Daily archives: October 10th, 2009

Video Highlights: Penguins Top Maple Leafs 5-2

The Pittsburgh Penguins improved their record to 4-1-0 by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto tonight.

Game recap from the Associated Press:

Intent on playing a physical style, the Toronto Maple Leafs need better penalty killing to keep it from backfiring.

Undisciplined penalties resulted in three power-plays goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night – two of them by Sidney Crosby – in Toronto’s 5-2 loss to the defending Stanley Cup champions.

There was plenty wrong all-around for the Maple Leafs (0-3-1), but the porous penalty killing was one area that particularly stood out. Crosby’s goals, both set up by Evgeni Malkin, came in the second period for a 4-1 lead that erased any hopes the Leafs might have had of mounting a comeback.

"There are a lot of things we have to do better," Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. "Clearing pucks is No. 1. … I’ve never done it, but we have to somehow practice shooting the puck down the ice, because we just aren’t very good at it."

Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke and Sergei Gonchar also scored for the Penguins (4-1-0), who were coming off a grinding 5-4 win over Philadelphia on Thursday night as they continue a grueling stretch of five games in eight days. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 18 shots to remain unbeaten.

Read more here.

Let’s go Pens!


Obama Says He Will End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ But Doesn’t Say When

Giving what some are calling a “barn-burner of a speech,” President Obama told attendees at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual dinner that he would end the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for the U.S. Military.

But he didn’t say when.

From the Chicago Tribune:

President Barack Obama pledged to end the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military in a speech Saturday, but acknowledged to a cheering crowd that the policy changes he promised on the campaign trail are not coming as quickly as they expected.

“I will end ‘don’t ask-don’t tell,'” Obama said at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay civil rights advocacy group.

He did not give a timetable for the repeal of the law passed by Congress in 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton, who also promised to repeal the ban on homosexuals in the military but was blunted by opposition in the military and Congress.

“We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve the country,” Obama said. “We should be celebrating their willingness to step forward and show such courage … especially when we are fighting two wars.”

Coming from a different perspective, a Muslim Imam told me he recognized President Obama’s ability to speak, and speak well.  He said that, through his gift of rhetoric, the President can give any group the perception that their concerns are the most important thing in the world to him.

And then the President goes and does what he wants.

The jury is still out on President Obama, really.  Congress will have to act to end the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military.  Let’s see what the President accomplishes with health care reform.  With a Congress so polarized and afraid to come together to address issues in any rational manner, I’m wondering how much true reform Barack Obama will be able to accomplish at all.

He must step up his efforts to reform if he’s serious.  And Congress must learn how to be a deliberative body again.

2009 Nobel Peace Prize Announcement

I know so much water has already gone under the bridge about this.  For what it’s worth, I want to have the complete Nobel Peace Prize Announcement from the Norwegian Nobel Committee here on Turning Left for the benefit of our readers, and myself:

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”

Oslo, October 9, 2009

Nobel Committee Head Defends Obama Peace Prize

From ChannelNewsAsia.com:

OSLO – The head of the Nobel Peace Prize committee on Saturday defended its controversial decision to give the award to US President Barack Obama, saying his work so far justified the honour.

“He could have also had it too late,” Thorbjoern Jagland told reporters.

“Can someone tell me who did more than him this year? It is difficult to name a winner of the peace prize who is more in line with Alfred Nobel’s will.”

Jagland, a former Norwegian prime minister, said “we are capturing the spirit of the times, the needs of the era.”

He and the committee’s four other members caused shockwaves on Friday by announcing that Obama had won the Nobel, praising his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

The committee attached “special importance to Obama’s vision and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

Does anyone recall this much controversy over the Nobel Peace Prize since Yassar Arafat won along with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994?

President Obama’s Weekly Address: New Momentum for Health Reform

Washington, D.C.– The historic movement to bring real, meaningful health insurance reform to the American people gathered momentum this week as we approach the final days of this debate. Having worked on this issue for the better part of a year, the Senate Finance Committee is finishing deliberations on their version of a health insurance reform bill that will soon be merged with other reform bills produced by other Congressional committees.

After evaluating the Finance Committee’s bill, the Congressional Budget Office – an office that provides independent, nonpartisan analysis – concluded that the legislation would make coverage affordable for millions of Americans who don’t have it today. It will bring greater security to Americans who have coverage, with new insurance protections. And, by attacking waste and fraud within the system, it will slow the growth in health care costs, without adding a dime to our deficits.

This is another milestone on what has been a long, hard road toward health insurance reform. In recent months, we’ve heard every side of every argument from both sides of the aisle. And rightly so – health insurance reform is a complex and critical issue that deserves a vigorous national debate, and we’ve had one. The approach that is emerging includes the best ideas from Republicans and Democrats, and people across the political spectrum.

In fact, what’s remarkable is not that we’ve had a spirited debate about health insurance reform, but the unprecedented consensus that has come together behind it. This consensus encompasses everyone from doctors and nurses to hospitals and drug manufacturers.

And earlier this week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg came out in support of reform, joining two former Republican Senate Majority Leaders: Bob Dole and Dr. Bill Frist, himself a cardiac surgeon. Dr. Louis Sullivan, Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush, supports reform. As does Republican Tommy Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. These distinguished leaders understand that health insurance reform isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, but an American issue that demands a solution.

Still, there are some in Washington today who seem determined to play the same old partisan politics, working to score political points, even if it means burdening this country with an unsustainable status quo. A status quo of rising health care costs that are crushing our families, our businesses, and our government. A status quo of diminishing coverage that is denying millions of hardworking Americans the insurance they need. A status quo that gives big insurance companies the power to make arbitrary decisions about your health care. That is a status quo I reject. And that is a status quo the American people reject.

The distinguished former Congressional leaders who urged us to act on health insurance reform spoke of the historic moment at hand and reminded us that this moment will not soon come again. They called on members of both parties seize this opportunity to finally confront a problem that has plagued us for far too long.

That is what we are called to do at this moment. That is the spirit of national purpose that we must summon right now. Now is the time to rise above the politics of the moment. Now is the time to come together as Americans. Now is the time to meet our responsibilities to ourselves and to our children, and secure a better, healthier future for generations to come. That future is within our grasp. So, let’s go finish the job.

Source: whitehouse.gov

Pennsylvania Finally Gets a Budget, but the Fix is a Real Gamble

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Gov. Ed Rendell ended one of the most contentious statehouse conflicts in recent history when he signed a $27.8 billion spending plan last night, the 101st day of the nation’s longest budget impasse.

The plan cuts overall spending by 1 percent while it adds $300 million that the governor had insisted on for public schools.

The budget agreement allows the state to begin issuing 12,000 checks to day-care centers, counties, social service agencies and others that haven’t received state subsidies since July. Many have had to lay off workers, take out loans or shut down for lack of funds.

Passage of the budget “guarantees our county social service providers get paid and our children’s day-care services are restored,” said House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-Luzerne.

There is still reason for concern in Pennsylvania.  The wildest gamble in the budget is the plan to fund state colleges, universities, and museums with casino money:

They have yet to agree on the details of a plan to bring poker, blackjack and other table games to Pennsylvania casinos. That would generate $200 million needed to help provide state funding to Pitt, Penn State, Lincoln and Temple universities as well has several museums, including the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Frankly, I don’t know how reliable a revenue stream casinos will prove to be in Pennsylvania.  Certainly, even as we struggle to emerge from the current Great Bush Recession, the PA State Legislature must begin planning for the next recession, when revenues will take a dive again.  Gambling will certainly suffer when that happens.

As a side note, I’m always pleased to quote and link back to the Post-Gazette, my first boss.  I used to deliver Pittsburgh’s morning paper every day before school.  The Pittsburgh Press was still in operation at the time.  Pittsburgh residents and residents of all the surrounding communities woke up the the Post-Gazette, and read the Press in the evenings.

I’m glad to see the Post-Gazette is still around.  The Pittsburgh Press ceased publication on May 17, 1992.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com