Sunday, April 26, 2009

Secretary Hillary Clinton on Reproductive Health

I am fortunate enough to have never had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. I can only get an inkling of understanding of what women go through when reading stories such as this and this. However, I have always been strongly pro-choice, knowing that reproductive rights are fundamental to women's rights.

It is despicable the way Republican administrations have forced their religious views not only on this country but on the rest of the world with policies such as the global gag rule, which restricts federal funding for groups that include any information on abortion around the globe. President Obama has already lifted this rule. And now, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked by a pro-life congressman if the Obama administration's definition of reproductive health includes abortion. You can see her impassioned and direct response here:

Friday, April 24, 2009


As I wrote earlier, I don't buy this whole argument of looking forward not backward when it comes to investigating possible criminal activity of Bush administration officials, especially when it comes to torture. Once again, Paul Krugman of the New York Times perfectly expresses my views when it comes to this issue in his op-ed piece here.

Surprisingly, Shep Smith of Fox News actually spoke some truth. Check it out here. How long is this guy going to last at Fox, I wonder? Between this and his scolding of Joe the Plumber, he is just not following the Fox script.

Watching Peggy Noonan wax eloquent about how we should just move on and keep walking is nauseating.

And as they keep saying on the Stephanie Miller radio show - all criminal investigations and prosecutions are about looking backwards -- unless it is in the movie Minority Report.

How will we be able to hold ourselves up as as shining beacon of democracy, freedom and justice if we do not hold someone accountable for this whole ugly chapter in our history? We executed people for waterboarding our soldiers after World War II. How can we say this is not torture? The argument that this practice is used to train our soldiers is so shoddy -- it is used to prepare them for possible torture -- because it is TORTURE!!! And it goes beyond waterboarding. Practices included sleep deprivation, slamming detainees against walls, psychological torture and sexual abuse. There are even reports of that old standby - cigarette burns. Read this disturbing article about a soldier who committed suicide after refusing to take part in the torture.

I really hope that President Obama has a plan and is going to allow the Justice Department to investigate. I understand not wanting to make it political, but we cannot let politics stand in the way of justice.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Random Thoughts - From Pirates to Teabaggers

So much going on and so little time to blog. Here are some of my thoughts over the last week:

- Is it wrong to feel so pumped that we took out those three pirates? I had this surge of American pride. We kick ASS! I feel somewhat guilty for feeling this way as I wonder if this is what the neocons felt after bombing the shit out of Iraq. I know that it's a totally different situation. We took out three truly bad guys who were about to kill the ship's captain...but still.
- Speaking of the pirate situation, how hilarious has it been watching Republicans twisting themselves up in knots trying to figure out a way to criticize President Obama for how this perfectly resolved situation was handled?
- You must watch Stephen Colbert's parody of an anti-gay marriage commercial. My favorite part is when the teacher is hit by the gay storm.
- April 15th was Tax Day, and although I certainly wasn't happy about the check I wrote to the IRS, I really don't begrudge contributing to this great nation, including our defense, education, helping those in need, the whole thing. The teabaggers need to get a grip. It is Bush who got us into this mess necessitating the large stimulus bill and bailouts. And of course, Fox News Channel heavily publicized and pushed the event while trying to say it was a "grassroots" movement. Since when is it appropriate for a "news" channel to sponsor a protest? I just don't understand how they get away with it.

Overall, I think President Obama is doing an amazing job, and the Republicans just can't wrap their minds around being in the minority.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Jon Stewart to Fox News - Don't Confuse Tyranny with being in the Minority

Once again, it takes Jon Stewart to sum up how ridiculous the over-the-top rhetoric of Fox News commentators and the Republican Party is. They are indiscriminately tossing around terms like "tyranny" and "fascism" just to stir up fear and anger. Thank you, Jon, for speaking such common sense. Check this video out.
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Fox News Channel - Not News Anymore

What would you change the name of Fox News Channel to? Fox Rhetoric Channel? Fox Propaganda Channel? Fox Inciter Channel? I'm not sure how they can even pretend to be a news organization anymore. Read the following article from Media Matters, which details how Fox is actually now promoting protests against the government. Better yet, the page includes the contact information for Fox News Channel. We need to start making our voice heard. Contact Fox News Channel and let them know what you think of this as well as the incendiary commentary of their pundits such as Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Roger Ebert's Excellent Letter to Bill O'Reilly

You must read Roger Ebert's letter to Bill O'Reilly. It is classic. Here is a link.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Obama's Team of Behavioral Economists

I read a fascinating article in Time magazine last night about how President Obama is incoporating behavioral economics into his policies. You can access the article here.

I had a couple of thoughts after reading the article. First was I wished that I had heard of behavioral economics when I was studying economics in college. I always thought that the field skewed towards the conservative. An example is how supply and demand analysis always leas to the answer that minimum wage laws should never be enacted. However, with behavioral economics, rationality does not always rule, since people do not always behave rationally. The prime example given in the article is a study that showed a huge difference in participation in 401(K) plans when people have to actively sign up for it vs. if they are automatically enrolled and have to actively opt out. Inertia rules in this instance.

Obama has a team of experts in this area who are helping shape his policies to actually try to change our behaviors. Some may think of this as "Big Brother" or too paternalistic, but if it is influencing us in the right direction to help solve huge problems like climate change and enormous health care costs, I say go for it.

So, my second thought was that "Change" was not just a campaign slogan. President Obama's plans are way more complex and deep than I imagined. He is really shooting for long term, far-reaching change to improve this country and the world, and I am behind him all the way.

And I will be ordering "Nudge" and "Animal Spirits" soon.