Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Shining Moment For Nashville

My hometown grew up a lot last night, and I couldn't be more proud.

After weeks of intense debate, Nashville's City Council voted to pass not just one, but two non-discrimination ordinances that grant equal protection for Metro employees regardless of "sexual orientation" or "gender identity." The original bill, first sponsored by Council Lady Megan Barry, passed a required third and final reading last night, 24-15, effectively making the bill law. More than 50 area organizations, including churches, neighborhoods and labor unions, publicly supported the ordinance.

Other Council members, led by Sam Coleman, offered an alternative bill, claiming that broader protections for "non-merit" factors such as political party affiliation were also needed. Ironically, the bill's language, which was supposed to extend broader protections, omitted "gender identity." That bill too ultimately passed, but not before Councilman Erik Cole's amendment to include gender identity was added.

Much to the chagrin of Coleman and his supporters, the alternative bill - bearing their names - now includes the very words they explicitly (and passionately) opposed to begin with. The fate of Coleman's bill is now in the hands of the City Council as it moves to the final legislative stage. One foreseeable scenario is the argument that Coleman's bill is now unnecessary, given that the Barry bill has already accomplished the ultimate objective.

More from Nashville news sources

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Set Your TiVos!

It's only Tuesday and everyone is already talking about this Sunday's morning talk shows. That's because the president is set to give back-to-back to back-to-back interviews. In what is being called a first, President Obama will appear on five talk shows. New York Times blogger, Adam Nagourney, writes:
It’s a reminder of just how much Mr. Obama is out there. As of his seven-month in office mark in August, he had done 114 interviews, compared to 37 by former President George W. Bush and 41 by former president Bill Clinton at a similar point in their administrations, according to Martha Joynt Kumar, a political science professor at Towson University in Maryland.
Of the five networks that were chosen (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN & Univision), Fox News isn't one of them. The Washington Post's story, which refers to Obama's marathon as a "modified verion of the 'Full Ginsburg,' also notes the Fox diss.
In making the rounds -- appearing on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and Univision back-to-back -- Obama will do a modified version of "the Full Ginsburg," as such a sweep was dubbed after Monica Lewinsky's lawyer, William H. Ginsburg, became the first person to do five broadcast shows it in 1998.

It is rare for a president to appear on a single Sunday show, let alone multiple ones. (The original "Full Ginsburg" included Fox News, which was cut out of the loop this time and replaced with the Spanish language Univision).

Arkansas Senate 2010: Poll Shows Mixed Numbers For Lincoln

Widely considered to be a vulnerable incumbent going into next year's mid-term election, Blanche Lincoln is facing a serious scenario with regard to her favorability rating. According to a new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, nearly half of the 600 likely voters polled said they had an unfavorable impression of Lincoln.

The poll shows Lincoln beating the two strongest Republicans by 7-8%. While that may seem like good news, it's important to note that at least 75% percent of the respondents had "no opinion" of the named Republican challengers, suggesting that Lincoln's lead is soft and likely a product of name recognition.

It's not going to be easy for southern Democrats in 2010. Nobody knows this better than Lincoln, which may explain her recent change of heart about the public option, calling it "another entitlement program [that] we can’t afford as a nation right now."

While some of her Democratic colleagues may frown over these remarks, her newly found opposition to the public option (alongside Republicans) may be the best medicine for her ailing poll numbers. One could argue that her recent comments have already helped. A PPP poll that was released prior to Lincoln's statement showed her statistically even with Republicans. That poll too, however, revealed strong displeasure by voters, with just 36% showing approval for her job as a senator.

Notably, another Research 2000 poll from yesterday, found that 55% of voters in Arkansas support a public option, while just 38% oppose.

With more than a year to go before Election Day 2010, Republicans have plenty of time to make their candidate(s) known. For now, it appears that Lincoln's name recognition alone is enough to give her an edge. But that cannot last. Looking ahead, we will be listening to Lincoln's message to voters - not only about healthcare during this legislative session but also on other issues like energy (cap and trade) which is bound to come up next year.

Video: Your Last Chance

Robert Reich makes the case for a public option. Make your voices heard today!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Massachusetts Senate 2010: Card Not Running

It was only a few days ago that Andy Card, former Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, said that his chances of running for Senate were "better than 50 percent." What a difference a day can make.

In a CNN phone interview last night, Card revealed his final decision, saying, "I had done my due diligence and decided it was probably not in my best interest to run. I'm disappointed but not unhappy."

Friday, September 11, 2009

2005 Flashback: Glen Beck Hates 9/11 Victims

Before tomorrow's BIG party for the certifiably insane, we must remind everyone of one attendee and his comments about 9/11 victims back in 2005. He doesn't hate all of them, just 10 of them.
"You know, it took me about a year to start hating the 9/11 victims’ families. It took me about a year. Um, and I had such compassion for them and I really, you know, I wanted to help them, and I was behind — let’s give them money, let’s get them started, and all of this stuff. And I really didn’t — all the 3,000 victims’ families, I don’t hate all of them, I hate about, probably about ten of them. But when I see 9/11 victim family, you know, on television, or whatever, I’m just like, ‘Oh, shut up.’ I’m so sick of them. Because they’re always complaining. And we did our best for them. And again, it’s only about ten." -- Glen Beck, September 9, 2005
And they say liberals sound angry.

Video: Calling Out Another Fox Lie

Here's Hannity accusing the president of saying that insurance executives are bad people. Of course, anyone who watched the speech knows that President Obama actually said, "Insurance executives don't do this because they're bad people. They do it because it's profitable."


North Carolina Senate 2010: Burr Approval at 38%

Here's a race that we'll be following closely in the coming months. North Carolina hasn't been so warm and friendly to Republicans lately, tossing out Elizabeth Dole last year and replacing her with Democrat, Kay Hagan. North Carolina also went blue in last year's election for the first time since 1976 and elected the state's first ever female governor, Beverly Perdue

Now, it's Richard Burr's turn. For many months, Burr's approval numbers have been in the basement. A new poll by PPP shows Burr's approval rate at just 38%, ten points lower than Dole's prior to election day in 2008. Despite his poor ratings though, he still bests any Democratic challenger so far by at least seven points. That could easily change however with the emergence of a strong candidate.

Democrats in North Carolina also have time on their side and the real possibility that Democrats, on a national level, will get their groove back. We're very optimistic about the prospect of healthcare passing this year and anxious to see the first polls in places like North Carolina to see whether the new reform helps or hurts Democratic Senate candidates.

CONNECTICUT SENATE 2010: Poll shows Dodd Down 10

Chris Dodd's numbers seem to be getting worse, not better. That's according to a new Rasmussen Poll out today that which shows potential Republican challenger, Rob Simmons up 10 points on Dodd (49-39). The poll also found that 59% of North Carolina voters have an unfavorable impression of the Senator.

The only good news in this poll for Dodd is that he's essentially tied with the other Republican candidates who might be running.

As a result of this poll and others, we're moving this race from tossup to leans Republican.

HR 3200 and Undocumented Residents

First, for the record, these words are found on page 143, lines 3-7 of HR 3200.
Nothing in this subtitle shall allow Federal payments
for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are
not lawfully present in the United States.
Second, someone should remind Republicans that non-residents have been receiving emergency treatment, as required by law, for many years. The Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act, signed into law in 1986 by President Reagan, requires, as it should, Medicare-participating hospitals to provide emergency medical services for all patients who seek care, regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status." (42 U.S.C 1395dd)

Undocumented residents will continue to receive emergency care, whether HR 3200 passes or not. There doesn't need to be a provision for emergency services for nonresidents because there are provisions in other laws, such as EMTALA.

All of this makes me wonder. What are GOP leaders thinking when it comes to Hispanic Americans? Do they really think they're not paying attention? Have they forgotten the electoral significance of the Hispanic American voting block?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Don't Mess With Nancy

How many times did you rewind and play the 'you lie' moment because you enjoyed watching speaker Pelosi's reaction so much?

Mike Powell at The Gaggle has a story about that stare and lists the top 5 people on Pelosi's poop list after last night's speech. Here's the intro.

Joe (YOU LIE!!!!) Wilson may be getting all of the attention in Washington today, but who will ever forget that death glare that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot Wilson moments after he unleashed his id on President Obama? Talk about withering—no wonder Wilson looked so shaky when he went before reporters this morning. This is why we enjoy watching Pelosi so much whenever Obama gives a big speech before congress. She hovers over his shoulder in that big brown chair, trying to smile and act cheery. Sometimes Pop-Up Pelosi’s outbursts of enthusiasm seem truly genuine. But when someone annoys her, even just a little bit, she can’t hide it. After all, we’re talking about a lady who likes to run a tight ship and those who cross her … well, she lets them have it. Last night was no exception: sitting over Obama’s left shoulder, Pelosi bounced between moments of smiling and seething. And while Republicans were her primary annoyance, she shot some fairly telling looks to Democrats, too. Who officially made Pelosi’s S--t List last night? Where do we begin?

Best Healthcare System In The World!

Not even close to the best. Hat tip to Bob Cesca for this new story about Blue Cross Blue Shield's generous bonus givings to their corporate executives.
Of the $418 million in Blue Cross Blue Shield's administrative expenses over the past five years, a state audit found "millions and millions of dollars in excessive expenses."

The audit also found that Blue Cross Blue Shield funded nearly $15 million in employee bonuses that were almost assured regardless of performance, a $3.5 million investment in a hotel in Fargo and sales reward trips to resorts totaling $1.2 million.

In one case, the audit found that $34,814 was spent for a party for a retiring vice president.

Video: 'You Lie' Carl Cameron!

Here's Carl Cameron at the Counter-Revolutionary Media. Is this poor journalism or just Fox News telling big fat lies again? You decide!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Video: Another Family Values Republican Caught On Tape

Unaware that the mic in front of him is live, state lawmaker, Michael Duvall (R), from California openly brags about two women he slept with. Sex scandals are becoming something of a once a week occurrence for the Republican Party these days.

You gotta watch this.

Deja Vu All Over Again

There was a moment back in 2008 when we became a little frustrated at the lack of red meat in Barack Obama's campaign. While Republicans relentlessly ridiculed Obama and labeled him an Unpatriotic-Muslim-Socialist, it seemed as if the young candidate wasn't willing to get in the mud and fight. The liberal media was obsessed with Bill Ayers, ACORN, Jeremiah Wright, Joe the Plummer Handyman and the McCain/Palin accusation that Obama would rather lose the war in Iraq than lose the election.

McCain gained several points on then-candidate Obama in key states while Obama's campaign remained above the fray. All of us were screaming, "Fight back!" And then, to the cheers of 69 million Americans who voted for him, Obama finally took the gloves off and reminded everyone that McCain and Bush were the same (and that McCain owned nine homes, all of which were perfect spots for the Republican drill baby drill for oil plan).

Seems like years ago...

And here we are again in 2009. It was like dejavu all over again last month, watching the same uncivil, uncooth specimens spew their unholy venom at healthcare rallies. Nazi signs, cries of socialism and out-and-out racism. The perpetual loop of these images must have boosted ratings for cable news networks given the non-stop coverage we were forced to endure.

Now, once again, it appears that Republicans have got all the mileage they can possibly get out of their lies. Despite their best efforts to kill healthcare during the August recess, President Obama and progressive Democrats are still moving forward, and they're closer now than ever to true insurance reform. Another positive sign can be found in President Obama's approval numbers. They appear to have bottomed out somewhere around the low to mid-fifties, numbers similar to what he earned last November - along with 365 electoral votes. We shouldn't forget the electoral significance of 52.8% of the popular vote.

Here's what we can soon expect: President Obama will sign a healthcare bill this fall, at which point Democrats' national poll numbers will get an immediate boost. The new reform will be regarded as the greatest change since Social Security, and most importantly, 47 million Americans will have a greater hope in obtaining affordable health insurance - public option or not. Republicans will be the biggest losers, yet again. A majority of Americans will remember the sincere attempt by the Democrats to pass a bipartisan bill, only to be opposed almost all Republicans, most of whom offer no real solution.

With August behind us, President Obama seems ready to take the gloves off once again - just in time. The August smoke has cleared, and he's still standing. This AFL-CIO speech from Labor Day leaves little doubt that the president is as optimistic as ever about delivering CHANGE. From the looks of things, Fall 2009 may just turn out to be just as sweet as Fall 2008.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Video: Real People Denied Real Healthcare

"This healthcare problem is a product of greed."

President Obama's Weekly Video Address

Making it easier to save money in America.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Liberals Were Right

Bob Cesca makes the case.

The left was never this crazy during the Bush years. And, in fact, we were amost always right.

1) Liberals were right about Bush being incompetent.
2) Liberals were right about WMD.
3) Liberals were right about torture authorizations.
4) Liberals were right about Dick Cheney's executive power grab.
5) Liberals were right about the economy.
And on and on...

The wingnuts are claiming that President Obama was born in Kenya, they're claiming that his presidency is a communist plot, they're claiming that he wants to kill old and disabled people including Downs babies, and they're claiming that a 30 percent increase in the Dow means there's an "Obama Depression." None of this is right, nor will it ever be.

Video Ad: Sinead's Hand

This ad should run in the other 45 states that do not recognize same-sex marriage.

Gallup Daily: Obama Up 5 Points

Here's some good news as everyone gets ready to clock-out and go home this weekend.

Gallup's three day rolling average has the president's approval number going up this week to 55%.

Click image to enlarge

'Brakes Of Civil Discourse Are Not Working'

These words from Joe Klein yesterday stopped me in my tracks.
"Could I just say that the intensity of this is getting pretty scary...and dangerous? We are heading toward a cliff and the usual brakes of civil discourse are not working. Indeed, the Republicans have the pedal to the metal... I'm usually not one to panic or be overly worried about the state of our country -- even when we do awful things like invade Iraq and torture people, we usually right our course before long -- but I have a sinking feeling about where we're headed now."
God help us.

Health Insurance For the 'Well, Well-Off and Well-Connected'

I attended a healthcare rally earlier this evening in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. About 400 enthusiastic people came out to voice their support for reform at the Allen Chapel AME church.

One by one, Middle Tennesseans bravely took the stage and shared with the audience their heartbreaking testimonies. One man who contracted shingles last year told a story about how the infection spread to his eye. Fortunately, a doctor gave him a free 30-day prescription for contacts. Unfortunately, he had to wear them for seven months because he couldn't afford the monthly cost for a new pair.

Another sad story came from a tearful girl who still has a lump in her arm that has gone unexamined and untreated for months. The insurance coverage that would normally subsidize the care she needs far exceeds her budget as a working college student. Every one of these Tennesseans are employed, most of them full-time, but still unable to afford the insurance premiums available to them.

To the point. Despite the narrative that right-wing squabblers have been telling over the last month, many Americans who are uninsured do have full-time jobs, just like those who spoke at tonight's rally.

There were no Republican protesters screaming in anger, "Get a job! Buy your own insurance!" although they have been quite effective in controlling the message war on several fronts, including this one: Uninsured = Unemployed.

Look at the chart below from the Kaiser Family Foundation. There's a clear correlation between those working Americans whose incomes are near the federal poverty level and others whose incomes are much higher. If you're a young American attending college who's been dropped from a COBRA plan, there's a strong chance you are uninsured because you can't afford coverage. Thousands of others who've recently lost their jobs as a result of the Bush Recession may be finding work as servers, bartenders, bellmen and cashiers, but they still can't afford the sky-high premiums offered by their employers.

The conclusion? As one supporter this evening said, "You can afford insurance in this country if you are well, well off and well-connected." Here's proof.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lunch With My City Councilman

Thanks to Jeff Woods at the Nashville Scene who's been covering the Nashville City Council and their progress toward passing a non-discrimination ordinance that protects "sexual orientation" and "gender identity." Supporters of ORDINANCE NO. BL2009-502 are poised to soon see this bill become law.

Included in Woods' latest write-up is part of a discussion that I had with my own city Councilman, Duane Dominy regarding the bill.
Then there's Antioch council member Duane Dominy, who represents District 28. One of his constituents, Bill Newsome, was so outraged by a lunch meeting with the council member that he contacted the Scene. Dominy didn't return the Scene's calls seeking comment about this meeting. But according to Newsome, Dominy told him he opposed the bill because sexual orientation "could be construed in a court of law to mean bestiality and pedophilia."

"I'm sitting there and I'm thinking, 'Am I really hearing this?' " Newsome says. "I really could not believe what I was hearing. I thought, 'Here's a guy who's on the city council and he's saying this.'

"I said, 'Hang on a second. You're putting bestiality and pedophilia in the same category as this?' Our meeting ended civilly and we shook hands but, as important as this issue is to me, I probably should have cleaned his clock. I was overwhelmed with this sense of anger inside."
Here's part two of the story. Councilman Dominy also wanted to followup his "research" with me in an email. Here's the followup email he sent.
From: Duane Dominy <>
Date: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 10:14 PM
To: Bill Newsome
Subject: Today's meeting
Dear Bill,
It was a pleasure meeting with you today. I enjoyed our discussion though we remain on opposite sides of this issue. I wanted to share with you the article I mentioned concerning bestiality. I understand the concern of linking this activity with homosexuality and do not desire to do so. Which is why, I currently do not intend to bring this up during discussion of this bill on the council floor, though it will likely be discussed in committee and with our legal staff. I was mistaken as to the source of the article, as I read numerous articles that evening. The information is available at . This discusses Zoophilia, its variations and includes distinctions between it and bestiality. However, reading the forth paragraph, a thinking individual must give pause when considering the wording of the proposed bill we discussed.

FYI. I was informed tonight, that the sponsor does plan to defer the bill Thursday evening. Also, I would expect that some may attempt to defeat the bill as well. I am unsure how this may progress and ultimately play-out. You are welcome and encouraged to attend either way.

Kind regards,
Duane Dominy
101 Cherokee Place
Antioch, TN 37013
Seriously now. We have an elected official who represents a large district in a city, which just happens to be the state capital. It'd be outrageous if this were some rural town in Cullman County Alabama, but this is Nashville for god's sake. You'd think that a "thinking individual" would leave a meeting like that and say, "Woops. I probably shouldn't have talked so much about bestiality," but instead he digs a deeper hole for himself by sending me his so-called research on the subject (yes, from Reference.Com), time-stamped and dated with his name on it.

Many Nashville residents were also outraged by Councilman Hodge and his moldy comments, but at least he was telling the truth. Councilman Dominy, on the other hand, cowardly hides behind this phony notion that gays and lesbians are "under the same umbrella," as he put it that day, as sex offenders and those who practice zoophilia - whatever the hell that is.

You are an embarrassment to this city, Councilman.

It's important for citizens to know what their elected officials are saying when they're meeting with constituents. That's the only reason I initiated contact with the Scene. "Let me be clear," I said to Jeff, "I am not calling you to promote some kind of smear campaign." I stand by that.

Once upon a time, a true thinking individual said this. "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." Here's real proof that not enough people from Nashville's District 28 participated on August 2, 2007, the day this guy was elected - with just 791 votes.

Right-Wing Rabies Spreading

If you think these protesters are screaming at the top of their lungs because they oppose Obama's healthcare plan, you're wrong. They're screaming because they hate Barack Obama and because they lost.

R. Neal over at Knox Views builds a pretty strong case that right-wing rabies is spreading. Besides the fact that the Secret Service investigates on average 30 death threats on President Obama every day, we have governors joking around about shooting Obama and other idiots holding signs at rallies that say, "Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids." One pastor in Arizona even prays for the death of Obama and his family.

So much for Christ-like...

Here's more from R. Neal.
It's almost not fair to lay this at the doorstep of the Republican Party. Most of these idiots are libertarians, or apolitical from being too stupid and uninformed to form a cognitive thought on politics or policy (Republican candidates for governor of Idaho notwithstanding). But the Republican Party has tapped this boiling-over hatred to fuel resentment and distrust of anything resembling progressive reforms. They are spreading lies and misinformation like a virus, infecting a large swath of America with a bad case of right-wing foaming at the mouth rabies.

And there's a racial element. The operator of a popular white supremacist website said that 2000 new members joined the day after the election and that an overwhelming increase in activity crashed the site. Otherwise "normal" people are showing up at public protests with their hatred on full display.

Anti-Healthcare Protesters Video

There's been a lot of right-wing-nuttery video circulating the internet lately, but this one takes the gold medal. Didn't we see these same nuts doing the same thing exactly one year ago?

I'm not going to lie to you. This is going to hurt.

Alabama Senate 2010: No Competition For Shelby

INCUMBENT: Richard Shelby, Republican
  • Defeated Wayne Sowell, 68-32 in 2004.
  • Former Democrat. Switched parties in 1994
  • DOB - 03/06/1934 (will be 76 in 2010)
POTENTIAL CHALLENGERS (names being tossed around): None so far

Two words: Safe Republican.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Louisiana Senate 2010: Honore Says No For Now To Senate Run

So much for that blog. General Russel Honore told CNN, "As of this time, I'm not running for any political office," citing all the news to the contrary as just rumor and speculation.