quoted on all the underground fearful sites, those who tend to be interested in 9/11 theories, etc. Now, it's supposedly the truth. Obama is buying up 'cop killers' just before the election. Big scary Obama is going to take us all down. Does that sound like reality to you? Or does it sound, as Stewart put it Saturday night, like more manure from bullshit mountain? 

Following the Examiner's stories, which we don't recommend anyone do, you will find a trail of misinformation designed to get Romney elected and that trail leads directly to Anschutz. It's such a shame that anyone feels they need to lie to get into office, but even more sad because this is our American system of government for sale.

Remember, an informed voter is a better voter. Do your own research!  After all, this is why Gore invented the Internet.

The Policy Geek

[Update 10/9/12: After this flurry of email activity and FB noise about the end of the world, in the last 48 hours, Romney has taken the lead in most polls across the U.S. In addition, today, The San Francisco Examiner, now under new ownership,  just endorsed Obama. In 2008 they endorsed McCain.]

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tweets From The Dark Side

As a policy wonk is apt to do, we were following some fun tweets during the first Presidential Debate of 2012 between Romney and Obama this evening. Social media creations are often lively and informative. Here's some of the flotsam and jetsam:

Boone Pickens TWEET:
is happy Romney's #1 worry is energy independence. #Debate
Geek Translation:
That means more money for oil companies like BP.

A fun Karl Rove TWEET: 
Who woulda thunk Obama would suggest Lehrer move on to another topic after Mitt pounds home tax reform? #Debate
Geek Thought:
Now there's a sound bite you can sell, Rove. Not!

Obama when discussing Medicare and Medicaid, said that 'the name lends one to think of people who are dependent, but in reality the money comes from people who have worked hard, hard all their lives, and paid into Medicare/Medicaid.'
Geek Reflection:
Lovely soft comment Mr. President, but in 90 minutes there were so many more important things the lefties would have loved for you to have hammered home.

In an effort to bring down Medicare costs, $716 Billion was saved in the costs of the Medicare program by no longer overpaying for things.  This resulted in a $600 average drop in prescription costs to seniors on their medications each year.
Geek Timeline Note:
Lots of trending comments about how Romney is interrupting and bullying Lehrer at this point.

Romney says, "I love Big Bird" as he notes he would cut PBS subsidies to address national debt.
Wonkathon Finds:
This post going viral on Facebook and Twitter...

Neal deGrasse Tyson @nealtyson TWEET:
Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room for a 500Gig hard drive.
Geek Reflection:
Said as only Neal deGrasse Tyson could phrase it.  Gotta love facts and brains.

Twitter Government TWEET and *FUN FACT Combo:
17,000 Tweets per minute for "Big Bird" and 10,000 Tweets per minute for "PBS".

Here's a video clip of that moment courtesy of ABCNews and You Tube:

Nuff said.

Moving on, Romney says that: 50% of doctors say they won't take any medicare patients.
Geek Note To Self:
We have to do a #FactCheck on that one.

 Romney proposes voucher program which eliminates the collective buying power of Federal Medicare and Medicaid as it determines costs and co-pay amounts. During his flashy vouchery-states-rights talk, Romney interrupts POTUS a few times and bullies Lehrer.  Oh yeah, and when Mitt No-Apologies Romney apologized to the President for saying "Obamacare," he also dropped a "bro" in there, as in "Ok, bro."  Seriously.

Jenny Johnson TWEETS:
Y'all stop making fun of Jim Lehrer, this is his Make-A-Wish.

Chris RockOz TWEETS:
I wish Mitt Romney could figure out how to smile without looking like he's at his mother-in-laws house for xmas dinner.
and later
Obama is waiting for the right moment to pull out Bin Laden's skull from behind the podium. Wait for it. Wait for it. 
Geek Fun Fact:
This Chris Rock "Bin Laden's Skull" #debate joke was retweeted over 7770 times & faved 1400 times in first hour, according to a tweet from Mark Silva. There is also a discussion on whether or not this is even Chris Rock's twitter account.

@Imagination TWEETS:
"As President, I will sit down on day one" -- Mitt Romney, man of leisure.

PoliticsUSA.com tells us which top 5 lies Romney drops in the first half of the debate: "Mitt Romney is telling so many lies at the first presidential debate with Barack Obama that we had to take a half time break." www.politicsusa.com

The Washington Post TWEETS:
[Romney's] math on green energy does not add up.

Andy Borowitz ‏@BorowitzReport TWEETS
Paul Ryan on Romney's performance: "I was proud of him. He said all the things I wanted to lie."

CNN's Gergem TWEETS:
Romney was "sort of flat out lying."
HuffPost Politics‏@HuffPostPolTWEETS:
No mention of #47percent remarks. Why?
Romney tonight:  "I have five boys, I know what it's like to have a lie told to me over and over hoping I believe it's the truth."

@AngryBlackLady (who we love) TWEETS:
#Debates: Ultimately, It’s Not Good News for Mitt Romney. At her site, she adds, "The media has been building up this debate as if it was going to be a game-changer. Folks expected Romney’s debate performance to be as much of a clusterfuck as his campaign is. It wasn’t. Romney stood up on two feet, with a weird grin that made him look like he was in gastrointestinal distress, and he lied. HE LIED. He exuded confidence when he did it, which, hooray!, I guess. But he lied."

Our general takeaway?  This policy geek thinks the main problem was that POTUS looked down sometimes, didn't call Romney out on bending the debate rules, and didn't call Romney out on ANY of his lies really.  We couldn't see the President's hands during the debate so  most viewers didn't realize he was taking notes to respond.  Lastly, we want sound bites.  Loud, angry, I-welcome-their-hatred type of speech regardless of what Romney says.  Romney's not debating.  His dropping propaganda nonsense and campaigning still.  POTUS should be angrily and dismissively defending his legacy of legislation, and look and sound like he's out there campaigning.  This isn't a final exam.  It's an American election, by golly!!
 Here's a video of the whole debate, so you can watch it yourselves.  Let's just hope Potus gets sharper and angrier and fights more in the next ones. Mentions the filibuster abuse, mentions the blocked legislation list (not even allowed to come to the floor for debate let alone a vote). 'Cause the main consensus on the evening is, "Wah?"

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
The Policy Geek

Monday, September 10, 2012

How To Occupy (Chapter One Continued)

Occupy Boston (Lindo, 2011)
Continued....Occupiers have shown up in almost every country on earth. People saying they are protesting in solidarity with those who protest lack of regulation and consumer protection. These Occupiers journey to find each other and then take the time necessary to find the right questions to ask, that's really the most interesting part. It seems they find it not by taking someone else's answer, or even someone else's question, but by thinking for themselves. So as a policy geek, we have to applaud any medium that so clearly carries their crafted messages. 
"This makeshift city is a vortex of creation: To think for oneself is not merely to take sides on the same old issues that come up generation after generation, it is to bring forth the issues that make a difference. Occupy is a machine of bringing forth." ~~ Normi The Chef (Donald Trump's celebrity chef who came by with amazing meals for the warriors at Occupy LA)
"How can I matter?" That question led me to this opportunity to take a stand and leads me everyday to knowing the moments on which to act, to see decisive moments in which to make things happen. Things are actually happening here." ~~ Nick At Night, Occupy Wall Street.
Occupy Baltimore (Lindo, 2011)
"Everyday thinking and questioning people can, at times, demonstrate a remarkable demand for a domain of possibility- a context - in which individual lives can make a difference. And that is empowering even to the point of restoring hope." ~~ Prentiss, Occupy Baltimore
Occupy Maui (Lindo, 2011)
There is one other question on almost all Occupiers minds. With all the doom and gloom pouring out of main stream media, (which most of these sign holders definitely say they despise) there is a 2012 End-Of-Days drama to many conversations. 'Will we survive?' People say it about their families and their businesses.  Kids say it because they worry about recent nuclear accidents. The anti-war protestors say it about drones.
"In my generation's lifetime it really feels like we are in fact destroying ourselves economically and environmentally. A more useful question is, "What if we do survive all this mess, then what?" Then you have to say,  "How can I make a difference" If you ask yourself, I'm willing to bet you do. Because you made it here. To listen and self educate is living in the presence of making a difference by simply sharing self education. When we switch from "Can I make a difference?" to "I am making a difference!" that's what Occupy is all about." ~~ Drenda Herrera, Occupy Wall Street
Occupy LA (Lindo, 2011)
In all honesty, not much makes a difference. That's the reality. So where is the difference making?  Questions are much more powerful than answers, so these Occupiers tend to spend each day devoted to knowing whether or not there is a way to ask questions that make a difference?

The kind of human being that shows up in the presence of something is different than the people who live in the vicious cycle of corporate greed. These Occupiers don't know if the answer is yes, or no. They tend to think, from our travels, that they probably don't make a difference. They are not aware that simply being who they are they make a difference. Around the heating sources, they'll say the media has no idea what's been happening at one Occupy or another, they think no one is noticing they're there. In reality, by taking a stand and honestly looking at our problems, the closer they get to the facts of the matter, the more patriotic they are. These people are shouting about what is really true for them. They aren't showing up to make a profit.
Occupy Oakland (Lindo, 2011)
Occupiers for the most part are showing up to fight for civil rights and that common human courtesy be reflected in the law. Yet they tend to feel like the process is meaningless and difficult and time consuming when you talk over walks to the closest bathrooms. They are fighting being evicted and food issues and weather issues and security issues. If they were just allowed to be the populist think tanks they strive to be, perhaps we might find new domains that we might have not seen before in our government's commitments to preconceived answers, answers that are consistently paid for by the Koch Brothers. Yeah, that's another consistent message from all the different cities. We are here as witnesses to say that there are indeed new domains that open the possibility where things show up, where the future can show up, where the things that are missing begin to show up. When you take a stand in the clearing in the place where new ideas show up, things can truly get accomplished.  So our cameras and our recorders and eyes are there.

While all this is going on, it's hard not to flash on how things are back inside the beltway. Cocktail party floating in our nation's capitol is alot like being on a train ride. Inside the train people are having a fairly good time. There's music and food and the scenery is terrific as the countryside roles by. Then somebody looks out the window and notices where the train is going, and sees that the tracks lead to a disaster, maybe a Senator or a Congressman, or maybe a pundit. Now people who pretend to represent the rest of us start to organize the train." Listen" they say, "what we all have to do is get on the left-side-of-the-train. Hurry" So everybody moves over to the left side, and maybe we all try left-side-of-the-train thinking and doing for awhile, and then someone looking out the window of the train sees where we are going and sees, OMG, there is still a disaster ahead and yells, "this isn't working, we are still headed toward disaster!" Everybody knows what to do then and they announce: "Get over on the right side of the train, quickly. Everybody!" So everybody moves over to the right side. They give each other enormous numbers of promises that getting on the proper side of the train is what is going to make a difference. But it doesn't.

Occupy Baltimore (Lindo, 2011)
People who are looking out the window of the train now can see the disaster coming. The Occupy people are using twitter and all kinds of social media to share info and stay in touch, and Americans are starting to wake up to the fact that it is totally unrealistic to think that the side you are on is going to make any difference as to where the train goes. What we want to do here, is to prevent disaster. What we have been doing, is still leading us to disaster. The drama of these Occupations playing out on a national stage gives us an opportunity to get out in front of the train and lay some new tracks. That seems to be the only realistic practical thing to do. It seems to us to be wholly unpractical to keep trying the same old worn-out ways, just exchanging them in 30 year periods, generation for generation, or exchanging them from one administration to another administration or one Party to another Party. But doing otherwise, requires us, each of us, to think for ourselves and not take sides on issues. Candidates think taking sides on an issue is thinking for yourself. No. To think for oneself is to bring forth the issues that are important. Not to take a side. We're not saying people shouldn't take sides, but in reality, taking a side has nothing to do with thinking for oneself.  And these goose-bumped issue chewers are on the front lines of this different way of bubbling up answers, here as an example to the powers that be, in the absence of their proper use of power. And it's awe inspiring.

Occupy LA (Lindo, 2011)
This window has opened in our history, to build an alternative future. A domain in which a difference can be made, the exercise of future building. With care. With acceptance. With responsibility. Consensus is about opening up possibilities. Not about being committed to anything that claims rights over inalienable citizens rights. They are willing to take a stand with no proof, just naked courage. It's been an honor to document this movement. It requires courage to go down a road with no path to follow. Anyone can walk a path once shown it. Here, the path is made by the walking. So we walk with them, and take some pictures along the way.

UPDATE  At this time, we've never been at an Occupy during a violent event.  But there are reports. And there are calls for a National General Assembly to happen in Philadelphia summer 2012...

Lisa, The Policy Geek
(Inspired by The Network Review, 1983)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How To Occupy (Chapter One)

Occupy Baltimore (Lindo, 2011)
Reports from the ground: Recent violent episodes have forced us to leak part of my upcoming book, Occupy Everything: Messages From The Movement avec slices of some of my favorite interviews these last few months. We've seen, and listened to, and videoed Occupy meet ups and conference calls from Wall Street to Maui, HI, from Los Angeles to Washington DC. We've surfed YouTube and trolled on twitter for photos and livestream updates and blogs. Having mashed that all together and run it through the old looking glass, a mosaic of the movement has started to definitely piece together. And now, in an effort to project a general understanding of the movement and its goals, we document some of our findings here including valuable links in hopes that you might find it enlightening and worth sharing. Peace.

Introduction: The Occupy Movement meet ups, wherever they've been, wherever we've seen them, and walked through, and ate with, all have similar themes and consistently the activated inhabitants (from far reaching parts of the United States) form a melody worth paying attention to. But it isn't the actual messages of the movement we are most impressed with. Those issues will change over time. It's their method that we've have found most inspiring.
(explaining the setup...) "Those committees that meet during each General Assembly, well, they have specific conversations about detailed concerns, local and national, and how best to remedy those concerns. So their mechanism of consensus has its positives and negatives, just like some of our State Legislators, but for the most part, y'all can all agree to be ruled by those rules and we Occupiers can agree to play by the rules we occupiers have created for Occupy." ~~ Jeff Stiles, Occupier Boston
These "take a stand" warriors are all sick and tired and not gonna take it anymore, and that's a concensus that's common in each city, from Oakland to Baltimore. It's in the way they arrived there. It's in what drew them out, and the jeux de vive of this movement is in the way they work towards change for the better. After bubbling up problems, they share solutions through music, art, speeches, and film.
Occupy Los Angeles (Lindo, 2011)
"What I am most impressed with, about the Occupiers, is that they all exist in this same alternative brain trust universe: Living in the Question of things, instead of being committed to a preconceived answer." ~~ Dee Lincomb, Facilitator and Occupier Wall Street
Taking A Stand is not the same as choosing sides, it would appear, or forming resolutions, or collecting evidence for one position or another. From the initial calls to meet up that were put out by Yes We Camp and others to Occupy Wall Street starting last September and following the action up until the 'Occupy' mention in the President's State of the Union this last February 2, 2012, Occupiers worldwide have shown a spotlight on issue after issue by simply standing still and talking about it. And the objects of their conversations have started to take notice.

Downtown Baltimore (Lindo, 2011)
Bank of America found out right away when it was targeted for planning to up ATM fees.The backlash from the announcement triggered the creation of Bank Transfer Day which officially took place Nov. 5, 2011. Occupiers upset by new and changing bank fees, helped push the movement as it caught fire across the country, with most of the largest national commercial banks also becoming the focus of the frustration. According to ABC News, in October 2011 alone, Credit Unions around the country gained 650,000 new customers and $4.5 billion was moved out of major banks. This action has grown since then, and is showing no sign of slowing down. When the not so invisible hands of the protesters reached into the marketplace and took out all of their money from the big bank system to move to credit unions, Bank of America, along with the other big banks who had planned to start charging the same fees, got the message and canceled their planned additional money grab. So, are they effectual? Yes.
Occupy Wall St (TedLabs, 2011)
What then makes the work of these Occupiers as powerful as it has proven to be in our national discourse? These people across the board are searching for the questions to ask so as to live a more worthwhile life. Some do it with yelling, some with art, some with dance, some with conflict resolution. That's a mouthful, but it's true. Late nights in solar powered tents have lead us to that generalization. Early mornings waking up to skid row crazies descending on the previously considered free speech zone tend to solidify the overall theme these campsites give off.
"We never thought we'd live in a country that created Free Speech 'Zones'." ~~ Police Officer Seaton, Occupy Los Angeles
Occupy Baltimore (Lindo, 2011)
These people don't have the answers. They aren't even sure exactly what's caused the problems. One universal theme amongst the fairly organized din, and there are many, is a general dislike for the current status of our two party system. According to these rather interested and inspired 99%ers, the two party system is, by its very nature, dysfunctional in American politics and from the wide spectrum of people who attend Occupy General Assemblies, the general tenants of this dislike are manifested in lots of different ways. No matter what direction they come from, they all have a problem with the entrenched two party system that dominates our political discourse and it goes a little something like this:
"Both Parties are letting us down. Republicans specifically seem to be 'of money' that has talked them into believing they are the OPPOSITION PARTY. That if there are two parties, one must be right and one must be wrong, so that the only way the Republicans can be right is IF we are wrong, if the President is wrong, if the liberals are wrong, only then can they be right. Everyone else needs to be wrong for them to be right." ~~ Joseph Sattano, Occupy Los Angeles
"This way of thinking is now a prerequisite with the way money has twisted the system. So they (the GOP) spend EVERY WAKING SECOND talking about how wrong we are. Not methodically working to solve problems at all. Unless they are the problems of those who have the money, like lowering taxes and loosening regulations, not being forced to offer health care as an employer, etc. etc" ~~ Melissa Balin, StayOccupied

"Right-left, on-off, correct-wrong, this will never work in a Working Congress. The two party system has to be rethought. In the upcoming elections, I for one will be looking for the people who are talking about this sort of thing in their stump speeches. I want a one HOPE country. My entrenched Democratic friends may disagree, and I'm sorry, but if one party thinks its number one goal is to DESTROY THE OTHER PARTY, something has gone terribly wrong. We need a win-win every day in every way. Not a win-lose system of government. I am looking for those win-win candidates." ~~ Anonymous Member, Occupy Wall Street
Occupy LA (Lindo, 2011
So each day these 21st Century warriors huddle together across thousands of miles to try and figure out where to start. They set up libraries and reading lists and numbered in the 30s in Maui, the Occupier numbers peak in cities like Los Angeles and DC in the thousands. (How To Occupy, Chapter One continued in next blog post.)

Lisa, The Policy Geek

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Who Likes Firing People?!!

(Artwithme, 2011)
No one over here and no one we personally know has ever 'liked being able to fire people who provide services to us'. More likely, if you are your basic American citizen, wealthy enough to have people provide services for you (like everybody does) you tend to grow some sort of attachment to that person. Or you know someone's mother who makes friends with her housekeepers and gardeners and dry cleaning people. That's what we do. We say howdy, and 'how ya doin?" and in most neighborhoods we try to put one foot in front of the other every day to make rent, food, clothes for the kids, nights out have become impossible, so when we see each other along the way, we say, "whazzup?" and "howz it been?"  What we really mean is, "did you get that job?" or "do you still have a job?"  And we cringe a little bit inside knowing that chances are, either way, the answer is no.

(RoyaltyFree, James, 2012)
If you've ever been fired, it usually goes like this: surprise, anger, dread, acceptance, and then dread again. It feels so horrible and dehumanizing it can knock some people into deep depression. It's realizing all of your commitments and your bills are in danger of being late. You could lose your home, have to return things you bought lately, maybe even think about selling the car.  Those are the realities that people face when they "lose" their jobs. If you are actually the person to do the firing, well, it's horrible.You have to be a little bit of a sadist to offer to be the guy to do the firing in the first place. Even though it might be true that you like crushing people's lives and destroying their livelihood, announcing that you "like firing people who provide me services" has to be the stupidest phrase ever to be recited by a potential U.S. President, since Cain quoted Pokemon.  How could anyone like firing anyone?  Especially in this depressed job search centric environment we live in today??!  Well, in case you've been under a rock, yesterday Former Governor Willard Romney, who goes by Mitt, publicly declared, on camera  "I Like Being Able To Fire People That Provide Services To Me." Don't ya just love Election 2012?

(New York Magazine, 2011)
In response, New York Magazine asks, "Who Has Mitt Romney Fired, and How Much Did He Like Doing It?"  Admittedly, shortly after taking office as governor of Massachusetts, Romney canned 21 executive-branch press secretaries. To drive the point home, most of the other candidates in the GOP field today are feathering the Ark on which Romney will be leaving us with leaflets and media explaining the candidates image problems with Bain. He had a job, he did take over companies, he did over borrow on those companies, and he did fire most of the people at those companies, and then he did let those companies go bankrupt, after he had sold off the spare parts.  

(Time Magazine, 2011)
With Bain at his back, in the center of a perfectly scripted week where he had stuck to his amber waves of grain pun over and over and over, he goes all improv and just blows it. That's right, in the middle of what should be a JOBS ONLY conversation, Romney, the sure frontrunner who has been seen at at least one event a day giving the same speech everywhere, how he LOVES IOWA or LOVES NEW HAMPSHIRE of LOVES THE PEOPLE HE'S MEETING, he adds, "I Like Being Able To Fire People That Provide Services To Me."  That was yesterday, joy of joys, for anyone wanting to hear something new from Gov. Romney; however his choice of new material couldn't be worse as he comes out with his gem that may very well signal the time his yacht starts circling the drain. Ah...Willard...we knew him well.

That's the tenor of the people. Nationally, and internationally, the people are saying that the only conversation worth having is Job Creation. One of the major messages we've heard after slothing our way through Occupy Wall St, Occupy DC, Occupy Baltimore, Occupy LA (camping literally on the steps of City Hall) and even convening with the people from Occupy Maui at a GA, is that NO LEGISLATION SHOULD PASS THROUGH THE DOORS OF CONGRESS OR MOVE FORWARD IN ANY CHAMBER WITHOUT A SINCERE JOB CREATION COMPONENT.

 (transgriot.blogspot.com, 2012)
When JOB CREATION LEGISLATION AND PROGRAMS, with all the details, is the number one real need most Americans want to see met, where are the solutions? Where are the ones with the potential solutions?

With more jobs, there's more disposable income. People can go out again, buy flowers, and candy, go to movies (Valentine's Day is right around the corner so you see where our minds are.) People can pay for their car insurance, and they can pay tolls and buy gas, and new bras, and get that haircut or buy those new tires. With more jobs, we don't have to be so fearful to just say "hi" to the neighbors who most likely have a story to tell about their kids moving back in.

CSPAN asked 'What Would You Do To Create More Jobs In The U.S.?

Well, let's hear it. What do YOU think we should do?

The Policy Geek