• Category Archives White House
  • NYTimes: U.S. Rejects Plan to Widen Availability of Morning-After Pill

    Disappointing news from the New York Times:

    In a surprise move, the nation’s health secretary stopped the Plan B morning-after pill from moving onto drugstore shelves next to the condoms, deciding Wednesday that young girls shouldn’t be able to buy it on their own.

    The Food and Drug Administration was preparing to lift a controversial age limit and make Plan B One-Step the nation’s first over-the-counter emergency contraceptive, available for purchase by people of any age without a prescription.

    But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius intervened at the eleventh hour and overruled her own experts.

    Plan B instead will remain behind the pharmacy counter, as it is sold today — available without a prescription only for those 17 and older who show an ID proving their age.

    That this comes from this sometimes-perplexing Democratic administration is one thing. That the move comes in direct opposition to the administration’s own experts baffles me.

  • If Congress (Read – The GOP) Does Not Act, Middle Class Taxes Will Rise

    It’s simple.

    If Congress — meaning the Republicans in Congress as Democrats are on board — does not support President Obama’s plan to extend and expand the payroll tax cut, middle class taxes will rise.

    Find out how much your taxes will rise here.

    I will lose over $1000.  How much will you lose?

    Watch and read President Obama’s weekly address here on this crucial issue.

  • Paul Krugman on Things to Tax

    Let me start with the end, and then you go read the entire piece: “The point I’m making here isn’t that taxes are all we need; it is that they could and should be a significant part of the solution.”

    Gotta love Krugman. From the New York Times:

    The supercommittee was a superdud — and we should be glad. Nonetheless, at some point we’ll have to rein in budget deficits. And when we do, here’s a thought: How about making increased revenue an important part of the deal?

    And I don’t just mean a return to Clinton-era tax rates. Why should 1990s taxes be considered the outer limit of revenue collection? Think about it: The long-run budget outlook has darkened, which means that some hard choices must be made. Why should those choices only involve spending cuts? Why not also push some taxes above their levels in the 1990s?

    I hope the President is listening to this man. When I met David Plouffe at a book signing a couple of years ago, I mentioned Paul Krugman. David responded, “He certainly has his opinions.”

    Yes, David, he does. But they’re informed opinions and the man has a Nobel Prize in ECONOMICS.

    Someone at the White House, someone in Congress, PLEASE! Page Paul Krugman! We need the conscience of a liberal today, not narrow ideologies!

  • Holy Sh*t: Pakistan Arrests C.I.A. Informants Who Aided Bin Laden Raid

    The lede for this one goes to the New York Times, from the caption used for the picture above:

    Instead of going after those who helped Osama bin Laden to live in this Abbottabad compound, Pakistan arrested those who assisted in the raid that killed him.

    Oh, shit.

    From the New York Times:

    Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to American officials.

    Pakistan’s detention of five C.I.A. informants, including a Pakistani Army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the weeks before the raid, is the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan. It comes at a time when the Obama administration is seeking Pakistan’s support in brokering an endgame in the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

    At a closed briefing last week, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee asked Michael J. Morell, the deputy C.I.A. director, to rate Pakistan’s cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism operations, on a scale of 1 to 10. 

    “Three,” Mr. Morell replied, according to officials familiar with the exchange.  

    The fate of the C.I.A. informants arrested in Pakistan is unclear, but American officials said that the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, raised the issue when he travelled to Islamabad last week to meet with Pakistani military and intelligence officers.

    Pakistan is no ally of the United States of America.


  • This Liberal Is Quite Pleased With President Obama

    Barack Obama

    We are not a patient people.

    Liberals, conservatives, moderates: we want our pudding, and we want it now.

    These past two years, I have been impatient, watching and waiting while my liberal dreams for the United States were postponed — or so I thought. Why did President Obama channel former President George W. Bush and simply push a liberal agenda through the United States Congress and let the conservatives be damned?

    I held back, however, and refused to play along with the liberal cacophony screaming for everything and anything to happen yesterday. They collectively screamed "I told you so!" when Democrats lost seats in Congress, losing the House of Representatives. All this screaming in spite of the fact that such losses had long been predicted, indeed, from the moment President Obama was sworn in. That was an easy call. We may be impatient, but we Americans are quite predictable.

    A wee bit more than two years into the Obama presidency, I have to say, I’m quite pleased with what the president has done.

    Health insurance reform was a start. No, it did not go far enough. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: the best reform for the health of the country would be to simply forbid health insurance companies operating on a for-profit basis. Let them insure all the widgets they want to for profit, but hands off human lives.

    Still, health insurance reform was long, long overdue. And over the past few weeks, we’ve seen some wonderful things happen. For one, "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is on its way out. Next, today saw the near ratification of the START treaty, with a vote likely this week.

    There’s more.

    What do I appreciate most about President Obama?

    His patience, a quality many of us in the media lack. From the insipid "Round Table" on ABC’s "This Week" to the endless drone of CNN, the media is so full of prognosticators who get it all wrong 99% of the time and more.

    I’ve often said this in my elected life, and I’ll say it again here, "I don’t make predictions. I just work hard to achieve results."

    President Obama is patient, looking, I’m convinced, two or three decades down the road. This is not a man likely to bark, "F— Saddam. We’re taking him out," as President Bush did in March 2002. If nothing else, the president is patient, weighing his decisions carefully because he knows — he knows — that everything he does has global repercussions.

    I don’t know that he’s doing everything right, or wrong. I still remain careful. I remain critical. I still read Paul Krugman and hope for a Keynesian revolution in Washington.

    But I like the President, even as I hope and pray for patience.

  • ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Repealed, And The President Says, “Thanks.”

    President Barack Obama

    The following was sent from President Barack Obama after the United States Senate voted to repeal the infamous "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" and allow our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to serve in our military with a clean conscience, no longer forced to hide or lie.

    President Obama fulfills yet another campaign promise.

    From the President of the United States:

    Moments ago, the Senate voted to end "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."

    When that bill reaches my desk, I will sign it, and this discriminatory law will be repealed.

    Gay and lesbian service members — brave Americans who enable our freedoms — will no longer have to hide who they are.

    The fight for civil rights, a struggle that continues, will no longer include this one.

    This victory belongs to you. Without your commitment, the promise I made as a candidate would have remained just that.

    Instead, you helped prove again that no one should underestimate this movement. Every phone call to a senator on the fence, every letter to the editor in a local paper, and every message in a congressional inbox makes it clear to those who would stand in the way of justice: We will not quit.

    This victory also belongs to Senator Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and our many allies in Congress who refused to let politics get in the way of what was right.

    Like you, they never gave up, and I want them to know how grateful we are for that commitment.

    Will you join me in thanking them by adding your name to Organizing for America’s letter?

    I will make sure these messages are delivered — you can also add a comment about what the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" means to you.

    As Commander in Chief, I fought to repeal "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" because it weakens our national security and military readiness. It violates the fundamental American principles of equality and fairness.

    But this victory is also personal.

    I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of my sexual orientation.

    But I know my story would not be possible without the sacrifice and struggle of those who came before me — many I will never meet, and can never thank.

    I know this repeal is a crucial step for civil rights, and that it strengthens our military and national security. I know it is the right thing to do.

    But the rightness of our cause does not guarantee success, and today, celebration of this historic step forward is tempered by the defeat of another — the DREAM Act. I am incredibly disappointed that a minority of senators refused to move forward on this important, commonsense reform that most Americans understand is the right thing for our country. On this issue, our work must continue.

    Today, I’m proud that we took these fights on.

    Please join me in thanking those in Congress who helped make "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" repeal possible:


    Thank you,


    I clicked and thanked Congress. Amen to that all day long.

  • Sarah Palin Burped Last Week, And CNN Was There

    Sarah Palin in a bikini

    Why does the media flock around a failed pol? I really don’t get it at all. I can see Fox News or Glenn Beck, but CNN?

    CNN has officially become the media’s official gossip station.

    Some recent news flash items from CNN. Sorry, I removed the links back to CNN. It’s not worth the trip. Really.

    Here they are:

    McCain compares Palin to Reagan

    Rove calls Palin move ‘smart’ 

    Palin delivers a gaffe-filled message

    Palin hits back at Barbara Bush

    Obama doesn’t think about Palin

    Palin kicks off book tour amid fresh speculation of a White House bid

    If Palin runs for president, should she agree to Couric interview?

    Obama doesn’t think about Palin? Oh no! Will Palin sit down with Katie Couric for another winning interview? Will she pardon a turkey?

    Years ago, when I was a child, CNN used to do news.

    I remember.

  • ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Is Now History

    This today from the United States Department of Defense:

    Openly gay men and lesbian women now can apply to join the military, Defense Department officials said today.

    The department issued guidance Oct. 15 to process paperwork for openly gay men or lesbian applicants. The instructions come from a California federal judge’s decision that the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is unconstitutional.

    On Oct. 12, U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips enjoined DOD “immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation or other proceeding that may have commenced under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Act or its implementing regulations.”

    Pentagon officials said the department will abide by the judge’s order, and that part of that compliance is allowing openly gay people to apply to join the military. But citing uncertainty over final disposition of the matter in the courts and on Capitol Hill, a DOD spokeswoman said potential applicants must be aware that the situation may change.

    “Recruiters are reminded to set the applicants’ expectations by informing them that a reversal in the court’s decision of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law/policy may occur,” Cynthia Smith said.

    Phillips said yesterday that she is leaning against granting the government’s request for a stay of her order. The Justice Department has indicated it will appeal her decision declaring the law unconstitutional to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    The Defense Department wants a deliberative, long-range look at any changes in the law, said Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates set up a working group to examine the ramifications of a possible repeal of the law that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. The group is scheduled to submit its report Dec. 1.

    “The review that is going on would look at all the far-ranging impacts of what changing the law would mean,” Lapan said.

    A long-range plan for changing the law would include a period of transition to conduct training, to ensure that everybody was informed about new policies and procedures, Lapan explained.

    “In the current environment with the stay, you don’t have the time to go through all these processes and make sure you determine what effect this has on housing, benefits, training on individuals across the board,” he said.

    The legislative remedy would allow that work to move forward, Lapan said, as the department would have “the chance to study the impacts, to get the input from the force and to make adjustments and changes before an abrupt change in the law occurs.”

    Lapan said it is too early to draw any conclusions about Phillips’ stay and what is happening in the force.

    “I would caution against conclusions made from just a few days of having a stay in place,” he said. “A repeal of the law will have far-reaching effects. Now we are sort of in a holding pattern on discharges and proceedings related to enforcing the current law.”

    Nod to ENEWSPF.

  • First Lady Michelle Obama’s Stirring Tribute to the Heroes of Flight 93

    Laura Bush and Michelle Obama

    From First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the memorial of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania:

    The men and women of Flight 93 were college students and grandparents. They were businessmen, pilots, and flight attendants. There was a writer, an antique dealer, a lawyer, an engineer.

    They came from all different backgrounds and all walks of life, and they all took a different path to that September morning.

    But in that awful moment when the facts became clear, and they were called to make an impossible choice, they all found the same resolve.

    They agreed to the same bold plan.

    They called the people they loved –- many of them giving comfort instead of seeking it, explaining they were taking action, and that everything would be okay.

    And then they rose as one, they acted as one, and together, they changed history’s course.

    And in the days that followed, when we learned about the heroes of Flight 93 and what they had done, we were proud, we were awed, we were inspired, but I don’t think any of us were really surprised, because it was clear that these 40 individuals were no strangers to service and to sacrifice. For them, putting others before themselves was nothing new because they were veterans, and coaches, and volunteers of all sorts of causes.

    There was the disability rights advocate who carried a miniature copy of the Constitution everywhere she went.

    There was the Census director who used to return to the homes she’d canvassed to drop off clothing and food for families in need.

    There was the couple who quietly used their wealth to make interest-free loans to struggling families.

    And to this day, they remind us -– not just by how they gave their lives, but by how they lived their lives -– that being a hero is not just a matter of fate, it’s a matter of choice.

    I think that Jack Grandcolas put it best –- his wife, Lauren, was one of the passengers on the flight — and he said: “They were ordinary citizens thrown into a combat situation. No one was a general or a dictator. Their first thought was to be selfless. They knew ‘There was a 98 percent chance we’re not going to make it, but let’s save others’.”

    The men and women on that plane had never met the people whose lives they would save -– yet they willingly made the sacrifice.

    Hit the link above and read her entire, very moving presentation.

  • G.O.P. Myth #1: The Unemployed Don’t Want To Work

    Who are the unemployed in America? Do they really not want to work, as the Republicans have been arguing?

    Had a bit of a chat tonight with someone on Facebook who I haven’t seen since 1981, when we graduated high school in Pittsburgh. He still lives in Pittsburgh, went to college in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is someplace special, but it’s good to gain perspective.

    I love Pittsburgh, but, for a number of reasons, I’m glad I moved years ago. Pittsburgh is still very, very segregated, racially and socio-economically. My former high school classmate is stuck in Supply-Side Voodoo Economics land, “Imagine how good our economy will be when everyone is out of work! Reduce government spending, cut taxes, encourage entrepreneurship. That’s how to create jobs. Unemployment checks…please!”

    Reduce government spending — okay, but what government spending? Cut taxes? How will we pay for everything President George W. Bush spent, especially when we’re still paying for everything President Ronald Reagan spent?

    Want to get to know the unemployed a bit? Read what they’re writing here, at Unemployed-Friends. Unemployed Friends is a busy, busy forum. These are real people out of work because Republicans trashed the economy. Pure and simple.

    And they want to work.

    The G.O.P. is wrong wrong wrong for the economy. Always have been. Always will be.