Monday, May 17, 2010
Brewer scheduled the news conference to announce her first appointment to Arizona's new Joint Border Security Advisory Committee and the creation of a web site (http://www.securetheborder.org/) -- complete with a picture of Palin on the home page -- to address the state's new anti-immigration law. However, Palin viewed the news conference as an opportunity to criticize President Obama and essentially blame him for the country's long lasting struggle with illegal immigration. With this being said, during her condemnation of President Obama, she does not acknowledge the fact that Mr. Bush proposed a plan in 2004 to grant amnesty to all illegal aliens currently in the United States. Not surprisingly, Palin also avoids the fact that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), her former running mate in 2008, had previously introduced and sponsored legislation in support of amnesty. And until she does, Palin should stop stumping for conservatives currently embattled in re-election campaigns (such as Brewer) and just do her job for her supposed “fair and balanced” employer?
Rewind to earlier in the day and Beck was delivering the 2010 Commencement address to the graduates of Liberty University, the educational institution founded by Jerry Falwell. And at the ceremony, Beck actually received a honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the university. However, despite the fact that he dropped out of Yale University after only one course, Beck accepted the doctorate degree he clearly "didn't earn".
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Before we examine Cornyn's absurd remarks, let's take a close look at Kagan's current role. According to the web site for the Department of Justice, the United States is involved in approximately two-thirds of all cases on which the Supreme Court decides the merits each year. That same web states that "The task of the Office of the Solicitor General is to supervise and conduct government litigation in the United States Supreme Court...The Solicitor General determines the cases in which Supreme Court review will be sought by the government and the positions the government will take before the Court." The Solicitor General is also responsible for presenting the "oral arguments before the Supreme Court".
Other than the actual justices, the Solicitor General is considered to be among the most influential and knowledgeable members of the legal community in regards to Supreme Court litigation. Four Solicitors General have eventually served on the Supreme Court: Robert Jackson, Stanley Reed, Thurgood Marshall and William Howard Taft (who was Chief Justice and a future President of the United States). Two current members of the Supreme Court have held other positions within the Office of the Solicitor General. Chief Justice John Roberts served as the Principal Deputy Solicitor General and Justice Samuel Alito as an Assistant to the Solicitor General, both during the administration of President Ronald Reagan.
But despite all of the information included in the previous two paragraphs, Cornyn still delivered his asinine statement on Kagan's qualifications. However, Cornyn's opinions on the train wreck candidate otherwise known as Harriet Miers are completely different (even though Miers never served as a judge either). Cornyn had this to say in "The Wall Street Journal" about Miers (who withdrew herself from consideration after just twenty-four days): "The court is full of justices who served as academics and court of appeals judges before they were nominated to the bench. What the court is missing is someone who understands the consequences of its decisions on the American people." And the exact same argument that Cornyn uses to defend Miers ironically can apply to Kagan: "41 of the 109 justices who have served on the Supreme Court had no judicial experience at all when they were nominated. These include several luminaries from the school of judicial restraint, including the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist", Chief Justice John Marshall and Justice Louis Brandeis.
Monday, May 10, 2010
On her Facebook page, Palin portrayed Fiorina as a "common sense conservative" and as an individual who can be trusted "to do the right thing for America’s economy". However, it is important to note that Fiorina believes in expanding the H1-B visa program "if we want our information technology industry to be the most competitive in the world". That doesn't quite sound like a common sense conservative. Palin also praises for Fiorina for her knowledge of "how to really incentivize job creation". Palin, of course, fails to acknowledge Fiorina's comments regarding her dismissal of nearly 18,000 employees during Fiorina's tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard: "I would have done them all faster. Every person that I've asked to leave, whether it's been clear publicly or not, I would have done faster."
Palin continued on Facebook by stating Fiorina "has an understanding that is sorely lacking in [the District of Columbia]". Unfortunately that understanding does not apply to the political process. The "Los Angeles Times" reported that Fiorina has failed to vote in seventy-five percent of all California state elections since 2000, including all gubernatorial elections and presidential primaries. Her excuse? "For many years I felt disconnected from the decisions made in Washington and, to be honest, really didn't think my vote mattered because I didn't have a direct line of sight from my vote to a result." Let me get this right. Fiorina didn't think that her vote mattered despite the fact that, in 2000, she was a 46-year-old grown woman serving as the CEO of one of the largest corporations in the world? With that being said, Hewlett-Packard spent $4.7 million to lobby Congress and donated more than $390,000 to political candidates through the company's political action committee during her tenure as CEO. In addition, Fiorina and her husband have personally contributed more than $100,000 in political donations since 2000.
And since Palin commends Fiorina for her ability to lead "with distinction" and show "real leadership" as the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, let's take a closer look at how Fiorina's reign ended. The company's board of directors forced Fiorina to resign after numerous poor business decisions regarding the company, its various divisions and the acquisition of Compaq, as well as the resulting effect on stock value. Following her resignation, "InfoWorld" magazine ranked Fiorina sixth on the publication's list of "Technology's All Time Top 25 Flops", which primarily consisted of failed products and ideas. Fiorina was also included on "Conde Nast Portfolio" magazine's list of the twenty "Worst American CEOs of All Time".
In December 2007, Fiorina was selected as the Chairperson of Victory 2008, a group created by the Republican National Committee to, among other things, raise money for the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Fiorina was also named in March 2008 as an advisor to McCain's campaign on economic and business issues. During her brief stint in both roles, Fiorina consistently delivered incorrect and misleading statements regarding McCain's stance on various topics. In addition, when she appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" in April 2008, Fiorina uttered the following ridiculous comments on the recent economic crisis: "There's no question that the Iraq War is costing us a lot of money. But it's also the case that the housing crisis has nothing to do with the Iraq War. High fuel prices have nothing to do with the Iraq War, per se. And high food prices, in particular, have nothing to do with the Iraq War. It's not fair to try and make the Iraq War the cause of our current economic difficulties."
Sunday, May 9, 2010
How ironic it is that Palin speaks so negatively of internationally based oil and petroleum companies considering the fact that she has such close ties with those companies. As I mentioned in my previous posting, Palin's husband Todd was employed by British Petroleum (BP), which leased the damaged oil rig in the Gulf Coast and is headquartered in Great Britain, for approximately twenty years until his resignation in September 2009. And while President Obama previously received more than $77,000 in campaign contributions from BP, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Palin's running mate in the 2008 presidential election, has received nearly $45,000.
Palin has also targeted Venezuela and its President, Hugo Chavez, in the past, as well as the country's state owned oil companies. During an interview with Univision in October 2008, Palin stated: "We want through negotiation and sanctions if need be to put pressure on a dictator like Hugo Chavez, to let them see that they will not mess around with America the way that they want to. Hugo Chavez especially wanted to use energy sources as a weapon. Again, that brings us to how important it is for our country to get firmly on a path towards energy independence, where we create jobs here by tapping into domestic and alternative sources of energy to allow us to be less and less reliant on someone like Hugo Chavez." However, her anti-Venezuela sentiments apparently do not extend to her husband. Todd Palin's snowmobile racing team was sponsored this year by Mystik Lubricants, a division of Citgo. (Citgo is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, the national oil company of Venezuela.) Aside from serving as the "proud sponsor" of Todd's racing team, Mystik Lubricants was also the "official lubricant sponsor of the 27th Annual Iron Dog event" for the second year in a row. By doing so, the company supplied 250 cases of snowmobile oil to the competitors and 500 safety vests to the volunteers. After the race was completed, the former governor appeared in a promotional video for the Iditarod Trail Race while standing in front of a snowmobile with the logo for Mystik Lubricants.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Not surprisingly, there are multiple offensive aspects of Palin's comments on Facebook. First and foremost, while she has used the expression "drill here and drill now" in the past, she is much more closely associated with the tag line "Drill, baby, drill". (Palin uttered both phrases at last month's Southern Republican Leadership Conference: "Let's drill, baby, drill. Not stall, baby, stall. We need to give it all we've got. Drill here and drill now.") With that being said, it is extremely interesting to witness Palin avoid the casual and folksy "drill, baby, drill" when commenting on an oil spill which is affecting millions of individuals and animals.
But despite that suffering by the inhabitants (man and beast alike) of the Gulf Coast, Palin felt the need to discuss her resume during that same Facebook posting: "It is inexcusable for any oil company to not invest in preventative measures. They must be held accountable or the public will forever distrust the industry. This was the position I took as an oil and gas regulator and as Governor of Alaska." Palin also tapped into the fear apparently living inside all Republicans by stating "We need oil and, if we don’t drill for it here, we have to purchase it from countries that not only do not like America and can use energy purchases as a weapon against us but also do not have the oversight that America has". (The only thing Palin was missing from those remarks was the phrase '9/11'.")
Palin does mention on Facebook that, as Governor of Alaska, she "instituted new oversight and held British Petroleum (BP) financially accountable for poor maintenance practices". This is somewhat of a surprise considering the connection between BP and Palin's husband Todd. BP, which leased the damaged oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, employed Todd for approximately twenty years until his resignation in September 2009. What is not a shock is Palin's omission of Halliburton from her posting. In case you have been living under a rock for the last 10+ years, Halliburton, which assisted in building the oil rig, was honored by having Dick Cheney as its CEO and Chairman of the Board from 1995 to 2000.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
1. He attempted to justify the country's invasion of Iraq by lying about the existence of weapons of mass destruction and then he and his administration mismanaged and underfunded the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for the next eight years.
2. Yes, economic, environmental and other blunders permeated his presidency but did you not read example #1?
1. Offending his political opponents and supporters alike, Lincoln took a strong stance on many of the topics which defined his presidency, including secession, slavery, emancipation and Reconstruction.
2. During the Civil War, Lincoln utilized his war powers to (1) proclaim a Union blockade in order to prevent the passage of trade goods, supplies and arms to and from the Confederacy; (2) suspend the writ of habeas corpus; (3) spend money before those funds were appropriated by the United States Congress and (4) imprison as many as eighteen thousand suspected Confederate sympathizers without trial.
1. In his third annual message to Congress in 1831, Jackson proposed the elimination of the Electoral College and the establishment of a one-term presidential limit by "giving the election of President and Vice President to the people and limiting the service of the former to a single term".
2. The charter of the Second Bank of the United States was revoked by Jackson in 1832 because the organization was, among other things, serving "to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful".
3. With the signing of the Indian Removal Act in 1830, Jackson rescinded previously approved treaties with Native American tribes. The federal government's policy of Indian removal resulted in the Trail of Tears, during which thousands of Native Americans died from exposure, disease and starvation while en route to their destination of present day Oklahoma.
1. The New Deal, the large series of economic programs from Roosevelt's first term, created the foundation for our country's modern welfare state.
2. With the Supreme Court serving as the primary obstacle to Roosevelt's programs during his second term, Roosevelt proposed the Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, which would have allowed him to appoint five new justices as a "persistent infusion of new blood". However, Roosevelt's plan to "stack the court" experienced intense political opposition (including from his own party) and, as a result, was defeated.
3. After George Washington declined to run for a third presidential term in 1796, the two-term limit was simply an unwritten rule until the Twenty-Second Amendment was passed in 1947 by the Congress. At the same time, former Presidents Ulysses Grant and Theodore Roosevelt were criticized for their attempts to secure a third non-consecutive term. With that being said, in order to improve his chances for a third consecutive term, Franklin Roosevelt changed the location of the Democratic National Convention to Chicago, a city which strongly supported the sitting President. And as we all know, Roosevelt was eventually elected to four presidential terms (although he only served three months into his final term before suffering a massive cerebral hemorrhage).
By signing of the Alien and Sedition Acts during the threat of war in 1798, Adams suppressed Republican opposition by essentially prohibiting anti-government dissent and restricting freedom of speech and freedom of the press. For example, the Sedition Act (officially An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes Against the United States) specifically forbids the practice of "writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States".
The five examples above certainly provide enough evidence that President Obama is clearly not the most radical President in history of the United States. But if that wasn't enough, here are two more:
1. The seventeenth President was impeached on eleven articles outlining his "high crimes and misdemeanors", including (1) removing Edwin Stanton from his role as Secretary of War despite the Senate's order to reinstate Stanton and (2) delivering three speeches with the intent to bring "disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach" against Congress amongst the citizens of the United States.
1. Watergate. Enough said.
Friday, April 16, 2010
1. Sharron Angle (R-NV): After Angle was endorsed by the Tea Party Express during an event at the National Press Club, the former member of the Nevada Assembly introduced herself by stating "You know, I feel a little lonely today. I usually bring Smith & Wesson along."
2. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): Where do I begin with Bachmann? No seriously, WHERE DO I BEGIN? I honestly do not have enough time to detail all of the things wrong with this complete wacko so just take a look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michele_Bachmann.
3. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): In June 2009, Blackburn co-sponsored a bill which would, in response to the ridiculous claims that President Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen, require future presidential candidates to provide a copy of their original birth certificates.
4. Sen. James DeMint (R-SC): Aside from opposing all forms of abortion (including in cases of rape and incest), DeMint does not feel that same sex marriage should be legalized due to the prevalence of certain diseases among homosexuals. During his first senatorial campaign in 2004, DeMint uttered the following comments: "If a person is a practicing homosexual, they should not be teaching in our schools" and "I would have given the same answer when asked if a single woman who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend should be hired to teach my third grade children".
5. Charles DeVore (R-CA): A current member of the California State Assembly, DeVore has supported Floyd Brown, who is an unmistakable birther and the architect of the Willie Horton television advertisement from the 1988 presidential campaign.
6. Rep. Thomas McClintock (R-CA): In March 2008, McClintock was criticized by one of his opponents in the Republican primary for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax free per diem payments from the State of California during his tenure in the State Senate. Those payments of $170 per day were established to assist legislators who live far from the state capital of Sacramento. (McClintock lived in Elk Grove at the time, which is approximately fifteen miles from Sacramento. However, McClintock claimed that he lived at a family home in Thousand Oaks but this is actually where his mother resides.)
7. Rep. Walter Minnick (R-ID): Yes, a Democrat. But that is where the positives end. Minnick has voted against the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
8. Randal Paul (R-KY): An ophthalmologist and the son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Randal is "100% pro-life. I believe abortion is taking the life of an innocent human being. I believe life begins at conception and it is the duty of our government to protect this life."
9. Rep. Michael Pence (R-IN): In a statement opposing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act due to the legislation's expansion to include a victim's race, religion, disability, national origin, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation, Pence declared that "This legislation is unnecessary and bad public policy...The hate crimes bill is broad enough to encompass legitimate beliefs and protecting the rights of freedom of speech and religion must be paramount in our minds."
10. Rep. Thomas Price (R-GA): During the health care debate from last year, Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) of the Democratic Women's Caucus attempted to address the benefits that the health care bill would provide to mothers and children on the floor of Congress. Capps was only able to utter "Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous..." before Price (in the behavior similar to a two-year-old) shouted "I object! I object! I object!". When Capps started her statement again, Price bellowed "I object! I object! I object! I object!". Price then bellowed "Mr. Speaker, parliamentary inquiry. Mr. Speaker, parliamentary inquiry." before being called "out of order" by presiding chairman Rep. John Dingell (D-MI).
11. Marco Rubio (R-FL): Despite a net worth of negative $103,000, a mortgage and thousands in student loans when he was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives, approximately $600,000 in contributions were stored in two inconspicuous political committees created and controlled by Rubio. A joint investigation by the "St. Petersburg Times" and "The Miami Herald" uncovered the following improprieties (among others) from that eight-year period:
- Rubio and his wife (a former cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins and the "Treasurer" for the first committee, Floridians for Conservative Leadership) failed to disclose more than $34,000 in expenses over an eighteen-month period. Those expenses included $7,000 in travel re-imbursements to Rubio, bank fees, payments to consultants and credit card payments. In addition, re-imbursements of $5,700 to his wife were, according to Rubio, for travel expenses charged to her personal credit card.
- For that same committee, Rubio charged more than $51,000 in unidentified "travel expenses" to three different credit cards. Florida law does not require charges to be itemized but other state lawmakers detailed nearly all of their committee expenses.
- Rubio's second committee, Floridians for Conservative Leadership in Government (Notice the extremely similar name? Certainly nothing fishy there.), re-imbursed his mother-in-law's freight company for $3,500 worth of rental car services and authorized more than $10,000 in payments to teenage relatives of both Rubio and his wife. The total amount of nearly $14,000 was reported to the Internal Revenue Service as "courier fees" and was justified by Rubio regardless of the fact that none of those recipients were listed as political aides and that a non-existent was used for one of the individuals.
- If that wasn't enough, Rubio's spending habits continued when, in 2005, when the Republican Party of Florida provided an American Express credit card for him to utilize at his own discretion. While he was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives from 2007-2008, Rubio charged more than $3,700 in meals on that credit card even though he was receiving $126 on a daily basis from the state to assist in subsidizing legislators' food and lodging expenses. Rubio has already admitted he used the credit card to double bill the Republican Party of Florida and state taxpayers in 2007 for flights from South Florida to Tallahassee. And for his last year as Speaker, Rubio reported a net worth of less than $8,400 despite earning $45,000 from the State of Florida, $69,000 from Florida International University as a Visiting Distinguished Service Professor and $300,000 from Broad and Cassel as an Of Counsel attorney.
12. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS): When discussing the topic of public funding for abortions last year on the House floor, Tiahrt delivered these startling comments: "If you think of it in human terms, there is a financial incentive that would be put in place, paid for by tax dollars, that would encourage women who are single parents, living below the poverty level, to have the opportunity for a free abortion...[President Obama] grew up in those similar circumstances. If that financial incentive was in place, is it possible that his mother might have taken advantage of it?" Tiahrt's stance on the environment is just as alarming:
- The Republicans for Environmental Protection provided Tiahrt with a score of -4 on a scale of 100 on all environmental issues in 2005; his score for the entire 109th Congress was a 6 on a scale of 100.
- The same organization criticized Tiahrt "for signing a 'Dear Colleague' letter to all House Republicans urging unity in an effort to pressure House conferees to include language authorizing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge".
- The non-partisan League of Conservation Voters provided Tiahrt with the lowest possible score (0%) for 2005 and 2006; his lifetime score is 3% out of 100%. For the 109th Congress, Tiahrt cast votes designated as anti-environment on twelve out of twelve critical issues.
13. Patrick Toomey (R-PA): As a former member of the United States House of Representatives, Toomey served on the House Committee on Financial Services and co-wrote House Resolution 10. This resolution eventually resulted in the repeal of portions of the Banking Act of 1933 and, in turn, played an enormous role in the country's recent economic issues.
14. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC): "You lie!" Enough said.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
California Attorney General Jerry Brown is currently investigating the finances of the California State University, Stanislaus Foundation and the possibility that the non-profit organization violated public disclosure laws by not releasing the details of a contract with a speaker for the educational institution's 50th Anniversary Gala on June 25. This story supposedly came to light after students discovered that documents were being shredded at the campus administration building on a day when staff members were scheduled to be on leave. The foundation, which expects to raise as much as $200,000 from the $500-a-plate event, refuses to provide, among other things, the amount of the speaker's fee.
Who is the speaker, you ask? You guessed it. It is none other than Sarah Palin. While I don't care if the foundation discloses the information or not, there is certainly an interesting aspect of this situation. The contract outlines the following requirements for speaking engagements by the former Governor of Alaska (and current diva) due to her "professional endeavors and high profile":
- The donated private aircraft "MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger...for West Coast events or a Hawker 800 or larger...for East Coast events and both are subject to the speaker's approval".
- Ground transportation "will be by SUV(s)" but, if that type of vehicle is unavailable, then "black town cars may be substituted".
- Palin and her party must be provided with "accommodations of a pre-registered one bedroom suite and two single rooms in a deluxe hotel". The client may also be required to supply "a laptop computer and printer (fully stocked with paper)" prior to Palin's arrival.
- For the Q&A portion of satellite events, "the questions are to be collected from the audience in advance, pre-screened and a designated representative...shall ask questions directly of the speaker".
- To ensure that all attendees of the event are able to engage in a photo opportunity with Palin, this schedule of "45 minutes/75 clicks, 60 minutes/100 clicks and 90 minutes/125 clicks" must be followed and "a receiving line style, as opposed to a snake line" must be established. According to a detailed diagram, "guests should come from the speaker's RIGHT and depart at the speaker's LEFT. The waiting line should be kept close to the speaker's RIGHT."
- The client is permitted to "take still photographs (without flash bulbs) of the speaker for the first three minutes of the speaker's presentation".
- Palin must be provided with "a tall, wooden lectern with lip and fixed microphone, in addition to a handheld microphone...Unopened bottled still water (2 bottles) and bendable straws are to be placed in or near the wooden lectern." Prior to Palin speaking, the bottles will be opened "at an appropriate time".
Monday, April 12, 2010
Most recently, a draft proposal by McDonnell and his administration would require a non-violent felon to submit a letter before the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth will consider restoring the individual's voting rights. The letter will not only contain information on the offender's personal story and criminal case (which is already a part of the current process) but also details on the individual's contributions to society since his/her release, including subsequent employment, education and participation in church and community activities. If the applicant is unable or would prefer not to write the letter, the individual can actually contact the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth and relate his/her story. But despite this last option, Secretary Janet Polarek feels that this new proposal would actually "streamline the process". Or just maybe Polarek's wishful thinking will have something to do with the fact that, by including this extra step, certain non-violent and non-habitual felons will be discouraged from applying.
Only Kentucky and Virginia require the state's governor to restore voting rights to felons. The overwhelming majority of states automatically restore voting rights to an offender once a prison sentence has been completed, while the District of Columbia provides felons with the ability to vote upon their release from prison. And while I certainly do not feel that convicted felons should be immediately integrated into all aspects of American society, this new proposal from McDonnell is certainly reminiscent of the literacy tests administered during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. David Mills, the Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Virginia, stated that McDonnell "chose to institute an unprecedented roadblock in a commonwealth with a painful history of blocking voting rights. Given his experience last week, it’s shocking that the Governor would unnecessarily stumble on Virginia’s history yet again."
By last week's "experience", Mills was referring to McDonnell's recent proclamation that the month of April will now be recognized as Confederate History Month in the State of Virginia. The issue with the original proclamation is that McDonnell made absolutely no mention of the practice of slavery. In an apology a day later, McDonnell declared: "We cannot avoid our past; instead we must demand that it be discussed with civility and responsibility." However, McDonnell decided against discussing the topic of slavery in a civil and responsible manner by avoiding the topic in his proclamation. Aside from his apology, McDonnell issued a new proclamation which contained language specifically addressing slavery.
Not to be outdone, Attorney General Cuccinelli announced that his office will be filing a notice of appeal concerning new regulations on fuel efficiency from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA authorized new rules for new cars and trucks built between 2012-2016. Cuccinelli, in true alarmist fashion once again, uttered that the regulations were based on climate change research which was "unreliable, unverifiable and doctored".